Hosts UAE will face European powerhouses Portugal and Spain, and African champions Senegal in the group stages of the 10th Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai, which will take place under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, on Kite Beach from Nov. 2-6.
In the other group, newly crowned world champions and three-time winners Russia will compete with Iran, Paraguay and Japan — the team they defeated in the 2021 Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup finals in August to win their Third World title — for the two semi-final spots from Group B.
The eight teams found out their groups for the most prestigious annual event in the beach soccer calendar following the official draw held on Tuesday at Dubai Sports Council headquarters. The tournament is organised jointly by Dubai Sports Council and Beach Soccer Worldwide in association with UAE Football Association.
The two groups will play three days of round robin matches, followed by semi-finals and then the final on Saturday, November 6. Later that same night, the top performers of the 2021 season will be honoured at the Beach Soccer Stars awards.
Welcoming the beach soccer family back to Dubai for the two prestigious events, Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, said: “We are really excited about the 10th Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup, a tournament which was born here in Dubai in 2011 and has produced some of beach soccer’s most memorable moments since.
“This year we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of this hugely popular event. It is a special milestone, and the fact we will be celebrating this milestone at a time when Dubai is hosting Expo 2020 makes it even more memorable for us.
“The world is here, and the world’s best are here for Expo 2020. And early next month, the best from the world of beach soccer will be here as well to compete on the sands of one of the world’s most-happening beaches, Kite Beach.
“This year, we probably have one of our toughest draws in 10 years with three of the four semi-finalist from the recent 2021 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup — the two finalist Russia and Japan, and Senegal — in the fray.
“Then, of course, Iran are back to defend their crown and also to renew their colourful Dubai rivalry with Russia. These two teams, and their boisterous fans, have been a constant feature on the tournament’s highlight reels over the years.
“So, there is plenty to look forward to. Like every year, UAE’s passionate beach soccer fans — and there are plenty of them here because the stands are almost always full — can expect five days of electrifying action and edge-of-the-seat entertainment.”
Joan Cusco, President of Beach Soccer Worldwide, said: “I would like to thank Dubai Sports Council for their efforts to promote and support beach soccer. They have been our partners from day one, and they have shown a lot of dedication and passion to make this one of the most important tournament in our sport. This is something priceless.
“I also want to thank the UAEFA. They have also been our strong partners and have worked hard on the development of the sport. I cannot thank them enough.
“About the tournament itself, I believe we have eight powerful teams in the fray and I believe the level of competition we are going to see will be as good as the World Cup itself. Every team wants to come to Dubai and, to be honest, if we were to increase the number of teams from eight to 20, we would fill all the spots inside a week. Everybody wants to take part in this event and everybody wants to be in Dubai, especially this year when Expo 2020 is taking place here.”