Dubai: Iran beat Russia 4-2 to win the Huawei Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup at Kite Beach in Jumeirah on Saturday.
Mostafa Kiani, Mohammad Masoumizadeh and Hamid Behzadpour had the Iranians 3-0 up at half-time. Russia’s Artur Paporotnyi pulled one back after the break only for Masoumizadeh to extend before Paporotnyi added a second late on.
This was Iran’s second title since 2013 in eight editions of the tournament, which was previously won three times by Russia in the first two years and again in 2015, and three times by Brazil, who won in 2014 and then for the past two years running.
Russia came into this final off the back of an historic 3-1 penalty shootout win over the Brazilians in Friday’s semi, ending their unbeaten run of 66 games, but they couldn’t keep the momentum going.
Iran had earlier topped Group B unbeaten ahead of Russia, Tahiti and the USA, with a final 3-2 win over Russia to win the pool, before beating Egypt 3-1 in the semi-finals.
Russia held Brazil to a 5-5 draw in Friday’s other semi before winning on penalties, while Brazil later beat Egypt 5-3 in Saturday’s third-place play-off.
Brazil had finished ahead of Egypt, hosts UAE and Spain in Group A to get this far.
The UAE finished seventh out of eight participating nations after beating Tahiti 7-6 in the seventh place play-off. The hosts had earlier lost 5-3 to the USA in the 5th-8th place semi. Tahiti lost their semi 9-1 to Spain, who eventually lost 4-3 to the USA in the fifth-placed play-off.
The award for Best Keeper went to Iran’s Behzadpour, while Russia’s Fedor Zemskov got top scorer with nine goals and Brazil’s Rodrigo won the Player of the Tournament.
The annual awards were also held on the sidelines on the tournament with Spain’s Lorenc Gomez winning Player of the Year, and Russia’s Marina Fedorova winning Women’s Player of the Year. Llorenc also made the Team of the Year alongside Brazil’s Bruno Xavier and Datinha, Japan’s Ozu and Portugal’s Elinton Andrade, who also won Keeper of the Year. Goal of the Year went to Spain’s Edu for an overhead kick.