2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Final
|Event||2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup|
|Date||11 September 2011|
|Venue||Stadio del Mare, Ravenna|
|Referee||Jose Cortez (Ecuador)|
The 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Final was the last match of the 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup which took place on September 11, 2011 at the Stadio del Mare, in the Italian city of Ravenna. The final took place between Russia, who were taking place in their first ever final and defending champions Brazil, who were playing in their fourteenth final, aiming to win their fourteenth title. The result of the match saw Russia claim the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup crown, winning their first ever title and becoming only the third team other than Brazil to win the World Cup.
Roads to the final
Russia began their World Cup campaign in Group C alongside Nigeria, Tahiti and Venezuela, as European Champions after winning the 2011 Euro Beach Soccer League. Having finished third in the European World Cup qualifiers in July 2010, as well as playing in a group with two surprise nations, who not only were not expected to qualify but had never even competed in a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup before, quickly made Russia one of the favourites of the competition.
Russia's first match came against Nigeria, who pundits thought would be the only nation to pose any sort of threat to Russia's predicted dominance in the group. Despite Nigeria's enthusiasm and athleticism, Russia were eventual victors, scoring twice as many goals as their opponents, winning 8-4. Their second match in the group stage came against Tahiti. The Oceanian side defeated regular World Cup participants the Solomon Islands in qualifying to compete in their first ever World Cup, making Russia odds on favourites to win the match, regardless of Tahiti's surprise win against Venezuela in the first round of matches. As expected, Russia controlled the game and steered to a 5-0 victory, ensuring qualification for the quarter finals. In Russia's final match, they met Venezuela who had already been eliminated from the competition. In an exhibition style performance from both sides, Russia claimed all three points, therefore taking their total to a maximum total of nine points, finishing first in the group.
Having finished first in Group C, Russia met the runners-up of Group D, Mexico in the quarter finals. Having won the North American qualifiers back in December 2010, as well as having finished in second place in the World Cup of 2007, Mexico went into the quarter finals against Russia, evenly matched. However this was not to be the case. Russia never found themselves behind in the match and went on to win 5-3 to progress to their first ever World Cup semi final. By far the biggest shock in the competition, it would be El Salvador who would play Russia in the semi finals. The Central American's, who up until now had never even won a game at a World Cup, had beaten Oman and Argentina in the Group Stage and had even beaten hosts and European giants Italy in the quarter finals to reach this stage, making Russia huge favourites to reach the final. In spite of El Salvador's efforts, Russia prevailed in a straightforward semi final, winning 7-3, moving on to play in their first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup final.
Brazil started their World Cup campaign in Group D alongside Mexico, Ukraine and Japan, as reigning World Champions as well as being considered the best team in the world, having won the last four FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups and having scored a huge 56 goals in 6 games during qualifying. Brazil were by far the favourites to win a fifth consecutive title.
Brazil's first match was against the surprise champions of the European qualifiers, Ukraine. Despite having beaten the likes of Switzerland and Portugal to win the European qualifiers, many believed it was a stroke of luck that Ukraine were champions of the tournament and therefore it was expected that they would struggle against Brazil. However this was not the case. Ukraine, playing a very defensive game, taking Brazil to a penalty shootout after a 3-3 draw after extra time, but ultimately, after a fantastic performance by Ukraine and an average performance by Brazil, the South American's won the penalty shootout 2-1, taking 2 points away from the game. It was the first time since 2007 that Brazil had been taken past normal time. Brazil's second game was against Mexico. Again, Brazil's performance was below par however their quality was still enough to win the game, 5-2, which all but secured a place in the quarter finals. The final round of matches saw Brazil take on already eliminated Japan. Although Japan had been convincingly beaten by both Mexico and Ukraine, Brazil once again struggled to dominate as they have dominated games in the past and scraped to a 3-2 victory, finishing top of the group on 8 points.
Having finished first in Group D, Brazil met the runners-up of Group C, Nigeria in the quarter finals. Having finished second behind Senegal in the African qualifiers, plus having failed to beat giants Russia in the Group stage, it was thought unlikely that Nigeria could pose any threat to Brazil. Nevertheless, Brazil's lack of form gave confidence to Nigeria who, in a stunning game, drew the game level at 8 goals all in the final minutes, taking Brazil to extra time; the first time in history that Brazil had been taken to extra time twice in a World Cup. Brazil scored two goals in extra time to win 10-8 and move into the semi finals. For the third tournament in a row, Brazil met Portugal in the semi finals. With Brazil's mediocre performances, many believed that Portugal could put an end to Brazil's winning streak of 28 World Cup games. Having already played 4 games, Brazil finally found form when they needed to, coming through to beat their old rivals 4-1 to set up another World Cup final.
|Nigeria||8–4||Match 1||Ukraine||3–3 (2-1 pens)|
|Mexico||5–3||Quarter finals||Nigeria||10–8 (a.e.t.)|
|El Salvador||7–3||Semi finals||Portugal||4–1|
Russia finished the Group Stage after 3 conclusive wins, taking a maximum 9 points away from the games, scoring 20 goals and conceding just 7 to have a positive goal difference of 13. On the other hand, the usually dominant Brazil found themselves having 8 points on the board for the first time since 2007, scoring a record low 11 goals, conceding 7, leaving Brazil on a positive goal difference of 4, after some very average games. Despite Brazil's performances, they were still favourites in the final due to there experience in World Cup finals.
11 September 2011
|Russia||12 – 8||Brazil|
|Shaykov 2', 6'
Leonov 8', 25'
Eremeev 13', 19'
Makarov 15', 20'
Betinho 21' (o.g.)
Shishin 21', 31'
|Report||André 8' (pen.), 11', 30', 33', 34', 35'
Stadio del Mare, Marina di Ravenna
Referee: Jose Cortez
|Shots on target||19||25|
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- "Matches". FIFA.com. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
- "Russia dethrone Brazil as beach kings". FIFA.com. 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Group Stage". FIFA.com. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Russia's safe pair of hands". FIFA.com. 2011-09-01. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Russia start strongly". FIFA.com. 2011-09-02. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Russia sweep five past Tahiti". FIFA.com. 2011-09-04. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Shishin leads Russian rout". FIFA.com. 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Mexico gets continental throne back after amazing match!". beachsoccer.com. 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Russia down Mexico to reach semis". FIFA.com. 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Russia reach first-ever Final". FIFA.com. 2011-09-10. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
- "Russia - Brazil Statistics". FIFA.com. 2011-09-11. Retrieved 2011-09-13.