China Face Iran, India Take on Japan

A02603093.jpgChina will be traveling to the unknown when they make their second appearance in the ongoing Asian Zone Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers against the mysterious side in the competition, Iran, as the Indians try their luck against hot favorites Japan at Al Mamzar Beach this night. Brazilian coach Rodrigo Stockler said they were unlucky that China were drawn against Iran and Bahrain.

“I don’t know too much about Iran, but I believe they have a very good side comprised of well-built players and led by a very good coach, Marco Octavio,” he said.

“The three sides are in with a chance to advance to the semifinals and for this reason I think it’s going to be very tough,” he added.

Defending champions Bahrain started their campaign in 2006 under their Brazilian coach Guga Zloccowick Silva, who realized he had a diamond in the rough, which he carved brilliantly into the Asian champions and one of the sensations of the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup 2006, where they defeated the likes of Italy and Nigeria to reach the quarterfinals.

Now Guga is back, ready to roll on the sands of Dubai, this time as the tournament favorites.

A true marquee name in the beach soccer world, the Japanese made their name when they reached the semifinals of the first Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in 2005.

Although they were shocked by the Bahrainis in last year’s Dubai final, Japan is always one of the favorites in Asia, mainly after Brazilian top striker Neném took over head coaching duties and debuted with a third place finish in this year’s Mundialito, in July – a performance that featured victories over Austria, England and Switzerland.

The 2007 edition will the third in the history of the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup – all of which were played in beach soccer’s true birthplace, the famous Copacaban Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

From 2008, the sport’s premier showpiece will travel around the world. On August 26, the host cities of both 2008 and 2009 editions will be announced in Marseilles, and Dubai is one of the strong candidates to see top-notch beach soccer action from around the world.

After the Beach Soccer World Championships reached its tenth edition, in 2004, Beach Soccer Worldwide associated with Fifa to create Fifa Beach Soccer S.L., the company responsible for organizing the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup.

Although the Brazilians had conquered nine out of the ten editions of the previous World Championships, the sport showed its clear signs of international development when Eric Cantona-led France captured their maiden title in 2005.

Brazil brought the crown back in 2006 and right now stands at 51 unbeaten matches.

Will anyone dare to prove them wrong?

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