Portugal kept the defence of their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup crown alive after claiming a nerve-racking 2-1 extra-time win over the United Arab Emirates in The Bahamas’ capital Nassau today.
Bruno Novo scored the winning goal within 30 seconds of the additional period beginning at the National Beach Soccer Arena.
It came after the UAE’s Ali Karim had cancelled out Belchior’s opener in the final minute of normal time.
The result eliminated the UAE and secured Portugal both second place in Group C and a quarter-final with four-time winners Brazil on Thursday (May 4).
Brazil made it three wins from three to finish top of Group D after a convincing 9-3 victory over Japan.
Rodrigo was the South American nation’s star man with five goals, while team-mate Mauricinho contributed with a brace.
Catarino got in on the act and there was also an own goal from Takasuke Goto.
Goto and Takaaki Oba contributed to Japan’s three-goal haul, while there was also an own goal from Bokinha.
Victory maintained Brazil’s record of having never lost a group match at a Beach Soccer World Cup and brought Japan’s campaign to an end.
Finishing runners-up to the Brazilians were Tahiti, who beat European champions Poland 8-4 today.
Tahiti charged into a 6-0 lead thanks to goals from Raimana Li Fung Kuee, Heiarii Tavanae, Patrick Tepa, Angelo Tchen and a brace from captain Naea Bennett.
Poland fought back and managed to bring the game to 6-4 thanks to goals from Tomasz Lenart, Konrad Kubiak, Jakub Jesionowski and an own goal from Raimoana Bennett, but Tavanae and Li Fung Kuee wrapped up the win for Tahiti.
Next up for the 2015 runners-up are Paraguay, who eased past Panama 5-2 in Group C to advance to the Beach Soccer World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.
Goals from Sergio Villaverde and Gustavo Benitez got Paraguay off to a quick start and although Julio Watson pulled one back for Panama, Orlando Zayas and Carlos Carballo both scored to effectively put the game to bed.
Gilberto Rangel reduced the deficit before Pedro Moran, the top scorer at the last Beach Soccer World Cup, rounded out the win for Paraguay.
The two other quarter-finals see Switzerland face Iran and Italy go up against Senegal.
They also are scheduled for Thursday.