Monday 23 August 2021, 09:30

Brazil, Portugal under pressure

  • Last day of group matches at Russia 2021

  • Group C: Brazil need to step up

  • Group D: Portugal must win

Who would have predicted this before the tournament began? As we enter the third and final round of matches in Group C and D, one team from each group has already qualified for the quarter-finals. Yet neither of them is record champions Brazil in Group C or defending champions Portugal in Group D, but Switzerland and Senegal instead. Nevertheless, the South Americans can still progress to the next round even if they are narrowly defeated by Belarus either in extra-time or on penalties. The situation is very different for the Iberians, who face a winner-takes-all match against Uruguay to decide who reaches the last eight. The losers will join already-eliminated Oman and pack their bags for an early flight home. While El Salvador, like Oman, have lost both of their games so far, it is still mathematically possible for them to advance to the knockout stage. A win against Switzerland, combined with a disaster for Brazil in extra-time or on penalties, could enable the Concacaf champions to climb to second place in their group.

The games (all times local)


Memorable moments

Could Brazil make a historic exit? Never in the history of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™ have the Reis da Praia (Kings of the Beach) been eliminated after the group stage, with their previous earliest exits both coming at the quarter-final stage in 2015 and 2019. By contrast, Belarus could reach the last eight for the first time in only their second appearance in the competition. Defending champions under pressure Russia 2021 marks the 11th edition of the Beach Soccer World Cup, and never before have the defending champions failed to qualify for the knockout stages. Yet this is exactly the fate that could await Portugal who, despite their consistently strong performances, need to defeat Uruguay after being beaten by Senegal.

Oman’s wait goes on Oman have featured at four Beach Soccer World Cups – in 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2021 – without making it any further than the group stage, and their fate has already been decided in Russia. The Asian side recorded a win apiece in 2015 (7-2 against Costa Rica) and 2019 (6-5 against Nigeria). Can they end this year’s campaign on a high against the unbeaten Senegalese in Moscow?

The quote

“It goes to show that we can beat anyone – we proved that against Brazil. Now we’ve definitely got winning the group in our sights. At the last few editions we’ve almost set our objectives too high and then we’ve been knocked out in the quarter-finals. This year it’s very different. We’re here, even though we shouldn’t actually be here. So there’s no pressure on us. We’ll just wait and see how far we go." Dejan Stankovic, Switzerland player

Up next

Quarter-finals 26 August Winner, Group D – Runner-up, Group C (15:00) Winner, Group C – Runner-up, Group D (16:30) Winner, Group B – Runner-up, Group A (19:00) Winner, Group A – Runner-up, Group B (20:30)

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