Dubai - Iran and Russia joined Brazil as the three unbeaten teams at the end of the second day of the Seventh Huawei Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup being held at Marasi Business Bay.
Reigning five-time world champions Brazil brushed aside Portugal with a clinical 4-1 win after Egypt had powered their way past the UAE 4-3 for their first win and leave the hosts winless after two matches.
Later in the night, Russia and Iran joined the Brazilians with identical hard-fought victories against Paraguay and Mexico. While three-time Russia had to dig in deep for a 2-1 win, Iran scored three goals in the final period for a 4-1 result against Mexico.
Wednesday’s results mean that Brazil is assured of the top spot with two wins in Group A, while Portugal will play against Egypt to decide who ends second and advance to the semi-final play-offs.
Group B is more decided with Russia and Iran registering two wins each against South Americans Mexico and Paraguay. However, Thursday will see the reigning Asian champions take on the reigning European champions with the winner topping the group, while the runner-up will have to play against Brazil in Friday’s semi-finals.
There was an identical situation last year with Iran getting the better of Russia on a tie-breaker to top the group and avoid Brazil in the semi-finals. However, the world champions had easily defeated Iran in the final to clinch their second title in Dubai.
“The court will play an important role in the outcome of the match between us and Russia tomorrow [Thursday],” Iran captain Mohammad Ahmadzadeh told media later on Wednesday.
“Brazil, Iran, Russia and Portugal are all at the same level of play, and whichever team can handle the tough pitch conditions here can advance. We would definitely like to avoid a similar situation like last year and try and finish the match in regulation time as leaving things for the tie-breaker may either go against us or perhaps in favour of us,” he added.
Egypt x UAE 4-3
Brazil x Portugal 4-1
Russia x Paraguay 2-1
Iran x Mexico 4-1
Thursday’s Fixtures: (16.15) Mexico x Paraguay; (17.30) Egypt x Portugal; (18.45) UAE x Brazil; (20.00) Iran x Russia.