DUBAI --The seventh edition of the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup kicks off in its new home, Marasi Business Bay, tomorrow with eight of the world’s best nations going head to head.
As arguably the most prestigious annual competition in the sport’s calendar, the event, organised by Dubai Sports Council, is sure to be keenly contested as hosts UAE seek to build on their promising 2017 season, which saw them finish second in Asian qualifying before bowing out of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup at the group stage despite picking up two wins.
"We had the UAE’s best FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup participation in history, and I think that it is a definite sign of progress," UAE boss Mohamed Al Maazmi explained recently.
"Step-by-step we are showing to the world our hard work that we are building up here day by day. After the World Cup, a great number of our players went to Europe to play in different leagues and competitions so that helps us to gain more experience. For sure we are stronger than ever."
If they are to go all the way this time around in Dubai, Al Maazmi’s men will need to get the better of the world’s top two nations in the form of holders Brazil and European heavyweights Portugal.
Both will have designs on the title, with Brazil seeking to extend their incredible 42-match winning run and claim a third Dubai trophy while Portugal will hope to bounce back from their Euro Beach Soccer League defeat to Russia in September.
Egypt, featuring for a third time at the competition, complete Group A, while Group B promises a similarly tough test for the remaining four teams.
Iran, as the world’s third-ranked side, will be eager to maintain their recent record in this competition under new coach Marco Octavio, having finished fourth, third and runners-up consecutively in the last three years.
Three-time winners Russia, fresh off the back of their European triumph, welcome back some key personnel from injury for their bid to maintain what is a proud Intercontinental Cup history, with Mexico also boasting momentum.
El Tri warmed up for their trip to Dubai with success on home sand at the Visit Puerto Vallarta Cup nine days ago with FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017 participants Paraguay completing the eight nations.
Entrance to the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup at Marasi Business Bay is free, with the event running from October 31st to November 4th.
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