Tuesday’s final draw for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 will feature two very special guests, with former Portugal goalkeeper Vitor Baia and ex-France midfielder Christian Karembeu set to star at the event, to be held in the host city of Espinho.
The event will reveal who faces who in the group phase of the competition, which takes place in the Portuguese resort on 9-19 July. The South American qualifying competition reached its conclusion last weekend, with Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina completing the list of 16 finalists for the biggest event in beach soccer, which will also feature Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Oman, Japan, Iran, Mexico, Costa Rica, Tahiti, Madagascar and Senegal.
Attention will now turn to Espinho, where Beach Soccer World Cup fever is already starting to take hold, and to Tuesday’s official draw at the town’s Multimedia Centre, which lies next to the beach where the greatest players in the game will be turning on the style in July.
Starring at this week’s draw will be former Portugal goalkeeper Vitor Baia, a multiple trophy winner with Porto and Barcelona and a Beach Soccer World Cup ambassador, and ex-France midfielder Christian Karembeu, who helped his country win the FIFA World Cup™ in 1998.
Presiding over the draw will be Jaime Yarza, FIFA Senior Manager of Beach Soccer and Futsal Competitions, and Joan Cusco, a member of the FIFA Beach Soccer Committee.
Portugal and Brazil among the seeds
There are four seeded teams in the draw, with each of them occupying the first slot in their respective groups. Hosts Portugal are the Group A seeds, while reigning world champions Russia are the top-ranked team in Group D. Second and third in the world ranking respectively, Switzerland and Brazil are the seeded teams in the other two sections.
Teams from the same confederation cannot be drawn together, with the exception of Europe’s representatives, though only a maximum of two European sides can feature in the same pool. The group phase will take place from 9 to 14 July, with four games a day being staged on Espinho Beach.
Following a rest day on Wednesday 15 July, the action will resume with the quarter-finals, with the winners of groups A and B taking on the second-placed teams in those groups and the victors in groups C and D facing off against the runners-up in those two sections.
The semi-finals are scheduled for 18 July, with the match for third place final kicking off at 17:00 (local time) the following day and the grand final getting under way 90 minutes later.