THE DAY REPLAYED – Brazil's 5-1 thrashing of Mexico was the most emphatic scoreline on the second day of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015, which had previously featured a number of close-run results.
The Brazilians looked a cut above throughout against the North Americans and surged to victory courtesy of five goals from as many different scorers. They top Group C after the opening round of fixtures, followed by Iran, who kicked off the day's action by upsetting Spain 6-5. Despite trailing for a long stretch of the match and being on the receiving end of an Antonio hat-trick, the Iranians kept plugging away and snatched a dramatic winner with 43 seconds to go.
Reigning champions Russia were also put through the wringer in their Group D opener, but unlike Spain the holders managed to dig deep and claim the spoils. Dmitrii Shishin's treble helped secure a 7-5 win over Paraguay, for whom Pedro Moran also notched three. In the other encounter in this section, Tahiti prevailed 4-3 in an equally hard-fought meeting with debutants Madagascar.
Spain 5-6 Iran
Brazil 6-1 Mexico
Russia 7-5 Paraguay
Tahiti 4-3 Madagascar
Rivals on the pitch, friends off it
Camaraderie among rivals is a common feature of beach soccer and the second day's action served up a perfect example. During the match between Spain and Iran, Russia coach Mikhail Likhachev could be seen in the stands behind one of the goals engaged in lively conversation with his Japan counterpart, the Brazilian Marcelo Mendes, as well as Japanese captain Ozu Moreira. "To tell you the truth, explaining details to one another in pidgin English isn't the easiest thing in the world. Yet, through gestures and our mutual passion for following the game, we were able to understand each other," a laughing Mendes later told FIFA.com.
Quicksands of time
Madagascar had to wait ten years to grace their first-ever Beach World Cup, but took just a minute and eight seconds to score their first goal at the tournament. The history-maker was wide man Ymelda Razafimandimby, who prodded home from inches out to put his side 1-0 up and celebrated with gusto by kissing the badge on his shirt.
Crowd get into the party mood
The cheerleaders further livened up an entertaining encounter between Russia and Paraguay by dancing on the steps of the main stand. So far, so normal. However, a special twist was provided by a fan wearing a red T-shirt and orange trousers, who sprung up behind the dancers and joined in the act, earning himself a round of applause from the rest of the crowd in the process.
1,800 - As well as playing a key role in his country's defeat of Spain, Iran's Farid Boulokbashi wrote his name in the tournament's annals: his effort to reduce the arrears to 4-3 was the 1,800th goal in the competition's history.
"We knew that playing against Spain would be really tough, but we stuck together and were very meticulous, which proved crucial to get the victory. I came off in the third period because of a tactical decision, but the change paid dividends." Iran goalkeeper Peyman Hosseini
"We had a good first period and it was an evenly matched game, but we struggled with our marking in the other two periods. That allowed Russia to get a run on us and score goals." Paraguay pivot Pedro Moran
"It's a good way to start the event and I'm happy to have scored. It wasn't a great performance from us, we were a bit sluggish, but the result is what matters most." Tahiti pivot Tearii Labaste
"I think we could have done better, especially defensively. On a personal level, it was very special to score my country's first-ever goal at the tournament. I want to make the team proud of me." Madagascar wide man Ymelda Razafimandimby
"They [Brazilians] are better technically and more experienced than most. They grow up playing on sand and have natural talent. They're professionals and that showed today." Mexico captain Francisco Cati
Saturday 11 July
Costa Rica-Switzerland, 17:30
All times local