Tahiti draw World Champs Russia

The Tiki Toa’s dream run to the final on home soil in 2013 was cut short in the semi-finals by the eventual winners and they’ll certainly be out for revenge when they close out the group stage against the Russians on Tuesday 14 July.
Tahiti will open the 2015 tournament against Madagascar on Friday 10 July, before taking on Paraguay two days later.
In extending a warm welcome to the ceremony to representatives from nearly all the 16 finalists, FIFA Beach Soccer Committee member Joan Cusco said: “On behalf of FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter, I would like to welcome you to Espinho.”
“2015 will be an outstanding year for beach soccer, with the World Cup in Portugal, that will leave a legacy to the community. I trust that will happen, as well as the success of the World Cup. I would like to underline the work done, in the last five years, in Madagascar, which has qualified for the first time to a FIFA World Cup.”
Taking his turn to address a packed auditorium, Pinto Moreira, the chairman of Espinho Municipal Council, spoke of the growing sense of expectation in the town at the prospect of hosting the biggest sporting event in its history.
“Espinho is a city full of nice and welcoming people, who are anxious to receive the Beach Soccer World Cup,” he said. “I can guarantee that the stadium will be full to receive the matches. I wish all the best to the 16 teams qualified for the World Cup. We’ll prove that we can organize the best FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup ever.”
Portuguese Football Association (FPF) President Fernando Gomes then stepped up to hail the wider importance of the competition and the enthusiastic support of FIFA and Espinho Municipal Council for five key projects to be rolled out in the coming months.
“It is a great honour for the country to be hosting the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015. It is an excellent choice for historical, cultural, environmental and sporting reasons,” he said.
Detailing the five projects in question, Gomes explained that the FPF will build six beach soccer stadiums; implement a youth-oriented beach soccer development plan; set up an elite national league featuring Portugal’s top eight clubs; provide training for beach soccer coaches and referees; and propose the game’s inclusion on the national school sports programme.
Lending a helping hand at the ceremony, which left tournament hosts and Group A seeds Portugal facing Japan, Argentina and Senegal, and multiple world champions Brazil taking on Mexico, Spain and Iran, were former Portugal goalkeeper Vitor Baia and ex-France midfielder Christian Karembeu, of New Caledonia.
Speaking at the draw, former adversaries with Barcelona and Real Madrid Baia and Karembeu exchanged pleasantries and shared their views on the upcoming tournament.
“The Portuguese goal is to go for the title, with a lot of support from the fans,” Baia said. “We have all the confidence on our players and coach.”
“Of course I’ll support Portugal,” Karembeu added. “Though I wish luck to Tahiti and Madagascar as well. I hope the competition is a success.”
Tahiti will be taking part in their third FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after Italy in 2011 and Tahiti in 2013. Their best result remains their historic fourth place finish on home soil.
The full draw is as follows:
Group A

Portugal
Japan
Argentina
Senegal
Group B
Switzerland
Oman
Italy
Costa Rica
Group C
Brazil
Mexico
Spain
Iran
Group D
Russia
Paraguay
Tahiti
Madagascar
For more on Tahiti football go to www.ftf.pf
For more on the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015™ go to www.fifa.com
Download the official draw here.


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