There is no need to wait years for another World Cup soccer match. The World Cup action continues Tuesday the 6th as United States takes on Portugal-on the sand. The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup is in full swing as teams fight to determine who will be claimed World Champion.
Group play concludes tomorrow to determine who will continue on to the quarterfinal round to take place November 8. After a day's rest, the action continues this weekend with the semifinals on November 10. Sunday, November 11 will be the culmination of the tournament when the world's best beach soccer team is crowned.
The competition was originally organized in 1995 as the Beach Soccer World Championships. The Beach Soccer World Championships were administered by Beach Soccer Worldwide, a Spanish-based organization, with FIFA's endorsement. FIFA took over the tournament in 2005, when the first Beach Soccer World Cup took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was won by France (without any head butts, to my knowledge).
Beach soccer is an exciting variation of the game. The ball is modified to be slightly softer and the compact pitch allows players to score from anywhere. This leads to high-scoring games, with an average of 60 attempts at goal in a single game, with an approximate scoring rate of one goal every three to four minutes.
The major rules differences are:
Shoes are not allowed, although ankle guards are permitted.
Throw-ins are taken from the sidelines, and can be taken with either hands or foot.
Goal kicks are taken by the goalie using his hands.
An additional notable variation is that each team fields five players and has unlimited substitutions to get them through three 12-minute periods. Every beach soccer match has a winner, with the contest going down to three minutes of sudden-death overtime, followed by penalty kicks if the score is still tied.
Check out this short highlight reel of the best beach soccer goals. You will be amazed at how they move the ball.