x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UAE to host Portugal in beach soccer world cup

Marcelo Mendes, the UAE national team coach, remains optimistic about his team's chances at November's Fifa beach soccer world cup.

Marcelo Mendes, the UAE national team coach, remains optimistic about his team's chances at November's Fifa beach soccer world cup despite getting a tough draw. The UAE will face Portugal in the opening match of the tournament, which will be held in Dubai from November 16-22. The other teams in their group include Uruguay and Solomon Island. "It is a group, but I am still confident about our chances," said Mendes after the official draw at Dubai's World Trade Center on Thursday night.

"Beach soccer can be a funny game, where weaker teams like us have an almost equal chance. So anything can happen and I believe we can still achieve our target of reaching the semi-finals." Brazil, winners of the world cup for the last three times, have been drawn in Group D along with African champions Nigeria, Switzerland and the runners-up at the Asian qualifications, which will be held in Dubai a week before the World Cup.

The Asian champions will face Europe's top team Spain, El Salvador and Ivory Coast in Group B, while European runners-up Russia are in Group C with Italy, Costa Rica and Argentina. arizvi@thenational.ae