FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021 gets underway

Group A: Hosts Russia open proceedings

Group B: Spain back with a bang, Mozambique make debut

At last! The 11th FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup kicks off on Thursday 19 August, and the question on everyone’s lips is: who will follow in the footsteps of Portugal, or can the reigning champions hold onto their crown?


Over the next ten days, 32 matches will be played in the dazzling new Beach Soccer Arena in Moscow’s Olympic complex to decide who the 2021 World Cup winners will be. 

Matchday 1 will see three of the hot favourites take to the sand in the form of hosts and two-time winners Russia, record participants Japan, and European champions Spain, while Mozambique will also be celebrating their World Cup debut.

The games (all kick-off times local)

Group A

Paraguay – Japan (16:30)

Football Union of Russia – USA (20:30)

Group B

United Arab Emirates – Tahiti (15:00)

Mozambique – Spain (19:00)


Did you know?

Hat-trick for Football Union of Russia?

The hosts have reached the semi-finals in each of the last four editions, with two wins (2011 and 2013) and two third places (2015 and 2019). That impressive record makes coach Mikhail Likhachev’s team understandably one of the favourites, particularly since they will enjoy home advantage.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - AUGUST 15: Anton Shkarin poses during the Football Union of Russia team presentation prior to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup on August 15, 2021 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Octavio Passos - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021™

Anton Shkarin: Nerves will disappear after first game

16 Aug 2021

La Roja back on the biggest of stages

After missing out on the last two tournaments, Spain are back on the world stage – and how! They recently won the European championship for the first time in nine years and will be looking to go one step further in Moscow and claim their first ever world title. Beach soccer legend Amarelle certainly thinks they have every chance of going all the way.

Spaniard Ramiro Amarelle, Chinese beach soccer national team head coach,trains alone on Matadero beach, in A Coruna, northwestern Spain, 05 May 2020.

FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021™

Amarelle: Spain can win the World Cup

17 Aug 2021

Samurai Blue back again

Only two teams in the history of the tournament have managed to qualify for all 11 editions – record winners Brazil and Japan. Despite that, the latter’s best finish remains fourth place, secured in 2005 and 2019. This time around, the Samurai Blue will have Ozu Moreira as captain and player-coach as they look to go even further.

ASUNCION, PARAGUAY - NOVEMBER 21: Ozu Moreira of Japan celebrates after scoring the fourth goal of his team during the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 group A match between Paraguay and Japan at Estadio Mundialista "Los Pynandi" on November 21, 2019 in Asuncion, Paraguay. (Photo by Hector Vivas - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021™

Ozu Moreira: We want to win

9 Aug 2021

Debut for Mozambique

The African nation is taking part in its first Beach Soccer World Cup and is brimming with confidence after finishing second in the continental qualifying tournament. All eyes will be on defender Nelson Manuel and striker Rachide Sefo, with the latter top-scorer and MVP in qualifying after ten goals in five games.

The quote

"Until recently, I couldn’t believe that Russia was hosting the Beach Soccer World Cup. I’m pleased that we’ll be able to show our fans what we can do. For me, the most important thing is that after the tournament, I can say that we didn’t let the fans down and every player gave their all on the pitch."

Anton Shkarin (captain, Football Union of Russia)

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