Australian Beach Soccer Team At World Cup

The Australian Beach Soccer team will make history on Sunday when they play their first match in the inaugural FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Rio, Brazil.

The Australian Beach Soccer team will make history on Sunday when they play their first match in the inaugural FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Rio, Brazil.

The Australians have been pitted against European champions France and South American heavyweights Argentina in what is probably the toughest group in the 12-team tournament.  

The eight-day tournament is the first ever beach soccer tournament to be operated by football-s world governing body and is set to feature regularly on the international football calendar. For full covergae of the FIFA World Beach Soccer tournament, go to the FIFA website.

Beach soccer is played on an area measuring between 35 and 37 metres in length and between 26 and 28 metres in width.  Each team can field five players at any given time with an unlimited number of substitutes permitted. 

The ball is considerably lighter than in the outdoor version of the game but is the same circumference.  A match consists of three equal periods of 12 minutes of effective playing time.

The Australian team will be coached former national women-s coach Adrian Santrac while the most-capped Socceroo of all-time, Alex Tobin, will be the team manager.

Australia will open their campaign on Sunday (Monday Australian time) against France before backing up on Monday (Tuesday Australian time) when they will face Argentina.  Two teams from each of the four groups will progress to the quarter finals.

”This tournament will undoubtedly be very tough for our players,” said Santrac.  “We have only had very limited time to prepare and our group is expected to be extremely tough but all the players are very keen to do well and make the most of the opportunity.”

The Australian team will find themselves up against former Manchester United striker Eric Cantona who features in the French team and is just one of several former internationals appearing in the tournament.  Legendary Brazilian goalscorer Romario will appear for the home nation.

The 12-man Australian squad comprises nine players with national league experience.  The team is:

George Souris - Wollongong Wolves Jim Bakis - Sydney United Leo Carle - Marconi Stallions Stacy Alogdellis - Marconi Stallions Andrew Crews - St George Vuko Tomasevic - Bonnyrigg White Eagles Darren McDonald - Bonnyrigg White Eagles Steve Karavatakis - Parramatta Eagles John Buonavoglia (pictured above) - St George Andrew Mailer - Manly United Brad Heffernan - Uncontracted Tayfun Devrimol - Bonnyrigg White Eagles “In future years, we think that there will be significant growth for this tournament and beach soccer in general in Australia,” said FFA Head of High Performance John Boultbee.  

”On this occasion we decided to hold the trials in Sydney, but made them open to players from anywhere in Australia, including the A-League.  Because of the shortness of time, we did not advertise the trials on the website, but made it well known in football circles that they were on.“

”Undoubtedly in the future we will get more than just a few weeks notice about the timing of the tournament, and we will be able to hold more substantial and extensive trials, which no doubt, will see more players putting their hands up for inclusion.”