Beach Soccer - Brazilian players
As described in the
history page, much of the success of beach soccer is owed to the migration from famous players from the grass fields to the sand courts; in the first world championship, in 1985, the best players, ellected by the fans, were Zico and Junior (Zico was also the main striker, with 12 goals, the same as also famous Italian players Altobelli, who played with the Italian national team for several years).
A few other well known Brazilian players had participation in beach soccer, such as (to cite only those who participated in the FIFA World Cups) Branco (who scored the third goal against Holland in 1994), Edinho (played in 1982 and 1986), Paulo Sergio (second goalkeeper in 1986) and Edmundo (France, 2000). Occasionally, mostly by marketing reasons, players still active (like Edmundo and Marcelinho Carioca, playing in Japan in the 2003 season) are invited for single matches (usually in a Rio x Sao Paulo or other inter-States challenge).
However, this is far from being the norm. The players mentioned above were not retired field players who decided to move to the beach. Instead, they had always been beach players (all the Brazilians mentioned above had professional careers in Rio, and were frequent attenders of the Copacabana beaches) who happened to have success in the field soccer, and returned to the beaches after retiring.
Playing on the sand is quite different from playing on the grass. The terrain is much more irregular, and is changed after every foot step; while on field soccer a good attacker must run medium and long distances fast, on the sand the player must be capable of frequent quick rushes - which requires a completely distinct use of the muscles and bodies; whereas in soccer the tactical planning and implementation often times decides a match, in the reduced dimensions of the sand court all players must be everywhere all the time - not unusually, all players score a goal at the same match; physical fitness is, at least, as important in beach as in field soccer: matches of beach soccer, despite of lasting shorter, are played under the sun (World Championships have been realized in February, the Brazilian summer, at the Copacabana beach, usually at around 40 degrees Celsius), on a more demanding terrain (besides being irregular, the sand certainly remains at a higher temperature than grass would); the arena of beach soccer is much closer to the players than the stadium seats, which causes the influence of the fans to be stronger.
So, it is not a surprise that most professional beach players today had never been professionals of field soccer.
This was the line-up of the Brazilian team which won the World Championship in 2004: Robertinho, Júnior Negăo, Benjamin, Jorginho and Buru; active substitutes: Camilo, Juninho, Bruno e Neném.
For comparison, this was the team which won in 2003: Robertinho, Junior Negăo, Benjamin, Jorginho and Buru; substitutes: Neném, Juninho, Duda and André.
It's noticeable that the team has been very stable; most players are from Rio and meet each other since the years before professionalism; all players participate of every match, and all are equally capable to score goals and win matches. Junior Negao is the oldest player of them (37 y.o. in 2004); in 2004, Nenem became the one with most goals scored (202), followed by Junior (198) and Jorginho (195). Jorginho, a typical beach rat, is considered the most skillful.
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