Special feature: Your guide to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

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Sixteen nations take to the sand in February to decide who’ll be beach soccer’s new world champions.

The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will be staged in Dubai from February 15-25, 2024.

Though New Zealand is yet to fully embrace competitive beach soccer, Oceania has one of the world’s best teams in Tahiti.

Main photo: Action from the 2021 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup final in Russia. Photo credit: FIFA.

New Zealanders who want to watch beach soccer at its best can watch streams from the tournament live and free through the FIFA+ platform.

Here’s our guide to the 2024 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup …

Who’s involved

Participating teams are:

  • AFC: Iran, Japan, Oman, United Arab Emirates
  • CAF: Egypt, Senegal,
  • CONCACAF: United States, Mexico
  • CONMEBOL: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia
  • Oceania: Tahiti
  • UEFA: Belarus, Italy, Portugal, Spain

Egypt and Colombia are making their first-ever appearance at the tournament.

Some facts and figures

The Dubai tournament is the 12th edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup (FBSWC). Tournament hosts UAE are making their eighth appearances at the tournament.

Dubai has become a beach soccer hub in recent years. Its marquee tournament, the Intercontinental Cup, has grown into one of the sport’s most prestigious, with UAE 2024 participants IR Iran and Brazil having won four and three titles apiece.

The Beach Soccer World Championship, organised by Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW), ran from 1995 to 2004.

FIFA joined forces with BSWW to launch the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2005, with the first-ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup staged on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro in 2005.

FIFA’s global funding programme has led to the creation or renovations of beach soccer pitches, and execution of competitions around the world.

Today, more than 200 countries in the world embrace the sport.

Portugal’s Jordan … a world cup winner in 2019. Photo credit: FIFA.

Some tournament records

The FBSWC is FIFA’s highest-scoring tournament, with its 2021 edition in Russia averaging a record 9.44 goals/game, with 302 goals scored across 32 matches played.

The most Beach Soccer World Cup caps by a player is held by Brazil’s Mao who has played 52 games.

Madjer (Portugal) is next on 49.

Madjer has scored 88 goals – considerably more than any other player. He is followed by Dejan Stankovic (Switzerland, 47), Gabriele Gori (Italy, 41), Belchior (Portugal, 39), Bruno Malias (Brazil, 39), Alan (Portugal, 38) and Andre (Brazi, 38).

Madjer also holds the records for most goals in one match and one edition: seven against Uruguay in 2009 and 21 at Rio de Janeiro 2006 respectively.

The competition’s oldest player was Netherlands’ Roel Liefden was was 46 years and 216 days old when he represented his country against Argentina at Tahiti 2013, making him the oldest-ever player to appear in a FIFA tournament.

Two 15-year-olds have played in the Beach Soccer World Cup: Erasmus Ndlovu for South Africa in 2005 and Abu Azeez for Nigeria four years later. They are the youngest players ever to participate in the tournament.

Brazil and Japan hold the record for most appearances at a Beach Soccer World Cup and will extend their record to 12 participations in Dubai. Portugal will make it 11.

Blink and you could miss it

Four players share the record for the tournament’s fastest goal.

It took only two seconds from kick-off for Buru to score for Brazil against Bahrain in 2009, Majder for Portugal against Solomon Islands one day later, Roman Pachev for Ukraine against Japan in 2011, and Torres for Portugal against Brazil in 2017.

Eric Cantona … became one of the world’s best beach soccer players. Photo credit: FIFA.

Big name players

Notable players who have made the transition to beach soccer include Eric Cantona, Franco Causio, Claudio Gentile, Junior, Matt Le Tissier, Romario, Julio Salinas, the Van de Kerkhof twins and Zico, all of whom represented their nations at beach soccer.

Growing popularity

The 2021 tournament drew 63 million viewers around the globe, with each match securing an average viewership of over 2.2 million viewers.

Past winners

Brazil have won the tournament a record five times, including four consecutive titles between 2006-2009.


2005: France
2006: Brazil
2007: Brazil
2008: Brazil
2009: Brazil
2011: Russia
2013: Russia
2015: Portugal
2017: Brazil
2019: Portugal
2021: RFU

Golden Ball

2005: Madjer (Portugal)
2006: Madjer (Portugal)
2007: Buru (Brazil)
2008: Amarelle (Spain)
2009: Dejan Stankovic (Switzerland)
2011: Ilya Leonov (Russia)
2013: Bruno Xavier (Brazil)
2015: Heimanu Taiarui (Tahiti)
2017: Mohammad Ahmadzadeh (IR Iran)
2019: Ozu Moreira (Japan)
2021: Noel Ott (Switzerland)

Host nation

2005: Brazil
2006: Brazil
2007: Brazil
2008: France
2009: UAE
2011: Italy
2013: Tahiti
2015: Portugal
2017: Bahamas
2019: Portugal
2021: RFU

What they say about beach soccer

“The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup is always very exciting as it is FIFA’s highest scoring tournament on average, with over nine goals scored per game at the previous edition — so expect plenty of goalmouth action!”

– FIFA President Gianni Infantino

“FIFA is excited for the return of the Beach Soccer World Cup, an action-packed tournament taking place within an incredible setting in Dubai. We have an experienced host in the UAE that is ready to deliver a top-level event, with the support of local and international beach soccer fans. Paired with the high level of skill displayed by the qualified teams, the 12th edition of this tournament will be a thrilling spectacle.”

— FIFA Director of Tournaments Jayme Yarza

Match schedule

All times/dates are Dubai, UAE // New Zealand times 9 hours ahead

Thursday February 15

USA v Italy
15:30 | Group A

Tahiti v Argentina
17:00 | Group B

United Arab Emirates v Egypt
19:30 | Group A

Spain v IR Iran
21:00 | Group B

Friday February 16

Colombia v Japan
15:30 | Group C

Portugal v Mexico
17:00 | Group D

Senegal v Belarus
19:30 | Group C

Brazil v Oman
21:00 | Group D

Saturday February 17

Italy v Egypt
15:30 | Group A

Spain v Tahiti
17:00 | Group B

United Arab Emirates v USA
19:30 | Group A

Argentina v IR Iran
21:00 | Group B

Sunday February 18

Japan v Belarus
15:30 | Group C

Mexico v Oman
17:00 | Group D

Senegal v Colombia
19:30 | Group C

Brazil v Portugal
21:00 | Group D

Monday February 19

Egypt v USA
15:30 | Group A

Argentina v Spain
17:00 | Group B

Italy v United Arab Emirates
19:30 | Group A

IR Iran v Tahiti
21:00 | Group B

Tuesday February 20

Belarus v Colombia
15:30 | Group C

Oman v Portugal
17:00 | Group D

Japan v Senegal
19:30 | Group C

Mexico v Brazil
21:00 | Group D

Thursday February 22

1st Group D v 2nd Group C
15:30 | Quarter-finals | Match 25

1st Group C v 2nd Group D
17:00 | Quarter-finals | Match 26

1st Group B v 2nd Group A
19:30 | Quarter-finals | Match 27

1st Group A v 2nd Group B
21:00 | Quarter-finals | Match 28

Saturday February 24

Winner Match 27 v winner Match 25
18:00 | Semi-finals | Match 29

Winner Match 28 v winner Match 26
19:30 | Semi-finals | Match 30

Games to be played on Sunday February 25, 2024 (UAE)

Third-place play-off


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