Beach Soccer: Brazil shows its skills in win over Israel

From the 4,500 delighted fans to the dancing Samba girls, beach soccer arrived in Netanya in a big way on Friday afternoon as Israel took on world champion Brazil. Although the 11-3 scoreline illustrated the ultimate superiority of the visiting team in gold and green over the 36-minute game, the Israelis did themselves proud on Poleg Beach. The Brazilians found resistance in the opening period and Israel even led 2-1 after four minutes. But as they settled down, Brazil showed the stunning ball skills that has made beach soccer such an exciting sport to watch. When they were in control towards the end of the game the visitors played some wonderfully creative soccer, heading the ball to each other around the pitch and producing stepover after stepover. It was, however, Tzahi Ilos, Israel's star striker, who scored probably the most 'Brazilian' of all the goals, a stunning overhead kick in the opening minutes. And Benny Lam's team initially stayed with its far stronger opponent, before eventually capitulating. "This game was good for us," Brazil's Bruno told Sport5 after the game. "Israel is just beginning in beach soccer, but we played well. We scored a lot of goals and that is Brazilian beach soccer." Ilos admitted it had been a tough game. "It is not easy to play against the world champions, but we should get some respect for the efforts we made." Beach soccer is a growing sport which holds an annual FIFA World Cup tournament each summer. Brazil is the reigning champion and its management stated clearly before the game that it saw the friendly with Israel as crucial in its preparation for the World Cup which begins on Thursday in Marseilles, France. Israel is no easy opponent, having already booked its place in next year's European Championship when it won the six-team Challenge Cup tournament in Netanya two weeks ago, beating Germany in the final. And the first of three 12 minute periods was a tightly fought encounter which ended with the scores tied at 2-2. Brazil opened the scoring after three minutes when a mistake by Ilos allowed Sydney to push forward and lay the ball up for Benjamin who fired in the first goal. Ilos was getting stuck in and less than 30 seconds later pulled the scores level with his amazing scissor kick. With three and a half minutes gone in the encounter Eran Levy put the hosts 2-1 up with a superb individual effort. From then on, though, it was all Brazil. Israel only scored one more goal, a penalty scored by Levy after he was hardly fouled at all by Buru. In truth, Israel had nothing on the Brazilians in the second and third periods, and could often only watch in amazement when the visitors put together so many wonderful moves. Buru was the man of the match, scoring four goals, including a hatrick within a minute at the end of the second period, which ended 8-3 to Brazil.