Beach Soccer: Cantona furious as France loses to Germany

The Germans will play Israel in Friday's final after the blue and white beats Turkey 6-3.

cantona 88 (photo credit: )
cantona 88
(photo credit: )
Eric Cantona was left fuming on Thursday after the French national beach soccer team he coaches was defeated by Germany in the last minute of the Diamonds Challenge Tournament semifinal in Netanya. Cantona, who became a legendary soccer player during his time at Manchester United in the 1990s, had brimmed with confidence at a press conference earlier in the day, claiming that France was "one of the best teams in Europe." The former midfielder appeared sure that Les Bleus would at least reach the final of the four-team tournament being played at Poleg Beach on Thursday and Friday. "It is a pleasure to be here [in Israel]," he told reporters. "We will try our best to show what we can do." However it was not to be. France had been trailing Germany 3-2 until it equalized with two minutes remaining, but then let in the crucial goal in the last minute. After the final whistle a visibly angry Cantona was seen berating his team for its mistake. The Germans will play Israel in Friday's final after the blue and white beat Turkey 6-3 in the day's second semifinal. The Turks took the lead early on, through a penalty after the Israeli 'keeper brought down a Turkish player in a scoring position. But Israel equalized two minutes later through Izhak Ilos, who went on to score four goals. Despite not being included in the playing squad, Cantona was the main attraction at the event. Speaking at the press conference earlier on Thursday, he said he would only answer questions relating to beach soccer, which will be played at next year's Olympic Games in Beijing. "I like it because it's a real sport and it's increasingly being played by professionals so it's quicker and quicker," he explained. "It was born on the beach and it's a game of the sun, we play in the sun." One the greatest players of his generation, Cantona shocked the football world in 1997 by retiring at the tender age of 30 after winning four English Premier League titles at Manchester United. Asked about Israel, he said: "It's the third time I am here. The first time we came with France to train and the second time we won 4-0 against Israel in a qualifier for the 1993 World Cup." Cantona stressed his passion for beach soccer. "I'm involved in the game as I really love it. It is a passion for me and I'm a lucky man, I lived the life I dreamt about." Asked if he would be playing in the tournament Cantona said it was unlikely. "I will play in training only. We are here to win so I will not play," was his modest response.