Everyone knows that life on a beach is a bit more casual. That can have unwanted consequences (insert Speedo joke here; please ensure that you are properly inserted into your Speedo before doing so), but generally it’s a good thing.
In the case of the Beach World Cup, things are a bit more relaxed than the Grass World Cup (a.k.a. the World Cup or the world’s largest sporting event). Teams play five aside, as opposed to 11 in outdoor soccer, which means that six guys on each team were just too casual to even show up.
All right, so that is a bit of an exaggeration, and, to put this notion of barefoot slackers kicking a ball around, it should be noted that the Beach World Cup is held twice as often as the World Cup. Every second year, teams gather to get sand between their toes. In 2013 (Sept. 18-28) the tournament will be held in Tahiti.
The sport traces its origins to Brazil, and prior to 2008 every Beach World Cup was held in Rio de Janeiro. As you might imagine, Brazil has dominated the Beach World Cup, winning 13 times (prior to 2009, the tournament was an annual affair).
But this is the modern world, and a phone call is all it takes to get a beach worth of sand delivered to your door. That—or the lovely stretches of sand along the Volga—might explain why Russia is the defending champion. (The ease of acquiring truckloads of sand might also explain why Canada has qualified three times for the Beach World Cup.)
Tahiti has qualified automatically by virtue of hosting the 2013 tournament, and the Tiki Toa, as the national team is known, is currently tuning up at the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai (a name whose length ensures that there are no small T-shirts for sale at the tournament’s souvenir stands) under the guidance of player-coach Teva Zaveroni.
If those gritty, sandy scenes leave you unmoved, maybe you’d still like to go to Tahiti. Luckily for you, we’re giving away a trip for two to the island paradise. Click here to enter.