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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Solomon Bilikiki Beach Soccer World Cup dream ends due to goal difference with Uruguay

The Solomon Islands Bilikiki Boys bowed out of FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio De Janeiro 2006 with their heads held high despite losing 14-2 to pre-tournament favourites Portugal. Bilikiki coach Eddie Omokirio could only watch on as his inexperienced side struggled to cope with the highly professional and experienced Portuguese side.

Although they knew they were much better than the Solomon Islands, the Portuguese showed their opponents all due respect in claiming an easy 14-2 win in their last group stage game at Rio de Janeiro 2006. The world and European runners-up will now face Bahrain in a quarter-final clash from which they will expect to progress.

Portugal raced out to an 8-0 lead after 18 minutes as the Solomon Islands fought to gain any sort of foothold on proceedings. Richard Anisua gave the Solomon Islands something to celebrate on 20 minutes and Joe Luwi added a second for the Bilikiki moments later. Portugal were not in a generous mood, however, and scored a further six goals.

The Solomon Islands Bilikiki Boys gave their more illustrious opponents a tough physical encounter but could offer nothing going forward as Portugal flexed their experience and technique to its full capacity.

Eddie Omokirio was philosophical in defeat but said a lack of experience at this level of the game proved decisive.

"It would have been a dream to get to the quarterfinals, but it was not possible. My players are too inexperienced and it will take some time until they are prepared to face such good teams as the ones we have faced here. We did our best and, hopefully, we will play more international competitions from now on. We have not played any international friendly matches before this tournament."

Portugal's emphatic win means they win the group and will face Bahrain in the quarter-finals. In Group C's other fixture Uruguay stumbled to a 3-3 draw with Cameroon before losing on sudden death penalties. The result means that Solomon Islands finish level on points with Uruguay but are eliminated on goal difference.

But the Bilikiki Boys will retain as many good memories as they have left with the Brazilian spectators. Solomon Islands striker, Richard Anisua, said "Portugal definitely is the strongest team in the tournament. Their players are very talented. They will probably be champions. For us, playing such a high-level competition was a good experience. We have learned a lot about beach soccer."

Source: OFC

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