Previous editions of the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup did not feature a 7th place match and Mexico and Morocco made sure to make the first ever seventh and eighth place game an exciting one. An early penalty kick goal by Morocco laid the groundwork for a very tightly contested match throughout. The two teams both enjoyed the lead and subsequently had to rally from behind. The 2-3 win for Mexico was a spectacular end to the tournament and despite the loss, Morocco played extremely well in all of their matches and should be very proud.
Mexico took the opening kick-off and belted a quick shot that was saved, but it was an attempt that set the tone for the early minutes of the period. Nearly three minutes into the match, Morocco withstood the Mexican attacks and were rewarded with a penalty kick, which they netted to take the early one goal lead. The early defecit did not deter El Tricolor as they maintained their offense first attitude. The North Americans were unable to score, in fact, they offered up some easy chances to The Lions of the Atlas who were unable to capitalize on those turnovers. Mexico scored their first goal of the match in the final minutes of the first period, making the score 1-1 heading into the second period.
Fortune was not on the side of La Verde early in the middle frame, as their attacking efforts were not rewarded with goals though they looked in control of the match. The two teams were using different styles of play as the North Africans took a more conservative approach, relying on their defense and goalkeeping a little more. The Moroccan keeper was asked to stop point-blank shots over and over and did exactly that to keep things level until midway through the frame. At the halfway point, Zamogilny of Mexico scored his second goal of the match to give his team the lead, though the lead only lasted 30 seconds due to a quick equalizer by Morocco. The Group A rivals defenses finished the period strong as neither side scored again and the frame ended tied at 2.
Morocco and Mexico began playing with more and more urgency early in the final period as they both wanted to win the match in regular time. Early in the period, the match was still up for grabs, with neither side conceding many penalties or turnovers and no goals. A lapse in judgement on defense for Morocco led to the first goal of the period, as the Lions of the Atlas looked distracted and allowed Cati of Mexico to sneak behind the defense and tap home a perfect cross. Mexico was not content with the one goal lead and continued to press the Morocco defense. Going into the final minutes of the match no one had scored again and the energy was at an all-time high for the game. Mexico was able to hold-off Morocco and the match ended with a score of Morocco 2-3 Mexico.
The 3-2 win for Mexico culminates an up and down tournament for La Tri but the 7th place finish is nothing to scoff at with eight of the best team all vying for wins. Morocco was not happy by any means with the emotional final match. The African side went up twice but was unable to maintain the lead and they finished the tournament in eighth place.
Goals: 1-0: Boulakouaba, min. 9 (1); 1-1: J. Zamogilny, min. 3 (1); 1-2: J. Zamogilny, min. 6 (2); 2-2: El Hadoui, min. 6 (2); 2-3: F. Cati, min. 6 (3).
16:45 – Morocco 2-3 Mexico (7th Place Match)
18:00 – Brazil vs. Italy (5th Place Match)
19:15 – UAE vs. Switzerland (3rd Place Match)
20:30 – Iran vs. Russia (Final)