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France Beats Portugal to Win Beach Cup

May 15, 2005

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ France won the Beach Soccer World Cup on Sunday, beating Portugal 1-0 on penalties. Thierry Ottavy scored the only goal in the shootout.

Portugal rallied to tie the game at 3 at the end of regulation on two goals by Nuno Belchior in the final 2 minutes. Anthony Mendy netted all three goals for France.

No team scored in overtime, sending the match into a penalty shootout.

France, coached by former Manchester United great Eric Cantona, won all five of its matches in the competition, outscoring its opponents 27-11. The 39-year-old Cantona, who also played at times, scored once in the quarterfinals.

France entered the final as the underdog after Portugal eliminated favorite Brazil on penalties in the semifinals on Saturday.

Brazil, winner of 10 of the 12 titles, finished third by routing Japan 11-2 behind three goals by veteran striker Romario.

Portugal’s Madjer, the tournament’s leading scorer with 12 goals, won the MVP award.

FIFA oversaw the tournament this year for the first time. The organization has endorsed the sport since 1994, but Beach Soccer Worldwide had previously staged the event.

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