FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
15 Jun 2021
- European qualifying event for Beach Soccer World Cup 2021 starts this week
- FIFA.com chats to Switzerland coach Angelo Schirinzi
- “Russia are joint-favourites for the World Cup, alongside Portugal and Brazil”
Football – or more precisely beach soccer – dominates Angelo Schirinzi’s life.
For years, the Swiss national has been one of the world’s leading experts on the discipline and has written a textbook on beach soccer technique and training. Schirinzi has also worked as a FIFA instructor for many years in locations all over the world.
Whether in Mauritius, Côte d’Ivoire, Solomon Islands, IR Iran, Tahiti or Oman, the 48-year-old is constantly trying to sustainably improve beach soccer and drive its development. Presently, he is at the helm of Russian beach soccer giants BSC Kristall, national champions in two of the last three seasons.
“We’re mid-season right now and leading the way in the table. Last year, we triumphed at the Euro Winners Cup,” says the Swiss coach in an interview with FIFA.com conducted during a training break in St. Petersburg.
“Here in Russia the conditions are simply perfect. We have some of the very best players from the Russia national teams on our books, including Dmitry Shishin and Kirill Romanov, as well as some of the best players from South America and Europe.
“Fifteen years ago, Russia positioned itself strategically and very intelligently [with regard to beach soccer]. It identified this niche and invested directly. By 2005/06, the country already had a professional league built around some of the best players in the world. They saw an opportunity and took advantage of it, so I compliment them on that.”
Hosting the Beach Soccer World Cup in the country of the two-time world champions (2011 and 2013) “is simply outstanding”, according to the father of four. “The World Cup is always the highlight of a player’s career.”
Schirinzi is speaking from experience, having been involved in each of Switzerland’s Beach Soccer World Cup participation: in 2009 and 2011 (as player-coach), in 2015 (player) and in 2017 (coach). Twelve years ago, he sensationally led the Swiss all the way to the final on their World Cup debut.
Today he continues to be their head coach and is hoping to spring another surprise at this year’s edition in Russia. First, however, there is the non-inconsiderable matter of navigating the European qualifiers.
“For Switzerland, a World Cup qualification is always a surprise. None of us are professionals but still we’re more or less able to compete with the top sides, which isn’t the norm.
“We must always take it to the very limit, something that has worked out well for us in recent times. In Europe there is very little to separate the top teams, so there is always some big team that misses out [on World Cup qualification].”
Asked for his tip for the forthcoming European qualifying event, he says: “With Switzerland, anything is possible, but I expect Portugal, Spain and Italy to secure their places in Russia.”
Who will follow in Portugal’s footsteps?
The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2021™ will take place at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex from 19 to 29 August. Tickets will be available after the draw on 8 July.
This will be the eleventh edition of the tournament, the first having taken place in Rio de Janeiro in 2005. The last staging was in 2019 in Asuncion (Paraguay), where Portugal were crowned world champions for the second time with a 6-4 defeat of Italy in the final.
“The World Cup in Russia will be something very special. It’s a country with a big beach soccer scene and top-class tournaments. The hosts are definitely one of the favourites, along with defending champions Portugal and, of course, Brazil. We Swiss will be doing everything possible to also be part of it.
“Generally speaking, though, I think that national associations do too little to support beach soccer. There are too few professional structures in which to play, so there’s definitely a need for more action in that regard. My biggest dream would be to see a women’s beach soccer World Cup. That would be great.”