Tahiti finishes runner-up in Group B at FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

February 20, 2024 5:40 am

[Source: OFC via Aitor Alcalde – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images]

Two times beaten finalists Tahiti have been beaten in their final group game by Iran to finish runner up in Group B at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™ in Dubai.

The Tiki Toa have surrendered a 2-0 lead in the second period to lose 5-3 to the Asian champions in a pulsating group decider.

Tahiti will face Group A winners Italy in the quarter finals on Saturday morning (6am NZT). Italy earlier played out the first goal-less draw at the tournament against hosts the UAE before losing 3-1 on penalties.

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The UAE will meet Iran for a place in the semis.

Against Iran, Tahiti were on the back foot for much of the opening period with the Iranians having 18 shots to 7. Neither side could find the back of the net.

But in the second period, Tearii Labaste after two minutes and Roonui Tinirauarii with just over two minutes remaining scored spectacular bicycle kicks to put the Tiki Toa in front against the run of play.

Iran got back into the game 30 seconds before the end of the period with a stunning long range shot from their goalkeeper Hamid Behzadpour.

The Iranians continued to blast attempts at the Tahiti goal in the final period and equalised four minutes in before taking the lead soon after with a spectacular second strike from the keeper.

An own goal from Teaonui Tehau stretched the margin before Patrick Tepa pulled one back for Tahiti to set up a grandstand finish.

They hit the woodwork to almost level things up, before Mohammad Mokhtari sealed the result for Iran with an unstoppable overhead kick with less than two minutes remaining.

Iran had 25 attempts on target to Tahiti’s 11 and deserved the win. The Tiki Toa must now look to regroup before the quarter-final against Italy.