Defending champion France routed Canada 8-1 and host Brazil trounced Japan 10-2 in FIFA's Beach Soccer World Cup on Sunday.
A hat-trick by Jeremy Basquaise helped France earn a quarter-finals spot on Copacabana Beach.
France, coached by former Manchester United great Eric Cantona, has six points from two matches in Group B. Second-place Spain, which beat Iran 6-1, has three.
Brazil defeated Japan with four goals by Benjamin and hat tricks by Bruno and Junior Negao. Two of Negao's goals were bicycle kicks.
The result moved Brazil closer to a second-round berth in Group A. It has six points, three more than Japan and the US, which beat Poland 4-2 behind two goals by Mario Chimienti.
The US, coached by Brazilian Roberto Ceciliano, will face the Brazilians in the last group match today. The top two teams in each group advance.
Brazil, a nine-time beach soccer champion, was held to a disappointing third-place finish in the first FIFA tournament last year.
China wants to unite its 1.4 billion people through soccer, while also using the sport as “a bridge to work with the rest of the world,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told reporters in an interview published yesterday. Liu spoke about what lies behind the country’s push to become a major soccer power by 2050. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is described by state media as an “avid soccer fan” — the world’s most populous country has grand plans to host and even one day win a World Cup. Liu spoke about “using football to motivate the whole nation.” “Football is
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