England’s beach soccer gathered this weekend in preparation for the Bang Saen International Beach Soccer Cup, their first event of 2013.
The national side’s playing time together will be significantly shorter this year, as they suffered a devastating qualification campaign for the 2013 World Cup in Tahiti. Taking place over three days last July, England scored just four goals in response to a huge 18 conceded, the heaviest damage inflicted by a Switzerland side themselves surprisingly beaten the previous day by Belarus.
This March, the Bang Sean Cup will see England, Portugal, Germany and host national Thailand do battle. Out of the four, only Portugal progressed past their initial World Cup qualification stages but were unable to do any better than the Round of 16, missing out on penalties to France. Another key selling point of the tournament is England’s rematch with Germany, who have beaten England on their previous two meetings.
Led by Terry Bowes, England’s top scorer in the qualifiers with two goals, the beach soccer side met in Portsmouth’s Pompey Study Centre, home to the “Pompey in the Community” registered charity. The gathered team worked on team tactics in a bid to outfox their opponents next month. The Bang Saen International is a simple round-robin affair – the team with the most points after three games lift the cup.