Cote d’Ivoire, one of Africa’s two representatives at the ongoing 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti, was Sunday (Monday in Africa) eliminated from the tournament, after losing its third straight match, 3-4, to Japan.
In its Group D campaign, the Africans had lost 6-10 to Paraguay and 2-5 to defending champion Russia.
In Sunday’s encounter with Japan, the Asians were made to work hard before quelling the challenge of a determined Côte d’Ivoire with a 4-3 extra-time victory.
Though only with one available substitute on the bench, the Africans were brave throughout and briefly were in front in extra time only to concede a late penalty.
Moustapha Sakanoko put the Africans ahead midway through the half, but Japan star Ozu Moreira replied with a great strike almost immediately.
The Ivorians, who set their eyes on reaching the second round, failed woefully in Tahiti, scoring 11 goals and conceding 19 to finish at the bottom of Group D table.
Their performance here was a repeat of their appearance at the tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, in 2009, when they were also eliminated at the group stage.
Meanwhile, Russia is through to the quarter-finals after defeating Paraguay 4-3 Sunday, for the maximum nine points.
It qualified along with Japan, which scored five points, while the Paraguayans, with three points, head for home.
Africa’s other representative, Senegal, will know its fate after its final group C game game against Brazil Monday.
Here is the Group D final table:-
Team MP W W+ L GF GA Pts
Russia 3 3 0 0 13 6 9
Japan 3 1 1 1 8 8 5
Paraguay 3 1 0 2 15 13 3
Côte d’Ivoire 3 0 0 3 11 19 0