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Portugal's Beach Soccer World Cup triumph shines light on emerging sport

Portugal's victory was their second World Cup triumph in beach soccer history, and one earned on home sands.

"If you told me three years ago that Portugal would be Beach Soccer World Champions in 2015, I'd have said you're taking the mickey."

That was the first reaction of coach Mario Narciso yesterday, who had just seen the host nation beat Tahiti 5-3 to lift the trophy for the second time in the history of the sport.

For Portugal it was the perfect end to a thrilling tournament, made all the sweeter owing to the shock failure to qualify for the previous World Cup, in 2013. It also explained Narciso's...

ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo behind Diego Godin for most minutes played

Diego Godin must continue his superb form for Atletico if Uruguay is to contend for top honors this summer.
Diego Godin celebrates after scoring for Atletico Madrid against Real Madrid in the 2014 Champions League final.

There's been a lot of football played over the past two years, and one player leads the way in minutes played by some considerable distance. This player has effectively played over four more games than any other. 

He has led his team to La Liga glory, to the verge of ultimate European glory and has taken over the captaincy of his country.

But while he plays in Spain, he isn't one of the biggest stars of the world game at Barcelona or Real Madrid. 

In first place is Atletico Madrid...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Lessons from the European U21 Championships as Sweden won it all

Sweden won their first Under-21 European Championship defeating favourites Portugal in penalties after a 0-0 draw in regular time.

With the Euro U21 Championship complete and Sweden crowned as champions, John Brewin looked back at the final itself and a couple of key lessons from the tournament at large.

1. Battling Swedes deny golden generation

The Prague night sky filled with Swedish exultation once goalkeeper Patrik Carlgren saved William Carvalho's penalty, the 10th of Tuesday night's shoot-out. U21 Championship glory is Sweden's first ever junior tournament win, and one achieved against heavy odds.

Portugal's tear-soaked...

Sweden beat Portugal 4-3 on penalty kicks, Patrik Carlgren saves two

Sweden U21Sweden U21
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Sweden U21 win 4-3 on penalties
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Sweden won their first Under-21 European Championship defeating favourites Portugal in penalties after a 0-0 draw in regular time.

Sweden's organisation, spirit and tenacity saw them upset the odds and secure their first-ever European Under-21 Championship at the expense of overriding favourites Portugal.

Fresh from condemning Germany to their heaviest ever defeat in the semifinal, few thought the Scandinavians would be capable of stopping Rui Jorge's side. After all, the Swedes were the only team England managed to beat.

Yet an incredible, battling display frustrated Portugal and took the match to penalties, where William Carvalho...