On paper, this is the mismatch of the tournament. With title-hopefuls Portugal facing an Iran team which finished last in the previous FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, it should not be hard to pick a winner. Yet while Portugal are brimming with confidence and relatively unchanged from previous years, the team from the Middle-East will surely be a different proposition from last year.
Portugal - Iran, Rio de Janeiro, Friday 2 November, 12:30 (local time)
With Spain - another big-hitter in the world of beach soccer - also featuring in Group B, Portugal cannot afford any slip-ups against opposition inferior to them in terms of squad and experience. Starting off their campaign with a win will not only give them the points they need but also the confidence. Iran are nurturing different ambitions. Marco Octavio's men are looking for their first ever win at a FIFA World Cup after three losses in as many matches last year. Realistically, they will be looking to avoid a heavy defeat here which would compromise their chances in terms of goal difference and affect team morale.
Both teams have full squads at their disposal for their opening match in the tournament.
The two countries have yet to meet at a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Statistically speaking, Iran will be looking to put an end to a run of defeats which saw them let in six goals in their last three matches in the competition back in 2006, against Canada (6-6, 0-1 pso), Spain (1-6) and France (3-6).
Did you know?
Portugal's Hernani will be hoping to celebrate his 44 th birthday with a win over Iran.
"Portugal need to aim as high as possible, but we will have to be careful and take each match as it comes. Before we start thinking about the title, we need to think about Iran." Hernani,Portugal defender
"This team is worlds apart from the one which was knocked out last year. This year, we can't just be pleased that we're there and in the first round. We need to aim higher." Marco Octavio,Iran coach