INTERNET DESK: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated the Islamic Republic of Iran after they overcame United Arab Emirates 7-2 in Terengganu, Malaysia, today to capture the AFC Beach Soccer Championship 2017 title.

In the earlier third and fourth place match, Japan edged out Lebanon 6-3 to secure their spot, alongside IR Iran and UAE, as Asia’s three representatives at the upcoming FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017, which will be played in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, from April 27 to May 7, 2017.

Shaikh Salman said: “I would like to congratulate Islamic Republic of Iran who were a formidable force from start to finish. UAE should also be praised for their brilliant efforts in a captivating final.

“Along with Japan, Asia has three teams of outstanding quality and I am confident that they will do the continent proud in the Bahamas.”

The AFC President also paid tribute to Terengganu, Malaysia and the Local Organising Committee for hosting a memorable tournament. “On behalf of the Asian football family, I must convey my appreciation to the Terengganu State Sports Council and the Terengganu State Government for their warm hospitality and displaying excellence in organising a truly exceptional competition.

“This is the first time the tournament was hosted in Southeast Asia and it once again represents the AFC’s Vision and Mission to better engage with passionate football fans across the continent.”

The newly-crowned champions of Asia have been drawn to face Italy, Mexico and Nigeria in Group B at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017. Meanwhile, runners-up UAE are in Group C, where they will compete against Panama, Paraguay and Portugal. Third-placed Japan will feature in Group D comprising Brazil, Poland and Tahiti at the Bahamas Beach Stadium in Nassau.

IR Iran will open Asia’s campaign in the Bahamas against Mexico on April 27, 3.30pm (local time). Japan and UAE will begin their conquests the following day on April 28 against Poland and Paraguay at 3.30pm and 8pm (local time) respectively.

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