By Liam Morgan

Former international footballers Christian Karembeu and Robert Prosinečki took part in the draw for the Baku 2015 beach soccer draw ©Baku 2015Reigning FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup champions Russia will face a rematch with Spain in the group stages of the Baku 2015 European Games tournament following the draw made today.

Christian Karembeu, who won the FIFA World Cup with France in 1998, conducted the draw alongside Robert Prosinečki, the former Croatia and Barcelona midfielder, who now coaches the Azerbaijani national team, ahead of the competition which is due to begin on June 24 and conclude on June 28.

Russia and Spain were pitted together in a tough Group B, which also includes Italy and Hungary, while Group A features hosts Azerbaijan,as well as Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine, and the top two from each group will progress to the semi-finals.

"Beach Soccer has all the ingredients to be one of the most entertaining competitions on show in Baku this summer," Karembeu, a FIFA Beach Soccer ambassador, said.

"Baku 2015 will be a wonderful showcase for the sport, and being featured in the first edition of the European Games gives us a high-profile platform to increase interest and participation in Europe and beyond."

Beach soccer at Baku 2015 will take place in the Beach Arena, a temporary venue as part of the European Games Park ©Baku 2015Beach soccer at Baku 2015 will take place in the Beach Arena, a temporary venue as part of the European Games Park ©Baku 2015

Beach soccer is a vastly growing sport as it produces high-quality entertainment, and the tournament in the Azerbaijani capital is set to be one of the highlights of Europe's inaugural multi-sport Games, it is predicted.

Matches will be played at the temporary Beach Arena, which will house up to 1,500 spectators.

Joan Cusco, FIFA Beach Soccer Committee member and executive vice-president of Beach Soccer Worldwide, is looking forward to seeing his sport being showcased at the European Games.

"Many of the world's top teams are set to compete in Baku at the inaugural European Games, and this draw provides us with a series of exciting match-ups," he said.

"We look forward to a great Beach Soccer competition at Baku 2015 this summer."

Beach soccer is one of four non-Olympic sports on the 20-sport programme for the Games, scheduled to be held from June 12 to 28.

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