The story of beach soccer

Updated 1137 GMT (1937 HKT) June 9, 2015
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Beach soccer has developed into one of the world's most popular sports -- and it will be one of 20 events on show at the European Games. Credit Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
The game is rumored to have started here, on one of Rio De Janeiro's many beaches. credit Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
The first professional match was played in Miami in 1993 before the inaugural World Championships were held, two years later in Rio De Janeiro, 1995. Credit VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images
The game is now played in hundreds of countries around the world, including here in Tahiti, the location of the 2013 World Cup. The photo above shows the team performing the traditional haka before their first match. Credit GREGORY BOISSY/AFP/Getty Images
The small pitch and unpredictability of the sand make for exciting viewing with a host of skills on show. Credit GREGORY BOISSY/AFP/Getty Image
There are no boring 0-0 draws here. It's goals galore with in between nine and eleven net busters from an average of 60 attempts per game. Credit GREGORY BOISSY/AFP/Getty Images
The game has been played by many greats, including Diego Maradona, pictured above in white. Credit NICO CASAMASSIMA/AFP/Getty Images
Russia are looking to assert their dominance in Baku and add to their growing trophy cabinet. Russian striker Egor Eremeev, above, scored during their 5-1 win over Spain in the 2013 World Cup final. credit GREGORY BOISSY/AFP/Getty Images
Russia are best placed to win in Azerbaijan as the double World champions and reigning European league champions. credit GREGORY BOISSY/AFP/Getty Images
And it's not just the thrills and spills of the game that bring the spectators in. This cheerleader was performing at the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai 2014. credit Francois Nel/Getty Images