Solomon Islands bow out of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti at the group stage for the fifth consecutive time after losing a 7-6 thriller to El Salvador in Papeete today.
The Bilikiki tale of heartbreak is a trend that stretches back to their first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup experience on the sands of Rio in 2006, but none were as heartbreaking as this.
Falling behind to two early goals by El Salvador's Augustin Ruiz, the Bilikiki bounced back with a rapid-fire goals of their own for McPhillip Aisa.
Ruiz completed his hat-trick on 13 minutes to restore El Salvador's two-goal cushion only for Nicholas Muri to hammer home a quickfire double to level the scores at 3-3 toward the end of the second period.
El Salvador and Solomon Islands continued their frenetic exchange as Ruiz netted his team's fourth before Muri completed his own hat-trick for the Bilikiki to square the match at 4-4 seven sconds before the end of the second period.
Frustratingly for the Bilikiki, an Frank Valsquez goal saw El Salvador edge back in front just 34 seconds into the third period made it 5-4 in favour of the central Americans.
Elmer Robles extended that lead to 6-4 five minutes later but the Bilikiki never gave in and pulled a goal back courtesy of an Anthony Talo penalty on 31 minutes. The sharp-shooting Ruiz then notched his fifth and El Salvador's seventh goal to all but gaurantee the win.
Robert Laua chipped in with a late goal three minutes before the end to give Bilikiki some hope at 7-6 but time and luck ran out on the Solomon Islands who stumble out of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup at the group stage for the fifth time.
Solomon Islands Tale of Woe
2006 - Solomon Islands start the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup with a 5-2 win over African champions Cameroon before back-to-back defeats to Uruguay (10-5) and Portugal (14-2) send them packing.
2007 - Eliminated after two opening losses to Brazil (11-2) and Russia (5-2) the Bilikiki round off their second appearance on the world stage with another defeat this time to Mexico (6-3).
2008 - A loss to hosts Italy in their tournament opener (7-4) and a hammering by Portugal (13-4) leave the Bilikiki creastfallen but they finish strongly by downing El Salvador (6-3) in their final group match to finish third in the section.
2009 - Hope springs eternal as the Bilikiki open their UAE campaign with a stirring victory over Uruguay (7-6) but capitulate to the hosts (7-1) in their next game. Needing a win to advance to the last eight, Bilikiki do their best but are outgunned by Portugal (6-1).
2013 - Starting with a fine 2-0 win over Beach Soccer World Cup newcomers the Netherlands, Solomon Islands take a 4-1 lead over Argentina in their next game before succumbing to the CONMEBOL outfit (8-5). Still with a strong chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals, Bilikiki miss out after losing a thrilling match to El Salvador (7-6).
Press Release OFC Media