With yet another dazzling display, Brazil brushed aside Uruguay 6-0 in the final of the Futsal Tournament at the IX South American Games in Medellin, Colombia, to secure the title for the third time in a row. The final place on the podium went to the hosts, who saw off Argentina 3-0 in the match for third place.
Brazil took a full-strength squad to Colombia and it was a decision that paid handsome dividends. The Seleção won all five of their games, boasting the most potent attack (32 goals), the tightest defence (only two conceded) and picking up the Fair Play award to boot.
Their strike duo Lenisio and Falcao also finished as the tournament’s top scorers, netting nine and eight times respectively. This year’s performances extended their winning run at the tournament to 17 games, having previously won at Rio de Janeiro 2002 and Mar del Plata 2006 with 100 per cent records.
“Brazilian futsal is on a roll at the moment. It’s a pleasure to represent them in any competition. Here [in Colombia] we’ve enjoyed some unforgettable moments,” said Falcao, winner of the adidas Golden Ball and Silver Shoe at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008.
Brazil have now gone 32 games unbeaten, 30 under coach Marcos Sorato. The last time they failed to take the spoils was in March 2009 when, with Paulo Cesar Oliveira still at the helm, they were held 2-2 by Iran. For their last reverse you need to go back to December 2005, when they succumbed 2-1 to Spain in a friendly.
Team supervisor Reinaldo Simoes preferred to look forward, however, saying: “We need to start watching up-and-coming players, even if the experience of some of the ‘veterans’ will be indispensable to the process of renewal. When everyone is committed to our project, as is our case, then it becomes easier.”
Conclusions to draw
Uruguay’s silver medal was no great surprise, given their decision to include six players in their squad who had participated at Brazil 2008. Worthy of special mention were Sebastian Castro (6 goals) and Juan Custodio (5),who between them accounted for 55 per cent of their side’s strikes. The only team they proved no match for were Brazil, who twice put six goals past them. That said, with their promising young squad, we certainly have not heard the last of these Charrúas.
Colombia also showed they are heading in the right direction, bouncing back from a first-round defeat to Argentina to brush past Chile for a place in semi-finals. And though they proved no match for the eventual champions there, they did at least have the distinction of scoring the only goals the Auriverdes conceded all tournament. In the match for third place, they exacted swift revenge against the Albiceleste, with strikes from Andres Murillo, Jorge Cuervo and Johan Vivares securing a historic podium finish.
Despite the return of Fernando Larranaga to the Albiceleste helm, Argentina finished a disappointing fourth in Medellin. And though the squad was packed with players who ply their trade in their homeland – including the particularly impressive Alamiro Vaporaki and Diego Appolonio – they came up short of their ultimate goal of a medal.