Iran underlined their status as Asia's futsal kings by
winning the five-a-side portion of the second Asian Indoor Games
with a 7-6 victory over Thailand on Saturday in Macau.
Mohammad Taheri emerged Team Melli's hero as he completed a hat-trick in Iran's final victory, with teammates Asghar Hassanzadeh, Majid Lotfi, Masoud Daneshvar and Seyed Ali Kiyaee also on target.
Thailand's futsal women also reached the final of their category However, it was a determined-looking Japan that clinched the title with a 5-3 victory after a penalty shootout.
Hope for China
China men continued to show progress in the indoor game with a fourth-place finish. They got off to a perfect start with a 1-0 win against Tajikistan before mauling Timor Leste by an incredible 21-1 in their second.
In the decisive final group game against Qatar the Chinese won 4-1 to book a place in the knockout stages as group winners.
They had a tough time against Lebanon in their quarter-final, scraping through on 9-7 to set up a semi-final meeting with Iran. Cheered on by the local fans, the Chinese fought valiantly but they struggled throughout the entire game against the defending champions, who ran out 7-1 winners.
Their third-place playoff with Uzbekistan was a carbon copy of the two sides' previous meeting in Bangkok in 2005, with the Central Asians triumphant by a 3-2 scoreline.
Despite the defeats, China can draw inspiration from the progress they showed during their campaign. With FIFA's decision to increase Asian slots at the Futsal World Cup in Brazil next year from three to four, the East Asians will be optimistic of going through the continental qualifying campaign to book their first-ever appearance on the world stage.