For the fourth year in a row, Malwee's hopes of claiming the Intercontinental Futsal Cup were dashed by Interviu Fadesa. The Spanish outfit thrashed their Brazilian rivals 6-1 in the final to become four-time winners of the coveted trophy.
"This year we've got a stronger squad and we're a match for Fadesa," said Malwee star Falcao prior to the tournament, though the reality would turn out to be somewhat different. "It was down to us to win and we did it," said Interviu's Andreu. "We were extremely focused right from the first moment of the game and that was the key to our victory. The sky's the limit for Interviu."
And how did Falcao explain the Brazilians' latest defeat? "It's simple: they were better than us. They've got a great side, packed with players who complement each other really well, and we can't take anything away from them. We're the second best team in the world, which is not to be sniffed at."
The final's stand-out performer was hat-trick hero Gabriel, a display that helped him pick up the player of the tournament award, with fellow Brazilians Neto (2) and Marquinhos also on the scoresheet for Interviu. And despite only leading 1-0 at the interval, they never looked in danger of relinquishing their crown.
"Unfortunately they racked up a big lead in the opening period of the second half. Even though we made a few changes to try and turn things around, nothing worked," said Lenisio, scorer of Fernando Ferreti's side's solitary reply.
The final, watched by 7,000 spectators in Granada, also served to whet appetites for this year's FIFA Futsal World Cup, set to take place in Brazil between 30 September and 19 October. The 2008 hosts emerged victorious in the first three editions of the world event, while Spain confirmed their emergence at club and international level to take the last two titles.
For Falcao, the showpiece tournament could help ease the pain of this Intercontinental reverse. "We were hoping for a very different result here. If we don't win the World Cup it would be a real tragedy," underlined the Malwee No12. Lenisio, meanwhile, believes Brazil 2008 could offer redemption or further heartbreak. "It will be very tough. Brazil have a great opportunity to take the title. For us players who are over the age of 30, it's our last chance."
1. Malwee Futsal (Brazil) 4 points
2. Carlos Barbosa (Brazil) 4
3. Tam Iran Khodro (Iran) 0
1. Interviu Fadesa (Spain) 6
2. Charleroi Action 21 (Belgium) 2
3. Ajax Tanger (Morocco) 0
Thursday 3 April
Ajax Tanger 1-6 Charleroi Action 21
Carlos Barbosa (*) - Tam Iran Khodro
(*) Winner by default
Friday 4 April
Malwee Futsal 6-1 Tam Iran Khodro
Interviu Fadesa 12-2 Ajax Tanger
Saturday 5 April
Interviu Fadesa 3-1 Charleroi Action 21
Malwee Futsal (**) 2-2 Carlos Barbosa
(**) Winner on penalties
Sunday 6 April
Play-off for 5th place
Tam Iran Khodro 8-2 Ajax Tanger
Play-off for 3rd place
Carlos Barbosa 5-0 Charleroi Action 21
Malwee Futsal 1-6 Interviu Fadesa