Brazil beat Portugal 3-1 in their final Group C game, which sent the victors through to the Round of 16 with a 100 per cent record and also proved enough for the losers to advance.
Simi, Fernandinho and Neto got the goals for Marcos Sorato’s team, who had already been assured of continuation in the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 before kick-off.
Brazil made a positive start to the game, forcing Joao Benedito into making two fine saves and hitting the crossbar through Fernandinho, and the South Americans got their reward on 12 minutes. Gabriel’s cross found Fernandinho, who cleverly nodded the ball into the path of Simi. The No8 duly dispatched the ball with a first-time shot to break the deadlock.
Portugal, who had been quiet until that point, nevertheless made an immediate response. Cardinal played a delightful one-two with Ricardinho before slotting home to make it 1-1.
Brazil enhanced the pressure after the break, and they retook the lead when Fernandinho exchanged passes with Simi before slotting the ball into the empty net.
Joao Benedito was sent off for handling the ball outside his area on 33 minutes, but Brazil failed to capitalise on their two-minute numerical advantage. However, they did put the result beyond doubt in the last minute when, with Portugal having sacrificed their keeper to play with an extra outfield player, Neto guided the ball into the unguarded goal from distance.
Brazil will now face one of the best third-placed sides in the Round of 16 on Monday.
“We have to look forward. We had a great performance today but in a World Cup you have to match the performance with the result,” Jorge Braz, Portugal coach.
“The team played with seriousness but now we are in the knockout stage, so we must win every game. In the first half it was hard to go forward but in the second half the players were calmer and the eventual score was perfect for us,” Marcos Sorato, Brazil coach.