Guatemala have made the perfect start to their Thailand 2012 campaign with a 5-2 win over FIFA Futsal World Cup first-timers Colombia. The Central Americans were too strong for the debutants at Bangkok’s Nimibutr Stadium and immediately moved to the top of Group F, in which Russia and the Solomon Islands will play later.
Although Guatemala were always the more attacking of the two teams, Colombia posed problems on the counter-attack and took the lead in seven minutes when Alejandro Serna scored their first-ever FIFA Futsal World Cup goal with a low shot from Yefri Duque’s pass. Guatemala leveled on the 12-minute mark though, with a clever team move capped by an intelligent lob by Estuardo De Leon to set up Jose Gonzalez to knock the ball home from close range.
Colombia went into the half-time break with their advantage restored thanks to Andres Reyes’ long-range shot, but the Guatemalans moved up a gear in the second half and ultimately ran out comfortable winners. The turning point was a well-struck equaliser from Andres Armando Escobar on 28 minutes, which led to a 2-1 deficit being turned into a 4-2 lead inside three minutes.
Alan Aguilar put Guatemala in front for the first time with a penalty kick shortly afterwards, while some neat interplay between Walter Enriquez and Erick Acevedo set up the latter to double their advantage with over eight minutes still remaining. That was plenty of time for icing to be added to the victors' cake, with Acevedo repaying the favour to Enriquez with an incisive assist matched by his team-mate’s composed finish.
"We were surprised by twice being behind, but this team has experience of responding to difficult situations. Today we improved as the game went on. We expected to win and we achieved our aim, so it has been a good start," Carlos Merida, Guatemala goalkeeper.
“It was as tough match, as we expected. It is a shame we were not able to take advantage of being twice ahead, but that tells you about how young this team is. Losing your concentration at this level is fatal; we gave Colombia hope and they were lethal. We have two more finals ahead and we still believe we can go through," Areny Fonnegra, Colombia coach.