In one of the closest games at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 so far, Italy defeated Argentina 3-2 to reach the second round. This was a match between two technically gifted, well-matched sides, and ultimately resulted in Gli Azzurri reaching the Round of 16 with a narrow win.
Argentina began brightly and got their rewards with a goal in the third minute when Maximiliano Rescia saw his intial shot bounce back to him before sending a shot into the top corner. The goal spurred Italy into action and Argentina were grateful to Santiago Elias on several occasions before parity was restored when Gabriel Lima turned home a corner from close range.
Italy made it 2-1 in the 19th minute, largely thanks to some great work by Alex Merlin. He ran past a defender and his angled shot took a deflection which saw Rodolfo Fortino presented with the easiest of chances.
The second half was equally as even-contested. Argentina were pushing forward for the equaliser, while Italy looked to break on the counter attack. It was the European’s approach which brought the first goal of the half with just two minutes remaining.
Ronaldo Fortino carried the ball down the left flank, played it to Saad Assis who nutmegged the keeper which ended the game as a contest. Argentina scored in the last second through Leandro Cuzzolino’s piledriver, but it was too little, too late.
“I’m happy that we are top of the group and have already qualified for the next round - it’s a first step. I’m also very satisfied with the performance of my players in beating Argentina, a great team. I think we saw a fantastic game today, which was great to watch for the spectators," Italy Coach Roberto Menichelli.
“Today, we didn’t convert our chances as well as Italy did. It was a tough match between two teams who will be both be aiming to be among the top four. I’m ok with the performance of the team, and I still believe we will advance,” Fernando Larranaga, Argentina coach.