Kuwait have crashed out of the FIFA Futsal World Cup despite causing a major upset with a 4-1 win over an Egypt side who nonetheless advance as one of the competition’s best third-placed teams. The Kuwaitis had been all set to advance in third themselves but Czech Republic’s comeback against Serbia changed everything, pushing both Egypt and their conquerors down a place in the standings.
Few had given Luis Fonseca’s side a chance in this match but from the outset they put their opponents on the back foot by playing with five outfield players – a tactic usually used only as a last resort by teams chasing a game. Within three minutes, their attacking adventure was rewarded when Abdulrahman Almosabehi crossed from the left for Ahmad Alfarsi to tap home, and they edged further ahead three minutes later when Shaker Almutari broke through to score.
Egypt looked completely shell-shocked, and a minute later – with Kuwait continuing to play with five men outfield – two became three when Almutari doubled his tally by side-footing home from close range. The Pharaohs did pull a goal back through Bougy, his second in as many matches, but a deflected cross-cum-shot from Abdulraham Altawail re-established Kuwait’s three-goal advantage before half-time.
The second half might have been expected to bring about an Egyptian response but Kuwait initially continued to dominate and create the best chances, even before news of the Czech comeback left them needing more goals to overhaul the Pharaohs in third. Yet it was Egypt who finished the stronger and scored twice as the clock ticked down, with Mizo twice setting up Ahmed Mohamed to fire high into the roof of the net.
“It was a nervous game for us and we were surprised with the level of Kuwait who had a good game. We missed one of our best players, Ramadan [Samasry] today, and this affected us. Kuwait played with an outfield player right from the early minutes of the game and that gave them an early advantage,” Badr Khalil, Egypt coach.
“I want to congratulate the players, who gave their best today and played to the maximum of their ability. We tried our best to score a lot of goals and we managed to do so, but it wasn’t enough for us. We learned a lot of things from playing in the World Cup and hopefully we can take advantage of these lessons to improve the game in Kuwait,” Luis Fonseca, Kuwait coach.