Brazil will face Spain in Sunday’s FIFA Futsal World Cup final after overcoming a dogged Colombia side to win 3-1 at Bangkok’s Huamark Indoor Stadium. Gabriel emerged as the holders’ hero with two goals and an assist as the challenge of the tournament’s surprise packages was eventually brought to an end.
The Brazilians, as expected, dominated from the outset and Colombia’s outstanding keeper, Juan Lozano, had already been forced into two outstanding saves from Fernandinho by the time the deadlock was broken after just 41 seconds. On that occasion, Lozano was left helpless as Gabriel found a pocket of space just off the right flank and smashed a powerful left-foot shot low into the net.
The holders continued to dominate, but although the floodgates might have opened had it not been for Lozano’s heroics, Colombia kept themselves in contention and even managed a shock equaliser a minute before half-time. Completely against the run of play, Yeisson Fonnegra broke forward and played in Jhonathan Toro, whose left-foot shot flashed into the net off the inside of the right-hand post.
The introduction of Falcao in the second half signalled Brazil’s need for attacking inspiration, but when a moment of magic did arrive, Gabriel was again responsible. This time, even Lozano could do nothing to prevent the ball flying into the net, with the Barcelona star’s piledriver destined for the top corner as soon as it left his left boot.
The Brazil No6 was also heavily involved in the goal that doubled his team’s advantage, as it was his cross that the unfortunate Toro glanced beyond his own wrong-footed goalkeeper. Colombia battled valiantly in the closing stages, and threatened an equaliser on a couple of occasions, but they must content themselves with the third-place match, which their fellow South Americans again battle for gold.
“I think it was a fair result. We started very well, scoring early, but we made life complicated for ourselves by not scoring the second goal. And the equaliser of Colombia put some pressure on us. In the second half, knowing that we had 20 minutes to qualify for another final, we played with more intensity in defence and we also attacked better. In fact, we never stopped attacking," Marcos Sorato, Brazil coach.
“We are disappointed by the result, but pleased with the performance of my players, who were able to match up for 20 minutes with the best team in the world. We were a bit unlucky, but I would rather highlight the great reaction of my players after that early goal. It's true that we were more attacking than in our previous games because we wanted to take advantage of our opponents' tiredness. But ultimately Brazil deserve to be in the final," Areny Fonnegra, Colombia coach.