Falcao stars as Brazil rally to eliminate Argentina
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Brazil staged a courageous comeback to see off Argentina and reach the FIFA Futsal World Cup semi-finals. The defending champions were at a two-goal deficit with little over seven minutes of normal time remaining, but they rallied to take the game to extra time before Falcao’s second of the game snatched them a 3-2 victory that ensured they avoided suffering one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history.

Brazil are always expected to beat Argentina, but the fact that Marcos Sorato’s side thrashed Panama 16-0 in the Round of 16 as Fernando Larranaga’s charges only edged past Serbia 2-1 simply enhanced the consensus that a one-sided game was in prospect.

And the opening exchanges did nothing to dampen that feeling. Brazil, indeed, exploded out of the blocks, utilising their nimble footwork and defence-unravelling one-twos to create chances. They had a great one with just four minutes gone. Fernandinho went clean through but saw his effort superbly saved by Santiago Elias, who reacted instinctively to block Gabriel’s header from the rebound.

The Brazilians fell to a two-minute numerical advantage when Je received his second yellow card midway through the half, but it didn’t prevent them taking the game to their opponents. Elias nevertheless continued to frustrate them, and when he didn’t, the woodwork came to his rescue from a 13th-mniute Neto free-kick.

Yet, against the run of play, Argentina stunned Brazil by scoring twice within a minute. Following fine work from Santiago Basile, a Maximiliano Rescia strike proved too powerful for Brazil goalkeeper Tiago to handle and broke the deadlock, before Cristian Borruto’s fierce drive doubled the lead.

Predictably, Brazil laid siege to Argentina’s goal following the restart. Elias had already made two smart saves by the time Vinicius rattled the post three minutes into the half, and the upright then denied a Simi effort before Falcao’s piledriver came back off the crossbar.

Finally, with just seven minutes remaining, Brazil’s pressure paid off when Neto’s vicious strike from distance beat Elias. And one minute later Falcao’s early shot caught Argentina off guard and made it 2-2.

Thereafter, both teams went in search of a winner, and the underdogs came closest to getting it. With four minutes remaining, a brilliant Leandro Cuzzolino strike from distance forced Tiago into a fine acrobatic save, and the same player produced another decisive stop from the Brazil keeper shortly afterwards.

Ultimately, though, the game went to extra time, where Falcao smashed home a quickly-taken corner to book Brazil a last-four date with the Colombia-Ukraine winners.


The quotes
“It was a great match. I never thought the game was lost when 2-0 down and, in fact, I decided not to say too much to my players at half-time because they were doing everything fine. Today we won because of the quality and personality of these players," Marcos Sorato, Brazil coach.

“I will say just one thing: my players are heroes and Brazil beat us only because they have more players playing professionally," Fernando Larranaga, Argentina coach.