Ukraine booked their place in the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016 last 16 after they saw off Australia 3-1 in Bucaramanga in a battle for second place in Group D.
Ukraine, who were in the driving seat with a vastly superior goal difference, looked to dictate the game, but were met with an Australia side with little to lose. A draw would have taken both sides through, with status quo intact, but after an even opening the pendulum swung further in the Europeans’ favour, as Angelo Konstantinou in the Australia goal let Sergiy Zhurba’s shot squirm underneath him.
The Futsalroos remained resilient, though and threatened, utilising the counter-attacking tactics that had seen them pierce the armour of Brazil – though their deep line suited Ukraine’s propensity to shoot from range.
Without Ievgen Ivanyak – suspended after seeing red against Mozambique – deputy Dmytro Lytvynenko was given a few nervy moments, but Dean Lockhart’s goal-saving block was the closest either came to troubling the scoreboard again in the first half.
The pattern of play held in the second half, with Ukraine shading the action but Australia looking lively – particularly through the quick feet of Daniel Fogarty. As pressure grew from Oleksandr Kosenko’s side as they looked to close the game out, Mykola Bilotserkivets had the ball in the back of the net – but only via an arm.
They didn’t have to wait long to have a second register though, as stand-in captain rattled in off the post from distance to leave Australia with a mountain to climb. Chris Zeballos tapped in to provide hope, only for it to be dashed dashed by a Denys Osvannikov goal.
Ukraine will face the winner of Group E, while Robert Varela's side now need heavy defeats for the third-placed sides in Group E and F to make it through.