The seventh FIFA Futsal World Cup will kick off a week today, and anticipation has been heightened by the announcement of the players who will do battle for the trophy. All 24 teams have now confirmed their 14-man squads for the Thai showpiece and, together, they make for a star-studded list.
Check out the Official List of Players
Among the 336 players selected, for example, are all three of the end-of-tournament award winners at the last FIFA Futsal World Cup, held four years ago in Brazil. Pula, the Sao Paulo-born Russia pivot who finished top scorer in 2008 with 16 goals, will once again lead his team’s attack in Thailand.
One of the goalkeepers attempting to thwart him will be the Brazil's Tiago, winner of the adidas Golden Glove award last time around. Then, of course, there is Falcao, a man who has who has been named player of the tournament in each of the FIFA Futsal World Cup’s last two editions and who will be aiming to cement his position among the discipline’s all-time greats.
It is widely expected that Spain, winners in 2004 and 2000, will offer the most significant challenge to Falcao’s Brazil team, and the European champions will certainly arrive in Thailand with a formidable squad. Kike, now 34 and a veteran of both those previous triumphs, will be back once again to bring class and experience, while Fernandao will be hoping to carry on his impressive goalscoring form from the qualifying competition.
Inevitably, much attention will fall on another player with vast experience of international football in the 11-a-side game. The legendary Kazuyoshi Miura – capped 89 times and famed throughout Asia and beyond as ‘King Kazu’ – has been named in the Japan squad at the age of 45.
The veteran Japan star will be aiming to provide a fairy tale ending to his glorious career, and his is sure to be one of countless individual stories well worth following on FIFA.com over the coming weeks.