The sixth day of action at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 gives us no fewer than four tournament firsts. In Group F heavily fancied Russia take on a gritty Guatemala side, while Colombia and Solomon Islands are both aiming for to pick up their first win.
These two sides have played each other twice before, but this will be the first time they have squared off in the finals of a FIFA Futsal World Cup. With both sides winning their opening games, this contest will decide who finishes the day top of Group F. Though Russia may be slight favourites, they face gritty opponents in Guatemala, who recovered from a first-half deficit against Colombia on 3 November to secure victory.
The Russians beat Solomon Islands soundly in their own opener but, as stated by coach Sergey Skorovich, they will have to raise their game against Guatemala: “They will make us work harder, that's for sure.”
Solomon Islands are the team with the youngest average age in Thailand and were a little unfortunate to open their campaign against a genuine title contender in Russia. Eliot Ragomo and Co will therefore be looking to set the record straight against Colombia, and in the process boost their hopes of staying in the competition.
Kuwait will want to reprise their battling display in defeat against Czech Republic when they encounter Serbia in Bangkok. Meanwhile, a second victory for the Serbians would further solidify their chances of qualifying from Group E.
That first-game win over Kuwait means the Czechs are high in confidence ahead of their meeting with Egypt. Egypt coach Badr Khalil, for his part, will be exhorting his charges to go out and secure a first-ever win over European opponents at this competition.
Player to watch
Serbian captain Bojan Pavicevic was instrumental in his country’s victory over Egypt, providing incisive passes that resulted in Serbia’s first and third goals. The oldest member of his squad, the veteran defender will be pushing his team to claim another three points versus Kuwait this Tuesday.
5 – Czech Republic’s win over Kuwait was their fifth victory at a FIFA Futsal World Cup. Five is also the number of Czech players representing club side Era Pack Chrudim who should feature in the match against five-time FIFA Futsal World Cup participants Egypt.
“The game against Russia will be different from the one against Colombia because there will be much more pressure on us. We'll have to have excellent ball control and avoid the aerial route because they’re taller than us. We’ve played them before and we know that they can fight hard,” Guatemala goalkeeper Carlos Merida.
Colombia-Solomon Islands (Bangkok, Nimibutr Stadium, 17.00)
Russia-Guatemala (Bangkok, Nimibutr Stadium, 19.00)
Kuwait-Serbia (Bangkok, Indoor Stadium Huamark, 19.00)
Egypt-Czech Republic (Indoor Stadium Huamark, 21.00)
(All kick-off times are local)