For any team debuting at a FIFA World Cup, one of the hardest tasks is to get that first win on the board. Two games into their FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012 campaign and Colombia have already managed it, courtesy of Tuesday’s emphatic win over Solomon Islands. For Los Cafeteros, the sense of relief was palpable, especially after losing their opening fixture against Guatemala having twice been ahead.
“It feels good to have won our first game at this tournament,” Colombia’s Andres Reyes told FIFA.com. “It’s not easy to deal with that anxiety, especially when you go in level at half time having lost the lead in successive games. It was only then we realised we had to keep our composure and remain patient. We’re relieved the result went our way,” said the wide player, the only member of the team to score in both their games.
For his part, Reyes felt the victory would be viewed differently over time. “For sure it hasn’t sunk in yet what this means for Colombian futsal, but that’s only natural. We’re still here and right now we need to keep thinking about what more we can do. Later there’ll be time to take stock and plan for the future.”
You do not have to read between the lines to know what this fan of Bogota’s Millonarios is alluding to. Colombia’s three points puts them in the mix for a berth in the last sixteen. The problem, however, is that if they are to advance on their own steam, they will have to do it by beating group leaders Russia, who strolled through their opening two games, scoring 25 times and not conceding.
“We’re realists and know we’ll be facing a side who have come here to win the World Cup. We, in contrast, are here to perform well, learn and win the respect of our more experienced rivals,” explained Reyes. “That said, we have nothing to lose, which is why we can’t hold anything back against Russia.”
The 23-year-old Bogota native has certainly played his part in Thailand, netting once against Guatemala and twice against Solomon Islands. “I’m a bit surprised as that [scoring] is not really my role. Most people dream of scoring a goal at a World Cup but it never really occurred to me. Perhaps the lack of expectation helped me find the target."
Reyes doubted his scoring run would get much attention from his team-mates or rivals, saying modestly: “I don’t think it’s that big a deal," he concluded. "However, so long as my goals help the team, they’re very welcome. This has already been a wonderful experience for us, which is why we want it to continue. We know it’ll be tough, but why not give it a go?”