The favourites had their way on the second day of the last 16 at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012. Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Russia all made it through to set up a purely European and South American quarter-final line-up.
Brazil laid down their marker with an thumping 16-0 victory over Panama and now face a continental showdown against archrivals Argentina.
Spectators in Bangkok can look forward to a further mouthwatering tie between European titans Spain and Russia in a repeat of this year’s UEFA European Championship final. The eastern Europeans beat Czech Republic and advanced to the next round with an unblemished record, as they are still to concede a goal at the tournament.
Italy had little trouble defeating Egypt, while Argentina were given a rougher ride in a thrilling evening encounter against Serbia, but also ultimately went through.
Italy 5-1 Egypt
Brazil 16-0 Panama
Russia 3-0 Czech Republic
Serbia 1-2 Argentina
Goal of the day
Italy - Egypt, 3-1, Jairo dos Santos, 19’03”
Italy’s Saad Assis may have earned the plaudits for his hat-trick against Egypt, but the honour of best goal goes to his teammate Jairo dos Santos. Just before half time, Gabriel Lima received the ball on the left flank in his own half. Off-balance and falling over, Lima nonetheless managed to play an inch-perfect pass into dos Santos’ path, who lobbed the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper into the empty net.
The superstar is back
After watching three games from the sidelines having picked up an injury in his country’s opener against Japan, Brazilian star Falcao returned to the action in the last 16 against Panama. The spectators welcomed him with a standing ovation when he was brought on and he quickly showed his extraordinary ability with his first few touches. The forward’s goal to make it 14-0 crowned his comeback, and fans can now look forward to seeing plenty more of him in the quarter-final against Argentina.
When Argentina’s Leandro Cuzzolino opened the scoring against Serbia, he ran straight to the nearest television camera and signalled the number three with his fingers, while shouting into the lens, “Mati, that one’s for you.” His intended recipient was teammate Matias Lucuix, who suffered a double leg break in the game against Australia. Argentina dedicated the victory over Serbia and their qualification into the last eight to their injured colleague.
No way through
Russia’s goalkeeper Gustavo is well on the way to setting a new record. He has not conceded a goal in 160 minutes of play, taking him to third place in the all-time list, behind only Spain’s Luis Amado (208 minutes in 2000 and 2004) and Brazil’s Tiago (187 minutes in 2008). Gustavo needs just 18 more minutes to overtake the latter, but would need to reach the semi-finals unbeaten in order to break the record. It will be a tough task, as no less an opponent than European champions Spain stand in Russia’s way.
Stat of the day
300 - The match between Argentina and Serbia in Bangkok’s Huamark Indoor Stadium marked a milestone in the history of the FIFA Futsal World Cup, as it was the tournament’s 300th game. It was also the first time the two teams had faced each other at the competition, having only previously met twice in friendly fixtures.
“These players are living a dream, as they played against both the reigning world champions and the runners-up [from Brazil 2008]. That’s a priceless experience for them,” Agustin Campuzano, Panama coach.