Ahead of their meeting in Sunday’s final of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012, FIFA.com put the same five questions to the respective coaches of Spain and Brazil. Here is what Venancio Lopez and Marcos Sorato had to say.
What do you think of your rivals in the final?
Lopez (ESP): As everyone knows, Brazil are a great side. They’ve won four world titles and picked up a lot of experience on the way, but on top of that they always come up with solutions to the problems they face in every game, which is harder than it seems. Even so, I’m expecting a tight match and I think we’ve got a chance.
Sorato (BRA): I think Spain are the best team in the world right now and I can hardly find a flaw in them. We really respect them because they do everything well, whether in attack, defence or with set-pieces. They’ve also got players who can turn games just like that. They’re the best all-round team there is at the moment, though I still think the final is too close to call.
What is your team’s strong point?
Lopez (ESP): Our winning mentality. You can see our mental strength in our play and on the court, and that’s the reason why we’ve performed so well in every aspect of the game and in every single match.
Sorato (BRA): Being able to match the expectations people have of us in a tournament where you can’t put a foot wrong in the knockout games. Brazilian players have always had talent but we’ve worked hard on improving in defence and on performing in every area of the game.
What was the key moment in your run to the final?
Lopez (ESP): The game against Russia. Whoever lost that was going home, obviously, and it could easily have been us. We turned in a great performance though against a side that was strongly fancied for the title.
Sorato (BRA): The match against Argentina. That fightback was crucial. It showed the team’s ability to react and proved to me that we’re ready to face whatever challenge the tournament has to throw at us.
What has been the surprise of the tournament?
Lopez (ESP): Colombia reaching the semi-finals, no doubt about it. They’ve defended really well, they’ve got very skilful players and they’re young, which means they’ve got every chance to keep on improving.
Sorato (BRA): Colombia, no question. I knew they had the skills, but you have to hand it to them for going so far with what is, to all intents and purposes, an amateur side. It goes without saying that the coach and the players deserve a lot of credit.
What legacy do you think Thailand 2012 will leave for futsal?
Lopez (ESP): The quality of the matches has been excellent and they’ve shown that futsal’s a sport that’s well worth watching. Looking at the bigger picture, though, the most important thing is that futsal’s value in training players for football has now been recognised.
Sorato (BRA): The need to support the game at grassroots level and bring on specialist futsal players. Brazil and Spain have worked on that area more than anyone else and continue to dominate the sport. That’s why I think it’s important people learn that lesson and work towards that goal with the support of FIFA