After 18 thrilling days packed with skill, goals and emotional extremes, Brazil were crowned champions at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012. That also meant the moment arrived for the individual honours to the top players at the global showdown.
Neto was indisputably the most complete player at the tournament in Thailand. In his second appearance at a FIFA Futsal World Cup, the 31-year-old not only showed his predatory instinct with seven goals, but also demonstrated vision in picking out better-placed team-mates, and precision in releasing them into good positions. The man in the number 11 shirt crowned an excellent tournament with two goals in the final against Spain, contributing substantially to a fifth world title for his country. The Golden Ball was a fitting reward for seven fine performances which thrilled the crowds in Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima.
Asked by FIFA.com if he was surprised to receive the award, Neto said: "Yes, it was a surprise - mainly because I’m a defender and we defenders don’t tend to get these awards. I’m actually pleased to see Kike in there too and have two defenders as part of the top three. To win something like this was beyond my dreams and ambitions, and it just adds to this being the best day of my life."
Spain's Kike claimed the adidas Silver Ball. The Furia Roja captain won over both the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) and accredited media representatives at the tournament for his outstanding performance in spearheading Spain's drive to the final. The 32-year-old was the fulcrum of coach Venancio Lopez’ team, as he proved his versatility with fine play both in defence and attack. An intelligent reader of the game, he was an automatic choice in Spain's starting formation.
As ever, he was modest in assessing the contribution that had led to him receiving the award. "To me, any individual recognition in a collective sport is relative," he said. "To me its a recognition for the whole team."
Portugal were knocked out by Italy in the last eight, but in the five matches he played in Thailand, Ricardinho oozed class on the ball. In his second FIFA Futsal World Cup appearance, the 1.67m man showed off an array of technical skills in attack, but also proved a resolute battler and tough tackler in defence. He finished with seven goals and three assists, rounding out a fine overall showing at the tournament and earning him the adidas Bronze Ball.
Eder Lima was the top scorer at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012. The Brazilian-born Russia striker scored nine times in Thailand, seven of his goals coming in a 16-0 romp against the Solomon Islands in the group stage. The 28-year-old added another to his total in a 9-0 victory over Guatemala, and he completed his tally against Czech Republic in the last sixteen with the opening goal for his team.
Rodolfo Fortino and Fernandinho came second and third in the scoring charts on eight and seven goals respectively. Italy's Fortino was a revelation in Thailand, showing flashes of real class in the course of the tournament and, with the exception of the semi-final meeting with Spain, scoring at least once in every match. He also contributed three assists.
Brazil star Fernandinho got his name on the scoresheet in both the group matches he contested, and also prompted South American joy in the knockout phase. He paved the way against Panama in the Round of 16, later completing a brace in the 16-0 goalfest. He was the top provider of the tournament with eight assists, and came away with the Bronze Boot.
adidas Golden Glove: Stefano Mammarella (ITA)
Italy keeper Stefano Mammarella had two reasons to celebrate on the last day of the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012, because he was named best keeper at the tournament to go with the bronze medal won by his national team. The 28-year-old was indeed outstanding throughout the event, conclusively demonstrating that there is far more to goalkeeping than merely making saves. The Nazionale No1 performed a playmaking role for his team with excellent distribution from the back and a keen eye for initiating dangerous attacking moves.
"I have great emotions," he told FIFA.com after picking up his award. "As soon as I knew that I had been named the best goalkeeper, I couldn’t stop the tears. To win the Golden Glove award is great, and I want to thank everyone who believed in me."
FIFA Fair Play Award: Argentina
By way of consolation for their unlucky quarter-final elimination in a 3-2 extra-time defeat to Brazil, Argentina deservedly won the award for the exemplary behaviour of all team members in the course of the tournament. La Albiceleste showed their opponents impeccable respect and acted as role models for young spectators both in victory and defeat.
FIFA makes this award based on evaluations by members of the Technical Study Group (TSG), who undertake a detailed analysis of national team members’ behaviour on and off the pitch. The goal is to promote a sporting attitude among players, coaches and also spectators at FIFA tournaments.