Day 2 of Thailand 2012 brought a deluge of goals and two stunning comebacks as the FIFA Futsal World Cup lived up to its dramatic, high-scoring reputation. Panama and Iran were the teams to snatch positive results from the jaws of seemingly certain defeat, while Italy and Argentina provided impressive demonstrations of their title credentials against Australia and Mexico respectively.
Italy 9-1 Australia
Argentina 5-1 Mexico
Panama 8-3 Morocco
Spain 2-2 Iran
Goal of the day
Argentina-Mexico, 3-0, Martin Amas, 25’ 33”
This was a goal to sum up the very best in futsal. The trademark slick, intricate build-up play was there, provided by Argentina’s entire team, and there was also flamboyance in the shape of an outrageous flick from Matias Lucuix to set up the shooting opportunity. Every great move needs a fitting finish, though, and Amas didn’t disappoint with an emphatic side-foot shot sent flashing into the top right-hand corner.
A consolation goal worth celebrating
As befits a nation of sports fanatics, Australia has a reputation of being obsessed with winning. It might have been considered strange, then, that the Futsalroos’ players, backroom staff and fans celebrated Danny Ngaluafe’s consolation goal against Italy like a last-minute winner. But as their coach, Steven Knight, explained: “If you look at the history of futsal in Australia, we haven’t scored many goals at the World Cup. That’s why we celebrated like we did, even at 9-1. We set different targets to the professional teams here, and scoring that goal made the team really happy.”
Panama’s comeback kings
If ever there was a match to fit the ‘game of two halves’ cliché, it was Panama’s remarkable fightback against Morocco. Turning a 3-0 deficit into a victory is worthy of praise in any circumstances, but when the final score is 8-3 and all but one of your goals has arrived in the second half, it becomes a bit special. So it was with the Panamanians, who were a team transformed after the interval – thanks, it seems, to a “little adjustment” by coach Agustin Campuzano that had a truly massive impact.
Fans inspire Iranian revenge
Impressive as it was, Panama’s wasn’t the only comeback Bangkok's Huamark Indoor Arena. Iran also came from behind in the venue’s second match and, in doing so, exacted revenge on two-time winners Spain. La Roja had, after all, denied the Iranians a famous win in their opening match at Brazil 2008 in almost identical circumstances, battling back from three goals down to secure a point. Crucial to the reversal of roles on this occasion was a boisterous band of flag-waving Iranian supporters, who provided noisy and evidently inspirational backing even when their team was seemingly on the road to defeat.
Stat of the day
8 - The number of players on target for Italy in their 9-1 victory over Australia, with only Saad Assis scoring more than once. It was a high-scoring day overall, with 31 goals across the four matches making for an impressive average of 7.75 per game.
“This was our first-ever game at the Futsal World Cup, and it was a very tough one against a team whose coach (Argentina’s Fernando Larranaga) I admire very much. The few things I know about futsal, I learned from him. He is the master,” Mexico coach Ramon Raya.
The next games
Saturday 3 November 2012 (local times)
Czech Republic-Kuwait, 19.00
Russia-Solomon Islands, 19.00