New boys Colombia provided the shock result of the first Round of 16 ties at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012.
The unfancied South Americans turned in a display bristling with courage and intent to eliminate Asian heavyweights Iran and book a place in the last eight. Los Cafeteros also rode their luck at times in a 2-1 victory over the ten-time Asian champions.
The fans at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok were hoping for an even bigger upset when the hosts took on European champions Spain, but La Furia Roja were having none of it and cruised to a 7-1 triumph.
In the first match of the day, Portugal were primed for a tough tussle with Paraguay, but the Iberians ended up firmly in control for most of the contest. Deadly duo Ricardinho and Cardinal were the brightest stars in a clear-cut 4-1 win for the southern Europeans.
Ukraine made even shorter work of Japan, at least in the first half, with the eastern Europeans half a dozen goals to the good at the interval. The Asian champions staged a stirring comeback in the second period, but it was all too late and Ukraine triumphed 6-3.
Paraguay 1-4 Portugal
Ukraine 6-3 Japan
Spain 7-1 Thailand
Iran 1-2 Colombia
Goal of the day
Spain-Thailand, Kritsada Wongkaeo, 38'48
The game between the European champions and the host nation was long over as a contest when Thailand finally scored a deserved consolation goal, bowing out of the tournament on a positive note. Apiwat Chaemcharoen cleverly released Kritsada Wongkaeo in the Spanish area, where the striker wrong footed his marker with a disguised stepover and thumped the ball into the corner of the net, causing the partisan home crowd to erupt in joy.
Ricardinho runs riot
In the meeting between Paraguay and Portugal, Ricardinho was the chief architect of the South Americans’ downfall and reaped warm applause from the engrossed crowd. The Portuguese No10 produced arguably the best individual display at this FIFA Futsal World Cup as he spearheaded his side's march into the next round. His pacy dribbling had La Albirroja chasing shadows for long spells, as the undisputed man of the match finished with two goals and an assist.
Fans in the spotlight
At the match between Spain and Thailand, and for the Ukraine-Japan clash, the real stars were the massed fans in the stands. Yet again, the atmosphere was crackling with passion when the hosts played Spain. The boisterous spectators waved national flags, showed off intricately painted faces, provided musical accompaniment and turned the venue into a cauldron of noise. Afterwards, the national team made a point of warmly thanking their fans. The Japanese supporters also confirmed their reputation as true lovers of futsal, greeting Ukraine coach Gennadiy Lisenchuk with warm and respectful applause before the match, and then maintaining a steady barrage of cheers for their team despite the situation on the pitch.
Simply qualifying for the FIFA Futsal World Cup was already a success for Colombia. When they clinched the runners-up spot in Group F and a place in the last sixteen, that felt like the icing on the cake. But as it turned out, there was yet more to come: Los Cafeteros are through to the last eight courtesy of a knife-edge 2-1 victory over top Asian nation Iran. Yefri Duque and Angellott Caro scored precious goals for the South Americans, with keeper Juan Lozano performing heroics and allowing only one of Iran’s 54 shots to find the target.
Stat of the day
117 - The number of matches in Spain’s current undefeated run. The Spanish last lost in 2005, in a 2-1 friendly reverse against Brazil. The only team boasting a longer unbeaten streak are the selfsame South Americans. Between 2005 and 2010, A Seleção went an extraordinary 151 matches without defeat.
"We were so much better in qualifying, and I thought we'd show that here at the World Cup. But we were unable to reproduce our best form, and that's a shame," Paraguay coach Fernando Leite
Monday 12 November (all times are local)
Russia-Czech Republic 18.30