THE DAY REPLAYED – Impressive resilience was the key to Argentina's maiden triumph in the final of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016. La Albiceleste twice hit back within seconds of Russia scoring, while their strong defence was also fundamental in ensuring the win. The eastern Europeans put the Argentinian goal under constant pressure, but were unable to carve out many chances.
In the day's first fixture, Iran secured their best-ever placing at a Futsal World Cup, even if it did not always look like the Asian Champions would come out on top. Portugal went ahead through a quickfire brace from Cardinal within moments of the second half starting, but Iran managed to equalise a few minutes before full time. In the penalty shoot-out Team Melli were able to rely on goalkeeper Sepehr Mohammadi, who had been brought on specifically for the penalties, while they also held their nerve from the spot. Having finished fourth at Hong Kong 1992, this was the first time the country made it on to the podium, leaving Portugal in the unpopular position just outside the medals.
FIFA.com rounds up the events of a historic day.
Russia 4-5 Argentina
Match for third place
Iran 2–2 Portugal (Iran win 4-3 on penalties)
There were wild celebrations on the Russian bench when Eder Lima made it 1-0, but their joy was short-lived as Argentina's Alamiro Vaporaki equalised just 26 seconds later. A wonderful pass from deep found the No3 with just Gustavo to beat and the 32-year-old made no mistake. Russia also scored the first goal of the second half but this time Argentina only needed 17 seconds before Alan Brandi hit back with a decisive effort.
Credit where it is due
A few minutes after the final whistle blew on the match for third place, cries of "Falcao! Falcao!" rang out through the Coliseo el Pueblo – and the Brazilian did not even play today. However, the 39-year-old was present and had just taken to the floor. Having made his final appearance on the world stage in Colombia, he was given a worthy farewell with resounding applause. Falcao has made a huge impact on futsal history, with 48 goals in 34 matches at five World Cups – all of which are records. Falcao may have been unable to add a third World Cup title to his collection, but he was honoured with a miniature replica of the Futsal World Cup trophy by FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Farewell to a national idol
Shortly afterwards, the Iranian players gathered in the centre circle and celebrated their captain Mohammad Keshavarz, who announced his retirement from international duty. The 34-year-old has been part of the national team for 13 years and represented his country at four Futsal World Cups. Injury prevented him from leading his team against Portugal, leaving him a spectator on the bench. Even before kick-off his colleagues had posed for the team photo holding up his number four shirt, and after the successful penalty shoot-out the veteran limped to the centre circle without crutches but supported by his team-mates. There, he was thrown into the air and visibly enjoyed his final farewell on the international scene.
While some took their leave of the big stage, others entered. Gianni Infantino has been FIFA President since February this year and today was the first time he awarded a World Cup trophy while in office. Fernando Wilhelm became the first captain to receive the prize from the Swiss.
1 – Argentina reached a Futsal World Cup final for the first time in their eighth tournament outing, and promptly lifted the trophy. The South Americans are only the third nation to win it, as all previous editions have been won by Brazil (five) and Spain (two).
"We played a good match, we were able to control Russia during 30 minutes. We faced a good team, that had won all 6 previous matches and scored 35 goals, and we were able to hold them off... I don't care if we deserve to or not to be the winners. We are the world champions." Argentina coach Diego Giustozzi
"First of all, I want to congratulate Argentina. Finals are always special matches, I believe we did a good job, we created chances, but we made mistakes and Argentina took profits of them. That is our lesson, we can't make errors in final. We are proud of the team, we gave our best and leave with our head high. This is the beginning of something better." Russia coach Sergey Skorovich
"I'd like to congratulate Colombia, the organisers and all Iranians. There are 80 million of us who have enjoyed this World Cup. I'm the happiest person on earth given what we've achieved. After we beat Brazil we knew we could do more." Iran coach Seyed Nazemalsharieh
"We're proud but we're not happy because we could just as easily have won a medal. Our finishing was our weakness once again. The last game was a good example of how the team played throughout the entire tournament." Portugal coach Jorge Braz