THE DAY REPLAYED – Roses were exchanged throughout Colombia on Saturday, as people celebrated the nation’s Dia del Amor y la Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship). For the teams participating at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2016, however, it was a ticket to the Round of 16 that they were chasing.
Brazil, who had already booked their place in the next round, cruised to a third straight group stage win against Mozambique. The crowd in Cali love an underdog, however, and they roared their appreciation when the African side, whose campaign is now over, managed to find the back of the net. The cheers from the stands were even louder for Brazil’s Falcao, meanwhile, who further underlined his legendary status with another memorable display.
In the other game in Group D, Ukraine prevailed at the expense of Australia to seal their spot in the last 16. The Futsalroos could still join them, but face a nervous wait until Sunday, when they will discover their fate.
In Group C Paraguay showed great character to progress to the next round, recovering from falling two goals behind early on to beat Guatemala, who are themselves on their way home despite a valiant performance. Italy saw off Vietnam in the group’s other encounter, but the Vietnamese can also begin planning for their Round-of-16 clash.
Egypt were possibly the biggest winners on Saturday, despite watching the action from the sofa. The day’s results ensured they qualified for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams.
Guatemala 4-8 Paraguay
Italy 2-0 Vietnam
Brazil 15-3 Mozambique
Australia 1-3 Ukraine
Falcao and futsal: a mutual love
Following the final whistle at the Coliseo el Pueblo, Falcao stood alone in the centre circle and savoured the ovation from the crowd. His three goals against Mozambique had taken his total Futsal World Cup tally to 45, a new record and three more than the previous best mark set by his compatriot Manoel Tobias. Fans – and the Mozambique players – were understandably keen to commemorate such a special moment, and they queued in their droves to take a selfie with Brazil’s No12. Perhaps the best memento was claimed by Carlao, who ended up with his team-mate’s sweatband.
Italy’s Rodolfo Fortino left Vietnam’s Dinh Thuan Ngo seeing stars in Bucaramanga, such was the force of his powerful shot, which the goalkeeper managed to save with his head before sinking to the floor. However, after a brief stoppage for treatment, the man between the sticks was thankfully able to continue.
Aussie 'keeper's courage impresses fans
Australia custodian Angelo Konstantinou might have done better for Ukraine’s first goal – the ball trickled through his legs and over the line – but that didn’t stop him from continuing to take a proactive approach to keeping goal. Moments after conceding, he dashed from his line to claim a long pass, and he let the ball run through his legs – intentionally this time – into the safety of the penalty area, where he was able to gather calmly. The fans certainly enjoyed it and applauded him generously.
8 – Brazil had eight different goalscorers against Mozambique, an astonishing number and even more remarkable considering the squad comprises just 14 players, three of whom are goalkeepers. Of the outfield players, only Dyego and Je did not score, as well as the suspended Rafael Rato.
“I never thought that after 20 years of playing futsal I’d be so nervous in one game. I made the wrong decisions and my movements on the court were wrong. I was completely focused on breaking the record. But now everyone will see a new Falcao.” Brazil legend Falcao
“We allowed Australia to have the ball on occasions, so we could hit them on the counter-attack. Unfortunately we didn’t make all our opportunities count.” Ukraine coach Oleksandr Kosenko
"We needed to change our approach to reach our objective. We had to decide whether we were going to risk the game or just make sure we were going to get third in the group. If we had gone for the draw we could have easily risked losing what we already had. Today we achieved our objectives and reached out ultimate goal." Vietnam coach Bruno Garcia
"We know it was going to be a difficult match against an aggressive rival, but at the end it was like we had planned. At the beginning we were not able to control the ball, and we suffered two early goals. But once we start controlling it, we found our rhythm. In ended up being was a nice victory." Carlos Chilavert, Paraguay coach
Sunday 18 September (all times local)
Kazakhstan-Solomon Islands (16:00, Medellin)
Costa Rica-Argentina (16:00, Bucaramanga)
Azerbaijan-Iran (18:00, Medellin)
Spain-Morocco (18:00, Bucaramanga)