The road to Colombia
Australia qualified for Colombia 2016 the hard way, winning two sudden-death play-offs to securing the fifth and final Asian slot. The Futsalroos saw off Qatar and Malaysia in the group stage, but finished second in their group behind Japan after a 3-1 loss against one of the traditional continental powerhouses. They then showed their resilience by overcoming both Iraq and Kyrgyzstan in the play-offs to decide the team which would join the four semi-finalists on the world stage.
Strengths and styles
The squad boasts a mix of youth and experience, and six of the players who featured in qualifying were also members of the Futsalroos squad at Thailand 2012. The team are all part-timers and coach Rob Varela described his side as the best ‘amateur team’ in Asia after they qualified in February. However, several squad members have enjoyed experiences overseas down the years, with notably Jarrod Basger and Tobias Seeto both domiciled in the United Kingdom ahead of the qualifying tournament. Likely to be considered one of the outsiders in Colombia, Australia’s hopes will depend, in part, on their level of preparation and quantity of international matches in the build-up.
FIFA Futsal World Cup record
Between 1989 and 2004, Australia took part in five consecutive FIFA Futsal World Cups, and returned for a sixth time in 2012. The Futsalroos, however, do not have fond memories of the tournament, after being eliminated at the group stage on each occasion. Their record of three wins, one draw and 14 defeats, with 29 goals scored and 102 conceded in the process, does not make for particularly happy reading. Four years ago the Aussies secured an impressive 3-1 win over Mexico, but that result was sandwiched either side of hefty defeats against Argentina and Italy resulting in a group-stage exit.