The road to Colombia
Argentina went into the South American qualifying competition as favourites, a tag they justified by collecting maximum points in the group phase, defeating Uruguay 4-2, Chile 3-0, Colombia 2-0 and Bolivia 11-0. Coming up against hosts Paraguay in the semis, La Albiceleste shot into a 3-1 lead but conceded twice late on, the second of those goals coming 15 seconds from the end. Taken to extra-time and then penalties, the Argentinians came within a spot-kick of going out but eventually took the shootout 3-2 to book their place at Colombia 2016 and advance to the final, where they went down 4-0 to Brazil to relinquish the title they won in 2012.
Strengths and styles
Argentina have developed an eminently attacking approach since the appointment of three-time world finalist Diego Giustozzi as coach, a fact reflected by the 23 goals they scored in their six qualifying matches, the second-highest tally in the competition behind Brazil’s 31. Heading up an experienced squad are the likes of Almiro Vaporaki, Leandro Cuzzolino, Maximiliano Rescia and Cristian Borruto, all of whom have played in Europe and were on duty at the last world finals in Thailand. Figuring large among the new faces is goalkeeper Nicolas Sarmiento, who played a key role in the qualifiers by keeping three clean sheets in their six games.
FIFA Futsal World Cup record
Argentina are one of three national teams to have never missed a world finals competition, an honour they share with five-time world champions Brazil and two-time winners Spain. La Albiceleste’s best performance to date was fourth at Chinese Taipei 2004, and the only occasion on which they have failed to progress beyond the group phase came at Spain 1996. At Thailand 2012 they lost in the quarter-finals to eventual champions Brazil and finished seventh.