The road to Colombia
Solomon Islands enjoyed a confident 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup campaign winning all five matches for a clean sweep of the Oceania championship. The Kurukuru faced major challenges from previous runners-up Tahiti and a fast-developing New Zealand side. However, they overwhelmed both with 3-0 and 4-1 scorelines, which complemented one-sided wins over New Caledonia, Vanuatu and hosts Fiji. It was a fifth successive continental crown for the Melanesians – aside from Oceania invitational championships - for the long-term kings of Futsal in Oceania.
Strengths and styles
With a long tradition in both Futsal and Beach Soccer, Solomon Islands are renowned for their fast-paced yet skilful expertise in any form of round-ball game. The Solomons’ traditional raw attacking style has been complemented by the tactical expertise offered by Brazilian coach Juliano Schmeling. Solomon Islands have suffered some heavy defeats on previous visits to the world stage leaving a question mark about their defence, but they conceded just three times over the course of five qualifying games in Fiji.
FIFA Futsal World Cup record
Solomon Islands have a modest record from their appearances at Brazil 2008 and Thailand 2012. The Solomon Islands will be hoping it is a case of third time lucky as they seek maiden progression to the knockout stage. They suffered three hefty defeats eight years, but things were partly on the up four years later in Thailand where two one-sided losses were followed by a famous 4-3 win over Guatemala. Several key members of that team - now with four extra years experience under the belt - remain part of the set-up, including player of the Oceania tournament and captain Elliot Ragomo, Samuel Osifelo, Micah Lea’alafa and dynamic goalkeeper Anthony Talo.