Right from the first whistle of their opening group game, Brazil justified their status as hot favourites for the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004. The South Americans recorded a comfortable and emphatic 10-0 victory over an Australian side that proved powerless to cope with their speed, intensity and technical prowess.
Brazil coach Ferretti was predictably satisfied after the encounter: "That was the first step for us. I am pleased with our start to the tournament. We closed down the space, created numerous chances and ran out clear winners."
With three experienced players in his starting line-up who had appeared at the FIFA Futsal World Championship Guatemala 2000 - goalkeeper Gavin O'Brien, captain Brett Hewitt and Simon Keith -, Australian coach Scott Gilligan had hoped to withstand the inevitable tsunami of Brazilian attacks as the teams set aside their close friendship, forged over many years, for 40 minutes.
Brazil set high tempo from start
Brazil pressed the game from the first whistle, Euler, Falcao and Simi making early assaults on the Australian goal only for O'Brien, alert from the outset, to make excellent saves. Australia were unable to stem the tide though, and it was only a matter of time before Brazil opened the score. Vizzari's effort for the Australians provided brief respite before their opponents launched their next wave of attacks in the seventh minute. It took a dream pass from Pablo to Falcao to break the deadlock. O'Brien could do nothing to prevent the Brazilian's precise finish in the corner (1-0, 8').
Euler, Simi, Falcao and Co. were running the Australians ragged already. Singleton sent one of the Aussies' few first-half chances wide of the mark (12'), before the recently introduced Schumacher gave Brazil further cause for celebration with the most nonchalant of finishes (2-0, 13'). Gilligan then called his first time-out in an attempt to disrupt the flow of Australia's rampant opponents.
That strategy backfired when Vander's solo effort made it 3-0 a minute after the re-start, before Simi gave the South Americans a comfortable half-time cushion (4-0, 18'). Meantime, Hewitt spurned the Australians' best chance of the game.
Fininho makes Futsal history
Indio (5-0, 21') and Falcao (6-0, 25') added two in quick succession after the interval, separated by another Hewitt miss from a one-on-one with Brazilian goalkeeper Franklin. While the Australians cursed their luck, the Brazilian captain Fininho was re-writing history, his finish from a tight angle (7-0, 27') making him the first player to score at four FIFA Futsal World Championships and the third highest goalscorer in the history of the tournament.
Brazil continued to dictate proceedings with Indio (8-0, 30') and Neto (9-0, 35') increasing the margin. Neither the heroics of the Australian goalkeeper nor the failing concentration of the Brazilians could prevent the scoreline from entering double figures courtesy of Netos (10-0, 39').
Australian coach Scott Gilligan was philosophical afterwards: "I am quite disappointed. We did not want to lose by such a large margin. We did not play too badly and our goalkeeper had a good game. But you could see just how far the Brazilians have progressed. Now we have to win our next two games."