The scoreline makes for impressive reading, but in truth Iran's defence often looked decidedly shaky in this Group D game from the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004. Their campaign is nonetheless up and running again, though, whereas defeat for Cuba sees them needing to thrash Portugal and hope Argentina beat Iran.
"I must congratulate this Iranian team because they played very well tonight," said Clemente Reinoso after the match, "but if only we had converted the great chance we had after the second goal, the result could have been a lot different." There were many things for the Cuban coach to be proud of again tonight, though, even if he has his regrets.
Unlike two days ago, when Iran's over-dependence on Vahid Shamsaee was at the heart of the 4-0 loss to Portugal, this time it was positively beneficial. After just two minutes of play, the Iranian star opened the scoring with an excellent individual effort (1-0, 2'). After that, things grew quiet, and there was precious little to trouble the exceptional Wilfredo Carbo in the Cuban goal. Iran then resorted to counter-attacks before finally doubling their advantage through Heidarian (2-0, 8').
Shamsaee hat trick
Less solid than against Argentina, Cuba knew they were in for a tough match, and it became even tougher when they conceded two more goals before the break: Mohammadi (3-0, 18') and Heidarian (4-0, 18') the scorers. At that stage, it seemed possible the floodgates might open in the second half.
Doubtless given a severe talking-to by their coach, the Cubans came out of their dressing room with a whole new attitude. They began to dominate and pulled themselves back into the encounter when Guerra struck the target (4-1, 23') and, minutes afterwards, Mesa almost scored what would have been one of the goals of the tournament. Having beaten half the Iranian team, he found himself one-on-one with Nasseri, but was expertly foiled by the Iranian goalkeeper (26').
From that point onwards, the action was non-stop, with the Cuban team eager to get forward but leaving a lot for their goalkeeper to do, and Iran looking ragged in defence, yet always a danger in attack. For a while, Cuba had the better of the new match dynamic, and Saname was able to reduce the deficit to just two goals again (4-2, 33'). In the same minute, Chapman beat the goalkeeper….only to clatter the ball into a post. It was another costly miss, and Cuba were soon made to pay when Lotfy hit back (5-2, 35'), followed by Fakhim (6-2, 37') before Shamsaee gave Iran a five-goal advantage. Shamsaee then secured his hat-trick in a hectic last minute (8-2, 40'), with one last Cuban response forcing Heidarian into an own goal (8-3, 40').
"Our first half was good," said Iranian coach Mohammad Ansarifard at the final whistle, "but in the second half, Cuba tried to get back into the game and their attacking strategy posed us a lot of problems. I'm sure we will be a lot better when we take on Argentina, though."