By claiming an easy victory in their final Group A game at the FIFA Futsal World Championship ChineseTaipei 2004, Spain secured themselves first place - and ended Egypt's involvement in the tournament in the process.
"This Egyptian team are good on the counter-attack but they don't know how to dominate a game," declared Javier Lozano after the match. "As a result, they allowed us numerous chances, which we thankfully accepted."
When they ran out onto the pitch at the Linkou Gymnasium, Egypt already knew what they had to do: win at any cost, and then get out their pocket calculators. Yet they started with a whimper rather than a bang. Presumably inhibited by the high stakes, the African champions looked less sharp than in their previous two games, and against the reigning world champions such timidity rarely goes unpunished. From a counter-attack, Javi Rodriguez fired in a shot that the Pharaohs' keeper could only divert onto the bar, and Marcelo followed up to open the scoring (1-0, 3').
Marcelo takes off
Their morale thoroughly dented, Egypt never really recovered, and before too long, the score had reached insurmountable proportions. First Kike doubled the deficit (2-0, 5'), then Andreu placed Spain in the comfort zone (3-0, 10'). The hapless Egyptians were receiving nothing short of a lesson, and by half time, the score had already reached 5-0 (Alberto Cogorro, 4-0, 13'; Fran Serrejon, 5-0, 16') and Egyptian hopes had disappeared.
The avalanche showed no sign of abating in the second period, as with just three minutes gone after the restart, Ayman Nassef - a half-time substitute - had already been beaten twice by Marcelo (6-06, 21') and Andreu (7-0, 23'). If truth be told, Egypt never really got going in what was nonetheless a crucial match for them, and it was the Spaniards who provided all the entertainment. Marcelo so nearly capped a fine display with a stunning goal when he controlled the ball with his chest before executing a fantastic scissors kick, only for the Egyptian keeper to produce an equally fine save (35').
The two teams then decided that there had been enough exertion for one day and the match finished with no further scoring. "Although I wasn't expecting such a heavy defeat, I can explain it," confessed Aly Mohamed after the game. "My players were already a bit low before the match and the first goal killed us off. But I would like to pay tribute to this Spanish side. As everyone knows, they're the champions of the world and they showed precisely why tonight."