In this first match of the second round at the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004, the Auriverde strolled to a comfortable win over Ukraine. The Brazilians may have waited until the closing quarter of an hour before displaying their silkiest skills, but they were undeniably superior throughout the encounter.
"It was our defence that made the difference tonight," declared Ferretti at the post-match press conference. "We were well aware of the quality of this Ukraine side, who like to work the flanks, using Koridze as a pivot. But we also knew that they are highly dependent on that system. By playing on the counter-attack, we managed to go in at the break with a two-goal lead. We then got more goals in the second half, although to be honest I never expected to win by such a margin."
In customary style, Brazil waited just five seconds before striking their first shot at goal. It may have flown well wide of the Ukrainian net, but it did set the tone for the encounter. Extremely well organised defensively, Ukraine opted to sit back and play on the break. On one such foray forward, Kosenko carved out one of the best chances of the opening period. One-on-one with Franklin, he saw his poorly struck shot rebound off the back of the Seleçao goalkeeper (2'). Despite not yet imposing themselves as one might expect of the tournament favourites, Brazil had survived an important test.
Normal service was resumed in the 7th minute, when Falcao took on his marker on the left side of the Ukrainian defence. After skipping past his opponent, he produced a feint that left the goalkeeper on the seat of his pants and an empty net gaping in front of him. The midfield genius duly slotted home and Brazil were ahead (1-0, 7').
Ukraine's task gets tougher
A close match had been expected, but Brazil soon placed them firmly in the driving seat when Indio doubled their lead with a shot on the turn from the edge of the box (2-0, 14'). Coming moments after Sergiy Koridze had spurned two chances to equalise (13' and 14'), that second goal was a real body blow for Gennadiy Lisenchuk's protégés, who went in at the break with a small mountain to climb.
The restart brought no upturn in their fortunes, as Falcão pounced on a rebound to extend Brazil's lead still further (3-0, 21'). While not at their imperious best, the Auriverde were clearly the better side. Ukraine endeavoured manfully to threaten, but Franklin was equal to all they could throw at him. In the 25th minute, any flickering Ukrainian hopes were well and truly extinguished when, in a 30-second flurry, Falcão and Indio both netted again, before Ukraine missed another gilt-edged opportunity (5-0, 25').
The match was well and truly over as a contest now, but there was still time for the crestfallen Ukrainians to concede once more (Kosenko own goal, 6-0, 28'). Going into their matches with the USA and Argentina, this heavy defeat leaves the Europeans in a compromising position.
After the encounter, their coach Gennadiy Lisenchuk was fuming about the third Brazilian goal, which he adjudged to be illegal, but sportingly declared: "We had plenty of chances to score but we couldn't take them, and Brazil's keeper had a great match. I can't really fault my players, as this is an excellent Brazil side."