In the build-up to the final of the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004, the opposing coaches are, in one sense at least, singing from the same song sheet. For both Italy's Alessandro Nuccorini and Spain's Javier Lozano are at pains to cast their teams in the role of outsiders for the title. But which one of them is right?
FIFA.com: Javier, how are you approaching this final?
Javier Lozano: I have a strong sense of excitement and responsibility, but I also feel very confident.
Do you see it as an advantage to have already played Italy in the second round of this FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004?
Definitely! The fact that we met earlier in the tournament means we already have a clear idea of their strengths and weaknesses, much more so than when the competition started.
Did you ever imagine that it would be a Spain - Italy final?
It had crossed my mind, yes, because Italy were one of the favourites and European champions, while we're the titleholders. Nothing's ever 100% sure, bit it was always a distinct possibility.
Does the fact that it's an all-European affair mean South American futsal is currently not as strong as in Europe?
There are a lot more tournaments in Europe than elsewhere in the world, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that teams need to play matches in order to improve. I believe this is the main advantage we have over the South Americans.
What differences are there between European and South American futsal?
I would say that South American futsal is more skilful and creative, whereas in Europe the accent is generally on physique and tactics. I don't think you can really say that one is better than the other. The ideal team would be a blend of both styles.
What will you be saying to your players over the coming hours?
Firstly, I'll be reminding them that playing in a World Championship is a fantastic opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime event. I'll also be asking them to give 100%. Then, we shall see how things unfold on the pitch.
Alessandro Nuccorini regards Spain as the big favourites for this final. How do you see it?
He's smart; he's trying to put us under pressure. All's fair in love and war, I suppose. But seriously, I believe that his team are the logical favourites for the title. They are the champions of Europe and have recently beaten us twice, in our last two meetings. Need I say more?
What do you think the game will hinge on?
The way this final goes will be decided by certain very small details. A piece of individual skill here, a foul or a corner there. Extreme vigilance will be required, because the slightest error could prove fatal.