The FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 drew to a climax today with Spain retaining the title they first won four years ago. Italy finished valiant runners-up, while Brazil picked up bronze after defeating Argentina. FIFA.com was on hand to get all the reaction after the day's thrilling events…
Alessandro Nuccorini (Italy coach)
"First and foremost, I want to thank all my players and backroom staff. Our marvellous World Championship is all down to them. We behaved impeccably throughout, and tonight's defeat will not erase that fact from my memory.
We played beautifully throughout the tournament, but today fatigue caught up with us. Spain deserved to win because they were the better team today. So well done to them! I said before the match that it was not going to be easy to play a team we had beaten twice in our last two encounters. But we could not pick and choose our opponent. We just had to get on with it.
Before this match we had won 23 matches, drawn once, unluckily, to Portugal, and lost a friendly to Slovenia when most of my experienced players were absent. My players should be really proud of themselves. In life, you have to pick yourself up and look to the future and that's just what we will do. At the end of the tournament, our record reads six wins, one draw and one defeat, just like Spain's. But tonight it is Spain who are world champions. We won one match against them, and lost one, but at the end of the day, they are the winners. That's sport for you. After the game, I wrote on the dressing room wall, 'You are fantastic, you should be proud of yourselves. Thank you for everything'."
Kike (Spain defender and captain)
"My happiness is different to what I experienced in Guatemala. Four years ago I was just a 22-year-old kid, and I wasn't a regular starter. I found it thrilling but I wasn't so intensely involved. This title proves that the Spanish side possesses a lot of qualities that other sides are lacking. We were incredibly united, and for me that's crucial. The first world crown was unquestionably the most important, but I think it's even harder to retain a title. We weren't favourites because some of the other teams were supposedly ahead of us. This success will enable us to consolidate the sport in our country and in the world. We have proved futsal has a wonderful future."
Javi Rodriguez (Spain forward - adidas Silver Ball)
"That was my third FIFA Futsal World Championship and undoubtedly the hardest. All the teams have really come on. The final was very close. We knew we had to keep a close eye on the powerful Italian strikers. What was the difference between the two sides? We were probably a little luckier than them in front of goal."
Luis Amado (Spain goalkeeper)
"That was a really tight match. Both keepers were kept very busy and did really well. But that's been true for the tournament as a whole. The four semi-finalists had really excellent goalkeepers, and I think that is the key to building a team - from the back. Futsal training has really improved, especially for goalkeepers. With my club, for example, I take part in seven or eight two-hour sessions per week. I don't think people were training like that a few years ago."
Ferretti (Brazil coach)
"Both teams realised there was no pressure today. The title had slipped from our hands unfortunately. But I think both sides wanted to finish third and went all out to win. What pleases me is that we put on a good show for the fans."
There's no denying futsal has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. At Guatemala 2000, the hosts were beaten by 27 goals in one game. Here, Chinese Taipei's heaviest defeat was 12-0. I think futsal in Asia has really progressed. This continent is bringing a lot to the game. The standards remain very high in Europe and in South America, where a new contender has emerged in the shape of Paraguay. I think Colombia will soon be major players too and could well cause an upset or two in the coming years. Australia surprised me in the way they seem to have stagnated somewhat. Africa are still some way behind the rest of the pack, with the exception of Eqypt, who have a good side."
Schumacher (Brazil defender)
"It's obviously nicer to finish with a bronze medal that end up fourth. We made it a question of honour to play well tonight. I think it was a great match and I'm happy we were so dangerous throughout."
Manoel Tobias (Brazil midfielder)
"I've been playing for the Seleçao for 14 years and I always want to win, whether it be a World Championship match or a friendly. It's quite simple really. I respect my country. I give my all in every game and I showed the same level of determination today. Of course I would have preferred to play in the final but we had to accept and respect the fact that Spain beat us."
Fernando Larrañaga (Argentina coach)
"We made the same mistakes tonight as we did against Italy. Even if we got back into it in the second half, I cannot accept this defeat. We came here with the aim of finishing in the top four, so I can say that we did well overall at the World Championship. We're very happy to have achieved our goal. Having said that, I am frustrated when I think back to our last two matches. It's a shame to finish on such a sour note. I am convinced we could have done better."