The 3rd FIFA Futsal World Championship, organised with great
aplomb by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), proved highly
popular with the fans (66,900 spectators in total). Sixteen nations
travelled to Iberia in search of glory: six from Europe, three from
South America, three from Asia, two from CONCACAF, one from Africa
and one from Oceania. Once again it was Brazil who lifted the
trophy, though this time around the teams from the Old Continent
gave excellent accounts of themselves: Russia and the Ukraine, in
particular, reaching the semi-finals.
Alfonso "Taco" Araujo's charges once again confirmed their status as favourites in retaining the trophy they had won in Hong Kong four years earlier - even if they had to work a little harder for their title this time around. Individual brilliance and inspired teamwork were again the unstoppable weapons deployed by Brazil, who boasted a magnificent quartet in Serginho, Manoel (the tournament's top scorer), Fininho and Vander. Belgium, Cuba and Iran provided little or no opposition in the first round as the Auriverde won all their games, netting 31 times and conceding only 5. In the second round, Uruguay and the Netherlands were both on the wrong end of five goal drubbings. Ukraine showed they were made of sterner stuff, however, toughing out a 2-2 draw. The semis were another good day at the office as the Seleçao handed out a 6-2 beating to the Russians, earning the right to a Final berth against the hosts Spain. And although they were willed on by a 15,500-strong crowd, the Furia fell short: Brazil won 6-4 and were crowned champions once again.
Murcia, Segovia, Castellon, Barcelona.