Victory for Portugal and Spain
Portugal and Spain launched into the second round of the FIFA Futsal World Championship Guatemala 2000 with a victory. In Group F, Portugal surprised the Netherlands with a 3-1 win while Spain knocked Croatia out 5-0.
The Netherlands seemed to be the favourites in their first match in Group F against Portugal. The Dutch, who impressed the experts with good performances and nine points in three matches in the first round, started self-confidently against their less experienced opponents from southern Europe. The first half of the game was not very attractive for the spectators in the Domo hall because both teams played tactically and avoided taking too many risks. It was therefore almost a foregone conclusion that the first half would end goalless after 20 minutes.
In the second half, the match became more interesting when both sides started pushing forward. Portugal went ahead with a slick goal scored by Arnoldo. After that, Portugal put all their energy into defending the score. The Dutch started to attack more but despite good opportunities they were unable to beat goalkeeper Tony. In the last minute, Pedro Costa was instrumental in deciding the flow of the game. He scored for 2-0 seconds later, and captain Vitinha then made it 3-0. Finally Pascal Langenhuijsen scored the only goal for the Dutch but it could not alter the fact that Portugal surprisingly won an important match.
Spain, the runners-up in the last FIFA Futsal World Championship in 1996, won their match against Croatia easily. Coach Javier Lozano's team scored the first two goals within just five minutes. After that, the Spaniards took the game over and the crowd was delighted with their performance. Spain showed a modern style of futsal, an attractive and attack-orientated game. The Croatians tried hard to keep pace with their opponnents and they showed fighting spirit. But they never demonstrated as much class as the other side. Not once did the Spaniards fear losing this match. They were simply the better side. And if they continue with this kind of futsal, they can go very far in this tournament.