Javi Rodriguez and Spain go into FIFA's history book
Spain are the new Futsal World Champions! Javier Lozano's team defeated the title-holders Brazil in the final of the FIFA Futsal World Championship 2000 in Guatemala by 4 goals to 3. The bronze medal went to Portugal who beat Russia 4-2 in the play-off for third place.
There was an atmosphere of great excitement during the afternoon of 3 December 2000 in Guatemala City. In the new sports hall, the biggest in Central America, which was purpose-built for this competition in just seven months, the 7,500 crowd rose to honour the new world champions in indoor football, "España, España".
Coached by Javier Lozano, the Spanish team created football history on that day. By defeating Brazil 4-3 in the final they unseated the South Americans from their throne, which they had held since the inception of this competition, previously winning all three times in a row. Lozano's comment: "They had superb individual players, but we had the best team. And it was our great team play that finally won us this unique victory." After nine years in charge of the Spanish team, Lozano has finally earned gold, to round off their collection of bronze in 1992 and silver in 1996.
But the Spanish fate hung in the balance until the end; with four minutes to go Brazil were leading 3-2 and Spain seemed to be heading for their first defeat in their eight games in this tournament. Then came the shining moment of Javier Rodriguez. In the 36th minute he scored the equaliser and then with just a few seconds left on the clock his second goal tipped the scales in favour of the outsiders.
This was Brazil's first defeat since February 1999, when they lost 0-1 to Ukraine. They had outclassed the same opponents 16-1 just a few days earlier, and during that unique defeat they hit the bar and posts no fewer than 19 times.
In Guatemala they were regarded as the favourites all the way through to the final. Coached by the former world class player Vander Iacovino, they had dominated every opponent and scored an incredible75 goals in their previous seven matches - an average of almost 11 per game. Theywere fantastic in every match with their superb inter-passing, wonderful dribbling and great goals, the peak performance being a 29-2 victory over the hosts Guatemala, the highest win ever recorded in the final round of any FIFA competition. Not just in that match but throughout the tournament their outstanding player was Manoel Tobias. His artistic skills near goal brought him a total of 19 goals and secured him both the award for top scorer and also for the best player overall.
New spectator records
While Spain and Brazil were clearly the best two teams in the competition, they were not the only ones to make a positive impression. Portugal and European champions Russia also played futsal at a high level, with thePortuguese being the big surprise. While Spain and Brazil have a professional set-up in their countries - especially Brazil, who in the lead-up to the competition had trained up to three times a day for two months - the bronze medallists Portugal (4-2 against Russia after being two goals down in the play-off) are an amateur team. "With our background the bronze medal success is a sensational result for us," said coach Orlando Duarte.
While the overall level of play in Guatemala was high and showed a definite improvement over the last event in Spain in 1996, the difference in standard between Spain and Brazil and other countries such as Australia, Thailand or Cuba remains enormous. The Guatemala tournament demonstrated clearly that the European and South American teams were able to dominate other opponents at will. FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was there for the semi-finals stages onwards and was full of praise for the tournament. "This version of football is getting better and better and becoming more and more popular. But in Africa, Asia, Oceania and North and Central America especially, a greater effort must be made to ensure further progress."
Of the 16 teams that took part, the eight that reached the second round wereall Europeans (Spain, Portugal, Russia, Netherlands, Croatia) or South American (Brazil, Argentina) with the sole exception of Egypt, the only African representatives. All the others, (Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Uruguay, Thailand, Costa Rica, Australia, Iran and Cuba) went out early, with Kazakhstan, Thailand, Australia and Cuba having to go home without a single point.
But despite these differences between the teams, the spectators in the two halls, Domo and Teodoro Palacio Flores, were treated to some attractive matches. And the teams themselves were very positive about every aspect of the competition. On the one hand the Local Organising Committee had done an excellent job in setting things up, and on the other hand the local population were extremely enthusiastic about the biggest sporting event ever to be held in their country. The matches were very well attended and often sold out. On average there were 5,500 spectators per game - a new record for a Futsal World Championship - and this was not only a new record in terms of number, but also probably in terms of the great atmosphere they created for the matches.
Interesting and informative- and total success
The first ever FIFA Futsal Seminar in Guatemala City was a success in every respect, raising hopes that Futsal will soon enjoy major acceptance all overthe globe.
FIFA General Secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen was visibly surprised when, on 16 November, two days before the start of the FIFA Futsal World Championship Guatemala 2000, he welcomed the participants to the first FIFA Futsal Seminar at a hotel in Guatemala City: "I had assumed that 30 people would attend this one-and-half-day event. In the end more than 80 people took part. This is a fantastic success and proves how important Futsal is and how much we are trying to develop it."
Those attending the event had flown in from all over the world, a fact which shows just how important it was for FIFA to organise such a seminar. They were more than rewarded for making what was, in many cases, a very long journey with a number of interesting and informative papers. Experts from Europe and Central and South America spoke on subjects such as the profile of the modern Futsal coach, physical preparation in Futsal, Futsal as a nursery for the football of tomorrow, the latest changes to the rules of the game, technical preparation for referees, the future of Futsal and medical aspects of the sport.
"Futsal is constantly growing," said Walter Gagg, Director of FIFA's Development Division, at the seminar, underlying once again FIFA's hopes that Futsal would be recognised as a sport at the Olympic Games. Gagg also noted that Futsal was becoming more and more popular with girls and women.
Of all the speakers at the seminar, the loudest applause was received by Takão on presentation of his paper. The Brazilian, who led his home country's national Futsal team to the World Championship title three times in succession and today works as a university professor in the United States, spoke on the secret of Futsal's success in Brazil. In his remarks he referred to the immense popularity of the sport in Brazil and its correspondingly large reservoir of talent. Alone in Belo Horizonte, Takão's home town and, with a population of four million, one of Brazil's major cities, there are some 200 Futsal schools selectively promoting young talent.
Brazil is the leading force in Futsal. The game is developing faster there than anywhere else, although the seminar participants were unanimous in their opinion that substantial and widespread progress had been made all over the world in recent years. Yet this fascinating game needs to be developed still further, even though it is now played in over 90 countries. The game has yet to meet with global acceptance; in many places there are no funds available to adequately promote the sport. FIFA representatives and seminar participants alike appealed to the national associations to increase their support for Futsal. The words spoken by Honorary FIFA President João Havelange at the Futsal World Championship in 1989 remain valid: "Futsal is the football of the future."
Final: Spain - Brazil 4-3 (2-1)
3.12.2000. - Guatemala City. - 7500 spectators. - Referees: Ivan Novak (Croatia)/Carlos Servino (USA).Spain: Jesús (GK), Julio, Santi, Adeva, Orol, Joan, Javi Rodríguez, Kike, Javi Sánchez, Paulo Roberto, Riquer, Luis Amado (GK), Guillermo (GK), Daniel. Coach: Javier LozanoBrazil: Lavoisier (GK), Rogerio (GK), Anderson, André, Manoel Tobias, Fininho, Almir, Schumacher, Indio, Lenision, Joãn, Falcão, Franklin (GK), Vander. Coach: Vander Iacovino.Goals: 2. Daniel 1-0, 18. Anderson 1-1, 20. Javi Sanchez 2-1, 30. Manoel Tobias 2-2, 35. Vander 2-3. 36. Javi Rodríguez 3-3, 40. Javi Rodríguez 4-3.
Play-off for 3rd place: Russia - Portugal 2-4 (2-1)
3.12.2000. - Guatemala City. - 4000 spectators. - Referees: Pedro Galan Nieto (Spain)/Yaya Djiba (Senegal).Russia: Denisov (GK), Eremenko, Agaphonov, Verizhnikov, Alekberov, Malyshev, Markin, Shcuchko, Kupetskov, Bely, Chugunov, Samokhin (GK), Ionov, Tkachuk. Coach: Mikhail Bondarev.Portugal: Nana (GK), Tony (GK), Ivan, Pedro Costa, Vitinha, Arnaldo, Antonio Teixeira, André, Majo, Miguel Mota, Rogerio Santos, Nelito, Zezito, João Benedito (GK). Coach: Orlando Duarte.Goals: 5. Agaphonov 1-0, 10. Kupetskov 2-0, 15. Vitinha 2-1, 27. Majo 2-2, 28. Majo 2-3, 38. Rogerio Santos 2-4.
The adidas Golden Shoe for the top goalscorer:
Golden Shoe Manoel Tobias (Brazil; 19 goals)
Silver Shoe Vander (Brazil; 11 goals)
Bronze Shoe Schumacher (Brazil; 10 goals, 4 assists)
Fair Play Trophy Brazil