From Netherlands to Chinese Taipei: 15 years of futsal
With the draw for the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 taking place on Sunday 5th September, FIFA.com invites you on a tour of the previous tournaments.
Fittingly, the first-ever FIFA Futsal World Championship was held in a country where the discipline thrives. This seminal event was attended by 16 teams (six from Europe, three from South America, two from Africa, two from Asia, two from North America and one from Oceania), including Brazil, hot favourites for the tournament. And the Auriverdes did justice to this billing by lifting the trophy without ever really looking troubled.
The host country, meanwhile, surprised everyone by sneaking onto the second step of the podium, even managing to hold their own with Brazil in a closely contested final (2-1). Third place was claimed by the United States, winners over Belgium after extra time (3-2) in what was effectively a duel between the two "surprise" teams of the tournament.
Hong Kong 1992
The second FIFA Futsal World Championship - and a second success for Brazil. Once again, the Auriverdes demonstrated their supremacy in the discipline. Looking, if anything, stronger than at Netherlands 89, the Brazilians were streets ahead of the other teams at the tournament, underlining their dominance by trouncing the United States 4-1 in the final.
For the runners-up, this represented a positive progression, with Spain taking their place on the third step of the rostrum. But the biggest splash at this tournament was mde by Iran, whose fourth-place finish at the first time of asking was no mean feat.
The hosts were widely tipped to maximise their home advantage and demonstrate their progress since Hong-Kong 92, but the Iberians could manage only second place this time, as those Brazilians stole the show once more (watched by 15,500 spectators at the final, 6-4).
Below them, Europe confirmed its coming of age in the discipline with the third and fourth-place finishes of Russia and Ukraine respectively. The United States, for once, failed to get beyond the first round.
Who would have believed it? After having monopolised the Futsal World Championship thus far, Brazil was forced to surrender its crown to an increasingly strong Spanish team. In the final, the Iberians triumphed 4-3, despite the presence in the ranks of the Auriverdes of the event's three top scorers.
In the third-place play-off between two of the pre-tournament favourites, Portugal proved too strong for Russia (4-2). But keeping up the tradition of a surprise in every tournament, Egypt became the first African team to qualify for the second round. The Guatemalan event also proved a big hit with the public, as a record 94,179 spectators flocked to watch the matches!