Cuba 0-3 Argentina: Black Rock finally rolled aside
Fifty shots - and most of them struck Cuban keeper Wilfredo Carbo. This was the story in the second Group D clash in the FIFA Futsal World Championships, which Argentina won 3-0. Cuban coach Clemente Reinoso admitted: "We had the best player on the pitch tonight - Carbo. But I'm happy with the performance because we are asking the players to play at a higher level than they are used to."
Cuba may have a reputation for pretty passing movements and creative flair, but tonight they relied on grit, determination and the man known as the Black Rock. Carbo was immovable in the Cuba goal as Argentina blasted him from all angles.
The Albicelestes had suffered an injury crisis before the tournament even began - with Javier Guisando, Martin Enriquez, Pablo Ranieri and Diego Giustozzi all nursing knocks. They played with the vastly experienced captain Carlos Sanchez sweeping at the back, so even on Cuba's brief forays forward the danger was snuffed out by the Italian-based player.
The main problem for the Central Americans was to retain possession when they got it. Time and again they were pressed into mistakes and needed to call on Carbo as the Argentinians swept forward. They couldn't score for 30 minutes though, and pre-tournament concerns that they might not find the net enough looked as if they might come true.
Inspiration from the No.10s
Argentina's No.10 Marcelo Giminez - another based in the strong futsal league in Italy - produced moments of inspiration throughout. However Giminez wasn't the only influential No 10. Havana-native Juan Carlos Portal, the captain of Cuba, tried to bring some calm to his pressurised defence.
The game hinged on the first Argentina's first goal, with Carbo finally beaten after 32 minutes. The Cuban keeper parried Sanchez' shot and Hernan Garcias pounced. This was the signal for a tactical shift in the match. The South Americans were able to sit back, invite the Cubans to come forward and then catch them on the break. They played the Cubans at their own game, and were better at it.
Caught in no man's land, the Cubans conceded two late goals both scored by Leonardo Planas. Fernando Larrañaga breathed a sigh of relief: "We knew it would be hard - we watched a video this morning of our game in Guatemala 2000. It was the same story then. For us the problem was we haven't been together for 13 months so I'm happy with the result."