Brazil 2-1 Argentina: Auriverde triumph in continental clash of titans
2-1 Brazil continued their winning streak at the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 with a comfortable 2-1 victory over Argentina. The Brazilians seldom looked in trouble after two early goals consigned their Argentine opponents to a forlorn game of catch-up.
Reflected Brazil coach Ferretti afterwards: "It was a very tactical battle. Luckily we scored twice early on. Argentina chose not to take any risks, but that's always been the way when they play us."
The Brazil boss sent out an unchanged starting line-up for the first time, maintaining faith in Franklin, Neto, Euler, Simi and Falcao following the 6-0 rout of Ukraine. Argentina similarly began with the five who started the 2-1 victory over the USA.
The history of the fixture at previous FIFA Futsal World Championships pleaded in the Brazilians' favour following a 6-3 win in 1989, a 5-1 triumph in 1992 and a 4-1 victory in 2000. However, when the sides last met, on 31 August 2003, Argentina emerged victorious by the only goal, so a fascinating duel was in prospect this time round.
Brazil made the best possible start as Simi confidently buried a second minute opener following an error by rival captain Sanchez. Argentina swiftly recovered their composure and Planas brought a fine reaction save out of Brazil keeper Franklin following Garcias' fine fourth minute lay-off. But Brazil were in ruthless mood, and Simi forced a deflected effort past keeper Guisande to double the advantage with just six minutes played. Argentina struggled for rhythm now as their South American rivals dominated, but coach Larrañanga's men slowly fought their way back and Garcias finished off a sweet passing move to reduce the arrears with an angled drive three minutes from half-time. Gonzalez narrowly failed to equalise a minute later before Garcias saw his effort on the stroke of half-time shave the upright.
Franklin stood between Argentina and an equaliser at the start of the second half, pulling off a fine save from Sanchez after 23 minutes. Falcao led Brazil's reply but the danger man hit the bar before Guisande was a trifle fortunate to keep out Neto's 26th minute effort. The Argentine custodian dealt far more confidently with Falcao's free-kick on the half-hour and the same player's low drive three minutes later. Brazil upped the tempo and Giustozzi hacked a goal-bound 35th minute effort off the line. Schumacher drove wide of the right post after 36 minutes before Gonzalez failed to register a last-minute equaliser with only Franklin to beat.
Argentina coach Larrañanga commented: "We fell behind surprisingly early and we needed nearly 10 minutes to get going. In the second half we were hoping to hit them on the break, but we always had an eye on not conceding too many goals."