Brazil feel Spain pain again, steely Italians ooze class
For the second time in four years, 3 December has brought glory for Spanish futsal. Precisely four years to the day since a 4-3 victory over Brazil in the Guatemala 2000 Final the Spanish again shattered South American dreams, although the Europeans needed a shoot-out to see off their rivals this time after the game finished 2-2 in normal and extra time. In the second semi-final the powerful Italians registered an ultimately comfortable 7-4 triumph over Argentina. FIFA.com got the reaction from both games.
Reaction to Brazil v Spain
Javier Lozano (Spain coach): "Spain versus Brazil is always packed with quality, tempo and emotion. Spain deserved the win although it was a tight game. It was end to end stuff, but at the end of the day there were two main reasons for our victory: we were very flexible in defence, and we controlled the pace of the game. I really enjoyed watching us play. Before we arrived, there were a few doubts about our potential, but we've shown we can compete at the highest level."
Luis Amado (Spain): "It was a very evenly-matched game between two strong teams, but that's always the case when we play Brazil. The key for us today was to concentrate the whole time, and I reckon that's what we did extremely well. We waited for our chances to come and refused to be rushed."
Marcelo (Spain): "I've dreamed of winning a world championship since I was a child. Now we're through to the Final and I'll put body and soul into winning the match. Then my dream could become reality. Fundamentally It wouldn't have mattered whether we were playing Argentina or Italy as long as we won. But as it happens I'm glad it's Italy, because we lost to them in the second round and there's a score to settle. It'll definitely be a great Final and I'll give it all I've got."
Ferretti (Brazil coach): "Mathematics alone are the reason we lost today. How are you supposed to explain a shoot-out? It's always a one-off. Obviously Brazil wanted to win but we've fallen to a bitter defeat. Our attack did well against the powerful Spanish defence, but we didn't have the quality in front of goal to win the match today. Tobias and Fininho are big-name players but they've hit the limit of their abilities and that's why I didn't send them on. We've seen today that you need a strong defence, a good front line on its own isn't enough to win. Brazil should have won the game in normal time or in extra-time. Congratulations to Spain. I've been in this business 30 years so I can handle the defeat. We go back to work on Sunday."
Simi (Brazil): "It was an extremely close game. Brazil definitely had more chances than Spain. We were unlucky on their second goal, Schumacher deflected the ball. Luis Amado was made to work today. We got in plenty of shots, and honestly the Spanish defence isn't as good as people say, we simply failed to take our chances. It's going to be difficult getting motivated for the third place play-off, because we came here to win the trophy. so it's not the same thing at all."
Falcao (Brazil): "We missed a few chances. A shoot-out is always a lottery. We knew Brazil always aim to play stylish futsal. I think we did that, but I'm disappointed we're not going to show what we can do in the Final. What do you say after hitting the post and bar three times? Those are basically parts of the goal, but we were out of luck today."
Reaction to Italy v Argentina
Alessandro Nuccorini (Italy coach): "Italy deserved the win. We led from start to finish. The first half was a real game of futsal, it was a little crazy after that. But I'm not angry with anyone. My players are all tired because they've given everything so often in a short space of time, but we'll rouse ourselves for the Final."
Salvatore Zaffiro (Italy captain): "We deserve our place in the Final. We played well today. We were 3-0 up at the break so it's no surprise our concentration faded a little in the second half. Argentina played better after that, and the second 20 minutes were really entertaining."
Fernando Larrañaga (Argentina coach): "We started badly and let in two early goals, just like we did against Brazil. We never got a grip on the match, my players were nervous and increasingly short of confidence. It's like two years ago when we played Italy in Egypt: we never got our own game going because our opponents were too strong. But in normal circumstances we wouldn't have lost by a three-goal margin. We made the kind of mistakes we normally don't make. But we reached our target of a place in the semi-finals."