Argentina edge Brazil to reach final
Argentina edged Brazil 2-1 in a thrilling semi-final
Nico Sarmiento produced a stunning performance
The holders will face Portugal or Kazakhstan in Sunday's final
The double act Brazil were piling the pressure on midway through the first half, with only the woodwork and the reflexes of Nico Sarmiento keeping the deadlock intact. Then Cristian Borruto did brilliantly and his shot, which was going in anyway, was tapped home by Constantino Vaporaki. The latter then employed his eagle’s vision and esteemed execution of pass to start the move that gave them their second goal within three minutes. The saving slide Argentina had, uncharacteristically, over-committed themselves into attack in the second half, and three Brazilians raced forward. Pito appeared to have found a team-mate in space, but Maximiliano Rescia flung his body across the Kaunas court and, with the toes of his outstretched leg, diverted the ball out for a throw. Guard supreme For Brazil, who were chasing the game for much of it and had 17 shots on target, to only score once tells you everything about Sarmiento’s performance: he was infallible. The Argentina goalkeeper won the adidas Golden Glove in 2016, was the star of their victory over Brazil in the final of the qualifying tournament for Lithuania 2021, and has been his nation’s best performer here.
Semi-final: Brazil - Argentina
Kaunas arena before the match
KAUNAS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 29: A general view inside the arena as both teams and the match officials line up prior to the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 Semi-Final match between Brazil and Argentina at Kaunas Arena on September 29, 2021 in Kaunas, Lithuania. (Photo by Oliver Hardt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
KAUNAS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Fans of Brazil show their support during the national anthem prior to the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 Semi-Final match between Brazil and Argentina at Kaunas Arena on September 29, 2021 in Kaunas, Lithuania. (Photo by Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
“One wants less suffering, we are on the verge emotionally... We knew it was another step, a new story that we had to write. We were convinced that we were capable of beating this Brazil side, which has so many stars. We had to suffer, we had to be mentally strong to receive every blow from them and play our game in attack. It worked and we are finalists.” Matias Lucuix, Argentina's coach
Argentina became the third nation to win 30 Futsal World Cup matches. Brazil and Spain are on 57 and 48 wins respectively.
Thursday, 20:00 in Kaunas Portugal-Kazakhstan