Final preview: A title defence or new world champion?
Argentina look to defend their Colombia 2016 title
Portugal can become world champions for the first time
Brazil and Kazakhstan will contest the match for third place
The final of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021™ in Kaunas on Sunday 3 October looks set to be a true clash of the titans.
Reigning world champions Argentina will be bidding to defend their title against current European champions and 2016 fourth-place finishers Portugal.
Meanwhile record title-winners Brazil will be going all out to secure a place on the podium ahead of Kazakhstan in the match for third place.
Argentina - Portugal Sunday 3 October, 20:00 in Kaunas Match for third place Brazil – Kazakhstan Sunday 3 October, 18:00 in Kaunas
Will freshness prove the deciding factor? Both final contenders have already had to navigate one penalty shootout during the knockout stage. Argentina emerged victorious from their quarter-final clash with RFU, while Portugal did the same against Kazakhstan in the last four. Yet while the South Americans managed to wrap things up in normal time in both the Round of 16 and the semi-finals, the Portuguese also went to extra time in both of their other knockout matches. This means the Europeans have many more minutes in their legs.
Argentina's dogged defence The Albiceleste put on an impressive display of defensive strength in their semi-final, having only conceded six goals in the entire tournament so far. Even the individual brilliance of players such as Ferrao, Pito and Leozinho found it difficult to break down the Argentinians. Maximiliano Rescia sticks to opponents like glue, and when the opposition do eventually get a sight of goal, the South Americans have in Nico Sarmiento a goalkeeper who is once again in the running for the adidas Golden Glove after collecting the same award at Colombia 2016. Pany is just getting going, but has Brandi run out of steam? Portugal’s Pany has been in captivating form in Lithuania so far. He is the only player to have scored in five out of the first six games, netting six goals overall, including four in the knockout stages alone. Only Brazil’s Ferrao has a higher tally with eight goals. Meanwhile Argentina’s biggest attacking threats have come from Alan Brandi and Cristian Borruto with five and four goals respectively – but all of Brandi’s strikes came in the group stages. Friends reunited Being on the books of MFK Kairat Almaty in Kazakhstan, Brazil’s Gadeia will face no fewer than eight of his club-mates when his side take on the Falcons. They include both Kazakh players with Brazilian roots, Leo Higuita and Douglas Jr., with whom he is good friends. Iron Man Douglas revealed in an interview with FIFA.com that his biggest dream is to play against the Seleção in a World Cup final. He will now battle it out for a podium place against the country where he grew up in the match for third place.
5 – Argentina netted five goals in their semi-final in Colombia five years ago courtesy of five different goalscorers: Cristian Borruto, Damian Stazzone, Constantino Vaporaki, Alan Brandi and Leandro Cuzzolino. The quintet are all in the Argentina squad for this year’s final. 31.87 - Argentina are the oldest team at this World Cup, with an average age of almost 32. At 35, Stazzone is the Albiceleste’s most experienced player. 33 – Brazil’s semi-final defeat by Argentina was their first in normal time in 33 matches. The last time they lost inside 40 minutes was to Spain in the 2000 final. It was the longest such run in the history of the tournament.
"This team are never satisfied; they always want more. We need to have a rest because the tournament has taken its toll. We’re looking forward to the big match. We’ll see soon enough whether or not we go down in history. Whatever happens, I’m already proud of my team-mates who have made so many sacrifices, and the coaching staff too. We want to thank the Argentinians for supporting us. They deserve this too." Argentina’s Leandro Cuzzolino
Argentina or Portugal? Title defense or a world champion debut?v