Vassoura sweeps Morocco aside
He was here, there and everywhere. The star man in Azerbaijan's 5-0 win against Morocco in their FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016 opener, Vassoura was in the thick of the action throughout, regularly mopping up in defence and brushing aside all before him when going forward. Fittingly so, because the No10's nickname translates as 'broom' in Portuguese.
"When I was a little kid, I was always playing with the ball in the street and I used to clear up all the rubbish – a bit like a broom – and leave the place practically immaculate," a beaming Williams Oliveira do Nascimento told FIFA.com after the final whistle.
Another thing that was virtually immaculate was Vassoura's performance. Indeed, he hardly put a foot wrong at the back and played a big part in ensuring Azerbaijan clinched a clean sheet, including conjuring up one acrobatic goalline clearance, while being neat and tidy in possession.
Goals for his sonVassoura was equally effective up front, repeatedly leaving opposition defenders in the dust en route to notching a famous hat-trick. Furthermore, not only did he inspire his side to victory, he also earned himself a place in the history books by scoring Azerbaijan's first-ever goal at the Futsal World Cup - this being his adopted country's maiden campaign at the tournament.
As soon as the ball crossed the line, he raced over to the cameras, raised his right arm and kissed his tattoo. "It's my son's name, Erick," he explained, giving us another glimpse of the tat in question, a tribute to the light of his life, as shown by the words 'Minha vida' visible beneath the name. Aged eight, Vassoura's child is old enough to understand what is going on in the competition and the Azerbaijani attacker undoubtedly did him proud with his treble, even surpassing the target his biggest fan had set him.
"He sent me a video message before the match to tell me that I had to score two goals. In the end I got three, so I can't wait to hear what he'll have to say. I'm going to call him right away," said the 31-year-old.
A long way to goUnfortunately, the pair do not get to see each other very often. Vassoura earns his living in Azerbaijan, where he plies his trade for Araz Naxcivan, while Erick lives with his mother – from whom the star is separated – back in Brazil. Nevertheless, they remain close in spite of the distance. "Whenever I have a bit of time off, I go back to Brazil to be with him. He's a chip off the old block – he wants to be just like me and loves playing futsal."
For the time being, though, the youngster will have to keep following his father's fortunes from afar. Judging by their opening outing, there is no telling how far Azerbaijan might go in the World Cup and so how long they will be in Colombia for. Asked for his opinion, Vassoura simply said that there is a long way to go and that he is fully focused on making the most of every moment.
Despite his focus, at one point in our interview Vassoura was suddenly distracted by his team-mates, who had no qualms about calling out to him loudly while he was mid-answer. Just minutes earlier, it was the crowd at the Coliseo Ivan de Bedout in Medellin who had been shouting his name. Perhaps aided by his catchy nickname, the forward wasted no time in sweeping the local fans off their feet and they roared with approval every time he made his presence felt.
Eager to head off to talk to his son, it was almost time for the night's outstanding performer to take his leave. First, though, he offered a few thoughts on Azerbaijan's next match and expressed his hope that – God willing, in his own words – he will be able to reproduce the same sort of form to help his team brush Spain aside too.