Matchday 5 preview: Brazilians face Czechs as Asians seek to rebound
Second matchday in Groups C and D
First serious test for Brazil, second chance for sides who lost their first game
Morocco eye knockout phase after maiden FIFA Futsal World Cup win
Thursday (local time) Group C Solomon Islands-Portugal, Kaunas, 18:00 Thailand-Morocco, Kaunas, 20:00 Group D Panama-Vietnam, Klapedia, 18:00 Brazil-Czech Republic, Klapedia, 20:00
“We’re not playing in a schoolyard tournament or the Sunday league. We’re taking on the best teams in the world,” said dejected Solomon Islands coach Vinicius de Carvalho after his side’s 6-0 loss to Morocco in Group C. De Carvalho was not wrong about the quality of the competition, with the Kurukuru about to take on a Portugal side led by Ricardinho, the six-time Best Player in the World. The Oceania side will need to pull out all the stops to avoid a defeat that will all but certainly condemn them to an early exit. For their part, A Selecçao das Quinas took 20 minutes to get warmed up in their 4-1 defeat of Thailand, but showed some of their potential in the second period, when the 20-year-old Zicky, who has all the makings of a superstar, scored his first World Cup goal.
The Thais need to react after a defeat that they can take plenty of encouragement from, such were the problems they caused the Portuguese. And judging by the actions of their captain, Kritsada Wongkaeo, in the closing stages of that game, they should be up for the challenge when they take on Morocco. The Thai skipper simply refused to let his team-mates give up the ghost when Portugal scored three goals in five minutes, urging them to keep going. His team talk in the dressing room at the Kaunas Arena is likely to be an inspiring one as the Thais go in search of a win that will revive their hopes of making the Round of 16 like they did in Colombia five years ago. While the Vietnamese had a good enough goal difference to finish among the four best third-placed teams in 2016, the Panamanians fell just short. Both sides will have goals in mind again this time out, not least with daunting encounters against the two group favourites to come on the final matchday.
Those two favourites meet with confidence levels – and goal differences – boosted by those big opening wins. Czech Republic’s Michal Seidler made a notable impact in scoring a hat-trick against Panama, only to be upstaged a few minutes later by Brazil’s Ferrao, who turned in the best individual performance of the tournament so far against Vietnam. As the eastern Europeans know full well, though, Brazil pose a threat everywhere. “Brazil are the best team in the competition and Pito and Ferrao are amazing players. I’m delighted I don’t play in defence,” joked Seidler. His team-mates Jan Homola, Lukas Resetar, Matej Slovacek, Tomas Koudelka and Michal Holy are not so fortunate and will have the onerous task of trying to contain that fearsome attack.
“Getting our first World Cup win is historic. It’s an encouraging result but the most important games are yet to come. Our next match will be decisive, the most important for us yet in this tournament.” Hicham Dguig, Morocco coach
David Jost (CZE), Claudio Goodridge (PAN), Samuel Osifelo (SOL), Ronnachai Jungwongsuk (THA) and Van Vu Tran (VIE) are all on a caution and will be suspended for the next matchday if they pick up another one on Thursday.