It was little wonder that Colombia’s Carlos Nanez ended his side’s FIFA Futsal World Cup last-16 match against Paraguay red-eyed and wearing a look of despair on his face. The Cafetero goalkeeper was his team’s outstanding performer, keeping a clean sheet against their South American rivals, but still ended up on the losing side as the hosts exited the competition on penalties.
“I don’t know where to begin. We’re very sad,” the Colombian No1 told FIFA.com afterwards. The only player in the home squad to hail from Cali, the city where they played all four of their matches at Colombia 2016, Nanez struggled to contain his disappointment at their untimely elimination: “To see so many people here, and to know that my family, friends, wife and daughter were all here supporting me… It really hurts that we couldn’t make them happy.”
His forlorn words echoed around the corridors of the Coliseo el Pueblo, while his coach Arney Fonnegra made his way to the past-match press conference and his team-mates filed out of the dressing room one by one. Breaking the silence, the 31-year-old custodian looked back at the game.
“We showed the same kind of solidity at the back as we did in Thailand four years ago,” he said. “We made fewer mistakes and we were more focused. I think we lacked a bit of poise in front of goal, though, and as for the penalties, well they’re just a lottery.”
Bitterly disappointed as he was with the result, Nanez could at least take consolation from knowing he did his job: “The coach told me that he needed me to make the rest of the team feel secure, and I think I showed today that they can rely on me. I gave it everything, as we all did.”
Refusing to think about what might have been had the suspended Angellott Caro and Jorge Abril been able to play, along with Yulian Diaz, who had recovered from injury but did not make it on to the court, the keeper said: “Maybe things would have turned out differently, but it’s too late to talk about that now. The coach selected the 14 players because we all had the ability to come on and play when needed. And we lost on penalties!” he added, as if by way of an explanation.
Turning his attention to what the future might hold for him and his team-mates, Nanez said: “We’ll just have to see what the coach, the technical committee and the national FA decide. We’ve got a great squad, a great group of players and a bright future ahead of us.”
Contemplating his own prospects, the Club Deportivo Lyon player added: “I’m going to carry on working to keep my place in the national team.” A futsal player since 2011, when he gave up on the idea of making it in 11-a-side football and accepted an invitation to play from a group of friends before falling in love with the game, Nanez is nevertheless thinking of making a change or two in his life: “My aim was to play in the World Cup as the first-choice keeper and I’ve achieved that. To do it I had to put a few things on hold, like my physiotherapy degree. I’m going to start thinking about me now and my future.”
In the short term, Nanez will be licking his wounds: “I’ll be talking to my wife. She’s a huge support for me and she’ll help me put this sadness behind me.” He also plans to watch the rest of the tournament unfold: “It’s going to be painful, but I’m going to come and watch the games because this is the sport I love and because the business end of the competition is coming up. I used to dream about the World Cup coming to Colombia and I’m not going to turn my back on it now.”