THE DAY REPLAYED - At the culmination of a thrilling day of on-court action, Brazil defeated Argentina in the semi-finals of the Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament Buenos Aires 2018 and qualified for the final, where they will vie for the gold medal with Russia, who saw off the challenge of Egypt in the earlier match.
The two South American rivals laid on a fantastic game, which got off to a blistering start, with forward Guilhermao firing home to open the scoring after just 42 seconds and temporarily silence the crowds packed into the Main Futsal Hall.
Following that goal, the Brazilians enjoyed 15 minutes of intense pressure, during which Neguinho rounded the goalkeeper and doubled their lead. Judging by their vociferous celebrations, the players and staff clearly realised it had the makings of a key moment.
But then A Seleção committed a sixth accumulated foul, and when Agustin Raggiati pulled a goal back from the second penalty mark, the hosts began to believe. Just after half-time, Santiago Rufino drew his side level with a cracker of a shot that left goalkeeper Francoar helpless and sent the home fans into raptures.
It was La Albiceleste's turn to dominate, but Francoar managed to keep them at bay. They were caught napping at a corner halfway through the second period, however, and Breno duly put Brazil 3-2 up. Despite strong pressure from the home team, it was a lead the Brazilians would hold onto until the final whistle, when they indulged in noisy celebrations.
The first semi-final turned out as expected: closely contested, and determined by minor details.
Russia struck first through Igor Cherniavskii in the third minute, and quickly turned the screw, Maxim Okulov making it 2-0 just 62 seconds later. The much-fancied Europeans appeared to have one foot in the final.
The boisterous atmosphere generated by the Argentinian fans in the stands did not seem to affect the composure of the Russians, who always looked in control of the situation, even after Belal Elsayed pulled one back for the Egyptians.
In Russia’s first attack of the second half, Danil Karpiuk restored their two-goal lead. They subsequently saw out the remainder of the match fairly comfortably, with the exception of a couple of minor scares.
Did you know?
- The queue to get into the Argentina-Brazil match at the Main Futsal Hall started to form at nine o’clock in the morning. By midday, it was 500 metres long. By half-time in the second women’s semi-final, the stands were completely full, and the Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament would have yet another day to remember.
- In the final of the South American Under-18 Futsal Championship, which served as a qualifying contest for this competition, Brazil also beat Argentina 3-2.
- This is the second consecutive time that Russia have made it to the final of a FIFA-run futsal event, after they played in the showpiece match at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016.
18 October, all times local
- Egypt-Argentina, third place play-off (bronze medal match) 10.30
- Russia-Brazil, final (gold medal match) 13.00