THE DAY REPLAYED – Brazil kept their eyes on the prize on Thursday, defeating Costa Rica and sealing a place in the semi-finals of the Men’s Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament Buenos Aires 2018. Matchday 5 also saw Slovakia, in their third outing, secure their first win of the competition.
The Brazilians came flying out the traps, Guilhermao scoring a brace – a deft finish for the first and a brilliant second that included a nutmeg and a backheel – within the opening five minutes.
Despite that early setback, and a clear difference in individual and collective quality, Los Ticos did not allow their heads to drop and continued to press forward, firing in 31 shots on goal, although only eight of those were on target.
However, Brazil always gave the impression they could step up a gear if need be, and they did just that, going on to win 6-2. The South Americans now lead Group B in their own right after three matches, boasting a 100 per cent record.
In the second match, Slovakia and Panama both contributed to an intense battle, in which both teams gave their all. Some clinical finishing from the Europeans helped them to build an early three-goal lead, but it was their goalkeeper, Kevin Kollar, who truly stole the show as the match progressed, stopping practically everything that the Panamanians were capable of throwing at him.
As well as celebrating their 4-1 victory, the Slovakians would have been delighted to have finally found the back of the net in the tournament. The first of their four goals was scored by Jozef Koricina, who had previously registered 48 shots at goal in 84 minutes of play.
Did you know?
- In today’s match against Panama, Brazil recorded their highest ball possession rate at the tournament so far, 52 per cent. And yet they have scored 16 goals and conceded just three in total, a sign that they do not need to dominate the ball to pose an attacking threat.
- For the first time ever in a FIFA-run men’s futsal match, two women – Valeria Palma (Chile), and Chiara Perona (Italy), who officiated during the Slovakia-Panama game – served as referee and assistant referee.
Iran-Russia, Group B, Main Futsal Hall
Argentina-Iraq, Group A, Main Futsal Hall
Friday’s slate of games promises much, with four of the best teams at Buenos Aires 2018 in action. Argentina and Iraq, level on four points in Group A, go head-to-head, while Russia (six points) will look to extend their three-point lead over Iran in Group B.