Brazil and Argentina set up South American semi-final
Argentina overcame RFU in a dramatic penalty shootout
Rodrigo fired Brazil past Morocco
Brazil and Argentina will now meet in a mouth-watering semi-final
Morocco 0-1 Brazil, Vilnius RFU 1-1 Argentina (4-5 on penalties), Kaunas
Spain-Portugal Monday, 17:30 in Vilnius IR Iran-Kazakhstan Monday, 20:00 in Kaunas
Captain paves the way into last four Brazil skipper Rodrigo hit the target once again with his trademark toe-poke, living up to his nickname as the “Human Torpedo”. Famed for his superb shooting technique, he put A Seleçao in front with a free-kick after Leozinho had drawn a defender out of the wall with a dummy run, allowing Rodrigo to clinically exploit the gap. Having shown too much respect to the record world champions initially, Morocco improved and youngster Youssef Jouad, in particular, impressed.
Khiyari on fire, Brazil’s solid rearguard The Atlas Lions gained momentum towards the end of the first half, piling on the pressure with a “fly” goalkeeper as Brazil accumulated five fouls, but the North Africans were unable to pick up where they left off going into the second period. The South Americans took control and Morocco goalkeeper Reda Khiyari was in the spotlight on several occasions. Brazil defended their lead thanks to a disciplined defensive display and ultimately Morocco may be frustrated that they did not take more risks going forward, even if they were delighted with their overall performance in Lithuania.
Former boss watching on Argentina’s FIFA Futsal World Cup 2016™-winning coach Diego Giustozzi arrived on site to watch a rematch of that year’s final and support the Albiceleste. He may no longer be in charge of the team, but he nervously marched to and fro in the stands as watched on. There was a first outing in Lithuania for one RFU player: Eder Lima, who scored a hat-trick in the final in Colombia, featured for the first time after recovering from injury. He and Claudino squandered the best chances in a match that was played with the intensity of a final right from the start.
Cuzzolino piledriver, Antoshkin on target Leandro Cuzzolino thundered in a left-footed drive, the captain getting his name on the scoresheet just as he had done in the previous quarter-final with a free-kick. At 6’1” (1.87m), Artem Antoshkin is one of the tallest players at the Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, and that came in handy when he scored at full stretch for RFU after goalkeeper Nicolas Sarmiento had made a number of outstanding saves.
Sarmiento to the rescue The superb Argentina stopper played a major role in setting up the all-South American contest with Brazil in the semi-finals. In the first penalty shoot-out of this tournament, and first for both teams at a Futsal World Cup, Sarmiento made two saves. However, the decisive stop was made by reserve goalkeeper Lucas Farach, who kept out Romulo.
"I would be happy not to score in every game in this tournament if we go home with the trophy. Today belongs to ‘Capita’. I’m incredibly happy." Ferrao, Brazil pivot "When I saved the penalty, many things came to my mind. Emotions, joy and much suffering, but above all an immense joy. When the legs can't do it, you win with your heart. It is the most beautiful thing." Nico Sarmiento, Argentina goalkeeper "It‘s a pity that such great teams had to meet as early as the quarter-finals. In the first half we were trying to find our game. In the second half we had the initiative but missed our chances. We could have scored from the ten-metre mark and gone through. The team did well, no-one can be blamed for this loss. We fought till the end." Artem Antoshkin, RFU pivot
Brazil-Argentina Wednesday, 20:00 in Kaunas Spain or Portugal v IR Iran or Kazakhstan Thursday, 20:00 in Kaunas