Portugal and Brazil qualify for last 16 from Groups C and D
RFU also book their spot, while Morocco concede last-gasp equaliser to Thailand
Ferrao nets another gem as Rodrigo hits 100-goal mark
Thursday 16 September
Group C Solomon Islands 0-7 Portugal Thailand 1-1 Morocco Group D Panama 2-3 Vietnam Brazil 4-0 Czech Republic
From far and near Portugal’s Andre Coelho started the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021™ with a vital equalising goal against Thailand. He experienced a slightly different situation against Solomon Islands, because his side had already eased into a 2-0 lead when he notched his second goal of the tournament. And what a strike it was: the Barcelona pivot set himself well and met a corner with a stinging long-range volley to fire the ball into the top corner of the net. But as scoresheets traditionally do not include notes on aesthetic beauty, his spectacular effort will go down as having just as much value as his second goal, which was scored three minutes later from almost the goal-line, following an error by a Thai defender.
’Keepers come close Goalkeepers rarely get to feel the excitement and elation involved in scoring a goal, but there is nothing in the rules that prevents them from trying their luck. On Thursday, Van Y Ho and Guitta, the respective last lines of defence for Vietnam and Brazil, came within a centimetre or two of experiencing those emotions. The Asian custodian struck the post with a robust clearance, before hitting the bar and then the post again – with the same shot – a few minutes later. The Brazilian number one, meanwhile, attempted a powerful effort from the halfway line that rebounded off the angle of bar and post. But despite showcasing their attacking prowess, the two keepers did not neglect their principal duty of saving their opponents’ shots. Indeed, both put in excellent performances between the sticks to help their teams to victories over Panama and Czech Republic.
KLAIPEDA, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Abdiel Castrellon of Panoma celebrates with Ruman Milord and Braayan Hurst after scoring their team's first goal during the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 group D match between Panama and Vietnam at Klaipeda Arena on September 16, 2021 in Klaipeda, Lithuania. (Photo by Chris Ricco - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
KAUNAS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 16: Bruno Coelho of Portugal shoots as Samuel Osifelo of Solomon Islands attempts to block during the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 group C match between Solomon Islands and Portugal at Kaunas Arena on September 16, 2021 in Kaunas, Lithuania. (Photo by Angel Martinez - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Hero worship In two matches, Solomon Islands have not managed to score a single goal. After losing 6-0 to Morocco, the Kurukuru conceded seven without reply to Portugal in Kaunas. However, the Oceanians still finished the match with smiles on their faces, having fulfilled a dream by each getting their photo taken with Portugal superstar Ricardinho. The five-time Best Player in the World award winner did not have to make much of an effort to raise a smile in the photos himself, given that he had just scored his first goal of the competition, and that he and his team-mates were now safely through to the knockout stages.
Three teams advance, one left frustrated Just when it seemed that Morocco would pick up their second win in as many matches, their resilient opponents Thailand dug deep to find a leveller 12 seconds from time to deny the African side a historic qualification for the second round – for now, at least.
The three teams that did progress to the Round of 16, meanwhile, are more accustomed to attaining the knockout phase, and all will fancy their chances of going all the way. Brazilian fans were treated to another fantastic goal by Ferrao that knocked the stuffing out of the Czechs in a match that also saw skipper Rodrigo score his 100th goal for his country, while Portugal enjoyed a comfortable victory over Solomon Islands.
The least difficult qualification of the day was actually achieved by RFU, however, whose players learned of their success from a hotel room in Vilnius, after the day’s results had mathematically guaranteed the UEFA representatives a place in the next round.
“We’re very proud to play on the greatest stage in futsal and compete with the best teams in the world. I think we’ve learned a lot.” - Solomon Islands captain Elliot Ragomo
Friday (all times local)
Group E Spain-Japan, Klaipeda (18:00) Angola-Paraguay, Klaipeda (20:00)
Group F IR Iran-USA, Vilnius (18:00) Argentina-Serbia, Vilnius (20:00)