Kazakhstan, Portugal produce thrilling fightbacks to reach semis
Two comeback wins set up a Portugal-Kazakhstan semi-final
Portugal came from behind to defeat Spain in extra-time
Taynan's late winner did it for Kazakhstan
Near miss and punishment With a second to go until the end of the second half, a Spain corner found the leg of Adolfo Fernandez, who touched the ball on to the post. It was a case of what might have been. As the teams went to their benches before extra-time, Portugal coach Jorge Braz, furious at defensive lapses, ended his speech by slamming his tactical board in to the ground. His charges soon got up and went on to produce a performance that brought them a ticket to a second successive semi-final. Two surprises It was far from perfect game from the Portuguese, though. There were more fouls than shots on goal in the first half. A mistake by goalkeeper Bebe, conceding a sixth foul, allowed Spain a great chance from ten metres, but Adri failed to hit the target. The end of the half did not put off Spain – vice-versa, in fact, as they made a fast start. Spain captain Carlos Ortiz pulled off an excellent pass – something he hoped before the game his counterpart Ricardinho would not do – to Adolfo, who provided a delightful finish. Just a minute later Adri found a perfect time to score his first goal of the tournament, firing in a free-kick to make up for his earlier miss. Comeback kings 2-0 down? Do not write the Portuguese off yet. In last year’s UEFA Futsal Champions League final Sporting came back from two goals down to defeat Barcelona 4-3. This time, buoyed by their raucous support in Vilnius, they were helped by a goalkeeping error by the otherwise great Jesus Herrero, who fumbled a shot from Andre Coelho. Buoyed, Portugal found the equaliser four minutes from time through Zicky. In extra time Spain were made to pay for a sliced clearance by Raya in to his own goal, while Ortiz’s failed pass allowed Pany to score into an empty net and seal the win.
Refreshed for the winner With four minutes left Douglas Junior sat down for a well-deserved break after playing for long periods, and was cooled by a staff member who waved his towel. When he came back, with two minutes left he made a bursting run forward, having his shot saved. On the rebound Taynan had his attempt blocked, but the following corner saw Taynan score the winning goal. The two Brazilians had made history as they helped Kazakhstan make the semi-finals for the first time. Defensive wall breached It didn’t look so in the first half, as despite boasting the best defence in the tournament, Kazakhstan conceded twice to IR Iran - the same number of goals as they had allowed in the previous four matches. Moslem Oladghobad told FIFA.com before the match teamwork was his side’s greatest asset and it was on show as his one-two with Saaeid Ahmad Abbasi, coupled with a bursting run, allowed him to open the scoring. Mahdi Javid then set up Ahhmad Esmaeilpour to round the goalkeeper and tap in home. 'Iron Man' ready to assist Kazakhstan fought back and were unlucky to hit the post either side of the break, but then their main man stepped up. Douglas Junior has been excellent in defence throughout the tournament, but the man nicknamed 'Iron Man' turned to 'Assist Man', showing the creative side of his playing arsenal by setting up first Dauren Tursagulov and then Arnold Knaub to score, and also making his contribution to the winning goal.
“When we went ahead – we’d worked so, so hard for it – me and Douglas looked at each other and said, ‘Nothing is getting past us now. We will die on this court, but nothing will get past us.’ And thank God it didn’t. Kazakhstan are in the best four teams in the world!" Leo Higuita, Kazakhstan goalkeeper "Two goals down, the important thing was to stay strong, to stay focused on our strategy, to create more opportunities offensively. The coach asked for more strength, more defensive intensity, and to avoid mistakes. We were also a little bit lucky, it’s part of the game too, but we have also worked a lot. Our goal is to do better than in Colombia - to get the medals, and we'll keep working for that." Andre Coelho, Portugal player
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Fans of Portugal show support for their team prior to the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 Quarter Final match between Spain and Portugal at Vilnius Arena on September 27, 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Photo by Alexander Scheuber - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Mellado of Spain is challenged by Pany of Portugal
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Miguel Mellado of Spain is challenged by Pany of Portugal during the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 Quarter Final match between Spain and Portugal at Vilnius Arena on September 27, 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Photo by Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Brazil-Argentina Wednesday, 20:00 in Kaunas Portugal-Kazakhstan Thursday, 20:00 in Kaunas