Argentina register a record-breaking victory
Spain dominate Paraguay as IR Iran eke out victory
Japan overcome Angola in a 12-goal thriller
Group E Paraguay 0-4 Spain Angola 4-8 Japan Group F Serbia 2-3 IR Iran Argentina 11-0 USA
2016 repeat on the cards? IR Iran’s Hamid Ahmadi enjoyed mixed fortunes, scoring the opener against Serbia before being sent off not long afterwards. It was also a bit of a roller-coaster ride for his team in general, as they dominated the first half but had to rely on their goalkeeper Alireza Samimi to keep them in the match. Both teams scored in the final four minutes, which, allied to a sending-off for Serbia, provided a dramatic climax for the watching fans. The Serbs showed that, despite being the last European nation to qualify for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021™, they are definitely not here to make up the numbers. The third-place finishers from Colombia 2016 dealt admirably with the loss of their star player, Hossein Tayebi, to make a strong start in their quest to at least equal what they achieved five years ago. Gem of a goal Few futsal observers will be that surprised to hear that Spain won in a competitive match and completely dominated possession in the process, given that holding on to the ball is one of the hallmarks of their play. Fede Vidal’s side also demonstrated their ability to score some eye-catching goals, with Raul Campos, on his 100th appearance for La Roja, notching the pick of the bunch. As for the Paraguayans, whose goalkeeper Carlos Espinola had told FIFA.com in the days leading up to the encounter that his team were favourites for the trophy, they at least managed to make life difficult for Spain in the first half. Espinola did not play during that first period, but he did, however, use his experience to help the team, encouraging his team-mates and giving them pointers from the bench throughout the match.
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 14: The IR Iran team line up for a photo prior to the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 group F match between Serbia and IR Iran at Vilnius Arena on September 14, 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Photo by Alexander Scheuber - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 14: The Serbia team line up for a photo prior to the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 group F match between Serbia and IR Iran at Vilnius Arena on September 14, 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania. (Photo by Alex Caparros - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Goals galore for defending champs Not in his wildest dreams could Alan Brandi have imagined kicking off a Futsal World Cup like he did today. Within the opening two minutes, his two goals already had the reigning champions well on their way against USA. His third strike, which also came in an impressive first half for Argentina, put him firmly on track for the adidas Golden Shoe, and he added a fourth for good measure towards the end. By the interval, the South Americans, who could never have imagined such a smooth start to the tournament, were 8-0 up, well on course to surpass their record victory, an 8-1 triumph over Cuba in 2000. With an overwhelming level of possession and number of shots, the Argentinians eased off somewhat in the second half, but still received a standing ovation from the delighted crowd in Vilnius at the end. For USA, who missed out on the last two Futsal World Cups, it was return to forget. Creditable debut So far it has been a Futsal World Cup in which goalkeepers have made the headlines, and Angola shot-stopper Gomito continued that trend in Klaipeda, making several excellent saves early on – greatly enjoyed by the spectating locals – to keep Japan’s attacks at bay. However, that appeared to inspire Japanese No15 Arthur, who made the breakthrough in the 13th minute and would go on to rack up no fewer than four goals. The Brazil-born performer dampened the Angolans’ hopes of a fightback on two occasions, prior to Ryuta Hoshi and Ryosuke Nishitani sealing the win for the Asian side. Despite the defeat, the combative Africans, who were making their World Cup debut, would likely have felt some sense of satisfaction after putting in a strong performance against a Japanese team looking to stamp their authority on the competition. This fixture, which was the last on Tuesday’s slate, featured the most goals of the four games, and ensured that this would be the highest-scoring day of Lithuania 2021 so far (32 goals).
“We were a bit lucky to open the scoring quickly, as the opening match at a World Cup is never easy. It was important to score enough goals to give us some peace of mind. I’m really happy with the win and the image we presented, and because it’s given us a real morale boost so early on.” Alan Brandi
Wednesday (local times) Group A Costa Rica-Venezuela, Kaunas, 18:00 Lithuania-Kazakhstan, Kaunas, 20:00
Group D Egypt-Guatemala, Vilnius, 18:00 Uzbekistan-RFU, Vilnius, 20:00