Matchday 11 review: Argentina, Brazil and Kazakhstan reach quarters
Holders Argentina came from behind to beat Paraguay
Goalkeeper Leo Higuita scored as Kazakhstan cruised through
Brazil outlasted a stern Japan challenge
Argentina 6-1 Paraguay, Vilnius Kazakhstan 7-0 Thailand, Kaunas Brazil 4-2 Japan, Kaunas
Morocco-Brazil Vilnius, 16:00 on Sunday
RFU-Argentina Kaunas, 18:30 on Sunday
Uzbekistan-IR Iran v Kazakhstan Kaunas, 20:00 on Monday
Back to goal – and one hand on an award? Kazakhstan put on a flawless display in their Round-of-16 match against Thailand in Kaunas. While Dauren Tursagulov opened the scoring with a beautiful back-heeled goal, it was another player in the Kazakhs’ traditional yellow kit who put himself in contention for the adidas Golden Ball awarded to the tournament’s best player. Douglas impressed the crowds with his cool, calm and collected playing style, moving the ball up the pitch while remaining rock solid in defence. "I’ll remember this day for the rest of my life," said their outstanding goalkeeper Higuita, who kept a clean sheet and even scored a goal of his own. The Falcons, who boast the tournament’s meanest defence, now deservedly move on to their first-ever quarter-final, and could go even further if their current form is anything to go by. Punchy Paraguay inspire Argentina’s six-goal comeback Paraguay caused a sensation in the first half of their match against Argentina as Julio Mareco opened the scoring with his country’s 100th FIFA Futsal World Cup™ goal. La Albirroja pressed well and showed plenty of intensity in the early stages, with only Colombia 2016 adidas Golden Glove winner Nicolas Sarmiento preventing La Albiceleste from falling even further behind. The visibly rattled Argentinians came back out on the pitch more than three minutes before the start of the second half to send out a message that they did not intend to trail the match for much longer. And so it transpired as the world champions turned the game on its head with six goals in the space of ten minutes to avoid their first World Cup defeat since Brazil beat them almost nine years ago at Thailand 2012. They now face a replay of the 2016 World Cup final against RFU.
Douglas of Kazakhstan scores
KAUNAS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Douglas of Kazakhstan scores their team's second goal during the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 Round of 16 match between Kazakhstan and Thailand at Kaunas Arena on September 23, 2021 in Kaunas, Lithuania. (Photo by Angel Martinez - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Douglas celebrates 2nd Kazakhstan's goal
KAUNAS, LITHUANIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Douglas of Kazakhstan celebrates after scoring their team's second goal during the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 Round of 16 match between Kazakhstan and Thailand at Kaunas Arena on September 23, 2021 in Kaunas, Lithuania. (Photo by Oliver Hardt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
Guitta fumbles, Ferrao turns… and Leozinho and Pito get the party started The day’s second Round-of-16 encounter in Kaunas began with an uncharacteristic mistake from Guitta, as the Brazil goalkeeper let Shota Hoshi’s strike slip through his fingers to give Japan a surprise lead. However, the sublime Ferrao levelled the scores almost instantly with what is already his seventh goal of the tournament, slipping past opposition defenders in his inimitable style, with his back to goal, before shooting on the turn. It is hard not to feel sorry for any defender who finds themselves in this situation. Things did not improve for Japan after Leozinho joined the fray, embarking on a series of mazy dribbles that got futsal fans’ hearts racing and proved extremely effective in pushing Brazil towards victory. The video highlights of the match are not to be missed, as few futsal players anywhere in the world can do what Pito did to score his goal.
“What an amazing feeling. We suffered but we made it in the end. I have to thank Marlon and Pito. What a pass and what a wonder goal. It was a great moment for Brazil.” Ferrao
Usbekistan-IR Iran, Vilnius, 17:30 on Friday Spain-Czech Republic, Vilnius, 20:00 on Friday Portugal-Serbia, Kaunas, 20:00 on Friday