Matchday 2 Preview: Futsal artists Ferrao and Ricardinho take to the stage
Ferrao and Ricardinho will enter the fray on Matchday 2
They have between them won the last seven Best Player in the World awards
Asian hopefuls Thailand and Vietnam will be in action
Monday (local time) Group C Morocco-Solomon Islands, Kaunas, 18:00 Thailand-Portugal, Kaunas, 20:00 Group D Panama-Czech Republic, Klaipeda, 18:00 Vietnam-Brazil, Klaipeda, 20:00
Will Morocco finally be able to celebrate their first point at a FIFA Futsal World Cup™? The North Africans are the standout side in their home confederation, having won the last two African championships in a row. Despite this they have struggled on the world stage, losing all of their group matches at both of the World Cups they have played in. Morocco’s opening opponents the Solomon Islands already know how it feels to win a match at the World Cup after beating Guatemala 4-3 at Thailand 2012. This year’s tournament marks the Pacific island nation’s fourth appearance in the competition.
All eyes will be on a living legend when Thailand meet Portugal. Ricardinho’s 12 goals earned him the adidas Golden Boot at Colombia 2016. European champions Portugal are among the small group of favourites to lift the trophy in Lithuania, and this could be the last chance for the magician to ascend the World Cup throne, having celebrated his 36th birthday shortly before the tournament. Kritsada Wongkaeo scored four times in Colombia, and he and his Thailand team-mates will be hoping to reach the knockout phase for the third successive World Cup.
"I would buy a ticket to a Brazil match just to see him play.“ This quote was uttered by none other than Spain futsal legend and two-time world champion Kike Boned about Pito. Fans in Klaipeda will have the pleasure of watching the Brazilian star in action against Vietnam, as well as team-mate Ferrao, the reigning two-time Best Player in the World. Vietnam, on the other hand, are only playing in their second-ever Futsal World Cup. While Nguyen Minh Tri scored a hat-trick in their historic opening match against Guatemala at Colombia 2016, they face a much tougher task against the record-breaking world champions. Panama are hoping for a different kind of hat-trick, having won their previous opening matches against Morocco in 2012 and Uzbekistan in 2016. However, coach Jose Botana is suspended for the game, with assistant coach Apolinar Galvez set to take his place on the touchline. Meanwhile the Czech Republic are making their fourth appearance at a Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, having qualified for the tournament after defeating Croatia in a penalty shootout.