Brazil live up to billing as medallists shine
Brazil take deserved gold and dominate stats
Russia and Egypt also finish on the podium
Hosts Argentina struggled for consistency
The Men's Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament at Buenos Aires 2018 offered up a high standard of play for a competition at U-18 level. Overall, the event was a huge hit with spectators and showed the discipline in an excellent light during its historic debut as an Olympic sport.
The tournament featured 26 matches over the space of 12 days, a tough schedule for the ten teams involved, each of which consisted of just ten players. The competitors were tested both mentally and physically, but the quality of the futsal did not suffer in the slightest. Instead, the thousands of fans who took in the action at the Main Futsal Hall and CeNARD Hall were treated to an event that yielded worthy champions, deserved medal winners and an average of 6.69 goals per game.
The champions Brazil picked up the gold medal and nobody could quibble with their triumph. They were, without doubt, the best team at the tournament. With Guilhermao racking up the goals, captain Neguinho pulling the strings and goalkeeper Francoar providing a wall at the back, the South Americans ended their campaign by chanting "Brazil conquers Argentina" in the Main Futsal Hall. A Seleção opened the scoring before the second minute in four of their six games, including their semi-final with the hosts and the final against Russia.
Brazil were also the most prolific team on show with 32 goals – seven more than Argentina, the second highest scorers – and were the most clinical as well, needing an average of 7.8 shots on target to find the net. On top of that, they managed to defeat Russia twice and also saw off Iran and Argentina. In short, they were fitting champions.
The other medal winners Boasting superb team organisation and a genuine physical presence, Russia enjoyed an eye-catching campaign, even if they were unable to get the better of Brazil in the final. The excellent Danil Karpiuk and goalkeeper Denis Subbotin left their mark as two of the tournament's best players.
As for Egypt, they surprised many by taking the bronze medal but also fully merited their success. Combative as a team, they relied largely on a counter-attacking approach, while Belal Elsayed, Youssif Mohsen and goalkeeper Abdelrahman Algarwany all turned heads. Egypt faced Argentina twice and did not lose either game, even clawing their way back from three goals down in the play-off for third place – a feat no other team achieved in Buenos Aires.
The surprise Argentina went into the competition with plenty of ambition and always played in front of packed crowds, only to be let down by their inconsistency. Kicking off with a draw against Egypt, they lost to Iraq before posting a comfortable win against Panama and squandering a three-goal lead in the match for the bronze medal. However, they showed the best of themselves in the semi-finals, when they became the only team to cause Brazil real problems.
Did you know? Slovakia had the least ball possession of any team at the tournament: just 33.5 per cent.