Favourites set up dream final
(FIFA.com) Friday 16 November 2012
Familiar foes Spain and Brazil will meet in the final of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012, the fourth time the two countries will have battled for the title. The South Americans came out on top four years ago after a penalty shootout on home soil.
The European heavyweights strode into the showcase match after victory over Italy, who are now surely sick of the sight of the Iberians after succumbing to them both at the UEFA Futsal EURO in February this year and at Brazil 2008. The Furia Roja left no doubt as to who the continental top dogs are with a 4-1 triumph.
Brazil, on the other hand, laboured for much of the game to get the better of surprise package Colombia in the first all-South American semi-final fixture in the tournament's history. At Bangkok's Huamark Indoor Stadium, the defending champions looked intent on stamping their authority on proceedings from the start, but found Colombia goalkeeper Juan Lozano in inspired form. Ultimately though, their pressure paid off as they ran out 3-1 winners.
Italy 1-4 Spain
Brazil 3-1 Colombia
Goal of the day
Brazil-Colombia, 1-1, Jhonathan Toro , 18'13"
Rank outsiders Colombia may have lost to Brazil, but they can at least take consolation in the fact they scored the best goal of the semi-finals. Much to the surprise of both the Brazilian players and the spectators, Colombia clinically finished one of their rare counter-attacks. Jose Quiroz started the move, before Yeisson Fonnegra - son of team coach Arney Fonnegra - sent a perfectly timed pass to the unmarked Jhonathan Toro, who in turn fired an unstoppable left-foot shot past Brazil keeper Tiago.
Tit for tat
Just how fine the line between success and failure is was once again evident in the match between Italy and Spain. In the seventh minute, with goalkeeper Juanjo already beaten, Italy's Gabriel Lima could only hit the post. Seconds later at the other end, FC Barcelona player Saad Assis deflected club colleague Torras' effort past custodian Stefano Mammarella into his own net. But if it seemed that all the luck was with the Spanish, things evened themselves out to an extent in the second half as both Fernandao and Miguelin saw strikes come back off the woodwork.
Quick off the blocks
Brazil began furiously against Colombia and raced to a 1-0 lead after just 41 seconds through Gabriel. It was A Seleção's fastest goal at Thailand 2012 and the second-quickest by any team during this edition. Only Russia captain Sergey Sergeev found the net earlier, firing his side ahead a mere 34 seconds into their game against Guatemala.
Goalkeepers came very much to the fore in both semi-final matches. Italy's Stefano Mammarella not only foiled Spain's attacks time and again, he also provided the assist for his team's solitary goal, while Cafeteros shot-stopper Juan Lozano continued his superb form to prevent Colombia losing by an even greater margin against Brazil. The keepers on the winning sides also played a key role, as bothTiago (Brazil) and Juanjo (Spain) performed heroics at crucial moments of their respective games.
Stat of the day
50 - For European champions Spain, the match against Italy was their 50th at a FIFA Futsal World Cup. 40 of those have ended in victory, with five draws and as many defeats, while they can boast a goal difference of 219 for with just 92 against. The only team to have made more tournament appearances is Brazil, whose game against Colombia was their 55th.
"I must congratulate Spain. They're a great side and deserve to be in the final," Italy coach Roberto Menichelli.
Sunday 18 November (all kick-off times are local)
Italy-Colombia, Indoor Stadium Huamark, 17:00
Spain-Brazil, Indoor Stadium Huamark, 19:30