The Qantas Futsalroos FIFA Futsal World Cup preparations continued with a highly impressive 0-0 draw against Iran at Sripatum University in Bangkok, Thailand in their final warm up match before the competition begins on 2nd November.
There may have been no goals in the encounter but the Qantas Futsalroos can be proud of a superb effort against a team ranked seventh in the world and against whom they had never previously gained a positive result. A herculean defensive display was rewarded with a stunning clean sheet as the underdog Australians frustrated their professional opponents at every turn.
It wasn’t all one way though, and had either Fernando De Moraes or Nathan Niski converted late opportunities, then an historic victory may have been recorded. De Moraes went closest to breaking the deadlock showing some wonderful balance to beat a brace of Iran defenders and chip over the advancing goalkeeper only to see the ball land on the top of the crossbar and go away to safety.
All three Qantas Futsalroos goalkeepers gained court time and made telling contributions as Peter Spathis, Gavin O’Brien and Angelo Konstantinou stood firm whenever the Iranians found a gap in the Australian back-line making some outstanding saves. Heroic defensive performances abounded but special mention goes to Lachlan Wright who was an insatiable ball of energy, bustling back and forth with menace to pressure the Iran playmakers.
A draw was the least that the team warranted from forty minutes of high intensity Futsal that, if they can replicate against Italy and in the forthcoming FIFA Futsal World Cup matches, could provide some memorable moments.
Qantas Futsalroos Head Coach Steven Knight was pleased with the hit-out. “This kind of match was exactly what we wanted ahead of the Italy game in three days,” he said. “Iran is always a difficult opponent for us and to gain a draw against them in the manner in which we did was very pleasing. I was able to give valuable court time to almost all the squad and they did themselves proud with some excellent displays.”
Knight was especially happy with the defensive side of the game as the Qantas Futsalroos kept a rare clean sheet against top quality opposition.
“We have been working on the defensive side of the game at training and through video analysis,” the former international said. “It’s important for us that we are sound defensively as there will be moments in the tournament when we don’t have the ball. Being strong as a unit in the defensive third is vital. Our fitness is good and there is a strong belief amongst the group that we can put in some good performances in the World Cup.”
The Qantas Futsalroos FIFA Futsal World Cup campaign begins on Friday 2nd November with Italy providing the opposition.
All Qantas Futsalroos matches will be screened live on SBS TWO.