Steven Knight comments after the Futsalroos 2-0 training run win over Panama
Goals from Aaron Cimitile and Daniel Fogarty, either side of the half-time break, were enough for the Qantas Futsalroos to claim a victory against decent opposition from CONCACAF.
“Each of the confederations plays a different style and we are probably used to having people in our face because the Asian countries are relatively quick,” Knight said afterwards.
“It’s different to play against teams that sit back a bit and where you have got to make the play. The other aspect of it is that their technical ability is very high with a team like Panama. So closing the ball and putting them under pressure is important.”
Whilst the match may have lacked the stop-clock and official status, there was little doubting the intensity of the clash with neither side holding back and some physical challenges resulting.
For the Australians the experience of playing Panama should hold them in good stead for the challenge of Mexico in their Group, which Knight himself admitted.
“The players have responded really well with the game situations out there,” he commented.
“Today’s exercise was all about playing an opposition that have already played Mexico, who is potentially our opportunity to get to the second round, so today was a good hit out.
“For a group to be put together that are an amateur group, in regards to that they are not living and breathing futsal every day like the professionals, the players really responded in Dubai (the AFC Futsal Championship and FIFA Futsal World Cup Qualifiers) and they look as if they have a good relationship with each other which is where a team needs to be – it’s the most important aspect of a team in my opinion.
“They need to be in harmony with each other and there needs to be no conflict.”
The Qantas Futsalroos have two further warm-up games to come ahead of their FIFA Futsal World Cup opener against Italy on November 2nd with fixtures against Morocco and Iran over the next two days.
“Morocco has come out of the same qualifying group as Egypt and they requested a game a few months ago,” Knight said.
“We feel honoured that they asked for a game against us. Realistically, if we can get a positive result out of the match against Morocco the team will build its confidence and once they build that confidence they will play better together. If we can put in another performance like we did tonight then the momentum will help with team building.
“We know where Iran are sitting in the World rankings and that’s close to where Italy is, so the Iran exercise is more about playing at that sort of level so we can go into the first game with a feeling of knowing that we have already played a team at that level and be prepared.”
If the Qantas Futsalroos can show the same kind of fight and determination as they did in seeing off Panama then they will certainly do Australia proud.