The Qantas Futsalroos hopes of progressing to the next stage of the FIFA Futsal World Cup hang in the balance ahead of the make-or-break Group D clash against Mexico at Nimimbutr Stadium in Bangkok on Monday evening.
Following their heavy opening defeat to Italy, the Qantas Futsalroos have it all to do if they are to advance to the Round of 16 and must take maximum points against the Mexicans to stand any hope of making it that far.
With Mexico also desperate for a win, having been downed 1-5 by Argentina in their FIFA Futsal World Cup opener, the scene is set for a crackerjack match with both teams knowing that an early plane trip home could be on the cards for the vanquished.
For Qantas Futsalroos Head Coach Steven Knight the match against Mexico carries significant added weight.
“We have set different goals to what the professional teams have,” KNight said.
“Our goal is to win a single game because Australia hasn’t won many games at FIFA Futsal World Cup competitions and we are hoping that it comes in Mexico game.
“In the lead up we played Panama, a team that has played against Mexico and done very well against them, and won the match 2-0 so we are hopeful that we can repeat that feat.”
The Qantas Futsalroos certainly won’t be accused of dying not trying if Knight has his way with the ebullient coach setting out his team to attack the opposition at every given opportunity. That in itself could well provide rich dividends.
“The thought process is that if we sit back and wait against quality teams and give them lots of possession, they will eventually score,” Knight revealed.
“Our game plan will be pretty evident from the Italy match. Most teams will come and sit in and be tight and try not to concede many. That works for a lot of teams but whether you achieve anything out of that is another point. Mexico is going to have to be working really hard in this match because we will be taking the game to them from the outset.”
Whilst the defeat to Italy was heavier than the Qantas Futsalroos would have wanted Knight found plenty of positives from the experience.
“There were lots of aspects I could be pleased with,” he said.
“The players put in a lot of effort and we are not going to sit back. Copping the amount of goals that we did obviously hasn’t helped our goal difference if we need that to go through to the next round, but we’ll see what happens.
“You could tell the level of professionalism that was shown in the Italian team and we have got to remember that we are one of only two teams that are amateur in this competition.
“My boys train only one or two times a week so to make it this far has been a great effort. When you are playing against a professional team you end up fatiguing and that is when they take advantage of you.
“When you look at the history of Futsal in Australia we haven’t really scored an awful lot of goals at the FIFA Futsal World Cup. When the game started they had some early opportunities and so did we, but to score when he did has given the boys a little bit more confidence going into the second game.
“Even though Italy had many more chances we did deserve to score a goal and to score that goal made the team happy. We hope to be celebrating more on Monday.”
The Qantas Futsalroos tackle Mexico in their second Group D match at the FIFA Futsal World Cup on Monday (5 November) evening with kick off at 9pm AEDT. The game will be broadcast live onSBS TWO.