The music was playing. The players were dancing. The trophy was being passed around and, inevitably, some backroom staff were being given a celebratory soaking. It was amid these scenes of joyous celebration in the futsal world champions’ dressing room that Brazil’s goalscoring heroes drew breath and shared their emotions with FIFA.com.
Neto, winner of the adidas Golden Ball and scorer of A Seleção’s last-gasp winner, joined long-time talisman Falcao in assessing this fifth world title, their own roles in securing it, and the future for their team.
FIFA.com: Neto, a simple question to start: is the best day of your life?
Neto: I’d say so! Ever since 2004, I have been reaching for this title, and when I was injured in 2008 and couldn’t take part, I wondered if it might never happen. My family, everyone close to me, will know just how important this day is. It’s exactly what I’ve been fighting for.
Falcao, you have already achieved so much in your career. But where does this one rank?
Falcao: It ranks very highly mainly because of my history in this World Cup, and the fact that I honestly thought it was over for me. The fact I recovered from injury and was able to make a contribution, even without playing as many minutes, makes it very special. It’s my last World Cup, after all, so I really wanted this title a lot.
It wasn’t looking good for us at that stage… But it was like a star came down from the sky and I reached up to grab it.
Falcao on his equalising goal
Is that a certainty? Is there no chance of you playing in 2016?
Falcao: As far as I’m concerned, this is my last World Cup. But I would consider playing in 2016 if it felt right because, in futsal, you can come in and out of the game, so it’s easier than in football to play on to an older age. It will be difficult, of course, and my plan is not to play in 2016. But who knows?
Neto, tell us about your winning goal. What was going through your head at that moment? And how did you find the energy with 19 seconds to go?
Neto: Honestly, that was the last bit of energy I had! I think that both teams were already mentally preparing for penalty kicks, but I thought, ‘Why not have one last go at getting something?’ Thank God it worked out. When the ball went in, I was so emotional, and so tired, I actually didn’t know what to do. But then I saw my wife in the crowd and, in that moment, all I wanted to do was to celebrate with her.
And, Falcao, what about your goal?
Falcao: It wasn’t looking good for us at that stage; we were down in the match with not long to go. But it was like a star came down from the sky and I reached up to grab it. It was an important goal too because we became much more confident for the rest of the game.
The final was a tremendous advert for futsal, and the mutual respect between the teams was obvious.
Neto: Absolutely. I respect Spain a lot, we all do, and we knew that the match would likely be decided by a very minor detail. The fact is, these two teams are the two greatest futsal powers, and I think the rivalry – and the respect – will always be there.
Falcao: It’s always this way when we play Spain. When I think back to all the matches we’ve played, the last ten or 12 at least, I can’t think of either team winning by more than one goal. Every match between us is played at such a high standard.
Neto: We hope so. At the moment though, I don’t think we have another player as skilful as Falcao. But Brazil is a big country and there are a lot of good young players coming through the national team, so hopefully the future is bright.
Falcao: We definitely have a lot of good young players. But at the moment, I don’t see one who is ready to become the big idol in Brazil. But as Neto said, Brazil is a very large country and it’s possible that in the next few years we’ll see another Falcao coming through.
Have you been able to speak to your families yet?
Neto: Just with my wife. She was with the supporters in the stand, so I needed to climb the barriers to get up to see her. But she’s already at the airport now, so it will be a while before I’m able to see her again. I’ve not spoken to my family yet, but the first thing I’ll be doing when I get back to the hotel is giving them a call. We have a lot to talk about!