It was a day of comebacks at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 quarter-finals, as reigning champions Brazil overcame a two-goal deficit to beat continental rivals Argentina in extra time. Auriverde icon Falcao was once again the hero of the day, netting twice to secure Brazil‘s victory.
Italy had an even greater mountain to climb against Portugal, but nonetheless fought back from 3-0 down to earn a 4-3 extra-time victory to reach the last four. Nevertheless, Portugal‘s Ricardinho was man of the match in Bangkok’s Nimibutr Stadium following his hat-trick.
Colombia, for their part, set up an all South American semi-final against four-time world champions Brazil thanks to a 3-1 triumph over Ukraine. In a repeat of the UEFA European Futsal Championship final, Spain came from behind against Russia to seal the final spot in the last four.
Goal of the day
Portugal–Italy, 2-0, Ricardinho, 19’03”
This was the kind of goal that highlights why futsal is such a popular sport among fans. Portugal‘sRicardinho not only hit a hat-trick against Italy, he also scored a sensational goal to make it 2-0. Arnaldo drove forward on the left wing and forced Stefano Mammarella into making a fine save. However, the ball looped up in the air, and Ricardinho reacted quickest, positioning himself to meet the ball high and direct a spectacular overhead kick into the net.
Tears of joy
Futsal legend Falcao provided one of the most poignant moments of the tournament so far after breaking down in tears having scored Brazil‘s winner against Argentina. The forward, who was suffering a facial paralysis due to the inflammation of a nerve, watched his side go 2-0 down as a first-half substitute. Yet Falcao gritted his teeth and was welcomed on to the court to rapturous applause in the second half. He swiftly became his side’s saviour, netting twice to turn the game on its head and cement Brazil‘s place in the semi-finals. “There are matches that go down in history,” a visibly moved Falcao said afterwards. “Today is one of those historical days, at least for me.”
Italy did the seemingly impossible and came back from 3-0 down to defeat Portugal. Rodolfo Fortino equalised with just 46 seconds left on the clock, before Humberto Honorio scored the winner in extra time. At the final whistle, there was no holding back as the Italians celebrated their unlikely triumph and a place in the last four.
Considering Thailand 2012 is Colombia‘s first FIFA Futsal World Cup, their passage into the semi-finals is all the more remarkable. Given the scale of their achievement, the jubilant scenes continued long after the match had ended in Bangkok’s Huamark Indoor Stadium as the players and the entire technical team embraced at length. The inaugural edition in 1989 aside, Iran (1992), Ukraine (1996) and Portugal (2000) were the only other competition debutants to have gone as far.
Stat of the day
54 – Brazil versus Argentina is considered among the biggest clásicos of the futsal world. They have met 58 times, six of which have come at FIFA Futsal World Cups. And Brazil boast the far superior record, having triumphed on a staggering 54 occasions.