Brazil eyes fifth title in Futsal World Cup
BANGKOK - Agence France-PresseHolder Brazil takes on bitter rival Argentina in the last eight of the Futsal World Cup in Thailand with the free-scoring ‘seleçao’ hoping its red-hot form will edge the team closer to a fifth title.
The line-up for today’s quarterfinals will also see two-time winner Spain take on a strong Russian side and another all-Europe tie between Portugal and Italy.
Colombia and Ukraine complete the draw as the indoor football event climaxes after two weeks in Bangkok.
The defending champions, fresh from their 16-0 second round mauling of hapless Panama, are favorites to overcome Argentina, aware victory will hand them a semifinal spot against unfancied Colombia or Ukraine.
Despite his side enjoying a 5-0 record in head-to-head matches, Brazil coach Marcos Sorato predicted a tough game against their neighbors.
“History has nothing to do with it because this game is special,” he told FIFA.com ahead of the game, describing Argentina as “a very competitive side.”
Red hot ‘Seleçao’
Brazil coasted through its qualifying group, winning all three games, scoring 20 and conceding just twice.
That goal tally was bettered by Russia, who found the net 27 times and is yet to concede after four games, making the team firm challengers for the title.
But its defensive record is likely to face a stern test when it meets Spain, tournament winners in 2000 and 2004, in a repeat of this year’s Futsal Euro final, which the Iberians also won.
“It’ll be a very difficult game because Russia have a terrific team,” Spain’s Fernandao told FIFA.com.
But the Brazilian-born ace fired a warning saying the indoor national team was in Thailand to win, an achievement that would emulate the heroics of the better-known senior team who are both World and European champions.
“We came to Thailand to become world champions. We don’t want to lose or draw. Victory is the only thing that counts for us,” he said.