Argentina won the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia on Saturday, after defeating Russia 5-4 in a Final loaded with incidents. It was dramatic, it was entertaining, and in the end, it was almost impossible to predict how it would end. But the 2016 Championship had other sides…
A legend left the game in Colombia. Falcao is without doubt the greatest Futsal player ever. The Brazilian genius won two world titles, two adidas Golden Balls and one adidas Golden Boot, and is the only player to feature at five Futsal World Cups. He is also the competition’s all-time top scorer and the player with most tournament appearances. FIFA honoured him just before the Final with a life time award. Class.
Iran were the surprises of the tournament. The Iranians qualified in third place from Group F behind Spain and Azerbaijan, and were handed a tough 2nd Round draw against Five-time Champions Brazil. They didn’t blink, and knocked the South Americans out on penalties after the game ended 4-4 after extra time. They followed that with a 4-3 win over Paraguay in the Quarter Finals, again in ET, before succumbing 4-3 to Russia in the Semi Final. But they didn’t leave empty handed: they finished in 3rd Place after defeating Portugal…in Extra Time after playing out a 2-2 draw.
The Russians resorted to gambling in the Final, and almost pulled off a shock. They opened scoring, then trailed 2-1 at Half Time. Comical errors saw them trailing 4-2, minutes into the 2nd Half. With time trickling away, they put the goalkeepers’ shirt on an outfield player, and left angels on guard. Then with less than two minutes left in the game, they conceded a fifth goal. They didn’t change their style. They scored two goals within a minute, and almost had a fifth, then the whistle went. Spectacular.
Argentina were crowned Champions, and joined five time winners Brazil and two-time Champions Spain as the only winners of the FIFA Futsal tournament. And they did it on the back of a solid defence that opponents found almost impenetrable. True, Russia scored four against them, but consider this: the Russians scored 36 goals in the tournament, the average was 14.3 goals per team.