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The Portuguese dream and the Futsal World Cup
Futsal

10 September 2021

The Portuguese dream and the Futsal World Cup

The Portuguese dream and the Futsal World Cup

    ©André Sanano/ FPF



The 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup is just around the corner. From 12 September to 3 October, 24 teams will fight for gold at the sport's biggest sporting event.

 

Next Monday, September 13, the Portuguese futsal team will kick-off the final phase of the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021, in Lithuania. This will be the team's sixth appearance at a World Cup, at a time when it carries the title of European champions.


After shining in the main phase and in the elite round, Portugal is in Group C and will face:


  • Thailand, on September 13 at 8pm in Kaunas;


  • Solomon Islands, on 16 September at 6pm, in Kaunas;


  • Morocco, on September 19 at 8 pm, in Klaipeda.


To qualify for the knockout stages, the Selecção das Quinas needs to be one of the top two finishers in their group, or be one of the four third-placed teams with the best score.


Kaunas, Klaipeda and Vilnius are the three cities that will host the 52 matches of this World Cup. Besides the national team, Portugal will also be represented in the refereeing team with Eduardo Coelho. This is the third world cup of the Portuguese referee, who says he is ready to give his best.



Futsal Vitor Hugo

    ©André Sanano/ FPF


The competition organized by FIFA is in its ninth edition and has 24 teams in the final phase. Of its totality, only six teams are European, being the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Spain, the Russian Football Union and Portugal. The group stage will run until 20 September, with the knockout rounds taking place from 22 to 24 September. The quarter-finals, meanwhile, will be played on 26 and 27 September. The month ends with the semi-finals on 29 and 30. To round off the competition, Sunday October 3 has been chosen for the grand final and the deciding match between 3rd and 4th place.


To date, only three countries have won the competition. Brazil has won five, neighbouring Spain two and Argentina one, the current world champions. The Futsal World Championship in Lithuania marks the return of the competition to European territory 25 years after being held in Spain.



 

The Portuguese dream


 

Like many competitions, the Futsal World Cup has been postponed to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to the date, the number of players eligible for the final phase was increased by FIFA, which defined that three of those players had to be goalkeepers. Thus, the Portuguese selector Jorge Braz called 16 players.



Futsal Portuguese Team

    ©André Sanano/ FPF


Portugal will be represented by:


  •  Edu, Bebé and Vítor Hugo as goalkeepers;


  • João Matos and Tomás Paçó as defenders;


  • Afonso Jesus and André Coelho as defenders/wingers;


  • Pany, Bruno Coelho, Miguel Ângelo, Pauleta, Ricardinho and Tiago Brito as wingers;


  • Erick and Fábio Cecílio as universal players;


  • Zicky as pivot.


The Equipa das Quinas completed five weeks of training and seven games in preparation for the world cup. The match for Lithuania was yesterday morning and national coach José Luís Mendes said that "the evolution [of the team] has been remarkable", in statements released on the official website of the Portuguese Football Federation.


Despite Jorge Braz's choice of players, the Portuguese team will not be able to count on Pauleta, who tested positive for Covid-19, and Tiago Brito, who is in prophylactic isolation, in the departure to the Baltic country. It is not known yet if they will have to miss the match with Thailand, but both players will join the team as soon as possible.



Portuguese Coach Futsal

    ©André Sanano/ FPF


Team captain Ricardinho is also a case in point due to his recent right ankle injury. After having surgery in March, the team's most capped player is said to be recovered and confident. Ricardinho was awarded a Golden Boot as top scorer at the 2016 World Cup, but this year he is dreaming of a medal and a win for the whole team. In the last competition, a place on the podium was in sight, when Portugal came in 4th place.


For now, the Portuguese team needs to focus on the opponents ahead. The team has already faced Thailand four times, never having lost a game. The Solomon Islands, who are participating in the World Cup for the fourth time, have never gone beyond the group stage. Morocco is making its debut in the final phase of the Futsal World Cup and comes into the tournament on the back of its first-ever African Nations Cup triumph.


Let's support our Futsal team and keep an eye on this sport that attracts more and more the attention of many Portuguese.



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