THE DAY REPLAYED – The evening took just over ten seconds to get going at both venues as Portugal and Russia ensured no one lost sight of them in the talk of FIFA Futsal World Cup titles and triumphs come 1 October.
After needing until the last second to earn a point against Colombia, Portugal went about making amends in astounding style. By half-time a staggering eight had hit the back of the Panama net, and nine by close, with six-goal Ricardinho the man sensationally on song.
The drama was all at the other end when hosts Colombia took on Uzbekistan. An upset looked all but confirmed when the Asian side went 3-1 up, but captain Angellott Caro struck first with four minutes to go, before hammering in from close range with time all but over.
Cuba too looked set to seal an impressive result, leading 3-0 against Thailand. But what turned into an epic encounter eventually fell the way of the 2012 hosts, seeing off the Caribbean side 8-5 to cap a fine comeback.
Panama 0-9 Portugal
Colombia 3-3 Uzbekistan
Egypt 1-6 Russia
Thailand 8-5 Cuba
Welcome to the magic show
After a lacklustre showing from ‘the Magician’ in his first outing, the boos for Ricardinho transformed into applause, adulation and astonishment against Panama. He rattled home a double-hat-trick, adorned with all the tricks, flicks and scissor kicks he’s known for, taking him up to third in the all-time scorer’s chart at the Futsal World Cup.
At points in their clash with Uzbekistan, Colombia looked lost. But a guiding hand came from all around them as the 6,000-plus supporters in Cali orchestrated an almighty comeback. The chants of ‘Yes we can’ pushed them on to make it 3-2, before a final call for noise from local favourite Andres Reyes brought the roar that forced the equaliser over the line. There was even an extra-loud final showing of gratitude for their Uzbek opponents.
When Thailand captain Kritsada Wongkaeo put his side ahead for the first time against Cuba it should have been an unbridled moment of joy – having slaved back to 6-5. Unfortunately, the exuberant celebrations quickly turned into a sit down on the court, having picked up a knock in the process. He eventually made it back, but only after his fair share of cooling spray! But with an 8-5 final score the pain is likely at the back of his mind.
A fanatical warm-up
Some fans can’t get enough football, and there are plenty of those in Colombia. And with Medellin’s Coliseo Ivan de Bedout within 50m of the home of Atletico Nacional, it only seems right to whet the appetite for their crucial Copa Sudamericana clash against Bolivar with some World Cup futsal. It’s safe to say they went home happy: a dazzling display from Russia alongside their club reaching the Round of 16!
12 – Portugal and Russia both have serious title aspirations and neither wasted any time in showing them off in perfect synchronicity, as Ricardinho and Danil Davydov both hit the back of the net in 12 seconds. They rank as the joint second fastest goals since Brazil 2008 (when seconds first began being recorded in goal times).
"It was a mess today. Ideally, my players should be like the Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana. Slowly climbing, doing the job and not getting too emotional." Thailand’s Spanish coach Miguel Conde looks to the Vuelta de Espana winner
"We were expecting a tough battle. We were surprised that it went so smoothly!" Russia’s Danil Davydov
"You just can make that many mistakes against a team like [Portugal]. We believed we are quicker than them, and the long passes hurt us. We knew this was a complicated group before arriving to Colombia."
Agustin Campuzzano, coach of Panama
Friday 16 September
Panama-Colombia (20:00, Cali)
Portugal-Uzbekistan (20:00, Medellin)
Egypt-Thailand (18:00, Medellin)
Russia-Cuba (18:00, Cali)