THE DAY REPLAYED – Spain and Argentina got the job done by beating Azerbaijan and Solomon Islands respectively to book their places in the Round of 16 at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016.
La Roja were made to work hard to assert themselves in the first Group F game of the day. It was not until the second half that they took control of a scrappy, keenly contested encounter, but their class eventually shone through as they wrapped up progress from the first round of the tournament for the seventh straight edition.
Argentina, meanwhile, eased past Solomon Islands, although their performance was less impressive than the somewhat flattering scoreline might suggest. Albiceleste winger Cristian Borruto was the star of the show with a hat-trick.
Also in Group E, Kazakhstan not only scored their first-ever goal at a Futsal World Cup, through Douglas 58 seconds into their meeting with Costa Rica, but they also recorded their first win. In the process, they put themselves very much in the hunt for a berth in the last 16.
Costa Rica 1-3 Kazakhstan
Argentina 7-3 Solomon Islands
Azerbaijan 2-4 Spain
Iran 5-3 Morocco
Spain did not look to be at their brightest in their victory over Azerbaijan. Perhaps the reason for that can be traced back to their warm-up drills, during one of which Aicardo smashed a shot so powerfully and high over the bar that it shattered some of the floodlights. Given this, we can only imagine how much Rovshan Huseynli's hands must have been stinging after he saved two venomous strikes from the Spain defender during the match.
A heartfelt tribute
After the forward Hossein Tayebi had scored Iran's first goal, his team celebrated by holding up the No8 shirt belonging to Ghodrat Bahadori, who broke a toe in his country's opener and will miss the rest of the tournament. Bahadori was following the action from the stands and will surely have been moved by the gesture.
On song despite defeat
Following their loss to Argentina, the Solomon Islands players gathered in the middle of the court and sang a song which captivated the crowd. Afterwards they let out a cry of 'Solomon, Solomon, Solomon' in the manner of three cheers and those in attendance at Bucaramanga's Coliseo Bicentenario duly responded with a standing ovation.
3 – For just the third time in the competition's 332-match history, a player notched up two own goals in the same game. Azerbaijan's Vassoura was the man who had the dubious honour of following in the footsteps of Argentinian Alberto Carfagna (Hong Kong 1992) and Iranian Amir Farashi (Guatemala 2000).
"I'm really happy with the team's reaction when the opposition opened the scoring. It's important for me to see how they react in these sorts of adverse situations. We wanted to play more expansively, but Azerbaijan focused their energies on stopping us rather than on making things happen themselves."
Spain coach Venancio Lopez
"It's not such a difficult defeat to swallow, even though we felt we were much stronger than them in the second half. We came really close against one of the best sides in the world."
Morocco goalkeeper Rabie Zaari
"Today not only did we score our first goal at a World Cup, but we got our first victory, so the people of Kazakhstan will be proud of us."
Kazakhstan defender Leo
"My first World Cup goal is dedicated to my five-month-old baby. My family sent me some photos of them watching the match in Spain. I'm pleased to be finding my feet in this team and adapting to the style of play."
Argentina forward Alan Brandi
Friday 16 September
Panama-Colombia (20:00, Cali)
Portugal-Uzbekistan (20:00, Medellin)
Russia-Cuba (18:00, Cali)
Egypt-Thailand (18:00, Medellin)
All times local