Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s hope of entering the FIFA World Cup Futsal final-16 round has become a reality, despite losing to the title favourite, Italy, 0-2 in the last match of Group C yesterday in Colombia.
With one win and two losses, Việt Nam rank third in Group C, with three points and are fourth of the best four teams that rank third, and qualified for the next stage.
Italy topped the group with nine points, followed by Paraguay with six points and Guatemala with zero point.
“Although we lost to Italy in the last match, we weren’t sad because we knew that we had an advantage in the race to earn a ticket to compete in the last-16 round. The Việt Nam team carried out my tactics well in this match. Losing 0-2 to Italy was in our plan, because prior to the match we set a target of earning one point or not being crushed heavily by Italy,” said Việt Nam’s head coach, Bruno Garcia.
“We also knew that we would meet many challenges when facing the world No 4, Italy. So we didn’t venture to attack. We showed our ability to stand up to pressure. We are very glad with this achievement,” Garcia added.
“We have a loss against Italy, but we can still celebrate, as it’s the first time in history Việt Nam have competed in the World Cup and entered the last-16 round. This is considered to have been a big surprise for Việt Nam, as the team only ranked 39th in the world. I think that we worked with all our might and we deserve to receive this fruit,” said Garcia.
Italy played with the comfort of already having a place in the next round, but by dropping to a possible second, it perhaps took Việt Nam’s rattling the bar to get them into shape. Captain Gabriel Lima ensured that they earned some early security by rifling home the opener in the fourth minute.
Việt Nam’s team still remained calm to combat Italy’s attacks and created several chances to score goals, though they failed.
Losing to Italy by only one goal in the first half provided a driving force for Việt Nam to play attack-defence well into the second half.
Notably, Đức Hòa showed great strength to shake off his marker, before rattling goalkeeper Stefano Mammarella’s upright in the 22nd minute.
From a corner kick in the 26th minute, taking full advantage of the Vietnamese defenders’ errors, Murilo Ferreira doubled the score for Italy.
In the final minutes of the match, Việt Nam obeyed their tactics, blockaded all attacks by Italy and allowed no additional goals.
”My teammates and I are very happy to earn a slot to play in the next stage. I thank Vietnamese fans very much, who supported the team in the past,” said captain Nguyễn Bảo Quân.
The tournament kicked off on September 10 with 24 teams divided into six groups that were vying for the cup. Only the two top teams from each group, and the four best third-placed squads, will advance to the second stage. — VNS