Classic Argentina-Brazil showdown set for futsal semifinals
Host country Argentina defeated Panama and advanced to the men’s futsal semifinals, where it will face its neighbour and historic football rival Brazil.
The Argentine men’s futsal team got a 12-2 victory over Panama on Saturday, achieving the landslide win they needed to finish second in their group and advance to the semifinals where they will face Brazil, which finished at the top of their group. The other men’s semifinal will feature Egypt and Russia. After their recent 1-4 loss to Iraq, Argentina needed to win the last match in the group phase of the futsal tournament by a difference of six goals to qualify to the semifinals.
The match started in the worst way for the local team. Panama’s Jair Ogilvie scored four minutes after kick-off, which forced Argentina to start attacking with everything they had. Even goalkeeper Agustin Raggiati joined in on the offensive. When a goal finally came and the score was tied, Argentina gained confidence and ended the first half with a 6-2 lead. The 6,500 spectators at the stadium in Tecnopolis Park went wild when the local team scored again, reaching the six-goal difference they needed. But many more would come, as Argentina then appeared relieved of the pressure and finished the match with a stunning 12-2 victory.
"Although finishing in second place wasn’t what we wanted, we arrived to this match with chances to qualify and we made it,” said Argentina’s captain Facundo Gassmann. He added that the team’s play improved after their loss against Iraq: "We were more effective today. We have to learn from our mistakes, we cannot let our guard down.” About facing Brazil in the semifinal, the player said: "That is the game I’ve been expecting for many months now. We played a final against them in March and we lost 3-2. It was a very tight match. Now we’ll have a rematch. We hope to give a good performance and at least leave everything on the court."