The Qantas Futsalroos have qualified for the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup following their dramatic 3-2 win in extra time over Kuwait in the quarter-finals of the AFC Futsal Championship in Dubai tonight
The Qantas Futsalroos have qualified for the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup following their dramatic 3-2 win in extra time over Kuwait in the quarter-finals of the AFC Futsal Championship in Dubai tonight.
Going into the match, both teams were confident of getting the result which would guarantee them a place at the World Cup later in the year.
From the kick-off neither team managed to hold any serious possession and dominate.
Kuwait conceded two fouls early in the piece which lead to the Qantas Futsalroos taking the lead in the 3rd minute when Daniel Fogarty made a steal and then combined with Greg Giovenali who played Fogarty back in for the striker to coolly finish in the bottom corner of the Kuwait goal.
From there, Fogarty's speed gave Kuwaiti defence plenty of problems and the Qantas Futsalroos began to impose themselves on the game. But that feeling was short lived as Kuwait came back and began to hold their possession for longer periods.
Kuwait had their first real opportunity in the 6th minute when Altaweel hit the left post with shot from 14m out. Qantas Futsalroos goalkeeper Peter Spathis was then called into action to save from the resulting corner.
Midway through the half Altaweel tried again to score from distance but with no success.
Kuwait equalised in the 14th minute after some poor defending at the back by the Qantas Futsalroos allowed Almutairi to tap one in at the back post.
The Qantas Futsalroos were unfazed by this lapse and were again back on the offensive immediately after conceding with Fernado De Moraes- shot hitting the side netting whilst Jarrod Basger had his one-on-one opportunity denied by the Kuwaiti goalkeeper Hani.
The Qantas Futsalroos lead was restored 5 minutes from half time when Danny Ngaluafe tapped in after being set-up brilliantly by De Moraes cross pitch pass.
A few fouls punctuated the closing stages of the half but nothing to give either side any headaches which meant the Qantas Futsalroos had the all important lead going into the break.
The second half began in much the same fashion as the first with neither side taking immediate control.
Chris Zeballos had an early chance when he found himself alone on the left but could only turn his acute angle into a save.
Five minutes into the half Fogarty was released by Spathis up the left. Only to see his resulting shot sprayed over the bar.
Seconds later, Altaweel unleashed a rocket of a shot that hit the crossbar.
Kuwait-s persistence was rewarded when they equalised in the 28th minute via Hamad Alawadhi who drilled his shot into the roof of the net.
From there on both team traded shots, but neither could find the target which pushed the match into additional time.
With the goal difference coming into play in the quarter finals, the Qantas Futsalroos and Kuwait knew that a win or a loss by 1 goal would be enough to qualify for the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
With two periods of 5 minutes to be played, it was the Qantas Futsalroos who took the advantage when Daniel Fogarty found himself unmarked in the middle of the D and expertly placed his shot between the Kuwaiti keepers legs. The Qantas Futsalroos then tried to extend their lead but poor finishing denied them again and again.
The second period of extra time saw Toby Seeto have two with gilt-edged chances to make the lead bigger but his shots blazed over the bar.
Then something strange happened with two minutes to go in the game, the Kuwaitis implemented a tactic of knocking the ball around at the back and patiently waiting for the clock to wind down which would mean that not only would the Qantas Futsalroos qualify directly for the World Cup, but so too would Kuwait as their goal difference would ensure that they two would get a place as the top ranked team in 5th place.
After the match, Qantas Futsalroos Head Coach Steven Knight paid tribute to his players and staff, in particular fitness coach Arthur Kazas.
" I would first like to thank the trainer Artie Kazas who put in a lot of time and effort with the boys but unfortunately could not make the trip.
“Our first goal was to get past the first round. Our second goal was to qualify for the World Cup and our third goal is to get a medal.
“It was not a pretty game. The Spanish Kuwaiti coach had a game plan of a good variety of set pieces which delivered the ball into the back third of the Australian half and this made the game ugly.
“They (Kuwait) played a high pressure game which is typical of quality teams. With regards to the final few minutes where Kuwait kept the ball in their own half without trying to score, I understand why they did it and they played within the rules.
The Qantas Futsalroos will now face Japan in the Semi-Finals tomorrow night (6:30pm GST (00:30am) 30 May 2012)
The match will be streamed live on the web
The FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 will be held from 1-18 November in Bangkok.