The Qantas Futsalroos' dream of a place in the last sixteen of the FIFA Futsal World Cup remains alive after a come from behind 3-1 win over Mexico.
The Qantas Futsalroos' dream of a place in the last sixteen of the FIFA Futsal World Cup remains alive after a come from behind 3-1 win over Mexico at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok on Monday night.
Goals from Tobias Seeto, Aaron Cimitle and Greg Giovenali proved enough for ground-breaking win for the Qantas Futsalroos and leaves their qualification hopes hinging on the final Group D encounter with Argentina on Thursday evening.
It was evident from the opening minutes that this was a vastly different test for the Qantas Futsalroos than the one provided by Italy in the group opener as the Australians took the match to their CONCACAF opponents.
Greg Giovenali tested out Miguel Estrada in the Mexican goal inside fifty seconds and with the effervescent and energetic Daniel Fogarty back from injury the Qantas Futsalroos looked a dangerous proposition in attack.
But it was Mexico who took the lead against the run of play in the seventh minute. A dubious looking free-kick was awarded on the edge of the penalty area after Seeto clashed with a Mexican attacker and, from the resultant free-kick, Victor Quiroz side-footed past Peter Spathis in the Qantas Futsalroos goal.
The Qantas Futsalroos responded with a low drive from Fernando De Moraes that Estrada did well to block before the Brazilian-born player thrashed an effort inches wide of goal.
At the other end Mexican Captain Francisco Cati fluffed his lines somehow contriving to miss an open goal from a square pass with his effort heading out for a kick-in on the touch-line rather than giving his team what would have been an undeserving two-goal lead.
Fernando was close again when he chested wide from a Giovenali cross as the Qantas Futsalroos upped the tempo once more with Mexico reverting to their long-ball approach which had been seen in their opening match against Argentina.
Even so, Spathis needed to be on his toes to deny Morgan Plata low down at his near-post with three minutes of the half remaining. Mexico had been in foul trouble for large parts of the opening half, sat on five fouls, but the Qantas Futsalroos could not take advantage.
Jarrod Basger almost levelled on the cusp of the half-time hooter following up a Fernando strike that Estrada fumbled and bundling his way past the stricken goalkeeper only to be unable to squeeze the ball in from a tight angle, his effort hitting the base of the post and leaving Mexico ahead 1-0 at the interval.
Trailing at the break, and with their FIFA Futsal World Cup hopes hanging by a thread, the Qantas Futsalroos needed a bright start to the second half and Giovenali almost provided it sending a fizzing snap-shot flashing just wide of the post with Estrada at full stretch.
There was a warning though two minutes in as Carlos Ramirez met another long ball with a glancing header that had the Qantas Futsalroos bench watching on anxiously and the same player stabbed wide of a gaping net seconds later as the Australians turned over possession in the centre of the court.
Fernando continued to threaten the Mexican defence, stabbing over the crossbar from an acute angle, as Steven Knight urged his team onto the offensive and they rewarded in the 26th minute with a well worked equaliser.
A quick one-two gave Seeto space from the angle and he crashed in an unstoppable shot off the under-side of the crossbar to bring the teams level. Seconds later the match was turned on its head.
Mexico were caught on the counter as Seeto broke and, showing great calmness and composure, cleverly flicked the ball over the advancing Estrada with a cute finish, helped over the line by the retreating Mexican defender with Aaron Cimitile credited with the final touch, to give the Qantas Futsalroos a priceless 2-1 lead.
Seeto was denied again by a decent stop minutes later and Chris Zeballos almost made it three with five and a half minutes remaining.
A stunning save by Spathis from Plata, the ‘keeper diving low to his right to push away a fierce shot, preserved the lead with the magnitude of the stop emphasised moments later as the Qantas Futsalroos went 3-1 up.
Giovenali combined with Fernando, receiving the return pass, and thumping a right foot shot high into the top corner much to the delight of the Australian supporters in the 3,800 strong crowd.
“We are delighted to have recorded the win and I have to say it was no more than we deserved for an outstanding display from the team,” Head Coach Steven Knight said afterwards.
“To come from 0-1 down and claim the points showed great character and determination and is a reward for the lads after training hard. Mexico were a real challenge and to get a win showed the make-up of this group and their resilience.”
Knight was particularly happy with the attacking portion of the Qantas Futsalroos game in a second half in which they dominated the shot-count.
“I think it took a while for the guys to realise that they have the confidence and the belief in themselves to score at this level. It-s a mental thing for some of them, figuring out that they belong at this level and that they have the ability to cause problems to the opposition.
"The group have received some negative comments after the Italy game and I hope that we have answered our critics. I-m proud of the way they responded tonight.”
In the other Group D match Italy defeated Argentina 3-2
The Qantas Futsalroos will play their final Group D match of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 against Argentina on Thursday 8 November (kick-off 5:00pm local, 9:00pm AEDT) and will be looking for a win to gain passage into the Round of 16..
All Qantas Futsalroos matches at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012 will be broadcast live on SBS Two (see www.sbs.com.au for broadcast details).
Match Details FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 - Group D Qantas Futsalroos 3 (Tobias Seeto 26:04-, Aaron Cimitile 26:22-, Greg Giovenali 35:14-) Mexico 1 (Victor Quiroz 6:05-) Nimibutr Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand Monday 5 November 2012 Referee: Fernando GUTIERREZ LUMBRERAS (ESP) 2nd Referee: Saheed AYENI (NGA) 3rd Referee: Ivan SHABANOV (RUS) Timekeeper: Gabor KOVACS (HUN) Reserve Assistant Referee: Jaime JATIVA (ECU) Crowd: 3,800
AUSTRALIA: 1. Peter SPATHIS, 2. Aaron CIMITILE, 3. Jarrod BASGER, 4. Gregory GIOVENALI, 5. Nathan NISKI, 6. Daniel FOGARTY, 7. Tobias SEETO, 8. FERNANDO De Moraes, 9. Chris ZEBALLOS, 10. Lachlan WRIGHT, 11. Danny NGALUAFE, 12. Gavin O-BRIEN, 13. Angelo KONSTANTINOU, 14. Keenan DUIMPIES
YELLOW CARDS: Nil
MEXICO: 1. Alonso SAAVEDRA, 2. Angel RODRIGUEZ, 3. Benjamin MOSCO, 4. Francisco CATI, 5. Adrian GONZALEZ, 6. Miguel LIMON, 7. Jorge RODRIGUEZ, 8. Victor QUIROZ, 9. Carlos RAMIREZ, 10. Gustavo ROSALES, 11. Morgan PLATA, 12. Miguel ESTRADA, 13. Jorge QUIROZ, 14. Oscar CERVANTES
YELLOW CARDS: 4. Francisco CATI, 5. Adrian GONZALEZ, 9. Carlos RAMIREZ (Mexico)
Upcoming Match Details FIFA Futsal World Cup - Group D Qantas Futsalroos v Argentina Thursday, 8 November 2012 Nimibutr Indoor Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand Kick-Off: 5:00pm local (9:00pm AEDT) LIVE on SBS TWO from 8.55pm AEDT