Futsal FIFA World Cup: Brazil, Italy thru to Round of 16

Futsal FIFA World Cup: Brazil, Italy thru to Round of 16

Brazil and Italy are both already assured of berths in the Round of 16 at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016.

Brazil hammered Australia 11-1, while Italy pummeled Guatemala 5-1.

However, they still have work to do if they are to go through as group winners.

The Seleçao and Azzurri will therefore be looking to have a big say in the denouement of Groups D and C respectively on what could be another record-breaking day for Falcao.

MATCH OF THE DAY
Italy-Vietnam, Group C, 18:00 (local time)

Regardless of how they set up tactically in any given game, the Italians and Vietnamese always take to the court gunning for goals, meaning entertainment is guaranteed.

This is one of the few common denominators between the two sides, however.

Indeed, with their greater experience, balance and individual talent, not to mention the form they have shown up to this point, the Europeans would appear to be clear favourites to secure victory – and with it top spot in the group.

Nevertheless, there is always scope for an upset on these occasions.

And the Asians, who will revel in their status as plucky underdogs and have already established themselves as firm fan favourites in Colombia, will feel that they have little to lose.

That said, they do require at least a point to boost their prospects of progressing.

And they will need to be tighter at the back and clinical going forward in order to prosper against opponents of Italy’s stature.

THE OTHER MATCHES

The other Group C fixture pits a resurgent Paraguay up against Guatemala, who are yet to register a point.

La Albirroja have amply demonstrated that they are last-16 material so far, even when succumbing to Italy in their opener.

It is a different story for basement boys Los Chapines, whose slim hopes hinge on them winning and other scores going their way not just in their section, but elsewhere too.

For starters, though, they will simply be striving to give a better account of themselves.

As for Group D, Brazil take on Mozambique with all eyes on Falcao.

Falcao will be seeking to set a third new record in Colombia by becoming the leading scorer in the competition’s history.

The legendary No12 is just a couple of goals away from accomplishing this feat and all the signs seem to suggest he will do so sooner rather than later.

None of that is to say that the Africans will make it easy for him, however.

They may have lost their first two matches, but both were close-run affairs and they need to win to keep their chances alive.

In the same section, Australia and Ukraine face off in the day’s only encounter between two teams equal on points, namely three.

The Australians’ inferior goal difference leaves them needing victory in order to overhaul their opponents, which will be no easy task against one of the tournament’s best defences.

The Ukrainians, for their part, know that they cannot afford to take their eye off the ball because a bad day at the office could lead to them packing their bags.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Juan Salas (Paraguay)

The 25-year-old pivot is the only player to have found the net in each of Paraguay’s games and is his side’s top scorer with three goals.

La Albirroja will need him firing on all cylinders against Guatemala if they are to clinch a spot in the next round without depending on other results.

THE STAT

25.5 – The average age of the Vietnam squad, making them the youngest of the eight teams in action on Matchday 8.

They are followed by Mozambique (26.1) and Paraguay (27).

MATCH SCHEDULE

Saturday 17 September

Group C

Guatemala-Paraguay (18:00, Coliseo el Pueblo, Cali)

Italy-Vietnam (18:00, Coliseo Bicentenario, Bucaramanga)

Group D

Australia-Ukraine (16:00, Coliseo Bicentenario, Bucaramanga)

Brazil-Mozambique (16:00, Coliseo el Pueblo, Cali)

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Brazil and Italy are both already assured of berths in the Round of 16 at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Colombia 2016, but they still have work to do if they …