The host nation’s less than impressive showing in the group stages left their tournament fate in the hands of other teams. The War Elephants needed Serbia to beat the Czech Republic (that match finished 2-2); Kuwait to beat Egypt by 5 goals or more (Kuwait won 4-3); Russia to beat Colombia by seven goals (2-0 to Russia); the final, and most unlikely scenario, Solomon Islands to beat Guatemala (4-3 to the Solomon Islands).
The Solomon Islands claimed their first ever futsal World Cup victory last night in a tournament that was not going too well for them up to that point; losing their first two games 16-0 to Russia and 11-3 to Colombia. Guatemala took an early lead against the run of the play but six minutes later the Solomons were level.
They then took the lead minutes before half time through Jeffery Bule and they should have been 3-1 up by the break, but Sikwaae missed a penalty. Guatemala equalized shortly after the break and nervous Thai fans had to wait until the 29th minute when Leealafa restored the Pacific Islander’s lead. Solomon Island’s 16-year old goalkeeper, Anthony Talo, scored a fairy tale goal in the 36th minute to send Thailand through. Guatemala scored a late consolation which set up a nervy last few seconds but it was too little too late as the Solomons held on.
Russia maintained their dominance of Group F beating Colombia 2-0, with goals coming from Sirilo and Robinho. Russia have breezed into the knockout stages scoring 27 goals and keeping three clean sheets in their group matches.
In Group E, Kuwait caused an upset by beating Egypt 4-3 but they still failed to qualify for the knockout stages. Kuwait were 3-1 up by halftime and held on for the win after Egypt scored two late goals. The Czech Republic fought back from a goal down twice in their game at Nimibutr Stadium to claim a 2-2 draw against top of the table Serbia.
Second round games on Sunday: Thailand v Spain, Portugal v Paraguay, Iran v Colombia and Japan v Ukraine.
Second round games on Monday: Brazil v Panama, Serbia v Argentina, Russia v Czech Republic and Italy v Egypt.
The Thailand game is on at 6:30pm.
Argentina’s Matias Luciux is out of the World Cup after fracturing his tibia and fibula in his right leg during his team’s 7-1 victory against Australia. The talented winger faces six months on the sidelines.