THE DAY REPLAYED – Tension was dripping from the walls of Cali’s Coliseo el Pueblo as hosts Colombia and Paraguay did all they could to force the ball into the net across 50 tense minutes, only to come up short.
The partisan crowd had to watch their side cling on for dear life as the clock ticked towards penalties, with them surviving a Paraguayan barrage to take it to spot-kicks. But it was La Albirroja’s Gabriel Ayala who struck the winning effort, breaking hearts across the nation in the process, after Colombia saw two of their kicks saved.
Russia meanwhile effortlessly stamped their authority on their tie to ensure their name does not slip out of the favourites category here in Colombia. While they couldn’t match the seven different names they registered on the scoresheet against Cuba, six did the job more than amply as debutants Vietnam were unable to cope with the power of the side in burgundy over in Medellin.
Russia 7-0 Vietnam
Colombia 0-0 Paraguay (AET, 2-3 PSO)
Coming into the Cali cauldron after almost an hour’s action, being sat patiently chewing your nails with nerves, is no easy task. But goalkeeper Carlos Espinola, a Ministry of Health worker back in Paraguay, stepped out from the shadows to take the limelight, saving two penalties to help decide the game in nerveless style.
While they were unable to dictate the action with their feet, suspended Colombian duo Angellott Caro and Jorge Abril did everything they could to impact it with their vocal cords instead. Captain Caro was a ball of nervous energy, shouting, clapping, screaming. Abril remained somewhat more composed, though both tried to transfer their knowledge to the field. But, unfortunately for them, once it went to penalties they were just two more agitated, and eventually pained, Cafeteros fans.
How’s your touch?
Everyone needs a bit of time with the ball to hit their groove, surely? Not Russia’s Ivan Milovanov. Sat on the bench for the first half against Vietnam, he took to court at half-time to stay sharp. Keeper Georgy Zamtaradze served him a tough opening challenge, hammering the ball 40m high amongst the rafters for Milovanov to deal with. Unfazed as it plummeted back to earth, his control was impeccable, plucking it out of the sky like it was the simplest thing in the world. A touch Diego Maradona would be proud of.
0 – Colombia and Paraguay’s clash is the first at a FIFA Futsal World Cup to end goalless after extra time. It was only the fourth penalty shoot-out in tournament history and 4311 days since the last 0-0 draw in normal time. You have to go all the way back to 1 December 2004 when, in the Linkou Gymnasium in Chinese Taipei, Ukraine and Argentina played out a 40-minute stalemate.
“Eder Lima could not score today but it’s good to see others could. It demonstrates the strength of our team as we are not dependant only on the performance of one specific player.” Sergey Skorovich, Russia coach
“Russia had to win and they wanted it. We just wanted to win. The logic prevails. We were not good enough physically and mentally to make it, but I’m still very proud of my players.” Bruno Garcia, Vietnam coach
Brazil-Iran (17.30, Bucaramanga)
Spain-Kazakhstan (17:30, Medellin)
Portugal-Costa Rica (20:00, Cali)