October 4 – Winger Pany Varela starred with two goals to crown Portugal futsal world champions with a 2-1 victory over Argentina in the World Cup final in Lithuania, reclaiming the title for Europe for the first time since 2004.
In the past three finals, Brazil and Argentina had seen off European opposition – Spain, twice, and Russia respectively – but on Sunday the tables were turned as Portugal prevailed over the reigning champions.
Argentina’s Cristian Borruto was sent off early and Portugal took advantage when Varrela scored in the 15th minute. He then doubled Portugal’s lead in the 28th minute and despite Angel Claudino pulling one back for the South Americans, Portugal held firm to win a maiden crown. Late on, Argentinian substitute Matias Edelstein missed a huge opportunity to draw level.
“Portugal are world champions – that’s all that matters,” said Pany. “It’s incredible. People didn’t believe in us. They thought we won the EURO by chance. I’m sure we didn’t and we won this competition because we deserved it, because we were the best team.”
In the first round, Portugal topped Group C with Morocco, Thailand and the Solomon Islands, scoring 14 times, but the European champions struggled in the knockout phase, needing extra time against both Iberian rivals Spain and the tournament’s surprise package Kazakhstan.
The Kazakhs however were not rewarded for their remarkable run as they lost the third place play-off against Brazil, 4-2.
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