UEFA European Futsal Championship hosts Portugal were given a stern examination as they fell to two friendly defeats by former world champions Brazil in Sao Joao da Madeira.
Portugal were on a run of 13 straight wins since a 1-1 draw with Brazil last October, and were unbeaten in 23 matches. However, having not played a competitive game since the last European finals in February 2005, Orlando Duarte's side were looking to sharpen up and these encounters against a Brazil team mainly comprising Spain-based players allowed them to do so.
In the first match, Ciço of ElPozo Murcia FS put Brazil ahead on four minutes and although Ricardinho equalised, A. Lobelle de Santiago FS's Betão restored the advantage. Murcia's Wilde then struck twice for the visitors before Humberto, the only Brazilian league player, and Interviú Fadesa's Marquinho further increased their lead. And while Joel Queirós and Ricardinho reduced the deficit, Gabriel, also of Interviú, completed a 7-3 Brazil win.
The following day, it was a closer affair. Playas de Castellón FS's Rato put Brazil in front but Joel Queirós swiftly levelled. Gabriel and Marquinho made it 3-1 by half-time and although Arnaldo cut the arrears with three minutes left, Ciço had the last word after being set up by Gabriel. Brazil prevailed 4-2.
Duarte's men next play Greece on 30 and 31 October before their European campaign in Porto starts against Italy on 16 November. The coach remains upbeat. "Our real championship will take place from 16 to 25 November," he said. "In my opinion, Brazil are the best team in the world and I'm very proud of the way my players approached the matches. I think we are a stronger team after these two games. The way we played, mainly in the second half of the second match, is a good omen for the future. We will aim to win every match at the European Championship."
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