Spain claim third straight futsal title
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Portugal 2-4 Spain
Spain secured their third European title in a row, and fifth overall, thwarting a late Portugal fightback in a top-class final in Debrecen.
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Spain secured their third UEFA European Futsal Championship in a row, and a fifth title in seven editions, despite a late scare against Portugal in Debrecen.
The holders had netted 23 times in their four games en route to the final, including a 6-1 defeat of Portugal, and once Ortiz and captain Javi Rodríguez had scored before half-time, another success seemed a certainty. Lin increased the lead with four minutes left, but Gonçalo Alves and Joel Queirós gave Portugal hope in their maiden final until Daniel clinched victory with 22 seconds to go. Javi Rodríguez and Daniel end their competitive international careers with four European titles, a tally also achieved by Kike and goalkeeper Luis Amado.
It had taken Spain more than 14 minutes for their rhythmic passing to unlock Portugal last Sunday, by which stage Orlando Duarte's side had scored. This time Spain made their breakthrough in opportunist fashion in the ninth minute, Ortiz intercepting a Pedro Costa pass and striking past Bébé, who has replaced João Benedito in the Portugal goal since the group phase.
Javi Rodríguez strikes
Bébé was able to parry an Álvaro drive as the holders continued to press, but was beaten again by a moment of improvisation from the Spain captain. Álvaro played the ball forward to Javi Rodríguez who, facing away from goal and with Bébé and Israel behind him, surprised them both with a back-heel that rolled in for his 99th international goal. Spain remained on top for the rest of the half and Bébé did well to deny Álvaro, Jordi Torras and Kike.
Bébé was again in action after the break to keep out Torras and Daniel, while Portugal opportunities were rare, although Arnaldo fed Cardinal who forced Amado into a save. Cardinal again tested Amado but any Portuguese possession, let alone glimpses of goal, was usually fleeting.
When Cardinal was robbed by Ortiz, the Spain player fed Álvaro to rattle the post, yet next it was Portugal's turn to have a golden chance. On the touchline, Leitão's lob surprised Amado but hit the inside of the post. Pedro Costa was first to the rebound though somehow the prone Amado clawed the shot off the line and to safety.
Spain did not sit back despite this scare, and Kike's volley resulted in another Bébé stop. However, the goalkeeper could not deny Lin in the 36th minute, his shot being too powerful. It seemed the match was over, yet Gonçalo produced a fine strike from wide to pull one back and then Joel scrambled in another with less than two minutes to go to set up an unexpected grandstand finish. However, with Portugal committed to attack, Daniel ended his top-level international career by confirming the victory – his 16th Futsal EURO finals goal leaving him outright second on the all-time list. Javi Rodríguez and Joel's strikes were their fifth of the finals, meaning they share the adidas Golden Boot with Italy's Saad Assis and Azerbaijan's Biro Jade as joint top scorers.
*The final crowd of 4,845 means that the aggregate attendance of 58,851 is a new record for a UEFA European Futsal Championship.