Portugal and Spain will face off in the inaugural Futsal Finalissima final on Sunday after the European teams came out on top in Buenos Aires.
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Portugal will face Spain in the inaugural Futsal Finalissima final at Parque Roca in Buenos Aires on Sunday after both beat South American opposition in the semis.
European and world champions Portugal produced a trademark comeback to defeat Paraguay 2-1 despite having trailed at the break. Two Raúl Campos goals then helped Spain see off hosts and Copa América de Futsal holders Argentina.
Sunday 18 September:
Argentina vs Paraguay (14:00 local, 19:00 CET)
Spain vs Portugal (16:45 local, 21:45 CET)
Portugal began strongly but Paraguay started to show late in the first half, Richard Rejala shooting wide of an open goal after being set up by his club-mate with Luxembourg's Differdange, Hugo Martínez. And the Copa América runners-up went ahead before the break when Antonio Ozuna turned in Arnaldo Báez's kick-in.
Afonso Jesus's kick-in deflected off Hugo Martínez and onto the Paraguay crossbar seconds prior to the interval, and Portugal upped the pressure in the second half. The equaliser came close to the midway point as Tomás Paço looked for Zicky, got the ball back, and played it across for Pany Varela to equalise.
Less than four minutes later, Portugal took the lead in bizarre circumstances: Erick Mendonça met an Afonso Jesus kick-in and hit the post, only for the ball to deflect in off luckless Paraguay goalkeeper Giovanni González. Portugal then saw the game out to reach their third major final in less than 12 months, having already won the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup and UEFA Futsal EURO 2022.
Key stat: Portugal also came from behind to win in three of their six Futsal EURO 2022 victories: the opening game, semi and final.
Pany Varela, Portugal goalscorer: "Paraguay are a side packed with individual quality. We knew they'd be a tough team to face, but we came here and showed we are Portugal and achieved our objective."
Spain struck first through Raúl Campos, who pounced with a powerful effort following a blocked shot from Adolfo. And although the hosts pressed hard for an equaliser, Raúl Campos struck again on the rebound after Antonio Pérez had robbed Alan Brandi, advanced and had an angled effort parried by Nicolás Sarmiento (one of Argentina's nine Spain-based squad members, another four being former Liga players).
Late in the half, Argentina's Ángel Claudino hit the post with a shot across goal. The second period remained tightly contested but, despite the urging of more than 5,000 fans in the arena, the South American champions found clear openings hard to come by. Didac Plana proved immaculate in goal for Spain after coming on in the second half, and he had the last word himself as he sent the final kick of the game into an unguarded net from his own box.
Spain thereby set up yet another major tournament encounter with their neighbours, who ended Spain's reign as Futsal EURO holders in 2018 and beat them in both the 2022 semi-finals and the 2021 World Cup last eight.
Key stat: Spain remain unbeaten in nine meetings with Argentina, including eight wins and one draw.
José Raya, Spain player: "We knew it would be a tough game away against Argentina, but we played well in defence and took our three chances. We knew the second half would be hard but we stuck to our guns. They had the crowd behind them – we could hear it – but we were stable at the back and that made the difference."
Maxi Rescia, Argentina captain: "We gave it our all, but the ball just wouldn't go in. In the end, there were rebounds that went in their favour and not for us. Spain took their chances. Once they got ahead, they were able to control things. We tried all we could but unfortunately couldn't get back into it."