World and European champions Portugal have won the inaugural Futsal Finalissima after a penalty shoot-out success against Spain.
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Portugal have completed a memorable 12 months in which they won their first FIFA Futsal World Cup and retained the UEFA Futsal EURO title by pipping Spain on penalties in the final of the inaugural Futsal Finalissima, a new four-team UEFA-CONMEBOL event in Buenos Aires.
Futsal Finalissima results
Match in brief: Portugal on top again
These two teams meet frequently and the opening had the feel of a local derby as much as an intercontinental final. Portugal came close when Zicky flicked on André Coelho's long ball, but Jesús Herrero dived to tip away.
Spain stepped on the gas later in the first half and Portugal goalkeeper André Sousa made a string of saves to keep them out. Just before the break, however, Spain won a corner and coach Fede Vidal called a time-out – and the move promptly proved successful as Antonio Pérez's ball was played perfectly for Miguel Mellado to ghost in and strike.
Portugal came back from 2-0 down to beat Spain in both the 2021 Futsal World Cup quarter-finals and Futsal EURO 2022 semis, but this time – as in Thursday's last-four encounter with Paraguay – they levelled from a one-goal deficit. It was a rare slip from Spain; Pol Pacheco's pass inside his own half was cut out by Afonso Jesus, who advanced and chipped in over Spain's second-half keeper Didac Plana.
It was nearly 2-1 to Portugal immediately as João Matos crossed, but Hugo Neves somehow turned the ball over. André Sousa continued to perform heroics at the other end, while Didac Plana made a crucial point-blank stop from Zicky – proving a crowd favourite in Buenos Aires as in Europe – and the game eventually went to extra time.
The extra ten minutes produced no goals, meaning a penalty shoot-out. Specialist Edu came on in goal for Portugal, and he stopped Spain's second effort from Chino. Portugal were converting all their kicks and victory was sealed when Edu got in the way of Raúl Campos's try to spark yet more Portuguese celebrations.
João Matos, Portugal captain: "It's a difficult sensation to describe. We've taken Portuguese futsal to a position it's never been in before; it's been building since 2011. We've built a team, a side with lots of qualities.
"We have beaten a quality Spain side who play well. [This is] a new trophy, the Finalissima, a long way from home in difficult conditions on a pitch that's different to back home."
Raúl Campos, Spain captain: "It was tough. We were able to play the game we wanted but unfortunately we lost on penalties. Of late, Portugal have been beating us, even though I think we're playing the better, in my opinion. We're just not able to win the games."
Miguel Mellado, Spain goalscorer: "I got the goal and that gave us confidence, but they drew level and in the end my goal's an irrelevance as we lost it on penalties.
"We wanted revenge; we got closer to them than before, playing as a team. Games that are so close are decided by such small margins, and in this case they won it on penalties. Congratulations to Portugal, but we'll keep on working hard to make sure we win the next tournament."
Paraguay defeated Argentina for bronze to at least partly avenge February's Copa América final defeat. Richard Rejala and Julio Mareco gave Paraguay a 2-0 lead before Cristian Borruto pulled one ahead of the break. Arnaldo Báez got Paraguay's third, and although Alan Brandi responded, the hosts were denied in a frantic finish.