Spain 2-1 Italy Kike and Marcelo goals ensure Spain defend the FIFA Futsal World Championship.
By Paul Saffer
Spain 2-1 Italy
Goals from Kike and Marcelo ensured Spain retained the FIFA Futsal World Championship in Chinese Taipei despite a determined effort from European title-holders Italy and a last-gasp strike from Sandro Zanetti.
After a scoreless first half, Spain finally made their earlier dominance in possession tell in the second period and gained revenge against the side that deprived them of the UEFA European Futsal Championship trophy last year in the semi-finals.
Italy were without the suspended Andre Vicentini, sent off in their last-four win against Argentina. Morgado stepped up to replace him for a side that had also beaten Spain 3-1 in the second group stage here, the only nation to beat the world champions since 2002. The holders, however, were on a high after their penalty shoot-out win against Brazil, who had reached all four previous finals, winning the first three before their 4-3 loss to Spain four years ago in Guatemala.
Spain dominated the early possession in Taipei City - they had 75 per cent of the play in the first five minutes - and Italy goalkeeper Alexandre Feller did well to get in the way of a strike from the hero of the 2000 final, Javi Rodríguez. Fran Serrejón shot just wide in the ninth minute from Javi Limones's corner.
A long-range Assad Fabiano free-kick was touched wide by the typically reliable Luis Amado in Italy's best chance of the first ten minutes. Kike forced Feller to make a save from point-blank range after an Andreu corner, and the custodian then made two fine stops in quick succession from Orol and Kike - the latter shooting on the rebound having just hit the crossbar.
Amado stopped a Vinicius Bacaro effort and in the final seconds of the first half he also denied Edgar Bertoni. Within three minutes of the restart, though, the deadlock was broken, Rodríguez rolling a free-kick to Kike, whose shot unerringly beat Feller.
That goal forced Italy to press forward, Foglia particularly full of energy and setting up Fabiano, who blasted wide. But in the tenth minute of the half the lead doubled as Andreu's kick-in went to Marcelo. The ball was returned to the advancing Andreu, who drew Feller and crossed back for Marcelo to smash his shot into the net.
Although Italy worked hard they were only able to reduce the deficit in the final seconds when Zanetti turned in Bertoni's cross. Julio, like Orol and Javi Rodríguez a veteran of 2000, lifted the trophy for Spain, while Italy will now think ahead to February's European Championship in Ostrava, and their last group stage game - against the world champions.
Before the final, Brazil clinched third place with a 7-4 win against Argentina. Falcão claimed a hat-trick to end as the tournament's top striker with 13 goals, while Schumacher of Spanish UEFA Futsal Cup holders Boomerang Interviú FS scored twice for Brazil.