Spain will play Brazil on Sunday in the FIFA Futsal World Cup final after the holders edged out Italy 3-2 at the end of extra time in Rio de Janeiro.
Italy were hoping to reverse losses to Spain in the 2004 World Cup and 2007 UEFA European Futsal Championship finals and despite trailing in both normal time and the extra ten minutes, they produced equalisers. But in a dramatic ending, Italy's Adriano Foglia put through his own goal with virtually the last kick of the game.
The Azzurri were behind after five minutes to a Daniel goal but Foglia struck a deserved equaliser early in the second half. It seemed Spain would prevail in extra time when Fernandão scored late in the first period, only for Nando Grana – on as flying goalkeeper – to find the target with 104 seconds remaining. However, as time ran out, the ball hit Foglia and deflected into the Italy goal and the officials ruled that the last second had not expired.
Fourth straight final
While Italy face Russia for third place on Saturday, 24 hours later Spain will play in their fourth straight final. In 1996, as hosts, they lost 6-4 to Brazil but Spain gained revenge four years later in Guatemala with a 4-3 victory and last time out in Chinese Taipei they beat Italy 2-1. Furthermore, Brazil knocked Spain out in the 1989 group stage with a final-day 4-1 win and the 1992 semi-finals, while the latter result was reversed in the same round last time, meaning in the history of these competition these teams have never been knocked out by any other side.
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