NEWS
International Competitions - September 21, 2021 09:00Lithuania 2021Round of 16 previewPhoto and report courtesy: FIFA.com

21 Sept 2021

- Holders Argentina face a tough Paraguay test
- A familial subplot adds intrigue to Brazil-Japan
- Nine nations are out to reach the quarter-finals for the first time


Match schedule

Wednesday, 22 September
RFU-Vietnam, Vilnius
Venezuela-Morocco, Kaunas

Thursday, 23 September
Brazil-Japan, Kaunas
Argentina-Paraguay, Vilnius
Kazakhstan-Thailand, Kaunas

Friday, 24 September
Uzbekistan-IR Iran, Vilnius
Portugal-Serbia, Kaunas
Spain-Czech Republic, Vilnius


Key points

Banana skins
Brazil, Portugal, RFU and Spain will be overwhelming favourites to advance, but beware: upsets abound in the Round of 16. At Colombia 2016, Brazil and Italy, two of the favourites for glory, were stunningly eliminated by IR Iran and Egypt respectively.


Father and son
PC de Oliveira guided a Falcao-headlined Brazil to the trophy in 2008. His son Arthur is now poised to play against them for Japan. The Samurai Five No15 also believes A Seleção have the world’s best three players. “For me Dyego, Ferrao and Pito, whose improvement has been absurd, are the best,” he told FIFA.com.


Brothers out to emulate brothers
The Vaporaki brothers helped Argentina seize the trophy five years ago. Now the Salas siblings are aiming to help Paraguay do the same. Javier Salas and Constantino Vaporaki are both based in Italy, while Juan Salas of ElPozo Murcia regularly plays against several Argentinians at club level. Matches between these bordering nations are often tight, with La Albiceleste beating La Albirroja 2-0 in the semi-finals of the South American qualifying tournament for Lithuania 2021.


White Wolves eye world-stage revenge
IR Iran and Uzbekistan have met in three AFC Futsal Asian Cup finals, with the former winning them all, the last 2-1 after falling behind in 2016. Can Bakhodir Akhmedov's troops take revenge on the biggest stage of all?


Nonet eye personal bests
Czech Republic, Japan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Serbia, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Vietnam will aim to reach a FIFA Futsal World Cup quarter-final for the first time. Of the three teams making their competition debut in Lithuania, Venezuela are the only survivors.


The Golden Shoe race
Ferrao is in pole position (6 goals), but Alan Brandi (5), Arthur and Adolfo Fernandez (both 4) are in close pursuit. Those sharpshooters will seek to enhance their tallies at a stage in which goals fly in. Brazil, indeed, scored 16 times in the Round of 16 in 2012, while Azerbaijan beat Thailand in a 21-goal thriller five years ago.


The quote
“It would be a dream to play against Douglas. Every player dreams of coming up against their hero, and it would be even more amazing to do it in a World Cup.”
Anaskhon Rakhmatov on a potential meeting with the Kazakhstan icon in the quarter-finals


Posted by Luca Ranocchiari --> luca.ranocchiari@futsalplanet.com
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