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Spain pulls off surprise at FIFA Futsal World Championship in Guatemala

From FIFA News Services

GUATEMALA CITY (12-3-00) - Spain, runners-up in 1996 in their country managed to pull off a surprise when they beat Brazil 4-3 in the final of the 4th FIFA Futsal World Championship in a sell-out Domo hall in Guatemala City. Two goals by Javi Rodriguez in the last five minutes decided the thrilling game which prevented title-holders Brazil from winning the third world championship in a row. Portugal secured the third place with a 4-2 win over Russia.

Brazil had won the FIFA Futsal World Championship three times in a row. But now, at the fourth event in Guatemala, they were stopped from lifting the trophy a fourth time.

It was a very intense, well-balanced game. The 7,500 fans in the sell-out Domo hall were enthralled by the performance of both teams.

Spain went in front by a penalty converted by Daniel within just two minutes. Anderson scored the equaliser in the 18th minute. But the Europeans, who had lost the World Championship final (4-6) to the Brazilians in Barcelona four years ago, once again went ahead when Javi Sanchez scored an outstanding goal only a few seconds before the end of the first half.

Spain played tactically very well and made life for their opponents extremely difficult. Brazil never managed to dominate and dictate the game as they wanted to although Manoel Tobias, with 19 goals top scorer of the tournament, scored the equaliser. And just five minutes later, Vander put the defending champions in front.

Spain summoned enough strength not to give up at that moment, and Javi Rodriguez became the big hero four minutes before the final whistle. After 36 minutes, he scored for 3-3, and in the very last minute, he netted the decisive goal, both of which were from the second penalty mark.

The match for the 3rd and 4th place between Russia and Portugal was an exciting one too. Russia, tipped as favourites in this match by the experts, led 2-0 within just 10 minutes through goals from Denis Agaphonov and Boris Kupetskov. The European Champions dominated the game, although the Portuguese scored their first goal after 15 minutes through captain Vitinha.

In the second half, Portugal became stronger and stronger and the Russians found no way of stopping them. Within 60 seconds, the southern Europeans had scored two goals. Both of them were netted by one of their key players, Majo. But Portugal had not yet crossed the final line. Russia attacked more and more, but goalkeeper Nana did not let another goal in. After 36 minutes, Russia's Agaphonov was sent off after a serious foul. Portugal took advantage of that and two minutes later scored the fourth goal. Russia were no longer able to react and Portugal won the bronze medal with great commitment, excellent fighting spirit and a big heart in an interesting match.

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