Futsal On-Line...

Brazil Wins the Tiger 5s

Commentary from Tiger Beer Communications

SINGAPORE (12-5-99) - Brazil are the Tiger 5s Futsal champion and deservingly so.

brazilitaly.jpg (4171 bytes)A 3-2 victory over Italy in the final this evening before a crowd of 8,000 at the Singapore Indoor

A Crown Jewel of a Tournament

By SteveHarris

SINGAPORE (12-12-99) - As I was sitting in the front row of the players' section of the main stand of the Singapore Indoor Stadium, watching the sizzling Brazil-Italy final of the Tiger 5s, I thought to myself,  "Could things be any better than this?" True, Brazil was missing three key players (more on that later) and I guess that Spain was the other anticipated finalist (more on that later as well), but on the pitch we had world-class futsal action, upstairs in the VIP lounge were all kinds of tasty foods and all the Tiger Beer one could drink, and in attendance was a rabidly enthusiastic audience enjoying this music-enhanced spectacle. It was not that many years ago that even futsal insiders saw our sport as more for playing than viewing, but the Tiger 5s is vivid proof that this game has grown into something far more glamorous than had ever been imagined.

Other than the world championship, this tournament has become futsal's crown jewel. There has for quite a few years been four-nation tournaments in Europe (traditionally
Spain, Holland, Italy and Belgium, with other variations in recent years) and the thrice-held Mundialito in Brazil (the last edition being a
five-country affair in January of 1998), but this second version of the Tiger 5s eclipses all others with its global reach (nine countries and four continents in attendance) and
generous prize money (US$150,000 in total).

Others may talk of planning other
tournaments, but that remains nothing more than talk at the moment. The Tiger 5s is glorious reality.

Significant in Two Ways

This year's Tiger 5s was significant in two ways. First, it offered a glimpse of where defending champion Brazil stands in relation to one major contender (Spain) and some of
the second-tier countries (Holland, Italy, USA). Second, it was the testing ground for futsal's latest set of rule changes (i.e., the allowance of GK throws over the halfway line,
flying substitution for goalkeepers, a 10-meter "double penalty" from the sixth foul, substitution zones in front of the benches).

On the first count, I think I can decisively say that Brazil is seeing its superiority threatened. Players from other countries are defending better, goalkeepers are becoming harder to
score on, and Brazil is being made to pay for its errors more frequently. It is no coincidence that Brazil had to beat Spain in overtime in the semifinal and then win the final with a
paper-thin one-goal lead as Italy was poised to equalize. And this was in a tournament in which Brazil was spared the likes of European champion Russia and Ukraine, a
nation that drew with Brazil at Spain '96 and then beat Brazil in Brazil not that long ago.

The defending champion will have to be looking more and more over its shoulder as Guatemala 2000 approaches.

And yet, Brazil brought to the Tiger 5s a stunning array of talent unmatched by any other team. The team is anchored in the back by goalkeeper Lavoisier, whose cat-like moves, ferocity and courage look to be a cut above Serginho, his well-known predecessor.

Defensive chores are handled by captain Andre, the short, stocky replacement for Danilo, and a well-balanced player in his own
right. Andre is by no means flashy, but can shut down just about anyone one-on-one and almost never makes mistakes. The familiar faces of Manoel Tobias and Fininho, perhaps
the two finest futsal players in the world, graced the midfield, while relative newcomer Marquinho was probably a difficult choice as starting forward. I say "difficult" because
Marquinho was joined by youngsters Anderson and Falcao to form a wickedly talented trio of recent arrivals. When these three were "on," their flash and inventiveness were hard to match by anybody, and head coach Takao doubtless was hard pressed to select among them one starter. So, although Brazil is clearly in danger of being on the losing end of an upset, it has more than its share of stars.

And how did the new rules work out? As expected, the new position of the substitution zones in front of the team benches is a welcome change, as it allows scorekeeping
and timekeeping officials an unimpeded view of the action. There is also the benefit of enabling a player to come on to attack or
defend quickly (providing the player going out leaves first, of course). Also quite nice was the change from 12 meters to 10 of the double-penalty mark. Because there was more successful conversion of double-penalties than before (or such was the impression that I got), it is both a great deterrent to fouling and a source of excitement when the kick is given. I also quite enjoyed flying substitution for the goalkeeper because it allowed for greater
intensity when a team puts on the fifth attacker (for a "power play"). The Tiger 5s audience went absolutely berserk over the entrance of a fifth attacker, and the momentum of that excitement was sustained because that player could go on without stopping play: off came the starting 'keeper and on came a field player donning a GK
jersey.

The only rule that I would consider
controversial is allowing goalkeepers to throw the ball over the halfway line without having the ball first touch the surface of the pitch. It was not hard to envision arguments both pro (faster attacks, spectacular volleys,
more excitement) and cons (poorly aimed throws going over the goal line or into the hands of the waiting 'keeper on the other end, goalkeepers throwing the ball back and forth to each other), and I saw enough of both to justify either side of the argument. On balance, I would have to say that I think I will
grow to like this rule if goalkeepers and teams become more adept at using it. That is, when I see the long throw used more effectively, I will be happy; if I see a lot of wasted throws and needlessly-bypassed
midfield play, I will not. In the Tiger 5s there was too much of the latter. At least one person has told me that he intends on following this rule only in international competition while disallowing it locally, but I fail to see the practicality of denying players
the opportunity to work on perfecting the long throw.

The Competition

I did not arrive until the third day of the five-day tournament, but there was little to miss the first day, which consisted of three blow-outs. Holland destroyed South Korea 9-0, home team Singapore got a 0-10 lesson from Spain, and France was on the receiving end of a 1-11 Brazilian clinic. France's consolation goal notwithstanding, the scorelines were fairly predictable. The only
surprises were Edwin Grunholz's absence from Holland and a surprisingly game Singaporean squad. (Even in last spring's Asian futsal championship, Singapore was
humbled by Korea 0-14, Thailand 0-21, and Iran 0-36. In light of those disasters, 0-10 to Spain is proof of significant improvement!)

It was day #2 that changed the course of the tournament for four teams: Spain, Italy, Holland, and the USA. After France squeaked by Malaysia 2-0 (thus achieving what I believe is France's first victory in a
futsal international ever), Italy surprised Spain with a draw, and the USA notched a mere four goals against South Korea. In the twenty times Spain and Italy had met thus far, Italy had beaten Spain only five times; in fact Spain led the series 14-5 (with two draws), and the last time Italy won was at a FIFA
tournament in 1994, in which Spain fielded a youth side. (Prior to that the Italians beat Spain way back in 1992.) But Italy, fielding no fewer than five Brazilian-born players, went ahead of the Spanish and almost pulled off an upset. Spain's ever-reliable Joan Linares, who would spend the rest of the tournament in his sick bed with the flu, equalized for Spain and earned the Spaniards a draw.

This is where things get a little fuzzy for me. The original groupings
were as follows.

Group A: Spain, Italy, Singapore
Group B: Holland, USA, South Korea
Group C: Brazil, France, Malaysia

On day #3, Brazil would surely beat Malaysia and thus book a ticket to the semifinals, where, according to the original tournament regulations issued, they would play the
second-place team with the best record. The other semifinal pairing was supposed to have been the first-place finishers in Group A and
Group B. This meant that Italy would have to beat Singapore by more goals than Spain did (10-0), while the USA would have to beat
Holland head to head, as the latter enjoyed a better goal differential by virtue of its 9-0 win over Korea. (The USA had beat the South
Koreans by just four goals.)

On the third day of the tournament, Brazil did indeed walk past Malaysia, even though they spent the first ten minutes or so battling with
their own nerves. By the end of the match, however, the world champion was triumphant to the tune of 15-0. Unlike the static, befuddled Malaysians, the Singaporeans made a much better display versus Italy. Not only did they make the Italians work hard for their seven goals, but their captain Rudy scored a penalty kick, thus giving Asia its only goal in the entire tournament. In the third
and last match of the day, the USA got away with what I thought were overly physical tactics to muscle Holland into 5-2 submission by the 33rd minute of play. Had this scoreline stood, the USA would have made it through to the semis, but Dutch head coach Nico Spreij decided to throw caution to the wind by putting on a fifth attacker. This completely unnerved American Victor Nogueira and sent the USA team into collapse, like a house of
cards. In the course of six minutes, the Dutch scored three goals ? the last a bullet off the formidable left boot of Henny Lettinck to give the Netherlands a draw with the USA
and therefore a ticket to the semifinals.

To recap, the semifinals should have paired the Group A winner (by goal difference) Spain and the Group B winner (also by goal difference) Holland, and the Group C winner
Brazil and the top second-place side (again, by goal difference) Italy. But perhaps there was a second draw to determine semifinal pairings? Italy must have known this because they stopped scoring in the Singapore game once they had enough goals to go ahead of the USA. (To score
more would have put them past Spain and thus in a match-up with Brazil in the semis.)

Whatever twist of fate was responsible, day #4 of the Tiger 5s saw Brazil face Spain in match #1 of the semifinals. Though Spain was vanquished by Russia in the final of
this year's UEFA futsal championship, the Spaniards see Brazil as their teacher and only true rival. Versus Brazil, Spain enjoys a
record of four wins, three draws, and ten losses, which is probably better than any other country Brazil has ever played. The players on both sides thus went into this match with seething determination. Having
been given free reign behind the scenes at the tournament, I decided to first observe the players waiting at the entrance to the pitch.

Though there was no interaction between the teams, teammates were mutually shouting encouragement at the top of their lungs, jumping up and down in nervous anticipation,
and generally taking on the demeanor of warriors going into battle.

Against Brazil's now familiar starting five of Lavoisier, Andre, Fininho, Manoel Tobias, and Marquinho, Spain fielded Jesus, Orol, Lorente, Cobeta, and Javi Sanchez. Both
sides played from the first second as if it were overtime in the final of the world championship: victories in one-on-one challenges were celebrated with a cocky raising of the arms and a banshee scream.
Still, even on paper, this match-up favored Brazil appreciably, and, sure enough, Spain was caught chasing the ball from the outset. That's why it was not that big a surprise when
Fininho opened the scoring in the third minute and Vander Carioca notched Brazil's second two minutes from the interval. But Brazil undermined its own lead by shooting
itself in the foot in the first half.

Manoel Tobias, of all people, let the
tension get to him. Early on he had received a caution for persistently encroaching on kick-ins, and then later in the first half the unthinkable occurred: Tobias went feet first into the path of Spanish attacker challenging him at the touch, thus instantly drawing a second yellow card from the first referee. Not only would Brazil go down a player for the next two minutes, but Manoel would now miss the final, should Brazil go through. To their credit, the Brazilians did endure those two agonizingly long two minutes, but the toll taken on their nerves was undeniable.

If there had been any doubt that Spain's Paulo Roberto was back in form, all apprehensions disappeared in the swirl of his dazzle and grace. He was the only Spaniard to threaten the Brazilians by scoring in the run of play, and he even drew a PK that he converted. To make matters worse for Brazil, the Brazilian players fouled recklessly and exceeded the five-foul limit early on. Ironically, Paulo missed twice from the 10-meter mark, and was forced to allow Cobeta to take the third. The young Boomerang star
put this in the back of the net, equalizing and thus paving the way for overtime.

My prose comes nowhere near to conveying how white-hot the match had become. Not even including Manoel's pair of yellows, six cautions had been issued and both teams went into overtime with over five fouls. The ten players taking the pitch for golden-goal overtime would be walking on egg shells. And I guess that is why the dramatic ending came soon.

Brazil's Anderson, an unpredictable magician of a futsal player, received a pass on his own end of the pitch, and threw himself forward on a run for glory. It was the kind of situation
where a player walks an incredibly thin line: He can attempt a hail-mary run at the opponent and either get through, get fouled, or get stripped of the ball and open up his end of the pitch to a counter-attack.
Anderson made his run directly at Spain's Lorente, thus forcing exactly the kind of situation mentioned above. Lorente held his ground, even leaning backwards to avoid body-to-body contact, but Anderson went to the floor like a sack of potatoes upon passing the Spaniard. The ref' pointed to the double-penalty mark, and Saad, a player who had barely been on the pitch at all this game, converted. Brazil thus won 4-3 on the golden-goal rule.

I was watching from three rows behind the Brazil bench, maybe 25 meters or so from where the infraction occurred, and was at first convinced that Lorente had literally bent over backwards to avoid giving away the kick from 10 meters. Upon viewing the match on TV the next day (all matches were rebroadcast the following morning), however, I found that Lorente had -- though momentarily -- stuck his foot out and then withdrew it. No actual contact was made, but anybody who plays or officiates the game should know that when a defender's foot goes out like that, the dribbler is going to be
forced to jump and, more often than not, hit the ground. Conclusion: The awarding of the foul was justified.

The scene that next developed was difficult to follow because Brazil of course went berserk with joy and ran over to celebrate with its cheering section, while Spain retreated to its bench to wallow in the bitter pain of defeat. My eyes were tracking Spanish head coach Javier Lozano, as he hotly pursued the referees, who were trying
to leave the pitch. And then, what happened next was regrettable, to say the least.

Altercations between the Brazilian and
Spanish players erupted ? maybe two or
three ? and then the situation deteriorated into a brawl. Manoel Tobias, who had been sitting in front of me, jumped down onto the pitch and got in a few kicks. Fortunately, police, security, tournament staff, the head coaches, and even some of the players got the situation under control within a couple of minutes and managed to get the teams to exit through separate tunnels. To my
knowledge, futsal had now seen its first brawl in an international.

At the press conference that followed, head coaches Takao and Lozano were both contrite and philosophical. While taking the blame on behalf of the Spanish national team, Lozano pointed out obliquely that responsibility for the incident rested not only with the players but with absolutely everybody involved in the tournament - perhaps a reference to Spanish dissatisfaction with the refereeing and some aspects of the tournament organization.

Takao was quick to point the blame at
"Spanish players #7 (Riquer) and #9 (Javi Sanchez)" for initiating the attacks, but also hastened to point out that the players all know each other so well that the incident would soon be forgotten. Looking over at Lozano, he quipped, "Maybe we should all get together for a barbecue."

But it was no laughing matter for local
newspapers, who jumped on the story with sensation headlines that screamed "fightsal" and "Latin footbrawl." FIFA also took action quickly, issuing a media advisory the next day that identified Spain's Lorente and Javi Sanchez and Brazil's Vander Carioca and Indio as "behaving in a violent and aggressive manner." Manoel Tobias was also indicted for both returning to the pitch
and being involved in the imbroglio. All five players were suspended from the last day of play and referred to the Asian Football Confederation Disciplinary Committee for further disciplinary action, while Brazil and Spain were both fined US$5,000 for "being guilty of violent and aggressive behavior and for bringing the game into disrepute."

Consequent interviews revealed that
Brazilian players provoked the Spaniards into violence by sneering shouting "sons of prostitutes!" as they passed by on their way to celebrate, but I hardly see that as justification for fisticuffs.

I must confess that the post-game press
conference made me miss ten minutes of the first half of the Italy-Netherlands semifinal, but I was a bit too shaken up by all of the preceding events to really be able to sit down and watch it anyway. I must also confess that neither team really excites me too much.

True, they are top-flight sides, but they seem to concentrate more on not making mistakes than on playing tantalizing futsal.

That said, Italy does appear to be new and
improved. Daverson Franzoi, its Brazilian-born defender ? who I know better as Dada from his playing days in Spain's Liga Nacional de Futbol Sala ? has emerged as the brains and brawn in the back, while the cagey and crafty Andrea Rubei, the Italian national team's all-time high scorer, provides
a lethal scoring touch up front. Grana,
Vicentini, and Previdelli -- the other Brazil-Italians in attendance ? add a touch of class,  while Vicentini also impressed. Italy's draw with a lesser-strength Spain came as no
surprise.

Holland is efficient, if nothing else. Lanky
Pascal Langenhuijsen continues to be the
first choice up front, but, though his moves
do at times remind one of Van Basten and
Bergkamp, he's a bit predictable. I like the
solid and intelligent play of Hank Leatemia,
Henny Lettinck, and Glenn Zeelig, but the
only time this team really lit up the house is
when putting on Zeelig as the fifth attacker in
power plays. While this is how Holland
(luckily) beat the USA, the match against
Italy was a bit more orthodox, even if Spreij
praised his side for playing their best futsal of
the tournament. Anouk Roest's opening goal
in the ninth minute was Holland's last of the
day, while Italy's Caleca equalized early in
the second half and Rubei nailed the coffin
shut with a decisive golden goal. Italy had
booked itself a ticket to the final with Brazil,
and the Netherlands was sentenced to a
third-place playoff versus old nemesis Spain.

On the final day of the tournament, the
Spain-Holland third-place playoff was a bit of
a let down. Spain was clearly the stronger
team but demoralized by the prior day's
defeat and fight, and short three field players
due to illness and suspension. Though
eclipsed by Spain, Holland had back Lettinck
and was able to spring its power-play on the
Spaniards to great effect in the closing
minutes of the match, almost catching up.
When the whistle proclaimed Spain the
winner 4-3, I was not too terribly surprised to
see the Dutch very upbeat and the Spanish
completely mired in depression. As Spain
faces the toughest qualifying group for
Guatemala 2000, its performance at the
Tiger 5s must be a source of great concern.
(Mr. Lozano, get a hold of Daniel Ibanez
now!)

Brazil also went into its last match missing
three field players, all of them protagonists in
the prior day's scandal. Not only were they
short of firepower, but gone were the chest-
pounding and banshee screams from the
semifinal versus Spain. The record books
say that Italy beat Brazil back in November
of '86 (the very first experimental FIFA
tournament?), but chances are that nobody
in canary yellow was ready to take seriously
this challenge, no matter how many
Brazilian-born players happened to be
wearing Mediterranean blue.

Maybe this is why Italy's Rubei was able to
shoot past a blinded Lavoisier ? a shot that
hit the back of the left side of Brazil goal
before the 'keeper, who had dived right, even
noticed. But it didn't take long for Brazil to
equalize.

And then there was magic. With Manoel,
Indio, and Vander Carioca out, Falcao rose to
the occasion. This youngest of the Tiger 5s
Brazilians came out of nowhere to meet a
shrewdly placed pass just out of the
goalkeeper's reach. His left boot delicately
chipped the ball over Italy's Fradella in what
had to be the prettiest strike I've seen in
some time. Then, for good measure, Falcao
added another to put the game out of reach
3-1.

After gaining an unexpected second goal,
Italy tried to put in Franzoi as a fifth attacker,
but, with just one minute left, it was too late.
And Brazil had won its first Tiger 5s title.

Here are the match results.

Dec. 1, 1999
Holland 9, South Korea 0
Singapore 0, Spain 10
Brazil 11, France 1

Dec. 2, 1999
France 2, Malaysia 0
Spain 2, Italy 2
South Korea 0, USA 4

Dec. 3
Malaysia 0, Brazil 15
Italy 7, Singapore 1
USA 5, Holland 5

Dec. 4, 1999
Semifinals:
Brazil 4, Spain 3 (OT)
Italy 2, Holland 1 (OT)

Dec. 5, 1999
Third-Place Playoff:
Spain 4, Holland 3
Final:
Brazil 3, Italy 2

Stadium has given them yet another trophy to add to their world championship crown they picked up three years ago in Barcelona.

(Photo: Falcao of Brazil, right, challenges Italy's Mauricio Vincentini. Photo courtesy Tiger Beer.)

And tonight against Italy, it was another majestic performance from the Brazilians, and of course the Italians were no pushovers either, where the goals were absolutely clinical and the entertainment value very high.

The fans were the winner too as both teams displayed all the attacking flair and the breathtaking skills which was a perfect advertisement for Futsal, more so after the ill-tempered Brazil-Spain match in the semi-final clash on Saturday night.

And the absence of three key players for Brazil, Manoel Tobias, Vander Santos and Indio who were all suspended, failed to dampen the spirit of the Brazilians.

But it was Italy who stole into the lead in the 4th min through skipper Andrea Rubei and the goal lifted the Italians as they ignored the reputation of the Brazilians and went about their task with steely determination.

Then Falcao equalised for Brazil in the 12th min and it was a ding-dong battle from then on until a lovely through ball from Eulner into the penalty area set up Falcao for the second goal in the 30th min.

The complexion of the game changed entirely after that. If the Brazilians had looked hesitant and a little lethargic earlier, the goal brought the spring into their stride again and the Italians were left clinging onto their dear lives.

Brazil were on the rampage and Falcao on the hunt again and another goal from him in the 32nd min, for his hattrick of the evening, had the Italians on the wall.

But it wasn't over yet. Daverson Franzoi pulled one back for the Italians in the 36th min but it came a little too late to spark off another Italian challenge.

"We lost and we are proud because the Brazilians are the best Futsal team in the world. There is no shame in defeat," said Italy's coach Alessandro Nocurrini.

Spain 4 Holland 3

spainholland.jpg (5708 bytes)There was also joy for Spain after all the earlier frustration as they bounced back to finish third yesterday.

(Cobeta Angel, left, of Spain, scores a goal despite the defensive efforts of Holland's Pascal Langenhuijsen. Photo courtesy Tiger Beer.)

In the end there was consolation for them after the 4-3 victory over Holland in the play-off to pick up the US$20,000 cheque.

But there must have been moments yesterday when Spain thought it was going to be another day of heartbreak, just like their semi-final loss to Brazil in the ill-tempered match two days ago.

They led 4-1 at one stage but allowed a late rally from the Dutch to take the score to 3-4 and suddenly trouble loomed large.

But the defending champion hung on grimly and came away winner. But only just.

Scorers for Spain were Fereira Arnaldo (8th min); Riquer Albert (11th min and 13th min) and Cobeta Angel (19th min) while the Dutch goals came via Henny Lettinck (4th min and 39th min) and Glenn Zeelig (40th min).

Straits Times:
At Last - World Champ Brazil Wins the Tiger 5s

By Kelvin Phang
Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.


SItiger5s_logo_big.gif (4901 bytes)NGAPORE (12-6-99) - A US$5,000 fine ($8,350) and three suspensions each failed to stop Brazil and Spain from taking first and third positions in yesterday's Tiger 5s futsal tournament.

In two closely-fought matches, Brazil edged out Italy 3-2 and Spain overcame Holland 4-3 to redeem themselves after the brawl that erupted at the end of the Brazil-Spain semi-final on Saturday.

The consolation for Brazil is that it will still have US$75,000 left of its winner's cheque after paying the fine and Spain, US$15,000.

The tournament disciplinary committee suspended four players (Spaniards Lorente Penas and Sanchez Javier, Brazilians Vander Santos and Andre Demetrio) for being guilty of violent conduct.

The tournament's leading scorer Manuel Tobias of Brazil also missed yesterday's final for picking up a red card in the semi-finals, while Spain's Joan Linares was suspended after picking up four yellow cards.

Both teams still face further sanctions from the Asian Football Confederation and had to toil for their
respective wins. World No. 5 Italy went into the final as an underdog as it last beat Brazil in 1986.

The Italians were determined to break a four-game losing streak and took a well-deserved lead through inspirational captain Andrea Rubei.

World champion Brazil seemed out of sorts without three key players but still managed to equalise through Man-of-the-Match Falcao in the 12th minute.

Brazil had only lost one futsal tournament in the last decade -- the 1997 Tiger 5s in Singapore -- and it was determined to set the record right.

Two identical goals, following similar defence-splitting passes from Euler Coelno, gave Falcao his hat-trick and Brazil a 3-1 lead by the 32nd minute.

One of five Brazil-born players, Daverson Franzoi, pulled one back for Italy with five minutes remaining but the boys from Brazil held on for a 3-2 win.

Said Brazilian coach Eustaquio Arajuo after the match: "I apologise to the people of Singapore for what happened in the semi-final. It will forever be a black mark in Brazil's football history.

"It will never happen again. We love the people of Singapore and we hope they still love Brazil."

The battle for the third place also brought the 7,800-strong crowd to its feet, especially in the second half when Holland was 1-4 behind Spain.

The Dutch have not beaten Spain since 1982 and earlier, an upset seemed likely when Lattinck opened scoring in the fourth minute.

But world No. 2 Spain hit back strongly to lead 4-1 at half-time through Arnaldo Ferreira, Angel Cobeta and two goals from Albert Riquer.

In the last five minutes, the Dutch even threw goalkeeper Glenn Zeelig upfront in a desperate bid to reduce the deficit.

The stadium erupted and gave Holland a standing ovation when Zeelig managed to score and with
midfielder Henny Lattinck slotting home, the score was 3-4 with five seconds remaining on the clock.

But that proved too little too late for the Dutch to do anything.

Said Zeelig: "I think the referees were really bad. Every decision made was for Spain. It was horrible."

Short-cut into the World Cup finals

Singapore could be playing in the World Cup even before 2010. That is, if it bids for the 2004 Futsal World Cup.

According to Tom van der Hulst, a member of the Fifa Futsal Committee, the Republic should consider playing in the Futsal World Cup as it has already staged two successful Tiger 5s tournaments.

"If Singapore is host, it should automatically get a spot in the 16-team Futsal World Cup finals. You have some pretty good players. With proper coaching and more international experience, Singapore could produce a creditable showing in the Futsal World Cup."

"In terms of organisation, accommodation and crowd support, Singapore has proved itself to be an ideal venue for a world-class futsal tournament. Singaporeans obviously love futsal, judging from the crowd support we have had in the last two Tiger 5s."

Guatemala is the host of next year's World Cup and Asia has three spots out of 16.

Said Chris Chan, Football Association of Singapore's director of competitions: "Maybe it's something the FAS should consider, since Singaporeans obviously enjoy futsal. It would be great to have a World Cup here."

Brazil, Italy to Meet in Final at Tiger 5s
Brazil 4 Spain 3 (after extra time)
Italy 2 Holland 1 (after extra time)

Commentary courtesy Tiger Beer Communications

SINGAPORE (12-4-99) - It was a tension filled match but in the end World Champion Brazil deserved its place in the final of the 2nd Tiger 5s Futsal championship at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Spain's Cobeta A.M. Angel is held back by Brazil's No8 Marquinho as he tries for the ball.Thanks to a golden goal from Saad Assis, which came via a 10 metre penalty conversion five minutes into the first period of extra time, Brazil can celebrate.

(Photo: Cobeta of Spain, left,  is blocked by Marquinho of Brazil. Photo courtesy Tiger Beer.)

But their celebration, at the expense of the Spaniards, was marred by some explosive and unwanted scenes at the end of an epic semi-final encounter between these two traditional rivals.tiger5s_logo_big.gif (4901 bytes)

But cool heads prevailed in the end and the Police were also on the scene to make sure tempers were kept under tight rein as players from both teams vented their frustration and anger at each other.

"Both of us coaches want to offer our apologies for the behaviour of our players and I am sure it will not happen again in future," said Brazil's Takao and Spain's Javier Lozano after the match.

And it was a pity that a match that had all the qualities of a top-class futsal match had to end with both teams' reputation taking a beating.

The Brazilians had gone ahead with three marvellous goals via Fininho in the 3rd min; Vander Carioca in the 18th min and Falcao in the 26th min and were looking to be coasting comfortably home.

This was until the Spaniards came storming back with three equally well taken goals through Paulo Roberto in the 29th min; Riquer Albert in the 36th min and then a superb penalty equaliser from Cobeta Angel in the 39th min to take the match into extra time and sudden death.

Then it was the turn of the Brazilians to celebrate when Saad converted a 10metre penalty in the 45th min to seal the fate of the Spaniards.

Straits Times:
Brazil-Spain semi-final match turns ugly after alleged slur

By Neil Humphreys
Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.


SSpain's Orol S. Javier tries for a tackle to Brazil's No5 Manoel TobiasINGAPORE (12-5-99) - IT WAS Latin hot-headedness at its worst when Brazil and Spain marred what was otherwise a classic game of futsal. A free-for-all erupted moments after referee N. Santhan had signalled the end of Tiger 5s futsal semi-final at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

(Photo: Spain's Javier, left, gets a leg in front of Brazil's Manoel Tobias. Photo Courtesy Tiger Beer.)

The boisterous 4,000 fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium were still on their feet applauding after Brazil had defeated Spain 4-3 in extra time, when the scene turned ugly.

According to three Spanish players, the fracas was ignited by a remark allegedly made by a Brazilian
opponent who had gone to the Spanish bench and shouted in Portuguese: "Sons of prostitutes".

Before the police restored order, kicks went flying, blows were exchanged and verbal abuses filled the air.

Some of the players were still fuming even as they were forcibly separated and marched down the tunnel. The Brazilians were locked in their dressing room with police standing guard outside -- a necessity as the furious Spanish players were still baying for Brazilian blood in the tunnel.

Said Spanish striker Alberto Riquer Anton: "When the match finished, all our heads were down, and then a Brazilian player ran past me and shouted at our bench. After that, everything went crazy."

Added team-mate Paulo Roberto: "The player also made a disgusting gesture at me and, of course, I
reacted."

Both the Brazilian coach, Eustaquio Araujo, and his Spanish opposite number, Javier Lozano, who are
long-time friends, hugged each other after the fracas and apologised for their players' wayward behaviour.

Araujo said: "It was a tense game and any gesture could have sparked it off.

"Unfortunately, the Spanish and Portuguese swear words are the same. But seriously, there has been a long-time rivalry between Spain and Brazil and it can't go on like this."

Brazil is ranked No. 1 in world futsal with Spain at No 2.

Said coach Lozano: "When we won the last Tiger 5s, we didn't provoke our opponents and I sympathise with my players."

The fracas, unfortunately, overshadowed a great match. In a tense affair, Brazil took a commanding 3-0 lead through Fininho, (3rd), Vander Santos (18th) and Falcao (26th) and the sounds of the samba beat echoed around the stadium.

But the game's turning point came when the world's best five-a-side player, Brazilian Manoel Tobias, was sent off in the 15th minute for his second bookable offence. The loss of the influential midfielder, who will be suspended for today's final, allowed the Spaniards to seize the initiative.

They missed four penalties but struck back with two goals from Roberto. And then in the last minute of normal time, Cobeta Angel coolly converted from the penalty spot to send the game into extra time.

Tempers frayed as nerves jangled. And, when Brazil was awarded a controversial penalty after Anderson had appeared to "dive" in the fifth minute of extra time, Manoel got down on his knees from the sidelines. His prayers were answered.

Saad Assis scored, Brazil defeated the Tiger 5s champion and will now meet Italy -- who beat Holland
2-1 (also in extra time) -- in the final.

Italy 2 Holland 1 (after extra time)

Like the Brazilians, the Italians also needed extra time and sudden death to book their place in the final.

Holland's Pascal Langenhuijsen controls the ball down while under pressure from Italy's No2 Darley Grana And it was their captain Andrea Rubei who tucked away the golden goal in the very first minute of extra time to send the Dutch packing and to give the Italians the berth in the final, which they are looking for all along.

(Photo: Italy's Darly Grana, right, steps in on Holland's Pascal Langenhuijsen. Photo courtesy Tiger Beer.)

"It was a very close match and in extra time anything could have happened. We were a little lucky and got the goal which mattered so much," said Italy's coach Nucorrini Alessandro.

Indeed the Italians were a little lucky as they came back from a goal down scored by Holland's Anouk Roest in the 5th min to snatch the equaliser through Gabriela Caleca in the 22th min to force extra time. 

Then came the winner from Rubei.

 

Holland Rallies in Final Minutes to Tie U.S.
Americans Eliminated from Tiger 5s on Goal Differential

From U.S. Soccer Communications

SINGAPORE (December 3, 1999) — The U.S. was eliminated from the Tiger 5s Futsal Tournament here yesterday when Holland came from behind to secure a 5-5 draw. The resultDusosky.jpg (5329 bytes) enabled the Dutch to advance past the Americans on goal differential.

(Photo: Todd Dusosky scores first U.S. goal against Holland. Photo courtesy Tiger Beer.)

tiger5s_logo_big.gif (4901 bytes)The U.S. squandered a 5-1 lead as Holland scored four unanswered goals in the last seven minutes. The U.S. led 2-1 at the half.

The Americans (1-0-1) finished even on points with Holland (1-0-1) in Group B, but behind on goal differential (+9 for Holland, +4 for the U.S.).

With only the winner of each group and the best second-place team advancing to the semifinals, Italy (1-0-1) took the best-second place spot on goal differential after crushing Singapore, 7-1, in an earlier Group A match. That victory forced the U.S. into a must win situation against Holland in order to earn a spot in tonight's semifinals.

Hank Leatemia opened the scoring for the Dutch in the third minute of play, but forwards Todd Dusosky (Milwaukee Wave - NPSL) and Lee Tschantret (Staten Island Vipers - A-League) scored in the 6th and 11th minutes respectively to give the Americans a 2-1 lead going into the intermission.

The U.S. would increase the lead to 4-1 early in the second half after tallies from defender Ted Eck (Dallas Burn - MLS) and midfielder Johnny Torres (New England Revolution - MLS). After an own goal by Holland in he 33rd minute, the U.S. owned a comfortable 5-1 lead. But the Dutch quickly answered with two goals in a span of two minutes to cut the lead to 5-3. Then, Henny Lattinck notched two more goals for Holland to level the score at 5 and put the Dutch into the semifinals.

The game was played before an extimated 4,000 fans at The Sports Arena. The Americans return home after finishing fifth overall at the nine-team Tournament.

Scoring Summary

1st 2nd Final
USA 2 3 5
HOL 1 4 5

HOL — Hank Loeatemia 3rd minute (first half), USA — Todd Dusosky 6th, USA — Lee Tschantret 11th, USA — Ted Eck 23rd (second half), USA — Johnny Torres 29th, USA — Own Goal 33rd, HOL — Glenn Zeelig 33rd, HOL — Pascal Langenhuijsen 35th, HOL — Henny Lattinck 37th, HOL — Henny Lattinck 38th,

Lineups:

USA — GK-Victor Nogueira, D-Sean Bowers (Capt.), D-Ted Eck, M-Johnny Torres, F-Todd Dusosky; Subs — GK-Mark Simpson, D-Dennis Brose, D-Daryl Doran, M-John Ball, M-Kevin Koetters, F- Lee Tschantret, F-Temoc Suarez. HOL — GK-Tom Sier, Hank Leatemia (Capt.), Pascal Langenhuijsen, Henny Lattinck, Anouk Roest; Subs - GK-Patrick Thomassen, Said Moumans, Max Tjaden, Sander Van Dijk, Maarten Frankfort, Glenn Zeelig, Johan Marce.

Statistical Summary: USA HOL

Shots 33 38, Saves 28 33, Corners 4 4, Fouls 13 9. Misconduct Summary: First Half USA — Dusosky (caution) HOL — Langenhuijsen (caution) Second Half USA — Brose (caution) USA — Eck (caution) USA — Tschantret (caution) HOL — Lattinck (caution). Officials: Referee: Shamsul Maiden (Singapore). Final Standings Group A Team GP W L D GF GA +/- PTS Spain 2 1 0 1 12 2 +10 4, Italy 2 1 0 1 9 3 +6 4, Singapore 1 0 1 0 0 10 -10 0. Group B Team GP W L D GF GA +/- PTS Holland 2 1 0 1 14 5 +9 4, U.S.A. 2 1 0 1 9 5 +4 4, South Korea 2 0 2 0 0 13 -13 0. Group C Team GP W L D GF GA +/- PTS Brazil 2 2 0 0 26 1 +15 6, France 2 1 1 0 3 11 -8 3 , Malaysia 2 0 2 0 0 17 -17 0. Results 12-1-99 Holland 9 South Korea 0, Spain 10 Singapore 0, Brazil 11 France 1. 12-2-99 France 2 Malaysia 0, Spain 2 Italy 2, U.S.A. 4 South Korea 0. 12-3-99 Brazil 15 Malaysia 0, Italy 7 Singapore 1, U.S.A. 5, Holland 5.

Semifinals 12-4-99:  Spain vs. Brazil 5:00 pm 4:00 am 12-4-99 Holland vs. Italy 7:00 pm 6:00 am

Finals 12-5-99:  Third-place 5:00 pm 4:00 am. Championship 7:00 pm 6:00 am

Straits Times:
Singapore scores one for Asia
Lions thrashed by Italians but break the goal drought

By Neil Humphreys
Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.


SINGAPORE (12-4-99) - Singapore scored Asia's only goal in this year's Tiger 5s futsal tournament at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. singitaly.jpg (4867 bytes)

The arena burst into life with 4,000 people cheering and clapping when Rudy Khairon scored against Italy in the 16th minute -- never mind that the Italians finally put seven past the Lions.

(Singapore's Samawire Basri shields ball from Italy's Massimo Quattrini. Photo courtesy Tiger Beer.)

After all, Singapore had lost 0-10 to the defending champion in Wednesday's opening match. Similarly, Malaysia had conceded 17 goals in two matches while South Korea had allowed 13 in from as many matches.

But Italy had a good reason for pulling its punches. If it had scored more than 10 goals, it would have to face the world champion Brazil in today's semi-finals.

So the 7-1 scoreline worked fine for it. Italy, the best-placed runner-up of the three groups, will
play Group B winner Holland. The other semi-final will be a repeat of last year's final between defending champion Spain and Brazil -- the winners of Group A and C respectively.

Singapore not only managed to score the goal but also put up a battling performance that it is so often accused of not delivering. The Lions remained composed and kept their shape, with Roy Yeo outstanding at the back.

Despite conceding three early goals through Italian captain Andrea Rubei (6th and 9th minute) and Mauricio Vincentini (10th), the host nation fought back positively and was awarded a penalty after Nahar Daud was fouled by keeper Marco Ripesi. Captain Rudy calmly converted the spot-kick.

Further Italian goals from Daverson Franzoi (16th, 37th), Vincentini (20th) and Tadeu Veroesi (33rd) took the eventual score to 7-1.

But Singapore coach John Chia was still a delighted man. He said: "I am elated that we scored Asia's only goal and I'm proud of our showing against a world-class team."

After the match, the Italian players were booed by the partisan fans. Coach Nuccorini Alessandro understood their frustration.

He said: "We had to win but we also didn't want to meet Brazil in the semi-final. The fans pay to see goals, so I do sympathise."

In the other matches played last night, Brazil trounced Malaysia 15-0 while the United States and Holland drew 5-5.

Tournament data: The semi-finals kick off at 5pm today. Tickets at $9 (adults) and $5 (students) are
available at the stadium and all Sistic outlets.

U.S. Downs S. Korea 4-0 in Opening Tiger 5s Match, Holland Next

SINGAPORE (12-2-99) - Ted Eck of Major League Soccer's Dallas Burn scored two goals on free kicks to lead the U.S. past South Korea 4-0 Tuesday in the opening round of the Tiger 5s Tournament at the Sports Arena here.

tiger5s_logo_big.gif (4901 bytes)In other games Tuesday, France topped Malaysia, 2-0, and Spain tied Italy 2-2. In one-sided games Monday, Holland defeated South Korea 9-0, Spain topped Singapore 10-0 and Brazil downed France 10-1.

 

The victory puts the U.S. into a first-place tie with Holland in Group B, but behind on goal differential (+9 for Holland, +4 for the U.S.). The U.S. and Holland will play Friday night.

The U.S. is shooting for a spot in the Dec. 4 semi-finals pitting the top finisher in Group A against the winner of  Group B and the top finisher in Group C against the fourth-best team overall. The fourth semi-final berth will be determined by points and goal difference.ted_eck.jpg (9404 bytes)

The championship finale will be played Dec. 5, following the third-place match.

(Ted Eck, 6-1, 190 lb. Dallas Burn midfielder, scored twice for the U.S. against S. Korea.)

 

 U.S. coach Keith Tozer said Brazil, Spain and Italy looked like the top teams following their first-round matches, with the U.S. and Holland in the "next tier." He noted that the Dutch side is deep in experience with some of the players having up to 60 caps, while the U.S. has seven players seeing their first international competition.

Tozer added, however, that the Americans have the capability of "picking up their level" and surprising the front-runners.

Tozer said the U.S. will attempt to take the Dutch out of their game by keeping the ball away from their target man on offense. He said the two teams match up with big forwards, quick, skillful midfielders and tough defenders.

Eck, a veteran of previous international futsal competitions, led with his two goals, while forward Lee Tschantret (Staten Island Vipers - A-League) and defender Dennis Brose (NPSL Detroit Rockers) each added a goal for the Americans. Goalkeeper Victor Nogueira (Milwaukee Wave - NPSL), the oldest player in thetournament at 40 years and voted the best goalkeeper in the last two FIFA Futsal World Championships, earned the shutout over South Korea.

The Dutch lead the lifetime series 3-1-1 over the Americans. The U.S. has not beaten Holland since a 3-2 win at Brasilia, Brazil on September 17, 1987.

With only the winner of each group and the best second-place team advancing to the semifinals, the Americans best chance for advancment is a victory over Holland. A draw would give the group to the Dutch, and force the U.S. to monitor the outcome of the Italy-Singapore match from Group A, also tonight. If the U.S. draws and Italy ties or loses, then the U.S. would advance to the semis.

The U.S. led South Korea 4-0 at the half, and Tozer was hoping they'd press on offense in the second half to open more scoring opportunities on the counterattack. But instead the Koreans settled back and played conservative defense.

"They just packed it in, and I didn't feel that we should try to kill ourselves," he said.

The U.S. starting lineup included Nogueira in goal, Eck and Sean Bowers in back and Johny Torres of the MLS New England Revolution and Todd Dusosky up front. Tozer said the same five would probably start against Holland.

"We have the players who can pick up their level against Holland," the coach said. "That's all we have to do."

Tozer said the playing and hotel facilities in Singapore are the best he's experienced. The 12,000-seat Sports Arena and hotel are both brand new."

"They play music during the game the same way we do in the NPSL and the way  they do in the NBA," he said.

The Arena also features a Sony Jumbotron scoreboard, the coach noted.

Standings
Group A

Team GP W L D GF GA +/- PTS
Spain 2 1 0 1 12 2 +10 4
Italy 1 0 0 1 2 2 0 1
Singapore 1 0 1 0 0 10 -10 0

Group B
Team GP W L D GF GA +/- PTS
Holland 1 1 0 0 9 0 +9 3
U.S.A. 1 1 0 0 4 0 +4 3
South Korea 2 0 2 0 0 13 -13 0

Group C
Team GP W L D GF GA +/- PTS
Brazil 1 1 0 0 11 1 +10 3
France 2 1 1 0 3 11 -8 3
Malaysia 1 0 1 0 0 2 -2 0

Results
12-1-99 Holland 9, South Korea 0
Spain 10, Singapore 0
Brazil 11, France 1
12-2-99 France 2, Malaysia 0
Spain 2, Italy 2
U.S.A. 4, South Korea 0

Schedule
Date Match Local Time 14 Hours Behind ET
12-3-99 Malaysia vs. Brazil 5:30 pm 6:30 pm (Dec. 2)
12-3-99 Italy vs. Singapore 7:00 pm 8:00 pm (Dec. 2)
12-3-99 U.S.A. vs. Holland 8:30 pm 10:30 pm (Dec. 2)
12-4-99 Semifinal #1 5:00 pm 7:00 pm (Dec. 3)
12-4-99 Semifinal #2 7:00 pm 9:00 pm (Dec. 3)
12-5-99 Third-place 5:00 pm 7:00 pm (Dec. 4)
12-5-99 Final 7:00 pm 9:00 pm (Dec. 4)

*All matches to be played at the Sports Arena in Downtown Singapore

The U.S. is using this tournament as preparation for The Football Confederation qualifying in June and the Fourth FIFA Futsal World Championship in November in Guatemala.

The U.S. will try to reclaim its top international status that won them a silver medal in the 1992 World Championship in Hong Kong and a bronze in Holland in 1989. The U.S. have been placed in Group B for the Tiger 5s alongside Holland and South Korea.

The Dutch lead the lifetime series 3-1-1 over the Americans, while it was the first meeting ever with South Korea.

The U.S. Roster: Goalkeepers: Victor Nogueira (Milwaukee), Mark Simpson (Schaumburg, Ill.); Defenders: Sean Bowers (San Diego, Calif.), Dennis Brose (Farmington Hills, Mi.) Doran Daryl (St. Louis, Mo.), Ted Eck (Plano, Texas); Midfielders: John Ball (Newton, Conn.), Kevin Koetters (Gardner, Kan.), Johnny Torres (Millis, Mass.); Forwards: Todd Dusosky (Hales Corner, Wis.), Lee Tschantret (New York, N.Y.), Temoc Suarez (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.).

(Steve Torres of U.S. Soccer contributed to this report.)

Straits Times: It's Raining goals
5,500 fans revel in party atmosphere

By Kelvin Phang
Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

SINGAPORE (12-2-99) - Goals, goals, goals and more goals -- that is what 5,500 fans enjoyed tigeracton.jpg (14445 bytes)at yesterday's opening of the Tiger 5s futsal extravanganza at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

(Photo: Tiger 5s action. Photo courtesy tiger beer.)


It mattered little to the roaring crowd that Singapore lost 0-10 to defending champion Spain simply because they were already in party mood, thanks to the charged atmosphere which came courtesy of horns, music and of course, goals.

The world's richest five-a-side indoor futsal tournament may have kicked off with Holland playing South Korea, but the fans were far busier wearing their hats and blowing airhorns, which were handed out free by the event sponsor.

As expected, the more experienced Dutch team taught Tiger 5s debutant South Korea a lesson by winning 9-0. But it was the half-time show, featuring an air-balloon which dispensed more freebies and the pop hits blaring from the PA system that really got the crowd on its feet.

With fans dancing to pop hits from Prodigy and the Backstreet Boys, the Tiger 5s almost resembled a rock concert. Said 13-year-old Jonathan Chua: "I really love the party atmosphere. I can't wait to get my face painted and to check out the game stalls." The stalls, which test your football skills, attracted an endless stream of fans and only the opening ceremony managed to get the fans back to their seats.

The 15-minute show featuring pyrotechnics, lasers and a traditional Malay drum performance raised temperatures in the stadium, but the loudest cheers were reserved for Singapore, which rounded off the parade of nations. The "Indoor Kallang Roar" became a permanent feature in the first half of the night's second match between Singapore and Spain.

For over 12 minutes, goalkeeper Yazid Yasin kept the Spaniards at bay with a superb performance in goal. The Lions' starting four of Rudy Khairon, Roy Yeo, Nahar Daud and Samawira Basri fought for every ball valiantly, much to the delight of the local fans as Spain only managed a 2-0 lead at half-time.

But the floodgates opened in the second half as Singapore's lack of fitness told and the technically-superior Spanish side added another eight goals to its tally. In the final match Brazil beat France 11-1 for a total of 31 goals on the night.

Straits Times: Brazil Wants the One that Got Away

 

By Kelvin Phang
Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

SINGAPORE  (12-1-99) - FIVE-TIME world futsal champion Brazil has won every tournament in the last decade, except the 1997 Tiger 5s in Singapore. The 3-4 defeat to Spain in the 1997 final remains a sore point with Brazil's coach, Eustaquio Arajuo.

tiger5s_logo_big.gif (4901 bytes)Said Arajuo, who is known as "Takao" (The Big One): "I've been coach of Brazil for 10 years and we have won 17 out of 18 tournaments.

"The only tournament that we lost was the Tiger 5s. We need to win this tournament and we will fight for it."

Mighty Brazil will start off as favourite when the US$155,000 ($258,000) Tiger 5s kicks off this afternoon at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The side has been strengthened by two members from the 1996 World Cup winning team.

Fininho has won two World Cups for Brazil, while Manoel Tobias was voted the best player at the '96 World Cup.

Tobias also finished as top scorer in Brazil's Liga Futsal, scoring 52 goals for Athletico Mineiro in 37 league matches this season. The 1.79-metre tall player points to the sky whenever he scores and will be the one to watch at this year's tournament.

Said Tobias, 28: "God put me on Earth to play futsal and to spread his word. I miss the last Tiger 5s because of injury. I like Singapore a lot and I hope everyone will come to see the Brazilian team in action."

Brazil kicks off its campaign against 11-a-side world champion France, but coach Takao played down the significance of the match.

Said Takao: "We are not thinking about last year's World Cup final. France won and deserved it.

"We are not out for revenge. It's the first time we are playing France in futsal and we just want to win."

Spain, meantime, begins its title defence against host Singapore. The Spaniards have four players from the '97 Tiger 5s winning side and should have no problems beating the Lions. S-League footballers Rudy Khairon, Mohammad Nor Ali, Nahar Daud and Samawira Basri are expected to start, while Yazid Yasin is set to face a stern test in goal.

Holland and South Korea, meanwhile, will kick off the tournament. Futsal has been recognised in Holland since 1965 and there are over 60,000 registered players there. The 1988 futsal World Cup runner-up should beat the Korean amateurs.

Straits Times: Spaniards arrive to defend title

By Neil Humphreys
Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

SINGAPORE (11-30-99) - Paulo Roberto earns one million Spanish pesetas a month (S$10,200) playing the second most popular indoor sport, after basketball, in Spain.

The 32-year-old is not a badminton or a volleyball player, but a professional futsal player playing in the LigaNacional, the Spanish national futsal league.

And the Brazilian-born striker performs regularly for his team, Elpozo Murcia, before crowds of 5,000, with television cameras adding another million armchair viewers to that figure. All of which helps to explain why Roberto and his team-mates were in buoyant mood when they arrived in Singapore yesterday to defend their title in the Tiger 5s futsal tournament which starts at the Singapore Indoor Stadium tomorrow.

When asked how many goals he scored in the last Tiger 5s, Roberto said in Spanish: "I can't remember and I don't care. I recall winning the title. That is all that matters."

The playmaker, who hit three goals last time, has every reason to be confident. In Spain, it is estimated that out of a population of 40 million, more than one million people play futsal, more than in 11-a-side football.

Almost every student play the sport until their mid-teens when they choose between futsal and regular football. This is the same scenario in Brazil where the likes of Pele, Zico and Ronaldo all played futsal as youngsters. In fact, Manoel Tobias, the world's No.1 futsal player, earns US$20,000 to US$50,000 (S$33,200-$83,000) a month.

In Spain, the futsal first division has 18 clubs, while the second division has 48 clubs divided into three groups, indicating its growth in popularity.

Said Roberto: "Futsal is a dynamic ball game. It is an emotional game with lots of goals. And the climate never changes."

In fact the sport is now so popular that Spain's semi-final and final matches in the Tiger 5s -- if they progress so far -- will be screened live back home. National captain Javier Lorente said: "We don't feel any pressure playing on TV but we know that lots of people will be watching."

When asked for their views on Spain's opening match against Singapore tomorrow, Lorente said: "We'll play our normal game and try to win."

Holland and newcomer France also arrived here yesterday, but have set themselves different targets for the US$150,000 event. Dutch striker Glenn Zeelig expects his team, which finished third in the last Tiger 5s, to reach the last four.

French goalkeeper Jean-Pierre Sabani believes his team will use the experience gained to prepare it for next February's World Cup qualifying matches.

Straits Times: Americans on 'suicide' mission?

By Chan Tse Chueen
Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

SINGAPORE  (11-27-99) - TheAmericans will use the Tiger 5s international futsal tournament to find a new style of play.

Suicidal, one might say, considering the calibre of its opposition, which includes four-time world champion Brazil and European powerhouses like Italy, France and Holland.

But Ted Eck, a 1994 11-a-side World Cupper with the United States, said there was no better way of gauging one's competence than playing against strong teams.

"Strong opponents are ideal for us," said the 33-year-old midfielder, who plays for Dallas Burn in Major League Soccer (MLS).

"Hopefully that will give us a gauge of how we are."

A blend of youth and experience, the team has also a mix of players from MLS and the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL).

Said Eck: "The NPSL is very physical and aggressive, but futsal is a slower and more tactical game. Our advantage is our physical ability. We are very fit.

"But we need to improve tactically. Brazil, for instance, is tactically sharper, more refined. Right now, we have the ability but are unrefined."

The Americans meet Holland and South Korea in Group B.

If they progress, facing Brazil is a possibility. Playing in this tournament is no holiday for Eck, who said: "I take this very seriously."

He is one of the most experienced in the team, along with NPSL three-time Goalkeeper of the Year Victor Nogueira.

The 12-member new outfit underwent a week of centralised training in Milwaukee before coming here. And it hopes to help the US reclaim its glory days of 1992 -- when it finished runner-up to Brazil in the Hongkong World Cup.

Said Eck: "We are trying to work on the US style of play, and to bring about the excitement like we had in 1992. We have a talented group of players to develop our own style. Now it is about finding our game."


 

Tiger 5s Playing Format

A five-day event, with one practice day conducted in accordance to FIFA rules and regulations. The nine teams are split into three round robin groups with semi-finals and a final.

9 Teams: Spain, Brazil, Italy, Holland, France, USA, Korea Republic, Malaysia, Singapore

Group A - Spain, Holland, Brazil. Group B - Italy, USA, France. Group C - Singapore, Korea Republic, Malaysia.

December 1- Day 1 - Wednesday: Match 1 Holland vs Korea Republic, Match 2 Singapore vs Spain, Match 3 Brazil vs France.

December 2 - Day 2 - Thursday: Match 1 France vs Malaysia, Match 2 Spain vs Italy, Match 3 Korea Republic vs USA.

December 3 - Day 3 - Friday: Match 1Malaysia vs Brazil, Match 2 Italy vs Singapore, Match 3 USA vs Holland.

December 4 - Day 4 - Saturday: Semi - Final 1 - 1st in Group A vs 1st in Group B. Semi - Final 2 - 1st in Group C vs top 4th place. 4th semi-final berth will be determined by points and goal difference.

December 5 - Day 5 - Sunday: 3rd & 4th play off.

                                      Final.

Click here for more details from Tiger Beer

TIGER 5s: Event details

It is a futsal event, meaning five-a-side soccer played in an indoor court. The tournament will be held from Wednesday till Sunday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Nine teams -- world champion Brazil, defending champion Spain, Holland, Italy, France, the United States, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore -- will be battling for the title. Ticket prices: $9 (adults) and $5 (schoolchildren) for daily entry and $23 (adults) and $12 (schoolchildren) for season passes are available at all Sistic outlets.

The event is sanctioned by world soccer governing body FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and the Football Association of Singapore.

The Star Online:
Futsal a learning outing for us, says Malaysian boss

SINGAPORE  (11-27-99) - Malaysia are not overawed at facing giants Brazil in their Group C clash in the Tiger 5s futsal or five-a-side football tournament at the Singapore Indoor Stadium from Dec 1-5.

Although dubbed the David vs Goliath encounter with world futsal champions Brazil the overwhelming favourites, Malaysia's team manager Abdul Rahman Ibrahim thinks his debutant players will benefit from the experience.

"The Singapore outing will be more of a learning experience for the players who need to have a high level of energy and skill to play the faster game," he said.

Malaysia open their campaign in the group against France on Dec 2 before playing Brazil the next day. Malaysia will field a team of unknowns, groomed especially for indoor football. There are no professional footballers in the team.

Defending champions Spain, Holland, Italy, USA, South Korea and hosts Singapore are the other teams vying for the US$80,000 first prize in Singapore.

Malaysia's last international outing at the Asian Futsal Championship earlier this year in Kuala Lumpur saw them holding Japan to a 5-5 draw but were thrashed 11-4 and 8-2 by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, respectively.

Straits Times:
Tobias the King of Futsal, Set to Charm:

Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

SINGAPORE (11-28-99) -  soccer fans will get to see the world's No. 1 futsal player parading his skills at the Tiger 5s Tournament which kicks off on Wednesday.

Brazilian star Manoel Tobias, who has been called the "Ronaldo of Futsal", is in town and ready to wreak havoc on opposing defences.

The 28-year-old, who has been the world's best futsal player since 1996, when Fifa first introduced official futsal rankings, is determined that this time, his country wins the title.

Speaking in Portuguese, he said: "I think Singapore is a beautiful place, but I'm not here to admire the view, I've come here to win the title.

"We were shocked to lose to Spain the last time and we do not intend to lose again."

The midfielder plays in Brazil's professional futsal league, the Liga Futsal and has just signed for Vasco da Gama, as he believes he can utilise his "God-given talent" to make sure the club wins the league title.

The league is extremely popular in Brazil and Manoel is recognised all over the country.

Singapore captain Rudy Khairon admitted to being overawed when he came face-to-face with the Brazilian at a press conference yesterday.

The Tanjong Pagar United midfielder said: "It's an honour to meet him. In the footballing world, he is right up there will Ronaldo."

Tickets for the Singapore Indoor Stadium event are available at all Sistic outlets. Prices are: Adults $9, students $5. Season tickets (weekdays only): Adults $23, students $12.

Fixtures -- Wed: Holland v South Korea, Singapore v Spain, Brazil v France.Thur: France v Malaysia, Spain v

Italy, South Korea v United States. Fri: Malaysia v Brazil, Italy v Singapore, United States v Holland. Sat:

Semi-finals. Sun: Final/3rd place play-off.

Brazil Arrives in Singapore ... in Style

Copyright 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

SINGAPORE (11-26-99) - Mighty Brazil, five time conqueror's of the Futsal World Cup arrived in style, decked in smart suits and wide grins early this morning here in the beautiful city of Singapore.

There were a few surprises when Takao led the players out of the gate at the arrival terminal.

Missing were names like Simi, Danilo and Schumacher, who were all named in an earlier press report to be on the team for the Tiger 5s.

Afterwards coach Eustaquio Araujo, better known as 'Takao' explained the reason for their absence.

"All of them are playing for Sao Paolo in the State Championships and could not be granted time off to travel with the team. We really wanted them to be here but their club commitments are as important as national duties so I can understand. In their places, I have brought along some of the brightest Futsal prospects in Brazil. Indio, Euler and Marquinhos are very, very good players so I think they will more than make up for the absence of the missing three.

Come watch them in training and you will know what I mean", said the 53-year old who has now been in charge of the team for ten years.

The biggest cheer, however was the sight of Manoel Tobias Da Cruz. Regarded as the best in the world, 28-year old Tobias is as famous as Ronaldo in Brazil. He missed out on making the team for the Tiger 5s in 1997 when a serious knee injury suffered days before departure, put paid to his hopes of showing Singapore and Asia what he is all about. But he will have another opportunity this time around.

His quality is unquestionable and this is perhaps the reason why he is the most sought after and highest paid player in Brazil. (He is rumoured to earn between US$20,000 and US$50,000 a month). A staunch Christian, the player refused to be drawn into a discussion later at lunch, about his salary and his abilities as he indicated that he was 'just a humble servant of God' and was thankful to God for giving him this blessed talent.

Modesty aside, Tobias was in jovial mood as were the other players despite the 42 hour travel from Rio De Janeiro via Buenos Aires.

Present from the 1997 team, were Fininho, the left legged wonder and arguably the most creative player in the world, Andre, the new captain of the team at a very young age of 23 and Vander Carioca, the new striking sensation of the team representing the new generation of Futsal aces in Brazil.

And after a short rest and lunch, Brazil made its journey to the northern estate of Hougang for a short training session at which the rich talents that the team possessed were put on show.

Two players especially stood out - Falcao and Anderson. Both displayed some amazing skills and nifty footwork that thrilled and left the few who were watching the training, gasping in shock.

Fininho looked as sharp as he was two years ago and Vander too. Vander would be familiar to Singapore fans after his top-scoring feat at the Tiger 5s in 1997 with 13 goals. This included an explosive performance against Singapore when he found the net seven times.

All in all, the Brazilians looked razor sharp in their first training session, showing no signs of fatigue or jet lag. This, probably is why they are the reigning World Champions and have collected a total of 31 titles since the game was recognized.

'The Boys of Samba' kick off their Tiger 5s expedition on Wednesday 1st Dec against France at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Surely this a good time for revenge for the World Cup Final defeat suffered by their football comrades at the hands of the French at France 98.

Full Line-up: Goalkeepers : Rogerio, Lavoisier. Defenders : Andre (captain), Indio, Saad Assis. Midfielders : Manoel Tobias, Falcao, Fininho, Anderson. Forwards : Vander Carioca, Marquinhos, Euler. Coach : Eustaquio Araujo 'Takao'. Manager : Rudy Vieira.

Futsal On-Line...