- La Albiceleste book their place in Lithuania
- Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela secure remaining berths
- Vinotinto set to take part in maiden Futsal World Cup
Reigning world champions Argentina continued their rich vein of form by emphatically winning the South American qualifying tournament for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2020™.
La Albiceleste saw off hosts Brazil in the final, with Paraguay completing the podium. Venezuela finished fourth to ensure their presence at futsal’s showpiece event for the first time.
FIFA.com takes a look back at how the qualifiers panned out.
Argentina came to the tournament under pressure to qualify for Lithuania 2020 in order to defend the world title secured at Colombia 2016. Their secondary target was to win the qualifying event to cement the lofty status they have enjoyed in recent years, and they were successful on both counts.
Matias Lucuix’s squad, which included nine veterans of 2016, showed their class and professionalism in winning all six of their games, including victories over the other three qualified sides – Brazil in the final, Paraguay in the semis, and Venezuela during the group stage.
The pick of these was the final, which the hosts went into unbeaten and yet to concede a goal. Indeed, Brazil drew first blood before La Albiceleste turned things around with goals from Cristian Borruto, Constantino Vaporaki and Pablo Taborda for a 3-1 win and second regional title. However, it was not just in attack that Argentina impressed, with Nicolas Sarmiento having a series of standout performances in goal.
Region’s other representatives
Second place will have been scant consolation for Brazil after a smooth passage through the group stage (where they finished ahead Paraguay) and a semi-final victory over Venezuela. However, their stats leading up to the final of five wins, 24 goals for and 0 against would ultimately count for nothing against Argentina in the finale, despite taking the lead with a spectacular bicycle kick from Pito.
Still, with the aforementioned Pito, as well as talents like Rodrigo, Gadeia, Dyego and Guitta, there is no denying this is a team capable of winning’s Brazil’s sixth world title in Lithuania.
Paraguay met the expectations of most observers in securing one of the region’s four berths, even if privately they would have aspired to finish in the top two. Los Guaraníes won all four games required to reach Lithuania before going down in the two fixtures they could afford to lose (Brazil and Argentina).
The experience of brothers Rodrigo and Gabriel Ayala and Javier Salas will be crucial at the the World Cup to balance the younger elements of a squad with a very promising future.
Venezuela, meanwhile, finally managed to clear the last hurdle and reach the FIFA Futsal World Cup for the first time. With Jesus Viamonte, Rafael Morillo, Carlos Sanz and Wilson Francia leading the way, they won key duels against Uruguay and Chile, which in the end proved decisive.
La Vinotinto even ran Argentina close in the group stage (before eventually losing 2-1), a performance they could not replicate either in the semi-final against Brazil (3-0) or the match for third place against Paraguay (6-2).