Brave fight by Thai futsal stars (October 10, 2008)


Thailand salvaged some pride when they were edged 3-2 by heavy favourites Portugal in their last first-round game at the Fifa Futsal World Cup in Brasilia on Wednesday.

The Thais held the Portuguese until the last second when Cardinal scored the winner in their Group B match.

The win was not enough for Portugal to advance to the quarter-finals. With two teams from each group reaching the knockout stages, the Portuguese finished third in Group B behind Paraguay and Italy.

Although Paraguay, Italy and Portugal each had nine points, Portugal were eliminated because of their inferior goal difference against the other two teams.

Portugal, who finished third in the previous World Cup, went ahead after just three minutes through captain Arnaldo. The Thais stunned the Portuguese when Ekapong Suratsawang found the net just before half-time.

Portugal restored their lead from an Israel strike only for Panuwat Janta to put the match back on level terms. Cardinal sealed the win for Portugal with the last kick of the game.

Thailand coach Jose Maria Mendez said his men played very well and that their overall performance in the tournament was good.

Thailand lost 1-0 to Italy, beat the United States 5-3 and were defeated 8-0 by Paraguay in their first three matches.

Thailand manager Adisak Benjasiriwan said his players were impressive and lost only by one goal to both Italy and Portugal.

He said he would quit the post after the tournament and that Thai futsal was in the right direction.

In the other Group B match on Wednesday, Paraguay beat Italy 4-2.