EIGHT years after they last made the finals, the Qantas Futsalroos will be marking their return to the FIFA Futsal World Cup stage with a showdown against Argentina, Mexico and Italy in Group D.
Four members from the 2004 side - goalkeeper Peter Spathis, striker Danny Ngalufe as well as Simon Keith and Lachlan Wright – will line up for the tournament in Thailand between 1-18 November. The team’s top scorer at the AFC Futsal Championship, Daniel Fogarty, and captain Gregory Giovenali are among the key players making the trip.
Group D is one of the hardest to pick, and all four teams will fancy their chances of progressing provided they bring their A-game.
Steve Knight’s boys will be up against an on-fire Italy who scored 26 goals and conceded just five during their five qualifiers, while Argentina finished second to reigning champions and four-time winners Brazil. Mexico are making their first appearance at the tournament.
“It’s so exciting - an amateur side will play at the World Cup,” Giovenali told fifa.com. “The whole team deserves credit, as does the coach, who worked wonders.”
The 24 participating teams were drawn in six groups of four, with the top two from each group going through to the Round of 16 along with the four best third-placed teams.
Group A: Thailand, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Paraguay
Group B: Spain, Iran, Panama, Morocco
Group C: Brazil, Japan, Libya, Portugal
Group D: Argentina, Mexico, Italy, Australia
Group E: Egypt, Serbia, Czech Republic, Kuwait
Group F: Russia, Solomon Islands, Guatemala, Colombia