The 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup came to an end yesterday.  The tournament, held in Lithuania, featured three familiar nations in the final four and a less familiar one.  

Futsal Finals Takeaways

  • New Champions Portugal
  • Two previous World Cup winners present in third-place game and final
  • Ricardinho gets triumphant moment

The first semi-final occurred last Wednesday between five times winners Brazil and reigning champions Argentina. Brazil were hoping to perform well, after a surprising Round of 16 exit in the 2016. 

Whatever the result though, the matchup was going to finish with a loss for one previous World Cup winner. Argentina ultimately got the upper hand over their South American rivals, beating Brazil by a scoreline of 2-1 to reach the final.

The second semi-final saw Kazakhstan, who were making their first appearance in the semi-finals of the tournament, face off against Portugal, who had reached this stage twice in previous competitions but never made it to a final.  

The Portuguese's highest finish was third in 2000 and fourth in the last tournament.  The match, held last Thursday, ended with a 2-2 scoreline.  Portugal ultimately made the final by winning on penalties by a scoreline of 4-3.

Both the third place game and final took place on October 3, 2021.  Brazil were able to overcome Kazakhstan to win the third placed medal.  The final score was 4-2 for the Brazilians.

Portugal then faced Argentina in the World Cup final.  Portugal were in control early on in the match.  Argentina's Borruto was then red carded after striking Portugal's captain Ricardinho in the stomach.  

In Futsal, the red carded team go down to four players for two minutes before being able to substitute a fifth player back in, with the red carded player no longer allowed to return to the field.  Portugal capitalized on this man advantage during the two minute window with Pany, who ultimately won the Silver Ball, opened the scoring in the 15th minute of play.  

He then got a brace in the 28th minute.  Argentina's Claudino scored seconds later.  The reigning champions tried to apply pressure in the last minutes of the game through the use of a fly goalkeeper, where they subbed their keeper for another player who assumed the role of a fifth outfield player, but the Portuguese were able to defend well and close out the game.

The Portuguese won their first ever FIFA Futsal World Cup by a scoreline of 2-1.  In doing so they became the fourth nation after Brazil, Spain and Argentina to lift Futsal's top trophy.

The event was especially monumental for Portugal's captain Ricardinho, who won this tournament's Golden Ball.  

Nicknamed O Mágico, the Magician, he has been named Futsal's Best Player of the World on six occasions.  Ricardinho is the only player to win the award more than four times.  Prior to this Golden Ball tournament win, he had won the Bronze Ball at the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup and the Golden Shoe at the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup.

Regarded by many as one of the greatest players ever to play the game, this was a crowning achievement for the 36-year old and his nation.

Australia were absent from the competition after budgetary cuts by Football Australia led to the Futsalroos missing the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship qualification.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that event ended up serving as the AFC's qualifier for this tournament.

The budget cuts were described at the time by Football Australia as a "necessary short-term measure". This was the second Futsal World Cup without Australia in attendance. 


Socceroos Abroad: Ex A-League star not ‘daunted’ by Steven Gerrard’s Rangers

Several Socceroos and Australians featured this past weekend in the English and Scottish leagues.


‘Extremely disappointing’: Diego Castro's Perth Glory A-League career over

A reluctance to commit in a timely manner to Perth by Diego Castro opened the door to the recruitment of Daniel Sturridge and the closure of Castro's Glory career.

The full highlights of the the semi-final and final matches can be found on SBS On Demand.