Matchday 1 Review
By Doug Reed
The Futsal Week Summer Cup U19 tournament kicked off today in Porec, Croatia. The championships feature the next generation of futsal talent from Croatia, Finland, Hungary, Iraq, Moldova, Poland, Serbia and Slovenia.
The opening match was Poland against Serbia. It was a close encounter with only one goal or less separating the two teams for practically the entire match. It was Serbia who had a slight edge throughout the game and with 7 minutes to go took the lead to make it 5-4 but they had conceded 5 fouls.
In the remainder of the match they gave away three 10m penalties but Serbia’s second choice goalkeeper entered the pitch for each one and saved his team to become the hero and earn Serbia the three points.
The following game saw Slovenia face Finland. Both teams struggled to secure possession in the opponent’s half and the first three goals all came from set plays. At half-time the scores were level with just one apiece but in the second half the game opened up and we saw more goals, with both teams converting from the 10m penalty mark. In the end Slovenia managed to get away and took a 6-3 victory.
The next contest was Hungary taking on Moldova. Individual errors by the Moldovans gave Hungary a 3-0 lead and they were comfortably controlling the game at the break. However, Moldova got back into the game in the second half, reducing the distance to two at 3-1 and 4-2. But their hopes were ended after a series of fouls gave Hungary three 10m penalties, all of which were converted. The game finished 7-2 to the Hungarians.
The final game would see the locals Croatia take on the only non-European nation in the competition, Iraq. It was a clash of styles with the Iraqis playing very direct, effectively using their fast, strong and skilful squad compared to a more considered approach by their opponents.
This unsettled Croatia but it was only a strange goal direct from an Iraqi kick-in that brushed the Croatian goalkeeper before going in that separated the two teams at half time. After the break Iraq got two quick goals to take a 3-0 lead before adding a fourth. It looked like Croatia were back in the tie when they pulled two goals back but another quick counter attack from Iraq and then a red card for Croatia in the last few minutes ended any hopes for a dramatic comeback.
A fantastic day of vibrant futsal has concluded but it all starts again tomorrow in Matchday 2.