Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Futsalbiceleste Was In Town

Yes!!! Our futsal team was down in Kuala Lumpur recently for the KL World 5-futsal tournament. Me and all of my friends, have waited for this moment for almost five years.

Back in 2003 Malaysia hosted a futsal tournament that brought the best teams in the 5-a-side game from all over the world. Thank God!!! Argentina was among those teams that took the invitation. There were plenty of great memories back then.

In our group game, we trashed Indonesia (20-1) and Japan (5-1) to progress towards the semi-finals where we were given a real scare by Iran. At half time, Iran were leading 1-0 but in the second half, two powerful strikes from outside the D-box by Marcelo GIMENEZ and Carlos SANCHEZ ensured our place in the final. And whom exactly did we play then? Well its non other than the Brazil.

I still remember that final as if it only happened yesterday. With the majority of the people in the arena supporting Brazil; we made our presence felt by bringing our own banner (one is an Argentina flag with the word “Vamos Argentina” and the other is a banner with the word ‘Gracias Por Venir”). The players and coaches did notice us and in return they applauded us for the support we have given them.

At that point of time, we knew it was going to be very hard to play against Brazil and to no surprise they took the lead through RIBEIRO. Then they were stunned when Diego GIUSTOZZI and Carlos SANCHEZ scored to give Argentina a 2-1 lead at half time. Suddenly the majority of the arena was left in silent while Argentina supporters were clearly the loudest.

When the second half started, NETO equalized for Brazil to make it 2-2, which is how the match ended in regular time. So it was sudden death extra time. All of us were really nervous and our hearts were pumping faster.

It was then when the most unthinkable happen as the Brazilian goalkeeper (can’t remember his name) was clearing the ball away from his area; saw his shot taking a deflection on Esteban GONZALEZ from which the ball swing back into the Brazilian’s goal and it was a blue & white celebration all the way.

The players brought the trophy and lifted it in front of us just to show their appreciation for our support. Some of them even did sign autographs on our banner.

It was a historical moment for our futsal team, as prior to that we have never beaten Brazil and it sounds sweeter to say that we were there on that day to witness that great moment.

Now we are in 2008, the second edition of the tournament is back (please don’t ask me why did it took so long) and Argentina was back in town again.

For more information you can check out on the tournament’s official website: -

http://www.klworld5s.com/

Argentina was drawn in Group A alongside the host Malaysia (of all teams!!!), Australia, England & Indonesia. Group B had Brazil, Thailand, Iran, China & Holland.

Unfortunately for me, I could not attend any of the group games because all matches were played during my working hours. But I can tell you that we beat England (12-1), Malaysia (7-1) and Indonesia (6-0) before surprisingly being held by Australia (3-3). For your information, we were down 2-3 with just a minute left to play, before goalkeeper Daniel ELIAS slammed home the equalizer. The result was indeed a significant one as we manage to avoid Brazil in the semis.

After missing all the drama and action from the group stage, I knew I had to be there this time.

Saturday, February 2nd

It was the semi-final and Argentina was up against an unpredictable Thailand. We arrived at the arena around 3.00 pm and since the match only started at 5, my friends and I decided to go and have something to eat.

When we came back, we realized we were the only Argentina supporter at that time, but slowly others (consisting of both local & expatriate) were joining us and the number started to increase. Just before the match started, we had the chance to shake hands with the players, as they’ve just completed their warm up session.
video
It was a nail-biting encounter; on which eventually we did defeated the Thais 5-3 to progress to the final with goals from Christian BORRUTO, Pablo BASILE, José GODOY (twice) and Ignacio CAVIGLA. There was a feeling of ecstasy around us as soon as the game was over.
video
After the game finished, we decided to head home straight away rather than staying to watch the other semi-final between Brazil and Australia. I must say we have no regrets about this as while we walking towards our car, we realized that the Argentina’s team bus was parked just right next to the car park.

From our jerseys and banners, the players did notice our presence and they acknowledged us while the coach said “Gracias” for our support.


Sunday, February 3rd

As expected we were bound to meet Brazil again in the final. We knew this time it was never going to be easy as Brazil brought their best team including FALCAO (the World's best player) and they have yet to concede a goal in the tournament.

The match was due to kick off at 7.00 pm and we arrived at the arena about 6.30 pm. While we were looking around for a strategic place to sit, we realized that the large numbers of Brazilian supporters were gathering behind one of the goals. So immediately we have decided to sit at the other end as a response towards the Brazilian supporter.

As kick-off time was just minutes away, Argentina supporters were beginning to create a sea of blue and white behind one of the goals and it was great feeling seeing all of them mingling around at one common cause.

Brazil supporters had their samba drums while at our end we had two sets of Chinese drums to give some beat and cutting edge into our chant. Wow!!! We were really loud and that’s all just good because it was then when everyone knew that Argentina supporters were around.

As the players and coaches were walking into the arena for the national anthems ceremony, they did notice our presence and after that they came to our end to acknowledge us with the coach Fernando LARRAÑAGA saying, at the top of his voice, Gracias!!! Gracias!!!
video
Once the game started, Brazil was pressuring us from left to right and viceversa but we still held on firmly. At times we were dangerous on the counter attack but could not capitalized on the chances that we had. Then, disaster strike with less than a minute left for half time, Brazil scored through Joao CARVALHO.
video
In the second half we had no answers against them, as three more goals from Lenisio JUNIOR, FALCAO and William MORAIS made the scoreline 4-0. Our boys tried their very best and never gave up as I could tell that they really wanted to score and crack Brazil’s perfect defense. In the end, Brazil finally managed to bury the ghost that has haunted them for the pat five years.

Despite of this painful defeat, our boys led by captain GODOY (in an interview with a local newspaper, he mentioned that he was born in the same hospital than Diego MARADONA!!!), showed some class by coming towards us again and applauding our support. I still remember in 2003 when Brazil lost, their players did not have the decency to do the same to their supporters.
video
After that, I’ve decided to take some pictures with other Argentina supporters which all of them were nice, friendly and passionate people. Result aside, I would have not changed a single moment on that day as it was a great feeling to be surrounded by many people who live and die by the blue & white code.

It makes me wonder what it would have been like if the real football team would make the trip one day. I just can’t imagine how crazy would that be.

I apologize in case you find this article too lengthy to read as I didn’t want leave a single key moment that I’ve experienced during those times.

Special thanks to Bala & Ganesh making this trip possible. Unfortunately, Alwin could not make the trip as he was on duty outstation.

Once again, muchas gracias to the futsal team for coming and giving us some great moment to cherish.

VAMOS ARGENTINA!!!

7 comments:

John said...

I would like to apologize on the quality of the video as it was taken directly from my mobile phone.

Hopefully you've enjoyed it.

Batigol said...

Very interesting article John. It must be heart breaking to lose 4-0 to our arch rival Brazil.

But I guess this tournament not too bad as Argies did enter final ( beside the trashed England 12-1, even our more famous footballers cant beat them nowadays despite being so much talented & hype around them )

I hope Argies Futsal team will continue prospers & hope Argies will be Ruling the Sports World.

Vamos Argentina

Seba said...

Brilliant stuff, John!

I tell you what...if there is a prize to the most passionate Argentina supporter (not born in Argentina), you are the winner hands down!

I saw our Futsalbicelestes beating Paraguay in the semis of the Panamerican Games but couldn't get a ticket for the final against Brazil. The place was packed and so was the goal defended by our keeper after the game! hahaha!

It was a day in which we lost the gold medal match in both Futsal and Handball against Brazil (and there was a proper fight between the players in that one!).

But going back to your post, I have to admit I loved the national anthem video because it was all so quiet during the song and then all of you were throwing little pieces of paper to the air (one of the best Argentine inventions of all times!) and singing really loud!

I'm sure the players loved your support and I also hope that tournament gets to be played in a regular basis.

Again John, top stuff! Thanks for sharing this with us!

CRESPO GANESH said...

just would like totake this opportunity in thanking my great buddies for witnessing THE GOD'S at Stadium Negara....We will fare better next time around and try to slaughter Brazil...

Vamos argentina,ELDIOS MARADONA!!!!

*CaTWoMaN* said...

hey there... stumbled upon this site by chance and must say i managed to relive the memories i had with the argentina team (i was their unofficial translator) at this year's kl world 5's tourney, so muchas gracias!

anyway, you mentioned that you read a local interview which featured josé godoy? would be great if you could point me in the right direction towards it as i need to pass it to el capitán himself. your help would be greatly appreciated!

oh one last thing... the name of brasil's goalie in the 2003 edition was Lavoisier... many would remember him for his famous "jumping jacks" haha ;)

*CaTWoMaN* said...

btw my email address is:
selina.aziz@yahoo.com

¡¡¡vamos vamos argentina!!!

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