Australia has defeated Thailand 5-4 in a warm-up match in Bangkok as part of its final preparations for the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand which kicks off this week.
Having arrived in Bangkok on the weekend, the Futsalroos were bolstered by the late inclusion of veteran goalkeeper Gavin O’Brien, who was a member of the squad that represented Australia at the 2004 World Cup in Chinese Taipei, after he passed a fitness test last week.
From the kick-off the Futsalroos pressed very high throughout the first half and defensively executed the game plan which meant that Thailand was not able to hold the ball and create effective possession.
The opening goal was scored by the Futsalroos in the third minute when Daniel Fogarty applied high pressure at the top of the court. Fogarty’s tackle led to a loose ball which took he pounced on and, with a first time touch from just outside the D, placing a perfect shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
Two minutes later the Futsalroos doubled their lead when another forced error from Thailand gave captain Greg Giovenali the ball just inside the Thai half.
Giovenali then placed a well-timed through ball to Fogarty in behind his defender.
Fogarty’s resulting cross to the back post was met by an oncoming Toby Seeto who finished first time giving the Thai keeper no chance.
Giovenali extended his team’s lead a minute later with a powerful low strike from a free kick into the bottom right corner of the goal.
The Futsalroos' fourth goal came in the ninth minute when goalkeeper Peter Spathis played a long ball to Fogarty who was sprinting down court. Fogarty headed on for Jarrod Basger who then dribbled around the Thai keeper and passed into an empty net.
Thailand pulled a goal back after 18 minutes but two minutes into the second half, the Futsalroos scored their fifth goal after Fogarty pinched the ball in the middle of the court, beat his defender and passed to Giovenali.
Giovenali’s cross to the back post found Basger who easily tapped in to complete his brace.
Thailand responded with late goals to reduce the deficit.
Two minutes from time the Futsalroos conceded their sixth foul of the match and from the resulting penalty Thailand hit the post.
Shortly afterwards, Thailand scored again.
For the remaining minutes the Futsalroos defended well to deny Thailand any clear-cut chances to record a confidence boosting win.
The Futsalroos will play another friendly against Egypt on Tuesday.
Brazil won the last World Cup in 2008 by beating Spain on penalties in Rio de Janeiro.
All Futsalroos matches at the 2012 World Cup will be broadcast live on SBS Two (go to www.sbs.com.au for broadcast details).
John Boultbee is set to relinquish his role as Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) Head of National Teams to take up a role as honorary head of World Rowing (FISA).