Australia's national men's Futsal team is planning a smash and grab victory over world No. 3 Italy to kick off its FIFA Futsal World Cup campaign at the Nimibutr Indoor Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday evening.
All Futsalroos matches at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012 will be broadcast live on SBS TWO and streamed online. (Click here for broadcast details).
The Futsalroos, then known as the Indooroos, hammered Italy 12-0 on home soil in the World Championships in 1987 with current coach Steven Knight running the show. But things have changed since then.
“It was a different game back then,” Knight said. “We did exceptionally well and ended up sixth in the world. We got off to a great start with that big win over Italy and after losing to Uruguay we then beat Hungary to qualify for the second group stage.
"Argentina were in our group there as well and even though we beat them we lost to Paraguay and Brazil. The Paraguayans won that competition.”
Australia also plays Mexico and Argentina in a tough Futsal World Cup group but its focus is solely on FIFA Futsal World Cup 2004 runner-up 2003 UEFA European Champion, Italy.
“We know all about the quality they have in their team and what to expect,” Knight said. “They are ranked third in the World for a reason and have some exceptional players.
"But we have a plan and a structure that we hope can serve us well. Our defensive effort will be important and we showed the other evening when we held out Iran that if we play to our strengths, minimise the mistakes and work hard for each other then we can surprise a few people.
“Going forward we hope to be able to create chances and, if we do, we will need to make them count."
Futsalroos captain Greg Giovenali spent six seasons playing with and against some of the biggest names in the Italian game during a stint in the Italian Futsal Serie A and is well aware of the challenge that his side faces.
“I learned a lot and made a lot of friends who are now in the Italian team,” Giovaneli said. “I spent five years with Lazio and a year with Solaria Sport Village.
"I went over there for a trial and obviously impressed enough to be taken on. I started in the under-18 and progressed to the under-21 and first team.”
The Futsalroos play Italy on Friday 2 November (kick-off 9pm AEDT), Mexico on Monday 5 November (kick-off 9pm AEDT) and Argentina on Thursday 8 November (kick-off 9 AEDT).
John Boultbee is set to relinquish his role as Football Federation Australia’s Head of National Teams to take up a role as honorary head of World Rowing (FISA).