Mon, Nov 22, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Futsal world showpiece opens in Taipei

OPENING GAME Egypt humiliated Taiwan 12-0 in the first match of the FIFA Futsal World Championship, just after the event was opened by President Chen Shiu-bian

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH AGENCIES

Egypt's Hakim Abdiel Mohamed (10) rushes for the ball against Taiwan's Ho Kuo Chen (11) during the opening game of the FIFA Futsal World Championship 2004.

PHOTO: AP

Egypt routed hosts Taiwan 12:0 in the opening match of the FIFA 2004 Futsal World Championship at the National Taiwan University Gymnasium in Taipei yesterday, in a match that saw Taiwan's student team outclassed and outplayed by a much tighter and more fluid Egyptian squad comprised of players from the national Police Futsal Team.

Egypt's captain Gahad Sayed opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a close range shot that left Taiwan's goalkeeper, Chen Yung-sheng, scrambling on the floor and only able to watch helplessly as the ball dribbled across the goal line. Weal Abdel Mawla made it two a minute later and the rout began.

A second goal by Abdel Mawla in the 13th minute was followed by goals by Ayman Ibrahim and Hakim Abdle Mohamed.With Egypt leading 6:0 when the halftime buzzer went it was already over for Taiwan.

Egypt wasted no time in increasing its lead in the second half. Another goal by Sayed was followed by Ibrahim's second and an own goal by Taiwan's Tseng Tai-lin in the fourth minute of the second half all but killed off Taiwan. Khaled Mahmoud made it 9:0 in the 32nd minute with goals by Mohamed Abdelhamid, a third by Abdel Mawla and a third by Sayed finishing off Egypt's Futsal slaughter of Taiwan.

"We hope all matches could be like this and it was good for us," said Egypt's coach Mowafar Badr. "It was [Taiwan's] first time in the competition. I [wish] them good luck in the next game."

It may have been a rout, but the home crowd's voice didn't waver and with cheers of "o la, o la, o la, Taiwan" ringing through the venue the home team did show moments of dexterity. Lackluster finishing, however, was to prove the undoing of the young Taiwan team.

The hosts should have gone ahead in the opening minute after a series of fluid passes saw Ho Ko-chen take possession outside the Egyptian goal, but with only the keeper to beat Ho blasted his shot wide of the goal.

Taiwan failed to convert a corner kick less than a minute later when Tseng Tai-lin's shot glanced off the crossbar and out of play. The best chance came from a free kick in the fifth minute, but little thought was given to exploiting the set piece and possession ceded to Egypt who remained unflustered by Taiwan's offensive moments.

"We knew before it was going to be mission impossible and we can learn from it," said Damian Knabben, Taiwan's Belgian coach. "But this is the world championship and these are some of the best teams in the world."

With games against reigning Futsal World Champions Spain and the Ukrainian team still to come, Taiwan's chances of qualifying for the second round already look almost impossible.

Spain vs Ukraine

Marcelo and Andreu both scored as defending champion Spain beat Ukraine 2-0 in the opening round of the Futsal World Championship in Taiwan.

Italy vs US

Italy beat the US 6-3. Adriano Foglia and Edgar Bertoni each scored two goals for the Italians, while Grana and Pellegrini each added one.

Johnny Torres, Todd Dusosky and Pat Morris scored for the US.

Futsal, or indoor soccer, is played by five players per side over two 20-minute periods. The playing surface is the size of a basketball court. The 16-team FIFA tournament ends Dec. 5.

The 2004 tournament is the fifth since the competition began in 1989. Brazil won the first three events, and Spain won in 2000.

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