Wed, Nov 24, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Spain puts futsal lights out for Taiwan

DARK DAY Despite a power blackout, world champions Spain yesterday gave Taiwan a 10-0 drubbing, ending the host nation's hopes of advancing to the second round


Spain's Alberto Cogorro yesterday rushes to the goalmouth to score against Taiwan despite attempts by the Taiwanese defenders to stop him.


Reigning FIFA Futsal World Champions Spain beat Taiwan 10-0 in a Group A clash at the National Taiwan University Gymnasium in Taipei yesterday. This effectively ended the host nation's chances of qualifying for the second round.

Taiwan was outplayed and outclassed by a much faster and physically stronger team, that at times looked as if it was toying with the home team and enjoying a training session rather than playing a world championship match.

Resting several star players from the starting line-up, the Iberians took control of the very one-sided David and Goliath struggle from the off. Spain nevertheless squandered a salvo of shots on goal in the opening minutes.

A quickly taken set-piece free kick just outside Taiwan's penalty area in the sixth minute found the feet of Spain's Alberto Cogorro on the touchline. He deftly turned his marker and blasted the ball into the back of the net to give Spain a 1-0 lead.

Spain's second goal came in the 13th minute after Fran Serrejon effortlessly tapped in a close-range effort that left Taiwan's keeper, Yeh Hsien-chung, looking more bemused than humiliated.

Spain captain Julio scored from another set-piece free kick in the 17th minute and by the time the referee blew for halftime the world champions had established a 3-0 buffer.

Spain may have gone into the dressing room with a comfortable three-goal lead, but the star of the first half proved to be Taiwan's embattled goalkeeper, without whose valiant efforts between the posts Taiwan would have been trailing by far more than three goals.

The keeper pulled off a series of well-executed saves from the continuous Spanish barrage that assailed Taiwan's goalmouth from both short and long range and in one audacious move Yeh managed to steal the ball from the feet of Spain's oncoming midfielder Andeu.

The few brief moments in the first half when Taiwan managed to eke its way into the Spanish half were marred by slow reactions and poor finishing.

Spain shut out a bloodied Taiwan early in the second half and wasted no time in extending its lead with Javi Rodriguez netting a close-range shot in the 22nd minute and converting a penalty in the 25th minute.

A sudden electrical blackout, which university officials attributed to a campus power failure, brought the game to a temporary stop four-and-a-half minutes into the second half. This was much to the annoyance of the players and FIFA officials, but to the amusement of a home crowd already staring defeat in the face and not knowing whether to cheer for Taiwan or the Republic of China. Yells of "Go Taiwan" came from sections of the crowd while "Go Republic of China" emanated from others.

Play resumed after 25 minutes and Spain picked up where they had left off before the lights went out. Torras made it 6-0 only seconds into the resumed match and Rodriguez netted Spain's seventh and his third in the 30th minute. Cogorro hit home to put Spain ahead by eight goals in the 32nd minute. Substitute Marcelo made it 9-0 in the 37th minute and Spain's 10th and final goal came from the foot of Limones in the 39th minute.

"It was match that presented two faces. In the first half Spain was running and in the second Spain was playing," Spain's coach Javier Lozano said.

While Taiwan is now eliminated from the competition regardless of the result of its final match against Ukraine tomorrow, Taiwan's coach Damien Knabben remained upbeat after his team's second crushing defeat in as many days.

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