Team Profile & History (FR)
The indoor version of the football, has been played in Australia since 1972 and has steadily grown as a competitive sport. Players require a different set of skills compared to those of their outfield counterparts, demanding quick reflexes, fast thinking, and pinpoint passing and is an exciting game for children as well as adults. The FIFA Futsal World Championship is the ultimate level for any Futsal player to play and Australia, despite its players all being part-time, has been fortunate to play each of the five Championships to be played.
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Current Team Profile (2008)
If there is one national team that will welcome the move to the Asian Football Confederation more than anybody else it-s the Qantas Futsalroos.
The indoor version of the game is hugely popular in Asia and the increased competition will ultimately be an enormous boost for the sport that has often struggled compared to its outdoor counterparts.
Since its disappointing performance at the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship, the Qantas Futsalroos have been in hibernation, but the move to the AFC will now see them play in the yearly AFC Futsal Championship.
The Qantas Futsalroos recently successfully qualified for its first AFC Futsal Championship, causing a few heads turn in the process. Facing a tough qualifying group that included Korea Republic and Hong Kong, they beat both teams to top the group and win through to the finals being played in Uzbekistan in late May 06.
They will join 16 other teams at the Championships and despite limited preparation, will go their will some confidence of making the semi finals, after being placed in a very open group.
The current squad has at least seven players backing up from the 2004 World Championships and coach Scott Gilligan, will be hoping that experience will be used by his players in Uzbekistan.
Gavin O-Brien is a very highly rated goalkeeper, captain Andrew Nolan has played over 20 games for Australia, while young players like Adrian Vizzari, Luke Haydon, who went to play in Brazil after the 2004 World Championships, and Lachlan Wright are players that are very much the future of the team and players that will hopefully form the nucleus of the team that attempts to qualify for the 2008 FIFA Futsal World Championships.
Australia has played at all five FIFA Futsal World Championships, the first in 1989 in The Netherlands. However before FIFA officially came on board, there was three Indoor World Cup-s, under the banner of the FIFUSA game, played.
While Australia did not play in the opening tournament in 1982, they participated in the 1985 tournament, finishing 8th and then hosted the 1988 tournament in cities of Melbourne, Geelong, Canberra, Wollongong plus the town of Moe in Victoria.
Brazil was the master of the sport and went into the tournament, unbeaten for 31 years and unbackable favourites to win a third straight crown.
Australia was placed in a group with Uruguay, Italy and Hungary, finishing second behind the very strong Uruguay team. Australia beat Italy 12-0 in its opening game and Hungary 16-0, but lost 6-1 to the Uruguayans.
The second round however was going to prove difficult, up against three South American teams in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Paraguay won 8-1 and was followed by a 5-0 loss to Brazil. However Australia ended its tournament with a 7-3 win over Argentina to finish in 6th place. Paraguay eventually went on to win the final 2-1 against Brazil, its first ever loss.
With FIFA eventually deciding to bring the ‘Indoor- version under its wing, it didn-t take long for the first FIFA Futsal World Championship to take place. The Oceania Football Confederation receiving one automatic place to the finals, Australia, as one of the few countries in the Confederation to play ‘Indoor-, dominated the qualifiers on most occasions.
The first two FIFA tournaments, Australia proved very competitive, but as the world moved on with its development and ultimately becoming more professional in its approach to the sport, Australia-s development became stagnant, mainly due to a lack of funding, and results at the next FIFA tournaments have reflected this, with nine defeats in total and mostly by big margins.
1989 in The Netherlands was the closest Australia came to qualifying for the next round of a FIFA Futsal World Championship. They started off with a terrific 1-1 draw against the strong USA team, who eventually finished in 3rd place, to give them confidence for the do-or-die game against Italy.
Unfortunately the match against the Italians proved a disaster losing 6-1, before they won their final group game against Zimbabwe 4-1.
The 1992 tournament in Hong Kong, saw Australia face a tough task to qualify, with defending champions Brazil in its group. They lost the opening game to Brazil 3-0 and in the game that was to decide the second placed team, the ‘Indooroos- as they were known then lost 2-1 against Belgium. They ended the tournament with a highly entertaining 8-6 win over Costa Rica to again finish 3rd in the group.
However that win proved the last by an Australian team at the World Championships, with big defeats in all games, except one at the 1996, 2000 and 2004.
A 3-2 loss against Thailand in their final game of the 2004 tournament should be looked at fairly positively considering our move to Asia, with the Thais rated fairly highly in the region.
FIFA Futsal World Championships - Overall record
5 appearances - 15 matches - 2 wins - 1 draw - 12 losses
1989 - The Netherlands - 3rd in group 1992 - Hong Kong - 3rd in group (included eventual winners Brazil) 1996 - Spain - 4th in group 2000 - Guatemala - 4th in group 2004 - Chinese Taipei - 4th in group 2008 - Did not qualify
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