The Qantas Futsalroos have been drawn against Argentina, Mexico and Italy in Group D of the FIFA Futsal World Cup, to be held in Thailand from 1-18 November.
It’s been eight years since the Qantas Futsalroos last made it to the finals, and Steve Knight’s side will be out to make their mark this time around.
Group D is arguably the most open, with all teams having a good chance of progressing, but the Qantas Futsalroos will certainly have to be at their best.
Italy scored 26 goals and conceded just five in the five games during qualifying, Argentina finished second to reigning champions and four-times winners Brazil, while Mexico are making their first appearance at the futsal World Cup.
Australia, however, can still boast some World Cup experience, with four members of the 2004 side - with goalkeeper Peter Spathis, striker Danny Ngalufe as well as Simon Keith and Lachlan Wright – also making the trip to Thailand, alongside Daniel Fogarty, the Qantas Futsalroos top scorer at the AFC Futsal Championship and captain Gregory Giovenali.
“It’s so exciting. An amateur side will play at the World Cup,” Giovenali told fifa.com. “The whole team deserves credit, as does the coach, who worked wonders.”
The tournament begins on 1 November with the final being held in Bangkok on 18 November. The Thai capital has three matchday venues, while Nakhon Ratchasima will also be hosting games.
The 24 participating teams were drawn in six groups of four, with the top two from each group going through to the Round of 16 along with the four best third-placed teams.
Group A: Thailand, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Paraguay
Group B: Spain, Iran, Panama, Morocco
Group C: Brazil, Japan, Libya, Portugal
Group D: Argentina, Mexico, Italy, Australia
Group E: Egypt, Serbia, Czech Republic, Kuwait
Group F: Russia, Solomon Islands, Guatemala, Colombia