The Qantas Futsalroos build-up to their mouth-watering opening group match in the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup continued apace last night with a thumping come from behind 10-3 victory over the Solomon Islands in front of an appreciative crowd in Bangkok, Thailand.
The performance in the second half showcased the best of Australian futsal as the team overcame a rather slack opening 20 minutes, in which they trailed 2-3 to roar back with an eight-goal blitz in the second stanza.
For Qantas Futsalroos Captain Greg Giovenali the match was a decent hit-out ahead of the more challenging tasks to come.
“We have two friendlies still to play so we are trying to use it as a progression,” the Dural Warriors player said.
“We don’t want to peak too early. Hopefully if we can take small steps we can reach our peak come the Italy match [the first game of the FIFA Futsal World Cup]. We’d have played five full games and we would like to be at our best come the kick-off.”
Giovenali’s rise to the top of the elite Futsal game, and his subsequent selection for the FIFA Futsal World Cup, has that touch of fortune that all great stories contain.
In Giovenali’s case it was his father’s friend’s inability to field a full team that brought him into contact with the sport that was to offer him so many opportunities.
“When I was younger my Dad’s friend had a team and they just wanted some players so I went and had a kick about,” Giovenali recalled.
“I liked it and decided to stay with the sport right through until now. I like the speed that’s involved.
Sometimes when you are playing outdoors you might not touch the ball for five to 10 minutes at a time and you feel like you are running around pointlessly. At least with Futsal you should be touching the ball quite regularly and you are involved a lot more than most other sports.
“I progressed there to club and then onto State representation. My first international game was in the Kuala Lumpur fives in 2008 against Indonesia and that was a big tournament as it was the richest futsal tournament in history.
"There was Brazil, Iran and Argentina amongst a number of big teams and we did really well reaching the semi-finals. We drew with Argentina along the way as well, so it was a good tournament for us.”
Now it is Giovenali’s turn to lead the Qantas Futsalroos as they attempt to make progression from Group D and the strong-running defensive player thinks it’s the squad’s collectively that may see them through a tough looking pool.
“I’ve never been to a Futsal World Cup before and people have told me it’s something you’ll never forget,” he said.
“You never know when you are going to get to another one so you want to enjoy every moment that you can. In terms of the group we have, it’s a great bunch of boys and we have really clicked together since we started training and it’s continually built.
"We have the belief that we can genuinely do something in the tournament. We are not just here to make up the numbers. Our squad is well balanced and we have a bit of anything.”
Whatever happens between now and then, one thing will not change – Giovenali’s desire to make every second he wears the green and gold count.
“The captaincy is an honour, but really it doesn’t change much in terms of what you do, you just need to go out there and do your job.
"A lot of the time when the anthems are going I tend to think of all the hard training sessions and the games in not so great venues where you are playing for nothing and what it means to be where you are at right then.
"It’s also about all the people who want to be in your position. We have to make sure we don’t let those people done because if they were there they wouldn’t want to let us down. So you are kind of representing all those who have ever played futsal or wanted to play futsal for Australia.”
The Qantas Futsalroos build-up to the FIFA Futsal World Cup continues with an international friendly match against Morocco on 28th October.