AFC Futsal Championship: Thailand upset Iran

Thai Futsal National Team
What happened at the Al-Wasl club hall on Wednesday was extremely nerve-wracking and ended historically. For the first time in Futsal, Thailand edged Iran and is through to the final of the AFC Futsal Championship.

Who pursued the semi-final, be it out of sheer curiosity or else and up to now was no fan of Futsal, could have turned into one after todays match. As an outsider Thailand went in to the encounter with 10-time winner and titleholder Iran. At the beginning everything ran after plan for the Iranians. Captain Vahid Shamsaei, put his side upfront after four minutes, and after ten minutes the Thais were already down by 2-0. However, Thailand showed no sign of a shock and through the 23 year-old Futsal hopeful Suphawut Thueanklang hit back almost immediately. Goalkeeper Tompa collected a yellow card early, which fortunately in the course of the game had no further consequences.

After Iran took the 3-1 lead middle through second half, all hopes for a surprise dwindled. But the superb prepared Thais of coach Hermans turned the table and leveled the tie. Now everything was possible and the boys fought doggedly for every centimeter round their own goal. Buckled in kicks of the opponent and had a brilliant goalie in Tompa. The game went in first half of extra time and Thailand suddenly led by a goal coming from Apiwat Chaemcharoen at early stage. A small group of Thais, compared to the big amount of Iran supporters, now went crazy and the clock ticked for the Thais.

Five minutes last a half-time of extra time in Futsal and each of them on Wednesday appeared like an eternity. It was 1:14 to play till the final whistle when 3-time AFC MVP Shamsaei scored once again for Iran, this time back heel and brought his team back on terms. With 35 seconds to be played, Thailand was given a penalty kick. But youngster Suphawut failed to score as Mostafa Nazari tiped his shot over the bar. Corner kick, pass in the middle and this time, Suphawut who missed couple of seconds ago, did better. 5-4. The sensation was perfect.

For the first time Thailand could beat Iran, and for a second time after 2008 stands in the final of the AFC Futsal Championships. Still four years ago Thailand lost its one and only final appearance so far to Iran by 4-0. In this, today's, historic Wednesday, players stood on the court, which were biting, scratching, and fought like there is no day tomorrow. In February during our interview, Vic Hermans betrayed us that he would like to find player who believe in themselves. And he had them today!

Thailand now will face Japan in the final on Friday after they overcame Australia by 3-0. Since introduction of the championship, in 1999, the Japanese were always among the best Four and had to admit defeat to the Iranians in the finals usually. It will not really play a matter how the outcome of the final 2012 is going to be. What Thailand's players and the whole staff achieved in this tournament, is already by far more than expected.

As we had to get to know, the live stream of the semi final was blocked in Thailand due to TV-rights. However, the final on Friday will be covered live by Channel 7. To all enthusiasts beyond Thailand we recommend the Stream provided by us.
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