Futsal's coming home...
ThereÃ¢ÂÂs two legends surrounding the origins of futsal, whose FIFA World Cup started this week in Brazil.
The first dictates the sport was created in the 1930Ã¢ÂÂs in Uruguay by Montevideo YCMAÃ¢ÂÂs professor Juan Carlos Ceriani. The second tells that it first appeared in SÃÂ£o Paulo, also inside the YCMA, by some lads who started kicking a football about in a basketball court, late in the 1940Ã¢ÂÂs.
Fact is it was in Brazil, in 1952, that the futebol de salÃÂ£oÃ¢ÂÂs first organisation was assembled Ã¢ÂÂ the SÃÂ£o PauloÃ¢ÂÂs YCMA Salon Football League, founded by Habib Maphuz. (In Uruguay, there was no organised futsal until 1965.)
Maphuz was also the mastermind behind the rules of the indoor game Ã¢ÂÂ the most defining of them to change from the standard-size football to a smaller, heavier one, to prevent it from bouncing and going out of bounds all the time.
So if futsal isnÃ¢ÂÂt coming home, with the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro and BrasÃÂlia, itÃ¢ÂÂs right there next door.
FalcÃÂ£o celebrates scoring vs Salomon Islands
ThatÃ¢ÂÂs why itÃ¢ÂÂs so important for Brazilians not to let the trophy slip in the motherland. Repatriating futsalÃ¢ÂÂs greatest prize, usurped by the Spaniards a couple of tournaments ago, is a matter of honour.
Brazil had won the first three Futsal World Cup following its launch in 1982. But then came Spain. In 2000, they beat Brazil 4-3 in the final in Guatemala.
And then in 2004, in Taiwan, they knocked Brazil out again, in the semi-finals, on penalties before beating Brazilian-powered Italy in the final to claim their second consecutive title.
Spain celebrate winning 2007 Euro Futsal
Now, itÃ¢ÂÂs time for revenge.
Brazil routed Japan 12-1 in their opening game in BrasÃÂlia. Another showcase of FalcÃÂ£o, the worldÃ¢ÂÂs best player, LenÃÂsio, Schumacher, Ari etc.
SpainÃ¢ÂÂs opener was tougher: a 3-3 draw with Iran Ã¢ÂÂ who have a respectable futsal squad. The Iranians were leading 3-0 at half-time but, despite the full support of the Rio de Janeiro crowd, they couldnÃ¢ÂÂt hold on to the lead.
Of course there are 18 other nations competing for the crown, among them Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Russia and Ukraine. The Noise from Brazil will keep a close eye on the action, and will let you know the good, the bad and the ugly of the FIFA Futsal World Cup, Brazil 2008.
Including, we hope, the ultimate Brazil-Spain clash Ã¢ÂÂ in which I expect FalcÃÂ£o and co. to send them home empty-handed...