Photo: Facebook: Seleção Portuguesa de Futebol

Three in a row! Portugal wins UEFA Futsal Euro after emotional comeback against Russia

Portugal’s men’s national futsal team has won its third straight major title after coming back from two goals down to beat Russia 4-2 in the final of the 2022 UEFA Futsal Euro, played on Sunday (February 6) in Amsterdam.

After winning the Euro in 2018 and the World Cup in 2021, Portugal has become only the second nation after Spain to retain the Euro title. Portugal has also matched Spain as the only country to win three major tournaments in a row.

The Portuguese squad showed great resilience yet again, overcoming a 0-2 deficit for the third time in the tournament after Anton Solokov and Andrei Afanasyev gave Russia a two-goal lead in the first half.

The comeback started before the break with Tomás Paço giving Portugal hope before André Coelho levelled the scoreboard in the second half.

Coelho completed the comeback five minutes later, giving Portugal the strength to hold on until the last seconds when Russia – playing with five attackers in a last attempt to tie the game – lost the ball which allowed Pany Varela to dribble the ball into Russia’s empty net.

Portugal are now two-time Euro champions along with Italy, while Spain still hold a considerable lead with seven Euro titles. Russia are the sole other winners. Portugal are also on a 33-match run without losses since a penalty shoot-out loss to Iran for third place at the 2016 World Cup.

“I am very proud of all the work, very proud to see again the perfect example of how a team should be, and very proud to look into the eyes of our players, especially in the second half. Our players believed; that’s what makes me most proud,” said Portuguese coach Jorge Braz.

Star player Zicky Té was named ‘Player of the Tournament’ and was overjoyed with his team’s and his own performances.

“It’s hard to put in words what I’m feeling right now and all I can say is that I’m in heaven! I’m so proud of this team and I want to thank every single person who helped us to reach this moment,” said Té.

André Coelho, who scored two goals in the final, emphasised the work of the team: “I’m happy with the fact that I was able to help the team to achieve their goal, but that’s not the most important thing. What really matters is that Portugal showed once again why we are European and world champions.

He added: “It was important to score that goal at the end of the first half because it’s really different to start the second half losing 2-1 rather than 2-0. We were not aggressive enough defensively in the first 20 minutes but we were able to change that after the break and that was one of the keys to our win. This is like a dream come true.”

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com