- Spain won its first Futsal World Cup 20 years ago
- In Guatemala 2000, the Roja beat favorite Brazil 4-3
- Team manager at the time, Javier Lozano, remembers the epic
Obstacles in shambles, epic finale – remountada included – and a change in the course of history … Despite all this, at the final whistle, Javier Lozano had the nerve to stop for a moment to savor the moment in his own way.
“The guys were jumping all over the place. After kissing my assistant, I started to look around to collect a series of mental images and record them in my brain. At that point, you don’t think about what you just accomplished, you just try to capture emotions that will stay with you for the rest of your life. The public, the boys, the assistant coach, the opponents … I was very calm and wanted to keep it all. “
Guatemala, December 3, 2000. Spain have just won the first of their two Futsal World Cups, and not just any old way: by putting an end to Brazilian supremacy – the Selection had won the three previous editions – in the form of a rematch on the final lost at home four years earlier.
The triumph that changed Spanish sport
Lozano knows better than anyone the importance of this 2000 World Cup. “The mentality of Spanish indoor football has changed. This team brought Brazil back down to earth, which was a myth, an inaccessible team. After that, we played against them 6 times in 4 years and beat them 5 times. The international benchmark ceased to be Brazil and the futsal world began to fill with Spanish coaches. “
Spanish futsal has entered another dimension. The recognition in the country was unanimous. “We had an unprecedented media impact because at that time, the Spanish selections were not very efficient in team sports. But after us, Spain was world champion in handball, basketball … then football. We were the first. “
Three key moments of the epic
The road to the world title has been strewn with pitfalls. It had a price, and not least. “It was a course in resilience and in human resources management, and I got my doctorate, “he says with a smile. Lozano has three essential elements in winning this World Cup.
I. Hard skin in the face of criticism
The preparation for the tournament took place in a heavy atmosphere. “On my list, there was not Javier Lorente, one of the players who has the most weight and seniority in the team. Every day there were criticisms … Therefore, the preparation time in Spain has been unbearable. Our first victory was to put up with this and not let the group fall apart. From our arrival in Guatemala, the host country of the tournament, the atmosphere became more relaxed. The first hurdle had been overcome. “
II. Clavería, unexpected hero
During the warm-up for the first match of the second phase, the second goalkeeper broke a finger and during the match the holder, Luis Amado, was also injured. We only had our third guardian, Jesus Clavería, which we had included in the group to honor him and for him to retire internationally after a great competition. That night at the hotel was very emotionally charged as the team believed the dream was falling apart. “
Lozano then mobilized his motivational skills. “I had a meeting, just me and the players. It was very emotional. Everyone was crying. I absolutely had to find something they could hold on tor. By the end of the meeting, the tears of sadness had turned to anger. All the players got together, they screamed… and the page was turned. “
Thanks to his saves in the final, Clavería was decisive. He was truly the great hero of the team. “He gave us a lesson in life,” Lozano says. “Instead of complaining, he was completely ready in case the opportunity arose.”
III. Whet appetites
Once the ticket for the final was validated, Lozano took one last trick out of his bag before facing the inaccessible Brazil. “The discussion the day before the final was decisive. We asked each player why they wanted to win. Everyone had their own reason, and we have succeeded in linking individual interests with those of the group. We got out of there and I remember being called for an interview. So I said we were going to win. I was absolutely convinced of that, because I had a team with me that wanted to win. That’s why I handled this final so calmly. “
A plan for the final
This brings us to the last chapter of this story: the grand final against Brazil. “They had the best team in history“Lozano said. But the Spanish coach had studied them well and devised a plan that left nothing to chance, not even the reaction to be had in the event of a delay on the scoreboard. In the second half, Brazil leads 3-2. “We were convinced that if we had possession of the ball they would get upset and make mistakes. This is exactly what happened. “A screenplay as well written as a Spielberg film“He laughed.” We won with two penalties “in the dying moments of the game. Final score: 4-3 for Spain.
Four years later, again with Lozano at the helm, the Roja will win his second world crown. But nothing compares to this first time. “We never forget the first kiss. There can be many others in life, but the first is always remembered, “concludes the coach.