- Czechs to compete in fourth FIFA Futsal World Cup
- Coach Tomas Neumann enters the tournament with confidence
- Captain Michael Seidler aims for knockout stage
It was only after a grueling series of penalties that the Czech Republic beat Croatia last November, securing their ticket to the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania ™. In front of the home crowd in Brno, 24-year-old Jiri Vokoun converted the eighth and final penalty to give the Czechs a fourth participation in the world event, after 2004, 2008 and 2012.
“I was very nervous. I tried to clear my mind and not think about what was at stake. Eventually I thought the best thing to do was close my eyes and shoot. . Luckily, it came back. I did not really know how to react, seeing the ball in the net. Then, my teammates rushed towards month and I was overwhelmed by a wave of euphoria, “says the hero of the return leg.
Should another penalty shoot-out take place in Lithuania, the Czech Republic could again count on the Sparta Prague player. “I don’t particularly want to participate, but if I am called upon, I’ll be ready.”
Eight years ago in Thailand, for their last Futsal World Cup appearance, the Czechs reached the round of 16, which remains their best performance to date. Beaten by Russia, they then began a short crossing of the desert. “Since Chinese Taipei 2004, we have only missed one edition, Colombia 2016. Today, we are back and we are very happy,” said coach Tomas Neumann.
At the height of his 50 years, the technician is preparing to live his third final phase with the Czech Republic. “We have exceptional players, who have an exceptional state of mind. That makes us a team to always be wary of,” he announced. “To take another step forward, we have to strengthen ourselves mentally and that’s what we intend to do. My players can still gain confidence.”
Qualities without individualities
Confidence, Captain Michael Seidler does not seem to lack it. “We will go to Lithuania to impose our game and I am sure that we will advance to the knockout matches,” he predicts, although he still sees a gap between his team and the major powers in the discipline. “For me, Brazil, Spain and Russia are among the favorites,” said the Czech, whose idol plays in the Portuguese team. “Ricardinho is the best player in the world in my eyes.”
The Czech Republic cannot count on individuals of this caliber, but this situation does not worry too much the winger of Sparta Prague. “We have other qualities. The group is balanced. We know very well because we have been playing together for a long time. Our team is difficult to maneuver and we are going to make life difficult for all our opponents,” he concluded a few months later. the Futsal World Cup, which will start on September 12, 2021.