The first edition of the World Minifootball Federation World Cup is complete! 12 teams from three regional federations came to the United States for the nine day tournament, but the home side was too much for everyone. USA won all six of their matches to be crowned world champions of indoor soccer/minifootball.
USA faced fellow Confederación Panamericana de Minifutbol (CPM) member Mexico in the WMF World Cup Final. The Mexican National Team had also won all five of their previous matches. With a roster including five Chicago Mustangs players, playing at Sears Centre in Chicago was like playing at home.
A cautious start by both clubs lead to a scoreless opening 14:55. With just :05 remaining USA got on the scoreboard with a goal scored by Pat Healey (Baltimore Blast). Brian Harris (Missouri Comets) scored next before Miguel Vaca (Chicago Mustangs) got the first goal for Mexico.
Leading 2-1, USA would score twice in the final two-and-a-half minutes to take control of the match before halftime. Felipe Gonzalez (Las Vegas Legends) and veteran Kraig Chiles (San Diego Sockers) were the goal scorers.
The third quarter was a defensive battle for USA as Mexico put pressure on for the majority of the 15 minutes, but could not score. Then with just :06 remaining in the quarter Chiles scored again to make the score 5-1. Mexico put a sixth attacker on and immediately answered when Rodrigo Flores (Chicago Mustangs) found the back of the net.
Mexico could not stay out of the penalty box for much of the final quarter, which made a possible comeback improbable. A goal by Omar Quiroz (Milwaukee Wave) in the final seconds was not enough and USA walked away 5-3 winners.
USA goaltender Danny Waltman (Missouri Comets) made 12 saves in the match and was named tournament MVP. The 33-year old Gig Harbor, Washington native capped an impressive calendar year which included the 2014 MISL championship and an undefeated 2014-15 regular season with the Comets.
It was played in front of less than 200 fans in an arena with limited internet and no video options (and apparently only one game ball), but USA is advancing to the WMF World Cup semifinals. A hat trick by Tony Donatelli (Baltimore Blast) led the USA offense, which was too much for a outmatched German side, to a 9-2 victory.
Played at the Tulsa Expo Square, home of the famous Chili Bowl midget car race and the Tulsa Revolution (MASL), a crowd of approximately 150 fans witnessed the quarterfinal match. USA had played the previous night in San Diego in front of a crowd of 2,770 and 3,564 on Wednesday in Ontario, CA.
According to the online audio broadcast the match was played with just one ball, which led to a delay each time it was kicked into the crowd. There was zero promotion done by the Revolution (unless you credit one facebook post) or Major Arena Soccer League media. In a tournament in which teams had to pay for the privilege to play in, several teams have made their concerns and issues with management know.
Just six weeks prior to the tournament, England announced they would not travel for the first-ever WMF World Cup due to “a lack of information from the organisers” and were replaced by Serbia. On Thursday just hours before their scheduled quarterfinal, Canada withdrew from the tournament after qualifying for the quarterfinals.
Four teams will now move on to Chicago for the first WMF World Cup. Three members of Confederación Panamericana de Minifutbol (Mexico, Brazil, USA) along with EMF miniEURO champion Romania will clash to crown a champion of minifootball/indoor soccer/six-a-side soccer.
Two tournament favorites played their way into the WMF World Cup semifinals with victories on Thursday. Brazil and Mexico both advanced with quarterfinal wins and will now face each other on Saturday in Chicago.
Group C winner Brazil cruised through the first round winning all three matches and outscoring their opponents 26-12. In their quarterfinal match Brazil took a comfortable 7-3 victory over a leg-weary Czech Republic. After playing in San Diego the previous night, Czech Republic travelled to Flint, Mich. and were on the floor just 19 hours later. Brazil had the luxury of playing all of their matches in Michigan, including the previous night in Flint.
Mexico had a fairly easy time in Group B, outscoring opponents 49-4 (including a 33-0 win vs India). Their quarterfinal opponent was fellow Confederación Panamericana de Minifutbol (CPM) member El Salvador, who were Group A runner-up at 1-1-1. El Salvador traveled from San Diego to Tulsa after a Wednesday night match while Mexico were playing with three days rest and it showed. Mexico easily walked away 12-0 winners.
The third quarterfinal match between Romania and Canada was cancelled late Thursday afternoon after Canada withdrew from the competition. Disagreements over travel costs were cited as one reason for the cancellation. Romania received a win by forfeit and will face the USA-Germany winner in the second semifinal on Saturday.
First Round group play is complete as the 12 teams have each played three matches. The top two teams of Group A, Group B and Group C advance to the quarterfinals along with two wildcard teams.
Mexico (3-0-0) won Group B while EMF miniEURO champion Romania (2-0-1) finished second. Third place Germany (1-0-2) scored 32 goals and was a +15 in goal difference to clinch a wild card spot.
In Group C Brazil (3-0-0) topped the four-team group to advance. They will stay in Flint (MI) to face Group A runner-up Czech Republic (1-1-1). Group C runner-up Canada (1-1-1) will face Romania in Tulsa on Thursday.
USA (3-0-0) clinched Group A by defeating Czech Republic 5-4. The Americans will face wild card Germany (1-0-2) on Friday at Tulsa Expo Square.
The final matchday in the opening round of the 2015 WMF World Cup is here. Group B has completed their opening round while Group A and Group C will wrap on Wednesday. Mexico (3-0-0) won Group B to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals. Romania (1-1-1) finished second in the group with Germany (1-1-1) and India (0-0-3) rounding out the table.