Reynier Fiallo (pictured) celebrates after scoring one of his three goals in Cuba's win over Canada in the CONCACAF Futsal Championship on May 10, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Cuba head coach Vicente Reinoso never doubted that his team would succeed at the 2016 CONCACAF Futsal Championship (CFC).
He didn’t just have a game plan. He had a tournament plan.
As a result of Reinoso’s omniscient outlook, the Lions of the Caribbean will return to FIFA Futsal World Cup for the first time since 2008 and secured a place in the CFC semifinals.
That’s not to say it was easy, however.
Cuba entered its Group B finale against Canada on Tuesday with only a single point from two games, knowing that a win was required to stave off elimination.
Before 30 minutes elapsed, Reynier Fiallo struck three goals as the Caribbean champion jumped to a 5-1 lead. Canada fought back with three unanswered goals, but Reiner Socarras and goalkeeper Breniht Suarez replied with two late strikes to ensure a 7-4 victory.
“We knew that our first match against Curaçao was the most important that we’d have and also the one against Canada,” said Reinoso. “We know that Costa Rica is at a higher level, so we knew our final was against Canada. We are happy with the team and for achieving the win.”
The Cubans opened with a 1-1 draw against Curacao – a team it defeated 5-0 in the Caribbean qualifying final – and then fell 6-0 to first-place Costa Rica.
It was an incredible recovery. Now that the pressure’s off and momentum has shifted, Reinoso has designs on the CFC title. Next up is Thursday’s semifinal against Group A winner Panama, a game that could lead to a rematch with the defending champion Costa Ricans.
“We are going to go for it,” finished Reinoso. “We are going to be calmer because we already have that World Cup ticket and we are going to be more tactical.”