Costa Rica's Alejandro Paniagua (left) and goalkeeper Nicolas Sarmiento of Argentina battle for the ball during their FIFA Futsal World Cup match on September 18, 2016, in Bucaramanga, Colombia. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
CALI, Colombia – Costa Rica earned a Round of 16 berth at the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup after playing first-place Argentina to a 2-2 draw in Group E on Sunday at the Coliseo de Pueblo.
CONCACAF’s other three representatives – Cuba, Guatemala and Panama -- dropped decisions in their last respective group games and were eliminated.
The Costa Ricans, who advanced past the group stage for the first-ever time in four appearance, will face Portugal on Wednesday.
CONCACAF.com recaps the most recent encounters.
September 16, 2016
Group A (at Cali, Colombia): Panama 3, Colombia 4
In an entertaining encounter, host Colombia (1W-2D-0L, 5 points) got goals from four different players to post a 4-3 win over Panama (1-0-2, 3). With the result, the Panamanians dropped to third place and ultimately missed out on advancement due to tiebreakers.
The CONCACAF runner-up equalized at 1-1 through a stunning strike from Josue Brown (8:08), after Angellot Caro (3:32) gave Colombia an initial lead. It would not get any closer as the Colombians went up 3-1 on goals by Jhonatan Giraldo Toro (11:26) and Jorge Abril (21:42), following the dismisal of Panama’s Michael De Leon. Abdiel Castrellon (27:57) was able to pull one back for the Central American side, cleverly spinning his defender and finishing calmly. Andre Camilo Reyes (33:02) restored Colombia’s two-goal cushion, which proved to be needed when a Fernando Mena (36:39) strike gave Panama late hope.
Group B (at Cali, Colombia): Russia 7, Cuba 1
With the contribution of seven different goal scorers, Russia (3-0-0) earned a 7-1 victory over Cuba (0-03) to clinch top-spot in Group B and eliminate the CONCACAF side. The Russians held a 4-0 lead at halftime, before Daniel Hernandez (29:33) struck for Cuba’s lone goal.
September 17, 2016
Group C (at Cali, Colombia): Guatemala 4, Paraguay 8
Guatemala (0-0-3, 0) let a 2-0 lead slip away and fell 8-4 to Paraguay (2-0-1, 6), a result that saw the CONCACAF side be eliminated with a fourth-place finish. Jonatan Arevalo (1:54) and Walter Enriquez (2:28) both found the back of the net before three had passed, but Paraguay responded with five unanswered goals to move ahead 5-2 with less than 13 minutes remaining in the game. Jose Mansilla (33:50) and Jose Gonzalez (38:07) also got on the scoresheet for Guatemala, which did not venture past the group stage for the fourth time in as many attempts. Paraguay’s Enmanuel Ayala struck for a hat-trick.
September 18, 2016
Costa Rica (1-1-1, 4) took a two-goal lead, but had to settle for a 2-2 draw with first-place Argentina (2-1-0, 7). The result, though, proved to be sufficient for the CONCACAF champion to advance to the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-place teams. Juan Cordero (18:49) scored late in the first half to put the Ticos ahead and Edwin Cubillo (29:14) doubled the advantage before 30 minutes had elapsed. Cordero, though, was red carded in in the 23rd and his absence proved to be costly as Santiago Basile (30:32) and Fernando Wilhelm (34:20) eventually netted the goals that would put the sides on level terms. Costa Rica had a chance to win the match, by Erick Brenes saw his penalty kick be saved by goalkeeper Nicolas Sarmiento.