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Chapines top Cuba on penalties in finale
Host Guatemala claimed its first CONCACAF Futsal Championship title by defeating Cuba 5-3 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in the 2008 final at the Domo Polideportivo in Guatemala City (June 8, 2008).
Later that year, Guatemala, Cuba and the United States represented the confederation at the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Brazil.
"We were very happy to realize our dream," recalled Carlos Eduardo Estrada, Guatemala's head coach."It was very special to be a part of Guatemala being crowned CONCACAF champions and qualify for a FIFA Futsal World Cup."
It was to be only the second time that a Guatemalan men's national team (at any level) progressed to the finals of a FIFA event (the Chapines hosted the successful 2000 FIFA Futsal World Championship, which drew a total of 80,740 spectators).
The CONCACAF crown was a long awaited prize for the Guatemalans, as they were unable compete in the 2004 futsal qualifiers due to the suspension of its national association.
"Four year earlier we felt we had the capacity to compete for a berth to the FIFA Futsal World Cup, because after working so many years, battling through a lot of obstacles," remembered Estrada."Not having the opportunity to play the qualifiers was very hard and frustrating.
"I believe that objective was just delayed in our minds and hearts, and to finally achieve our goals by winning the CONCACAF title and then progressing to the FIFA event enabled us to put all the road bumps behind us."
Guatemala's road began at the Domo on June 3, when two goals by Jose Rafael Gonzalez (16', 18') and one each from Manuel Aristondo (28'), Daniel Eduardo Tejada (29') and Marlon Noj (39') earned them a 5-0 victory over Trinidad & Tobago in the tournament's opening match.
The following day, Guatemala squared off against Mexico.The visitors took a 3-0 lead on goals by Ivan Medina (13'), Gustavo Rosales (24') and Jose Luis Navarrette (29th).The Chapines, though, were undaunted, as they stormed back with a pair of tallies from Estuardo De Leon (30', 39'), and another from Erick Acevedo (32') to claim a remarkable 3-3 draw.
Guatemala was obliged to stage another comeback from a three-goal deficit in the first-round finale against Cuba on June 5.Goals from Yosniel Mesa (21'), Fernando Chapman (22') and Jhonnet Stalin Martinez (24') gave the Leones del Caribe the advantage with 16 minutes remaining.The Chapines rebounded once again with tallies from Noj (25'), De Leon (29') and a Cuban own-goal (31') to merit a 3-3 draw.
Due to the goal difference tiebreaker, Cuba (+7) finished ahead of Guatemala (+5) in Group A after both teams completed first-round play with five points each.The Guatemalans would face the Group B winner and defending champion USA in the semifinals on June 7.
In that game, after a scoreless first half, the Chapines' offense exploded in the second stanza with goals from Noj (23'), Acevedo (24'), Jannick Ramirez (37') and Carlos Merida (39') for a relatively comfortable 4-0 victory.In addition to a place in the June 8 CONCACAF final against Cuba (which beat Panama 4-1 in the other semifinal), Guatemala secured one of three available berths to the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
A record crowd of 5,715 packed the Domo for the championship match showdown.The fans were treated to a see-saw battle, as Cuba jumped out to a lead in the opening minute courtesy of Eduardo Morales' tournament leading ninth goal.Five minutes later, Gonzalez leveled the score.
Carlos Madrigal gave Cuba the advantage in the 17th minute via a double penalty, however, Guatemala equalized with an Acevedo tally three minutes later.
Noj gave the Chapines a 3-2 lead two minutes into the second half, but with 10 minutes left on the clock Madrigal tied it for the Leones del Caribe, forcing extra time.
After an additional 10 minutes of play, neither side found the back of the net.For the first time, the CONCACAF futsal title match would be decided on penalties.
Acevedo, Carlos Eduardo Estrada, Gonzalez, Merida and Oliver Lopez all scored for Guatemala in the shootout, with Boris Saname, Isven Roman and Yulier Olivera answering for Cuba.Morales' kick was saved, however, and the Guatemalans captured 1st place.
The Chapines went on to compete in their second FIFA Futsal World Cup in Brazil, posting a 2-2-0 record in group play, but were unable to progress to the next round.The two Guatemalan victories were the most by a Central American nation at the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
GOALKEEPERS: Carlos Merida (Glucosoral), William Ramirez (Glucosoral)
DEFENDERS: Carlos Eduardo Estrada Jr. (Glucosoral), Marlon Noj (Glucosoral), Reinaldo Rosales (Glucosoral)
MIDFIELDERS: Jose Rafael Gonzalez (Glucosoral), Estuardo De Leon (Glucosoral), Oliver Lopez (Glucosoral)
FORWARDS: Erick Acevedo (Glucosoral), Manuel Aristondo (Glucosoral), Jannick Ramirez (Maya de Oro), Daniel Eduardo Tejada (Maya de Oro)
TD: Carlos Eduardo ESTRADA
2008 CONCACAF Futsal Championship Results
03.06: Guatemala - Trinidad & Tobago 5:0
04.06: Guatemala - Mexico 3:3
05.06: Guatemala - Cuba 3:3
07.06: USA - Guatemala 0:4
08.06: Guatemala - Cuba 3:3, 5:3 pen
2008 FIFA Futsal World Cup - Guatemala Results
01.10: Guatemala-Egypt 1:0
03.10: Ukraine-Guatemala 6:2
07.10: China-Guatemala 1:10
09.10: Argentina-Guatemala 2:1
Alex Argueta, Federación Nacional de Fútbol de Guatemala - Press Officer, contributed to the content of this story.
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