- Wales beat England 6-2 in the winner-takes-all final game
- Two goals each for Prangley and Thomas
- England reduced to four-men after Rexha red card
Here at ESFR we’re not going to pretend we’re Futsal aficionados, but we’ve just spent a fantastic weekend at the Cardiff City House of Sport watching Wales play in the Home Nations International Futsal competition.
Dear lord, it’s frenetic! Properly, full-on, end-to-end, pulsating action with phenomenal speed and skill.
Now, we’ve been chatting to people who’ve asked, ‘So what’s the difference between that and five-aside?’ And it’s a fair point. Five on each side, smaller goals and 20mins each way.
But the skill, people! And the speed! Ever likely they sub entire teams throughout, there simply isn’t time to take a breath during.
Wales opened their account with a thorough 7-1 drubbing of Northern Ireland, who were playing at their first ever international futsal tournament.
They followed that up by beating Scotland 5-2 to set up a winner takes all final game against pre-tournament favourites England.
The visitors pressed early on, regularly testing Richard Morgan’s goal. But Wales settled into the game and the breakthrough came with a change of line-up. An audacious drag back from Rico Zulkarnain on the left played in Simon Prangley to open the scoring.
England pulled level through pantomime villain of the afternoon Luke Ballinger who, aside of his goal, appeared to spend most of his time in people’s faces or chatting to the referees.
But Wales restored their lead through Chris Hugh before Prangley made it 3-1 by the break with Wales firmly in control.
They came flying out of the gates at the start of the second half, capitalising on England’s need to push forward. Elliot Thomas calmly slotting home numbers four and five to effectively put the game beyond England’s reach.
The visitors responded by pulling their keeper for an outfield player, but it was inevitable that that wouldn’t end well. And it didn’t.
England did manage to pull one back through Max Kilman but they were always gambling with a possible breakaway goal. And so it proved with Agon Rexha red-carded for a professional foul.
Danny Hooper’s late penalty restored Wales’s four-goal cushion but by that time it was done and dusted. Wales are the inaugural Home Nations International Futsal champions and deservedly so.
We were there all weekend chatting to head coach Richard Gunney, captain Lloyd Jenkins and player Rico Zulkarnain. Catch our full video in the next edition of EatSleepFootyRepeat.