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UEFA Futsal Champions League 2021: The Round of 16

17 de Febrero de 2021 a las 22:32

Photo courtesy of UEFA
By Andrea Benton & Alvaro de Almeida
Spanglish Sports World & Born 2 Play Futsal Columnist
TORONTO. - Futsal is one of the most underrated sports in the world. It’s fast paced and extremely exciting to watch. To be a futsal player at any level, you have to be technically and tactically experienced. There is no better game to watch!  
Last month the UEFA Futsal Champions League got underway in January 2021 for the round of 32, even with Covid raging around the world. With organizations such as the FA cutting their futsal programs, it is nice to see that futsal continues to be championed by UEFA.
A couple of brief highlights from the round of 32, the game between Olmissum (CRO) 4 -1 Futsal Team Charleroi (BEL) was a special one for your writers, Andrea Benton and Alvaro de Almeida. We interviewed Coach Zico on our TV show, Born to Play Futsal on ZingoTV before he left Belgium for his match. A 4 - 1 loss is considered a respectful loss in futsal.
This week the round of 16 for the UEFA Futsal Championship League begins on Thursday, February 18 and runs until Saturday, February 20th. While all of the games are going to be entertaining to watch, there are two games in particular that we will be watching.
Inter FS (ESP) x Kherson (UKR): Our prediction ~ Inter FS
Inter FS (ESP), otherwise known as Inter Movistar - Inter Movistar has a long history with futsal. During the round of 32, they played against a very good and intense futsal team, winning 6-2 over Hovocubo. They used the high block and consistently pressured the ball during the match. During the match Stet, Hovocubo’s GK, was sent off, after a questionable call with 4:00 minutes left in the first half. Inter FS’s coach was impressed with Hovocubo’s willingness to defend and the game style during the game.
Of special note for Inter FS is that Cecilio Morales will receive a commemorative shirt for scoring the 400th goal for Inter FS in UEFA Futsal Champions League history. 
Kherson (UKR) 
Kherson (UKR) won its previous match by 5x1, defeating KMF Shkupi 1927 (MKD). At the beginning of the game, they were slow to attack, playing in a Y formation, pushing the attack to the sides of the court and creating a defensive triangle when the ball was close to the half. This formation suppressed the pass to the Shkupi’s striker. The game then changed to a man-marking full court. In our humble tactical opinions, when defending against set pieces, the preference should always be zone marking. (Agree to disagree on this one?! What do you think?)
When Kherson did attack it was in the 3x1 formation with the pivot moving to the right side of the field to create space both in the middle and left side of the court. They then isolated one side of the court to allow 1 v 1 plays to happen. They also have a tendency to high press as soon as the ball is lost. 
Do we think these strategies will work against Inter FS? We’ll find out on game day!
ACCS (FRA) x Barcelona (ESP): Our prediction ~ ACCS
This game has all the elements you want in a sporting event ~ former players playing against each other including the actual best player in the world vs the former best player in the world (Ricardinho vs Ferrao), the underdog vs the established champion, a club formed from a community project vs a high profile internationally known club. 
Once again, we have a special connection to this game. Last Sunday, we interviewed the president of ACCS Futsal, Sami Sellami and his head of International Projects, Awais Chaury. Win or lose, ACCS makes history. They are the first French team to play the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Yes, they are the “underdog” compared to Barcelona, who consistently has a winning futsal record and thumped their last opponent, 9-2.
However, over the last five years ACCS has shown everyone that with the right planning, a process, hard work, and the right group of professionals (both on and off the court), you can achieve the unexpected. 
As fans and huge public supporters of the sport of futsal, we know that anything can happen and we’re excited to watch ACCS face one of the biggest teams in the world of futsal. 

We encourage everyone to watch the round of 16. It’s going to be exciting. Now who do you think will come out on top? Let us know on Twitter at @Born2Futsal.