Israel beats Brazil to nab futsal crown

Tense final game at Zisman Hall in Ramat Gan ends 7-6 to the home side.

Israeli futsol team 248.88 (photo credit: Alisa Ungar-Sargon)
Israeli futsol team 248.88
(photo credit: Alisa Ungar-Sargon)
In a tense final game, Israel beat Brazil 7-6 in the Maccabiah futsal tournament Wednesday night at Zisman Hall in Ramat Gan. The majority of points were scored in the first half of the game, with Israel's Yehuda Zisman getting the offense started a mere 41 seconds into the match. Adam Cohen scored the majority of Israel's goals for the rest of the game. Brazil's outstanding chief scorer, Andre Beier, scored four of his team's six goals thanks to his spectacular display of teamwork with Bruno Salermo and his near-perfect precision. Israel's pair impressive goalies, Shachaf Bar Zachai and Yossi Shushan were as responsible for the home court turnout as any of their offensive team members. Their accuracy in hindering the opposing team's balls was nothing short of stunning. The five members of both teams were constantly being switched in and out mid-play, with Brazil's goalie being swapped for Beier at the bottom of the second half to increase the number of offensive players in a desperate attempt to equalize. In spite of their efforts, no goals were made in the last five minutes of the game. The two futsal teams in the finals represented 16 international teams in total participating at the 18th Maccabiah Games. In the semifinals Wednesday afternoon, Russia beat Argentina 7-0, to clinch third and fourth overall, respectively. Mexico came in fifth, beating Lithuania 3-2. Three yellow cards were administered during the final for physical altercations, two to Israel and one to Brazil. Futsal, the game of five-on-five indoor soccer, originated in South America, making this win all the more sweet for the Israeli Maccabiah team. The fans of both nations were encouraging and passionate in their rooting, the Israelis with their signature deafening cheers, and the Brazilians accompanying their applause with tambourines and drums. At the last Maccabiah in 2005, Russia came in first, beating Israel in the final.