Having represented the Green and Gold of Australia on 30 occasions as well as being lucky enough to have played in a prestigious FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2016 in Colombia, Futsalroos star Wade Giovenali is eagerly anticipating the 2021 version kicking off this Sunday in Lithuania.
Giovenali lives and breathes the sport of Futsal alongside his brother and former Futsalroos skipper Greg. He’s also an avid outdoor footballer playing with Football NSW League One Men’s outfit Hills United.
Working at Football NSW as a Competitions Coordinator, Giovenali took the time out in answering a few questions around the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, his experiences in Colombia, the return of the National Fustal Championships as well as the possibility of seeing the sport represented at the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.
MS: Your thoughts on the upcoming FIFA Futsal World Cup and your predictions?
WG: I’m really excited to tell you the honest truth. I cannot wait to see countries play against others they haven’t played against before. To also see nations competing at their first ever World Cup will also be special.
It’s hard to see past the usual suspects of Brazil and Spain, even though neither made the previous final in 2016, but I would love to see one of our Asian counterparts win.
I feel Iran has what it takes to cause an upset, but I will be keeping a close eye on Group C.
Suphawut from Thailand is a goal scoring machine, with Ricardinho of Portugal, along with Morocco one of Africa’s best countries, but most importantly the Solomon Islands. I have a great relationship with their captain Elliot Ragomo and would love to see them progress past the group stage.
MS: Which Futsal stars should we look out for?
WG: Ricardinho of Portugal always has that bit of extra magic and flare that the crowd loves to see.
I personally love watching Ferrão of Brazil who also plays for Barcelona.
Another interesting player to watch out for is Higuita of Kazakhstan. He is an attacking Goalkeeper. Yes, you read that correctly. His long-range strikes are incredible, real interesting goalkeeper to watch, if I was to be a goalkeeper, I would love to play that style.
MS: What was it like playing in the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia?
WG: It was a surreal experience. I do think about that tournament a lot, Colombia was an incredible experience.
Playing against new higher quality oppositions was such an experience.
As an athlete you always want to play against the best.
Having the chance to play against Falcao and Brazil was unbelievable but also to watch the likes of Miguel and Batteria from Spain in the flesh was too good.
As well as meeting Gabriel Lima the Italian Captain, just shows you the difference from Australia to the top.
I have never played a game where you could really feel the atmosphere every second of the game. Even the warmups felt different. The whole experience was a pinch me moment. Also amazing to see a country have so much passion about Futsal. From the moment we landed to the moment we left, we were treated so well.
MS: How many caps did you get playing for the Green and Gold?
WG: Started playing in 2013, since then I missed 2 games with injury and suspension but overall 30 matches.
MS: How much do you and the nation miss playing Futsal at that level?
WG: I miss it every day. Our last tournament in Vietnam, the start, and the end of this World Cup campaign for us still haunts me.
I still have sleepless nights thinking about it and I’m sure players and coaching staff who were with us would experience the same thing I am. Like any national team, it draws the community closer together, all working towards a common goal of having a better national Futsal team.
Whereas now, even the period after the World Cup, there was nothing. It hurts the nation and the sport but we need to make the best of our circumstances.
MS: There’s talk of Futsal being played as an Olympic Sport at the 2032 Olympic Games in Brisbane, any thoughts on this?
WG: There is a lot of talk about it isn’t there. It would be a great opportunity for the players and Futsal as a sport in Australia to see Futsal played at this level, I guess we will just have to wait and see if that becomes a reality.
MS: Finally, you must be happy seeing the National Futsal Championships return again next season.
WG: You know what I really am. It has been a while since I have been at a Futsal Nationals.
The community needs their annual national event.
If we can get all states together, keeping government restrictions in mind, I believe the Gold Coast with be an amazing tournament.
The Best v the Best from every state. What more could a Futsal player want?
I have many amazing memories at nationals, #Lightwhat #Lightning.