Futsal is a portmanteau of the Portuguese futebol de salao, which literally means indoor football, and it is the official name of the variant of association football that is played by teams of five players on a small, indoor pitch. Unlike some forms of indoor football, such as the one known as five-a-side, futsal is played on a hard court surface delimited by lines. Also, futsal is played with a much smaller ball with less bounce than a regular football.
One can trace the origins of futsal back to Uruguay in 1930 when Juan Carlos Ceriani, an Argetinian physical education instructor living in the land of the recently crowned FIFA World Cup champion, devised a five-a-side football game that could be played on basketball-sized courts, either indoors or outdoors, with or without the use of sidewalls. Futsal took off throughout South America and many FIFA World Cup historians attribute the huge success of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and other South American countries in the 11-a-side game’s biggest tournament to the positive impact of futsal on the technical development of their young players.
Futsal games are high-intensity affairs and most matches run for two 20-minute halves. Futsal shares many of football’s laws, although the former does not have the offside rule, which means that it is easier for futsal attackers to get close to goal than it is for their football counterparts.
Is it possible to bet on futsal?
It certainly is. The Spanish futsal scene is so big that a range of bookmakers, including Coral and Ladbrokes, offer match betting. Some bookies go as far as to offer exotic betting options such as total goals and handicap as well. The futsal leagues in Italy and Portugal attract a smaller group of bookmakers but it is possible to bet on games. In the table below we have listed the best sites where Futsal betting is available.
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When one thinks about football, one of the first places that springs to mind is England, home of the world’s most watched domestic club competition, the English Premier League. But while futsal is growing in popularity across England and the other United Kingdom constituent countries, it has a long way to go to be as big there as it is in other nations.
South America is futsal’s heartland, with Brazil having won five of the seven FIFA Futsal World Cup tournaments held since the inaugural event in 1989. As at the end of 2012, Brazil was the top ranked country in both men’s futsal and women’s futsal, with continental cousins Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay also featuring in the top 15 of both genders.
Nations in Mediterranean Europe have a good track record in futsal as well. Spain’s men won the two FIFA Futsal World Cups at which Brazil fell short, while Italy and Portugal are forces with which to be reckoned. Futsal has exploded throughout Asia, with Iran having both their men’s and women’s teams ranked inside the respective top 10s.
Are there good futsal events other than the World Cup?
Yes, there is more to futsal than the FIFA Futsal World Cup that has settled into a four-year cycle, with the next one scheduled for 2016 in Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Iran, Puerto Rico or Spain. FIFA will decided which nation will host the tournament in the early months of 2013.
There are domestic club futsal leagues in more than 100 countries around the world. In Asia, Iranian and Japanese sides have shared the three editions of the AFC Futsal Club Championship, signifying that the competitions in those two nations are the region’s strongest. In Europe, Spanish teams have dominated the UEFA Futsal Cup with six wins, although sides from Russia (twice), Belgium (once), Italy (once) and Portugal (once) have taken out the top honour as well. And in South America, Brazilian teams have won all 11 runnings of the South American Club Futsal Championship, with the Malwee side collecting the prize on six occasions.
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