The opponents of the Solomon Islands for the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2021 were revealed overnight at the Home of FIFA in Zurich.
Known as the Kurukuru, the Solomons have been listed in Group C alongside Thailand, Portugal and Morocco at the tournament in Lithuania.
Led by head coach Vinicius Leite, the Kurukuru will open their campaign against Morocco on September 13 (LTU time) before tackling Portugal three days later, then Thailand on September 19.
OFC Futsal Coach Educator Juliano Schmeling, a former coach of the Solomon Islands, said he believed the Kurukuru could deliver a top performance at the World Cup.
“They were great against Thailand in 2012 in preparation for that World Cup so there’s no reason as to why they won’t do the same against Morocco,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to watching them play against Portugal, which will create a bit of nostalgia for when they played Argentina in the 2016 World Cup in Colombia.
“Portugal will be a different challenge but the biggest challenge they have right now is accessibility to playing or training on an international futsal court at home.”
At a regional level, the Kurukuru are the current OFC Futsal Nations Cup champions after beating New Zealand on penalties in the final in 2019 to secure their spot at the World Cup; that victory marked their sixth continental title.
“We already know the talent Kurukuru have, they’ve proven it and regardless of the outcome they will make their country proud,” Schmeling said.
In other pools, tournament hosts Lithuania were drawn in Group A and will play against fellow debutants Venezuela, as well as Kazakhstan and Costa Rica, while defending champions Argentina were drawn in Group F and will play against USA, Serbia and Iran.
Elsewhere, five-time world champions Brazil will start their campaign against Vietnam in Klaipeda in Group D before meeting the Czech Republic and Panama.
The 24-team tournament will feature six pools of four with the top two from each group advancing to the Round of 16, alongside the four highest-ranked third-placed teams.
The FIFA Futsal World Cup will kick-off on September 12 with the final set to be played at Kaunas Arena on October 3.