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"We are a humble team that gives everything on the pitch"

“We are a humble team that gives everything on the pitch”

15. September 2021

  • Venezuela made history and qualified for the Round of 16 in their first World Cup appearance

  • It’s a reward for all the hard work over the past few years

  • Against Costa Rica, Rafa Murillo was the hero who scored and stopped a certain goal

Rafael Murillo tries to be calm about his answers, but he always explodes with laughter when he talks about the two wins that have qualified Venezuela for the Round of 16.

A few minutes ago, the clock signaled the end of the match against Costa Rica and a 1-0 win marked a historic qualification for the Round of 16. There was great jubilation on the part of the Venezuelans. Some pointed to the sky, others suppressed a tear, and happy faces could be seen everywhere. With Rafa Murillo himself, the tension eased and he screamed of joy before tightly embracing his teammates and coaching staff. Then he expressed himself in the mixed zone.

“We worked together for several months, sacrificed a lot and kept improving. We are a humble team that gives everything on the pitch,” he says. It points to two important factors for success Red wineOutstanding defensive stability on the field [nur ein Gegentreffer gegen Litauen] And the big family you feel.

difficult qualification

The road to Venezuela’s World Cup debut was tough from the start. South America has historically strong countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, so since 2012, there has only been one additional ticket awarded. The Venezuelans this time replaced Colombia, who automatically qualified as hosts in 2016.

Although they lost to the Brazilians in the semi-finals of the South American qualifiers and then to Paraguay in the match for third place, they achieved the big goal: “Qualifying in South America is always very difficult, with opponents like Argentina and Brazil. Uruguay and Paraguay … they have We worked hard for a long time and now we took the opportunity to qualify for this World Cup. We are currently experiencing a dream and we are enjoying it”, confirms Murillo.

dream come true

When asked if he would imagine standing here one day, Murillo said: “When I was a kid, I always dreamed of participating in the World Cup.” A ray flashed across the 28-year-old’s face, for whom the Lithuanian Games are a highlight of the year, which began with his move to Serie A at Cita de Mestre.

That evening’s victory is also the work of Rafa Murillo. Not only did he score the lone and decisive goal, but his image of him dodging an almost certain goal seconds before the end in desperate need is certainly the most memorable one in the game. “I am of course very happy with my goal and the rescue work at stake. All of us, me and the whole team, are ready to fight for every ball until the end,” he said.

his country and his family

Murillo wants to take it step by step and the next goal is against Kazakhstan on Saturday. Both teams have six points and play for a win in the first set, so it will probably be easier in the first knockout round. Now is the time to beat Kazakhstan to win the group. Then we will see who we meet in the round of 16. “

Before that could happen, he was also thinking of his country. Venezuela has a long tradition in futsal, and in Kaunas dozens of fans cheered their team tirelessly. “We are very proud and happy to have this support. These fans have gone a long way to cheering us on. It is very good to hear them in the stands and to see the flag. We are all so grateful,” he said.

At the end he talked about those who watched the game in action over dinner in their home country of Venezuela. “It will be a festival. Everyone followed us. This victory is yours too and I would like to ask you to continue to believe in us. We will try to give you a lot of joy,” he said, but then said to hurry up and finish the interview.

“I still have to make a video call to my wife and son,” he says with a smile that reveals all the happiness and stress that this historic night at the Futsal World Cup in Lithuania has brought to Venezuela.