The Europeans x South Americans
In Futsal and Football, there has always been a discussion about European and South American countries; who's better? Who produces the best players? Who would win against the other? But at the same time, it has always been really hard to see the top countries, from each continent, competing against themselves, so how can we solve this? The answer is the Futsal Finalissima, and in this article, you will learn exactly what the Finalissima is.
The Finalissima is a tournament, as part of an existing collaboration between UEFA and CONMEBOL, which governs European and South American, men's and women's Futsal and Football respectively, for the development of the beautiful game beyond the geographical limitations.
This tournament is played between the finalists of the Eurocopa, which is the European continental cup, and the finalists of the Copa America, which is the South American continental cup, to determine who's the undisputed Champion. Thus the name of the tournament being, the Finalissima.
The word, Finalissima, is a common expression, used in Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries, meaning the "final of the final." This word usually refers to the last match of a sports competition that defines a champion. Finalissima is a derivative of the word Final plus the word Issima, which refers to something big or important.
Now let's talk about how and when this event was created. As you may have never heard of this event before, you might think this is a brand new tournament. However, this competition was created in 1985, called the European/South American Nations Cup, also referred to as the "Artemio Franchi Cup." The competition was the national team equivalent to the Intercontinental Cup, on the club level, played between the winners of the European Cup/UEFA Champions League and Copa Libertadores. The competition was to be held every four years, with the venue alternating between Europe and South America. After the 1993 edition, the competition was discontinued.
Thereafter, in February of 2020, UEFA and CONMEBOL, signed a sort of agreement, between both entities, meant to enhance cooperation between the two organizations and brought back the intercontinental tournament, now called the Finalissima.
The event held in 2022, in both men's and women's Football, only had the champions of Copa America against the champions of Eurocopa, or 2 teams in total. However, in Futsal, the structure of the event was a bit different. In the 2022 Futsal Finalissima, the two-best teams from each confederation qualified for the tournament.
The tournament featured two semi-finals, a third place play-off and a final. The semi-final fixtures were determined based on the teams' performance in their continental tournament, with the champion of each confederation facing the non-champion of the other confederation. For this 1st edition only, as all Russian teams were suspended from international competition by FIFA and UEFA, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Futsal Euro 2022 runners-up Russia were not eligible to compete, and third-placed Spain instead, were selected for the tournament.