Columns Maria Pinto Jorge
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The D(ias)-Day

In this month's column, Maria Pinto Jorge emphasizes the role of Sporting CP's head coach Mr. Nuno Dias in their latest UEFA Futsal Champions League title run and how his ideas and focus helped his players achieve this result.

Further on, Maria argues in her article that it is high time for the futsal community to recognize Mr. Dias' work in the recent years as extraordinary as he becomes the coach with most matches in the European finals coupled with plenty more successes in Portugal and with his team.

Sporting won the UEFA Futsal Champions League for the second time in its history. Players deserved their proper media focus, but we must not forget the man behind all this work that was done to get there.

Nuno Dias's troops landed in Zadar (Croatia) on April 27, 2021, with a promise in mind: that they would only return to Portugal on May 4, ready to pay the price of extra luggage, with the European champions cup, on what turned out to be D-Day for the Lions.

If in reality, the expression 'D-Day' has come to mean the day when something important happens, especially when it has been planned for a long time, then this is undoubtedly one of these cases.

As a battle motto, the Lions also won the title of 'destroyers of champions', after overtaking the Russian, Spanish and European champions. In a true Iberian duel in the final, Nuno Dias forced Andreu Plaza to concede and that’s what we are going to talk about.

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“Discipline, sooner or later, overpasses the talent”

The sentence I wrote above describes very well the fight between Sporting and Barcelona in the final of the UEFA Futsal Champions League, last Monday. The Portuguese team fought with the weapon of a stronger collective, against the individual talent of the Catalans. The key to all this? The discipline, formatted in the concept of a group created by Nuno Dias around his team.

Sporting got into the game badly. It is factual. However, the ability to change given the adversity and the game reading by the coach was the key point for the lions to win this battle.

For this, and as a note of the difference in the benches of both teams, we can note the behaviors of coaches at similar times. During the time-out requested by Andreu Plaza, when Sporting managed to turn the result around, the coach asked for calm but wasn't able to control his troops.

On the other hand, when the greens and whites were losing 2-0, Nuno Dias also asked for a minute time-out. We could have seen a fighting attitude and clear focus like soldiers gathered around their captain on the battlefield. 

The dichotomy between the ways of leading an army, in these two events, ended up being evident, and it may well have been that because of these few motivating minutes the war ended up being won by the Portuguese team.

“Success depends on a conscious effort to change your Destiny”

After this final, Nuno Dias became the coach with the most games in the European finals: 11. Of these 11, Sporting only lost 3 in the regular time. In addition, he’s also the only one who participated in a total of 5 finals.

If many only knew the name of the coach this weekend… at least in Portugal his name has been constantly in the place where it deserves to be among the futsal experts. Better than that: his work has been a success with consistent growth, both for the coach and the team, which has been carrying the same winning mentality since Dias took on Sporting's helm.

One of the greatest proofs that the success achieved by this team isn’t an act of luck, can be seen in one of the moments that most marked Lions’ journey until the final. In the first game of this Final Eight, against KPRF Moscow, the set-piece play drawn by Nuno Dias - with the execution by João Matos - ended up being a very necessary goal for the greens and whites at the time.

If any doubt existed, this is just a small example of how well Sporting’s group is prepared and with the war plan well studied.

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“Succes is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out”

The Sporting leader has been in charge of the team since 2012/13 and since then the team has achieved many new things. It’s no accident that 24 of the 40 titles in the Sporting futsal section were under the leadership of Nuno Dias. So, let's go to the accounts:

  • 2 UEFA Futsal Champions League; 
  • 5 National Championships;
  • 5 Portuguese Cups; 
  • 3 League Cups; 
  • 5 Super Cups; 
  • 4 Honor Cups. 

Not so bad, right?

Doubts will always exist, difficulties in choosing the best coach in the world will also continue, but for now, we have an issue that cannot continue to go unclear: the work that Sporting's coach has been doing is extraordinary. In addition, the way in which this highly talented group has been led, with discipline and companionship, will make a difference for those who see this futsal format. 

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Maria Pinto Jorge

Columnist

Maria Pinto Jorge

Columnist

Maria Pinto Jorge is a Portuguese and Brazilian sports journalist with a special interest in futsal. She is an editor at LeoninoPT, a Sporting CP's website, where she focuses on Sporting CP's futsal team. She is also a journalist and commentator at the biggest futsal page in Portugal, Zona Técnica.

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