As the ball rolled to Rhianna Pollicina, instinct took over.
“It was from halfway and I just tried to put a good strike on it ,” she said.
Well, it did a little more than that.
The 20-year-old’s wonder strike while representing Australia at the recent Women's Futsal World Cup in Spain was voted as the goal of the tournament.
The Abbotsbury resident backed up her magic strike against Russia with a goal in the final against the USA.
Despite losing the final 2-1, Pollicina, better known as “Mini”, was voted as one of the top ten players of the tournament.
“It was a great experience. It’s always great to represent your country,” she said.
“It’s a feeling you cant describe. It is a proud moment. Even though we lost the final we made history as the first Australian team to make it past the quarter finals.”
Pollicina was named the most valuable player in three of Australia’s five games.
After drawing 3-3 with Russia to open the tournament, Australia recorded commanding victories against Catalonia (5-2) and Basque (9-0) before defeating Sweden 9-3 in the semi final.
In the final, Pollicina’s goal leveled the scores in the second half before the USA scored a late winner.
She plans on building on her success at the World Cup through her coaching role at the Futsal Institute in Wetherill Park.
“My commitment in promoting football to all players is strong and I am continuing to develop the girls’ academy at the Institute so I encourage all to come along,” she said.
“I want to inspire the youth and try and make futsal a bigger sport and try to get more girls involved.”
On the field Pollicina will continue to apply her trade for the Inner West Magic on the futsal court and for the Blacktown Spartans in the National Premier League NSW Women’s 1 competition.
So what does she enjoy more – indoor or outdoor?
“I love them both. I couldn’t separate them,” said Pollicina, who represented the Australian under-17 team for World Cup qualifiers in China in 2013.
- The Futsal Institute in Wetherill Park are hosting a Gatorade Youth Club Challenge in July. Details: futsalinstitute.com