Last 16 in sight for group leaders
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Cementing early gains and making up lost ground will be the order of day four as Groups A and C return to centre stage at Thailand 2012. Brazil, Portugal and Thailand can advance to the last 16 with a game to spare if they see off Libya, Japan and Ukraine respectively, while Paraguay and Costa Rica will be attempting to narrow the gap on the hosts in the former section.

Match of the day
Portugal-Japan (Nakhon Ratchasima, Korat Chatchai Hall, 19.00)
The Portuguese were pinpointed as potential dark horses before the tournament began, and underlined that status with a resounding 5-1 win over Libya in their opening match. Even with Cardinal - scorer of three goals on day one – struggling with injury, the Lusitanians have plenty of attacking options to call upon, including a player who knows their opponents particularly well. Ricardinho plays his club football in Japan and has warned his Portugal team-mates that they will face some “great players” who “play a very fast game”.

The Asian champions certainly showed in flashes against Brazil that they have the speed and skill required to trouble any defence. Their Spanish coach, Miguel Rodrigo, has stated his commitment to attack against even the mightiest of opponents, and his Brazilian counterpart, Marcos Sorato, admitted that the scoreline in their opening match flattered the world champions.

Other highlights
The holders themselves take on Libya, and even without Falcao – who is still recovering from a calf strain – they will be expecting to have the necessary firepower to ease through to the knockout phase against their north African opponents.

In Bangkok, meanwhile, proceedings will be kicked off by Paraguay and Costa Rica. Diego Zuniga will be vital to the CONCACAF champions’ hopes of putting some points on the board against a team that will have to cope without their suspended hat-trick hero, Enmanuel Ayala.

In the capital’s later match, it will be the turn of the Thais - roared on again by a passionate home crowd - to face the never-say-die spirit of a Ukraine side who came from behind three times to snatch a draw against Paraguay.

Player to watch
Suphawut Thueanklang was hailed as "a brilliant player" by Thailand coach Victor Hermans ahead of the tournament, and more than justified this lavish praise with a starring role in the 3-1 win over Costa Rica. The 23-year-old followed up a brilliant assist with a sumptuous goal, and was singled out for post-match compliments by Diego Solis, coach of the beaten Ticos. In truth, Thueanklang was merely continuing the form that enabled him to finish as the AFC Asian Futsal Championship’s joint-top scorer, and he will be the key man in the hosts’ bid to achieve their stated aim of reaching the quarter-finals.

The stat
50 – Brazil’s opening match was their 50th at the FIFA Futsal World Cup and their record in those fixtures makes worrying reading for Libya, with 42 wins, just three defeats and 326 goals scored – an average of 6.52 per match.

The words
“I’m very confident we can beat Libya. If we maintain not only our attacking performance but also our strength in defence, I really believe we will win,” Brazil coach Marcos Sorato.

The schedule
Paraguay-Costa Rica (Bangkok, Indoor Stadium Huamark, 17.00)
Thailand-Ukraine (Bangkok, Indoor Stadium Huamark, 19.00)
Portugal-Japan (Nakhon Ratchasima, Korat Chatchai Hall, 19.00)
Brazil-Libya (Nakhon Ratchasima, Korat Chatchai Hall, 21.00)
(All kick-off times are local)