The ninth day of action at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 brings with it the decisive matches in groups E and F. While Serbia and Russia have already secured their tickets into the next round, the other countries will do battle to join them in the knockout stages.
In Group E, Egypt and Czech Republic still have a realistic chance of progressing, as do Colombia and Guatemala in Group F. The all-European tie between Serbia and the Czechs promises to be a thriller, while Colombia have the unenviable task of trying to get the better of Russia.
Match of the day
Serbia - Czech Republic, Bangkok, Nimibutr Stadium, 9 November 2012, 19:00 (local time)
Having already reached the last 16 following victories over Egypt (3-1) and Kuwait (7-2), tournament debutants Serbia can afford to relax ahead of their game against Czech Republic. It is a different story for the UEFA Futsal EURO 2010 third-place finishers though, as the pressure is on following a 7-2 defeat to Egypt in their second group game.
Victory is essential in order for coach Tomas Neumann’s men to guarantee themselves a berth in the next round, although a draw may also be enough if results go their way in the other groups’ fixtures. Nevertheless, the eastern Europeans will be determined to keep their fate in their own hands.
In the remaining Group E tie, Egypt go head to head with Kuwait. While the Pharaohs come into the match following a confidence-boosting triumph over Czech Republic, Kuwait have their backs to the wall. Only a clear victory over the African heavyweights would leave the door open for the Asians to go through.
Elsewhere, Guatemala and Colombia are still in the hunt to finish as Group F runners-up. The Central Americans appear to have the easier task, against Solomon Islands, while the Cafeteros face one of the title favourites in Russia.
The South American tournament newcomers will need to be on top form to better the Russians, who have been exceptional in their opening two games, taking the maximum six points and scoring 25 goals in the process.
Player to watch
Egypt's Ahmed Mohamed found the net during the defeat to Serbia as well in the victory over Czech Republic. As top scorer Ramadan Samasry has received two yellow cards and is therefore suspended against Kuwait, all eyes will now be on Egypt's No14, as coach Badr Khalil's charges look to reach the knockout stages.
0 - In their final Group F game against Colombia, Russia will seek to keep a third consecutive clean sheet. Spain are the only team to have managed such a feat in tournament history, having done so at Chinese Taipei 2004. The Furia Roja's impressive defensive record there laid the foundation for their championship triumph, so it could well be a positive omen for coach Sergey Skorovich's side.
"After beating Colombia, we knew the match against the Solomon Islands would be our most important game in the group. We'll have to be patient against a young, quick team in order to earn all three points," Guatemala coach Carlos Estrada.
Colombia - Russia (Bangkok, Nimibutr Stadium, 17:00)
Solomon Islands - Guatemala (Bangkok, Indoor Stadium Huamark, 17:00)
Serbia - Czech Republic (Bangkok, Nimibutr Stadium, 19:00)
Kuwait - Egypt (Bangkok, Indoor Stadium Huamark, 19:00)
(All kick-off times are local)