South American finalists decided

Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay have advanced to the semi-finals of the Futsal Copa America, and have thereby secured qualification for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008. Three places were on offer to nations from South America, with Brazil already taking part as hosts.

The Charruas, hosts of the South American event, were the first to book their passage, when they defeated Ecuador 4-2 on Tuesday and thus assured themselves of a top-two finish in Group C, the only four-team group. Despite losing to eventual group winners Brazil 8-1 on the final day of the opening phase, Uruguay had done enough to qualify for this year's world finals.

Argentina and Paraguay, meanwhile, had to wait until Wednesday to make sure of their qualification for Brazil. The Albicestes topped Group A by disposing of Venezuela 3-0, while the Guaraníes destroyed Peru 6-1 to finish on top of Group B.

On Friday, in the semi-finals, Brazil will take on defending champions Argentina, while Paraguay will face Uruguay. The final will take place next Saturday in the city of Mercedes.

The 20 participants in the sixth edition of the Futsal world championship, which will take place in the cities of Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro between 30 September and 19 October of this year, are now known.

They are: Brazil (hosts), Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay (South America); Cuba, Guatemala, USA (North, Central America and Caribbean); Thailand, Iran, China, Japan (Asia); Egypt, Libya (África); Portugal, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, Italy, Czech Republic (Europe); Solomon Islands (Oceania).

The draw will take place on 10 July in Brasilia.