European duo enter the fray
© Foto-net

Ukraine and the Czech Republic will be making their first appearances at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008 on Friday, the former facing CONCACAF champions Guatemala and the latter taking on Uruguay. World champions Spain meanwhile will be looking for their first win of the tournament against Libya.

The big game
Egypt-Argentina, Friday 3 October, 10.30 local time, Brasilia
After their 5-0 thrashing of China PR to open the tournament, Argentina will face an Egypt side on Friday who are still smarting from their last-minute 1-0 defeat to Guatemala. Egyptian keeper Hema put in an excellent showing in that match and will have to be at the top of his game once more against the team who finished fourth in the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2004.

The other games
Two other European teams will be getting down to business for the first time on Friday. Ukraine's opening Group C match will pit them against Guatemala, who sneaked through their first match with a 1-0 win over Egypt. Ukraine, however, finished fourth at this tournament in 1996 and will no doubt provide tough opposition.

The Czech Republic meanwhile will begin their campaign against Uruguay, who squandered 2-0 and 3-1 leads in their draw with Libya in their opening match. At the last FIFA Futsal World Cup in Chinese Taipei in 2004, the Czechs made it as far as the second group phase before coming unstuck against big guns Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Libya and Spain are the remaining two of the eight teams in action on Friday. Both of them opened their accounts here in Brazil with 3-3 draws, though how they went about securing the one-pointers could hardly have been more different. Current world champions Spain put in a very sub-par showing against Iran, while Libya showed enormous fighting spirit to get something out of their match with Uruguay. Draws will not be enough now though, and both teams will be desperate for the win.

The player
Carlos Merida, Guatemala
Merida is the goalkeeper who was largely responsible for CONCACAF champions Guatemala's 1-0 win over Egypt. He may only be 1.69 metres tall, but he was big enough to keep the Africans off the scoresheet and even set up a few chances for his team-mates. It will be interesting to see whether Merida also tries to feed his attackers in the match against Ukraine.

The stat
25 - FIFA.com would like to wish Spanish player Ortiz a happy 25th birthday. An ideal present would obviously be victory for his team over African champions Libya.

What they said
"
I'm actually really not the kind of player to be scoring three goals - I'm usually the one setting them up." Marcelo Gimenez, Argentina player, after his hat-trick against China

All the fixtures
Brasilia
Egypt - Argentina (10.30)
Ukraine - Guatemala (12.30)

Rio de Janeiro
Libya - Spain (10.30)
Czech Republic - Uruguay (12.30)

Have Your Say
Will Spain record their first victory in this, their second match, or will African champions Libya get the upper hand?

Follow the matches from the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008 live on FIFA.com, either via the EMIRATES Live MatchCast or with live TV images. After the final whistle, you can also enjoy highlights of all the matches.