The third day of action at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008 provoked contrasting emotions in the two host cities. While it rained goals in Brasilia, where the home side and Russia were the two teams on song, Portugal and Italy had to wait for late winners over Paraguay and the USA respectively in Rio de Janeiro.
The big game
Solomon Islands 0-21 Brazil
Goals: Lenisio 5, 23, 35, 37, Wilde 6, 19, Vinicius 8, Falcao 9, 19, 22, 33, 40, 40, Schumacher 14, 17, 30, Betao 25, 28, 28, Gabriel 34, Carlinhos 35 (Brazil)
"Our players need to use this competition to become hardened," commented Solomon Islands coach Victor Wai'ia before the match against Brazil. They ought to be positively steely after watching the ball cross their goal line 21 times, a figure that demonstrated exactly how far they lag behind the world's finest teams. As for the Auriverde, after putting 12 past Japan, they managed to add another nine to their total against the side from Oceania, with Falcao showing why he is considered the best player on the planet by notching six.
The other games
In the other match in Group A, Russia took their first steps in the competition in some style, registering a 10-5 victory over a courageous Cuba team that never really threatened their opponents. Thanks to those finishing skills, and those of the free-scoring hosts, fans at Brasilia's Gimnasio Nilson Nelson got to witness 36 goals in total.
Supporters more intent on suspenseful encounters were better served in Group B, meanwhile. Portugal were making their first appearance in the tournament after sitting out the first day and found themselves in a real tussle with Paraguay, the Albirrojos managing to come back twice before Arnaldo struck a winner for the Europeans shortly before the end. In the following game, Italy struggled against the USA before opening the floodgates in the dying minutes. The result was enough to send the unspectacular but effective Italians through.
A captain should always lead by example, and that is exactly what Arnaldo did against Paraguay on Thursday, securing victory for his team by notching the decisive goal. Having already found the target to put the Iberians 2-1 up, the midfielder was on hand again two minutes from time to snatch victory with an excellent individual effort. Add in a shot against the post, tireless activity and constant motivation of his team-mates, and you have a recipe for the perfect match.
291 - The number of goals scored by Brazil in 42 FIFA Futsal World Cup matches, giving them an average of 6.92 per game. The 21 strikes conjured up against Solomon Islands took the Seleçao's total in the 2008 edition to 33, following their 12 against Japan.
What they said
"This festival of goals was good for our team. I hope my players made the most of this chance to play against opponents like that." Solomon Islands coach Victor Wai'ia after his team's 21-0 loss to Brazil
All the results
Solomon Islands 0-21 Brazil
Russia 10-5 Cuba
USA 1-6 Italy
Portugal 3-2 Paraguay