After an uncomfortable start to their FIFA Futsal World Cup defence, champions Spain regained their poise with a comfortable win over Libya. Argentina chalked up win number two at the expense of the battling Egyptians, while Ukraine and Czech Republic debuted with emphatic victories against Guatemala and Uruguay respectively.
After easing their way gently into the tournament with a straightforward defeat of China PR, Argentina were made to work much harder by a gritty Egyptian side. Marcelo Gimenez proved to be the Albiceleste driving force, and it was he who opened the scoring at the end of the first half. The Pharaohs turned the game around after the restart only for Giustozzi to restore parity almost immediately, the prelude to some exciting, end-to-end football and a tense finale. Despite regaining the lead with ten minutes left, the South Americans could not rest easy until Giustozzi grabbed his second right on the final whistle.
The other games
Spain roused themselves after their brush with defeat against Iran, recording a relatively simple 3-0 defeat of Libya. Rectifying the mistakes they made in their opening match, the reigning world champions gave the North Africans no room for manoeuvre on the break. Despite having the local fans behind them throughout, the Libyans had no answer to Spanish superiority, although as a return of three goals from a total of 51 shots suggests, the men in red will need to sharpen their finishing skills.
Czech Republic presented their credentials as serious challengers to Spain in Group C after thumping Uruguay in their first game. After an evenly contested first half ended all square at 1-1, the Czechs ran away with the match following the break, with keeper Tomas Meller dousing all hopes of a Celeste revival.
It was a similar story in the meeting between Ukraine and Guatemala, with the eastern Europeans stealing into a 1-0 lead before half-time. It was all change in the second half, though, as the goals began to flow. No sooner had they pulled level than the Central Americans began to fall apart, shipping a further five goals with only goalkeeper Carlos Merida standing between them and an even heavier defeat.
Roman Mares (CZE)
The 23-year-old pivot, who plays his club futsal for Era Pack Chrudim, had an opening match to remember against Uruguay. As well as scoring a goal, he produced a delightful back-heel to set up another and was a constant threat whenever the Czechs pushed forward.
22 - The number of corner kicks Spain won in their match against Libya, an indication of their superiority in a game in which they also enjoyed 71 per cent of possession and had 23 shots on target.