Brazil and Italy cruise
© Foto-net

With three wins so far, Brazil and Italy are practically assured of places in the next round at the FIFA Futsal World Cup. The hosts comfortably beat Russia, while Italy defeated Portugal in the day's top game. By contrast, defeats to Thailand and Japan respectively meant elimination for the USA and the Solomon Islands.

The big game
Brazil - Russia 7-0

Scorers: Schumacher (3), Dmitry Prudnikov (8 o.g.), Lenisio (14, 22), Cico (16), Falcao (29), Vinicius (32) for Brazil

In their third Group A fixture, Brazil maintained their imperious form with a 7-0 rout of Russia. The clash between the FIFA Futsal World Cup hosts and the European dark horses was ultimately a one-sided affair as the Selecao turned on the style from the first to the last minute. In a stark contrast to previous tournaments, home advantage appears to have inspired the Brazilians to combine their customary individual brilliance with exceptional efficiency in front of goal. The hosts have scored 40 goals and conceded just one in the tournament so far, striding away at the top of their group on maximum points from three games.

The other games
In Group B, Italy have emulated the Brazilians by winning all three fixtures so far. The Azzurri beat Portugal 3-1 to maintain their perfect start and move to within an ace of the next round. Captain Grana hit a brace on 16 and 32 minutes to pave the way to victory.

By contrast, the Solomon Islands' 7-2 defeat to Japan sealed their early elimination, as it was the Oceania side's third defeat in as many games. The victory means the Japanese, third in Group A on three points, preserve their hopes of making the next stage.

The Solomon Islands' fate is shared by the USA, whose bitter 5-3 defeat to Thailand at the Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro was also their third loss in three matches. The US boys refused to go down without a fight, battling back to level at 2-2 after going two down, and reducing the arrears again with the score 4-2. However, the Asians held their nerve to record a first victory at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008.

The player
Grana (ITA)
The Italy captain struck twice in his side's 3-1 victory over Portugal to cap a fine performance in the strategically vital playmaking role for the Squadra Azzurra.

The stat
1500 – In Japan's 7-3 win over the Solomon Islands, Yusuke Inada netted the 1500th goal in the history of the FIFA Futsal World Cup.

What they said
"It's true that the penalty we missed could've made a difference, just as any early goal would, but I don't think the outcome would have been any different. Thailand won the match because they ruthlessly exploited our defensive lapses. For us to have a realistic chance at a tournament like this, we simply have to improve," Denison Cabral, USA player

All the results
Brazil - Russia 7-0
Japan - Solomon Islands 7-2
Italy - Portugal 3-1
Thailand - USA 5-3