The first round of the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008 has reached the decisive stage and, as FIFA.com reveals in its preview of Monday's action, any slip-up now could prove fatal.
The big game
Thailand-Paraguay, Monday 6 October, 12.30 local time, Rio de Janeiro
Tied with Portugal on three points and with a win and a defeat each so far, both sides know that the loser of this meeting at the Maracanazinho will be packing their bags for home.
The do-or-die encounter will see a genuine clash of styles between the neat and elegant play of the Thais and the combative futsal of the Guaranies. Paraguay will be hoping to erase memories of a disastrous meeting with another Asian side in 1992, when they were swept aside by Iran to become the first and only CONMEBOL side to concede ten goals in a FIFA Futsal World Cup match.
The other games
Japan and Cuba find themselves in a similar position in Group A. Both have collected three points to date and need to win to keep their hopes of reaching the last eight intact. The Asian outfit go into the game on the back of a big win, while the Cubans were on the receiving end against Russia. They do have one thing in common, however, having both earned their maiden FIFA Futsal World Cup victories in the opening round of matches.
After their 7-0 mauling against Brazil, Russia will be confident of picking themselves up in the section's other game on Monday. Opponents Solomon Islands, who are already out of the tournament, have conceded 12.66 goals per game so far.
Eakapong Suratsawang, Thailand
Showing an alluring combination of skill and enthusiasm, the 22-year-old pivot has been one of the revelations of the tournament. A goalscorer in his side's 5-3 victory over USA, Suratsawang is one of the main reasons why Thailand's hopes of reaching the next phase are still very much alive.
15 - The number of goals Cuba have scored at Brazil 2008, making them the second most prolific side in the competition after the hosts, way out in front on 40.
What they said
"Any team that gives away five stupid goals in two games doesn't deserve to be in a World Cup. We'd better sort out our mistakes quickly or we'll be in big trouble." Orlando Duarte, Portugal coach.
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