Tense climax in Groups A and B
© Foto-net

The final matchday in Groups A and B will settle the race for places in the next round. Russia and Japan, who have played in Brasilia up to now, go head-to-head in Rio de Janeiro. Although not facing each other directly, Portugal and Paraguay are contesting second spot in Group B, where Italy have yet to guarantee their place in the next round. Brazil and Cuba are the other nations in action on day 9 at the FIFA Futsal World Cup.

The big game
Italy - Paraguay, Wednesday 8 October, 12.30 pm, Rio de Janeiro
The best attack in Group B takes on the best defence. Paraguay and group leaders Italy meet on Wednesday in a clash destined to decide both nations’ immediate fate at the tournament. The South Americans must win to preserve their chances of a place in the next round, whereas 2004 FIFA Futsal World Cup runners-up Italy, on maximum points from three matches so far, require only a draw to win the section.

The other games
Portugal, who switch from Rio to the Nilson Nelson Sports Hall in Brasilia, are effectively embroiled in a battle with Paraguay for second spot in Group B. Coach Orlando Duarte’s men face Thailand, somewhat surprisingly thrashed 8-0 by Paraguay last time out. Victory would seal Portugal’s spot in the second round, as the South Europeans won their direct duel with the Albirroja 3-2.

Over in Group A, Russia and Japan meet in Rio de Janeiro with a place in the last eight on offer to the winners. The teams will not lack confidence going into the do-or-die fixture as both won their last matches.

Tournament hosts Brazil play in Brasilia for the last time, before the confirmed Group A winners travel to Rio for the second stage of the event. Coach Paulo de Oliveira will instruct his men to put on a decent show for the fans in Brasilia when they round off their group programme against Cuba.

The player
Ricardinho (Portugal)
The Portuguese number two is sure to be one of the men to watch when Portugal take on Thailand. The wide player boasts sublime technical skills, combined with a poacher’s nose for goal. However, he is nothing if not a team player with the knack of delivering killer passes to better-positioned team-mates.

The stat
0
- Paraguay have never defeated Italy at a FIFA Futsal World Cup, and have never reached the second stage when grouped with the Azzurri.

What they said
"The importance of the Russia match is clear to us all. We totally respect our opponents, but I’m sure we can count on the support of the Brazilian fans, and I think we’ll see a great match," Sergio Sapo, Japan coach

All the fixtures
Brasilia
Brazil - Cuba (10.30 am)
Portugal - Thailand (12.30 pm)

Rio de Janeiro
Russia - Japan (10.30 am)
Italy - Paraguay (12.30 pm)

Have your say
Who will make the second round, Russia or Japan? And which teams will emerge triumphant from Group B?

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.