Italy and Russia sneak through
© Foto-net

As expected, the tussles for second place in Groups E and F went right down to the wire. Iran and Italy played out a thrilling 5-5 stalemate in the former section while Argentina and Russia drew 2-2 in the latter, but those results ultimately meant joy for the European teams. looks back at all four games from the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008 on Tuesday.

The big game
Iran 5-5 Italy
Goals: Masoud Daneshvar 11, 36 Ebrahim Masoudi 13, Mohammad Hashemzadeh 27, Ali Hassanzadeh 29 (Iran) ; Grana 2, 9, Patrick Nora 14, Fabiano 31, Edgar Bertoni 40 (Italy)
The spectators in Brasilia knew they were in for a quarter-final in all but name and they did not go home disappointed. Despite building an early two-goal advantage thanks to Grana's double, the Azzurri eventually found themselves battling to stay in the competition. Team Melli took time to settle but were soon competing with impressive determination, twice bringing themselves level before taking a 4-3 lead. They also led 5-4 moments before the end, but with just 50 seconds on the clock Edgar Bertoni struck the decisive blow, knocking the Iranians out in the cruellest of twists.

The other games
Already qualified, Brazil opted to round off Group E duties in style, putting together their seventh consecutive win. With Falcao scoring a hat trick, the Auriverde shook off their early-match rust to sweep Uruguay aside 5-3.

Spain had life even easier, meanwhile, seeing off Paraguay 4-1 to guarantee themselves top spot in Group F. Alvaro's first-half effort and a hat-trick from Fernandao after the break put the match beyond the South Americans. Venancio Lopez's men can now look forward to facing Italy in Thursday's semi-final, effectively a rematch of the 2004 showpiece game.

Russia must have hoped for an equally comfortable result but they were made to suffer right up until the final moments of their encounter with Argentina. A goal behind almost immediately, they battled back to give themselves a 2-1 advantage heading into the last ten minutes, only for Argentina to draw level with the scoreboard reading 35'46''. The Russians just about held on, however, earning themselves a precious berth in the last four.

The player
Grana (Italy)
Italy's captain has lived up to his billing ever since the tournament began and weighed in with another two goals against Iran. The No2 can pride himself on being the major reason his team are through to the semi-finals.

The stat
3 - The number of semi-finalists who reached the same stage four years ago. Russia are the only newcomers, having supplanted Argentina to take their place in the last four for the second time in their history after Guatemala 2000.

What they said
"It's just marvellous to score two goals against Brazil! I can't describe what I'm feeling. I dedicate these goals to my wife, Cristina, and Ksenia, my daughter. I miss my family," Mykhaylo Romanov, Ukraine defender
The results
Brazil 5-3 Ukraine
Iran 5-5 Italy
Argentina 2-2 Russia
Paraguay 1-4 Spain