Matchday four in the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 sees the tournament favourites Brazil take to the court again.
The South Americans, who opened their Group B programme with a 10-0 thumping of Australia will be confident against a Thailand side who lost to a late winner against the Czech Republic last time out. In fact the group could be wrapped up by the end of the night if both Brazil and the Czechs take three points.
Over at the Linkou Gymnasium in Group D - which many thought would prove the most even quartet - Asian champions Iran will certainly have to improve on their opening showing when they lost 4-0 to Portugal while the two teams who won first time out - Argentina and Portugal - face each other in the second game.
Australia v Czech Republic
It was the toughest opening possible for the Socceroos when they were drawn to kick-off Group B with a match against the awesome Brazilians. While they went down by ten goals, many at the game felt that very few teams on the planet could have lived with Falcao et al. Certainly Australia's positive coach Scott Gilligan wasn't too downhearted: "I think we played quite well against Brazil, that is why I was a bit disappointed to lose with ten goals difference. But we are now focused on the next match and we are quite optimistic that we can beat the Czechs - they had to struggle a lot against Thailand." It certainly was a scrape for Michal Striz's charges who made very heavy weather of edging past the Thais. Striz knows how important the next game is: "The game against Australia is definitely a key match. In our opener we were very nervous, as it was our first ever World Cup match. We definitely have to improve, if we want to beat Australia. They are very strong especially in defence and we will have to play on a high level throughout the whole match."
Iran v Cuba
A clash in the basement of Group D - and a defeat will almost certainly see one of these sides leaving Chinese Taipei at the end of the first stage. Big things were expected of the Asian champions Iran but they were outmuscled by Portugal in a relatively straight-forward group opener. Their reliance on Vahid Shamsaee proved their downfall as Ivan kept him quiet for most of the game. Iranian coach Mohammad-Hassan Ansarifard remains optimistic: "Our big problem was the pitch - we are just not used to this surface. I hope we can qualify from this group. We will play better in the next match." For Cuba it was a case of bad day for the Black Rock. Although the immovable Cuban keeper Wilfredo Carbo kept Argentina at bay for 30 minutes with a string of impressive blocks, his team offered little up front. Cuba coach Clemente Reinoso is insisting on approaching the game cautiously: "We don't know much about Iran. We will play our way which is to counter attack. We will wait and see what happens in the first few minutes of the game. Then we will decide how to play."
Brazil v Thailand
Can anyone stop the dazzling Brazilians? Next up to try are the Thais with their Brazilian coach Glaucio Castro. He certainly feels they are not just making up the numbers: "We were very unlucky in the first game against the Czech Republic. I think we were the better side, but my players are still young, so these things happen. I wouldn't say that we are without a chance against Brazil, but we definitely have to keep our concentration for 40 minutes." Brazil coach Ferretti is keeping his feet firmly on the ground - unlike Falcao, with his audacious bicycle kick on Monday. Ferretti said: "The win against Australia was a first step into the tournament. Thailand improved a lot, it won't be easy going for us." A match to watch - just to see if the Brazilian No.12 balances the ball on his shoulder again…
Portugal v Argentina
The only game in the second round of matches featuring two sides who both won their openers. This should mean the pressure's off a little, but if Argentina were to lose they will face the tricky task of playing Iran in the last game with both sides needing a win. Portugal were pleased with the impressive way they dismantled Iran, cutting off the supply lines to the dangerous Vahid Shamsaee. They pressed with physical power when they weren't in possession the ball and showed good technique and finishing prowess when they had it. Argentina bombarded Cuba but only managed three goals against the outgunned Central Americans. Worries about their firepower surfaced before the tournament but Portugal coach Orlando Duarte rates the Albicelestes highly: "It's a strong group - our next match is against Argentina and it will be a tough match, they have very good players. They lost to Japan recently but that was only played as a preparation - it's different now."