The fifth day of the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 sees events come to a head. The final match day in Groups A and C will decide which teams to qualify for the next round and which take a premature flight home. FIFA.com takes a look at the day's matches and analyses the permutations.
Ukraine - Chinese Taipei: Europeans chasing big win, hosts hoping to break duck
Ukraine know exactly what they must do ahead of their final group game against hosts Chinese Taipei: after their defeat to Spain and win over Egypt, another victory is imperative for the Eastern Europeans to secure qualification for the next round. Ukraine coach Gennadiy Lissenschuk is reluctant to rely on world champions Spain defeating Egypt in the game being played simultaneously to secure his team's passage. "We will try to win by as many as possible. That is our objective." For if Egypt manage to win their game, goal difference against Spain could be the decisive factor. "We will definitely be studying the videos again," added Lissenschuk. Chinese Taipei have set themselves a double objective in their final group game. "Obviously, we would like to finally score a goal," said coach Damien Knabben. And how will they do that? "We have had problems keeping possession of the ball in our games so far. So how can you hope to score? We have to improve on that without neglecting our defence." After the 12-0 hammering at the hands of Egypt, there were clear signs of improvement in the 10-0 defeat to world champions Spain. And the team will be hoping to show further progress against Ukraine. "If I compare my team with that of four weeks ago, I have to say we have definitely improved," insisted Knabben.
Referee KONSTANTINIDIS John (USA)
2nd Referee MASO GOITISOLO Vladimir (CUB)
3rd Referee DEL CID Carlos (GUA)
Timekeeper VALIENTE Nestor (PAR)
Egypt - Spain: Africans need a win
With two victories and a goal ratio of 12:0, a draw would suffice to ensure Spain's place in the quarter-finals as group winners. The North Africans, on the other hand, will probably have to claim victory to remain in the tournament after their unfortunate 5-4 defeat against Ukraine. Egypt coach Mwafak Badry is optimistic despite the magnitude of his team's task: "You could see in the first half in particular against Ukraine what my team is capable of; the game against Spain will not be difficult for us. A 1-0 victory would be enough," he added defiantly. Badry still has a score to settle with the Spanish. When the two teams last met in 1996, Egypt lost 7-4 to the Europeans and the present coach was captain of the Egyptians. The present-day Spanish team meanwhile have their own objective to qualify as group winners in style with a victory. "We will be giving everything," says Spain coach Javier Lozano, who was delighted with his team's second-half performance against Chinese Taipei: "We played with our heads. The victory certainly gives us more confidence."
Referee TOROK Karoly (HUN)
2nd Referee DJIBA Yaya (SEN)
3rd Referee CUMBO Massimo (ITA)
Timekeeper ISOKAWA Kazuya (JPN)
Paraguay - Italy: Tough task for the South Americans
With a win over Japan and a defeat to USA, Paraguay coach Adolfo Ruiz has not given up hope of qualifying for the next round. "It is still in our hands. We have to beat Italy. We came here to play at least three games and we are concentrating on our next challenge. We are still optimistic." Italian counterpart Alessandro Nuccorini is concentrating on his team's final group game and refuses to be side-tracked by events in the other group game being played simultaneously. Not surprisingly, there were few question marks over the Europeans' ability during their previous encounters against the USA (6-3) and Japan (5-0), and the coach has been delighted with his team's solidity in the tournament so far. "I was particularly pleased with the strong defensive performance and high intensity," says Nuccorini. "Our objective was always to think from game to game and concentrate on one match at a time. We are not really looking at USA and Paraguay. We are concentrating on our own game and we expect to qualify," the Italy coach continued. The two teams have met before at a FIFA Futsal World Championship; twelve years ago in Hong Kong, when the Italians ran out 7-5 winners.
Referee FARAG Mohamed Ibrahim (EGY)
2nd Referee AL-SHATTI Adel (KUW)
3rd Referee SHEEN Ching Hau (TPE)
Timekeeper VAN HELVOIRT Victor (NED)
USA - Japan: Get the calculators out
The situation in Group C is still far from certain and may yet throw up a surprise or two. Not even victory will ensure progress for the Americans as Paraguay could steal the show with a win over Italy. However, should the Southern Europeans defeat the South Americans in the other group game, coach Keith Tozer's team would qualify with a draw. Tozer is somewhat apprehensive. "The fact that Japan have lost their first two matches makes them more relaxed - and that's a concern. They still have a lot to play for. It's important that we continue to work hard and get up and down the field. Everything is in our own hands." And there are yet further permutations. In fact, even a defeat for the Americans would not necessarily mean an early exit. Meanwhile, U.S. captain Sean Bowers broke the appearance record for his country in the clash against Paraguay, his 31 games since 1996 surpassing the tally of previous record-holder Jim Gabarra. Japan coach Sapo, whose team have shown signs of promise at the tournament despite the two defeats, refuses to give up hope of reaching the next round: "We will study the tape and I will talk to the players and then we will have a practice and put things right for the USA game. But the players need to understand they have played really well in both games and I am confident they can do the same in the last group match."
Referee MOOSAVI Seyed Sadreddin (IRN)
2nd Referee GALAN Pedro (ESP)
3rd Referee PORRITT Robert (AUS)
Timekeeper PAIXAO Nolido (BRA)