Two teams are through, two teams are out and Cuba hang on by the fingernails, but everyone's talking about just one man at the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 on Day 4. His name? Falcao, of course.
Two wins out of two for both Brazil and the Czech Republic booked their places in the second group stage. Thailand and Australia will go home after the first stage feeling they have given a good account of themselves in a tough group.
Over at the Linkou Gymnasium Group D has taken on a very interesting hue. Argentina's tense 1-0 win over Portugal has put them top of the table. Iran overran Cuba 8-3 to leave them level with Portugal going into the last game. The clash of the continental champions - South America v Asia - in the final game looks intriguing.
Australia 0-5 Czech Republic: Futsalroos overrun by late Mares burst
This was a match which was tight for a long period before the Czechs pulled away at the end as Australia pressed forward. Josef Havel gave the Europeans the lead in the 15th minute but the margin remained a single goal until six minutes from time when the Czechs scored four times in five minutes - Michal Mares grabbing a hat-trick to send his team through to the second stage. Aussie coach Scott Gilligan accepted afterwards that his team had to attack and leave spaces and were caught on the break. He felt his inexperienced team had done their best in the two games but the most telling statistic is no goals scored for the futsalroos.
Iran 8-3 Cuba: Asian Champions find goal touch
This match was effectively over as a contest by half-time, with Iran four goals to the good thanks to a brace from skipper Mohammed Reza Heidarian. After their first game where they lost heavily to Portugal, a win was essential for the Iranians. They looked a class act in the first half, dragging the Cuban defence out of position at will and peppering Wilfredo Carbo in the Cuban goal. They must have had a hearty half-time snack because they came out thinking the game was won. The Central Americans gave them a scare - Pillin Guerra and Boris Saname bringing Clemente Reinoso's men to within two goals of their opponents. Iran looked rattled, but composed themselves and returned to their smooth passing game as Cuba threw men forward. Vahid Shamsaee grabbed two late goals to increase the margin of victory to five and they could prove vital when the group finishes on Friday. A two goal win over Argentina would now see them through. Cuba have the satisfaction of knowing that it's only the second time they have scored three times in a game in the World Championship, although they could still qualify if they beat Portugal by a hatful and Argentina beat Iran.
Brazil 9-1 Thailand: Falcao fools them hook, line and sinker
With a piece of skill a contortionist would have been proud of, Falcao lit up the World Championship with a goal you have to see twice just to believe your eyes. Demonstrating a carretilha - the ball travelling like the arc of a fishing line - he flicked the ball up his ankle, over the keeper and volleyed home to prove once again that for pure skill no one can touch the Brazilians. The favourites had also demonstrated their strength in depth by starting with four different outfield players - coach Fernando Ferretti feeling: "We have eight difficult matches in 15 days so we need to conserve our energy and give everyone experience. It's important to have options and nice to know that our quality doesn't drop too much because we have a strong squad." While he was happy with his offence - who in the world wouldn't be - he was critical of the way his defenders handled the Thais' speedy breakaways. Thailand coach Castro said: "We didn't deserve to lose by that margin. Our main goal now is to win our first match in a World Championship."
In a tight match in the Linkou Gymnasium Argentina edged past Portugal to go top of a very tight Group D. The South Americans looked impressive in spells but again they failed to capitalise on the many chances they created - especially in the second half. Esteban Gonzales' goal on the stroke of half-time was enough to settle the match, despite late pressure from the Portuguese. The result means that no qualification issues have been decided yet in this group, and certainly the Argentina v Iran game - which the Asian Champions feel they must win to have a chance of progressing - will be one to watch on Friday.