The first round of this FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 is now over, with Argentina and Portugal emerging from Group D to join the earlier qualifiers in the second round. Brazil, unsurprisingly, claimed first place in Group B and progress along with the side they beat today, Czech Republic.

Portugal 5-0 Cuba: formbook holds true
As expected, Portugal experienced no difficulty in overcoming Cuba, and the commanding performance of Orlando Duarte's men over the forty minutes will have done much to reassure their supporters.

Once again, there was little that the Cuban goalkeeper Wilfredo Carbo, one of the revelations of the tournament, could do to prevent the five Portuguese goals. Ivan and Co. now need to maintain this standard of play in the second round if they are to stand any chance of emerging from Group E, which contains Spain, Czech Republic and Italy to earn a place in the semi-finals.

Argentina 6-1 Iran: Albicelestes well and truly on top
It took all of eight minutes to realise that Iran would not pull off their ambitious aim of beating Argentina by a two-goal margin. During this brief opening period, the Asian side committed five fouls, thereby placing themselves in a tricky situation, as another offence would automatically result in a free kick from ten metres. Under such stressful conditions, it was no surprise when, two minutes later, Babak Masoumi dived in rashly to concede a penalty, which was converted by Carlos Sanchez (1-0, 10').

Although the Iranians got back into the game before the break (1-1), the second period once again demonstrated their overdependence on Vahid Shamsaee. As their attacks repeatedly foundered on the Argentine defence, Iran left gaps at the back which their opponents exploited adeptly to secure a third win in as many games. Their performances have certainly whetted the appetite for their upcoming Group F encounters, particularly their clash with Brazil.

Thailand 3-2 Australia: A night of firsts
The combination of a physical Australian side and the sprightly Thais did not produce the most captivating of contests. But at least it had the virtue of enabling both teams to shatter a few records.

For while Australia scored their first goals of the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004, Thailand outdid them by registering their first-ever win at this level of competition. But more was expected of both these teams, who will hope to do better in four years time.

Brazil 4-1 Czech Republic: Football for the fun of it
The crowd were thoroughly entertained this evening at Linkou Gymnasium. In a match where the sole prize was top spot in Group B, the Brazilians and Czechs did their level best to offer the fans a highly attractive encounter.

Behind for a large part of the first half, the South American maestros let their skill do the talking to run out comfortable winners in the end, although the Czechs did have several presentable opportunities. Brazil's win means they top their group and go into Group F, the easiest on paper.