The FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 semi-finals hold out the prospect of real fireworks as Brazil meet reigning world champions Spain in a repeat of the Guatemala 2000 Final, while a second South America versus Europe clash sees Argentina face European champions Italy. previews the crunch pairings.

Brazil v Spain: South American wizards bent on revenge
The date 3 December 2000 remains indelibly etched on the Brazilian futsal psyche. Exactly four years ago the South Americans fell 4-3 to Spain in the FIFA Futsal World Championship Guatemala 2000 Final, one of only three defeats for Brazil in their entire world championship history. Ahead of the latest showdown, coach Ferretti was in bullish mood. "It will definitely be a very difficult match, but we'll take it as it comes. There's no such thing as easy opponents in the semi-finals. But believe me, we'll really start knuckling down now." Veteran of four World Championships Manoel Tobias said: "I don't feel that the match tomorrow will be like a revenge for us. It is a completely new match and I expect a very tight result. But I am confident that we will win. We'll see." Spain supremo Javier Lozano rated his men underdogs against the tournament's outstanding team so far. "We've lost the element of surprise which helped us in Guatemala," he lamented, taking a philosophical view of the situation: "To win a world championship you have to play Brazil at some point, and if it's in the semi-final, so be it. It's going to be a great game for the fans. I'm expecting a top quality showdown. It will be the game of the tournament, especially given the history between us. I can guarantee plenty of dribbling and brilliant passing, it'll definitely be fantastic entertainment for the spectators." Lozano admitted he had huge respect for the Brazilians: "They have some tremendous players, most of them based in Spain. They know us and we know them. Falcao and Tobias shoot with immense power, Schumacher is an unbelievably good player and Indio isn't far behind."

Referees: Nestor Valiente (PAR), Karoly Torok (HUN), Jyrki Filppu (FIN), Robert Porritt (AUS)

Previous FIFA Futsal World Championship record:
03.12.2000  Guatemala City (Guatemala) Spain 4-3 Brazil
08.12.1996 Barcelona (Spain)  Brazil 6-4 Spain
27.11.1992 Hongkong (Hongkong)  Brazil 4-1 Spain
08.01.1989 S'Hertogenbosch (Netherlands) Brazil 4-1 Spain>

Italy v Argentina: When friends become rivals
The second Europe v South America clash sees Argentina take on European champions Italy. The teams could hardly know each other better as eight of the Argentine side play in Italy, and almost all the squad have at least some experience of the Italian league. Argentina defender Leandro Planas said he was really looking forward to the match: "We all know each other very well. It's just like a real derby, like our games against Brazil. I think it will be a technically good, high-quality match. It will be tight, but good to watch." The stopper's comments were echoed by Italy boss Alessandro Nuccorini: "I'm genuinely delighted and proud we've reached the semi-finals. Now we take on Argentina. It's a very tough assignment but we'll have an answer ready down on the court. Argentina are definitely one of the strongest teams, they have the best defence at the tournament and they deserve their place in the last four. We have a good relationship with them, we all know each other well. We're looking forward to playing them, and I believe they're thinking the same way. A couple of weeks before the tournament we were all joking about possibly facing each other in Chinese Taipei. I was hoping it would happen in the Final, but even though it's the semis it's still fantastic." Opposite number Fernando Larrañaga observed: "We've done very well to make the last four. I wasn't really worried about who we might play. At this stage of the tournament all the teams are pretty evenly-matched. The Brazilians may have their noses in front, but we'll take each opponent as they come. You have to beat the best to win the world crown, and we're up for the task."

Referees: Mohamed Ibrahim Farag (EGY), Seyed Sadreddin Moosavi (IRN), Victor van Helvoirt (NED), John Konstantinidis (USA)

Previous FIFA Futsal World Championship record:
The match at the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 is the first meeting between the sides at the World Championships.