Spanish glory and Dutch sadness
Spain are the first team to qualify for the semi-finals. The runners-up in the last FIFA Futsal World Championship beat Portugal 3-1 in their second match in Group F.
The Spaniards led 2-0 at half time, but the Portuguese did not give up in the second part of an attractive match with many scoring opportunities for both teams. But Spain were strong enough to keep Portugal at bay. Javier Lozano's group once again demonstrated tactical intelligence and good team work in this event.
The Netherlands experienced another disappointment by losing their second game in a row. After a defeat by Portugal, they were beaten by Croatia. The Dutch scored two penalty goals by Pascal Langenhuijsen. But the star of the game was Croatian Robert Grdovic, scoring a hat-trick in just 15 minutes. Team-mate Nikola Tomicic was responsible for the other two goals in the last 10 minutes of a match that was dominated by a well-balanced Croatian side.
The Dutch were never able to follow up their performance during the group matches and had several weak points in their defence.
In Group E, Brazil showed an impressive performance in their first game against Egypt. The World Champions demonstrated how beautiful, fast and interesting futsal can be. They had excellent dribbling, perfect passing play and superb efficiency, scoring 12 goals.
Man of the match was Falcao who had two goals and one of them, the last of the game, was simply outstanding. He scooped the ball over himself and an opponent and hammered it into the net. The whole Domo hall erupted and the crowd applauded.
Egypt had no means of stopping the artists from Brazil who did almost everything they wanted to do. The Africans scored four goals and earned wide sympathy from the crowd but they had to accept a feeling of helplessness against such rivals. Brazilian Manoel Tobias scored three goals and now leads the top scorer ranking of the tournament with 12 goals.
In the other match in Group E, Russia overwhelmed Argentina. The South Americans led 1-0 after five minutes, but the final result was 7-1 for the Europeans. This score does not reveal how tight the match was.
Russia and Argentina were equal for a long time in a top-level match. Argentina were knocked out in the last four minutes of the match when Russia scored five goals, three of them in the last 60 seconds.