Czech Republic 4-8 Portugal: Joel's finishing just too hot
With this emphatic win, Portugal have set up a titanic Iberian struggle to decide who goes through to the semi-finals of the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004.
"Our strategy was to press the Czechs in the middle of the court but we failed to do that at times in the first half. But after half-time we got that sorted and I was very pleased with our finishing tonight," said a contented Portuguese coach Orlando Duarte afterwards.
Portugal came into this game a point ahead of the Czech Republic after their creditable 0-0 draw with Italy. This result looked even more impressive after the Azzurri beat the World Champions in the preceeding match.
Spain coach Javier Lozano had named Portugal as one of the five teams who could win the tournament. They started in fine style - Joel Queiros steering Goncalo's lob through Jan Klima's legs.
The Czech's appeared unconcerned that Lozano had not mentioned them in his famous five. They hit back within three minutes - Vit Blazej volleying in Michal Mares' free-kick. Portugal's lead was restored when the excellent Joel Queiros was left unmarked to slot in at the far post.
The Czech Republic hadn't read the script and Orlando Duarte's team seemed uncharacteristically slack in defence. Michal Striz's charges hit back to lead 3-2 - David Levcik worked superbly down the right to square for a tap-in for Roman Musial and Daniel Rajnoch's pass was expertly controlled his thigh and dispatched by Martin Dlouhy.
The counter attacking game of the East Europeans was causing Portugal problems, but they received a boost just on half-time as Ivan toe-poked into the top corner to send the sides in 3-3 at the break.
Duarte's half-time talk certainly had an effect - his team went 5-3 ahead just two minutes into the second half. Goncalo's fierce left wing cross found skipper Andre tearing in at the far post to volley home, then a fine move involving Joel Queiros, Andre and Goncalo saw the latter give his side a two goal advantage.
From here the game seemed relatively easy for Portugal. They were able to soak up the Czech pressure and twice more they caught them on the break with picture-book goals - Ivan nutmegging a defender with his pass for Leo to score coolly, then a great dummy by Israel left him in space to collect Leo's long pass and although Klima stopped his effort, Goncalo followed up to score. Blazej's made it 4-7 with a clever toe-poke over the dives of both Ivan and Joao Benedito, before Joel Queiros made it 8-4 and a hat-trick from the 10m mark.
"The goal just before half-time and the two immediately afterwards cost us the game. I am very proud of our team - don't forget we are all amateurs playing against three professional outfits," Czech coach Michal Striz said after the game.