Ukraine 0-0 Argentina: Albiceleste hang on
Four previous FIFA Futsal World Championships without a goalless draw, now two in a week in Chinese Taipei. This tense stalemate was enough to see Argentina progress to the semi-finals and Ukraine bow out.
"This was a really tough game for us," a satisfied Fernando Larranaga said afterwards. "We didn't set out for a 0-0 draw, we tried to score and we created chances but we just couldn't take them."
This game always looked as if it would be the crunch game of the group and so it proved. With both sides beating the US and losing to Brazil, it was down to forty minutes of futsal to decide who would progress to the semi-finals.
Argentina have been known for their solid defence in this tournament and Ukraine have relied on their trademark counter attacking play. Understandably it was a very cagey opening - neither side wanting to go a goal behind against teams adept at playing against opponents pressing forward.
If the opening exchanges were tentative, it was Argentina who controlled most of the possession. They created the two best chances of the half - a jinking run by Esteban Gonzalez saw the ball drop perfectly for Hernan Garcias who could only blast over the bar.
Then skipper Carlos Sanchez smuggled the ball through to Gonzalez but Olexiy Popov in the Ukraine goal was out smartly to smother the danger. It had to get better. And in the second half it certainly did.
Ukraine opened the half much more positively, most of the play happening in the Argentina half. This suited the Albiceleste who were happy to play on the counter using the space behind the East European defence.
A bad mistake by Vitaly Brunko let in Diego Giustozzi who squared to Marcelo Giminez in front of goal. He miskicked but the ball found its way to Rodrigo Petillo who forced a scrambling save out of Popov.
Back Ukraine came, a neat one-two between Sergiy Koradze and Brunko forced Guisande into a desperate block. Then in a space of a frantic few seconds, Fernando Wilhelm found Giustozzi and his shot was expertly saved by Popov who launched Koridze on a counter - Olexandr Kosenko shooting straight at Guisande, then from the corner Koridze again found Guisande unbeatable.
It was the story of the night. Ukraine threw everything at the Spanish defence, the best chance of the night falling to Sergiy Sytin who side-footed wide from a perfectly weighted Pylypiv pass.
In the last two minutes, knowing that a goalless draw would see them on the plane home, Popov was replaced by Kosenko. The Argentine goal was pounded but stood firm to earn them their place in the semi-finals.
"My players did very well, but if we don't take our chances that doesn't matter. All the team created chances but I think the fact that Igor Moskvychov has been sick throughout this tournament has cost us dear," a disappointed Gennadiy Lisenchuk said afterwards.