With world champions Spain and host nation Brazil are already assured of a place in the last four of the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2008, this Tuesday's matches will see Russia, Argentina, Paraguay, Iran and Italy battle it out for the two remaining berths. As ever FIFA.com is here to bring you an in-depth preview of the 13th day of play.
The big game
Iran-Italy, Group E, 14 October, 10.30 local time, Brasilia
Level on three points apiece, Iran and Italy go head-to-head in the Brazilian capital on Tuesday to decide who takes Group E's second available semi-final berth. Boasting a slightly better goal difference, a draw would be enough to send the Chinese Taipei 2004 runners-up through, but their Asian opponents have shown they are a match for anyone here at Brazil 2008. However, it remains to be seen how well they will cope in the absence of their captain and top scorer Vahid Shamsaee through suspension. Even so, the Azzurri will need all their considerable individual and collective ability in order to progress.
What do the record books say? In the pair's only previous meeting at this competition, in the first group phase at Hong Kong 1992, Iran won 7-5 before eventually going on to reach the semi-finals. Will history repeat itself 16 years later?
The other games
The scenario is a little more complicated over in Group F. Though holders Spain are assured of a semi-final place, their failure to secure top spot in the group would see them face the mighty Brazil in the last four. La Roja (6 points) take on a Paraguay (1 pt) side obliged to take all three points against the two-time FIFA Futsal World Cup winners and hope Argentina can overcome Russia.
For Russia (3 pts), a draw should be enough to go through, particularly if the Albirroja fail to beat Spain. Argentina (1 pt), however, know that a win could send them into the semi-finals, providing they better Paraguay's result against the Spanish. But the South Americans have yet to defeat their eastern European rivals at the global event, drawing 2-2 at Spain 1996 before being dealt a 7-1 futsal lesson at Guatemala 2000.
Finally, back in Group E, only a catastrophe against already-eliminated Ukraine would prevent the Auriverde going through in first place. The Brazilians have not conceded a goal for a staggering 265 minutes, and go into the match on the back of their faultless 3-0 demolition job of Italy.
Vladislav Shayakhmetov (RUS)
The 27-year-old pivot was Russia's hero against Paraguay, grabbing the winning goal in the dying seconds of a thrilling encounter. The Dinamo Yamal Moscow star has struck in four of his country's six games so far and is the squad's second highest scorer with nine goals.
9.1 - Russia's average goals per game over the course of this year's showpiece. Brazil are second on 8.1 and Paraguay third with 4.1. Of the eight teams in the second group phase, Italy's average of 2.1 is the lowest.
What they said
"The match against Iran will be our most difficult at this tournament, not because of how good a team they have, but because of what's at stake," Alexandre Feller, Italy goalkeeper.
All the fixtures
Rio de Janeiro
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