Russia emerged as the headline-grabbers on Day 7, smashing 31 goals past the Solomon Islands to lay claim to the biggest and highest-scoring victory in the history of the FIFA Futsal World Cup. An enthralling afternoon of action also saw the fate of Cuba decided and Thailand pushed closer to the precipice as Japan and Paraguay emerged triumphant from their do-or-die meetings. Elsewhere, there was more pain inflicted on the already-eliminated USA, who found themselves on the receiving end of another humbling defeat as Portugal boosted their hopes of progressing.
The big game
*Russia 31-2 Solomon Islands
History was made in Brasilia as Russia crushed an eight-year-old record to become the FIFA Futsal World Cup's most emphatic victors. Brazil's 29-2 win over the hosts at Guatemala 2000 had stood as an imposing benchmark until today but the Russians were ruthless in their dismantling of a Solomons side who return home having conceded 69 goals in four matches
Pula was the chief beneficiary of the OFC outfit's generosity, plundering nine goals to propel himself straight to the top of the Brazil 2008 scoring charts, two clear of second-placed Falcao. In doing so, the Russia No7 also claimed one of three records broken during a frenetic 40 minutes, chalking up the largest individual goal haul in a match that also witnessed the widest margin of victory and the highest goal tally from a single team.
The other gamesRussia may have taken their place in futsal history but their place in the next round still hinges on Wednesday's showdown with Japan after the Asians emerged with a hard-fought 4-1 win over Cuba. Despite falling behind to a superb lobbed opener from Yampier Rodriguez, Japan stepped up a gear in the second half, Kotaro Inaba scoring two and laying on another in a 4-1 win.
Group B has developed along similar lines, with Paraguay now set to do battle for second place against a Portugal side who began the day with a comfortable 8-1 win over USA in which Leitao grabbed a hat-trick. The Paraguayans, for their part, preserved hopes of advancing with a resounding 8-0 victory over a Thailand side left relying on a miracle to make it through.
The player*Rene Villalba (PAR)
*On target in his team's first two matches, the Paraguay striker continued his impressive scoring streak with four of his side's seven goals against Thailand. Villalba's coolness in front of goal ultimately proved the undoing of a talented Thai side, who gave as good as they got for large chunks of the match but were ultimately outclassed in the second half. Expect the clinical 27-year-old to be in the thick of the action once again when the South Americans meet Italy in their final group match on Wednesday.
The stat 9 - Pula's goal haul in his team's record-breaking victory over the Solomons saw the Russia No7 carve his own name into the FIFA Futsal World Cup history books. Never before in this competition has a player managed such a tally in a single match, with the 27-year-old's hat-trick of hat-tricks eclipsing the previous record of seven, set by fellow Russian Konstantin Eremenko in a 10-1 win over China in 1992.
What they said"We are surprised by the Brazilian people - they're all supporting us! They're always pushing our group to the victory, it's very exciting. I also cannot forget to thank the small Japanese supporters group that travels the whole world and are here in the gymnasium with us at the Futsal World Cup," Rikarudo Higa, Japan player.
All the resultsJapan 4-1 Cuba
Russia 31-2 Solomon Islands
Thailand 0-8 Paraguay
Portugal 8-1 USA