Matchday 8 preview: Last chance saloon for trio
Brazil and Portugal have secured knockout-phase berths
Czech Republic face Vietnam with the sides level on three points
Panama and Thailand simply have to win
Group D Brazil-Panama, 16:00, Klaipeda Czech Republic-Vietnam, 16:00, Kanaus Group C Solomon Islands-Thailand, 18:00, Kanuas Portugal-Morocco, 18:00, Klaipeda
Portugal may be through, but Ricardinho will be keen to add to his goal tally as he bids to retain the adidas Golden Shoe. Opponents Morocco have also secured progression, but coach Hicham Dguig has urged his troops to go all out for top spot in the pool.
Thailand and Solomon Islands, on one point and zero respectively, will do everything they can for a victory. Jirawat Sornwichian has scored in both the Thais’ outings, while the Solomons will look to Samuel Osifelo for inspiration. Panama have K2 to climb to have any chance of reaching the knockout phase. K2, in Klaipeda, will be a Brazil side already through and in their irresistible swagger. ‘The Canal Men’ will be hoping Marquinhos Xavier rests the likes of Ferrao and Rodrigo, who came first and third in the Best Player in the World running last year. “The best goal I ever scored” from Nguyen Van Hieu erupted Klaipeda Arena and snatched Vietnam victory, and the 21-year-old will now seek to outshine Czech Republic sharpshooter Michael Seidler. With the teams level on points, the winners would go through while the losers would face an excruciating wait.
“The passion for futsal, for sport in Vietnam is indescribable. They take great pride in everything we do. Reaching the knockout phase would make them so, so happy. We really want to give everything to make their dreams come true.” Nguyen Van Hieu