Wed, Dec 01, 2004 - Page 20 News List

Brazil clinches the first futsal semifinal berth

AP , TAIPEI

Brazil's Euler, center, struggles for the ball with Argentina's Gimenez Marcelo, left, and Giustozzi Diego in Taipei on Monday.

PHOTO: EPA

Three-time champion Brazil became the first team to clinch a semifinal berth at the Futsal World Championship on Monday, getting two goals from Simi in a 2-1 victory over South American rival Argentina, while Italy handed Spain its first defeat of the tournament with a 3-2 score.

Brazil has won all five of its games, three in the preliminary round and both in the second round and is assured of advancing to Friday's semifinals. Argentina and Ukraine, which beat the US 3-1 on Monday to eliminate the Americans, will play today to determine the other semifinal berth from Group F.

Portugal beat the Czech Republic 8-4, and combined with Italy's win, climbed to the top of Group E with four points, just ahead of the Italians on goal difference.

Spain, the defending champion and the only other country to win the Futsal World Championship besides Brazil in its previous four editions, has three points heading into its final game against Portugal today.

Italy plays the Czechs, who already have been eliminated. The top two teams from each second-round group advance to the semifinals.

Simi scored in the second and sixth minutes to take Brazil to a 2-0 lead before Hernan Garcias replied just before halftime. It was the first goal Brazil had allowed in nearly two-and-a-half matches.

Pellegrini and Fabiano rallied for Italy with goals in the eighth and 19th minutes, after Javi Rodriguez had given Spain the lead in the opening seconds. But it was an own-goal by Orol just before halftime that proved to be the winner for the Italians.

Joel Queiros scored three goals to lead Portugal over the the Czechs. Goncalo scored twice in a four-goal burst over 12 minutes in the second half.

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