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Czechs progress with win

The Czech Republic won through to the next round of the FIFA Futsal World Championship but Portugal lost.

The Czech Republic today became the first European nation to reach the second group stage of the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship in Chinese Taipei as they defeated Australia 5-0, but Portugal were narrowly beaten by Argentina.

Havel goal
Having overcome Thailand 2-1 in their opening Group B game, the Czechs took on an Australian side fresh from a 10-0 loss against Brazil, and they were dominant from the start. Josef Havel lobbed the Czechs ahead on 15 minutes, but as against Thailand the second half was when Michal Stríž's side stepped up a gear.

Progress confirmed
Michal Mareš made it 2-0 in the 34th minute, and soon after Martin Dlouhý increased the Czech advantage. Mareš then registered twice more to complete his hat-trick, and when Brazil stormed past Thailand 9-1 in the subsequent game, the 2005 UEFA European Futsal Championship hosts knew they were through along with the South Americans, regardless of the result when the teams meet in their final group game on Friday.

Portugal defeated
Portugal had gained a 4-0 win against Iran in their opening Group D match, but Argentina, 3-0 victors versus Cuba, would prove tough rivals in Tao Yuan County. The Portuguese took the game to their opponents, but fell behind a minute from the break when Esteban González struck a powerful long-range goal. And try as Portugal might, they could not level the scores, and were nearly caught on the counterattack several times late on.

Cuban encounter
Earlier, Iran had beaten Cuba 8-3 to join Portugal on three points. Portugal meet Cuba on Friday knowing that victory would take them into the next stage, although they can only finish top of the group if the Asian champions defeat Argentina.

Thursday fixtures
In Thursday's games, Spain, Ukraine and Italy all hope to secure berths in the second group stage as their pools conclude. Spain lead Egypt and Ukraine by three points in Group A, and the holders will go through with a point against the African champions. Ukraine will progress if they get more points against Chinese Taipei than Egypt do against Spain. For Italy, the equation is simple: a draw against Paraguay would confirm them as Group C winners, and even a defeat by four goals or less would keep the European champions in the tournament.