Spain and Italy kept up their form at the FIFA Futsal World Championship but Ukraine had a rougher ride.
The Spanish are the defending champions and they reached the verge of the last eight with a 10-0 win against the tournament hosts in Taipei City, to follow the opening day success against Ukraine. It was a another fine performance from Javier Lozano's side, especially as they were able to rest several of their top players. Chinese Taipei can hold their heads high, however, as they managed to restrict the European side to just three goals in the first half of the Group A encounter.
Javi Rodríguez hat-trick
After a scrappy opening, the deadlock was broken in the sixth minute when Alberto Cogorro scored. Fran Serrejón made it two seven minutes later and Julio finished the game as a contest three minutes before the interval. There were to be seven more goals in the second half, with a hat-trick from Javi Rodríguez, the hero of the final in 2000, particularly catching the eye.
Also in Group A, Ukraine had to work hard for a 5-4 victory against Egypt. Gennadiy Lysenchuk's men found themselves 3-0 down after 21 minutes, thanks in part to two goals from Wael Abdel Mawla. However, Serhiy Koridze pulled one back in the 26th minute before an own goal by the African side was followed in quick succession by strikes from Artem Kovalyov, Ramis Mansurov and Koridze again. Abdel Mawla completed his hat-trick just before time but it was to be in vain.
Ukraine are now level on three points with Egypt, with each side having one match left to play. Lysenchuk's team should beat Chinese Taipei on Thursday and the coach will take comfort from the fact that the Egyptians have to tackle Spain that same day.
Meanwhile in Group C, the European title-holders Italy made it two wins from two by dispatching Japan 5-0 in Tao Yuan County. Like his Spanish counterpart, coach Alessandro Nuccorini was able to give his regular starters a breather including goalkeeper Gianfranco Angelini, with the agile Alexandre Feller getting a rare run-out. The impressive Sandro Zanetti started the scoring in the third minute and there was only ever going to be one winner. A late double from Montovanelli helped give the scoreline a convincing look.
One more place
In the day's final match, the United States beat Paraguay 3-1 to move level with the South American side in Group C on three points. Italy will finish their group with a match against the Paraguayans on Thursday while the US will feel confident of qualifying when they do battle with Japan, without a point, on the same day.
On Wednesday, the Czech Republic hope to build on their opening Group B win against Thailand when they meet an Australian side fresh from a 10-0 defeat by Brazil, while Portugal take on Argentina in Group D having each beaten Iran and Cuba respectively.