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Spain set up Brazil showdown

Spain and Italy made the FIFA Futsal World Championship semi-finals but Portugal and Ukraine went out.

Defending world champions Spain will take on Brazil in the semi-finals of the FIFA Futsal World Championship, while European title-holders Italy will do battle with Argentina after the second group stage ended today with the elimination of Portugal and Ukraine.

Decisive wins
The Spanish leapfrogged Portugal into the last four with a 3-1 victory in Tao Yuan County in their final Group E fixture. Italy topped the section with a 3-0 win against the Czech Republic, who had already been knocked out of the finals in Chinese Taipei. Earlier, Argentina had secured second spot in Group F after a 0-0 draw against Ukraine while three-time champions Brazil confirmed first place by beating the United States 8-5.

Marcelo the hero
Marcelo was the hero for the Spanish scoring from close range in either half to settle what was a close contest. His first came in the sixth minute but barely a minute passed before Joel Queirós drew the Portuguese level. Spain restored their lead in the 12th minute when Fran Serrejón scored with a shot that João Benedito deflected into his own net.

Red card
André hit the post for the Portuguese in the 16th minute but Orlando Duarte's men knew it was not going to be their day when João Benedito was dismissed for a sliding tackle on Orol with 90 seconds remaining in the half. Marcelo wrapped the game up in the 30th minute after a neat passing move.

Italy prevail
Italy had defeated Spain 3-2 on Monday to take the initiative in the group and Grana, Edgar Bertoni and Sandro Zanetti struck against the Czechs, hosts of February's UEFA European Futsal Championship, to give them first place in the group and an encounter with fellow first-time semi-finalists Argentina in Taipei City on Friday. Earlier in the same venue, Spain take on Brazil, who include Boomerang Interviú FS's Schumacher, in a rematch of the last two finals - and the 1992 semi-final.

Ukraine out
Gennadiy Lysenchuk's Ukraine could have been playing Italy, but were held 0-0 in Tao Yuan County - only the second goalless draw in the competition's history - in a game where they had to defeat Argentina. Serhiy Sytin, Serhiy Koridze and Olexandr Kosenko all went close, but to no avail.