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Spain and Italy make strides

Spain and Italy got the better of the Czech Republic and Portugal in the two all-European ties in the FIFA Futsal World Cup first group stage and Ukraine drew 2-2 against Argentina but Russia lost heavily to Brazil.

Spain celebrate their victory
Spain celebrate their victory ©Getty Images

Grana double
Italy had won their opening two games going into their meeting with Portugal, who had opened their Group B campaign in Rio de Janeiro with a dramatic 3-2 defeat of Paraguay. The Azzurri and Portugal had drawn 0-0 in both the 2004 World Cup and 2007 UEFA European Futsal Championship but Nando Grana broke the deadlock this time with a 16th-minute double penalty. He scored again with six minutes left and Saad Assis made it three before Ricardinho's late consolation. Italy, who sit out the next set of fixtures, are now six points clear Portugal, Thailand and Paraguay. Portugal now play the United States, without a point after losing 5-3 to Thailand.

Spain prevail
In Group D, holders Spain had four points from two games ahead of their match against the Czech Republic, 4-1 victors against Uruguay in their opener. Javi Rodríguez put Spain in front in the eighth seconds and within three minutes of the interval Marcelo scored twice, either side of a Daniel penalty, for a 4-0 win. Spain, who sit out Matchday 4, are four points clear of the second-placed Czech Republic., who now face a Libya team fresh from losing 4-2 to Iran.

Russia beaten
Over in Brasilia, Russia defeated Cuba 10-5 in their first Group A game but knew meeting a Brazil team with 33 goals from two matches would be tough. And so it proved as the hosts won 7-0, including goals from Spain-based stars Schumacher, Ciço and Vinicius Elías. Japan beat Russia's Monday opponents the Solomon Islands 7-2 and are now level with Oleg Ivanov's side and Cuba on three points, six behind Brazil who have played a game more.

Dramatic draw
Ukraine looked like they would also suffer defeat to one of South America's two 2004 semi-finalists when Leandro Planas gave Argentina the lead with eight minutes left. But in the last two minutes Dmytro Ivanov and Serhiy Cheporniuk struck to give Ukraine the lead only for Diego Giustozzi to make it 2-2 at the death. Ukraine are three points behind Argentina, with a game a hand against Egypt on Tuesday. Egypt, like Guatemala, are one point back after beating China 6-2.