Holders Spain will meet 2004 runners-up Italy and former European champions Russia are to take on hosts Brazil in the FIFA Futsal World Cup semi-finals after winning their way through from the second group stage.
With one minute left of their decisive game against Asian champions Iran, who previously ousted the Czech Republic, Italy were themselves heading for elimination. But 51 seconds from time Edgar Bertoni made the score 5-5 to give Italy the draw they needed. Nando Grana had put Italy 2-0 up early on and although Masoud Daneshvar and Ebrahaim Masoudi had levelled the scores, Patrick Nora gave Italy a half-time lead. However, goes from Mohammed Hashemzadeh and Ali Hassanzadeh turned the game and Fabiano Assad's equaliser seemed to be in vain when Daneshvar struck with four and a half minutes left. However, Bertoni had the final word.
Italy finished second in Group E behind Brazil, who beat already-eliminated Ukraine 5-3 with a Falcão hat-trick. Valeriy Zamyatin had scored first on 64 seconds and Mkthaylo Romanov found the target late in each half for Ukraine. As a result, in Thursday's semi-finals in Rio de Janeiro, Italy face Group F winners Spain in a rematch of the last World Cup and UEFA European Futsal Championship finals and Brazil will take on Russia, who they defeated 7-0 in the first group stage.
Russia oust Argentina
Spain took top spot in their group with maximum points after defeating Paraguay 4-1. Álvaro and Fernandão scored early in each half to keep the holders on course for a third straight title despite Fábio Alcaraz's penalty six minutes from time as Fernandão struck twice more late on. Russia only needed a draw against Argentina and although they fell behind to a fifth-minute Martin Amas goal, Konstantin Dushkevich equalised before the break and Dmitri Prudnikov converted a penalty just past the half-hour. Esteban González made it 2-2 with four minutes left but 2004 semi-finalists Argentina are out.
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