Italy go through to second round after holding off Argentina

Italy reached the second round after edging out Argentina 3-2 at Nimibutr Gymnasium last night while Australia came from behind to beat Mexico 3-1 in the other Group D game.

Italy’s Saad Assis is held back by Argentina’s Cristian Borruto at Nimibutr Gymnasium yesterday. PAWAT LAOPAISARNTAKSIN

Italy have six points from two games, followed by Argentina and Australia who each have three points, while Mexico are still looking for their first point.

Argentina began brightly against the Italians and went ahead after just three minutes when Maximiliano Rescia was on target. But Italy fought back fiercely and saw their shots saved by Argentina goalkeeper Santiago Elias on several occasions before Gabriel Lima scored an equaliser.

Italy took the lead after 19 minutes with a tap-in by Rodolfo Fortino, who was presented with the easiest of chances.

In the second half, after Argentina began pushing forward, Italy punished them on the counter-attack, Saad Assis sending the ball pass the goalkeeper.

Argentina scored in the last second through Leandro Cuzzolino but it was too little, too late.

"I'm happy that we are top of the group and have already qualified for the next round _ it's our first step," Italy coach Roberto Menichelli said.

"I'm also very satisfied with the performance of my players. I think we saw a fantastic game today, which was great to watch for the spectators."

Argentina coach Fernando Larranaga said: "We didn't convert our chances as well as Italy did. It was a tough match between two teams who will be both aiming to be among the top four. I'm okay with the performance of my team, and I still believe we will advance."

Australia revived their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages with a 3-1 win over Mexico. The two sides needed a result after they both lost in their Group D openers and it was the Futsalroos who rose to the occasion to claim a deserved victory.

Victor Quiroz gave Mexico a seventh-minute lead only for the Aussies to hit back with goals from Tobia Seeto, Aaron Cimitile and captain Greg Giovaneli.

"I was worried by the number of chances we were missing. But when you have as much ball possession as we had today, as many shots as we did, you know you'll score eventually," Australia coach Steven Knight said.

"This is a young team, and we have won a Futsal World Cup match for the first time since 1992. That's something."

In Group B at Hua Mark Indoor Stadium, Iran took a major step toward reaching the last 16 with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Morocco.

Goals from Ali Hassanzadeh and Afshin Kameni secured the points for Ali Sanei's side, who now only need a point in their final group match against Panama be guaranteed a top two spot and a place in the knockout stages.

In the other match, Spain comfortably beat Panama 8-3.

The result sent the European champions to the top of Group B ahead of Iran on goal difference.

RESULTS & STANDINGS

Group B

Iran 2 Morocco 1

Spain 8 Panama 3

!P!W !D !L! GF !GA !Pts !

Spain! 2! 1! 1! 0! 10! 5! 4 !

Iran !2! 1! 1! 0! 4! 3! 4 !

Panama !2! 1! 0! 1! 11! 11! 3 !

Morocco !2! 0! 0! 2! 4! 10! 0 !

Group D

Italy 3 Argentina 2

Australia 3 Mexico 1

!P!W !D !L! GF !GA !Pts !

Italy! 2! 2! 0! 0! 12! 3! 6 !

Argentina! 2! 1! 0! 1! 7! 4! 3!

Australia !2! 1! 0! 1! 4 !10! 3 !

Mexico !2 !0! 0! 2! 2! 8! 0!