Iran has defeated Panama in the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Thailand’s capital Bangkok to secure a place in the knockout stage of the games.
Ahmad Esmailpour, Afshin Kazemi and Mohammad Taheri scored four goals for the Iranian team to beat Panama 4-3 in the two teams’ final Group B match in Bangkok’s Nimibutr Stadium.
Esmailpour gave Iran the lead in the fourth minute but Panama’s Claudio Goodridg brought the game level on terms two minutes later.
The Iranians once again moved to dominate the match. In the 13th minute, Kazemi scored the second goal for the team. Five minutes later Taheri added Iran's third.
Panama’s Carlos Perez kept his side’s hopes alive by scoring in the 34th minute. However, the Iranian team moved two goals up again when Taheri’s shot rattled the net in the 37th minute.
Thereafter, Panama pushed hard and even managed to reduce the deficit to the slimmest margin possible but Alquis Alvarado’s goal in the 39th minutes could not save the game for the Central American team.
Iran advanced to the knockout stage behind Spain who stood top of the group courtesy of a superior goal difference.
Iran salvaged a 2-2 draw against the six-time European champion Spain in its opener match on November 2. The Asian heavyweights defeated Morocco in their second match on November 5.
The FIFA Futsal World Cup is held every four years, in the even year between two FIFA World Cups. The 2012 edition of the world championship tournament kicked off on November 1 in the Thai capital of Bangkok and will run until November 18.