Spain defended their UEFA European Futsal Championship title in Porto with a typical sequence of efficient and stylish performances.
While all the big guns, including Spain, Italy, Russia and Ukraine, secured their places in the finals, there was a big sensation in qualifying with the success of Romania, who only started playing the sport in 2003. Indeed, they only discovered they had gained a first finals place when on the journey back from Slovenia, unaware that Belgium were playing out a victory against the home side that took Romania through.
However, it was Spain that took the title in Portugal, after a tournament that topped the TV ratings in the host nation. Spain did not have things their own way, and indeed needed to score two late goals and win a penalty shoot-out to oust Portugal in the semi-finals, but their 3-1 defeat of Italy in the decider was clinical, echoing their 2-1 success against the same side to retain the FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2004.
Italy had already proved their worth a round earlier with a 2-0 shut-out of 2005 runners-up Russia that set new standards of defensive play in futsal. They also beat Romania 7-1, but that team had proved themselves with an 8-4 defeat of the Czech Republic. Perhaps the real surprise package were Serbia, who had come out of a futsal hiatus to first qualify and then cause Russia a scare, sensationally hold Spain 1-1 with a late equaliser and defeat Ukraine 3-2. Predrag Rajić finished as joint top scorer with Spain's Daniel and Russia's naturalised Brazilian Cirilo, but Serbia's star was talented 23-year-old Marko Perić.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.