Just over a year ago, the Czech Republic saw off the Netherlands and Belarus to qualify for the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup. Now they are matched again in the UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 main round.
The Czech Republic beat the Netherlands 5-1 and Belarus 5-2 either side of seeing off Turkey on home soil in Brno to ensure a trip to Brazil last autumn, where they made the round of 16. This time Rotterdam's Topsportcentrum will be the venue from Wednesday as the Czechs, the Dutch and Belarus are joined by preliminary round qualifiers Georgia.
For the host nation, it is a return to the venue where Serbia pipped them on goal difference two years ago to deny them a first qualification since 2005. The Czech Republic, by contrast, are aiming for a tenth straight major final tournament having not missed a showpiece event since the 2000 World Cup.
"It's a little funny as we had Netherlands and Belarus in our last qualification in Brno for the World Cup," Czech coach Tomáš Neumann told UEFA.com. "For us it is a good draw but we will see on the pitch because every match will be very tough. I think that, at home, the Netherlands will be much stronger than in the Czech Republic."
Netherlands coach Marcel Loosveld, hoping to lead his team across the border to the finals in the Belgian city of Antwerp, said: "It is a tough group. What a coincidence it is – almost the same group as last time. For myself and my players, the ultimate chance to get revenge."
Thinking back to their last European campaign, Loosveld added: "It was in Rotterdam and we got even closer, but it didn't work out. So we have the opportunity now to see if we can do it.
"It is maybe a small advantage to play at home. We will have the crowd behind us, a lot of fans who come to our games. We have hosted a few things in the last ten or 12 years, we had 2,000 in Rotterdam last time. For my players it is quite an advantage."
As for Neumann, yet to fail to make a final tournament since becoming coach in 2005, he has a secondary task of managing a change of generations. "We are trying a lot of younger players but for qualification we will have Roman and some older players."
Thinking back to the World Cup, where they pipped Kuwait and Egypt behind Serbia in their group before falling 3-0 to Russia, Neumann added: "It was great experience for our younger players. In a year's time Roman Mareš will not be playing and we must field younger players. The World Cup is the best experience for us.
"We didn't play well. We played well only against Russia and we must score more goals. We had a lot of chances but we couldn't score, that's our biggest problem."
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