The European play-off draw for the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship will be held on Thursday.
Play-offs next month
Spain, Italy, Ukraine, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Belarus and Bosnia-Herzegovina are all waiting to hear who they will meet in the five two-legged play-offs on 10 and 17 December. The winners of the ties will then represent UEFA at the finals to be played between 29 November and 19 December 2004.
The teams will be divided into two pots of five, according to the national teams' coefficient. This will see defending world champions Spain and the reigning European title-holders Italy in pot one along with Ukraine, Portugal and the Czech Republic. Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Belarus and Bosnia-Herzegovina will all be in pot two and play the first leg of their respective ties at home.
Dutch and Russian woe
The ten nations have all reached this stage by finishing first in their respective mini-tournaments held across Europe over the past two weeks. While the Spanish and Italians were always favourite to progress there were some surprise results including Belarus triumphing at the Netherlands' expense and Bosnia-Herzegovina finishing ahead of Russia.
The draw will be followed at 12.10CET by the preliminary and qualifying round draw for the 2005 UEFA European Futsal Championship. In all 33 teams will be involved, with the Czech Republic exempt from qualification as hosts of the finals.