UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 hosts Croatia and qualifying hopefuls Slovenia and France have reached the semi-finals of the Mediterranean Futsal Cup in Libya.
The trio are among nine European teams taking part in the inaugural 16-team tournament, and are joined in Monday's semis by the hosts. Slovenia, the only entrant to have played in January's EURO finals in Hungary, topped Group B by beating Albania 5-0, Algeria 11-1 and France 3-1.
They knocked out Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-1 in the quarter-finals and Rok Mordej, scorer of two goals in an outstanding performance, said: "I think we have a very good team but in the semi we will face Croatia, they are very strong. If we play well we can win the tournament."
Croatia have also had a perfect run of four wins, defeating Palestine 8-1, Lebanon 5-1 and Turkey 3-2 in Group D, then Morocco 5-1 to set up a tie with Slovenia. Dario Marinović, scorer of six goals so far, said after the quarter-final: "We were the better team all over and we played very well. We can win [against Slovenia]."
France lost to Slovenia in their group but beat Algeria 4-0 and Albania 5-2 to come second and in the quarter-finals won 5-1 against Tunisia. Alexandre Teixeira has been the key with a tournament-leading 11 goals but he will have to be in form when they take on reigning African champions Libya, who knocked out Greece with a 3-1 win to top Group A and saw off Lebanon 3-2 in the last eight.
The minor positions are also to be decided, and Albania, Turkey and Greece are both in the running for ninth place after respectively beating Cyprus 4-3, Syria 14-9 and Palestine 3-2, though Malta lost 2-1 to Algeria. Other than Croatia, assured of a finals place, all the other European entrants will take part in 2012 qualifying early next year, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Albania, Cyprus and France all starting in the preliminary round in January and Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina beginning in the qualifying round the following month.
Full tournament details are on futsalplanet.com.
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