Former Croatian international Davor Šuker will help make the UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 finals draw at Zagreb's Hypo Expo XXI conference centre from 11.30CET on Friday 9 September.
Twelve teams will compete in Zagreb and Split from 31 January until 11 February next year in the first UEFA final tournament to be hosted by Croatia since independence. So it will be a proud moment for Šuker, who scored 45 goals in 69 internationals for Croatia – notably spearheading them to the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1998, when he was also in the Real Madrid CF side that won the UEFA Champions League.
Šuker will help split the qualifiers into four groups of three, with each section containing a team from one of a trio of seeding pots. In Pot 1 are Croatia, holders Spain, Italy and Portugal; Pot 2 features Russia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Serbia; Pot 3 consists of Azerbaijan, Romania, Slovenia and first-time qualifiers Turkey.
"There is not a single player in Croatia who during his career did not participate in futsal tournaments, especially in winter," said Šuker. "We can all remember how important it was to test your strength and football abilities against amateur players on a smaller, shorter but much more demanding pitch, where only true football experts earned the highest prize – the applause and cheers of those watching.
"What small-sided games were in the past, futsal is today – the ultimate skill-based football, a dynamic football without limits but with approved Laws of the Game, organised national championships and great tournaments like the one coming to Croatia.
"I am especially happy and thankful to UEFA for inviting me to participate at the final draw of UEFA Futsal EURO 2012. I hope I will bring luck to my national team and give them a chance of making it to the very end of the competition.
"However, like all the teams, Croatia will have to carve out this hope on the pitch. To all the qualifying teams I wish a warm welcome, hoping that their biggest sporting dream will come true here in Croatia – though not just anyone can become European champion."
Croatian Football Federation (HNS) president Vlatko Marković added: "In the year in which we expect that the Republic of Croatia will become a member of the European Union and in which we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Croatian Football Federation, we are especially proud to host such a big and important UEFA competition.
"UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 will be played in Croatia thanks to the faith UEFA has in the Croatian Football Federation, its officials, employees and associates, and especially because Croatia – the cities of Zagreb and Split – built the Zagreb Arena and the Spaladium Arena, two venues that provide perfect comfort for spectators and excellent conditions for competitors."
Media representatives interested in attending the final draw on 9 September in Zagreb, are requested to send their application directly to the Croatian Football Federation via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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