While the UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 lineup was being completed in the play-offs, several of the teams already assured of their spots in the 4 October finals draw were in back-to-back friendly action over the last week. UEFA.com rounds up the action.
Spain 5-2/8-2 Belgium
Futsal EURO hosts Belgium have now lost six games in succession – all away from home – as their double defeat by the European champions in Ceuta followed similar reverses in Romania and Brazil. In the first match on Monday, Spain made a slow start but began to show their superiority after Rafa Usín struck. Coach José Venancio López said: "It took a lot of effort to break them down and we weren't precise enough in attack."
The following night Spain had their shooting boots on, cruising to an 8-2 triumph in which Borja and Usín both scored twice. Ortíz, Jorge Matamoros, Aícardo and Sergio also registered for a team who will aim for a fifth straight title in Antwerp.
Portugal 1-1/5-0 Azerbaijan
Portugal, who beat Azerbaijan on penalties in the 2010 semi-finals and 4-1 in the group stage last year, played out a draw and a victory against their fellow Antwerp contenders. The first meeting in Fundao ended 1-1, with Marinho cancelling Amadeu's opener for the visitors.
The next evening in Castelo Branco it was a different story as Arnaldo, João Matos, Fábio Lima, Ricardinho and Fábio Aguiar scored to give Portugal a 5-0 win. "We were more organised and aggressive and had a better approach to the game against a great team with a great coach," said Portugal trainer Jorge Braz.
Azerbaijan player Vitaliy Borisov added: "We travelled to Portugal with an experimental squad. We also had young players called up for the first time. We played out a draw in the first match but could have won as we were playing better than our opponents. As for the second match, we can say we were tired. We felt the long journey to Portugal and it was difficult for us to play two days in a row."
Greece 0-7/1-4 Italy
At the Dais Arena in Athens last weekend, Roberto Menichelli's men won the first fixture 7-0 with Humberto Honorio's double and strikes from Rodolfo Fortino, Daniel Giasson, Giuseppe Mentasti and Alex Merlim, as well as an own goal by Ilias Bousbouras. Italy were tested more the following day but prevailed 4-1 thank to goals by Honorio, Massimo De Luca, Fabricio Urio and Luiz Filipe Follador.
"I'm satisfied with the training sessions and the matches," said Menichelli. "We have taken the first steps and now we can plan better for the next ones in this important season."
Andorra 0-8/0-12 Slovenia
Slovenia's training camp in Andorra culminated in two impressive friendly successes on Monday and Tuesday. Captain Igor Osredkar scored five of their goals, Kristjan Čujec and Alen Fetič contributed four each and Sebastijan Drobne three.
Coach Andrej Dobovičnik said: "We played as expected – we had many chances and our taking of chances was good. We used all the players who are here. Some of our lads had the opportunity to play even more than usual – their form and enthusiasm makes me happy. It is very important we play matches like this as often as possible so we can be more and more confident going to Belgium for EURO 2014."
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