Futsal EURO 2018: all you need to know

UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 kicks off on 30 January in Ljubljana with 12 teams aiming for the title: we give you the key pointers to following a tournament full of skill and passion.

The Arena Stožice with the new Mondo surface that will be used for the finals
The Arena Stožice with the new Mondo surface that will be used for the finals ©UEFA.com

The tournament

Arena Stožice in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana will stage UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 from 30 January to 10 February. Opened in 2010, the venue has a 12,500 capacity and is home to basketball team KK Olimpija as well as holding the international matches of volleyball side ACH Volley and handball outfit RK Krim. It was the venue for the EuroBasket 2013 finals.

There will be 12 teams at the finals: hosts Slovenia and 11 qualifiers, including holders Spain and debutants France. They are split into four groups of three, with the top two in each progressing to the quarter-finals, from when it is straight knockout.

How Spain won the 2016 title
How Spain won the 2016 title

Finals schedule (kick-off times CET)
Group stage

Tuesday 30 January
Group A: Slovenia v Serbia (18:00)
Group B: Russia v Poland (20:45)
Wednesday 31 January

Group C: Portugal v Romania (18:00)
Group D: Spain v France (20:45)
Thursday 1 February
Group B: Poland v Kazakhstan (18:00)
Group A: Serbia v Italy (20:45)
Friday 2 February
Group D: France v Azerbaijan (18:00)
Group C: Romania v Ukraine (20:45)
Saturday 3 February
Group B: Kazakhstan v Russia (18:00)
Group A: Italy v Slovenia (20:45)
Sunday 4 February
Group C: Ukraine v Portugal (18:00)
Group D: Azerbaijan v Spain (20:45)

Watch Ricardinho’s crazy goal from 2016
Watch Ricardinho’s crazy goal from 2016

Quarter-finals
Monday 5 February
QF1: Winner A v Runner-up B (18:00 or 21:00)
QF2: Runner-up A v Winner B (18:00 or 21:00)
Tuesday 6 February
QF3: Winner C v Runner-up D (18:00 or 21:00)
QF4: Runner-up C v Winner D (18:00 or 21:00)

Semi-finals
Thursday 8 February
SF1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF3 (18:00 or 21:00)
SF2: Winner QF2 v Winner QF4 (18:00 or 21:00)

Finals day
Saturday 10 February
Third-place play-off (18:00)
Final (20:45)

Where to watch

Details on TV rights and streaming in other territories will be confirmed before the finals.

How else can I follow the tournament?

UEFA.com will have live build-up, updates and reaction from every game in our MatchCentre plus statistics, photos and videos from Ljubljana. Join the conversation with @UEFAFutsal on Twitter and Facebook using #FutsalEURO.

Beginners' guide

What is futsal?
What is futsal?

What is futsal?

A five-a-side game played between squads of 14 with rolling substitutions, the matches lasting 20 minutes each way with a stopping clock. With a small pitch and high tempo, control, pace and skills are all-important, hence the likes of Hulk, Neymar and Alex Teixeira crediting futsal with their technical ability. Watch our full guide to futsal for beginners.

Who are the favourites?

Only three nations have won this competition: Spain (1996, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2016), Russia (1999) and Italy (2003, 2014). Portugal, starring perhaps the world's best player Ricardinho, are the other key contenders this time.

Kazakhstan, on debut, and hosts Serbia reached the semi-finals last time, something Slovenia would love to at least emulate. Ukraine have reached two finals and seldom fail to make the last eight. Azerbaijan are exciting to watch and Romania are also experienced at this level. Poland have qualified for the first time since 2001 and France are debutants after a shock play-off defeat of Croatia.

Which players could star?

Ricardinho of Portugal is in his fifth finals and 'O Magico' has gained fame for his spectacular goals and amazing skills. Kazakhstan's goalkeeper Higuita likes to join the attack with thrilling results while Russia's prolific Eder Lima and Spain's three six-goal heroes from 2016 – Alex, Miguelín and Raúl Campos – are likely to stand out. From the outsiders, watch for France's Landry N'Gala, the sometime street footballer who got a hat-trick in the play-off against Croatia.

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