The Czech Republic have won through to the European play-offs for the FIFA Futsal World Championship after topping Group 9.
Despite the absence of the injured Mares brothers, Roman and Michal of Dina Moskva, the Czechs were ultimately too strong for Israel and Romania over the three days of the mini-tournament played in Ostrava. It was not a surprising result, especially given the Czechs' third-placed finish at the 2003 UEFA European Futsal Championship but coach Michal Stríž was relieved to get through. "The tournament was harder than we expected," he said.
The first game saw the Czechs take on Romania, and score three goals in the first six minutes through Roman Musial, Tomáš Sluka and Daniel Rajnoch. Sluka then added a second in the 16th minute and the match was as good as won. A late double from Marian Stanciu, after Oldrich Maly had been sent off for the Czechs, gave the some respectability to the final 5-3 scoreline.
Israel then set the group alight with a 5-1 victory against the Romanians. Amir Salem put the Israelis on their way in the eighth minute, although Bogdan Vintila restored parity two minutes later. However, it was all Israel after that and an Amir Moyal double helped them to a comprehensive success.
It set up a decisive final match between the Czechs and the Israelis that would see the winner go through to the play-offs and the chance of a place in Chinese Taipei late next year. Israel had a dream start after Avi Kalif's first-minute goal but Jaroslav Kamenicky struck back to ensure it was all-square at half-time. The teams traded goals again early in the second half but the sending-off of David Ben-Tura turned the game in the Czechs' favour. They scored three more times, including another from former professional footballer Kamenicky, to take a 5-2 victory.
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