Netherlands fall as Portugal advance with Russia

Netherlands 0-5 Portugal
Portugal won their Group B bow to ensure both they and Russia progress while the Netherlands are the first team out despite a fine display.

Netherlands fall as Portugal advance with Russia
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Portugal progressed to the UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 quarter-finals, taking Russia with them, after ending the hopes of the Netherlands in Group B.

Having lost 7-1 to Russia in the opening game on Tuesday, the Dutch needed a huge turnaround, but a second defeat means they are the first team eliminated. Portugal, behind Russia on goal difference, face the 2012 runners-up here on Saturday before both have Sportpaleis quarter-finals on Monday.

The Oranje were determined and straight away Antwerp-based Mohamed Attaibi stung the hands of João Benedito with a strong shot, and Najib El Allouchi was also denied. Their early ascendancy continued as Karim Mossauoi hit a post, but at the other end Petrus Grimmelius had to deny Joel Queirós and soon Portugal, missing the suspended Arnaldo, were on top.

Still, Mohammed Allouch countered and Benedito was fortunate to cut out his effort, but Portugal broke the deadlock when João Matos turned in pivot Cardinal's pass at the far post. Grimmelius was now a busy keeper, Ricardinho's powerful drive and Bruno Coelho's angled strike among those he kept out.

Benedito tipped Amir Molkarai's shot wide, and Portugal were grateful for the cushion of Joel Queirós's 104th international goal, from distance, in the 14th minute. Fan favourite Ricardinho showed he could defend late in the first half, blocking Attaibi's free-kick.

The sell-out crowd began the second half urging on the Netherlands, though with plenty of competition from the knot of Portugal fans behind the Dutch goal. Portugal remained on top, Joel Queirós turning a Ricardinho pass just past the post, while André Sousa, on at half-time for Benedito, twice made good diving saves from Attaibi and also tipped over El Allouchi's attempt.

However, their hopes were over in the last three minutes courtesy of pre-tournament injury doubt Cardinal's finish from a goalmouth scramble. There was still time for two Coelho strikes, both after quick counters masterminded by Ricardinho.

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