Russia 2-1 Kazakhstan
Two superb Romulo finishes in the space of 28 seconds ensured Russia started Group C with a victory against the debutants.
Article top media content
- Two thumping Romulo goals in the space of 28 seconds set Russia up for victory
- Kazakhstan immediately pull one back but debutants cannot break down Russia again
- Watch highlights from midnight CET
- Next Group C games: Kazakhstan v Croatia (Friday), Croatia v Russia (Sunday)
Russia are off to a winning start in UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 Group C, two quick-fire stunners from Romulo accounting for finals debutants Kazakhstan.
A tight first half burst into life when twice in the space of 28 seconds Dmitri Lyskov set up Romulo to produce blistering finishes. Immediately a shot from Kazakhstan's forward-running keeper Higuita was turned in by Serik Zhamankulov, but although they had must of the possession from thereon, Russia were not to be denied.
Those superb Romulo goals. Lyskov's back-heel to set up the first was sublime and both strikes were emphatic. To be able to do that twice in quick succession in such a cagey match shows why many think Russia can go one better than their runner-up positions of 2012 and 2014.
Higuita happy to attack
Anyone who saw Kairat Almaty's 2013 and 2015 UEFA Futsal Cup wins will know how important goalkeeper Higuita is in their outfield play and he is just as integral for his country – he acts as a fifth attacker whenever Kazakhstan have possession. Russia, though, were too well-organised to allow Kazakhstan to make the most of that tactic.
Kazakhstan will challenge Croatia
Croatia were quarter-finalists last time out, proving their home run to the 2012 semis was no fluke, but after this performance many will see debutants Kazakhstan as favourites. They certainly cannot afford to lose.
Sergei Skorovich, Russia coach
The quality of our game at the start was not so good, we lost possession too much under pressure so we needed to feel our way into the game. They were really good goals, not just Romulo but Dmitry Lyskov too to set up both. He played two diferent passes to Romulo who as we know has a great finish.
Cacau, Kazakhstan coach
This was a big day for Kazakhstan futsal, I want to thank everyone that helped us get to this EURO. Douglas, Leo and Higuita all had injuries, that made it difficult. I wanted to play five against four [with Higuita pushed up] and won two UEFA Futsal Cups with Kairat using that tactic but with the injuries it was too diffciult.