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Croatia boosted by Belarus victories

Finals hosts Croatia beat 2010 qualifiers Belarus 4-2 and 4-1 in weekend friendlies ahead of Friday's draw, with Dario Marinović and Vedran Matošević among the goals.

Dario Marinović in action against Belarus
Dario Marinović in action against Belarus ©Croatian Football Federation

UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 hosts Croatia picked up two morale-boosting friendly wins against Belarus this weekend ahead of Friday's finals draw.

Mato Stanković's side won their first match in Ljbescica on Saturday 4-2 and then beat a team who had reached the 2010 finals 4-1 in Ivanec the following day. Both matches provided stern tests, but 21-year-old talent Dario Marinović starred in the first game with a hat-trick and the next day Vedran Matošević scored twice

"It wasn't easy," Stanković told UEFA.com. "Indeed, we played very well in some periods of both matches, but we also had some difficult moments. So the results do not give a clear picture of what was happening on the pitch.

"Belarus are ahead of us on the ranking list, we knew they were very dangerous opponents. Their play is fast and aggressive, but we managed to find a solution. Of course I want my team to improve more, but this is a realistic picture now. We have made huge progress and we have the potential to do good things."

Croatia will be top-seeded with holders Spain, Italy and Portugal in the Zagreb draw from 11.30CET on Friday, and one of the sides in the second pot – the Czech Republic – were also in weekend action. Playing in the Visegradi tournament in Poland, the 2010 EURO bronze-medallists lost 7-2 to Slovakia but then beat Hungary 3-1 and the hosts 4-1 to finish second.