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Dobovičnik wants Slovenia backing in Zagreb

Slovenia have been given the toughest of groups against Spain and Ukraine but with only a short trip to Zagreb, coach Andrej Dobovičnik is hopeful the fans' backing can help the underdogs.

Slovenia are aiming for a first finals win
Slovenia are aiming for a first finals win ©NZS

Slovenia's previous UEFA European Futsal Championship finals appearances in 2003 and 2010 have resulted in five defeats, and it will not be any easier this time as they begin Group B in Zagreb on 31 January against holders Spain, with two-time runners-up Ukraine to come. Still, coach Andrej Dobovičnik told UEFA.com that with no pressure and many fans expected to make the short journey to the Croatian capital, anything is possible.

UEFA.com: Have you got the toughest possible start against Spain?

Andrej Dobovičnik: Absolutely. Any other team would be easier to play than Spain. As I have already said to the players, we go into this championship relaxed and without any pressure, therefore anything can happen. Spain are a fantastic team.

UEFA.com: How would you assess Ukraine? What do you know about them, what type of team are they?

Dobovičnik: Their team is solely composed of professional players. It is true that we have not played them for a long time now. However, in past European Championships they proved to be a real force.

UEFA.com: Are you happy to be in a group in Zagreb, relatively near to Slovenia.

Dobovičnik: There were some positive things from this draw. One of them is certainly the fact that we are playing in Zagreb, and that our fans will have a shorter journey. We therefore expect some support from the crowd. In particular in the second game we will need their support, and I hope they will come in large numbers so that we can make it happen together. The second positive thing is that if we get through the first round, which will be very difficult, we would play a team that is probably weaker than Ukraine.

The fans can give us that additional strength, that additional motivation to the players, that can lift them to play above their capabilities, and I hope we will prepare for a surprise together. I believe in this team, and I am viewing this championship as a tough, but pleasant challenge.