The Netherlands have not qualified since 2005 and have a difficult group at home to Russia and Serbia, but coach Marcel Loosveld believes their "new generation" is giving them hope.
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The Netherlands, once a world force in the game, have not qualified for the UEFA European Futsal Championship since 2005 but three years later did make it to the continental Under-21 finals – and the coach that took them there, Marcel Loosveld, is about to embark on his first campaign in charge of the seniors. Loosveld's side host 2010 quarter-finalists Russia and Serbia, plus preliminary winners Finland, in a tough qualifying round Group 2, and the coach told UEFA.com: "We knew it would be a difficult group."
UEFA.com: What do you think of your draw?
Marcel Loosveld: We knew it would be a difficult group but, on the other hand, it's quite a good challenge if we want to improve. We have to get results and we have to get past some very good countries – Russia and Serbia.
UEFA.com: Does playing at home give you an advantage?
Loosveld: I hope so. It's quite a good group, we will have good accommodation and I hope the people will come to the games and get behind our team.
UEFA.com: What is the current state of Dutch futsal?
Loosveld: It's not like the old days but we have fans and I expect people in Rotterdam to support us.
UEFA.com: You coached the U21s to the European finals in 2008; have many players come through from that squad?
Loosveld: Around five or six players have come into the A team. We have a lot of talent, I enjoy working with them and they want to improve, so I am very satisfied with that. They are a new generation and hopefully they are keen to get results for us.
UEFA.com: After 2010 qualifying you succeeded long-time coach Vic Hermans. What was his legacy?
Loosveld: He did a lot of good work for futsal in Holland and I am going to try to continue that and do my best to make futsal more popular in Holland and more professional.
UEFA.com: How professional is Dutch futsal?
Loosveld: It is increasing. Team and clubs now train three or four times a week and they have to specialise in futsal. That is what is needed for players to be physically at their best.
We always had a combination of outdoor and indoor players but when you see what the demands of the game are, they are quite different. You have to specialise. What is necessary for a good futsal player? What is his profile? What does he need to do in the three or four minutes he is playing? A football player can run 60 or 80 metres, a futsal player needs only a maximum of 30 and how many times do they make that run? We have to investigate it.
UEFA.com: What is your aim for EURO 2012?
Loosveld: First, we have to make one step to qualify. Then we have to see what we can do in Croatia. When you hope, it is out of your hands. I have to work hard, the players have to work hard.