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Spain and Russia face off in final again

A "great show" is predicted on Saturday as Spain seek a fourth straight European futsal title against a Russia side they have beaten in two of three previous final meetings.

Spain coach José Venancio López (left) and his Russia counterpart Sergei Skorovich
Spain coach José Venancio López (left) and his Russia counterpart Sergei Skorovich ©Action Images

Saturday's UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 final will end the eighth continental championship − and for the fourth time Spain and Russia will face off.

Spain's 2-1 win in the 2005 decider in Ostrava began a run of consecutive titles they hope to stretch to four at Arena Zagreb. In 2010 in Hungary, they won an epic quarter-final shoot-out with Russia following a goalless draw, and only in 2003 have these nations not met at some stage in a EURO.

With Russia having shown their mettle on Thursday by beating hosts Croatia 4-2 in front of a tournament-record crowd of 14,300, coach Sergei Skorovich said: "There are a lot of reasons why Spain are so good. Their team play is superb while they also have a winning mentality. They employ an attacking style and can easily rotate players without any negative effect on their performance. Their confidence is sky-high.

"Of course, they are human, so they can make mistakes at the back, yet they still have the upper hand at full time. Also, they are capable of raising the tempo at any stage in the match. To be able to compete you need to be perfect in every department. The first priority is defence, no matter if it is pressing or zonal." Konstantin Maevski and goalkeeper Sergei Zuev could both be involved having missed out on Thursday.

As for Spain, they have won all seven of their games so far, qualifying included, and another victory would complete their first perfect campaign since they triumphed in Moscow 11 years ago. That is despite the absence here of injured forwards Fernandao and Pola, plus the calf problem that has kept out one of the most experienced players, Álvaro.

Coach José Venancio López said: "We have a fantastic squad, we play collective futsal, so it doesn't matter if someone is missing, but it is true that Álvaro is very important for us because he is a very tactical player and understands the game well because he's very smart."

Venancio López is aiming for his third straight win in charge, equalling predecessor Javier Lozano's number of titles, while for goalkeeper Luis Amado and defender Kike, it would be their fifth triumph – like current adidas Golden Boot leader Torras they were involved in the 2005 defeat of Russia.

"Russia are a great team, have 14 top players and have also been improving during the tournament, just like us," Venancio López added. "We are the two best teams in the tournament and hope to see a dramatic final tomorrow. I hope the Arena is full and you will see a great show."

Lin, who scored in the 4-2 defeat of Portugal that gave Spain the title two years ago in Hungary, added: "Russia are a great team, both technically and tactically. They are also very strong physically, but we must focus on ourselves and try to take advantage of our strengths. We are very confident."

• There will be home representation in the final when Croatia's Danijel Janošević takes charge along with Italy's Francesco Massini, Portuguese third official Eduardo José Fernandes Coelho and Romanian timekeeper Bogdan Sorescu.

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