Wales made a promising start as a futsal nation with two narrow 2-1 defeats in Andorra on their debut fixtures though coach Richard Gunney knows there is "room for improvement".
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Wales made a promising start as a futsal nation with two narrow 2-1 defeats in Andorra in their debut fixtures.
The squad had been warming up with matches against club and representative sides but these games were their first official tests before entering UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 qualifying early next year. And the two losses were no disgrace against a country with wide futsal experience, whose results in recent years have included victories against Israel and the Republic of Ireland and a draw with Romania.
Having suffered a blow before the first match on Sunday with training injuries to Gareth Delve and Tyler Mills, Wales fell behind on five minutes to Nacho Llamas. The visitors began to go on the attack but just past the half-hour Andorra scored again, Llames converting a penalty after Dafydd Jones fouled Carlos Barbosa. Danny Hooper then claimed Wales's maiden futsal goal from a cross shot, yet Andorra held on to win.
Coach Richard Gunney said: "For our first ever international we can be pleased with the level of performance and have continued to progress well. It is very disappointing to lose as we are striving to be successful, but to narrowly lose in a very close game is a sign that we are capable of competing at this level and can grow in strength."
A day later, with Mills back in the Wales team, Andorra again struck early, Jorge Diaz putting the home side ahead on three minutes. Wales picked up later in the half and were level in the 15th minute, Dean Maynard controlling a high pass, turning and shooting in. Jonathan Flores immediately restored the Andorra lead and Wales goalkeeper Dafydd Jones made some good second-half saves to keep the scoreline down.
Gunney said: "The second game was another tough challenge and despite a brave performance it is disappointing to narrowly lose. I think the squad will feel a sense a of slight frustration that we did not quite execute the game plan as well as we hoped, so there is still plenty of room for improvement."
His charges will discover their UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 preliminary round opponents on 4 December.