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Automatic futsal qualifiers enjoy their feats

Holders Spain, Italy, Russia, Slovenia, Portugal, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic have ensured their places alongside hosts Belgium in the finals. UEFA.com hears from all seven teams.

Slovenia celebrate their qualification
Slovenia celebrate their qualification ©futsal.si

Eight of the 12 sides that will compete in UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 are known after holders Spain, former champions Italy and Russia plus Slovenia, Portugal, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic all sealed their places alongside hosts Belgium in the main round last week.

They will compete in Antwerp from 28 January to 8 February 2014, with the remaining four contenders to emerge from the play-offs in September involvingHungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovakia, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. UEFA.com rounds up the reaction from the seven sides that topped their main round groups.

Roberto Menichelli, Italy coach (Group 1 winners)
The main round was the most important challenge of the year and we are happy to finish first. The game [against Hungary] was the best we have played here and I would like to thank the fans for their great support. I was very satisfied with our defensive performance having conceded just two during the main round. 

Gabriel Lima, Italy captain
Against Hungary we showed great strength. We left Bari, where the fans gave us great support, to play in Andria and the team received a warm welcome. It was not easy to win by such a margin, as they needed the three points to overtake us, but we played a great game from the beginning to the end.

Luca Leggiero, Italy defender
Our aim was to reach the final tournament and we haven't failed, playing a great last game against Hungary. I wish to dedicate the victory to Luca Romano, who should have been here but is missing through injury. I'm delighted to score twice in my native region [Puglia] and playing for Italy always make me proud.

Vitaliy Borisov, Azerbaijan forward (Group 2 winners)
We are happy we have qualified for the EURO. In general, we had a close group. Slovakia were probably a bit stronger than the others while it was a bit easier against Norway. We won all three matches but they weren't easy. As for the final tournament, it is a bit early to speak about it; let's wait for the draw. We will try to go as far as possible.

Pula, Russia forward (Group 3 winners)
All the players are happy with the results in Latvia as we have achieved our goal and qualified for the final tournament. The most difficult match was against Romania. We conceded an early goal but were able to respond with two. It was difficult after that as Romania started to use a flying goalkeeper at the end of the first half but we kept the lead.

Ortiz, Spain defender (Group 4 winners)
We showed that we still have a very good team despite having lost some very important players [to retirement]) recently. The coach was aware that there were changes coming, however, and there remains a lot of experience within this side while the new guys have brought a lot of quality.

Jorge Braz, Portugal coach (Group 5 winners)
The main goal was achieved. We had many brilliant moments and knew how to step it up when we needed to. We had to fight and nothing was taken for granted. We have organisation and talent and today we showed that we can improve in order to be at a great level in the finals. Everybody should be congratulated as it is a happy day for Portuguese futsal.  

Tomáš Neumann, Czech Republic coach (Group 6 winners)
We have succeeded in fulfilling our target which was qualification as group winners. I am tremendously happy; I have to thank my boys for their performances. My thanks belong to all of our 14 players who pulled together. They closely focused on all our instructions and the qualification itself. I raise my hat, because they managed in a really fabulous way.

Andrej Dobovičnik, Slovenia coach (Group 7 winners)
The decisive match against Ukraine was phenomenal; our game was poetry. All seven players who stepped on the pitch gave their maximum and the brilliant Kristjan Čujec scored five goals. I'm glad we made it with this, the golden generation of Slovenian futsal – these guys are at their peak now. We are ready for even bigger things.

Igor Osredkar, Slovenia captain
When the most important game against Ukraine began, we saw we should not be afraid of them. Even more, after a few minutes I felt that they could be beaten. First and foremost, we proved that we can overcome better-ranked teams and can compete with anyone.