The last four berths at UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 will be decided on Tuesday night when the play-off second legs take place with Bosnia and Herzegovina hopeful of a debut.
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The last four available berths at UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 in Antwerp will be decided on Tuesday night when the play-off second legs take place.
Croatia, who reached the semi-finals as hosts last year, are best placed after coming from behind to win Wednesday's first leg 3-1 in Slovakia with Dario Marinović scoring twice. They now aim to complete the job in coach Mato Stanković's home town of Dubrovnik and deny Slovakia a finals debut. An atmosphere similar to that generated by UEFA Futsal EURO record-breaking crowds in 2012 could smooth their progress.
All the other first legs were played a day earlier, and all have left Tuesday's visitors defending one-goal leads. In the meeting of two 2012 quarter-finalists, Romania go to Serbia with a 2-1 advantage after prevailing in Nelu Stancea's first game as caretaker coach. However, Serbia will be eager for victory in 2016 finals venue Belgrade – otherwise their next UEFA Futsal EURO fixture will not be until that tournament.
Ukraine, who have not failed to qualify since finishing as runners-up for the first of two consecutive times in 2001, are also 2-1 up as they travel to Hungary, now coached by former Romania chief Sito Rivera.
Meanwhile Bosnia and Herzegovina, bidding for a first qualification, have a 3-2 cushion as they visit the Netherlands. "We played a fantastic game against strong opponents who scored first," said captain Alen Lalić, having set up the first-leg winner last Tuesday.
"Nevertheless, with the help of our supporters, we were able to reverse the result. We did not give in, but found the strength and brilliance that gives us a great chance of making the EURO. We proved that we can play and I'm sure we will be even better in the Netherlands."
Eight sides have already booked their tickets to the finals in Antwerp from 28 January to 8 February: hosts Belgium, holders Spain and their fellow March main round group winners Italy, Russia, Slovenia, Portugal, Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic. The finals draw is on 4 October.