Spain are aiming for a fifth straight UEFA Futsal EURO triumph but 2010 bronze-medallists the Czech Republic and 2012 semi-finalists Croatia challenge them in Group D.
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Holders Spain are aiming for a fifth straight UEFA Futsal EURO triumph but 2010 bronze medallists the Czech Republic and 2012 semi-finalists Croatia are challenging them in Group D. UEFA.com profiles the contenders; to hear from them click on the video player above.
Spain have won six of UEFA's eight European futsal competitions and are targeting a fifth success in a row. They have also reached the last five FIFA Futsal World Cup finals, winning in 2000 and 2004 but being pipped by Brazil in 2008 and 2012. Even with the likes of Luis Amado and Kike having bowed out since last time, they remain the team to beat – as shown by their qualification performances.
Best performance: winners 1996, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012
Key players: Torras, Sergio Lozano, Fernandão
Federico Vidal Montaldo, assistant coach: "We are in a constant renewal process. Great players always leave the team, as happened now, but new players come in who we have full confidence in. We know we have a great team which is a good mix of experienced players and young lads. We know we will do well."
Qualifying for their seventh consecutive Futsal EURO, the Czech Republic also regularly make the World Cup stage but have tended not to have long runs in any finals, their 2010 European bronze notwithstanding. However, with experienced talent like the Mareš brothers and young players coming through as well, they are never easy opponents.
Best performance: third place 2010, semi-finals 2003
Key players: Lukáš Rešetár, Roman Mareš, Michal Mareš, David Frič
Tomáš Neumann, coach: "Our group is very, very hard. In the last EURO we had Spain, and Spain became champions. As for Croatia, they were fourth in that EURO. But for us it's a success to play in this championship."
Awarded the opportunity to end an 11-year finals absence as hosts in 2012, Croatia attracted fervent competition-record crowds in Split and Zagreb as they stormed into the semis. Now, despite a heavy qualifying loss to Spain, the Croatian side are back in the finals and eager to prove they can do it away from home too.
Best performance: fourth place 2012
Key players: Ivo Jukić (goalkeeper), Dario Marinović, Tihomir Novak
Mato Stanković, coach: "We must be realistic – we know what we are capable of and we know where we belong, and that's not in the semi-finals. Spain are a team from another world for most other countries. They are better than most other sides by four to seven goals – and if they have a good day it will be ten."