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Futsal EURO 2016: what you need to know

UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 is under way in Belgrade with 12 teams going for the crown: we give you the key pointers to following a tournament full of skills and passion.

Italy won the last final tournament in 2014
Italy won the last final tournament in 2014 ©Sportsfile

1: How does the tournament work?

There are 12 teams playing at Arena Belgrade between today and 13 February: hosts Serbia and the 11 qualifiers including holders Italy and debutants Kazakhstan. They are split into four groups of three, playing over the next six days, with the top two in each progressing to the quarter-finals, from when it is straight knockout.

2: Who are the favourites?

Only three nations have won this competition: Spain (1996, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012), Russia (1999) and Italy (2003, 2014). That trio are again the teams to beat, with Spain on a 22-match winning streak since their reign ended with a semi-final loss to Russia two years ago in Antwerp but currently weakened by injuries. Italy return with 12 of the 14-man squad that took the 2014 title, while Russia have reached the last two finals and look more formidable than ever.

Portugal, starring perhaps the world's best player Ricardinho, are the other key threat. Hosts Serbia hope to at least match the run that Croatia made to the semi-finals on home turf in 2012, while Ukraine and the Czech Republic are always tough opposition. Also worth watching are Azerbaijan and newcomers Kazakhstan, strengthened by naturalised Brazilans.

Highlights: Watch the best UEFA Futsal EURO final goals

3: Which players are set to star in Belgrade?

Some names to watch out for along with Ricardinho of Portugal: Lin (Spain), Eder Lima (Russia), Gabriel Lima (Italy), Marko Perić (Serbia), Dario Marinović (Croatia) and Kazakhstan's goalscoring goalkeeper Higuita.

4: What is futsal?

A five-a-side game played between squads of 14 with rolling substitutions, the matches lasting 20 minutes each way with a stopping clock. With a small pitch and high tempo, control, pace and skills are all-important, hence the likes of Hulk, Neymar and Alex Teixeira crediting futsal with their technical ability. Watch our full guide to futsal for beginners.

5: Can I see some of these skills?

Watch here ...

Highlights: Futsal EURO showreel

6: How can I watch the tournament?

On Eurosport across Europe plus across other continents thanks to UEFA's broadcast partners. And if you live outside those territories where the tournament is on TV, it will be streamed on UEFA.com and UEFA.tv. There will also be highlights of every match from midnight CET that evening.

Watch UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 on UEFA.com

7: How else can I follow the tournament?

UEFA.com will have live updates in our MatchCentre plus all the statistics, photos, videos, reports and features. Join the conversation with @UEFAFutsal on Twitter and Facebook using #FutsalEURO.