Do or die for Slovenia, Hungary at Futsal EURO

Slovenia and Hungary look to upset the form book against Portugal and Ukraine respectively as they play for their UEFA Futsal EURO lives in the second Group A and B games.

Zoltán Dróth scored twice for Hungary against Spain
©Sportsfile

Slovenia and Hungary play for their UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 lives on Thursday in the second set of games in Groups A and B in Belgrade. However, Slovenia take on a Portugal team in mean mood and Hungary's opponents Ukraine also have form on their side.

WEDNESDAY RESULTS: click on links for highlights

Group C: Russia 2-1 Kazakhstan
Two superb quickfire Romulo goals ensured Russia defeated the finals debutants

Group D: Italy 3-0 Azerbaijan
Alex Merlim scored either side of half-time to ensure the holders started with victory.

THURSDAY'S GAMES

Having scored first only to lose 5-1 to hosts Serbia in Tuesday's opening game, Slovenia cannot afford another defeat in front of what at least will be a less hostile crowd against Portugal, who are starting their campaign. Slovenia will certainly need to improve on their second-half performance versus Serbia if their next finals game is not to be the opening match when they host the 2018 edition in Ljubljana.

Portugal, though, are considered the nation most likely to break the title oligopoly of Italy, Russia and Spain. Cardinal (suspended) misses the group stage, but Ricardinho is present and correct. Portugal know victory would take them through with a fixture to spare regardless of Saturday's result against Serbia.

Igor Osredkar scored the first goal of Belgrade 2016
Igor Osredkar scored the first goal of Belgrade 2016©Sportsfile

Player to watch: Ricardinho (Portugal) – he has lit up previous competitions without picking up the big title.

Key number: 17 – Portugal scored 17 goals in three games in a tough FIFA Futsal World Cup main round group in December.

Igor Osredkar, Slovenia: "We are not out of the tournament yet. Against Portugal we might have more luck, though they are one of best teams here. Maybe we can spring a surprise, why not?"

Ricardinho, Portugal: "I know many fans come to our matches in the hope of seeing something different. This Portuguese team has a lot of quality and, as for me, all I can say is that I feel really good whenever I have the chance to reward their support with a trick or a beautiful goal."

Hungary were far from disgraced in their opening 5-2 loss to Spain, matching them for long periods. Zoltán Dróth showed why UEFA Futsal Cup holders Kairat Almaty have signed him with two fine goals and they showed all the attributes they need to get at least the point they require to stay in contention ahead of Saturday's group decider between Ukraine and Spain. Ákos Harnisch is back from suspension.

Hungary fall to Spain
Hungary fall to Spain

Form, though, is on the side of Ukraine, who in their last game in December beat Hungary 5-3 to top their FIFA Futsal World Cup main round section. They also defeated Belgium 9-2 and Azerbaijan 3-2 in qualifying for this competition, though are without the man that top scored in that round, Mykola Bilotserkivets, through injury.

Player to watch: Yevgen Rogachov (Ukraine) – Bilotserkivets may be out but Rogachov is among a clutch of experienced Ukraine players capable of great things.

Key number: 6 – Hungary have lost all six finals games they have played, a run they need to end on Thursday.

Sito Rivera, Hungary coach: "We have come to Serbia to qualify for the quarter-finals. We knew we would lose against Spain so we knew we'd need to beat Ukraine. Nothing has changed."

FRIDAY'S ACTION

Group C: Kazakhstan v Croatia (18.30)
Croatia start their bid to reach a third straight knockout stage against a Kazakhstan side that cannot afford to lose.

Group D: Azerbaijan v Czech Republic (21.00)
The Czechs open their campaign hoping for a repeat of their 2010 third-place play-off win. Azerbaijan wil be out with defeat.

Now watch ...

Hosts Serbia show class against Slovenia

Watch hosts Serbia hit five
Watch hosts Serbia hit five
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