Russia through despite Croatia effort
Sunday, 7 February 2016
Croatia 2-2 Russia
Croatia missed out on the two-goal win they needed to topple Russia, who finished first in Group C after a late equaliser.
Article top media content
- Croatia miss out on the two-goal win they needed to pip Russia in Group C
- Result means Russia finish first ahead of Kazakhstan
- Watch highlights in video player above
- Tuesday's quarter finals: Russia v Azerbaijan (18.30), Kazakhstan v Italy (21.00)
Russia are through to the UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 quarter-finals as Group C winners ahead of Kazakhstan after Croatia finished short of toppling the 2014 runners-up.
Croatia began in determined style and their pressure told when Vedran Matošević's shot ricocheted in off Robinho, who soon made up for that as his teed-up kick-in was ferociously volleyed in by Sergei Abramov to equalise. The lead was restored when Franko Jelovčić's back-heel caught out Russia and sent clear Tihomir Novak to put Croatia 2-1 up, but as they pushed for the two-goal lead they needed, Nikolai Pereverzev poked in Eder Lima's cross for a timely equaliser; Novak missed a double penalty from the edge of the box and Croatia's brave effort was in vain.
Croatia pushed so hard but the well-worked first Russia equaliser was ultimately the blow they could not fully make up for.
Despite missing out on a third straight knockout place, Croatia showed magnificent spirit and Franko Jelovčić especially is a major talent.
Russia have work to do
Russia were many people's tips for the title but were run close by Kazakhstan and Croatia. The goals have not been flowing and they will need to if Sergei Skorovich's men are to add to their 1999 crown.
Sergei Skorovich, Russia coach
First of all I am glad that we managed to get the result we needed to top the group and go through to the quarter-finals. But we always were trailing in this game, and I am glad that my players showed their character and came through this very difficult situation. It was a tough game; there were hard struggles between the players and we conceded more than five fouls in the second half. We had luck when Croatia didn't score the late double penalty. Our next step is to recover and await the quarter-finals.
Mato Stanković, Croatia coach
I am very happy with today's performance especially after the first match when everybody felt bad and down about us not showing what we really could do in our play. We tried to surprise Russia today and play to win. But they are a very, very good team and it was a really good match. But I'm proud of the team and how we showed that all the good results Croatia have had in recent years are no coincidence. We had some chances to go two goals up in the match, but unfortunately that didn't happen. In the last six or seven minutes we lost a bit of strength and I tried to put in the flying goalkeeper, but in the last five minutes we didn't really have a chance to get possession.