UEFA Futsal EURO round-up: Portugal, Netherlands celebrate comeback wins
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Holders Portugal and hosts Netherlands both came from behind to win in Group A as the finals began in Amsterdam.
Article top media content
UEFA Futsal EURO holders Portugal and hosts Netherlands won their Group A openers in Amsterdam on Wednesday as the tournament began at the Ziggo Dome.
Portugal trailed Serbia 2-0 early on before winning 4-2 while the Netherlands turned a 1-0 half-time deficit against Ukraine into a 3-2 victory. Group B starts in Groningen on Thursday while Group A continues in Amsterdam on Sunday when Serbia face Ukraine and Portugal meet the Netherlands.
Serbia 2-4 Portugal
Holders and world champions Portugal made a winning start but had to come back from two down against a Serbia side missing three of their 14-man squad. Serbia pounced twice within six minutes as captain Marko Pršić converted a penalty then got a second after André Sousahad denied both him and Andreja Stojcevski in quick succession.
However it was 2-2 by the break as Miguel Ângelo set up Pauleta and Zicky made one for Pany Varela. Early in the second half Afonso Jesus and Tomás Paço scored in the space of 30 seconds to turn the game in Portugal's favour.
Jorge Braz, Portugal coach: "It's always good to start with a win but I can't say the same regarding the way we started the match. It wasn't easy but in the second half we were the Portugal that everybody knows."
Key stat: Portugal also scored twice in a minute to go from 2-2 to 4-2 against Serbia in FIFA Futsal World Cup round of 16 extra time in September.
Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine
The Netherlands won a Futsal EURO finals game for the first time since 2005 despite their own nightmare start. Mykhailo Zvarych struck after just 52 seconds for Ukraine with a shot on the turn, but the hosts soon settled and nearly levelled late in the first half as Karim Mossaoui's shot was tipped on to the post by Kyrylo Tsypun.
Just over three minutes into the second period the Dutch were suddenly 2-1 up as first Oualid Saadouni headed in Immanuel Kuijk's long clearance, then Mohamed Attaibi lashed in a loose ball. Said Bouzambou's superb finish just over ten minutes from time proved decisive after Petro Shoturma gave Ukraine hope with a late reply.
Mohamed Attaibi, Netherlands player: "Amazing, a special feeling. We trained hard for this tournament. We wanted to make the Netherlands proud of futsal. For us it's a very big stage and a big introduction for the Dutch fans to see this sport deserves this respect."
Key stat: Attaibi, who worked in tournament marketing and co-wrote the finals bid, got his 40th international goal.