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UEFA Futsal EURO round-up: Russia and Croatia impress

Russia beat Slovakia 7-1 and Croatia defeated Poland to begin Group C in Amsterdam.

Artem Antoshkin hit three for Russia
Artem Antoshkin hit three for Russia ANP via Getty Images

Russia underlined their status as UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 contenders and Croatia were also in spectacular form as they both won their Group C openers at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome.

Debutants Slovakia struck first but lost 7-1 to 1999 champions Russia while Croatia defeated Poland 3-1. Group C continues on Tuesday in Amsterdam when Croatia play Russia and Poland face Slovakia. On Saturday, Group D begins in Groningen.

Russia 7-1 Slovakia 

Highlights: Russia 7-1 Slovakia

Russia roared back after conceding early to begin their campaign with a victory that underlined their status among the favourites. Debutants Slovakia took a surprise lead when Tomaš Drahovský played the ball down the line and Peter Kozár shot across Dmitri Putilov. However, Russia were dominant and struck twice in 23 seconds midway through the first half, Artem Antoshkin rolling home Robinho's kick-in then Anton Sokolov producing a thumping half-volley on the turn.

Not long after the break Antoshkin made it 3-1 with a low volley from Nando's corner. Robinho's solo goal increased Russia's cushion before Antoshkin completed his hat-trick, robbing Slovakia keeper Richard Oberman and shooting into an empty net. He then set up Sokolov for the sixth before Sergei Abramov provided one for Ivan Milovanov.

Key stat: Russia also began the 2014 finals with a 7-1 win in which Robinho scored, beating the Netherlands to begin a run to finishing as runners-up.

Artem Antoshkin, Russia hat-trick scorer: "We came here as a team to win the title, while scoring three goals today was just pure luck. It was a nervous start to the game as we conceded an unnecessary goal. It's good we managed to equalise really quickly. We found our rhythm and were able to continue like this until the end of the match."

Poland 1-3 Croatia 

Highlights: Poland 1-3 Croatia

Poland started brightly but just over seven minutes in Croatia led. Matej Horvat cut in from the right, jinked past three Poland players including goalkeeper Michał Kałuża, then finished with a trademark rabona. Patryk Hoły levelled when he robbed the ball from Horvat inside the Poland half, advanced and coolly finished with only Žarko Luketin to beat. Just 15 seconds later Croatia were back in front when Josip Suton's shot was parried but Antonio Sekulić, lurking at the post, deflected in.

Franco Jelovčić made it 3-1 at half-time, dummying down the right then slicing in from pretty much on the byline. Poland twice hit the post early in the second half and Luketin was made to work on several occasions but Croatia closed out the win.

Matej Horvat, Croatia goalscorer: "It was a great game and we are all happy as we have started this tournament with a win. We can be pleased with the result but in my opinion the second half wasn't so good. We can do much better than this but the victory is important. It was a great goal! I can't say anything else! But we conceded a goal [soon after] so I couldn't be so happy as it didn't last long, but in the end we won."

Key stat: Croatia also began with a win against Poland in the 2001 finals.