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UEFA Futsal EURO daily preview: Serbia vs Ukraine, Portugal vs Netherlands

Holders Portugal and hosts Netherlands hope to build on opening Group A wins when they meet while Serbia and Ukraine aim to bounce back from losses.

Hosts Netherlands celebrate their opening win on Wednesday
Hosts Netherlands celebrate their opening win on Wednesday UEFA via Getty Images

UEFA Futsal EURO holders Portugal and hosts Netherlands hope to build on opening Group A wins when they meet at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome on Sunday while Serbia and Ukraine aim to bounce back from losses in those games.

We preview the action.

Where to watch the games

Serbia vs Ukraine (14:30 CET, Amsterdam)

Both these teams saw leads disappear in opening losses on Wednesday. Serbia struck twice early through Marko Pršić against Portugal only for Dejan Majes's depleted team to end up beaten 4-2. Ukraine led hosts Netherlands at half-time but were edged out 3-2. A second defeat for either side could potentially mean an early end to their quarter-final ambitions.

Highlights: Serbia 2-4 Portugal

Already without key men Slobodan Rajčević and Jovan Lazarević further absences left Serbia down to 11 players against Portugal, something that told as time went on against the world and European champions. Ninoslav Aleksić and Nikola Matijević could return. Ukraine never recovered after being caught out at the start of the second half by the Netherlands and need an improvement to keep up their record of reaching the quarter-finals in every edition since the Futsal EURO expanded initially to 12 teams in 2010.

Dejan Majes, Serbia coach: "It's going to be a tough match, we are expecting a great Ukraine side. We played against them in the past, and we expect the matches to be like the previous ones. We have a lot of respect for them, because they play modern futsal. We hope we can play a good game and get the three points."

Oleksandr Kochenko, Ukraine coach: "The important thing is to regain the confidence of the squad and for there to be a good atmosphere. I don't know how the Serbian dressing room is, but we are very motivated because for us the match is like a final, it's our last chance if we want to be in the quarter-finals. Serbia is a great team, and they have grown a lot in recent years. They are very strong."

Key stat: Serbia beat Ukraine 5-2 in FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifying in February 2020, 2-1 with a last-second goal in the Futsal EURO 2016 quarter-finals in Belgrade, and 3-2 in the 2007 group stage.

Portugal vs Netherlands (17:30 CET, Amsterdam)

Highlights: Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine

Those comeback victories mean, depending on the early result, a second win might already be enough to go through for either of these opponents. Portugal also had to overturn deficits in four of their seven matches in their World Cup triumph last autumn and did not allow their difficult start against Serbia to stop them getting up to speed and now they face a side they beat 3-0 and 5-3 in November friendlies.

The Netherlands, though, impressed in those games and again in their opening defeat of Ukraine, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead in the first ten minutes of the second half. They made the most of their national platform on NOS TV, and ended a 17-year wait since their most recent Futsal EURO finals win; Sunday is an even tougher test.

Jorge Braz, Portugal coach: “It will be a tough match for sure. The Netherlands are very motivated after having won their first match and they prepared very well for this tournament. They have several players with a lot of quality and very strong one-on one, which gives them the ability to play in different ways. It was very hard when we faced them last year over two friendlies and it will be even harder this time around as we are playing in a tournament and there are points to conquer."

Max Tjaden, Netherlands coach: "Everything that happened after the first game is new to us. The impact on social media, in the press ... We had a great start, but it's going to be tough against Portugal, European and world champions. They have a lot of individuals and it's going to be tough. We may not win that game, but our goal was the first and third games."

Key stat: Portugal beat the Netherlands 5-0 in 2014 in what was the last Dutch game in a final tournament before Wednesday; Bruno Coelho scored twice.