UEFA Futsal EURO daily preview: Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Georgia, Spain vs Azerbaijan
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Seven-time champions Spain and debutants Georgia could both potentially book early progress in Wednesday's Group D matches.
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Spain and Georgia could both have the UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 quarter-finals in their sights after Wednesday's Group D action at Groningen's MartiniPlaza.
On Saturday, Spain beat debutants Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose fellow newcomers Georgia recovered from two down to defeat Azerbaijan. The winners swap opponents on Matchday 2; we preview the games.
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Georgia (17:30 CET, Groningen)
Both teams were able to take positives from their final tournament bows on Saturday. Georgia had the most to enjoy as they came back from two down to secure a deserved 3-2 win against Azerbaijan, but Bosnia and Herzegovina were far from disgraced despite the 5-1 scoreline to Spain, and on Wednesday welcome back goalkeeper Darko Milanović after suspension. Stanislav Galić has replaced the other goalkeeper Andrijano Dujmović in the squad.
Another victory could prove enough for Georgia to progress, provided Azerbaijan do not beat Spain later on, and their attacking game was a joy to watch, not allowing their early deficit to knock them off their stride. Bosnia and Herzegovina will be up to speed though after facing a tournament favourite in Spain, and showed enough to suggest they can challenge a team they are meeting competitively for the first time.
Ivo Krezo, Bosnia and Herzegovina coach: "I am delighted with the way we worked after the match against Spain. They are very motivated and want to have a good game. We will try to improve and play a better game. We have analysed Georgia and watched their game against Azerbaijan. They showed a lot of character. But I think we are ready."
Avtandil Asatiani, Georgia coach: "Bosnia and Herzegovina are interesting opponents, they were the first team to qualify for this tournament. They have good players and they often use the goalkeeper to create danger. We have seen that Bosnia and Herzegovina are ahead of us in the rankings, and we want to change that."
Key stat: This is the first time two Futsal EURO finals debutants have met since Croatia played Yugoslavia in 1999.
Spain vs Azerbaijan (20:30 CET, Groningen)
Spain have never gone more than one Futsal EURO in a row without winning the title and their efficient display on Saturday had the mark of a team with a lot more to come. Fede Vidal was able to try out several different tactical systems against Bosnia and Herzegovina, and praised his team's "complete" defensive display. Adolfo remains out.
Azerbaijan were under pressure throughout against Georgia, even when taking an early two-goal lead, and are now faced with a situation of potentially having to win against the seven-time champions to give themselves every chance before the last group match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Gallo and goalkeeper Rovshan Huseynli remain out but Rafael Vilela should overcome a knock.
Fede Vidal, Spain coach: "They are a different team to Bosnia and Herzegovina, they have very different ideas. Azerbaijan manage a lot of situations, they like to play static, with pivots of reference like Bolinha or Vilela. They have a lot of technical quality, and to beat them you have to control the game for 40 minutes."
Alesio, Azerbaijan coach: "What I can say about Spain is that they are the best in Europe and also in the world. We have to be focused on all aspects of the game if we want to perform well against Spain. They are a complete team that prepares very well for these competitions. It's going to be very difficult, because they demand a lot from you. At this European Championship we're seeing that the level playing field is very equal, and we have to watch out for mistakes."
Key stat: Spain beat Azerbaijan 1-0 to top their group at UEFA Futsal EURO 2018.