Slovakia, Croatia, Poland, Spain and Azerbaijan are aiming for the last two quarter-final slots as the group stage ends on Saturday.
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The UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 group stage concludes on Saturday with five teams competing for the final two quarter-final slots from Groups C and D
We preview the games at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome and Groningen's MartiniPlaza. The quarter-finals begin on Monday, with the ties involving the teams playing on Saturday on Tuesday, when confirmed Group C winners Russia face the Group D runners-up and the Group D winners play the Group C runners-up in Amsterdam.
Russia have already clinched first place by beating Slovakia 7-1 and Croatia 4-0, Artem Antoshkin scoring five of those goals among a raft of fine individual displays. Russia's sole title came in 1999 but they look the team to beat after the first two games. The injury suffered by the experienced Robinho against Croatia is a concern, though.
The task for Poland is to defeat Russia and hope Slovakia also beat Croatia, when second place would be decided by overall goal difference. Poland lost 3-1 to Croatia before a 2-2 draw with Slovakia; their task now is to covert chances into goals after having a joint-highest 111 attempts in the opening two games, level with Spain. They showed their ability against Russia four years ago, drawing 1-1 in Poland's first finals game since 2001 with a Michał Kubik goal in the dying seconds.
Sergei Skorovich, Russia coach: "Of course, we have studied Poland, we understand what we have to deal with. In addition, we played enough head-to-head games and are well acquainted with each other. It will definitely be a difficult game for both opponents. There have been no simple games at the European Championship for a long time, and the current tournament clearly emphasises this. We are not deluded by two victories at the start, we are well aware that this is only the beginning."
Błażej Korczyński, Poland coach: "This is our last chance. We know it will be difficult against Russia, but we will try. We have to play fast and be brave. We have nothing to lose, so we can play without pressure and be brave."
Key stat: Poland will need to register their first-ever finals win at the eighth attempt over three tournaments.
Croatia are two points ahead of both Slovakia and Poland thanks to their opening win, meaning a draw would take them through, but they have now gone three consecutive halves without a goal. They will also be missinng Vedran Matošević after his early red card against Russia.
Slovakia were given a tough debut game by Russia but were within sight of defeating Poland with key man Tomáš Drahovský showing the goalscoring ability which has lit up the Spanish Liga over the last couple of seasons. Victory in this game would take them through, unless Poland beat Russia and pip Slovakia on goal difference.
Marinko Mavrović, Croatia coach: "We have to qualify for the quarter-finals, and if everything goes in the right direction, then we can have a good game and come out as winners. We will be for this most important match, against Slovakia, without Matošević, and he is very important to us. His absence will surely be felt."
Marián Berky, Slovakia coach: "This will be a very tough game. We want to get to the next round but Croatia are a very strong team. Everyone is fit, everyone is excited and happy, and I hope they will be happy after the game. Croatia’s squad have been together for a long time, very well prepared.”
Key stat: Croatia have won all six of their competitive meetings with Slovakia including 3-2 home victories in 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup and UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 qualifying.
There was always a chance that one of these teams would be through with a game to spare, but most would have expected it to be seven-time champions Spain rather than a Georgia side who are making their first finals appearance. But the newcomers have played some thrilling futsal in coming from behind to defeat Azerbaijan 3-2 and fellow first-timers Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1, becoming the first debutants to win their opening two games since 2010, and another point would seal top spot at Spain's expense.
Spain defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina 5-1 to start but had to equalise twice just to draw 2-2 with Azerbaijan. With Solano called up to replaced injured Esteban, and hoping for the return of Adolfo, Spain would top the group with a win, finish second (and play Russia) if they draw, but a loss would mean they could be overtaken on goal difference by Azerbaijan if they pick up three points.
Avtandil Asatiani, Georgia coach: "It will be certainly a great match between the two top teams of the group and maybe there's a little less pressure for us because we have already qualified. Despite that Spain are the favorites to win the group and also the tournament. We are very focused in this match and we will try our best to finish first. We have some concerns regarding players' suspensions and minor injuries and we will only find out tonight if Elisandro is available. We want to take a point in order to win the group but we need to find the right balance for the match as we are also already thinking about the quarter-finals."
Fede Vidal, Spain coach: "We had the loss of Esteban, who was one of our key pivots. He has different characteristics to Solano. We have opted to bring in another pivot who can help us against tighter defences. He knows the group and will adapt very quickly to the dynamics of the national team. Solano comes with the dynamics of the national team, he already knows what we've been working on and how we've been doing it. His adaptation is immediate. We already knew that Georgia are a very strong opponent, they are proving it in the tournament."
Key stat: Spain have not lost a Futsal EURO game over 40 minutes since a 3-1 loss to Italy in their last group match in 2005, when they were already through.
Azerbaijan could have been in a much better position having been 2-0 up on Georgia and led Spain twice, and they pushed hard at the end of the latter game to go ahead again. Now, with Fineo suspended, they must rely on Georgia upsetting Spain for any chance of a win against Bosnia and Herzegovina being enough to reach a third straight quarter-final.
Bosnia and Herzegovina have only pride to play for following their two defeats but, having shown promise against Spain and come so close versus Georgia, a first final tournament point is their aim and in their grasp.
Alesio, Azerbaijan coach: "We have analysed Bosnia and Herzegovina's two matches and we know that we will have a very difficult match, so we will have to be very focused. Bosnia and Herzegovina are a very organised and strong team. But there are times when they are not so compact in defence. So we will try to take advantage of that. I hope we play like we did against Spain, because if we play like that we can beat anyone."
Ivo Krezo, Bosnia and Heregovina coach: "It is obvious that the team is a bit disappointed, because the players believe we had a chance to qualify for the quarter-finals. We played well in the first half against Georgia, but we made mistakes and they took advantage of them and scored two goals. We lacked a bit of aggression, but I think we deserved at least a point. Now we will see what happens against Azerbaijan. They have a great team. I've seen their games and it's no coincidence that they are among the best on the continent. But we will try to win to get that long-awaited first victory."
Key stat: Both competitive games between these nations have been close, Azerbaijan winning a 2018 qualifier 5-4 with a Thiago Bolinha hat-trick and 3-2 in the 2014 main round.