UEFA Futsal EURO highlights: Spain and Russia join Portugal and Ukraine in semi-finals
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Spain and Russia won on Tuesday to join Portugal and Ukraine in the UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 semi-finals.
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The UEFA Futsal EURO 2022 quarter-finals concluded on Tuesday with two past champions defeating finals newcomers, as Russia eliminated Georgia and Spain beat Slovakia.
The last eight had begun in exciting fashion at Amsterdam's Ziggo Dome on Monday as holders Portugal were twice pegged back before ending Finland's debut campaign. Ukraine then made their fourth semi, 17 years after their third, by knocking out one of the favourites, Kazakhstan. The semi-finals are on Friday with the decider two days later.
Road to the final
Portugal 3-2 Finland
Kazakhstan 3-5 Ukraine
Russia 3-1 Georgia
Spain 5-1 Slovakia
Friday 4 February
Ukraine vs Russia (17:00)
Portugal vs Spain (20:00)
Sunday 6 February
Third-place match: Portugal/Spain vs Ukraine/Russia (14:30, Amsterdam)
Final: Portugal/Spain vs Ukraine/Russia (17:30, Amsterdam)
All kick-offs CET
Spain 5-1 Slovakia
Spain have now made the semi-finals at all 12 Futsal EUROs and Slovakia never had a real chance of a first knockout victory. Fede Vidal's side led in the second minute as Sergio Lozano, winning his 100th cap, played a free-kick sideways for Mellado to smash in. Lozano, naturally, was not satisfied with an assist and doubled the lead with an angled left-footed shot. It was three by half-time as Raúl Campos's sliced strike bamboozled Marek Karpiak.
Early in the second half, Slovakia flying keeper Martin Směřička tipped away a Boyis long-range effort outside the box and was dismissed, Mellado scoring from the free-kick, again played by Lozano. Peter Serbin did get a consolation for Slovakia but soon after Borja's incisive ball was turned in by Raúl Campos. Spain can now prepare for a rematch of the 2018 final (and many other epic encounters) with Portugal.
Sergio Lozano, Spain player: “Today is a dream come true. To have worn this shirt and represented my country 100 times is an honour. To think that this time last year I feared I might never play for my country again; to play a 100th game, score a goal, get two assists and qualify for the semi-final is incredible.”
Marián Berky, Slovakia coach: "On the one hand we have been in a dream and just been woken up, but on the other hand I am happy – I couldn’t be more proud of my players and staff. I hoped we wouldn’t be woken up by Spain but we were! These games can help our players in their future careers. They saw that they needed to improve and I hope it is motivation for them to work on the next stage of their careers.”
Key fact: Spain captain Ortiz equalled Luis Amado's record of 33 finals appearances.
Russia 3-1 Georgia
Though Georgia had become the first debutants since 2010 to win their opening two games, they had also lost their last group match to Spain by a tournament joint-record margin of 8-0. They needed to keep their opponents, who scored 16 goals in their three group victories, at bay. Georgia's 42-year-old keeper Zviad Kupatadze, who has played in Russia since 2003, was crucial to doing that in the first half with a string of saves. Sergei Abramov also hit a post.
However, just over two minutes into the second half, Artem Niyazov broke the deadlock with a shot from just inside the box. Georgia, though, responded immediately as Elisandro's cross was turned in by Bruno Petry.
Kupatadze turned an Abramov drive onto a post, but Russia were soon back ahead when Ivan Chishkala brilliantly met Robinho's corner with a flying volley. Even after that Russia had the better chances, Robinho smashing a late free-kick against the bar. Although with seconds left Putilov had to make a crucial double save, Chishkala clinched victory with a long shot into an unguarded Georgia net.
Ivan Chishkala, Russia player: "We were able to win tonight, showing our great fighting spirit, but I have to admit luck was on our side too as our goalkeeper had a fantastic game. We had to give it our all, as Georgia played a great game. It was extremely tough. We had a lot of attempts on target, but their keeper did an amazing job."
Avtandik Asatiani, Georgia coach: "I love my team because my players do everything for me. Russia are a top team and for us it was very difficult, but were played in the quarter-finals. For us it is history – first time in the EURO and I am feeling fantastic here. The most important thing was to gain experience as it was our first EURO."
Key fact: Russia have won all ten games in their campaign so far, including qualifying – nine was already a record.
Portugal 3-2 Finland
The holders are through but the other of the record three finals debutants to make the last eight pushed them all the way. Finland pressed early but the holders went ahead in the fourth minute when Pany Varela showed a burst of speed down the left and crossed for Afonso Jesus to turn in. The equaliser arrived six minutes later as Henri Alamikkotervo powered in a trademark free-kick which Miika Hosio chested in at the far post. Afonso struck again, though, connecting with Bruno Coelho's kick-in.
It seemed Finland were on the back foot but just under seven minutes into the second half they levelled with a kick-in of their own, Jukka Kytölä's ball met sweetly by captain Panu Autio. But Portugal have not gone unbeaten competitively since the 2016 World Cup without responding to setbacks and Miguel Ângelo's neat footwork and driven angled shot made it 3-2.
Finland gave everything to equalise, especially Autio in his last international after 16 years, 149 games and 101 goals, but they fell, the buzzer even going just before a long-range Pany effort rolled in. After the game Finland coach Mico Martić ended his-year reign.
Bruno Coelho, Portugal player: "We knew it was going to be a difficult match. Finland are very strong physically and they play really well. They are very pragmatic and we were aware that it was going to be hard but we were always very focused for the entire 40 minutes and we managed to prevail."
Panu Autio, Finland captain: "Finland can keep on improving. We have a huge futsal following in Finland, a lot of great young talents in the team, that can grow as players with this experience. A new generation is coming! It’s been a long journey. I’ve been with the national team for 16.years. I played in a final tournament. A dream come true! I am happy I was able to experience this as a player."
Key stat: Portugal are into their fifth semi-final in seven editions.
Kazakhstan 3-5 Ukraine
Missing suspended Taynan and Edson, Kazakhstan began brightly but Ukraine were able to keep them and bay and led through a 14th-minute penalty smashed in by Petro Shoturma after Ihor Korsen had been brought down just inside the box by Azat Valiullin, who had been a pre-game injury doubt. Douglas Junior twice went close just before half-time, hitting the crossbar from close range.
Early in the second half, Korsen superbly doubled the lead as he ran on to Mykhailo Zvarych's long pass, controlled on the volley and chipped Higuita. As the Kazakhstan goalkeeper pushed up, Zvarych lobbed the ball into an empty net for the third and Ukraine nearly got more in similar style. However, Douglas Junior pulled one back with a feint and strike seven minutes from time, and a frantic finish ensued.
Just over two minutes remained when Birzhan Orazov pulled another back, and extra time definitely loomed. Except within 48 seconds both Volodymyr Razuvanov and Yaroslav Lebid had struck from deep in the Ukraine half with the Kazakhstan goal unguarded. Orazov did have time for a finals-leading seventh goals of the tournament but Kazakhstan's time was up.
Ihor Khorsun, Ukraine player: "For me it’s a big emotion and like a dream. We have worked really hard for this. I was a great game, so many chances for both sides, and that is why I am feeling so emotional. We will find more energy for the next match – there are some events that maybe only happen once in your life so you must give everything. We believed from the start, we were just ready and from the first second we played to win."
Higuita, Kazakhstan captain: "This defeat hurts a lot but we knew Ukraine are a very competitive team. We prepared this match to the limit but then we conceded a goal and everything became harder for us. We were missing important players but congratulations to Ukraine. As for us we go again and we will try to focus on our next objective. Life goes on.”
Key stat: Ukraine ended a run of five straight quarter-final defeats to make the last four for the first time since 2005.