France beat Croatia to earn a final tournament debut, as they joined Serbia, Romania and Poland in qualifying for UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 via the play-offs.
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France beat Croatia to earn a final tournament debut, as they joined Serbia, Romania and Poland in qualifying for UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 via the play-offs. UEFA.com rounds up the action.
• France, who had never even reached the play-offs before, are heading to their first futsal final tournament. Croatia went in at half-time 2-1 ahead and 3-2 up on aggregate but Kevin Ramirez scored on 26 minutes to put France in front on away goals and a Landry N'Gala hat-trick – the last strike coming with nine seconds left, just after Croatia had levelled the scores – sparked delight for Les Bleus.
Georgia 4-7 Romania (agg: 6-9)
• The fact Georgia could not match France in booking a final tournament bow was largely down to Savio Valadares, who scored both of Romania's first-leg goals on his debut a fortnight ago and got four more tonight.
Poland 6-4 Hungary (agg: 7-6)
• Two early Rafał Franz strikes turned the tie before Norbert Horváth and Zoltán Dróth seemed to have put Hungary back in control. However, a burst of four Poland goals between the 27th and 36th minutes, including two by Michał Kubik, proved decisive – even if Ádám Hosszú and Dróth set up a tense last few seconds.
• For the first time since 1999 the Czech Republic will miss the finals despite a desperate late push in Nis. With ten minutes to go, Serbia led 3-1 on the night and 7-4 overall but Michal Seidler then struck twice. Miloš Simić responded for Serbia and although Seidler completed his hat-trick with 75 second left, the 2016 semi-finalists held on.
Previously qualified: Azerbaijan, Italy, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia (hosts), Spain (holders), Ukraine
• The finals are played from 30 January to 10 February 2018 at Arena Stožice, Ljubljana. The draw is at 12:00CET on Friday 29 September at Ljubljana Castle in the Slovenian capital.