Group 1: Slovenia have squeezed into the play-offs for the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship.
Slovenia have squeezed into the play-offs for the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Championship after taking first place in Group 1.
Unbeaten in three
The group, held in Maribor, went down to the wire with the Slovenians triumphing courtesy of a 2-1 defeat of Serbia and Montenegro in the final game. It meant the Slovenians finished with a 100 per cent record and continued the good form shown at the 2003 UEFA European Futsal Championship.
The Serbo-Montenegrins had got the ball rolling with a 6-2 victory against Georgia. Predrag Rajic set them on their way with a first-minute strike but Georgia took a half-time lead after goals from Revaz Devdariani and Aleksandr Dzabiradze. However, it was a different story after the break with the Serbo-Montegrins adding four goals without reply including another goal for Rajic.
Slovenia were next in action and they were in fine form, winning 12-0 against Moldova. The goals were spread around but leading the way with a hat-trick was Tomislav Horvat. Moldova were also beaten in the next fixture, going down 6-4 at the hands of Serbia and Montenegro. The Serbo-Montenegrins were four goals up in side 14 minutes, thanks in part to Vladan Cvetkovic's double but a Moldovan fightback meant victory was only sealed by Zoran Benic's late goal.
The Slovenians also made it two wins from two and preserved their perfect defensive record in their next match by beating Georgia 5-0. It took eleven mintues for Horvat to find a way through but Boštjan Uršic's second-half double helped clinch a comfortable success.
Georgia restored some pride with a thrilling 6-5 victory against Moldova to ensure they would finish above their opponents in the section. Iurie Romaniuc's two goals had helped the Moldovans to a 3-1 half-time lead but Georgia were a different side in the second half. Nikoloz Kbiladze and Aleksandr Dzabiradze each scored twice to complete a great comeback.
It all meant the contest between Slovenia and Serbia and Montenegro would be decisive. Rajic put the latter side into a tenth-minute lead but Gorazd Drobnic equalised inside two minutes. Senudin Dzafic then put the Slovenians in front three mintues later and his side managed to hang on for victory. To make matters worse for the Serbo-Montenegrins, Dragan Radulovic was sent off two minutes from the end.