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EURO hopefuls enter Futsal World Cup

The 12 Futsal EURO finalists are among 28 teams taking part in the FIFA Futsal World Cup main round from Thursday, with Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Croatia in the same group.

Azerbaijan will be hosting probably the toughest group
Azerbaijan will be hosting probably the toughest group ©Ruslan Mikayilli/Azerisport.com

All 12 UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 contenders will be among the 28 teams competing in the FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifying main round from Thursday.

Matches in the seven one-venue mini-tournaments will be played on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, with the top two in each group progressing to the play-offs on 25 to 28 March and 8 to 11 April next year, determining Europe's seven representatives in Thailand from 2 to 18 November 2012. The 21 teams entering at this stage join seven sides that advanced from October's preliminary round.

Spain, who won the World Cup in 2000 and 2004 but lost the final on penalties to hosts Brazil in 2008, travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina for Group 1. The section also includes preliminary round survivors Norway and second seeds Belgium, who were selected on Thursday as UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 hosts.

Like Spain, teams in all the other groups will turn their attention to the UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 finals in Croatia from 31 January after these matches. Indeed, Croatia themselves are in a pool with three EURO finalists, given Azerbaijan host Group 5 and Ukraine also feature. All the EURO contenders are entering at this stage other than Turkey, who made it through the preliminary round.

Main round
Group 1:
Spain*, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina (hosts), Norway

Group 2: Italy* (hosts), Romania*, Poland, Bulgaria

Group 3: Serbia*, Slovenia* (hosts), Israel, Moldova**

Group 4: Portugal* (hosts), Slovakia, Lithuania, France

Group 5: Ukraine*, Azerbaijan* (hosts), Croatia*, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Group 6: Czech Republic* (hosts), Belarus, Netherlands, Turkey*

Group 7: Russia*, Hungary (hosts), Kazakhstan, Latvia

*Competing at UEFA Futsal EURO 2012

**Replace Georgia after protest from Football Association of Moldova (FMF) was upheld

The 12-team UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 finals in Croatia run from 31 January to 11 February. Tickets are on sale now.