Spain will begin their bid to reclaim the FIFA Futsal World Cup against Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina after the draws for the 2012 preliminary and main rounds were made.
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Spain will launch their bid to reclaim the FIFA Futsal World Cup against Belgium and Bosnia and Herzegovina after the draws were made in Nyon for the preliminary and main rounds of 2012 qualifying.
Forty-one teams are aiming at the seven slots allocated to UEFA for the expanded 24-nation finals in Thailand from 2 to 18 November next year. The process will begin with the preliminary round from 19 to 23 October 2011 for which 20 sides have been split into five groups.
At that stage, Turkey, who have qualified for UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 in Croatia early next year, will face Finland, Albania and Group D hosts Estonia. Norway, San Marino and Switzerland will also play in the preliminary round as they start their first World Cup campaigns.
The five group winners and two best runners-up will join the 21 highest-ranked European countries in the main round from 14 to 18 December, for which the draw has also been made. Spain, winners in 2000 and 2004 before losing to hosts Brazil on penalties in the 2008 final, are in Group 1 alongside hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium and the second best preliminary round runners-up.
Third in Brazil last time out, Italy stage Group 2 against Romania and Poland as well as the team that tops the preliminary round mini-tournament in Bulgaria. Group 5 contains three sides through to UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 – Ukraine, mini-tournament hosts Azerbaijan and the nation staging the continental final tournament, Croatia.
The winners and runners-up from each group will progress to the play-offs, which will be drawn early next year and played over two legs on 25 to 28 March and 8 to 11 April, determining Europe's seven representatives in Thailand. Before that, the 12-team UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 finals run from 31 January to 11 February, with the draw in Zagreb on 9 September.
Preliminary round draw
Group A: Moldova, Georgia*, Armenia, Malta
Group B: Greece, Andorra, Bulgaria*, Norway
Group C: Latvia*, Cyprus, England, San Marino
Group D: Finland, Turkey, Albania, Estonia*
Group E: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, France, Montenegro, Switzerland
Main round draw
Group 1: Spain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Preliminary round second best runner-up
Group 2: Italy*, Romania, Poland, Winner preliminary round Group B
Group 3: Serbia, Slovenia*, Israel, Winner preliminary round Group A
Group 4: Portugal*, Slovakia, Lithuania, Preliminary round best runner-up
Group 5: Ukraine, Azerbaijan*, Croatia, Winner preliminary round Group E
Group 6: Czech Republic*, Belarus, Netherlands, Winner preliminary round Group D
Group 7: Russia, Hungary*, Kazakhstan, Winner preliminary round Group C