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Last hurdle in Hungary

The final place in this summer's UEFA Regions' Cup finals in Poland will be decided in Hungary.

The final place in this summer's finals in Poland will be decided at the UEFA Regions' Cup Group 8 mini-tournament in Hungary.

Hungarian precedent
Hosts Tisza-Csoport are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Szabolcs Gabona Csoport, the Hungarian side who picked up the bronze medal at the 2003 Regions' Cup finals. Teams from Greece, Lithuania and Slovakia will be coming up against the hosts in the eastern Hungarian region of Tiszaújváros.

Local heroes
Tisza-Csoport, who are made up of players from the region surrounding the River Tisza, will be led by the coaches of two local amateur sides - Bocs FC's László Tóth and Létavértes' Elemér Kondás - with players from the two fourth level clubs making up the majority of the Tisza-Csoport squad.

Top-flight scalp
The team have already proved that there is not much of a gap in quality between their amateur players and the players in Hungary's top division, the NB I, by beating top-flight side Diósgyori BFC 2-1 in one of the five games they have played to prepare for the tournament, which kicks off on 19 April.

Big motivation
"In Hungary sometimes the professional clubs doesn't have the best conditions so the difference between the amateur teams and the top clubs is not that huge," said Hungarian Amateur League general secretary György Deésy. "These players will be extremely motivated to play at home in the national team's colours."

Slovakian challenge
Tisza's main rivals may well be Central Slovakia, who proved their worth by topping their preliminary group, and forcing their Romanian hosts Dacia Amateur into second place - although they subsequently qualified for the finals, winning Group 2 in Croatia after qualifying as the preliminary round's best runners-up.

Competitive environment
Amateur football in their local region, which is also home to top-flight clubs MSK Žilina, MFK Ružomberok and FK Dukla Banská Bystrica and FC Rimavská Sobota, is very competitive, and tellingly, many of the third division players who performed so well in Romania are now playing in the semi-professional second division.

Remoulded squad
As a result, coach Ján Petrák and his assistant, former Žilina and Banská Bystrica forward Ivan Šimcek, have been forced to rebuild their team but Petrák remained confident. "I am sure the new one will be at least as strong as in Romania," he told uefa.com.

Wintery conditions
Cold weather has hampered their training campaign somewhat, but having played some friendly games, hopes are still high. Petrák said: "Extreme winter conditions denied us match experience, but though we have no detailed info on our opponents, we will try to reach finals for the first time for Slovakia."

Lithuanian contingent
Greek side Achaia will doubtless have similar ambitions, as do FC Kvintencija, who will be representing Lithuania in Hungary. The team is essentially a works side for the Kaunas-based Kvintencija security firm, who often provide stewards for the Lithuanian national team's games.

Futsal practice
Coach Egidijus Meidus, who played for several Kaunas sides in his younger days, has called upon several players who were once in perennial Lithuanian champions FBK Kaunas' youth teams, and they have been keeping fit during the winter by playing in Lithuania's Futsal premier division.

Tiszaújváros calling
Kvintencija director Danielius Bucinskas has no idea what his side can expect when they travel to Hungary, but they are ready to give their all. "We have no idea how good our opponents will be, but the ball is round and our ambitions are high," he told uefa.com. "We are ready for a fight."