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Pescara v Inter: Futsal Cup semi-final preview

Finals hosts Inter FS continue their bid for a fourth title as they take on debutants Pescara on Friday with the two coaches more than a little familiar with each other.

Inter train on Thursday at the venue where they won last month's Spanish Cup finals
Inter train on Thursday at the venue where they won last month's Spanish Cup finals ©Sportsfile
  • Hosts and record winners Inter take on debutants Pescara in the second semi-final
  • Where to watch the finals
  • Download the programme
  • Friday's other semi-final: Ugra v Benfica (17.30CET)
  • Sunday: third-place play-off (18.00CET), final (20.30CET)

UEFA Futsal Cup hosts Inter FS are already the record three-time winners of this competition but if they are to equal FC Dynamo and play in the sixth final on Sunday, they must get past a Pescara side with far more experience than their status as European debutants suggests.

  • What they say:

Fulvio Colini, Pescara coach
This might be the first time the club have appeared in this competition but it is not the first time for many of the players, nor me as a coach, and a lot of the players have experience from UEFA Futsal EURO as well.

[On his many meetings with Inter coach Jesús Velasco, who spent several years coaching in Italy] The fact that we have met in so many semis and finals means we are doing a good job and I hope that continues to be the case because that will mean our clubs have continued to be successful.

Jesús Velasco, Inter coach
I know a lot about how Fulvio sets up his teams and I know a lot about the players he has at his disposal. One of the best ways to describe this Pescara side is 'peleón' – battling, fighting for every ball.

Luis Amado limbers up on Thursday
Luis Amado limbers up on Thursday©Sportsfile

Luis Amado, Inter captain
We have a team with an awful lot of experience, even though as a club it's been a few years since we reached this stage. We are really excited about being back this year and the possibility of putting on a good performance. We are playing at home, in the arena where we won the Spanish Cup, and the atmosphere is really good.

For me this competition is incredibly important – that's how I treat every competition. As the coach will tell you, I am incredibly competitive, even in training – perhaps too much! All I am interested in is winning – even after winning so many titles, I still want to keep winning. We haven't won this competition for a while [since 2009] and it is our top priority this season.

  • Road to semi-finals

Preliminary round: St Andrews 9-0, Gentofte 3-0, Encamp 6-0 (Group B winners)
Main round: City'US Târgu Mureş 8-3, Lokomotiv Kharkiv 5-1, Hamburg Panthers 11-0 (Group 3 winners)
Elite round: Zelezarec Skopje 2-0, Halle-Gooik 4-2, Tulpar Karagandy 4-0 (Group B winners)

Elite round: Dobovec 8-0, Kremlin Bicêtre United 10-2. Lidselmash Lida 4-2 (Group A winners)

  • Key factors

Inter's second home
Guadalajara might not be Inter's regular home but they claimed the Spanish Cup here last month and will have a partisan, sell-out crowd behind them. However, in the previous nine 'final four' tournaments under this format, only two hosts have won: Benfica in 2010 and Barcelona two years later.

The Ricardinho factor
Inter (and indeed Pescara) are not short of stars, but all eyes naturally turn to their Portuguese winger, who has helped them back to Spanish supremacy since joining in 2013. It is Ricardinho's image that adorns Inter's team bus and most of their publicity, and he has shown in the past that the spotlight inspires rather than daunts him.

Coach Jesús Velasco and Fulvio Colini
Coach Jesús Velasco and Fulvio Colini©Sportsfile

Pescara no callow debutants
Pescara may be in their first European season but their unprecedented run of nine victories on their way from the preliminary round to the finals shows that the Italian champions are comfortable at this level. Inter will be a step up from anyone they have met to date, but Colini and several of this squad were winners with Montesilvano five years ago in Almaty so know the territory well.

  • Players to watch

Pescara: Betão – Part of the last Inter team to win the trophy in Ekaterinburg in 2009, the experienced Brazilian also aided Kairat Almaty to the 2013 title and returned to Europe with Pescara in the winter.

Inter: Ricardinho – The star of UEFA Futsal EURO 2016 for his spectacular goals, despite Portugal going out in the quarter-finals, the brilliant winger inspired Benfica to this title in 2010 and now hopes to repeat the trick for Inter.

  • Will be out on Sunday with booking

Pescara: Leandro Cuzzolin
Inter: Mario Rivillos, Cardinal