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Women's Futsal EURO 2022 semi-final preview: Ukraine vs Spain, Portugal vs Hungary

The second edition kicks off on Friday with holders Spain facing Ukraine and hosts Portugal meeting Hungary for places in Sunday's final.

The trophy at Pavilhão Multiusos de Gondomar
The trophy at Pavilhão Multiusos de Gondomar UEFA via Getty Images

The finals of the second UEFA Women's Futsal EURO kick off on Friday at the Porto's Pavilhão Multiusos de Gondomar, which also hosted the inaugural edition three years ago.

We preview the action as holders Spain take on Ukraine before hosts Portugal, runners-up in 2019, meet finals debutants Hungary. The third-place play-off and final are both on Sunday.

Where to watch the games: TV/streams
Watch highlights

Ukraine vs Spain

2019 final highlights: Spain 4-0 Portugal

Spain cruised to the first title here three years ago and return with confidence high, having won 7-0 and 3-1 in January friendlies against Ukraine, as well as 3-2 against Brazil in March. The squad only met up fully at the start of the week after the league play-off final, which involved much of the selection, but look formidable. Unfortunately, 2019 player of the tournament Vanessa Sotelo did not recover in time from a serious knee injury to make the squad but regular goalkeeper Silvia Agute is fit after a recent absence. She is one of nine of the winning squad from three years ago back again for more.

Ukraine, who finished fourth in 2019, were able to meet up at the start of June in San Marino and have had a series of training camps since in Italy, France and here in Portugal, where they lost 6-0 to the hosts in a friendly last Friday. Still, they can call on goalkeeper Viktoriia Sahaidachna, Kseniia Hrytsenko and Yuliya Tytova, who all made the 2019 Team of the Tournament, when they ran Portugal close in the semis before falling 5-1 after late goals.

Key fact: Spain have won all eight games they have ever played in this competition, the narrowest their 2-0 defeat of Italy in this edition's main round.

Oleg Shaytanov, Ukraine coach: "It was really difficult for us to try to organise this month of preparations, it had a huge meaning for us. We were again trying to create a team. The players had gone to different countries, different clubs. It was really difficult for us but anyway we were able to organise everything and spend a month preparing in different countries, and we hope we will do well as it would have been very difficult without what we have done in this month. As for the match – we will do our best!"

Iuliia Forsiuk in training on Thursday
Iuliia Forsiuk in training on ThursdayUEFA via Getty Images

Iuliia Forsiuk, Ukraine captain: "There is no need for words on how motivated and how happy we are to be here. Thank you for everyone that helped us in the last month giving us the chance to prepare. We know Spain well. We don’t need motivation: we are happy to play them in the semi-final. Of course you only play to win, and we will do our best to win. We just want to enjoy [the game]. It is like a celebration. We are happy to be here whatever the result."

Clàudia Pons, Spain coach: "The players are highly motivated. Things are going well; we have worked hard and we expect a very good semi-final. Of course, we expect a difficult match but we hope it goes well and we reach the final. We know they will be tough opponents: both teams will have their chances. We miss Vane [Sotelo] but we have another 14 very good players. We have what it takes to win. We hope not to miss Vane too much."

Silvia Aguete, Spain goalkeeper: "The emotions are strong as we won here in 2019. Of course we want to do the same this time. We are glad to be here again and we have worked hard for this."

In-depth: Meet the semi-finalists

Watch highlights

Portugal vs Hungary

Portugal fell 4-0 to Spain in the 2019 final but their form since will give them confidence that they can go one better this time in Gondomar, with a sell-out crowd already assured. Not only have they won five of their 11 meetings with Spain since, losing only three, but they were also the 29-goal top scorers in qualifying, eight different players on target. In last Friday's 6-0 friendly defeat of Ukraine, Carolina Pedreira scored twice on debut while Ana Azevedo became the first Portugal player to reach 100 caps. She is among eight members of the 2019 squad returning to the finals, including Fifó, one of the stars of that tournament, aged 18.

Hungary, called up in May to replace Russia, are the only one of the four teams here not to have taken part in the 2019 finals. With an experienced squad including several players with international football experience at senior or youth level, Hungary warmed up with four games last week at Futsal Week in Croatia, winning one, drawing two, and losing to tournament winners Poland.

100-cap Portugal captain Ana Azevedo
100-cap Portugal captain Ana AzevedoUEFA via Getty Images

Key fact: Portugal have won all three past meetings with Hungary, including two Gondomar friendlies just before the 2019 finals.

Luís Conceição, Portugal coach: "We have watched Hungary plenty of times and done our scouting work. We faced them twice three years ago and the team is more or less the same. They will want to enjoy this moment; it is difficult to get to the EURO and now they have this opportunity and want to do their best. Hungary will defend deep, we will have more possession and maybe create more chances. We are prepared for that, and will be prepared to be patient."

Ana Azevedo, Portugal captain: "Obviously Portugal were finalists last time but we have to prove that status on the pitch. Hungary are super-motivated to do well and reach the final, and Portugal will face a good team."

Tamás Frank, Hungary coach: "We are a small team on the European futsal map. Our players are amateurs; they play futsal alongside their day jobs. So it was really difficult to prepare as players had to take annual leave to be here and at the training camp. This was difficult but we will try to make Portugal sweat!"

Csilla Krascsenics, Hungary forward: "None of our team has played in front of 3,000 people before. So maybe it will be a bit of a disadvantage but it will also be very motivating as we really want to show what we can do. If we do well everyone can see how much work we have put in."

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