UEFA Women's Futsal EURO 2023 final preview: Ukraine vs Spain
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Ukraine challenge holders Spain on Sunday in Debrecen.
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Spain won the first two UEFA Women's Futsal EURO editions in 2019 and 2022 but Ukraine will aim to dethrone them in Sunday's final at Főnix Arena, Debrecen.
We preview the final, which will be preceded by the third-place play-off between hosts Hungary and Portugal, who had been runners-up at home in the first two editions.
Final: Ukraine vs Spain (20:00 CET)
Third-place play-off: Hungary vs Portugal (17:00 CET)
Semi-finals: Spain 3-2 Portugal, Ukraine 2-1 Hungary
Spain have dominated this tournament, winning both previous editions, in 2019 and 2022, by beating the hosts, Portugal, in the final. This time, in Hungary, they faced Portugal in the semis and, despite conceding in the opening seconds, came from behind to lead. They then responded to an equaliser with an Irene Córdoba strike almost immediately to prevail 3-2.
They take on a Ukraine side who came fourth in 2019 and third in 2022, now into a first final after a 2-1 comeback defeat of hosts Hungary inspired by two-goal Anna Shulha. This next task is harder still, having lost 9-0 to Spain in the semi-finals last July. That was one of three defeats they suffered against their Sunday opponents in 2022, the others in home January friendlies.
This Ukraine team are out to at least equal the feat of their men, EURO runners-up in 2001 and 2003. Ukraine's coach here, Oleg Shaytanov, was in both of those squads.
Views from the camps
Clàudia Pons, Spain coach: "The match against Portugal was very important because it allowed us be in the final, but the job isn’t done yet. We have it very clear in our minds that our objective is to win tomorrow and to lift the trophy once again. The matches we played in the past against Ukraine have never been easy and they are a team who never gives up and keeps fighting until the end.
"I am sure they will cause us a lot of problems but we will remain in our path and do everything to win the trophy for a third time. The hunger for more wins remains the same and we feed it with focus, ambition and a lot of humility."
Oleg Shaytanov, Ukraine coach: "If you win the tournament, it's the pinnacle of achievement, it can't be bettered. We are intent on playing a great match, perhaps the best in our team’s history.
"Mentality will be key to our success. Hopefully we’ll be in good shape mentally, and won’t let the occasion get to us. We have to win the individual battles against Spain's forwards, we'll need to be at our very best defensively against such strong opponents. It would be fantastic, unbelievable, and highly emotional for us if we could achieve victory and win the trophy."
- Spain captain Peque (who won her 100th cap on Friday), goalkeeper Silvia Aguete, back-up Marta, Luci, Mayte, Noelia and Irene Samper were also part of Spain's winning squads in both 2019 and 2022, each time under Clàudia Pons.
- Marta was also back-up keeper in 2019, while Dany, twins Laura and Irene Córdoba, Ale de Paz and María Sanz all took part in 2022.
- When Spain beat Ukraine in the 2022 semi-finals, Luci scored twice. Also on target that day and again in the squad this time round are Mayte, Irene, Peque, Ale de Paz, Sanz and Samper.
- Spain have not lost any of their 14 previous Women's Futsal EURO matches including qualifying, their only draw over 40 minutes coming in the 2022 final, where they beat Portugal on penalties.
- Ukraine are hoping for their first UEFA women's title, and maiden futsal crown having lost to Spain in the 2001 men's final and hosts Italy two years later.