UEFA Futsal EURO daily preview: Serbia v Ukraine, Portugal v Netherlands

UEFA Futsal EURO holders Portugal and hosts Netherlands will be hoping to build on their first Group A victories when they meet at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on Sunday, while the Serbia and Ukraine will try to recover from their defeats in these meetings.

We preview the action.

Where to watch the matches

Serbia v Ukraine (2:30 p.m. CET, Amsterdam)

Both of these teams saw their leads vanish in early losses on Wednesday. Serbia struck twice early through Marko Pršić against Portugal, but Dejan Majes’ depleted side ended up being beaten 4-2. Ukraine led the Netherlands at halftime but lost 3-2. A second defeat for either team could potentially spell the premature end of their quarter-final ambitions.

Highlights: Serbia 2-4 Portugal

Already without key men Slobodan Rajčević and Jovan Lazarević, further absences have left Serbia down to 11 players against Portugal, something that has been revealed over time against the world and European champions. Ninoslav Aleksić and Nikola Matijević could return. Ukraine never recovered from being caught early in the second half by the Netherlands and need improvement to maintain their record of reaching the quarter-finals in every edition since the EURO Futsal initially expanded to 12 teams in 2010.

Dejan Majes, Serbia coach: “It will be a difficult match, we expect a great Ukrainian team. We have played against them in the past, and we expect the matches to be like the previous ones. We have a lot of respect for them, because they are playing modern futsal. We hope we can play a good game and score the three points.”

Oleksandr Kochenko, Ukraine coach: “It was quite a boring defeat. However, our chances are not lost. We have to beat Serbia and prepare for the game against Portugal.”

Key stat: Serbia beat Ukraine 5-2 in FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers in February 2020, 2-1 with a last-second goal in the quarter-finals of Futsal EURO 2016 in Belgrade, and 3-2 in the 2007 group stage.

Portugal v Netherlands (5:30 p.m. CET, Amsterdam)

Highlights: Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine

Highlights: Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine

These comeback victories mean, depending on the first result, that a second victory could already be enough for either of these opponents. Portugal also had to overturn deficits in four of their seven games in their World Cup triumph last fall and didn’t allow their difficult start against Serbia to stop them from getting up to speed and now he faces a team he beat 3-0 and 5-3. in friendly matches in November.

The Netherlands, however, impressed in those games and again in their first loss to Ukraine, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead within the first ten minutes of the second half. They made the most of their domestic platform on NOS TV and ended a 17-year wait since their last EURO futsal final victory; Sunday is an even tougher test.

Tiago Brito, Portuguese player: “The Netherlands have evolved a lot since our friendlies… It’s a game that tactically will be something different from the one we played against Serbia, but we will have to be the better to be able to take over Three points.”

Max Tjaden, Netherlands coach: “The final whistle was a big party, we fought for a long time for this moment. But it’s only the first result… it’s going to be hard, you have to prepare.”

Key stat: Portugal beat the Netherlands 5-0 in 2014 in what was the last Dutch game in a final tournament before Wednesday; Bruno Coelho scored twice.

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