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Play-offs: Serbia ahead, Croatia comeback

  • The FIFA Futsal World Cup play-offs decide Europe’s last two finals spots in Lithuania.
  • The four contenders were elite round runners-up behind the winners Kazakhstan, Portugal, Russia and Spain, who have already joined the hosts in the finals from 12 September to 3 October 2021 (postponed from 2020).

First legs

Friday:

Serbia 1-0 Finland

  • Marko Pršić struck to decide the first leg.
  • Serbia previously reached the World Cup in 2012.
  • Finland have never made a major tournament, though coach Mićo Martić played at the World Cup and EURO with Croatia). This is also the first time Finland have been in a play-off; they held Italy and Portugal in the elite round, knocking out the Azzurri.
  • Serbia have won all four of their competitive meetings with Finland.

Saturday:

Croatia 2-2 Czech Republic

  • Croatia came back from 2-0 down to draw in Zadar, with the visitors having Lukáš Rešetár sent off.
  • Croatia previously reached the World Cup in 2000, beating the Czech Republic 7-6 in the decisive qualifier in Karlovac. Needing a win, Croatia led 1-0 at half-time but trailed 4-2 with 13 minutes left.
  • The Czech Republic are aiming to reach the finals for the fourth time in five editions, missing out in 2016.
  • Croatia knocked the Czech Republic out of UEFA Futsal EURO 2012 and 2014 at the group stage; in Split in 2012 with a 5-4 win, in Antwerp in 2014 with a 3-3 draw secured in the 39th minute by their flying goalkeeper, the late Matija Capar.

Second legs

Tuesday:

Finland vs Serbia
Czech Republic vs Croatia

All qualifiers so far

AFC: 5 tbc
CAF: Angola (debut), Egypt, Morocco
CONCACAF: 4 tbc
CONMEBOL: Argentina (holders), Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela (debut)
OFC: Solomon Islands
UEFA: Kazakhstan, Lithuania (hosts, debut), Portugal, Russia, Spain, 2 tbc (play-off winners)

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