The road to Colombia
Russia wasted little time in backing up their status as one of the favourites in the European qualifiers, winning their main-round group with plenty to spare. Kicking off with a 3-0 defeat of Finland, the Russian machine then ground out a 2-1 win over Serbia before sealing top spot in the section with a 7-1 defeat of Turkey. In conceding just two goals, Sergei Skorovich’s men ended the main round with the best defensive record, along with Spain. In the subsequent play-off against Belarus, Russia took firm control with a 4-1 win in the first leg, a result they followed up with a 2-2 draw in the return to seal their place in Colombia.
Strengths and styles
Russia have got a lot going for them as they head to Colombia, not least a first-rate defence, a well-drilled line-up and talented individuals such as Eder Lima – the top scorer at UEFA Futsal EURO Belgium 2014 and the winner of the adidas Golden Boot at Thailand 2012, where he scored seven goals in a single game against Solomon Islands. On top of all that, they also have plenty of tournament experience, having reached the final of UEFA Futsal EURO Serbia 2016, and a squad that offers plenty of strength in depth.
FIFA Futsal World Cup record
FIFA Futsal World Cup regulars, having failed to qualify twice only (for Netherlands 1989 and Chinese Taipei 2004), Russia have put in some impressive showings over the years, finishing fourth at Brazil 2008 and Guatemala 2000, and third at Spain 1996. Only four teams have played more world-finals matches than the Russians, who have their sights set on breaking new ground at Colombia 2016.