Czech Republic

The past
Czech Republic contested a FIFA Futsal World Cup for the first time in 2004, making it through to the second group stage but departing for home after defeats to Spain (2-0), Portugal (8-4) and Italy (3-0). In Brazil four years ago, Tomas Neumann’s side fared even worse and failed to survive the first round, as defeats to Iran and eventual world champions Brazil meant victories over Uruguay and Libya were not enough to make the second stage of the competition. The nation's greatest futsal achievement to date was the bronze medal at the UEFA Futsal EURO 2010.

The present
At the most recent EURO in early 2012, the Czechs found themselves packing for home earlier than expected, as defeats to Romania and hosts Croatia meant they were eliminated at the group stage. The likes of Lukas Resetar and Marek Kopecky will be seeking to build on the European success achieved in 2010.

The future
The Czechs’ initial target in Thailand will be a place in the quarter-finals. Neumann will ask his established players to dig deep and bring their experience to bear, but is set to inject a youthful note with the inclusion of promising 22-year-old front man Michal Seidler and defensive specialist Jiri Novotny, who made three appearances at the global tournament in 2008.

Facts and figures
Key players
Lukas Resetar, Marek Kopecky

Qualifying statistics
The Czechs were in good form throughout the group stage, running up victories over the Netherlands (5-1), Turkey (3-2) and Belarus (5-2), but the decisive play-offs against Slovenia were a nerve shredding affair. The Slovenian underdogs sprang a major surprise by winning the first leg 2-0, and were poised to turn a surprise into a shock by taking an early lead in the return, but cunning veteran Roman Mares fired a brace as Neumann's men ultimately ran out 4-1 winners.

The stat
4 - Four members of the Czech Republic squad were 35 or older during the qualification campaign, although the experience and nous that entails ultimately earned the nation a precious place at the FIFA Futsal World Cup.