The winners and the two best runners-up in ten UEFA
qualifying groups for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008 spent
the weekend battling through to the final playoffs, to be contested
on a home and away basis between 31 March and 16 April.
World and European champions Spain led the charge into the next round and underlined their status as favourites with commanding wins over Georgia (13-1) and Croatia (3-1) respectively. Hungary, participants at the 1989 FIFA Futsal World Cup in the Netherlands, similarly dominated Group 4 and comfortably made the playoffs with three wins out of three, scoring 24 goals and conceding only two.
There was a minor upset in Group 5 where Belarus finished ahead of Romania, European Championship participants and hosts to the qualifying group. European and world runners-up Italy emulated their great Spanish rivals with an undefeated run to the final qualifying phase.
Portugal, Ukraine, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Russia will also be seeded for the playoffs as group winners. The UEFA dozen is completed by the two best runners-up, namely the Croatia and Romania, undefeated but unable to beat Belarus in the decisive match.
Six of the twelve teams in the playoffs go through to the FIFA Futsal World Cup Brazil 2008 in October. The UEFA contingent will be the biggest at the event, which will boast a starting field of 20 for the first time. The places are distributed among the confederations as follows: AFC: 4, CAF: 2, CONCACAF: 3, CONMEBOL: 3 + host nation, OFC: 1, UEFA: 6.
Czech Republic - Romania
Belarus - Russia
Italy - Croatia
Spain - Bosnia and Herzegovina
Slovenia - Portugal
Ukraine - Hungary
The winners will qualify for the 2008 Futsal world finals.