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Brief history of the UEFA Futsal Euro

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We were all looking forward to the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup that was supposed to be held later this year in Lithuania, but unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 outbreak all major competitions were cancelled or postponed. World Cup has been postponed to Fall 2021 and we will have to wait for another year to watch the best futsal players and national teams on the biggest stage.

To help you pass the time a bit, we already made a brief history of the FIFA Futsal World Cups and today we will take a short walk down the history lane of the UEFA Futsal Euro, during which we will get to see how this competition changed and evolved over time.

Humble begginings

1996 UEFA Futsal Championship – Spain

Spain, or to be more exact, Córdoba was the host to the inaugural UEFA Futsal Championship (as it was officially called back then) held in January of 1996 and only six national teams participated in the tournament that was organized in two groups of three teams. Spain, Belgium and Netherlands were drawn in Group A and Russia, Italy and Ukraine played each other in Group B. Eventually, Spain won the first futsal European Championship beating Russia 5-3 in the finals.

Champions: Spain

Runners-up: Russia

Third place: Belgium

Fourth place: Italy

Top scorer: Konstantin Eremenko (RUS) - 8 goals

Best player: Paulo Roberto (SPA)

For detailed statistics of the 1996 UEFA Futsal Championship click here!

 

1999 UEFA Futsal Championship – Spain

Three years after the first European Championship, best national teams of the ‘old continent’ met yet again in Spain, this time in Granada. Tournament was held in February and it was also expanded to eight teams in total. Teams were again divided in two groups and hosts Spain were drawn in Group A alongside Netherlands, Croatia and SR Yugoslavia, while Group B saw Russia, Italy, Portugal and Belgium. In the finals we saw a replay between Spain and Russia, but this time Russians emerged victorious after penalties.

Champions: Russia

Runners-up: Spain

Third place: Italy

Fourth place: Netherlands

Top scorer: Konstantin Eremenko (RUS) - 11 goals

Best player: Konstantin Eremenko (RUS)

For detailed statistics of the 1999 UEFA Futsal Championship click here!

 

2001 UEFA Futsal Championship – Russia

Third European Championship was held in Russian capital of Moscow. National teams were divided in two groups and this Championship saw two debutants. Spain, Ukraine, Croatia and Poland made Group A and Italy, Russia, Czech Republic and Netherlands were in Group B. The final match was the first one that went into extra time, however Ukraine was unable to hold Spain who brought the title back.

Champions: Spain

Runners-up: Ukraine

Third place: Russia

Fourth place: Italy

Top scorer: Serhiy Koridze (UKR) - 7 goals

Best player: Javi Sánchez (SPA)

For detailed statistics of the 2001 UEFA Futsal Championship click here!

 

2003 UEFA Futsal Championship – Italy

Fourth European Championship was held in February of 2003 in Italy and for the first time in two different venues. Host cities were Aversa and Caserta in Italian southern region of Campania. Group A saw hosts Italy, Czech Republic, Russia and debutants Slovenia. Group B was made of Ukraine, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. Hosts Italy were victorious in the finals ousting Ukraine 1-0, who made it again all the way to the last step. It is the only tournament so far that didn't had the match for third place which was divided between Spain and Czech Republic.

Champions: Italy

Runners-up: Ukraine

Top scorer: Serhiy Koridze (UKR) - 7 goals

Best player: Vinícius Bácaro (ITA)

For detailed statistics of the 2003 UEFA Futsal Championship click here!

 

2005 UEFA Futsal Championship – Czech Republic

Fifth European Championship was held in February of 2005 in Czech town Ostrava. Again, the best eight national teams in Europe competed for the title and Ukraine, Russia, Netherlands and hosts Czech Republic were drawn in Group A, while Italy, Spain, Portugal and debutants Hungary were drawn in Group B. We could have witnessed a true classic in the finals where Spain beat Russia 2-1 and clinched the title for the third time.

Champions: Spain

Runners-up: Russia

Third place: Italy

Fourth place: Ukraine

Top scorer: Nando Grana (ITA) - 6 goals

Best player: Luis Amado (SPA)

For deatiled statistics of the 2005 UEFA Futsal Championship click here!

 

2007 UEFA Futsal Championship – Portugal

The sixth edition of the UEFA Futsal Championship was held in Portugal in two venues in the Greater Metropolitan Area of Porto. Unlike other tournaments, this one was held in November and it was the last tournament that had eight teams participating. Group A consisted of Italy, Portugal, debutants Romania and Czech Republic, while Group B was made of Spain, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine. After successfully beating Portugal in the semi-finals on penalties, Spain managed to win 3-1 over Italy in the finals and clinch their fourth title, but first consecutive.

Champions: Spain

Runners-up: Italy

Third place: Russia

Fourth place: Portugal

Top scorers: Daniel (SPA), Predrag Rajić (SRB), Cirilo (RUS) - 5 goals

Best player: Ricardinho (POR)

For detailed statistics of the 2007 UEFA Futsal Championship click here!

 

2010 UEFA Futsal Championship – Hungary

After a bit of longer waiting period, seventh European Championship was held in Hungary in January of 2010. Hungarian capital of Budapest and city of Debrecen were host venues of the competiton which for the first time ever was expanded to include twelve national teams! This meant that teams were divided in four groups of three teams. Debutants Azerbaijan, Czech Republic and hosts Hungary were drawn in Group A. Italy, Ukraine and Belgium were placed in Group B. Serbia, Russia and Slovenia made Group C, while Spain, Portugal and debutants Belarus completed the Group D. Spain were no match for the rest of the competition with the important exception of Russia with whom they met in Quarterfinals. After a 0-0 draw, Spain managed to win only after 8th series of penalties! In the finals, Spain won their fifth European title with 4-2 against another rival, Portugal.

Champions: Spain

Runners-up: Portugal

Third place: Czech Republic

Fourth place: Azerbaijan

Top scorers: Biro Jade (AZE), Javi Rodríguez (SPA), Joel Queirós (POR), Saad Assis (ITA) - 5 goals

Best player: Javi Rodríguez (SPA)

For detailed statistics of the 2010 UEFA Futsal Championship click here!

 

2012 UEFA Futsal Championship – Croatia

European Champinship in Croatia was held in early February in 2012 in two host cities of Zagreb and Split. Tournament was the most visited one so far, with close to 100.000 fans in total attending the matches. Matches in front of sell-out arenas in Zagreb and Split smashed attendances records in futsal. The competition format did not change and hosts Croatia were drawn in Group A alongside Romania and Czech Republic. Defending champions Spain were in Group B alongside Ukraine and Slovenia. Group C saw matches between Russia, Italy and debutants Turkey, while Group D saw Portugal, Serbia and Azerbaijan. In a thrilling extra time finals, Spain managed to defeat Russia yet again and clinch their incredible sixth European title!

Champions: Spain

Runners-up: Russia

Third place: Italy

Fourth place: Croatia

Top scorer: Jordi Torras (SPA) – 5 goals

Best player: Kike (SPA)

For detailed statistics of the 2012 UEFA Futsal Championship click here!

 

Futsal Euro Era

2014 UEFA Futsal Euro – Belgium

In 2014, European Championship saw its rebranding and it is officially called UEFA Futsal Euro instead of UEFA Futsal Championship ever since. The tournament was held in Belgium, in two venues in port city of Antwerp. Format of the competition did not change and hosts Belgium were drawn in Group A with Ukraine and Romania. Russia, Portugal and Netherlands made Group B, while Italy, Slovenia and Azerbaijan made group C. Finally, Spain, Croatia and Czech Republic were drawn in Group D. This championship saw the end of Spannish dominance as Russia beat them in the semi-finals after extra time. However, Russians were unable to hold Italy in the finals, who won 3-1 and clinched their second European title!

Champions: Italy

Runners-up: Russia

Third place: Spain

Fourth place: Portugal

Top scorer: Eder Lima (RUS) - 8 goals

Best player: Gabriel Lima (ITA)

For detailed statistics of the 2014 UEFA Futsal Euro click here!

 

2016 UEFA Futsal Euro – Serbia

Jubilant 10th edition of the UEFA European Championship in futsal was held in Serbian capital of Belgrade and it was again another record-breaking championship in terms of attendances with 113.000 fans in total attending the matches. Hosts Serbia were drawn in Group A with Portugal and Slovenia. Group B saw Spain, Ukraine and Hungary, while Russia, Croatia and debutants Kazakhstan were drawn in Group C. Finally, Italy, Azerbaijan and Czech Republic were drawn in Group D. Once again, the finals were reserved for the ‘clash of titans’ between Russia and Spain and this time Spain had the game in control since the start and cruised to the 7-3 victory. This was seventh European Championship for Spain.

Champions: Spain

Runners-up: Russia

Third place: Kazakhstan

Fourth place: Serbia

Top scorers: Serik Zhamankulov (KAZ), Ricardinho (POR), Álex (SPA), Miguelín (SPA), Mario Rivillos (SPA) – 6 goals

Best player: Miguelín (SPA)

For detailed statistics of the 2016 UEFA Futsal Euro click here!

 

2018 UEFA Futsal Euro – Slovenia

Eleventh edition of the UEFA European Championship in futsal was held in February of 2018 in Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. No changes were made to the format of the competition, which means that hosts Slovenia were drawn in Group A together with Serbia and Italy. Kazakhstan, Russia and Poland played out in Group B, while Portugal, Ukraine and Romania were drawn in Group C. Debutants France were drawn in Group B, together with Spain and Azerbaijan. In a thrilling match, fitting to the grand finals, Portugal managed to beat Spain 3-2 after extra time and clinch their first ever European Championship!

Champions: Portugal

Runners-up: Spain

Third place: Russia

Fourth place: Kazakhstan

Top scorer: Ricardinho (POR) - 7 goals

Best player: Ricardinho (POR)

For detailed statistics of the 2018 UEFA Futsal Euro click here!

 

 

What will the future bring?

To conclude this brief history of UEFA Futsal Euro it is clearly that Spain have been the most dominant and successful national team in the history of the competition. Spain won the continental title for astonishing seven times and played in the finals another two times. It will take some time for anyone to catch this record, as Italy is second best team with two titles. Russia and Portugal follow close with one title. It is interesting to see that after eleven editions of the competitions, both Italy and Russia have same number of points on the all-time table – 94.

Certain changes are waiting for us once the competition and qualifiers for the twelfth UEFA Futsal Euro continue. The next Euro will be held in Netherlands, or to be more precise in Amsterdam and Groningen. For the first time ever, the tournament will include 16 teams divided in four groups of four. The tournament will take place between 19th January and 6th February of 2022 and it will be the first tournament that will be played after a 4-year pause. UEFA decided that it is time to end the 2-year cycle for the Futsal Euro and to start a new format in a 4-year cycle, just like in football.

We are already looking forward to it!