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The road to Lithuania: Futsal qualifiers all over the globe

In less than nine months from now the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup will be held in Lithuania, the southern of the three Baltic states and the first European country that will host Futsal World Cup since Spain in 1996.

Currently – nine months before the tournament – we know only two countries that will certainly participate at the Futsal World Cup (FWC). First is, logically, the host Lithuania and the second is the Solomon Islands, the Oceanic state that defeated New Zeland after the penalties in the 2019 OFC Futsal Nations Cup Finals and qualified for the FWC for the fourth time in a row!

Futsal World Cup - Oceania

The other 22 countries will be known shortly, many of them in the next 40 days, after six separate continental qualifying competitions. Europe will have seven participants at the tournament (the hosts + 6 teams), Asia five, South and North America four teams each, Africa three, and Oceania one (Solomon Islands).

So, let the road to Lithuania begin…

We'll start with:

AFC (Asia) – 5 teams

The qualifying tournament for the FIFA FWC in Asia is the 2020 AFC Futsal Championship that will be held from 26th February to 8th March 2020 in the Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat.

16 teams will participate at the Asian Continental Championship, five out of which will qualify for the FWC. The best two teams from four groups will progress to the knockout stage in which all four semi-finalists will qualify to the FWC, and the losers in the quarterfinals will play their mini-tournament to secure the fifth place.

The biggest favorite for the title is Iran who won a bronze medal at the last FIFA FWC played in Colombia in 2016. Their biggest rivals at Asian competition will be Japan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Thailand and hosts Turkmenistan.

Futsal World Cup - Asia

Futsal World Cup - Asia

Futsal World Cup - Asia

Futsal World Cup - Asia

Futsal World Cup - Asia

CAF (Africa) – 3 teams

Just like in Asia, African qualifying tournament for the FWC will be their continental championship – 2020 Africa Futsal Cup of Nations which will be held between 28 January – 7 February in Morocco.

8 teams are separated into two groups, the top two from each will progress to the semi-finals and the three medal winners will qualify to the FWC.

The main favourites for reaching the Lithuania and clinching the African title are the defending champions and hosts Morocco, then three time champions Egypt and another northern state Libya.

Futsal World Cup - Africa

Futsal World Cup - Africa

Futsal World Cup - Africa

CONCACAF (Central, North America, and Caribbean) – 4 teams

Just like the previous two continents, North America's representatives at the FWC will be known after the continental CONCACAF Futsal Championship. Where and when? Unitl 23rd January 2020, we did not know – officially – the place and date of the tournament.  But CONCACAF finally posted it will take place in Guatemala City between 1-10 May.

“Furter details on the competition, including format, official draw and schedule will be announced at a later date“ CONCACAF's official website states but we know for certain that North America will have four participants at the FWC.

The biggest favorites to secure that place are two-time defending champion Costa Rica, hosts Guatemala, another two Carribean states in Cuba and Panama as well as the United States.

CONMEBOL – South America 4 teams

South America is the most dominant futsal continent in the World with six out of eight world titles (Brazil has five and Argentina one) and the only continent besides Europe that their FWC qualifying tournament is not incorporated into their Continental championship.

2020 FIFA FWC qualification for South America will be held between 1-9 Februrary in the Brazilian town of Carlos Barbosa. Ten teams will be divided intp two groups, the two best out of each group will progress to the knockout stage of the tournament and qualify for the 2020 FIFA WC.

Two biggest favorites to qualify are, of course, the defending champion Argentina and most trophy futsal country Brazil. For the other two spots, there will be a big fight between the other eight teams, among which Paraguay, Uruguay, and Colombia have the biggest chance to qualify.

Futsal World Cup - South America

Futsal World Cup - South America

UEFA (Europe) – 6 teams

Last but not least is Europe that already finished two qualification rounds that were played in 2019 and that came up with 16 best teams out of 48.

The Elite round will be held from 29th January to 5th February in four different cities (Pova de Varzim, Portugal; Niš, Serbia; Osijek, Croatia; Brno, Czech Republic). 16 teams are divided into four groups. The winners of all groups will qualify to the FWC, and 8 runner-up teams will play play-offs (9th and 12th April) after which we will know the last two participants to the FWC.

Favorites for directly reaching the finals are Portugal (European champions), Spain (European vice-champions), Russia (World vice-champions) and Kazakhstan.

Futsal World Cup - Europe

Futsal World Cup - Europe

Futsal World Cup - Europe

Futsal World Cup - Europe

Futsal World Cup - Europe

 

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