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Tiago Polido predicts Futsal World Cup Qualifiers!

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Who will qualify to the Futsal World Cup: The gap between the favorite teams and the rest is becoming smaller

The Elite round of the European qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2020 starts today, with two matches in Group C that are played in Osijek, Croatia. AT 5 pm (CET) Russia will play against Slovakia and at 8 pm (CET) hosts Croatia will play against Azerbaijan.

Before the beginning of the globally most interesting qualifiers, we asked Portuguese coach Tiago Polido to give us predictions for all four groups and his opinion who will reach Lithuania and who are the “dark horses” of the qualifications.

“The adhesion of new countries and the quantitative growth in the number of practitioners in others, has led to a greater bet by the federations both in the organization of their internal championships and in the investment they make in their selections”, Tiago starts and continues:

The gap between the favorite teams and the rest is becoming smaller. In this way, there is a greater balance when it comes to the last phase (Elite Round) of qualification of the European teams to the next 2020 Futsal World Cup”.

“We cannot forget the pronouncement that victory of Argentina provoked in the last World Cup, until then only shared by Brazil and Spain. Uncertainty and balance will increasingly be the dominant note, and we can already see some surprises in this qualifying phase”.

Tiago Polido futsal


GROUP A

Portugal and Italy start as favorites, with Portugal playing at home having a greater chance of qualifying directly. Portugal was reunited with his great Pivot (Cardinal), he counts on the magic of the best player in the world (Ricardinho) and also with the confidence of a group that was crowned European Champion.

Portugal was reunited with his great Pivot (Cardinal), he counts on the magic of the best player in the world (Ricardinho) and also with the confidence of a group that was crowned European Champion.

They are competent team at all times of the game.  Italy, on the other hand, comes from a change in the technical command (Alessio Musti) which will certainly bring new variables to the equation. Historically, they are a team that bases its strength on the defensive phase, with experienced players that have Stefano Mammarella (goalkeeper) and Alex Merlim (forward) as prominent figures. 

As outsiders, we have the always competitive Belarus, strong physically and defensively, and Finland that has grown a lot since the arrival of Mićo Martić, bringing organization in all phases of the game and that can complicate the accounts for any of the favorites.

 

GROUP B

The balanced group with a natural ascendant for Spain (historical favorite) and any of the other three teams can complicate the qualifying accounts until the last second.

Spain that despite its technical change (Fede Vidal) has continued to demonstrate competence and ability (they are very strong in defense and set pieces), making the team-play its greatest weapon, leading them to believe that with more or less difficulty they will overcome this difficult group. Serbia (hosts) and Ukraine are two teams from the east, strong from the physical point of view, with Serbia more technically evolved and Ukraine more compact defensively.

France could be an outsider for the less attentive, but that in recent years has grown and invested a lot in futsal...

However, both of them are very experienced in this type of competition and can get a place in the Play-off. Finally, France could be an outsider for the less attentive, but that in recent years has grown and invested a lot in futsal. They have some very good players technically and have already demonstrated against big teams with whom they played equally until the end. France may also reach a prominent place.   

 

GROUP C

Historically Russia and Azerbaijan will be the favorites. However, Croatia playing at home will also have a say. Russia (Vice world champion) will have the obligation to qualify first in the group. Experienced team, physically strong and with a direct pivot game, they hardly fail in these moments. 

Azerbaijan will always be an unknown factor due to the number of naturalized players it can present. Even so, the recent past shows that they have the quality to discuss the 1st or 2nd place of qualification. 

Croatia playing at home is always fearsome and they will be able to surprise...

Croatia playing at home is always fearsome and they will be able to surprise, with physically good players, technically advanced and have some players already with experience abroad, however, one of their biggest stars (Dario Marinovic) will not play due to injury. As for Slovakia, I think it will be the team with fewer options to advance to the next stage.   

 

GROUP D

In this group, Kazakhstan is named as a favorite by the recent history of the latest international competitions. Even so, I would risk saying that anything can happen.

Slovenia, which had good participation in the last Euro, will have to measure their strengths with teams with similar strength...

They have as a reference the goalkeeper Higuita (Power Play Game) and also presents plenty of naturalized players, so they leave favorites. Slovenia, which had good participation in the last Euro, will have to measure their strengths with teams with similar strength, such as Romania, which also has some naturalized players or the Czech Republic who plays at home and can take advantage of that factor.

 

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