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UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 Group A preview
Monday, 20 January 2014 01:30
futsalwireHosts Belgium have not won a game in their last three finals appearances but hope to put that right in Antwerp in a well-balanced group involving Romania and Ukraine.

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Hosts Belgium have not won a game in their last three finals appearances but hope to put that right in Antwerp in a well-balanced group involving Romania and Ukraine.

Belgium (hosts)Belgium last qualified in 2010 in Hungary and departed with two losses, having also failed to win on their previous appearances in 1999 and 2003.

Coach Alain Dophie took over after the 2010 finals and guided his side through a tough friendly programme, their results including two losses to Romania last February.Best performance: third place 1996Key players:Karim Chaibai, Andr VanderleiAlain Dopchie, coach: "We have started with a new generation in the two to three years since I've been coach.

We gave youth a chance.

I think from the tournament in Hungary there must be four or five surviving players.

So it will be a good mix with the new generation who will have the chance to play at a good level, and the older lads who are there to help and steer them in the right direction."UkraineTwo-time UEFA European Futsal Championship runners-up, and quarter-finalists in 2010 and 2012, Ukraine are in their first tournament without the coach who set the team up in 1994 and masterminded their rise to world-class status: Gennadiy Lysenchuk.

New boss Yevgen Ryvkin also manages national champions Lokomotiv Kharkiv, who supply the bulk of the squad, though they only just got through a play-off to keep up their record of qualifying for every tournament since the 2000 FIFA Futsal World Cup.Best performance: runners-up 2001, 2003QualifyingMain round: England 7-0, Slovenia 3-8, Turkey 4-2 (Group 7 runners-up)Play-offs: Hungary 2-1(h), 4-5(a), agg: 6-6 (Ukraine win on away goals)Key players: Denys Ovsyannikov, Valeriy Legchanov, Dmytro SorokinYevgen Ryvkin, coach: "For any player, a tournament of this calibre is the pinnacle.

So it is natural not to be complacent after making it to the finals, but instead to strive to climb higher even if you have to struggle with the circumstances or even yourself."RomaniaRomania were latecomers to the game, the national team being founded in 2003, but within three years they had qualified for their first UEFA European Futsal Championship.

This time they pipped another side that got to the 2012 quarter-finals, Serbia, despite the departure just before the play-offs of coach Sito Rivera; long-serving assistant Nelu Stancea taking the helm.Best performance: quarter-finals 2012Qualifying Main round: Latvia 6-2, Russia 1-2, Kazakhstan 1-1 (Group 3 runners-up)Play-offs: Serbia 2-1(h), 7-2(a), agg: 9-3Key players: Florin Robert Matei, Robert Lupu, Cosmin GhermanNelu Stancea, coach: "Our group isn't as difficult as it could have been.

I hope we will put on a good performance and make it out of the group stage."