- Russia, Portugal and Spain return to the FIFA Futsal World Cup
- Trio reached the quarter-finals at the 2016 edition
- Three more global finals berths on the line in Europe
Three quarter-finalists from Colombia 2016, Russia, Portugal and Spain, have booked places at the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2020™ after securing first place in their respective UEFA Elite Round groups.
In Group C, the Russians beat Slovakia (7-1), lost to Azerbaijan (4-3) but bounced back with a 4-3 victory over Croatia, seizing the group’s top spot and with it, a place at the global finals.
Over in Group A Portugal went unbeaten, beginning with a win over Belarus (2-1), followed by a draw against group runners-up Finland (2-2) and then a decisive 4-1 triumph versus Italy to punch their World Cup ticket.
Spain defeated France and Ukraine by the same 3-1 scoreline before a resounding 5-1 victory over Serbia in Group B, which sealed the two-time Futsal World Cup winners’ ticket to Lithuania 2020.
One more Futsal World Cup berth will be won in Group D in the UEFA Elite Round.
Serbia will now face Finland in April’s play-off round to compete for a spot at Lithuania 2020.
Russia, Portugal and Spain join hosts Lithuania at the tournament. Five of the 24 teams competing at Lithuania 2020 have now been determined with Solomon Islands having booked their passage at the 2019 OFC Futsal Nations Cup.
Lithuania 2020 will mark Russia’s seventh Futsal World Cup, Portugal’s sixth and Spain’s ninth. Russia’s best finish came in the 2016 edition where they earned a silver medal after losing out to Argentina in the final. Semi-finalists in 2016, Portugal’s only superior performance came in 2000, when they finished in third place, while Spain were champions in 2000 and 2004.