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Spain, Italy, Russia among qualifiers as main round ends

Italy, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Portugal, Spain, Kazakhstan and Russia joined hosts Slovenia in the finals by winning their main round groups while the eight play-off contenders are confirmed.

Spain celebrate qualifying
Spain celebrate qualifying ©UEFA.com

Holders Spain and former champions Italy and Russia are among seven UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 main round group winners to have booked their places in the finals alongside hosts Slovenia while the eight play-off contenders have also been confirmed.

Qualified: Slovenia (hosts), Italy, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Portugal, Spain (holders), Kazakhstan, Russia

• The seven group winners have joined the hosts in filling eight of the 12 available places in the finals from 30 January to 10 February 2018 at Arena Stožice, Ljubljana.

Play-offs: Georgia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Poland, Czech Republic, France

• The seven runners-up plus the best third-placed side (Poland) enter the play-offs on 10–13 and 24–27 September 2017. The winners of these four two-legged ties, drawn on 6 July, will complete the 12-team line-up for the finals.

Main round report
Group A

Qualified: Italy
Play-offs: Georgia

• Two-time winners Italy beat Belarus 2-1 and the Netherlands 4-2 to go through with a game to spare. Georgia had drawn their opening two matches 1-1 and came back from 2-0 down against Italy to finish 2-2 after a pair of Azzurri own goals. And that took Georgia, who came through the preliminary round, into the play-offs for the first time as former finalists Belarus and the Netherlands shared six goals.

Top goals from 2016

Group B
Qualified: Azerbaijan
Play-offs: Hungary

• Azerbaijan only just edged out Bosnia and Herzegovina 5-4 in their opener in Baku but then saw off Albania 5-0 and Hungary 6-1. Hungary's opening 4-3 win against Albania with a late Norbert Horváth goal proved pivotal to their coming second despite seeing a two-goal lead disappear when they drew 2-2 with Bosnia and Herzegovina, who were also held 6-6 by Albania.

Group C
Qualified: Ukraine
Play-offs: Croatia

• With Croatia and Ukraine both beating Montenegro and Belgium, it all came down to the final-day decider in Kyiv. Needing a victory due to their inferior goal difference, Ukraine fell behind to Franko Jelovčić but levelled through Mykola Bilotserkivets and Volodymyr Razuvanov won it with just over three minutes left.

Group D
Qualified: Portugal
Play-offs: Romania

• Portugal were made to work by Latvia in their curtain-raiser, coming from behind to win 2-1, before overcoming Finland 5-1 and Romania 4-0. The Finns had the heartbreak of conceding two goals in the last four seconds in drawing their opener with Romania, and in their last game they conceded two equalisers only to beat Latvia 4-3. However, Romania had defeated Latvia 3-1 to finish second on goal difference, and Finland then missed out on their other play-off chance to the best third-placed team Poland.

Watch: Spain win 2016 final

Group E
Qualified: Spain
Play-offs: Serbia, Poland

• Spain reclaimed the continental title in 2016 and will aim for an eighth title in 11 editions after dispatched Moldova 7-0 and Serbia 6-0 before drawing 1-1 with Poland. Serbia, semi-finalists at home in 2016, brushed aside Poland 4-0 and Moldova 7-3 to take second. As Poland, who last qualified in 2001, overcame Moldova 4-2, their draw with Spain was enough for them to pip Finland as best third-placed side and join Serbia in the play-offs.

Group F
Qualified: Kazakhstan
Play-offs: Czech Republic

• Kazakhstan earned bronze on their debut in 2016 and are heading for the finals after beating FYR Macedonia, Denmark and the Czech Republic without conceding a goal. The Czechs squeezed past Denmark 5-4 with just three seconds remaining and also defeated FYR Macedonia to earn a play-off.

Group G
Qualified: Russia
Play-offs: France

• Russia, runners-up in both UEFA Futsal EURO and the FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2016, were through with a game to spare after scalping France 5-0 and Slovakia 1-0. And after Russia defeated Turkey 4-0, preliminary round survivors France beat Slovakia 4-1 to reach the play-offs for the first time.