Futsal News: This Week in USFF Futsal
Futsal News for the week of October 2
Futsal has become a major sport and an integral part of the development of many national teams. The rapid-fire five-a-side game helps promote ball control and confidence in players and has helped produce such soccer masters as Pelé, Maradona, and Messi.
The game began in Uruguay in 1930 but got its greatest development in Brazil, according to United States Futsal Federation (USFF) CEO Alex Para. In 1989, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between FIFA and FIFUSA which incorporated the name “Futsal.” With this new column, SoccerNation News takes a look at what is happening in the world of Futsal.
This week’s news in Futsal comes from across the big pond as the UEFA Futsal Cup continued play over the week. Main Round competition concluded with some big names continuing to the Elite Round, to be played from November 12-20. On October 11 the Elite Round draw will take place to create the four section groupings, each containing four teams. In a separate draw the “host” teams will also be chosen, although being chosen as a host team will not affect rankings. The UEFA Futsal Cup finals will take place in April, 2012.
Reaching the Elite Round as top seeds and receiving byes are ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 (Italy), Sporting Clube de Portugal (Portugal), Kairat Almaty (Kazakhstan), and Araz Naxçivan (Azerbaijan). Each of the section groups will include one of the top seed teams. Based on their previous league records, UEFA Futsal Cup records, and UEFA Futsal Cup ranking, these four teams were advanced directly to the Elite Round.
Meanwhile, teams from such varied countries as Russia, Spain, Wales, Greece and Netherlands competed in the Preliminary Round. Of those, 24 continued to the Main Round with six groups of four teams playing three games each. Finally, the first and second place teams in each group moved on to the Elite Round.
In Group 1, Club Futsal Eindhoven (Netherlands) and MFK Dinamo Moskva (Russia) finished with identical 2-0-1 (W-D-L) records, with Eindhoven taking top spot on goal differential. This was perhaps the tightest group, with all four teams having a mathematical chance of advancing up to the final games. For Dinamo the second place finish marked another step in their attempt to return to the championship they won in 2007.
Group 2 saw a familiar name run roughshod over the competition. FC Barcelona, in its first major Futsal competition, went 3-0-0 and racked up 29 points against only 2 by their opponents in the group. The Spanish powerhouse had already clinched first in the group after two games. Győri ETO FC (Hungary) took the number two spot and was the only team in the group to score on Barça.
The Group 3 competition placed Iberia Star Tbilisi (Georgia) on the top spot on the strength of a 2-1-0 record. The only non-win came in the final game of the round against Slov-Matic Bratislava (Slovakia), the eventual second place team. Both teams had already advanced to the Elite Round before their game, with only placement to be decided. Iberia is the only team to have competed in every UEFA Futsal Cup.
In another close competition, Châtelineau Futsal (Belgium) beat out FK EP Chrudim (Czech Republic) by a single point to take the Group 4 top spot. Châtelineau had defeated Chrudim early in the round, but the Czech team came on strong to take the number two position in the group.
Group 5 saw Italian team Marca Futsal breeze through competition with a 3-0-0 record on 15 goals. Group host City'US Târgu Mureş (Romania) took second with a 2-0-1 record. The Romanian’s only loss came in the final game of the round to Marca.
Finally, in Group 6, Serbian hosts KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac were the third undefeated-untied team in Main Round competition. It marked the third straight time the Serbians had reached the Elite Round. Taking second in the group was Uragan Ivano-Frankovsk (Ukraine), whose only loss came against Ekonomac.
In the Elite Round matchups, two groups will contain a top seed, a main round group winner and two runners-up. The other two groups will feature a top seed, two main round group winners and one runner-up. No team will face an opponent from its original main round group.
Elite Round Teams
Top seeds (bye)
ASD Città di Montesilvano C/5 (ITA, holders)
Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)
Kairat Almaty (KAZ)
Araz Naxçivan (AZE)
Main round winners
Group 1: Club Futsal Eindhoven (NED)
Group 2: FC Barcelona (ESP)
Group 3: Iberia Star Tbilisi (GEO)
Group 4: Châtelineau Futsal (BEL)
Group 5: Marca Futsal (ITA)
Group 6: KMF Ekonomac Kragujevac (SRB)
Main round group runners-up
Group 1: MFK Dinamo Moskva (RUS)
Group 2: Győri ETO FC (HUN)
Group 3: Slov-Matic Bratislava (SVK)
Group 4: FK EP Chrudim (CZE)
Group 5: City'US Târgu Mureş (ROU)
Group 6: Uragan Ivano-Frankovsk (UKR)
For more information, visit the UEFA Futsal Cup News page or view the Main Round Standings
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