February 2, 2020 – The Croatia futsal team met Russia in Osijek on Saturday to determine which team would directly qualify for the 2020 World Cup.
The Croatia futsal team failed to defeat World Cup finalists Russia at the end of the qualifying tournament of the Elite Circuit in Osijek. With this win, Russia wins first place in the group and automatically qualifies for the tournament in Lithuania, while Croatia sits in second place and will compete in the playoffs.
Lima led Russia on Saturday with a goal in the seventh minute, though Bajrusovic returned in the 16th minute for 1:1. However, a new goal by Lima and a goal by L. Sutton gave Russia a two-goal advantage at halftime (3:1).
Matosevic made the match uncertain one more with a great long-range goal in the 33rd minute for 3:2, though Romulo made it 4:2 six minutes later.
Matosevic scored the final goal of the game for the final score of 4:3, as Croatia failed to equalize in the last thirty seconds.
Thus, with six points, Russia is first in the standings, with Croatia in second, ahead of Azerbaijan and Slovakia, who played 3:3 in the previous match.
Coach Stankovic will lead his team through the World Cup qualifiers in two games (April 9-12), against the second-placed team in Group D, which features Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Romania.
“Congratulations to Russia, we were beaten in an exciting match, and futsal won. We were cheered on by people from all over Croatia in Osijek, which shows that this sport has its place under the sun,” Stankovic said after the match.
“Our primary goal was the playoffs, we accomplished that, though there are some regrets because in front of the full hall at home, we could have avoided new qualifying matches. But we will prepare and do our best to qualify for the World Cup,” Stankovic concluded.
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