The squad has been named for England's first ever Futsal World Cup qualifiers in Hungary.
History will be made on Thursday as England take on Poland in the Hungarian city of Gyöngyös in their opening game for qualification for the 2008 FIFA Futsal World Cup.
This will be England’s first ever FIFA Futsal World Cup fixture, with Futsal being so new to the nation but as twelve European nations rank in the World top twenty, expectations will not be high for Graeme Dell’s team. Across the qualification groups, there will be 38 teams vying for just five UEFA European qualification places for November’s Finals in Brazil.
In confirming his squad today, National Coach Graeme Dell is looking to build upon the bruising yet valuable experience recently gained in Kuala Lumpur at the World 5’s and the major strides made forward at the end of last year, although he remains realistic about England’s task.
“This is an historical game in terms of The FA’s England teams, but for us it’s a case of experience on the big stage rather than qualification, as we’re still a long way off competing with the experienced developed nations.
“We weren’t able to re-create the performances from the end of last year while we were in Malaysia recently and that was a disappointment for us all. But with my determination to see us make progress with a more settled group of players, I am hopeful we can achieve some solidity and consistency in our performances.”
Dell’s luck with player availability could have been better for this week’s challenge and the squad includes three new call-ups. Kieran Wilson, who has been playing his football in the USA at USL pro' team Wilmington Hammerheads, and Craig Dean who comes to the group with previous Futsal experience from his time playing for FC Ostersund in Sweden, could both earn their first caps under Dell.
In naming the squad Dell said: “It’s still alarming to me that we’re struggling to find good technicians at the levels we are selecting from at the moment, but these three players are excellent passers of the ball. They deserve this call-up and I am hopeful that they can contribute to us playing with better ball retention this week, which is key in Futsal.”
England will open against Poland on Thursday, followed by hosts Hungary on Friday evening and then culminating in their final group game against Macedonia on Sunday night.
England are the lowest ranked team in this qualification group, where realistically any of the other three nations could win the group, although hosts Hungary should demonstrate their ranking superiority.
The ten Group winners will move to the next qualification stage later in March to determine the five UEFA nations to participate in Brazil in November.
England Futsal Squad