England discover their Futsal World Cup fate

Friday 03 Jul 2015
England Futsal team will travel to Israel for their qualifiers
England's Futsal team discovered their FIFA World Cup qualifying opponents after the draw took place in Switzerland on Thursday evening.

The Three Lions were drawn in Group E for the preliminary round of qualifiers, where they will face hosts Israel, Denmark and Wales between Thursday 22  and Sunday 25 October.

The winner of the group will progress into the main round in December, when they will take on Hungary, Belgium and Ukraine. The top two from this group will then go on to the World Cup play-offs.

England have never qualified from the preliminary round in their history, but The FA’s head of Futsal, Simon Walker, says they will be striving to change that this year.

"We are pleased with the group that we’ve drawn and know that as long as we play to our potential we have a good chance of winning the group and qualifying to the main round, which is what all the squad will be striving for over the coming months," he told TheFA.com.

"It’s important that we don’t get too carried away - this is still a very challenging and difficult group. Israel may not play international matches too frequently, but they are still ranked one place above us in the rankings and beat us relatively comfortably the last time we played them.  Playing Israel in front of a partisan home crowd will not be easy."

He continued: "We also have a lot of respect for Denmark. We have played them three times in recent years and have beaten them twice and lost heavily once.  They have some talented players that can cause us some real problems if we are not careful.

"And we know the Wales team very well. They are a very tight, well-organised group of players who won’t be going to Israel to make-up the numbers.

Baku United celebrate winning the national Futsal title at St. George

Baku United celebrate winning the national Futsal title at St. George's Park.

"They will be aiming to top the group themselves, and if they can beat us on the way then that’s an added incentive for them. Of course we will be confident of our chances, but we know the challenges we face in this group and we will be going to Israel with our eyes wide open.  Qualification to the Main Round will not be an easy task, but it is achievable for our group of players."

Plans are still being finalised for England’s autumn friendly fixtures in the build-up to their qualification campaign, with matches due to be announced within the next few weeks.

The UEFA Futsal Cup draw followed its World Cup equivalent, and English champions Baku United London received a favourable draw in the Main Round. Baku who reached the Elite Round last season, have high hopes of surpassing their lofty achievements and their summer signings indicate that they are backing their ambition with some significant investment.

They will travel to Hungary at the end of September to face Hungarian champions FC Gyor, the Belarus champions LSM Lida and the winners of Preliminary Group C, which looks likely to be the Croatian champions MNK Nacional Zagreb.

The autumn should be an exciting period of international futsal for both England and Baku Utd London, with both club and country having a strong chance of success.

By FA Staff