England given 2022 UEFA Futsal EURO lifeline despite Moldova loss

Saturday 01 Feb 2020
Michael Skubala's side finished bottom of their group on goal difference but still went through to the play-offs

England's dream of qualifying for the UEFA Futsal EURO finals for the first time is still alive, even though they were beaten 3-0 by Moldova.

Michael Skubala's side went into the game knowing a victory would've secured a spot in the next round of qualifying, while a point would've at least guaranteed a spot in April's play-offs.

But Moldova, who sit five places higher than England in Futsal's world rankings, went ahead in only the fourth minute through Constantin Burdujel.

Subsequent goals from Cristian Obada and skipper Sergiu Tacot in the 16th and 18th minutes respectively left the Futsal Lions facing a tough task if they were to avoid finishing bottom of group H.

Despite a flurry of chances, with Nathan Davis and Liam Palfreeman going close, and a senior debut for Jared Rand, England were beaten and consigned to last place by virtue of having scored a goal less than Israel, who Skubala's side drew 1-1 with on Friday.

However it transpired that a single point was enough to leave the Futsal Lions second in the table of third-placed sides, securing one of five places in the play-offs along with the nine teams that finished second.

The draw for the play-offs will take place at UEFA's Nyon headquarters on Friday 13 February, with the two-legged match being played in April.

England team: 1 Mark Croft, 8 Liam Palfreeman, 9 Raoni Medina (c), 10 James Webb, 14 William Gay

Substitutes: 13 Joseph Payne, 2 Russell Goldstein, 4 Doug Reed, 5 Nathan Davis, 6 Jordan Deer, 11 Richard Ward, 16 Matthew Overton, 18 Jared Rand, 19 Jordan Edge

Watch back the full game here, courtesy of the Moldovan Football Federation:

By Jim Lucas