Russia v Spain: a futsal rivalry renewed

Saturday's final will be the 21st meeting between Russia and Spain, many of them also on the biggest stages. UEFA.com picks out six of their most significant encounters.

Russia and Spain line up before the first final in 1996
Russia and Spain line up before the first final in 1996 ©UEFA.com

Saturday's UEFA Futsal EURO final will be the 21st meeting between Russia and Spain, many of them also on the biggest stages. UEFA.com picks out six of their most significant encounters.

1992 FIFA Futsal World Cup group stage, Spain 7-7 Russia, Kowloon
The teams first faced off in Hong Kong in the tournament at which Spain came of age in futsal terms. In the last match of a tight group, Spain were a point ahead at kick-off and led 2-0 and 3-1 before three goals from the great Konstantin Eremenko edged Russia in front. Spain then responded with four goals but Eremenko was to get a second hat-trick, including two goals in the space of two seconds, to equalise. However, Spain would win the group and eventually make the semi-finals; Russia were pipped to qualification by the United States. Just 226 people watched the game; crowds were to grow somewhat for future tussles.

1996 UEFA Futsal EURO final, Spain 5-3 Russia, Cordoba
The final of the experimental first European tournament was contested by the two nations that were to become its historically strongest selections. Russia cancelled out a Spanish advantage in the 20th minute only for Paulo Roberto to score before half-time. Eremenko equalised and later pulled the match back to 4-3 but he was subsequently sent off and Vicentín sealed the title for Spain.

©UEFA

1999 UEFA Futsal EURO final, Russia 3-3 Spain (aet, Russia win 4-2 on pens), Granada
A 7,500 crowd watched another titanic struggle between these countries as Spain led once and Russia twice – the scoreline going from 1-1 to 3-3 between the 33rd and 35th minutes. Eventually penalties were required and the winning kick was converted by Eremenko, giving the 'Tsar' the major honour his goalscoring prowess deserved.

2005 UEFA Futsal EURO final, Spain 2-1 Russia, Ostrava
Spain exacted revenge on Russia with a 2-1 victory in the 2001 semi-finals in Moscow and they met again for the title four years on. Andreu broke through on nine minutes after a set piece and early in the second half Alberto Cogorro pounced on the rebound after Kike hit the crossbar. Konstantin Douchkevitch cut the deficit but Spain were deserved winners, Kike even rattling the woodwork again.

©Getty Images

2012 UEFA Futsal EURO final, Russia 1-3 Spain (aet), Zagreb
Spain suffered a scare against Russia in 2010, prevailing only on penalties in the quarter-finals after a 0-0 draw, and two years later they had the chance of a fourth straight title. It seemed, though, that the crown would be Russia's when Pula struck on 33 minutes. Cirilo was then sent off yet Russia survived those two minutes, only for Sergio Lozano to level with a deflected shot 34 seconds from time. Spain dominated extra time and with three minutes left Lozano scored again before Borja fired into an unguarded net as the buzzer went.

2014 UEFA Futsal EURO semi-final, Russia 4-3 Spain (aet), Antwerp
Could anyone stop Spain lifting a fifth straight title and continuing a reign begun in 2005 in Ostrava? Yes was the answer. In yet another game where the lead kept changing hands, the score going from 1-1 to 3-2 to Russia in a 40-second spell, flying goalkeeper Miguelín forced extra time but – with just over a minute remaining – Eder Lima set up the excellent Robinho to end Spain's nine-year supremacy. It was Russia's first success against Spain without needing penalties in their 20 meetings.

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