England created their own little piece of history as they and four other teams – Georgia, Greece, Montenegro and Norway − booked their places in the UEFA Futsal EURO 2014 main round.
Having held firm on Friday to defeat mini-tournament hosts Lithuania 4-3, despite the late dismissals of Samuel Murphy and Stuart Cook, England kicked off against Cyprus knowing another Group C victory would mean they progress through a round in this competition for the first time.
Two first-half goals from Guillermo Wallace ensured they achieved that notable feat, meaning their opponents, who replied through Kostas Christodoulou, face Lithuania on Sunday with only pride to play for in the preliminary round's sole remaining fixture.
Norway triumphed in the first of Saturday's two winner-takes-all encounters, beating debutants Denmark 3-1. Esten Saether's charges were three goals to the good − through Cato Valøy, Mustapha Achrifi and Abdurahim Lajaab – before Jacob Bonde Jensen replied.
Leading Montenegro 1-0 with home-court advantage, France were six minutes from advancing themselves until Bojan Bajović dashed Les Bleus' hopes with a strike which eliminated them on goal difference. In the other game in the section, a hat-trick from Liam Clarke helped newcomers Gibraltar prevail 7-5 over San Marino, their maiden win in any form since being admitted as a provisional member of UEFA last October.
Needing to avoid defeat against Bulgaria to seal their place in the next stage, Greece ran out 5-1 winners in Blagoevgrad in a Group D match that was level until the 31st minute. Moldova required a 10-0 win or greater against Malta in the final fixture in Group B to pip Georgia. Consequently, their 4-1 success was not enough.
Sweden, who on Thursday became the first country to advance from the preliminary round, finished with a 2-0 defeat of Estonia, meaning they – along with England, Greece and Norway – go forth with maximum points. All of Saturday's scores can be viewed here.
Main round draw
Group 1: Italy*, Hungary, Finland, Montenegro
Group 2: Azerbaijan, Slovakia*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Norway
Group 3: Russia, Romania, Kazakhstan, Latvia*
Group 4: Spain*, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Sweden
Group 5: Portugal, Serbia*, Poland, Greece
Group 6: Czech Republic, Belarus, Netherlands*, Georgia
Group 7: Ukraine, Slovenia, Turkey*, England
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