The road to UEFA Futsal EURO 2018 in Slovenia kicks off on Tuesday with the start of the preliminary round, debutants Germany and Kosovo among 26 nations vying to join the 21 top-ranked contenders in the main round of qualifying.
The preliminary round groups
Group A (24–27 January): Georgia (hosts), Switzerland, Israel, Scotland
Group B (26–29 January): Greece, Moldova, Wales (hosts), San Marino
Group C (26–29 January): Latvia (hosts), Armenia, Estonia, Germany
Group D (24–27 January): England, Bulgaria (hosts), Albania, Malta
Group E (30 January–2 February): Norway, Denmark, Cyprus (hosts), Kosovo
Group F (27–29 January): France, Andorra, Lithuania (hosts)
Group G (28–30 January): Sweden, Montenegro, Gibraltar (hosts)
What you need to know
• The seven group winners proceed to the main round of qualifying in April, for which the draw has already been made.
• Germany are entering for the first time, having made their international bow in October with two home friendlies against England, winning 5-3 and drawing 3-3.
• Kosovo also make their debut entry. They played six friendlies last year, winning against Finland and beating Turkey twice.
• Georgia and Switzerland met in the 2016 preliminary round and both were to progress.
• Denmark, France, Latvia and Armenia were also among those who got through two years ago, while Montenegro, England, Greece, Sweden and Norway as well as Georgia did so in 2014.
Main round draw: 3–12 April
Group 1: Italy, Netherlands, Belarus (hosts), Winner preliminary round Group A
Group 2: Azerbaijan (hosts), Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Winner preliminary round Group D
Group 3: Ukraine (hosts), Croatia, Belgium, Winner preliminary round Group G
Group 4: Portugal, Romania (hosts), Finland, Winner preliminary round Group C
Group 5: Spain (holders), Serbia, Poland (hosts), Winner preliminary round Group B
Group 6: Kazakhstan (hosts), Czech Republic, FYR Macedonia, Winner preliminary round Group E
Group 7: Russia, Slovakia, Turkey (hosts), Winner preliminary round Group F
• The seven main round group winners advance to join Slovenia in the final tournament. The seven runners-up plus the best third-placed side will enter the play-offs on 10–13 & 24–27 September 2017. The winners of the four two-legged ties will complete the 12-team line-up for the finals
• Finals: 30 January–10 February 2018 at Arena Stožice, Ljubljana
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