New Zealand drawn into tricky FIFA Futsal World Cup group!

New Zealand has been drawn in Group D alongside Spain, Kazakhstan and Libya at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2024.

Samarkand’s historic Registan Square provided a beautiful backdrop for the draw, which saw two-time champions Spain, world number eight Kazakhstan, 50th ranked Libya and World Cup debutants New Zealand drawn into the same group.

“I think it’s going to be a very exciting and competitive group,” said New Zealand player Hamish Grey.

“You have Spain, who have already won the World Cup twice; Kazakhstan, who have done very well historically; Libya, who are one of the strongest teams in Africa; and us, who are going to be adding a different dynamic to the group since it’s our first appearance at the World Cup. We know every game is going to be tough, but we’ll be as well-prepared as possible. We’re looking forward to getting stuck in,” Grey said.

World number three Spain are favourites to top the group, but Kazakhstan could challenge them having reached the semi-finals of the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup.

Libya returns to the World Cup stage for the first time since 2012, however, have yet to pick up a win at the tournament. New Zealand represents Oceania for the first time, taking over from the Solomon Islands, who represented the region at the last four tournaments.

Futsal Whites head coach Marvin Eakins is eager to continue his work with the team as they build towards the tournament.

“Three tough games but we are confident we can be competitive,” Eakins said.

“Spain are former world champions and will be a big test, Kazakhstan are a top ten team with some incredible players, and Libya are currently one of the best teams in Africa, but we have shown we can compete with sides at this level.

“We want to be playing against the best teams in the world and this is an incredible opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s ability on the global stage.”

Hosts Uzbekistan, Netherlands, Paraguay and Costa Rica will compete in one of the widest-open groups in FIFA Futsal World Cup history.

Record five-time champions Brazil went into a pool with Cuba, Croatia and fast-emerging Thailand. Afghanistan, who will appear in a FIFA competition for the first time since 1948, will face 2016 champions Argentina, Ukraine and Angola.

The tournament takes place between September 14 and October 6, 2024, in three host cities in Uzbekistan: Andijan, Bukhara and Tashkent.

The Futsal Whites earned qualification to the 2024 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Uzbekistan after a hard-fought 5-0 win over Tahiti in the final of the OFC Futsal Nations Cup 2023.

DRAW RESULT

Group A: Uzbekistan, Netherlands, Paraguay, Costa Rica
Group B: Brazil, Cuba, Croatia, Thailand
Group C: Argentina, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Angola
Group D: Spain, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Libya
Group E: Portugal, Panama, Tajikistan, Morocco
Group F: Iran, Venezuela, Guatemala, France

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