Futsal Home Nations 2018: A Quick Guide

The 2018 Home Nations gets under way this Friday in Northern Ireland and Pivotal Sport have cobbled together all you need to know in a quick guide.

Who?

The four UK nations (Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales) face each other with England the reigning champions.

What?

This is the third Home Nations tournament but the first held in Northern Ireland. Last year’s competition took place at the Oriam Centre in Edinburgh while the 2016 version was in Wales.

Why?

With the sport developing in each country, the Home Nations provides a vital chance to play competitive fixtures outside of Uefa European Championships qualifying.

When?

The competition kicks off on Friday afternoon as England face Wales (4pm ko) before Scotland take on hosts Northern Ireland in front of the home crowd (7.30pm ko).

On Saturday, Scotland play England (2.30pm) before the Northern Ireland come up against Wales (6pm)

The tournament wraps up on Sunday with Scotland against Wales (12pm) before Northern Ireland face England (3.30pm)

Where?

Newry Leisure Centre, Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland.

History

England romped to victory in 2017 with 5-0, 5-1 and 3-0 wins over Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales respectively and go into this competition as favourites.

The Welsh won on home soil in 2016 before finishing second last year with four points while Scotland have come third and Northern Ireland fourth in each edition so far.

World Rankings

England 49th, Wales 79th, Scotland 90th, Northern Ireland 98th.

What is futsal?

Futsal is an indoor sport with similarities to football, though played with a smaller, harder, low-bounce ball. Teams are made up of four outfield players and a goalkeeper while substitutions are unlimited during the two periods of 20 minutes. The clock stops when the ball goes dead and players have a maximum of four seconds to play from dead-ball situations. Goalkeepers have the same amount of time to play the ball in their own half.