Austria the favourites for Under-21 Euro Indoor title

Lisbon, Portugal and Puconci, Slovenia herald the new year of European indoor action with the Under-21 Championships getting under way on Friday.

In the top tier, Austria head up Pool A – which also features Belarus, Switzerland and Croatia – and will be looking to defend the title they won in 2015.

They showed they will be one to watch with a 10-3 win over hosts Portugal with goals from Lukas Glaser, Florian Steyrer, Oliver Binder, Florian Unterkircher, Lucas Loser and Jan Abel all scoring.

Speaking about the challenge ahead, Steyrer said: “We were very good in the match and had a couple of nice combinations, but it did not work to 100%. We are on the right track and looking forward to starting the competition."

In Pool B, Poland, Russia, Portugal and the Czech Republic will battle it out.

For the hosts Portugal, captain Nicolas Wenzel said: "It's always great to represent our country and doing it at the highest level is what every player aims for.

“We obviously had to train hard to maintain our competitiveness, like in the last European Championships in Torun, Poland when we just managed to stay in the Championship division."

"Well every team in this Division is going to be a tough opponent, but I'm probably going to go for Austria, as they've always had great sides and won the last Euros"

Championship II takes place in Puconci with Turkey, Norway, Ukraine, Wales, Slovenia, Slovakia and Italy battling it out for the title with two promotional spots on offer.

** Live streaming from Portugal can be seen here: