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U.S. Futsal Drops Second Stage Opener 2-1 to Argentina at FIFA Futsal World Championship

First-Half Defensive Miscues Cost the U.S.
Match Broadcast at 4 p.m. ET/3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. PT on Galavision
Action Resumes on Monday at 8 p.m. local/7 a.m. ET

TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan (Sunday, November 28, 2004) – The U.S. controlled possession for most of the match, but Argentina was able to capitalize on two defensive mistakes in the first half to defeat the U.S. 2-1 in the first match of the second stage of the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004 on Sunday night.

In front of a packed house in National Taiwan University’s New Gymnasium, Argentina scored in the fifth minute as Diego Giustozzi found space on the left side of the U.S. defense and rocketed an uncontested 13-yard shot past a helpless Brett Phillips. Just seconds before halftime, the U.S. conceded their sixth foul and Argentina’s Fernando Wilhelm’s 10-meter penalty shot found the same upper corner as the first Argentina goal.

The U.S. held the greater possession – 64 percent to 36 percent according to the FIFA statistics, and also out-shot Argentina by one. But the Argentina defense would not break until the end, when Johnny Torres pulled the U.S. to within one with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.

“We felt that we could play with Argentina,” U.S. head coach Keith Tozer said.” We gave up an early goal for the first time in the tournament. That came early, and it gets you back on your heels a little bit. The biggest one was at the end of the first half. We were on five fouls, we tried to take a guy on the flank, we lose the ball and we foul, and they come back and score the 10-meter. Instead of coming into halftime 1-0 down, we are looking at a 2-0 deficit.”

The U.S. found themselves down in an 0-2 hole going into the locker room at halftime. After two shots in the first five minutes hit off Brett Phillips right post, Argentina found the score sheet in the fifth minute. The U.S. defense failed to rotate, and Giustozzi found himself in space on the right wing. He took a touch forward as Pat White tried to close, and drilled an eight-meter rocket into the upper right corner for his first goal of the tournament.

After the goal, the U.S. settled a bit and was content to knock the ball around in the back while looking for the target forwards to get in and play the ball. The U.S. forwards, particularly Todd Dusosky and Lee Tschantret, were roughed up in the first half with the officials letting the teams play a bit. The U.S. did get off eight shots, but the only two balls that Javier Guisande had to save were slow rollers that he picked up at his feet.

The U.S. was less than 30 seconds away from going into the locker room down just one at halftime, but the physical play caught up with them. Jamar Beasley tried to run around his defender in the U.S. attacking third with approximately 30 seconds to play, but was whistled for a foul when he tried to run through his defenders shoulder challenge. This was the sixth foul on the U.S., so the ball was brought all the way from the U.S. attacking third to the 10-meter spot. Wilhelm, who scored three consecutive 10-meter goals vs. Iran in Argentina’s final group match, stepped up drilling his shot into the upper right hand corner of the net. The U.S. staff had scouted Wilhelm, who took each of his 10-meter shots to the goalkeeper’s right. As instructed, Phillips guessed to his right as the shot went high into the opposite corner –  unsavable unless he had guessed correctly.

In the second half, the U.S. continued to control the run of play, but the Argentina defense took away the center of the field and left the U.S. unable to penetrate. The first U.S. chance came six minutes in as Torres went on a dribbling run up the left side. His cross from the corner was just off stride for John Ball who ran forward into the area.

In the 32nd minute, Beasley almost atoned for his previous mistake as he found himself in alone against Guisande. The Argentine goalkeeper came off his line to make a good save on a shot from point-blank range.

With just under three minutes to play, the U.S had two of their best chances of the night. On the first, Ball played the ball over the top to Lee Tschantret who had beaten the last defender and chose to one-time the ball with the outside of his foot, but the ball popped right to the goalkeeper. Just seconds later, Beasley fed an unmarked Tschantret on the left side of the area, but Guisande again comes across to make the big save.

“I think we made good adjustments,” Tozer said. “They were taking away the middle. We made some adjustments and started getting some opportunities, but it just wasn’t going in for us. We decided to pull the goalkeeper to score a couple of goals, but we only got one.”

With Ball on as the fifth attacker with just more than two minutes to play, the U.S. was able to get a few chances put together. Argentina, in turn, was able to counter attack and Ball retreated to make a pair of saves and Sean Bowers had a sliding block to keep the goal difference close. With 17 seconds to play, Argentina played a long ball that Tschantret headed to his right. As the ball rolled into the Argentina half on the right side, Torres ran onto the ball and struck a low laser that beat Guisande and drew the U.S. to within one with this third goal of the tournament. Argentina cleared the ball one last time after the restart and walked away with the victory.

“Our goal was to get to 2-1 no matter how long it took,” Tozer said. “We felt that if we opened up kind of early and gave up a bad goal 3-0 would be a huge mountain to climb. We felt that we had most of the play during the second half. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t at least tie it at the end.”

Brazil leads the group after a 6-0 victory over Ukraine prior to the U.S. match at the NTU New Gymnasium. Falcao, who leads the tournament with 11 goals and is odds-on favorite to win both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe as the Most Outstanding Player and Leading Scorer at the tournament, had a hat trick for Brazil just four minutes into the second half.

In the other second stage group, Spain topped the Czech Republic 2-0 and Italy and Portugal played to the first 0-0 draw in the history of the tournament. Italy is expected to start their No. 2 goalkeeper after the hefty Gianfranco Angelini hurt his ankle in the first half of the Portugal match.

The United States gets right back on the floor at the National Taiwan University New Gymnasium on Monday night with an 8 p.m. match vs. Ukraine, who were 6-0 losers to Brazil on Sunday. It will be the first meeting vs. the two nations. The Ukraine advanced to the second stage by finishing as runners up in Group A to Spain. Ukraine, who finished second at the 2003 European Championship, qualified by beating Belarus 7-2 in a two-leg playoff series.

“They lost tonight, we lost tonight. It’s win or go home,” Tozer said of facing Ukraine on no rest. “They are going to come out to play. We are both very good teams. I feel that if take care of some of the situations from tonight and build on some of the good from tonight.

“They are quite dangerous. I know that 6-0 shocked them a little bit so they will come out with some vigor and fight, as we will. It’s going to be a game that everyone should come to see.”

- U.S. National Futsal Team Game Report -

Participants:  U.S. National Futsal Team vs. Argentina
Competition: FIFA Futsal World Championship 2004, Second Group Stage
Location: National Taiwan University New Gymnasium; Taipei City, Taiwan
Date: November 28, 2004
Attendance: 1,900

Scoring Summary:
                        1st     2nd     Final
Argentina 2 0 2 
United States 0 1 1

ARG – Diego Giustozzi   5th minute
ARG – Fernando Wilmelm (2p)  20.  
USA – Johnny Torres (Lee Tschantret) 40.

USA – 12-Brett Phillips, 5-Todd Dusosky, 6-Sean Bowers-C, 8-Johnny Torres, 10-John Ball
Subs Used: 3-Lee Tschantret, 7-Pat White, 2-Andy Guastaferro, 4-Jamar Beasley, 13-Joel Shanker, 14-Pat Morris
Did Not Play: 1-Scott Hileman
Not Available: 9-Greg Howes, 11-Steve Butcher
Head Coach: Keith Tozer

ARG – 1-Javier Guisande, 2-Leandro Planas, 5-Carlos Sanchez, 8-Hernan Garcias, 11-Esteban Gonzalez
Subs Used: 4-Diego Giustozzi, 6-Gustavo Barbona, 7-Fernando Wilhelm, 9-Rodrigo Petillo, 10-Marcelo Gimenez, 14-Cristian Bresciani
Did Not Play: 12-Fernando Poggi, 13-Pablo Ranieri
Not Available: 3-Martin Enriquez,
Head Coach: Fernando Larrañaga

Stats Summary
Shots 20 19
SOG 9 6
Corners 5 6 
Fouls 6/3 4/1
Saves 5 7

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Joel Shanker (caution) 10th minute
USA – Johnny Torres (caution) 30.

Match Officials:
Referee: Robert Porritt (AUS)
Second Referee: Massimo Cumbo (ITA)
Third Referee:  Adel Alshatti (KUW)
Timekeeper: Yaya Djiba (SEN)

Group E Standings
ESP 1 1 0 0 3 2 0 +2
ITA 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
POR 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
CZE 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 -2

Group F Standings
BRA 1 1 0 0 3 6 0 +6
ARG 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 +1
USA 1 0 1 0 0 1 2 -1
UKR 1 0 1 0 0 0 6 -6

Date Match    Venue; City    Local/ET
Nov. 28 Brazil 6, Ukraine 0  National Taiwan University; Taipei City 
Nov. 28 Argentina 2, United States 1 National Taiwan University; Taipei City 
Nov. 28 Spain 2, Czech Rep. 0  Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 
Nov. 28 Italy 0, Portugal 0  Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 
Nov. 29 Brazil vs. Argentina  National Taiwan University; Taipei City 6 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Nov. 29 Ukraine vs. United States National Taiwan University; Taipei City 8 p.m. / 7 a.m.
Nov. 29 Spain vs. Italy   Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 6 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Nov. 29 Czech Rep. vs. Portugal  Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 8 p.m. / 7 a.m.
Dec. 1  Brazil vs. United States  National Taiwan University; Taipei City 6 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Dec. 1  Ukraine vs. Argentina   Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 6 p.m. / 5 a.m.
Dec. 1  Spain vs. Portugal  Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 8 p.m. / 7 a.m.
Dec. 1  Czech Rep. vs. Italy  National Taiwan University; Taipei City 8 p.m. / 7 a.m.