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U.S. Futsal National Team Set to Kick off World Cup Campaign Against Paraguay at 11:30 a.m. ET, Tuesday, Sept. 30


THE TOURNAMENT BEGINS: The U.S. Futsal National Team kicks off the 2008 FIFA Futsal World Cup against Paraguay on Sept. 30 at the Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Kickoff for the Group B clash is slated for 11:30 a.m. ET, and the match can be followed live on the MNT Blog. Galavision will be airing the game on tape delay, with coverage starting at 12:30 a.m. ET/PT on Oct. 1.

QUICK HITS:

  • Twelve players are eligible to dress for the United States in the game against Paraguay, meaning two players of the 14-man roster will be inactive.
  • Midfielder Andy Rosenband is ineligible for the first FIFA Futsal World Cup game against Paraguay, having been red carded in the USA's last competitive international game against Panama in the CONCACAF Championship's third-place match.
  • In its four previous visits to the FIFA Futsal World Cup, the U.S. has played 25 matches all-time, going 12-9-4. See below for more U.S. FIFA Futsal World Cup history.
  • The U.S. has averaged 1.6 points per game in the FIFA Futsal World Cup, good for fifth best all time. Brazil, with 2.58 points per game, earns the highest return every match.
  • The U.S. is 4-1-2 in 2008, with its only loss coming against Guatemala in the CONCACAF Futsal Championship semifinals in June.
  • The U.S. has scored 25 goals this year, while conceding 16. Defender Matt Stewart is the USA's leading scorer with six goals to his credit.
  • Defender Pat Morris and midfielder Jamar Beasley have each had two goal games in 2008, with Beasley netting twice against Japan on Sept. 14. Morris' brace came against Panama in the third place game of CONCACAF qualifying, but the feat was slightly upstaged by Matt Stewart's hat trick in the match.
  • Stewart's three goals in the match marked the 11th time that a U.S. player has notched a hat trick in international play.
  • Two players on the U.S. roster, Beasley and Morris, have prior FIFA Futsal World Cup experience as members of the team that competed in Chinese Taipei in 2004.
  • Unsurprisingly, both Beasley and Morris are far and away the cap leaders on the FIFA Futsal World Cup squad. Morris has 25 caps while Beasley is just behind him with 23. Sean Bowers is the U.S. Futsal National Team's all-time cap leader, having played 35 times for the national team between 1996 and 2004.
  • Morris has the most international goals of any player on the U.S. team. His 12 tallies are good for second all-time behind Jim Gabarra's 17 goals.
  • The Philadelphia KiXX, Chicago Storm and Milwaukee Wave each have three representatives on the U.S. World Cup team, while the Detroit Ignition sends two players to Brazil. Denison Cabral, who was MVP of the 2008 MISL Championship Match, is the sole representative from the MISL Champion Baltimore Blast.
  • Head coach Keith Tozer has helmed the U.S. Futsal National Team for more than thirteen years, the longest streak of any current U.S. Soccer head coach.
  • In the history of the FIFA Futsal World Cup, only two nations have ever won the title: Brazil in 1989, 1992 and 1996, and Spain in 2000 and 2004.
  • Despite the sport's popularity in Brazil, the samba nation has never hosted the FIFA Futsal World Cup. The previous hosts: The Netherlands (1989), Hong Kong (1992), Spain (1996), Guatemala (2000), Chinese Taipei (2004).
  • The average number of goals scored in each match at the FIFA Futsal World Cup is 6.78,more than twice as high than the average at the FIFA World Cup between 1930 and 2006.
  • The 2008 tournament will mark head coach Keith Tozer's second FIFA Futsal World Cup. His predecessor, John Kowalski, coached in the 1989, 1992, and 1996 World Cup. Javier Lozano, the former coach of Spain, has coached in a record four tournaments.
  • To date, 35 teams have participated in the FIFA Futsal World Cup. The 2008 edition of the tournament features two newcomers: Libya and Solomon Islands.
  • Exactly 200 matches have been played in the FIFA Futsal World Cup, with the 2004 Final between Spain and Brazil providing the bicentennial mark. The U.S. played the 100th match of the FIFA Futsal World Cup when it took on Malaysia in 1996.
U.S. FUTSAL NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (A detailed roster is available at ussoccer.com):
Goalkeepers (2): Jeff Richey (Fort Wayne, Ind., 5/0), Nick Vorberg (Grants Pass, Ore., 9/0);
Defenders (2): Joe Hammes (Cedarburg, Wis., 11/3), Pat Morris (Philadelphia, Pa. 25/12);
Midfielders (6): Denison Cabral (Baltimore, Md., 13/5), Andrew Jacobson (Palo Alto, Calif., 5/0), Ptah Myers (Columbus, Ohio, 9/0), Sandre Naumoski (Philadelphia, Pa., 7/3), Andy Rosenband (Hammond, Ind., 8/1), Matthew Stewart (El Paso, Texas, 15/9);
Forwards (4): Mike Apple (Akron, Ohio, 7/1), Jamar Beasley (Fort Wayne, Ind. 23/7), Chile Farias (Los Angeles, Calif., 7/2), Brett Wiesner (Brookfield, Wis., 2/0).
*numbers indicate all-time caps/goals

GROUP B - SOME FAMILIAR FOES: After facing Paraguay, the U.S. turns around to face Italy on Oct. 2. Coincidentally, the U.S. faced both those teams in its opening two games of the 2004 World Cup, albeit in the reverse order. After its opening victory over the U.S. four years ago, the Italians went on to finish second in the tournament. The U.S. meanwhile, rebounded to beat Paraguay en route to its qualification for the second round. In Thailand, the U.S. finds an opponent that is on the rise in the world of Futsal. The War Elephants, as they are known, finished second in this year's AFC Championship and will be participating in their third FIFA Futsal World Cup in Brazil. Portugal, since qualifying for its first FIFA Futsal World Cup in 2000, has vaulted itself into the upper echelons of world Futsal. After finishing fourth in the UEFA Futsal Championship in 2007 and breezing through qualifying earlier this year, the Portuguese arrive at the FIFA Futsal World Cup as a side with high hopes for the tournament.

Group B
Italy
Portugal
Thailand
Paraguay
USA

Date Matchup City Time (ET)
Sept. 30 Italy vs. Thailand Rio de Janeiro 9:30 a.m.
  Paraguay vs. USA Rio de Janeiro 11:30 a.m.
Oct. 2 Portugal vs. Paraguay Rio de Janeiro 9:30 a.m.
  USA vs. Italy Rio de Janeiro 11:30 a.m.
Oct. 4 Thailand vs. USA Rio de Janeiro 9:30 a.m.
  Italy vs. Portgual Rio de Janeiro 11:30 a.m.
Oct. 6 Portugal vs. USA Rio de Janeiro 9:30 a.m.
  Thailand vs. Paraguay Rio de Janeiro 11:30 a.m.
Oct. 8 Italy vs. Paraguay Rio de Janeiro 11:30 a.m.
  Portugal vs. Thailand Brasilia 11:30 a.m.

For a full schedule of the 2008 FIFA Futsal World Cup, including all four groups, click here.

U.S. FIFA FUTSAL WORLD CUP HISTORY: The U.S. is competing in its fifth FIFA Futsal World Cup, with its first appearance coming at the inaugural tournament in 1989 where the Americans finished third. In 1992, the U.S. returned to the world stage, besting its performance from three years ago to finish second. Losing 4-1 in the final to Brazil, the 1992 team posted the best finish of any U.S. men's team at a FIFA competition a record which still stands.

EXPANDING THE POOL: For the first time ever, 20 nations will contest the FIFA Futsal World Cup and the participants have been split up into four groups of five teams. That means the U.S. will play four first round games, a slight difference from the traditional four-team groups of most major tournaments. The top two teams in each group advance to the second round, where an additional group phase commences. From there, the top two teams in groups E and F are placed into the semifinals, with the winners contesting the FIFA Futsal World Cup Final in Rio de Janeiro on October 19.

SHOW ME THE FUTSAL: The Spanish-language network Galavision will be broadcasting games from the FIFA Futsal World Cup in the United States on a tape delayed basis.

Game Date Time
U.S. vs. Paraguay Oct. 1 12:30 a.m. ET/PT
U.S. vs. Italy  Oct. 3  12:30 a.m. ET/PT 
U.S. vs. Portugal  Oct. 7  12:30 a.m. ET/PT 
     

FOLLOW THE TEAM ON THE BLOG: The MNT Blog is making a detour down to South America where it is chronicling the U.S. Futsal National Team's World Cup journey. With daily photos, videos plus the usual spur of the moment activities from Brazil as they happen, the MNT Blog (or FNT Blog for a few weeks) is the best place to follow the team. Catch up on the Blog here.

PLAY IT AGAIN PARAGUAY:
The U.S. has an all-time record of 2-2-0 against Paraguay, with the most recent meeting between the two sides coming in the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Cup. The teams have met twice in the FIFA Futsal World Cup, with the first meeting coming in the 1989 edition of the tournament. The U.S. won 2-0 that day, with goals from Peter Vermes and Jim Gabarra, and the team, went on to finish in third place in the first FIFA Futsal World Cup.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:
The experienced Paraguay side qualified for its fourth FIFA Futsal World Cup by virtue of a fourth place finish at the 2008 Copa Aerica. Paraguay's best ever finish in the FIFA Futsal World Cup came when they advanced to the second round in 1989, while their only major international trophy came at the inaugural CONEMBOL Futsal Championship in 1964. Yet the Albirroja are not a side to be taken lightly, and they have proved their credentials by qualifying for their second consecutive FIFA Futsal World Cup. Coach Adolfo Ruiz has a squad of veterans, like defender Carlos Chilavert, and young talent at his disposal in Brazil.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT:
ussoccer.com sat down with U.S. Futsal National Team assistant coach Vava Marques, to get the tandem's thoughts on their opening game opponent, Paraguay. Vava, himself a native Brazilian, has experience against the South Americans and faced them from the touchline four years ago when the U.S. met Paraguay in the FIFA Futsal World Cup. He spoke about the keys to Tuesday's game for the United States. Listen to the full podcast here.

LAST TIME OUT:

On the court for the USA...
Sept. 14 2008 – Kern Center – Milwaukee, Wis. - International Friendly

United States    2    Jamar Beasley 31', 38'
Japan                1    Yuki Kanayama 26'

USA: 1-Nick Vorberg (GK), 6-Chile Farias, 11-Matthew Stewart, 14-Joe Hammes, 18-Mike Apple
Subs: 2-Jamar Beasley, 3-Brett Wiesner, 4-Sandre Naumoski, 5-Denison Cabral (capt.), 7-Dan DeGeer, 9-Ptah Myers, 10-Matt Hatzke, 13-Andy Roseband, 17-Pat Morris
Head Coach: Keith Tozer

JPN: 12-Hisao Sadanaga (GK), 4-Yusuke Komiyama, 8-Kenta Fujii (capt.), 11-Kotaro Inaba, 13-Kensuke Takahashi
Substitutes: 1-Hisamitsu Kawahara (GK), 2-Yoshifumi Maeda, 3-Wataru Kitahara, 5-Rikanado Higa, 6-Nobuya Osodo, 7-Yuki Kanayama, 9-Daisuke Ono, 10-Kenichiro Kogure,
Head Coach: Sergio Sapo

USA vs. Paraguay
Nov. 23, 2004 – Linkou Gymnasium - Tao Yuan County, Taiwan – FIFA Futsal World Cup 2004, First Round

United States    3    Pat White 8',  Lee Tschantret 33', Johnny Torres 38'
Paraguay          1    Carlos Alberto Villalba 37'

USA: 12-Brett Phillips (GK), 5-Todd Dusosky,  8-Johnny Torres, 10-John Ball, 6-Sean Bowers (capt.)
Subs:  2-Andy Guastaferro, 3-Lee Tschantret, 4-Jamar Beasley, 7-Pat White, 9-Greg Howes,14-Pat Morris
Subs not used: 1-Scott Hileman, 11-Steve Butcher, 13-Joel Shanker
Head Coach: Keith Tozer

PAR: 12-Marcos Miranda (GK), 3-Fabio Alcaraz, 5-Carlos Chilavert (capt.), 10-Walter Villalba, 14-Rene Villalba
Substitutes: 4-Gabriel Ayala, 6-Hebert Gimenez, 8-Sergio Araujo, 9-Carlos Alberto Villalba, 11-Jose Rotella, 13-Alberto Benitez
Subs not used: 1-Christhian Acuna (GK), 2-Emmanuel Ayala, 7-Oscar Velazquez
Head Coach: Adolfo Ruiz
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