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U.S. Futsal Set For World Championship Opener on Sunday


Game Notes
U.S. Futsal National Team
FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004
November 20, 2004 - Taipei City

U.S. READY TO GET THINGS STARTED: After a Friday evening training session in the 15,000 season Linkou Gymnasium about a 45 minute drive from the city center of Taipei, the U.S. is ready to take the court on Sunday, November 21 vs. Italy at 6 p.m. local time/5 a.m. ET to open the FIFA Futsal World Championship Chinese Taipei 2004. The match will be broadcast in the U.S. on same day delay on Galavision at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The Local Organizing Committee was still putting the final touches on the green and blue seated area on Friday. Flags of each nation were being hung from the rafters, and the field boards were still being put in place. They have modified one side of the arena for VIP and media seating by removing the standard seats and building platforms. The media have table tops complete with power and high-speed internet access, while the VIP seats are large, overstuffed chairs with a prime view at center court. A brand new, hardwood floor has been installed in the arena and covered with a rubberized laminate that should provide good footing for the players.

GALAVISION TO BROADCAST ALL U.S. GROUP C MATCHES: Spanish-language network Galavision will broadcast all three of the USA's group play matches on same day delay in the United States. On Sunday, November 21 the opening math will be shown across the country at 8 p.m. ET as the U.S. opens vs. Italy. The second and third matches of group play will be shown at 10 p.m. ET on the East Coast and in the Midwest, and 10 p.m. PT on the West Coast. For fans wishing to follow the second and third matches of group play live, ussoccer.com's MatchTracker will provided modified coverage of the five-a-side game live at 7 a.m. ET. Galavision will announce a broadcast schedule for the second round of group play once the field is set.

U.S. Futsal World Championship Schedule - Group Play
Date Match   Venue; City    Kickoff: Local/ET TV Delay: ET - CT - PT
Nov. 21 Italy vs. USA  Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 6 p.m. / 5 a.m.  8 p.m. - 7 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Nov. 23 USA vs. Paraguay Linkou Gymnasium; Tao Yuan County 8 p.m. / 7 a.m.  10 p.m. - 9 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Nov. 25 USA vs. Japan  National Taiwan University; Taipei City 8 p.m. / 7 a.m.  10 p.m. - 9 p.m. - 10 p.m.

SECOND TAIPEI PHOTO GALLERY AVAILABLE: A second photo gallery of the U.S. team’s stay in Taipei City is available at ussoccer.com. See photos of the team’s visit to the Taipei American School, the training session at the Linkou Gymnasium and other photos from training this week.

U.S. TO FACE ITALY FOR THE SEVENTH TIME: The series vs. Italy dates back to the first year of the team, as the U.S. topped Italy 7-3 on Nov. 19, 1986 for the first win in program history in their second match. U.S. coach Keith Tozer was a starter on that team, and recent National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Mike Windischmann scored a pair of goals for the U.S. in that match. Overall, the U.S. has a 4-2-0 record vs. the Italians, with the U.S. winning a 1989 World Championship match 4-1 and Italy prevailing in 1996 by a 4-2 margin in Spain. With this appearance, the U.S. will have taken part in four of the five FIFA Futsal World Championships after missing out in 2000. At the first two world championship events in 1989 and 1992, the U.S. finished third and second, respectively. The 1989 team was the first at any level for men or women to place in the top three at a FIFA event since the 1930 men's World Cup team. Beaten in the final by Brazil in 1992 by a 4-1 margin, the U.S. Futsal team posted the best finish of any U.S. Soccer men’s team at a FIFA event.

ITALY BRINGS AN EXPERIENCED SQUAD IN SEARCH OF FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Despite the title of reigning European champion, Italy has never advanced out of group play in four tries at the FIFA Futsal World Championship. Italy qualified with an 11-0 victory over Hungary through a two-leg series. Alessandro Nuccorini, who at 40 already has earned a reputation as one of the top futsal coaches in the country, at one point won five consecutive Italian Cups. Italy brings an experienced international side with an average of 28 caps per player (By comparison, U.S. defender Sean Bowers is the most experienced U.S. player with 29 caps). Two of the better known players with the team are goalkeeper Gianfranco Angelini (26 caps) and left-footer Vinicius Bacaro (16 caps, 9 goals), but Brazilian-born Adriano Foglia (46 caps, 30 goals) holds the title as 2003 Futsal Player of the Year. Defensively in front of Angelini is veteran defender Salvatore Zaffiro (78 caps, 10 goals). Angelini is the easiest to spot on the Italian side due to his build that would seem to more fit for Sumo than soccer. He is listed at generous 6 feet and an even more generous 232 pounds, but his quick reaction time makes him one of the toughest goalkeepers to beat in the world.
Italy Roster
Goalkeepers (2): 1-Gianfranco Angelini (AS Rome), 12-Alexandre Feller (Prato)
Defenders (2): 3-Pellegrini (MRA Gvtarra Xota), 5-Salvatore Zaffiro (Brillante Roma)
Midfielders (6): 2-Grana (Playas de Castellon), 4-Montovaneli (AS Rome), 6-Edgar Bertoni (Erregi Travel Perugia), 8-Andre Vicentini (Seep Luparense), 9-Fabiano (AS Rome), 14-Rodrigo Bertoni (Leghe Leggere Napoli)
Forwards (4): 7-Vinicius Bacaro (AS Rome), 10-Adriano Foglia (Arzignano Grifo), 11-Morgado (Citta di Montesilvano), 13-Sandro Zanetti (Playas de Castellon)

U.S. Roster
Goalkeepers (2): Scott Hileman, Brett Phillips (St. Louis Steamers)
Defenders (3): Sean Bowers (San Diego Sockers), Lee Tschantret (Baltimore Blast), Pat White (Milwaukee Wave);
Midfielders (7): John Ball (Cleveland Force), Jamar Beasley (Kansas City Comets), Steve Butcher (San Diego Sockers), Andy Guastaferro (Chicago Storm), Pat Morris (Philadelphia Kixx), Joel Shanker (Philadelphia Kixx), Johnny Torres (Milwaukee Wave)
Forwards (2): Todd Dusosky (Milwaukee Wave), Greg Howes (Milwaukee Wave)

GETTING SCHOOLED: The U.S. team took a trip across the city to the Taipei American School, whose enrollment is limited to those who hold an American passport. In an afternoon assembly for high-school aged students, the U.S. captains Sean Bowers and Lee Tschantret conducted a brief clinic followed by an all-in scrimmage vs. first the boys' and then the girls' soccer teams from the school. Students oohed and ahhed at the ball work of the U.S. team, while some determined forwards for the TAS sides kept the game interesting with some fancy ball work of their own. After the scrimmage, the students presented the U.S. team with their school's sweatshirts and the U.S. gave the students posters of the team. After the students were dismissed at the end of the assembly, several stuck around for a photo opportunity and to get autographs. The fan favorite of the afternoon was Jamar Beasley, who was introduced by head coach Keith Tozer as the smoothest dancer on the team. Beasley proved his coach correct on two occasions - the first during introductions and the second after he scored a goal. The visit was extra special for midfielder/forward Andy Guastaferro, who was reunited with his 10th grade math teacher Mr. Sloan who now works here in Taipei City for the school.

FLOORS OPEN, DOORS CLOSED: On Wednesday and Thursday the U.S. faced some obstacles with scheduling training times as the Local Organizing Committee worked around the clock to get the practice and match facilities ready for the 16-teams. On Wednesday night, the U.S. trained on half a field as two Taiwanese families worked to put down an laminate on the floor similar to the surface in the match arenas. Then on Thursday, a U.S. training was cancelled because there were not enough facilities open. The team made up for the lost time on Thursday night and Friday morning, playing closed-door scrimmages vs. Spain and Australia, respectively. The match vs. Spain gave the U.S. a look at an experienced European opponent like they will face in Italy. Three of Italy's players play in the Spanish professional futsal league. Spain's team for this world championship averages 42 futsal caps each, including six players who have more than 50 caps. Australia's players play on amateur futsal teams and have similar international experience to the United States.

FINAL ARRIVALS: Goalkeeper Brett Phillips arrived in Taipei City Saturday morning to complete the contingent representing the U.S. Phillips stayed behind in St. Louis as his wife was expecting the couple's third girl. The U.S. Futsal family gained one more member this week as his wife Kelly gave birth to Riley McKena, who checked in at 7-pounds, 12-ounces and 20 ½-inches. She joins older sisters Lauryn, 4, and Alexis, 1.

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