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Post-Match Quotes: Futsal Advances to Second Stage


Post-Match Quote Sheet
U.S. 1, Japan 1
Taipei City, Taiwan
Nov. 25, 2004

U.S. Head Coach Keith Tozer:
Opening Comments:
“I’d first like to congratulate Japan. I think they had a wonderful tournament, and they are a tough team. We happened to score first again, which was very important because of how Japan defends. They are strong in taking the middle part of the field away, which made it difficult for us. We knew that they were a team that wasn’t going to quit. When they took their goalkeeper out, they became even more dangerous. We tried to hang on, and we did.”

“I am extremely proud of our team. This is the first time that we have been to the second round in 12 years, and it was a very important tournament for us and we’re looking forward to our next match. In the second round, defense is going to be important but you need to score goals. That’s something that we are going to have to work on and analyze in the next couple of days.”

On the accomplishment and what got the U.S. to this point:
“Since we are a relatively new country to futsal, relative to the amount of futsal that the other countries play, this is a great accomplishment for our team. We said that defense would be what got us into the second round, and I think we played great defense. We scored goals when we needed to score goals, but our defense carried us along with our goalkeepers.”

On the U.S. goals moving forward:
“We have realistic goals. When we first came to Taiwan, we said that we would take things one step at a time and we have done that. 1980 is an important date in our country where the U.S. hockey team beat Russia and they weren’t supposed to. We know that we are an underdog, and we will play as so. We will take one game at a time. What we need to do now is rest for two days, cherish the moment and then start preparing.”

On the U.S. preparations for the World Championship:
“The preparation that we have had for the past two years has been tremendous. We’ve traveled the world. We’ve been to Brazil and had Brazil come to the United States. We’ve played Mexico several times and we have played Honduras and Guatemala. We’ve had our own camps, so this is a very experienced futsal team. Futsal is growing in the United States in the past four to eight years. We know that we won the silver medal in 1992, and there is a gap between where we are and where we were, and we are closing it again. This is a great day for U.S. Soccer, this is a great day for U.S. Futsal and this is a great day for the MISL where the players come from. We’re all united as one in our country as far as futsal is concerned.”

On Japan and the pace of the game:
“We knew it was going to be a good defensive game. Japan is a very quick team. They have gotten better as the tournament has gone on. We know that if we got behind by a one-goal margin it would then be very difficult for us. We had to be patient at the beginning to make sure that we didn’t get behind, we got the goal, and we hung on. Summaries of games after are not important to me. It’s what goes down on paper, and we got one in the win column.

On preparing to play Japan:
“We’ve done a lot of scouting for this tournament. We saw Japan play on tape prior to coming here, and we saw the two games that they played here. What happens when you have some of the top coaches in the world, it’s called preparation. I think everyone prepares a lot here, and we did too. And we are going to prepare even more.”

U.S. goalkeeper Brett Phillips
On the game:
“The team knew the importance of this game. Not knowing the result of the Italy game, we knew that we needed to come out to win. We knew our team defense and our ability to find our targets was going to win the game for us. Fortunately, we were able to get one goal early, and we missed some opportunities late that could have put the game out of reach. We scrambled for the last five minutes, but we are moving on.”

On the Japan goal:
“They had the guy posting up in front of me, and they drilled the ball across. He directed it with his left hand. It was crowded there so it was probably tough for the referee to see, but from my view it was a handball. Other than that, we did a good job containing [Kenichiro Kogure]. He is a very good player. Our defenders did well to deny him the ball. We made it tough of them once they did get possession.”

On advance to the second stage:
“Our first goal here was to get out of the first round. We don’t know who we have yet in the second bracket, but we’ve got three more games to finish top two, and then we will be in the top four in the world.”

U.S. midfielder Andy Guastaferro:
On advancing to the next stage:
“It’s exciting to advance into the top eight. To come out here and prove to the rest of the world that we can play with the best teams in the world is great for the U.S. Every team here has been tough.”

On coming back to the lineup after missing the first game:
“Coach had some tough decisions to make with the lineup because everyone here is a good player, with experience in futsal and MISL. I understood the decision, but of course I wanted to be out there. When he called on me to play in the second game, I took advantage of the opportunity against Paraguay. To play tonight it was exciting because this is such an important game.”

On scoring only goal for the U.S. vs. Japan:
“To cap it off with a goal that gave us a tie, to be able to contribute that way is always great, but everyone has a role. Everyone played hard and played well defensively, and we had a lot of opportunities and could have score more. It just happened to be me to make the most of an opportunity and score the goal tonight.”

U.S. captain & defender Sean Bowers:
On advancing to the final eight:
“It’s a great feeling after eight years ago in Spain being younger and not knowing what it is all about. I’ve been here just as long as Tozer has been here, and we’ve been trying to get to this World Cup and now we’re top eight in the world. It’s almost like the outdoor team did. They are top eight in the world, and now so are we. I think we put futsal on the map in the United States and hopefully we can build on it. We’re not done yet. We are looking to make the final four now.”

On playing against Japan’s fifth attacker for the final five minutes:
“It’s hard in any sport – our indoor soccer or futsal – when your opponent is playing a man up. They did it pretty well, and we blocked a lot of shots and they got a freaky goal that made it 1-1. Brett (Phillips) came up big all night. He had the big save and then we went down and scored our first goal. Everybody played well tonight. It was a great game in a great atmosphere, and obviously a great result for us.”

On potentially playing Argentina, Portugal, Ukraine and Brazil in the second stage:
“Those are the big boys. The good thing is that we are grouped in with them. The USA is with the Brazil, with Ukraine and with Argentina. We just need to take one game at a time. We need to look at tape. The coaching staff has done a good job of breaking all the teams down, so we just have to play good team defense and that is what we did tonight."


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