CHICAGO (Oct. 6, 2023) -- The U.S. Beach Soccer Men’s National Team will face Italy, hosts United Arab Emirates and Egypt in Group A at the upcoming 2024 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which will take place Feb. 15-25 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The final draw for the competition took place Friday at Mohammed Bin Rashid Library in Dubai.
“It's a very balanced group,” U.S. Men’s Beach Soccer National Team head coach Francis Farberoff said. “We have the reigning European champions in Italy, the host nation United Arab Emirates which is always a difficult team, and Egypt, a team that we have played in the past that is very strong and physical. We are the champions of Concacaf and we bring our own strength to the group. This is a World Cup and everybody is there for a reason. Everybody wants to win and it's a chance of a lifetime to make a good impression and represent their country. We know it's going to be difficult, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
The USBMNT is making its seventh appearance at the Beach Soccer World Cup and has qualified for three consecutive tournaments for the first time since the first three editions of the competition were held in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The USA will kick off the tournament against reigning European champions Italy on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 6:30 a.m. ET, face hosts United Arab Emirates on Saturday, Feb, 17 at 10:30 a.m. ET and finish the group stage against first-time World Cup participants Egypt on Monday, Feb. 19 at 6:30 a.m. ET. All tournament matches will be played in Dubai.
"Our overriding goal since we qualified is to become the first U.S. team to advance out of the group stage at the Beach Soccer World Cup,” said Farberoff. “This has been the clear focus of every meeting and every training. We will take it game-by-game, and it starts with Italy."
Currently in training camp in Fort Lauderdale, the Beach Soccer MNT watched the draw live following training on Friday morning. U.S. Women’s Beach Soccer National Team head coach Morgan Church, who also served an assistant for the USBMNT at the 2021 Beach Soccer World Cup, represented the team at today’s draw in Dubai.
Originally set to take place in November of 2023, in June FIFA moved the tournament to Feb. 15-25, 2024. The competition features 16 nations divided into four groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the quarterfinals with the competition continuing in a knockout round format concluding with the final on Sunday, Feb. 25.
2024 FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP GROUPS
United Arab Emirates
Should the USA advance to the quarterfinals, it would face a team from Group B.
For the draw, teams were sorted into pots based on a ranking determined by success in previous Beach Soccer World Cups, with more recent tournament results weighted more heavily, as well as performance in confederation qualifying tournaments factored in. As hosts, United Arab Emirates were automatically placed in Pot 1, as was Japan, who finished as runner-up at the 2021 edition.
Pot 1: United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Tahiti, Japan
Pot 2: Italy, Senegal, Portugal, IR Iran
Pot 3: Spain, Oman, USA, Belarus
Pot 4: Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Egypt
This year marks the 12th FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and 22nd world championship for beach soccer. Before FIFA took over organization of the competition in 2005, it ran annually as the Beach Soccer World Championships from 1995-2004. The USA finished second at the 1995 tournament as well as third and fourth in 1996 and 1997, respectively. In 2009, FIFA switched the tournament from annual to biennial.
GROUP A RUNDOWN (Beach Soccer Worldwide World Ranking)
USA (No. 13)
The United States qualified for its seventh FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup earlier this year when it won the 2023 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship beating rivals Mexico 5-0 in the final on May 14 in Nassau, Bahamas. The triumph was the USA’s third confederation title and first since 2013.
The USA is coached by former U.S. Men’s Beach Soccer National Team player Francis Farberoff, whose international career spanned the World Championship and FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup era and earned over 100 combined caps for the United States. The USA is 3-14 all-time at the Beach Soccer World Cup and along with the goal of advancing from the group stage for the first time, will look to earn its first World Cup win since defeating United Arab Emirates 6-4 during the 2013 edition in Tahiti.
ITALY (No. 9)
After missing out on the 2021 edition, the 2024 Beach Soccer World Cup will mark Italy’s ninth appearance at the tournament since FIFA began overseeing the competition in 2005. Winners of the 2023 UEFA Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifiers, the Azzuri have made the semifinals on four occasions and twice finished as runners up, losing 5-3 to Brazil in the 2008 final and 6-4 to Portugal in the 2019 title game. The World Cup meeting will be the first official match between the USA and Italy since in the FIFA Beach Soccer era. The two teams did play at the 2003 Beach Soccer World Championships, the predecessor to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, with current USBMNT head coach Francis Farberoff scoring one of the goals as the USA fell 5-4 in the group stage.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (No. 10)
Having first qualified for the 2007 edition, hosts United Arab Emirates will take part in their eighth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, and like the United States will have the goal of advancing from the group stage for the first time. This will be the second World Cup meeting and fifth overall match between the USA and UAE in men’s beach soccer, with the teams holding an even 2-2 record against each other.
UAE earned a 5-3 win in the first meeting at the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai on Oct. 31, 2021, with current USA captain Nick Perera scoring two of the team’s three goals. The next meeting came at the 2013 Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti with the USA using a hat trick from Perera as well as two goals from another current Beach MNT forward Alessandro Canale to earn a 6-4 win on Sept. 23, 2013, in Papeete, Tahiti.
The teams last two contests also came at the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai, with Canale scoring two of the three USA goals in a 4-3 defeat on Nov. 5, 2016. Most recently, the USA evened the series on Nov. 9, 2018, as another Perera hat trick, as well as goals from Chris Albiston and Gabe Silveira lifted the side to a 5-3 win.
This marks the fourth consecutive World Cup that the USA will have been drawn with the host nation, having previously been grouped with Tahiti (2013), Paraguay (2019) and Russia (2021).
EGYPT (No. 24)
One of two countries taking part in their first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Egypt qualified for the tournament by after finishing as runners up at the 2022 Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations.
The World Cup match will mark the second-ever meeting between the Egypt and the USA in men’s beach soccer, with the Pharoahs coming with a 5-3 win during the Intercontinental Cup on Nov. 3, 2016 in Dubai. Perera scored all three goals for the USA on the day.