USA TO FACE ARGENTINA, IRAN AND SERBIA AT 2021 FIFA FUTSAL WORLD CUP IN LITHUANIA
U.S. RETURNS TO WORLD CUP FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2008; AMERICANS KICK OFF TOURNAMENT ON SEPT. 14 AGAINST ARGENTINA IN VILNIUS
The U.S. Futsal National Team will face Argentina, Iran and Serbia in Group F at the upcoming 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup, which will take place from Sept. 12-Oct. 3 in Lithuania. The final draw for the competition took place today at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich.
The U.S. qualified for its first Futsal World Cup since 2008 with a second-place finish at last month’s Concacaf Fustal Championship in Guatemala. The USA open the Futsal World Cup on Tuesday, Sept. 14 against Argentina, face Iran on Friday, Sept. 17 and wrap up the group stage vs. Serbia on Monday, Sept. 20. The U.S. will play its first two group stage matches at Vilnius Arena in Vilnius and its final group stage match at Klaipeda Arena in Klaipeda.
"It's an exciting draw for us,” said Fustal National Team head coach Dusan Jakica. “Opening against the world champion in Argentina will be a huge challenge, but a challenge that our team will embrace and enjoy. Iran is the reigning Asian champion and Serbia is also one of the best teams in the world, but we will be ready. We are looking forward to getting to Lithuania and showcasing the progress for U.S. Soccer in futsal."
2021 FIFA FUTSAL WORLD CUP GROUP F - USA SCHEDULE
USA vs. Argentina
Vilnius Arena; Vilnius, Lithuania
USA vs. Iran
Vilnius Arena; Vilnius, Lithuania
USA vs. Serbia
Klaipeda Arena; Klaipeda, Lithuania
This year marks the USA’s sixth appearance at the FIFA Futsal World Cup. The U.S. reached the final of the 1992 tournament, winning the silver medal in its highest-ever finish at the competition.
The USA’s final group stage match vs. Serbia carries some extra intrigue as Jakica hails from Serbia. The U.S. head coach spent most of his playing/coaching career there and served as an assistant with the Serbia Futsal National Team from 2010 to 2015.
The 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup features 24 nations divided into six groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group, as well as the four best third-place teams advance to the Round of 16 from Wednesday, Sept. 22 to Friday, Sept. 24. The quarterfinals will take place on Sunday, Sept. 26 and Monday, Sept. 27. The winners of those games will advance to the tournament semifinals on Wednesday, Sept. 29 and Thursday, Sept. 30 while the championship match is set for Sunday, Oct. 3 at Kaunas Arena in Kaunas.
2021 FIFA FUTSAL WORLD CUP GROUPS
Football Union of Russia*
*In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code and a Dec. 2020 decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, this team will participate as neutral athletes of its national sports federation
Should the USA advance to the Round of 16, it could face a team from Groups B, C, D or E.
The U.S. was drawn out of Pot 4 which included Morocco, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Angola and Venezuela. Teams were sorted into pots based on a ranking determined by success in the last five Futsal World Cups, with more recent tournament results weighted more heavily, as well as performance in Confederation qualifying tournaments factored in.
The tournament will be the ninth FIFA world championship for futsal. After the first competition in 1989, it has been held quadrennially from 1992 on. In 2008, the tournament expanded from 16 to the current 24-team format.
Argentina will head to the Futsal World Cup as defending champion after winning the CONMEBOL Futsal World Cup qualifiers. It will be the USA’s fourth showdown with La Albiceleste at the tournament. The USA defeated Argentina in silver and bronze medal runs in 1992 and 1989, respectively. Former U.S. Men’s National Team stalwarts Tab Ramos and Peter Vermes scored in the 1989 victory. Iran has participated in the Futsal World Cup more than any other Asian nation.
This year, Iran was nominated to participate by the Asian Football Confederation after the original qualifying tournament was canceled. The U.S. topped Iran in the semifinals of the 1992 FIFA Futsal World Cup, securing its place on the podium.
Serbia clinched one of the final two berths from Europe in a tightly contested playoff vs. Finland after winning five of six games in the main qualifying competition. The USA and Serbia have never faced off at the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
(Credit ussoccer.com https://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2021/06/usa-to-face-argentina-iran-and-serbia-at-2021-fifa-futsal-world-cup-in-lithuania)