The United States have a proud tradition in futsal by CONCACAF standards. Twice champions of the region, the Americans reached the semi-finals of the first global futsal competition in the Netherlands, in 1989 and lost to Brazil in the final three years later in Hong Kong. Since then they have qualified for all the FIFA Futsal world showpieces (save for Guatemala 2000) and reached the second round again in Chinese Taipei in 2004.
The current squad is led by veteran coach Keith Tozer and has a number of returning players from the last world finals in Chinese Taipei. John Ball, a journeyman outdoor player in the USL, and Jamar Beasley, brother of US national team and Rangers star DaMarcus, will be key members of the squad. In the qualifying competition in June, the Americans - then holders of the regional title - roared through the group stages only to run into hosts Guatemala in the semi-finals. In front of a wild crowd of 7000 hostile supporters, Tozer's Americans fell flat and lost 4-0. They did manage to dust themselves off, though, and hammer Panama 7-1 in the third-place game to reach Brazil 2008.
Back at yet another FIFA Futsal World Cup, the Americans are keen to make it out of the group stages and reclaim the kind of status that marked their formative years in the five-a-side discipline. Tozer is hoping for improvement. "We went to Guatemala with the express aim of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil, and we did just that. We also know that we will need to pick up our form before the finals get underway if we want to make any kind of a mark," the coach said.
Facts and figures
Jamar Beasley, Patrick Morris, Denison Cabral
The Americans lost only one game in the qualifying section, a 4-0 semi-final defeat to the Guatemalans.
The numbers game
4 - Jamar Beasley finished joint fourth top scorer in the qualifying competition with four goals.