USA book first World Cup ticket since 2008
The 2021 Concacaf Futsal Championship is currently taking place in Guatemala
Four World Cup tickets are at stake
The USA became the first team from the region to qualify for Lithuania 2021
The 2021 Concacaf Futsal Championship is in full swing right now in Guatemala City, Guatemala. All matches in the seventh edition of this competition are being played at the Domo Polideportivo. Currently, the teams are fighting for a spot in the semi-finals, which is tantamount to one of the four coveted World Cup tickets to the FIFA Futsal World Cup Lithuania 2021™.
The USA, which previously won the Concacaf Futsal Championship in 1996 and 2004, became the first semi-finalist and can now look forward to its first World Cup appearance since 2008. USA will now face the winner between hosts Guatemala and El Salvador in their next match. The US already played El Salvador in their opening match at the tournament, drawing 1-1 with the Central Americans.
USA 2-0 Dominican Republic
Goalscorers: Raphael Araujo and Tomas Pondeca
Raphael Araujo, USA's first goalscorer, spoke with media after the match about the key to the team's successful qualification campaign and the significance of the result for futsal in the USA.
“We knew we had to play really hard defence, so to come out, get this win with a shutout was huge for us. The energy was tremendous from every single person. We celebrated every tackle. Today the key to winning and qualifying for the World Cup was playing defence, hard defence.
“We’ve made history. We knew coming in with the pandemic happening it prevented us from training and getting together, so we came in here with not much team chemistry, but every game we kept building and we believe that now qualifying for a World Cup is going to change things completely in the US. Futsal is going to grow a lot and we’re so happy that we were able to make that happen.”
USA head coach Dusan Jakica echoed Araujo in his post-match analysis.
“Congrats to all my players and staff. All of them have done a great job. We knew where the Dominican Republic would be dangerous. They have several players who are playing in Europe, but we knew our strength: in defence. I’m so happy. This is not only significant for the US. I’m originally from Europe and I know how futsal is important there and in South America and Asia and I knew with this success that we will make a great impact and if we have real futsal in the US we will for sure have futsal in the Olympic Games, and this is our goal."
The other quarter-finals:
Panama - Canada Costa Rica - Suriname Guatemala - El Salvador
The semi-finals will be played on 8 May and one day later the new Concacaf champion will be crowned.