US Opens Play in FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

Young man playing sand soccer

Photo: Getty Images

SANTA MONICA (CNS) - The U.S. is scheduled to resume play in the 2021 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup on Saturday against Japan in Moscow, seeking to rebound from a 5-4 overtime loss to the Football Union of Russia in which former Santa Monica High and Santa Monica College standout Alessandro Canale scored twice.

Canale scored on a second-period penalty kick to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead Thursday at Luzhniki Beach Soccer Stadium. Football Union of Russia scored the next three goals. Canale scored early in the third period, cutting the deficit to 4-3. Nicolas Perea tied the score late in the third period with his second goal.

Alexy Makarov scored with 13 seconds left in overtime to give Football Union of Russia the victory.

In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code and a December 2020 decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Football Union of Russia is participating as neutral athletes of its national sports federation.

The 31-year-old Canale is appearing in his third FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. He scored twice in both the 2013 and 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. Canale was a first-team All-Ocean League selection during the 2007-08 season as he helped the Vikings win the Southern Section Division IV and CIF Southern Regional championships.

Canale was Santa Monica College's  Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 when he scored 24 goals and had eight assists.

The U.S-Japan game will be shown live in English at 6:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time by cable's FS1 and in Spanish by the Universo cable network and streamed on the Telemundo Deportes app.

Japan defeated Paraguay, 7-4, in its opener Thursday.

A loss by the United States and a victory by Football Union of Russia would end the U.S. hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals. The top two teams in each of the four four-team groups advance to the quarterfinals.

Beach soccer is played on a rectangular field 35-37 meters long and 26-28 meters wide. The game is played on a level sandy area that is cleared of pebbles and seashells along with any other objects which could injure a player.

Each team consists of five players, including the goalkeeper. Players must play in bare feet, although ankle guards are permitted. The game consists of three 12-minute periods.

Unlike conventional soccer, a game cannot end in a tie. If the score is tied at the end of regulation a three-minute overtime is played. If the score remains tied a penalty kick shootout is conducted.

This is the 11th FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and 21st 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. In 2009, FIFA switched the tournament from annual to biennial.

The U.S. was eliminated in the group stage of the 2019 tournament after failing to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 tournaments.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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