U.S. loses opener in Futsal World Cup

September 30, 2008

BRASILIA, Brazil -- The United States lost to Paraguay 5-0 Tuesday on the opening day of the Futsal World Cup, a five-per-team soccer tournament featuring 20 nations.

Spain is looking to win its third straight title and has combined with Brazil to capture all five titles since FIFA began organizing the event in 1989.

The competition, with venues in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, is played in two 20-minute periods on a surface about the size of a basketball court.

The teams are divided into four groups of five, with the top two advancing to the next stage with two groups of four teams. The top two in those groups move on to the semifinals.

Brazil routed Japan 12-1, beginning its bid to win the event for the first time in 12 years.

"It's a win that certainly gives us confidence, but it doesn't mean that things will be easy," said Falcao, who scored two goals.

In other games, Cuba downed the Solomon Islands 10-2 and Italy beat Thailand 1-0.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press