U.S. loses to Italy in Futsal World Cup

October 2, 2008

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- The United States lost to Italy 6-1 Thursday in the Futsal World Cup, a 20-nation tournament of five-per-team soccer.

This was the second consecutive defeat for the Americans, who opened Tuesday with a 5-0 loss to Paraguay. Italy, the runner-up in the last Futsal World Cup, has a team entirely of Brazilian-born players.

Braziled crushed the Solomon Islands 21-0, with star playmaker Falcao scoring six goals. It was the tournament's second-biggest victory margin since this event began being organized by FIFA in 1989. In 2000, Brazil beat Guatemala 29-2.

Brazil won the first four World Cups and finished in the top three in the last two. Spain is looking to win its third straight title.

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.

In other games, Russia beat Cuba 10-5 and Portugal topped Paraguay 3-2.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press