The United States lost to Japan, 4-3, in the 2021 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Saturday in Moscow, despite a goal by former Santa Monica High and Santa Monica College standout Alessandro Canale.
Canale’s goal in the 29th minute cut Japan’s lead to 3-2. Japan increased its lead to 4-2 two minutes later on Shusei Yamauchi’s goal. The Americans again pulled within one on Nicolas Perea’s goal in the 34th minute of the 36-minute game, but were unable to score the equalizer.
The U.S. (0-2) opened the scoring in the third minute of the Group A game on a goal by forward Gabriel Silveira. Japan (2-0) tied the score in the fourth minute on Masanori Okuyama’s goal.
Player-coach Ozu Moreira scored in the 23rd minute to give Japan a 2-1 lead. Japan increased its lead to 3-1 in the 28th minute when Takaaki Oba scored on a penalty kick at Luzhniki Beach Soccer Stadium.
The second consecutive loss by the United States damaged its hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals in the 16-team tournament. The U.S. would need to defeat Paraguay in regulation, have the Football Union of Russia lose to Japan Monday when group play concludes and have a better goal differential than the Football Union of Russia.
Through Saturday’s play, the U.S. had a minus-two goal differential while the Football Union of Russia had a plus-one differential.
Teams receive three points for a victory in regulation, two for victory in overtime and one for a victory in a penalty kick shootout.
Football Union of Russia is second in Group B with three points. It won a penalty kick shootout over Paraguay, 5-4, Saturday after overtime ended in a 4-4 tie, and opened play in the tournament with a 5-4 overtime victory over the United States Thursday in a game Canale scored twice.
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 victory assured Japan of a berth in the quarterfinals. The top two teams in each of the four four-team groups advance to the quarterfinals.
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.
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.