The USA's Mario Chimienti (left) is tackled by Rami Almesaabi of the United Arab Emirates during their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup match at Tahua To'ata Stadium on September 23, 2013 in Papeete, Tahiti. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
PAPEETE, Tahiti – Nicolas Perera struck for three goals to lift the United States to a 6-4 win over the United Arab Emirates in both teams’ final match of the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup at To’ata Stadium on Monday.
Having already been eliminated from contention following an extra-time loss to host Tahiti on Saturday, the U.S. (1-0-2, 3 points) obtained its first points of the competition, finishing third in Group A ahead of winless UAE (0-0-3, 0 points).
Spain and Tahiti had previously clinched berths in the quarterfinals out of the group.
In a match played in unusually cold and wet conditions, the Americans trailed almost immediately, when Hasan Alhammadi struck for the first of his two goals three seconds after the opening whistle.
Perera, the leading scorer of the CONCACAF qualification with 11 goals, equalized 89 seconds later, flicking in from close range off a pass from Jason Leopoldo.
Alessandro Canale volleyed home in the eighth minute for the first of his two goals to put the U.S. in front, 2-1, but the advantage was short-lived as Karim Albalooshi leveled just 18 seconds later.
Canale and Perera scored also scored during a 61-second span in the second period, giving the CONCACAF champion a 4-2 lead.
Perera completed his hat-trick in the 26th minute, hammering a right-footed effort into the back of the net off a pass from the hard-working Canale. But that was quickly followed by Alhammadi’s second a mere 17 seconds later.
Goalkeeper Abbas Hussain scored a spectacular long-range goal to pull the UAE within 5-4.
Leopoldo’s stunning bicycle kick with a little more than two minutes left in regulation time sealed the USA’s first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup victory since 2007.