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Paralympic Sports: Football 5-a-side

#APCTop20 - No.14: Brazil win 4th blind football gold

Rio 2016 hosts maintain 100 per cent record at Paralympic Games. 19 Jul 2017
By IPC

The seemingly invincible Brazilian blind football team took top honours once again on home soil by claiming their fourth gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games following a 1-0 victory over Iran thanks to a goal by Ricardinho.

They therefore extended their winning streak which dates back to 2007 and maintained a 100 per cent record at Paralympic Games since the sport was introduced to the programme at Athens 2004.

Brazil finished top of Group A after defeating debutants Morocco 3-1 and European champions Turkey 2-0, and a scoreless draw against Iran.

In the semi-finals, Jefinho scored two outstanding goals to help his team beat China 2-1 and qualify for a new Paralympic final.

As we approach the Americas Paralympic Committee’s (APC) 20th anniversary on 1 August, Brazil’s fourth Paralympic gold in blind football comes in at No.14 at the APC Top 20 Moments in History.

“Winning at home was definitely special for us, in front of our crowd, friends and families,” said Ricardinho. “The most important part of it was that we were able to keep our hegemony in the world’s scene.

“We have won every edition of the Paralympics. This is something really hard to accomplish and will always be remembered.”

Jefinho added: “This title for us was a reward for all the hard work we put in it. We achieved every possible title, we grew up, we got better and better and we could accomplish the medal in front of our home crowd. It was a unique experience.

“This feeling, the happiness of winning at home will always be on my mind. The whole experience made this moment so special.”

Coach Fabio Vasconcelos said: “We won three golds in Athens, Beijing and London, but we were under a lot more pressure in Rio. This was special. This group deserved to show how strong, united, competent and dedicated they are.

“Brazil is not invincible. It is a strong team that works hard. There are other teams around the world that are always giving us a hard time, and it happened in every instance we won a gold medal at the Paralympics.

“There are countries that are clearly improving, so that is why we have to keep working. We know that we are going to lose one day. It is impossible to keep winning forever, but we will try claim more and more titles.”