Paralympic Games
7-18 September

Argentina seeks to break Brazil dominance in Rio

Argentina’s football 5-a-side team are hoping to break their neighbour’s 100 per cent record at the Paralympic Games this September. 26 Jun 2016
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Brazil and Argentina fought out a tough 0-0 draw in five-a-side football.

Brazil and Argentina fought out a tough 0-0 draw in five-a-side football at the 1-year-to-go event to the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

ⒸRio 2016/Alex Ferro
By Rio 2016

“I am sure that if we get to the final, it will be a respectful match, but this time, I hope it will be us walking away with a win.”

Argentina aims to put an end to Brazil’s astonishing winning streak at September’s Paralympic Games.

The Rio 2016 hosts have won all three football 5-a-side gold medals contested at the Paralympic Games and have not lost a single match at a major tournament since 2007.

“When any team in a green and yellow shirt steps onto the pitch, we know that it will be a very strong side,” said Argentina’s player Marcelo Paniza.

“We never underestimate Brazil and we always give it all we have when we play them.”

Brazil defeated their neighbouring rivals in the 2014 World Championships and the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games finals, but Argentina are still hoping to snatch the Paralympic title in Rio, where they became world champions in 2002.

“It would be something spectacular, something that’s never happened before, something tremendous for my country,” Paniza said.

Compatriot Ivan Figueroa agreed: “It would be beautiful to have two countries of footballing tradition fighting it out for a gold medal.

“I am sure that if we get to the final, it will be a respectful match, but this time, I hope it will be us walking away with a win.”

Despite having a fierce rivalry on the field, South American powerhouses’ players share a friendly relationship off the field.

“We do have friendships, especially with the more veteran players, like Jefinho, Ricardinho and Cassio. They even invite us to play with them in the Brazilian league,” said Paniza.

But before thinking of a potential face-off between the South American rivals, both will have to advance into the knockout stage.

“All the groups are tough because they have the champions of Europe, Asia and Africa,” said Argentinian coach Martin Demonte.

“I thought, for example, that facing Morocco would be the easiest, but I have seen that is not the case. Their number nine, Hattab Abderrazak, is very good, he does things I have never seen another player do.”

The Brazilian coach Fabio Vasconcelos is also cautious ahead of Latin America’s first Paralympic Games. “Before, we knew who would be in the final or the semi-finals, but today it is different. Football 5-a-side is evolving.”

In Rio, Brazil, Morocco, Iran and Turkey will face-off in Group A, whilst Argentina was drawn with Mexico, China and Russia in Group B.

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Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).

The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.

Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.