Brazilian footballer pinpoints three rivals ahead of World Championships

Francisco Brito da Costa is not just gearing up a crack at the world title, but August’s Parapan American Games and the big one, Rio 2016. 13 Mar 2015
Jan Francisco BRITO da COSTA, Ukraine, Brazil, football, seven-a-side, Ukraine vs Brazil, london 2012

Brazil's Jan Francisco BRITO da COSTA at London 2012 Paralympic Games

ⒸLieven Coudenys
By Richard Mctiernan | For the IPC

“In 2016 my dream will come true and I think it will be amazing. It will be the first time my relatives will watch me in the stadium.”

One of the world’s best football 7-a-side players, Jan Francisco Brito da Costa has picked out three teams he believes could rival Brazil at June’s World Championships in Great Britain.

Sixteen teams will compete for the world title between 16-28 June at St George’s Park, with teams starting their campaigns in four groups of four, and da Costa knows which teams he will be keeping an eye on.

“Ukraine, Russia and Iran always play very well,” said da Costa. “They are strong and know how to play. But every team in a major competition is a contender. So, I believe we have to play tough no matter whom we face.”

Russia start the tournament as defending champions, however it is Ukraine who will start as competition favourites having defeated Russia on their way to European glory last summer. Iran are also contenders having won gold at last October’s Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea, and after beating Brazil to the bronze medal at London 2012.

In addition to June’s World Championships, da Costa is also likely to be part of Brazil’s team for August’s Parapan American Games in Toronto, Canada. Brazil will start as strong favourites after winning the 2014 America Cup, an achievement that saw da Costa recognised at the 2014 Premio Paralimpicos awards gala organised by the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.

“It was the first time I have won an award and it was great. To win that trophy made me feel thankful for everyone who believed in me as a player. I always kept in my mind the wish to be a top player and play for my country in Rio de Janeiro.”

Ahead of a busy and vitally important year for da Costa and his teammates, the Brazilian team have been staging a number of early season training camps and are taking nothing for granted.

“During the camp we played a friendly and won. Everything we did made us feel better about playing great competitions like the World Championships, the Parapan American Games and the Paralympic Games,” explained da Costa.

“I want to keep myself as a national team player and do my best every game I play. My teammates and I want to be the best. It doesn’t matter what tournaments we are playing, we will try to get the gold medal.”

As with all Brazilians, da Costa is very excited for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and believes visitors will enjoy a spectacular sporting occasion.

“In 2016 my dream will come true and I think it will be amazing. It will be the first time my relatives will watch me in the stadium.

“They can expect a beautiful show in Rio de Janeiro with the best players. I believe in Brazilian people and I think that it will be an amazing edition of the Paralympic Games.”

The World Championships take place between 16-28 June 2015 in Great Britain.