The draw for the futsal (visually impaired) groups at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo (Japan) put the hosts on the path of the Brazilian team. Even the Japanese are the top contenders in pursuit of the fifth Paralympic gold medal in the sport. Besides them, China and France are also part of Group A in the tournament.
Group B brings together Argentina (bronze at the Paralympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016), Morocco, Spain and Thailand. The competition will take place between August 29 and September 4. The two teams face each other in brackets and the top two teams qualify for the semi-finals.
“Brazil’s bracket was strong, and more balanced than the other. But what I always tell athletes is that to be champions, they can’t pick an opponent. First, we have to qualify. Let’s go step by step,” coach Fabio Vasconcelos analyzed on the CBF website Optically (CBDV).
Two of the three competitors were in the first stage on the Brazilian track already in the previous editions of the Games. Against China, there were four matches at the Paralympic Games, a draw and three victories – one of them 2-1, in the 2008 final in Beijing (China). Four years later, in London (UK), the national team won the gold medal, defeating the French 2-0.
“I think we are in a strong group, with four qualified teams. France and China have already won silver medals at the Paralympics, and China, basically, have done well. It is worth highlighting the development of Japan. We followed the latter. Grand Prix [torneio realizado em Tóquio, há duas semanas, sem participação do Brasil, vencido pela Argentina] And we realized, tactically, that they are organized defensively and go well to attack, which shows that the training methodology was very effective,” winger Ricardinho, who is considered the best player in the world in futsal, also confirmed to CBDV.
In the sport’s history at the Paralympics, Brazil has been on the field 22 times, with 17 wins and five draws, and has won the gold medal four times the sport has been a contentious one at the Games. The national team has not been defeated in a normal time in an official match for eight years. In addition, since runners-up at the 2006 World Cup, the Brazilians have not finished on the podium at any tournament they have played at the 2017 Copa America, when they won the silver medal and snapped up 24 consecutive titles.