Brazil maintained its historic dominance in 5-a-side football and won the fifth championship of the Paralympics in five editions with the sport dispute.
In the Tokyo-2020 decision, the Brazilian team beat Argentina by 1-0, a goal scored by Nonato seven minutes from the end of the match.
The gold medal in football was the country’s 22nd in Tokyo, a record for Paralympic titles in the same edition, surpassing the 21 in London-2012.
Since the sport for the blind debuted at the Paralympic Games, in Athens-2004, the Brazilian men’s team (there is no women’s competition) has won all editions. Argentina (now twice), China, France and Iran were the runners-up.
In Tokyo, in addition to the gold, Brazil maintained its unbeaten record of 27 games in the Games (21 wins and 6 draws).
In the first phase, he won quiet victories against China (4 to 0), Japan (4 to 0) and France (3 to 0). In the semifinals, he encountered difficulties for the first time. Under heavy rain, they managed to beat Morocco 1-0 thanks to an own goal.
The match against Argentina was also balanced, but in the end the Brazilians prevailed again, in a campaign of 13 goals scored and none suffered.
Ricardinho, 32, and Jefinho, 31, four-time Paralympic champions, are the best known names in the national team, but the greatest individual highlight in Japan was Nonato, the competition’s top scorer with six goals.
Born in Orocó (PE), Nonato, 34, was born practically blind due to retinosis. He always liked to play ball with friends and got into football at the age of 23. It was the third golden campaign in which he participated.
“This edition was remarkable in many ways. The difficulty increases. Brazil was already tetra and we were pressured to win this gold. And no wonder, because the achievements have credited us for that. But we know that this is not the case. It’s hard to play, the teams are good and they fight a lot”, said Ricardinho.
5-a-side football is played by athletes with visual impairments, who wear blindfolds. The exception is the goalkeeper, who has full vision and cannot have participated in FIFA competitions in the last five years.
The field, usually made of synthetic grass, measures 20 mx 40 m (futsal standards) and has side barriers to prevent the ball from leaving play. Each team is formed by five athletes (four in line and the goalkeeper). The match has two periods of 20 minutes, with a 10-minute break.
The ball has internal bells for players to locate, and the game needs to be played in silence most of the time, in a place without echo. The fans (who were not present in Tokyo) can only manifest themselves at the time of goals. The goalkeeper, the coach and a guide (caller) who is behind the opponent’s goal give position and direction guidelines.