Group stage wraps up as blind soccer competition heads to knockout phase

Argentina and Brazil favourites to make it an all South-American final.

Brazil vs Argentins Five-a-side
Brazil vs Argentina in previous five-a-side football action. The two teams are favoured to meet in the gold medal final at Tokyo. PARALYMPIC.ORG

The group stage of 5-a-side Football, or blind soccer, has been wrapped up in Tokyo, with Argentina and Brazil favourites to make it an all South-American final.

Brazil has yet to concede a single goal in three games played and looks dominant offensively, scoring 11 times along the way.

The competition features four blind players and a sighted goalkeeper, using a ball that contains bells so the players can hear it.

Mid-fielder Raimundo Mendes has starred for the Brazilians, leading the way with five goals in three games. His shooting has been extremely accurate, 12 of his 14 shots being on target.

Mendes and his teammates will look ahead to the semi-final with one of their toughest matchups yet as they take on Morocco, which finished second in group B with one win, one loss and a tie.

Argentina, also a favourite, will face similarly strong competition in the semi-final against China, which has only lost once – to the mighty Brazilian squad.

The Argentinians have won three games in three, only allowing one goal against in the process. They are led by star forward Maximiliano Espinillo, who has scored five of the nation’s seven goals in Tokyo.

When looking at the offensive statistics between the two front-runners of the tournament, the Brazilians edge Argentina in shots per game, 21 to 18.3; shots on goal per game, 15 to 11.6; and possession per game, 60.3 per cent to 54.6 per cent.

Defensively, the sides are very even. Each team allow seven shots against per game with the slight difference coming with shots on goal per game. The Brazilians allow 5.3, while their South American counterparts only allow 4.6 on goal per game.

Although both teams aren’t locked into the final, it is likely that this is the matchup on display, bar any upsets.

The semi-final matches are set to take place back-to-back on Thursday, with the first being Argentina vs China at 3:30 a.m. EST., followed by Brazil vs Morocco at 6:30 a.m. EST.

The eventual winners of each matchup will face off for gold Saturday at 4:30 a.m. EST.

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Posted: Aug 31 2021 7:18 pm
Filed under: Parasports Soccer Sports Tokyo Paralympics