Football 7-a-side: all you need to know for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016

One of the two versions of the Paralympic Games is the Football 7, disputed by athletes with cerebral palsy. In this guide you can understand how the sport works

Football 7-a-side: all you need to know for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016
Football 7-a-side: all you need to know for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016

Football, the most popular sport in the world, has two versions in the Paralympics. One is the Football 7-a-side, played by athletes with cerebral palsy, which brings the sport to have the CP acronym in some references. The mode is very similar to that practiced by athletes without any kind of disability and the differences are just due to some specific adaptations to the needs of Paralympic athletes. This sport is one of the most traditional in the history of Paralimpíadas, being disputed since 1984.

Among the changes, we can point out as the main of them the number of players on the field. As the sport the name itself suggests, we have only seven players on each side. The field size is also different. While in the Olympic football lawns obey a pattern of 105m long by 68m wide at seven football fields have 75mx55m.
Besides that, the size of the goal and distance from the penalty mark are also reduced. From the rules set, the biggest differences are due to the absence of offside rule and collection of throw-ins, which can be done with one hand and undergrowth form.

Other important information about the sport is in relation to the division of the players. Because it is a sport played by athletes with cerebral palsy, it is normal to find different limitations in each of them. Because of this, all players are divided into four classes, ranging from numbers 5 to 8. Classes 5 and 6 represent those with greater limitations, which have difficulties in movement of some members. Class 8 brings athletes with greater functional potential. This division brings some restrictions on the use of athletes. Each team may have only one class player 8 in field also being forced to use a player of class 5 or 6.

The eight participating teams are: Argentina, Brazil, United States, Great Britain
Netherlands, Ireland, Russia and Ukraine. These eight teams will be divided into two groups. The two best placed of each group advance to the knockout stage, with semi-finals and final.

Place of dispute of the modality: Deodoro Stadium

Football 7-a-side games will be played in Deodoro Stadium, part of the complex which is in the neighborhood namesake. Situated on the west zone of Rio de Janeiro area, the facility received during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, competitions Rugby 7, in addition to fencing and equestrian events of the Modern Pentathlon. The complex also houses the Olympic Centres of Shooting and Equestrian.

The Deodoro Stadium was built, on a temporary basis, around a polo field and has stands able to receive 15,000 people. For viewers, the best way to reach the site of the competition is up to the public transport. Rio's train system has a station in Vila Militar, where the installation is located. Those who prefer the bus may use the BRT system, reaching a same station name. From the stations, the public should walk about 700m to the stadium.

Russia took the gold medal at London 2012

In the latest edition of the Paralympic Games, held in London in 2012, who left with the gold medal was the Russia team, winning his second gold medal, the fifth in total, ensuring the country post with more medals in the sport. The achievement was accomplished after a victory by 1-0 over Ukraine, which appears in second place in the medal table with four in total, including two gold.

The Russian campaign in the edition was irreproachable. In the group stage, the Eastern European selection paced by applying two big vicotries by 8-0 over Argentina and the Netherlands, and winning Iran's selection by 3-1, ensuring qualification for the semi-finals with the best campaign of the two groups. In the semis, another victory by 3-1 against Brazil, who had to settle for the third place. Meanwhile, Ukraine, after beating Iran by 2-1, led the fight for the gold, being defeated and losing the chance to win the Olympic trichampionship. In the bronze decision, Iran thrashed by Brazil 5-0 and won his second bronze in history.

Finalists in 2012, Russia and Ukraine arrive as favorites. Brazil runs out.

The teams with the greatest chance of medal can be identified if you look at the results of the last four editions of the Paralympic Games. In Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012, only six teams reached the semifinals. They were: Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Iran, Argentina and Portugal. The last stayed with a fourth place in 2004. Iran won two bronze medals in the last two editions, while Brazil comes with a silver in 2004 and bronze won in 2000. Russia and Ukraine made three of these four finals, with advantage to the Russians, who come to Rio with two golds, two silvers and a bronze at the point where Ukraine appears in the medal table with two golds and two silvers. Portugal could only manage fourth place in Sydney 2000.

Therefore, it is fair to say that Russia, the current world champion, and Ukraine, European champions are the big favorite Football 7-a-side in Rio 2016. However, Brazil also comes with enough force, much to support the account of the crowd. Iran, which could be taken into consideration because of his last appearances, will not be present at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

Curiosities about the sport

- A curiosity as to be unhappy is the absence of a women's tournament of the modality that has never been performed since the sport was included in the Paralympic program.

- Considering the rules of the medals table, we can say that on 7 Football, who leads the same is the Netherlands, with three gold medals won in Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. They were the only medals of the country in this modality.

- Usually, athletes in Classes 5 or 6 act as goalkeepers, because of limitations of movement.