The road to Portugal
Argentina endured a roller-coaster ride and no little anguish at the South American Beach Soccer Championship before they finally secured their ticket to Espinho. Tight wins over Venezuela (7-6) and Peru (1-0 on penalties, 6-6 aet) were followed by a 5-3 loss to Uruguay which took La Albiceleste's fate in Group B out of their own hands. A subsequent defeat for the Uruguayans opened the door for the Argentinians, who did their bit by beating Brazil in regulation time - a 7-5 victory that was their first ever triumph over the Canarinho at the tournament. After being dismissed 4-1 by Paraguay in the semi-finals, Argentina eventually secured their place in Portugal by squeaking past hosts Ecuador in the play-off for third place, once again relying on a 1-0 shoot-out success (4-4 aet).
Strengths and style
In their first competition under the stewardship of Gustavo Casado, who went to five FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups as a player, Argentina's forte was their spirit. Every time their backs were against the wall, they came up with the goods. Goalkeeper Marcelo Salgueiro and defender Luciano Franceschini offer plenty of experience, while pivot Lucas Medero is a real threat going forward and was the country's top scorer in Ecuador with ten goals. Interestingly, Argentina made it to Portugal despite losing two of their six games in qualifying and ending up with a negative goal difference (28-30).
FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup record
Argentina are one of just three countries who have been permanent fixtures at the Beach Soccer World Cup, alongside Japan and four-time champions Brazil. However, of this trio, La Albiceleste stand alone in never having progressed beyond the quarter-finals, which they reached in 2005, 2008 and 2013. They crashed out at the group stage in all of their other campaigns.