Along with Brazil, Argentina are one of only two South American nations to have appeared at all five FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finals held since the inaugural competition in 2005. La Albiceleste reached the last eight in 2005, 2006 and 2008, but have never gone any farther.
The Argentinians had to work hard to maintain their flawless qualification record at the preliminaries held on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach. In the group phase they overcame neighbours Uruguay, who surprisingly failed to progress, before battling past surprise package Venezuela in the semis and then going down to the Brazilians in the final.
The Argentinians can rightly be satisfied with their efforts in an increasingly competitive qualification competition. Coach Francisco Petrasso is successfully overseeing a transitional phase, which has seen old hands such as the three Hilaire brothers and goalkeeper Marcelo Salgueiro make way for a new generation.
Marcelo Salgueiro, Ezequiel Hilaire, Facundo Minici
Cesar Leguizamon, Luciano Franceschini, De Ezeyza
Though standards have never been higher in the CONMEBOL qualifiers, Argentina breezed through the group phase in Rio, topping Group B after beating Ecuador 4-3, Colombia 2-0 and Uruguay 5-3. A narrow 3-2 semi-final win over the Venezuelans secured their place at Ravenna 2011, though Petrasso’s men were second-best to the mighty Brazilians in the final, falling to a 6-2 defeat.
The numbers game
6 - Six of Argentina’s 12-man squad at the South American qualifiers on the Copacabana did not appear at Dubai 2009.