Argentina belongs to that select group of countries that have qualified for every FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Yet from the event's first staging at Rio de Janeiro 2005 to the last edition in Marseille, La Albiceleste have stumbled at the quarter-final stage every time. The team's best finish to date was the fifth place achieved at Rio de Janeiro 2006 and again in Marseille last year.
For the second year running, the Albiceleste made hard work of securing their place at the finals. A surprise opening defeat to Chile forced Hector Petrasso's side to show what they were made of, and this they duly did by defeating Uruguay, threatening to do the same against Brazil, and then seeing off Ecuador in extra time with a goal from their keeper, Marcelo Salgueiro. In the end it was the team's vast experience and hunger for success that got them through.
"We had to fight right to the very end to qualify, but we got there. Now we can concentrate on preparations for the World Cup in Dubai, where we want to improve on what we what we did in Marseille," said Ezequiel Lopez Hilaire after the qualifying phase in Uruguay.
Facts and figures
Hector Petrasso (2005), Leandro Paradisi (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Marcelo Salgueiro (goalkeeper), Gustavo Casado (defender), Facundo Minici (pivot), Ezequiel Lopez Hilaire (wide player), Federico Lopez Hilaire (wide player), Santiago Hilaire (defender)
Argentina played five games, of which they won three (including one in extra time) and lost two. In total they scored 25 goals and conceded 20, with Federico Hilaire and Facundo Minici top-scoring for them with five goals apiece
The numbers game
4 - The number of times Argentina have taken part in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, making them one of only seven teams to appear in every final phase to date