Argentina

The past
Argentina are one of only three nations to have qualified for every edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, including Tahiti 2013. To date, however, the quarter-finals have proved their glass ceiling, with La Albiceleste exiting at that stage in 2006, 2006 and 2008. On their other three previous trips to the global showpiece, they failed to negotiate the group phase.

The present
Having not been involved at Ravenna/Italy 2011, the return of Argentinian beach-soccer icons such as Marcelo Salgueiro and the Hilaire brothers – Santiago, Ezequiel and Federico – to the national squad was capped with a first ever continental title. But though they won their group in the CONMEBOL qualifying event on home soil, it was not all plain sailing in the first phase, with two one-goal wins, one shoot-out success and only one emphatic victory, which came against Colombia. Yet in both the semi-final and final, which La Albiceleste won 5-3 and 6-2 against Ecuador and Paraguay respectively, Hector Petrasso’s charges showed character and quality aplenty to come away with a historic South American crown.

The future
All the signs suggest that Argentina will touch down in Tahiti at the peak of their powers. In addition to the reintegration of the aforementioned players, the performances of Luciano Francescini, voted the Most Valuable Player in CONMEBOL qualifying, and the squad’s five-goal leading scorer Lucas Medero underline Argentina’s strength in depth – which could prove vital come the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.