191 sides entered, 16 regional qualifiers were played, but in the end it was Scorpianz who reigned victorious at the National Final in Birmingham this Saturday and will now head to the World Finals in Sao Paulo, set for 21st July.
After a thrilling tournament, which saw the best 5-a-side teams in the country battling it out for the golden ticket to Brazil, it was eventually Scorpianz who claimed a 1-0 victory in an epic final – which was settled by a 1v1 golden goal shoot-out. The team will be the UK’s sole male representatives at the finals and will have the unique opportunity of meeting the Paris St. Germain star in his own backyard.
The road to Brazil was far from an easy one, with teams from eight different cities across UK all looking to cash in on the ultimate prize. However, Scorpianz were deserved winners, starting their campaign at the regional qualifier in Barnet, they played some scintillating stuff – cruising to a win in their regionals, and when it came to the nationals they made no mistakes either.
Omar Riaz, Scorpianz captain, said: “This is our third year competing in Neymar Jr’s Five. We’ve been in the Semi Finals and Finals and now it’s the final step; winning the nationals. I never thought we’d make the global finals… but now I do! Every game we just thought if we don’t concede, we won’t lose, hence why throughout the tournament we didn’t concede a single goal. Looking ahead to Brazil and meeting Neymar seems crazy… but if we continue to play the same way why not dream of winning it!”
Organised by Red Bull, Neymar Jr’s Five is a concept that was dreamt up by the Brazilian superstar himself. Fast-paced, unique and fun; the format gives sides 10 minutes to eliminate their opponents by scoring, as with each goal the opposition loses a player. After 10 minutes, the team with the most amount of players left on the pitch wins. However, if tied after 10 minutes, the tie is settled by a 1v1 knockout.
Neymar said of the competition: “I’m delighted with the third year of Neymar Jr’s Five. I’m very happy to increase the number of players, the number of teams signing up, and the number of countries involved. So I’m not the only one who is happy, everyone that’s part of the organisation is also happy, and it’s very big. I hope it can get even bigger… we have more teams than the World Cup [62 nations]. I hope they all have a great experience and I am looking forward to meeting all the country champions in Brazil.”
With qualifiers taking place across 62 counties and 6 continents, Neymar Jr’s Five is the biggest five-a-side football tournament in-terms of locations and participants. Last year, UK champions IFC 5’s made it all the way the World Final but narrowly lost out to the Romanian side in devastating fashion. The question remains though, will Scorpianz be able to go one step further and actually win the World Final in July at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr in Praia Grande, Brazil?
It promises to be the biggest finals yet. To follow the action, use #neymarjrsfive.
The Neymar Jr’s Five World Final takes place at the Instituto Projecto Neymar Jr, Brazil, from July 20th – July 21st. For more information on the tournament, head to: www.neymarjrsfive.com