COVENTRY University’s women’s five-a-side team have been crowned the best in the country, and are now set to jet out to the Neymar Jr’s Five world finals in São Paulo next month.
The university side, made up of seven girls, won the national finals held in Liverpool with a 4-1 victory in the final at Bramley-Moore Dock to earn themselves the chance to meet the Paris Saint Germain and Brazil forward himself.
Sponsored by Red Bull, the Neymar Jr’s Five is a five-a-side tournament played in 40 countries worldwide, established by the player himself and now in its fourth edition – with the 2019 competition marking the second time that a female-only competition has been played.
The tournament has a unique format, with both teams given ten minutes to eliminate the opposing side by scoring, with each goal leading to the opposition losing a player.
After the ten minutes have elapsed, the team with the most players left win the tie, but in circumstances of a draw – a one against one scenario comes into play.
Thanks to their success, Coventry University will now have a tilt at the world title, played at an institute founded by the player in the same area where he honed his skills, on July 12-13.
Their success can be considered somewhat remarkable, considering that many of the players had not played together prior to the five-a-side tournament and had to bring last-minute players in thanks to injuries.
Despite all of those factors, the girls came out on top to run out deserving winners, with team captain Daniella Granato struggling to comprehend the achievement of her side.
“It’s hard to put it into words really – we are all still in shock,” she said.
“We came in here as the underdogs and I’m just so proud of the girls considering the dropouts we had.”
She now believes her side can go one better and become world champions next month.
“We’ve got a really strong side and I don’t see why we can’t win in Brazil.
“The girls were all saying what an amazing experience it will be to meet Neymar as well, so we just can’t wait now.”
Coventry are hoping to go one better than last year’s UK representatives, ‘The Eagles’, who went out in the knockout rounds in the 2018 edition.