GB CP squad face Samba start
by Matt Phillips
Cerebral Palsy football kicks off at the Paralympics today with Great Britain facing a baptism of fire against Brazil at the Riverbank Arena.
The Brazilians, ranked fourth in the world, are fancied for a podium finish at the 7-a-side tournament with Paralympics GB also facing the best team in the world, Ukraine, and the USA in the group stages.
Paralympics GB Head Coach Lyndon Lynch said: "We've prepared properly for the Paralympics and training has gone very well so we go into these games with plenty of confidence.
"It's a difficult group but we're not nervous about it all. In fact we're looking forward to the challenge because that's what playing at this level is all about. You want to be facing the best in the world, you want to be playing elite nations and we've got that from the off against Brazil this
Paralympics GB striker, Michael Barker, has featured in national media today having played at Everton's youth setup with a certain Wayne Rooney said: "Brazil aren't a lot different to their senior side so we're expecting the same kind of samba skills and it's going to be a tough opening game.
"My own personal goals are to see us get out of the group and to score at least five goals," said Barker who got into double figures as winner of the Golden Boot at the 2011 Cerebral Palsy World Cup in Holland.
The two nations last met at the Paralympic World Cup Final in Manchester earlier this year with Brazil winning 4-2 and GB picking up the silver medal.
Lynch added: "Brazil are a very good counter attacking side. We've analysed the video of the game in Manchester in the build up to this match and that's helped shape tactics for their attacking threat.
"It's going to be a fantastic experience playing at the Riverbank Arena as it holds about 16,000 but we won't be phased by performing in front of big crowds.
"Some of the squad were at Beijing in 2008 so they'll be used to playing in that kind of atmosphere.
"It certainly helps that we're in front of a home crowd and that will be a big boost to our players."
Paralympics GB v Brazil kicks off at 4.15pm on Sky Channel 452, Freesat 152 and Virgin 552 & 555 (HD)