Some of Australia’s best 5-a-side footballers took part in the Australian final for the Red Bull Neymar Jr’s Five National in Sydney on Saturday night.
16 teams from across the eastern coast of Australia pitted it out against each other in a fast-five format which saw players compete in 10 minute matches although each time a goal was conceded, that team would have to go down a player.
But the ultimate end prize was what the players had their sights on. For the winning team, they would go on to represent Australia at the Neymar Jr’s Five world final in Praia Grande, Brazil and the possibility to meet the man himself Neymar Jr.
Players qualified from six locations including Marrickville, Tuggerah, Lakemba, Harbord, Dandenong and the Gold Coast, but it in the end it all came down to ‘Cheese FC’ from the Harbord qualifier and ‘Europia’ from the Gold Coast, Queensland.
The match between Cheese FC and Europia was full of intensity and action as both sides looked to book their ticket on a flight to Brazil. The boys from Sydney hit the ground running, scoring 2 goals within the first minute. Despite Europia going down to only 3 players, the Queensland boys scored their first goal, seeing the Cheese FC’s lose their first player. The result never looked in doubt, with Cheese FC in total control from start to finish. The young Sydney locals and were crowned the Australian National Champions, winning the Grand Final 5-2.
There were feelings of pure dejection from the Gold Coast boys, feeling they had the quality to represent Australia to the world but unfortunately fell at the final hurdle.
“We let in a stupid first goal and that was the game I think here.” said 22 year old Fabian. “We beat this team in the group but we were unlucky this time, you need a bit of luck as well but we didn’t have it today.”
On the other hand, Cheese FC boys couldn’t believe their luck as they tried to sink in the feeling that they’ll be off to an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil to represent Australia in the world final.
“Absolutely over the moon, we were just a bunch of boys playing around and we did not see that coming.” said George, 18. “We’re all really good mates, we knew we are good technically but strength was the key in here and we just stuck together and took every game as it came.”
For George, the possibility of meeting Neymar Jr had him in disbelief.
“I need a good photo and make sure I do my hair! He’s a legend, I look up to him and it would be a lifetime experience to meet him.”
Cheese FC will now prepare to head to Brazil to compete in the World Final on July 9. Held at the Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr, the Sydney boys will be competing against more than 34 different countries from across 6 continents in a bid to be crowned the Neymar Jr’s Five Red Bull World Champions.
Images: Red Bull Media