Northern Ireland five-a-side team are off to Brazil for Neymar Jr's tournament
A five-a-side team from Northern Ireland will battle it out against the world’s best teams in Brazil this week.
Hoping to follow in the footsteps of their international heroes who did the country proud at Euro 2016, Distillery Elite have beaten hundreds of teams to secure their spot in the Neymar Jr’s Five final.
“We are all friends so we decided to enter the competition for a laugh to be honest,” said team captain Daniel Larmour.
“But throughout the heats we got extremely competitive and just kept going.
“To win the national final at Windsor Park and play on the same pitch after Northern Ireland beat Belarus in their last home game before the Euro, was a dream come true.”
Barcelona star Neymar Jr devised the fast-paced game in which the teams lose one player each time they concede a goal until there are no players left, or the 10-minute game ends.
The 17-year-old and four pals will compete against 49 teams from 46 countries for the title but after putting in extra training sessions they are ready to take on the world’s best in Sao Paulo.
“We still can’t believe that out of nearly 11,000 teams worldwide, our team has made it into the last 50,” said Daniel.
"What an experience and opportunity it is to be representing Northern Ireland in a global competition of this magnitude.
"We know we’re going to be facing some of the world’s up and coming new footballing talent but the lads and myself have been so inspired by our own national team that we are adopting their slogan ‘Dare to Dream’ as well, so watch this space!”
Belfast Telegraph Digital