Brazil wins Four Nations
November 7, 2017
The Ginásio Poliesportivo Adib Moyses Dib in São Bernardo do Campo, Sao Paulo, Brazil saw four elite South American men’s national teams compete in a four nations tournament organised by the Brazilian Handball Confederation (CBHB).
Using the international break in the 2017-18 calendar, the ‘Four Nations’ tournament continues the preparation cycle for all the teams ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.
Starting with two warm-up games a few days before the event itself, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and the hosts competed in the round-robin tournament with entry free to the public, upon donation of non-perishable food to be given to charity.
Brazil eventually won the trophy, beating Uruguay in their opener (34:15), then Chile (30:17), before the local derby against their historic rivals, and neighbours, Argentina.
Both teams went into the match with two wins each and knowing the winner of their clash would take the title. Comfortably leading 14:9 at half-time, Brazil let the team in blue and white mount a second-half comeback, but, despite winning the final 30 minutes 14:12, and coming to within one goal (22:21), Argentina could not come back as the hosts maintained their lead. Dunkerque Handball Grand Littoral’s Haniel Langaro top-scored with seven for the home side, while Federico Fernández grabbed five for Argentina.
Brazil coach Washington Nunes will be happy with the performances of his squad over the tournament which, on average, was 26 years old but featured a mix of experienced athletes including Thiagus Petrus and Fábio Chiuffa along with debutants and younger players – such as Gustavo Rodrigues, 22, Rudolph Hackbarth, 23, and pivot Leonardo Domenech who replaced fellow pivot Rogério Moraes before the tournament after fracturing his nose during club action with his team HC Vardar.
"I missed a few simple things, but it was my debut, and I was very nervous,” said Rodrigues after making his senior team debut in the pre-tournament friendly against Argentina. “I have already represented Brazil in all the other age categories, but it's totally different being in the senior team – it was one of my dreams.”
For Coach Nunes, the tournament allowed his team to adapt and prepare ahead of the serious competition coming up over this season. “Many athletes play in Europe and have other game schemes, so when they come back to Brazil, they need to recover to our defensive system,” said Nunes to the CBHB website. “A 5-1 defence is our characteristic and it requires some time for the players to get used to but when we started the training phase we alerted the boys that some things need to be changed and improved, such as pass and transition actions and numerical superiority actions.
“The Four Nations is very important because it brings the Seleção back to the people watching, that's a very rich thing,” he continued. “We had a lot of people watching, and that shows the strength of our sport – we have a young team, but we are in the Olympic cycle, and qualification is within our expectations.
“We would have liked our performances to have been a bit better, but they have evolved step-by-step, and that has been positive.”
Washington had named a predominantly European-based squad with players playing their club handball in a variety of countries including Spain, Turkey, France, Poland, Hungary, FYR Macedonia, Portugal and some in Brazil.
For Argentina coach Manuel Cadenas the games were his first official ones as coach after taking the job in April and having a busy six months since, getting to know his players.
Brazilian centre-back João Pedro Silva, who plays his club handball for SL Benfica in Portugal, was voted Most Valuable Player of the competition, Argentina’s Leonel Maciel won the award for best goalkeeper and Diego Morandeira, from Uruguay, finished as top scorer, with 13 strikes.
“We have managed to handle the games and been serious from start to finish,” said Silva after the final game. “Our whole team is to be congratulated, but we will continue with our work.”
FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT – RESULTS
Wednesday 25 October (Warm-Up)
Brazil vs Argentina 21:18 (10:9)
Thursday 26 October (Warm-Up)
Brazil vs Chile 37:25 (18:14)
Friday 27 October
Argentina vs Chile 29:24 (14:10)
Brazil vs Uruguay 34:15 (16:8)
Saturday 28 October
Argentina vs Uruguay 35:18 (16:10)
Brazil vs Chile 30:17 (20:9)
Sunday 29 October
Brazil vs Argentina 26:23 (14:9)
Uruguay vs Chile 22:21 (12:10)
Photo: Cinara Piccolo/CBHb