MATTHEW Ellis insists Paralympics GB can still win a medal in seven-a-side football, despite Saturday’s opening day defeat to Brazil.
The 32-year-old from Elmswell, near Stowmarket, played 51 of the 60 minutes in the 3-0 loss to the South Americans.
Britain now need to get a result against Ukraine — who thumped USA 9-0 on Saturday — at the Olympic Park’s Riverbank Arena today (11.15am) to keep alive their hopes of winning a medal.
Ellis — who now lives in Miami, USA — said: “Ukraine are previous European, world and Paralympic champions so have been there and done it all, but they are an ageing squad.
“We’re younger and will try our best. It’s a game we have got to win and hopefully we can do that.”
The Brazilians took charge from the off, moving ahead in just the 11th minute when Ronaldo Almeida de Souza slid the ball under GB goalkeeper Billy Thompson from the edge of the penalty area.
Thompson should have done much better with the opener, but he was left far too exposed when Brazil doubled their advantage two minutes later.
Ellis slipped on the halfway line, allowing Jan Francisco Brito da Costa to slide the ball forward to Wanderson Silva de Oliveira, who slammed the ball home from close range.
The scoring was complete in the 25th minute when Yurig Gregory dos Santos Ribeiro managed his best impression of Roberto Carlos by swerving home a stunning free-kick with the outside of his boot.
Britain had little on offer in attack in the first half and were on the backfoot again at the start of the second 30-minute period with substitute goalkeeper Craig Connell making a tremendous double save.
He made another excellent one-handed save to stake his claim for a starting place against Ukraine today, but GB ended the match in the ascendancy.
Matty Dimbelow was denied one-on-one by the Brazilian goalkeeper before stabbing a shot that was somehow turned round by the post by the custodian four minutes from time.
Ibz Diallo’s deflected free-kick was also kept out, but the encounter ended on a low when Blair Glynn was dismissed for receiving two yellow cards.
Ellis added: “It’s not about the name on the back of the shirt, it’s about the badge on the front – it’s about GB and not the individuals.”