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Spain secure blind Euro crown again

SPAIN were crowned winners of the Blind Football European Championship by beating France in Rome on Tuesday, and both teams secured a place at next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Spain actually qualified for Tokyo by beating England in a semi-final shoot-out. England’s keeper saved Spain’s first penalty, but they were successful with the next two, and two saves from their own keeper ensured their progress towards the final and the 2020 Paralympics.

The English players offered an honourable presence throughout the championship, finishing top qualifiers in their group, only to be overtaken by France on goal-difference.

Spain, however, enjoyed a more clear-cut final against France, winning 3-1with an impressive display for their first success since 2013, when they also beat the French in the final. They have now won the championship eight times, from the 12 finals played.

England recovered from their semi-final loss by winning the third-place play-off against Turkey., edging their rivals 1-0 in a penalty shoot-out.

Three Paralympic qualifying spots still remain, however. Two places will be on offer at the Asia Regional Championships in Thailand, in the next few days, while the last spot will be decided at the African qualifier in November.

Spain and France have joined world champions Brazil, Americas qualifiers Argentina and host Japan in next year’s Paralympic Games tournament.

Hosts Italy finished sixth at the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) European Championship after suffering a heavy defeat against then-reigning champions Russia.

How to tackle blind football

*Five players, rather than 11, make up a blind football squad: four blind players and a sighted goalkeeper.

*The ball contains loose ball-bearings, so that it rattles when it moves, allowing the players to locate it.

*Players learn to keep the ball close, and perfectly controlled, as they dribble across the pitch, letting it away from their feet only when ready to pass to a team-mate, or take a shot.

*Concentration is everything, because, as well as hearing the ball, they’re guided by the voices of other players as they pass the ball.

*The coaches also play an important role. During the game, a coach will stand behind the attacking goal, directing the forward players, and another coach stands on the side-line, instructing the midfielder, while the sighted goalkeeper helps organise his defence.

*During a penalty, the attacking coach will tap both the vertical posts and crossbar, so that the player will know where to place his kick.

*Specially-designed acoustic boards around the pitch create an echo, which enables players to determine their own position, by clicking their fingers to locate each other and the ball, as it goes in and out of play.

*Importantly, all players must shout the word “voy” when in defensive situations. This allows the attacking player to determine the position of the defensive players.

 

 

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Posted by on Sep 26 2019. Filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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