Argentina beat England to win World Grand Prix title

New blind football competition concludes with penalty shootout thriller 26 Mar 2018
Argentina champion - 2018 World Grand Prix

Argentina beat England to win the 2018 World Grand Prix title

ⒸJapan Blind Football Association

Argentina have been crowned champions of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Grand Prix following a 2-0 victory on penalties over England. The shootout came after a 0-0 draw in the final held at the Shinagawa Tennozu Park in Tokyo, Japan, on 25 March.

In order to qualify for the gold medal match, the Rio 2016 bronze medallists finished top of Group B after defeating European champions Russia 3-0 and France 5-0. Argentinian Froilan Padilla was given the ‘Best Player’ award and Maximiliano Espinillo ended as top scorer with four goals.

Head Coach Martin Demonte said: “I'm very proud of the team.

"Even though we did not play the game that we were practising and working on in Buenos Aires, the players brought up their entire capacity, experience and attitude to score goals against very difficult European rivals [over the course of the tournament].

“I really appreciate this title for all the difficulties we have had to overcome. Additionally, a couple of weeks ago we won the under-23 title in Brazil. These players will allow the generation replacement in the coming years."

Turkey sealed bronze after a 1-0 triumph over Russia.

This was a big opportunity for some of the world’s best teams to assess themselves ahead of the 2018 World Championships in Madrid, Spain, between 5 and 18 June.

The World Grand Prix is the brainchild of the Japan Blind Football Association and aims to tap into the popularity of blind football and enhance interest by sponsors and spectators in the run-up to the 2020 Paralympic Games.

More information is available on IBSA Blind Football’s Facebook page.