“We’re determined to try and make 2019 our year for success. The competition in Europe has definitely increased and I feel Germany in particular will be training hard to gain a spot at Tokyo 2020."
England’s blind football team captain Dan English has a big aim for 2019 - the European Championships title and with it, qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
English is a veteran in the team, having played more than 100 matches.
Throughout his 10 years of experience, English has been the driving force behind the Three Lions’ successes.
Most recently, the 28-year-old led the team to the quarter finals at the 2018 World Championships in Madrid, Spain. After a 1-1 draw against Argentina, the South American team prevailed in the penalty shootout.
English said: “We put in a very good performance at the World Championships as a team. Although it did not go in our favour, I’m extremely proud of how we prepared and performed during that very demanding period.”
England went on to finish in seventh place following a victory over African champions Morocco on penalties.
They had also met Argentina in the final of the inaugural 2018 World Grand Prix in Tokyo, Japan. England muscled their way into the gold medal match but also lost in a penalty shootout. Along with the silver, English returned home with the Most Impressive Player and Top Goal Scorer awards.
In the second part of 2018, England hosted a handful of training camps and friendlies at St. George’s Park looking to improve all areas of the game.
Although 2019 will arguably be an even more demanding year, English believes the national team is equipped to take one of the qualification spots for Tokyo 2020 at the Euros in Rome, Italy, between 15 and 24 September 2019.
“We’re determined to try and make 2019 our year for success. The competition in Europe has definitely increased and I feel Germany in particular will be training hard to gain a spot at Tokyo 2020. Nonetheless, we’re going for the European title and qualification for the Games.”