Turkey did not have a good performance at the last edition of the World Championships in 2014 in Tokyo, Japan, where they ended 11th, but are hoping the story will be different when they participate in Madrid 2018.
Ahead of this year’s Worlds, here are five things to know about blind football’s world No. 6 team.
• The Turkish Blind Football National Team was created in 2007 and is governed by the Türkiye Görme Engelliler Spor Federasyonu.
• Turkey won their first major medal at the 2013 European Championship in Loano, Italy, where they claimed bronze.
• Despite finishing 11th at the 2014 World Championships in Tokyo, Turkey bounced back the following year by winning their first European crown after beating Russia* 1-0 in the final.
• The team however had a tougher time qualifying for this year’s Worlds. Their draw against Spain in the group stage of the 2017 Euros meant they missed the semi-finals by just one point. They finished third in their group, unable to defend their title. However, they had a second chance to book their ticket for Madrid in their fifth-place game against Germany. The former European champions triumphed 2-1 on penalties following a goalless draw at full time.
• Turkey recently hosted the first Istanbul Blind Football Cup and were crowned champions. They went undefeated and beat European silver medallists Spain 2-1 in the final.
• Turkey’s budding striker Hasan Satay will be the player to watch at Madrid 2018. He fired in eleven goals at Berlin 2017, seven of which were scored in a 9-2 triumph over Georgia in the group stage. His impressive tally landed him the Top Goal Scorer Award.
The 2018 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Championships will be held in Madrid, Spain, from 7-17 June, and will feature 16 of the world’s best teams. As well as the title on offer, the competition is also an important step on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.
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