Paralympic and defending champions Brazil and Americas’ title holders Argentina will meet again at the 2018 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Championships after winning the semi-finals in Madrid, Spain, on Friday (15 June).
The final will take place at 12pm local time on Sunday (17 June). It is set to be a fantastic face-off and a replay of December’s American Championships final, which Argentina won 2-1 on penalties. Four years ago in Tokyo, Japan, Brazil beat Argentina 1-0 in the extra-time in the World Championships final.
In Madrid, a 1-0 victory over Asian champions China book Brazil’s place in the gold medal match.
Brazil struggled with China’s tight defence until the 18th minute of the first half when they were awarded a corner.Ricardinho dribbled the ball towards his own half before he turned sharply and drilled it in-between two defenders from around eight metres out.
Jefinho said: “Of course it was a tough game as we expected. The Chinese team is an excellent team. They play very fast and are one of the top teams in the world. They made it tough for us; it was a very tough match physically.
“It was a tough game with a happy ending for us. We’ve reached our first goal which was to qualify for the final. [China] were only sending forward one player but they were running forward very quickly. There were three players at the back that made it tough to score."
On facing Argentina in the final, Jefinho added: “I think it will be similar to today’s game. Argentina are a stronger team but not as fast. For sure we’re playing against some dangerous players.”
Argentina squeaked through to the final with a 1-0 win over European champions Russia*.
Angel Deldo scored his team’s lone goal in the 7th minute. Sensing a chance, he jumped to his feet after a fall in the area and scooped the ball over Anton Iakovalev’s head and into the roof of the net.
Deldo said: “I am extremely happy. The same as every player I am looking to score and it was a great moment that I was able to give us the passport to the final. I don’t score much but when I did I remembered my parents, family and friends.
“We are very proud to have so many people from Argentina as part of the crowd. We knew it would be a tough challenge but the way we wanted to play was with an organised defence. It was a very different game to England [in the quarter-final] which was very physical. Today was more relaxed and we played better.”
China will take on Russia in the bronze medal match at 9:30am on Sunday.
Colombia to face Spain for fifth
Colombia completed an impressive come-back over Morocco in their tie to determine who will play Spain for fifth place on Saturday (16 June).
Morocco thought they had the edge when Snisla Zouhairbagged a goal in the 7th minute. But Colombia equalised just before half time with a great run from John Gonzalez. He won possession of the ball and then sent defender Sedki Mohamed the wrong way.
In the second half, Gonzalez doubled Colombia’s score when his third effort on goal in 15 seconds finally payed off.
Any hopes of a Moroccan comeback were then ended when Imad Berka took Gonzalez down in front of goal. A penalty was awarded and Danilo Rincon capitalised to conclude the scoring at 3-1 to Colombia.
Teams go for 13th-16th places
In the morning matches, four teams concluded their tournaments.
Turkey beat Costa Rica 7-0 to claim 13th place, while France secured a 3-0 win over South Korea in the 15th place play-off.
The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships, featuring 16 teams, are the biggest in history. The competition has seen debuts for Mexico, Central American champions Costa Rica, Mali, European champions Russia, Thailand and Iran.
As well as the title, the winners of the sixteen-team tournament will also secure a place at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
A full schedule is available on Madrid 2018's website.www.madrid.blindfootballworldcup.com/calendar/
*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.
For further information please click here.https://www.paralympic.org/russian-paralympic-committee-suspension