China secured qualification for the quarter finals after a 1-0 victory over Mexico on the fourth day (10 June) of competition at the 2018 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Championships in Madrid, Spain.
Zhang Jiabin scored the only goal.
The Asian champions now lead group C with six points, followed by Mexico and European title-holders Russia* (one point), who will face South Korea (0 points) on 11 June.
Debutants Thailand sprang the tournament’s biggest surprise by eliminating 2015 European champions Turkey. Kupan Panyawut scored a hat-trick for the Asian team as they won 3-0 to put them second in group A.
With Spain (six points) already qualified for the next round, Thailand will try to secure at least a draw against Morocco (three points) on 12 June to join the hosts in the quarter finals.
In the third and last match of the day, Iran (three points) recovered from their defeat to Argentina (four points) and hammered France (0 points) 7-0. Sadegh Rahmi scored a hat-trick, while Hossein Rajab Pour and Behzad Zadaliasghari netted two apiece.
The Rio 2016 silver medallists now need to secure a victory against Colombia (four points) on 12 June to qualify for the next stage.
Five games will be contested on 11 June: Russia vs. South Korea, Spain vs. Turkey, Costa Rica vs. Mali, Argentina vs. France and Brazil vs. England.
The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships features 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.
Group stages run until 12 June. The quarter finals and play-offs begin on 13 June with the final taking place on 17 June.
*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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A full schedule is available on Madrid 2018's website.