England launched their bid to become the first European winner of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Championships on Saturday (9 June) with a 4-0 victory over Mali in Madrid, Spain.
In the Group D clash, Brandon Coleman scored twice while Daniel English and Roy Turnham each netted one apiece. England will next play Paralympic and world champions Brazil. Mali were eliminated but can still pick up points against Costa Rica on 11 June.
In group D´s other game, Brazil hammered Central American champions and Worlds debutants Costa Rica 14-1. Ricardinho scored five, Jefinho and Gledson three each, Cassion two and Tiago Parana one. Daniel Contreras scored Costa Rica’s consolation goal.
Brazil top Group D with six points.
Spain achieved their second victory in Group A against African champions 3-0 Morocco. Youssef El Haddaoui scored twice for the hosts and Imad Berka put into his own goal.
Turkey and Thailand will face-off on 10 June. After that, Spain will close their Group A campaign against Turkey while Morocco will seek a historical qualification for the quarter-finals if they get a result against Thailand.
The remaining two games contested in Madrid on day three of competition ended in draws.
Argentina and Colombia, both of whom had won their opening games against Iran and France respectively, finished 0-0 in Group B. They now have four points each but Colombia have the better goal difference.
Rio 2016 silver medallists Iran will face France on 10 June looking to achieve their first victory.
In Group C, European champions Russia* drew against debutants Mexico 1-1. The Latin American team opened the score through Gustavo Aranda but Denis Egorov scored the equaliser shortly before the end.
China, who will face Mexico on 10 June, lead the group with three points after beating South Korea, who will play against Russia on 11 June.
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.
Full schedule is available on Madrid 2018's website.
*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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