Madrid 2018: Hosts Spain announce team for Worlds

Debutants Costa Rica also present their squad ahead of the competition 06 Jun 2018
a group of blind footballers hugging eachother

Spain are the only European team to claim a medal at the World Championships

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With just one day to go until the world’s biggest blind football tournament kicks off in Madrid, hosts Spain and debutants Costa Rica have announced their squads.

Spain are the only European team to have finished in the top three at the event. With the support of the home crowd, a lot is expected from them at the seventh International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Championships.

After six months of preparation with a larger squad of players, head coach Jesus Bargueiras had a tough decision to make on who to leave out.

Spain squad

Goalkeepers: Pedro Gutierrez, Sergio Rodriguez

Field players: Adolfo Acosta, Ivan Lopez, Sergio Alamar, Javier Munoz, Vicente Aguilar, Antonio Gaitan, Youssef el Haddaoui, Miguel Angel Sanchez

“It hasn’t been an easy decision because there are other players who have come to different training camps and who also deserve to be here,” said Bargueiras.

“I can only choose eight players and two goalkeepers, but I think with this squad we can dream about winning the World Championships.”

The Spanish national team will play the opening match of the World Cup against Thailand in Group A on 7 June at the Colegio Sagrado Corazon in the Spanish capital. Following the opener, the hosts will face Morocco and Turkey on 9 and 11 June, respectively.

Costa Rica have also announced their team for the World Championships. They became the first Central American team to qualify for the competition after winning the first Central American Championships last November.

They are one of six countries making their debut at the World Championships in Madrid.

Costa Rica squad

Goalkeepers: Manuel Guevara, Victor Ortiz

Field players: Ericsson Araya, Argeni Alvarez, Gerald Morales, Michael Mora, Angel Flores, Esteban Chavez, Daniel Contreras, Felipe Ulate

Costa Rica will play Brazil, England and Mali in Group D. Their first game will be against reigning world champions Brazil on 9 June. They then will face African silver medallists Mali on 11 June and European bronze medallists England the following day.

Head Coach Fernando Montero believes his squad for the World Championships could be a dark horse to achieve a top four finish: "Our aim is to advance past the quarter finals. Though we must overcome global powerhouses England and Brazil in our Group, we are well prepared to give them a challenge".

The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships 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.

After the Opening Ceremony and match on 7 June, the group stages get underway in earnest on 8 June. The quarter finals and play-offs begin on 13 June with the final taking place on 17 June.