Madrid 2018: Neymar inspires Brazil to take first winBrazilian star sends best wishes to blind football team before its debut victory 09 Jun 2018
Football star Neymar seems to have inspired his home team to an opening victory at the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Championships.
After the Paris Saint-Germain forward sent a video wishing them “good luck,” Brazil hammered Mali 6-1 on day two (8 June) in Madrid, Spain.
Despite heavy rain, the reigning Paralympic and world champions showed why they are the strong favourites for a fifth world title. Brazil are now leading group D and will next face Costa Rica, while Mali will play against England on Saturday (9 June).
African champions Morocco delivered a convincing performance and caused a major upset by achieving their first victory at a World Championships after defeating 2015 European champions Turkey 2-1 in group A.
Morocco will play hosts Spain on Saturday in a clash between group A leaders. Turkey seek to bounce back when they play Thailand on Sunday (10 June).
In group B, Americas champions Argentina began their quest for their third world title on the right foot as they beat Rio 2016 silver medallists Iran 1-0; Nicolas Veliz scored from a penalty kick. Colombia achieved an important 3-1 victory over France and are currently leading the group.
A thrilling Latin American showdown is set between Argentina and Colombia on Saturday. France and Iran will face-off on 10 June, each look for their first win.
In group C, Asian champions China beat South Korea 2-0 and are currently top of the standings. At least until European champions Russia* play against Mexico on Saturday.
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.
Full schedule is available on Madrid 2018's website
Group stages run until 12 June. The quarterfinals and playoffs 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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