The final line up for the quarter finals of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Championships in Madrid, Spain, has been decided following the final group games on Tuesday (12 June).
Hosts Spain, defending champions Brazil, Argentina, Russia*, Morocco, China, Colombia and England are all heading through after 24 exhilarating matches.
In group A, African champions Morocco secured the second quarter final spot as they defeated Thailand 3-0 in the last group game to leapfrog the Asian bronze medallists with six points. Hosts Spain topped group A.
Group B qualification was also a close contest as Colombia took on Rio 2016 silver medallists Iran, winning the match 2-1 to finish second and progress.
Americas champions Argentina had already secured a spot in the quarter finals after defeating France 3-0 on Sunday (10 June) to finish top of the group with six points. They will play England on Wednesday (12 June), while Colombia will face title holders Brazil.
Colombia’s Fredy Duvian Lopez Morales said: “We are not afraid of the reigning world champions. We know how they play and their strengths and weaknesses from our experience at the Americas Championships in late 2017. We think we can overthrow them for the world title.”
Paralympic champions Brazil left the best impression after bulldozing their way to first place in group D, winning all three games and finishing with a +21 goal difference.
The Brazilians also have the tournament top scorers in Ricardinho Alves with seven goals, closely followed by teammate Gledson on six.
England finished second in group D, securing their quarter final place after beating Costa Rica 7-1 on Tuesday.
Asian title holders China topped group C with maximum points after three 1-0 victories against South Korea, Mexico and Russia.
European champions Russia finished second in the group with four points, drawing their opening game against Mexico 1-1 and subsequently defeating South Korea 3-0.
China will take on Morocco while Russia face a tough tie with Spain, who will try to make the most of the home advantage.
As well as the title, the winners of the 16-team tournament will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
A 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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