Russia* won the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football European Championships in Berlin, Germany, on 26 August, following a 4-3 win over Spain on penalties after the final finished 1-1 at full time. Adolfo Acosta had given the Spaniards the lead, but Denis Egorov scored the equaliser. Andrei Tikhonov then scored the decisive penalty in the shootout for Russia.
The champions left Berlin undefeated after beating Turkey 2-1, drawing 0-0 with Spain and hammering Georgia 11-1 to top Group B. They then went on to beat Belgium 2-0 in the quarter-finals and France 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out following a 2-2 draw in the semis.
England completed the podium after beating France 2-0 in the bronze medal match.
The top four teams, plus fifth-placed Turkey, all qualified for the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships, set to take place in Madrid, Spain, from 5-18 June next year.
Russian Andrei Tikhonov was named Player of the Tournament, while Turkey’s Hasan Satay scored 11 goals to finish as the tournament top scorer. The Belgian team received the Fair Play award.
*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. For further information please click here.