By Cristina Hodgson • 24 September 2019 • 22:03
Spain were crowned winners of the Blind Football European Championships by beating France in Rome this afternoon (Tuesday).
Both teams secured a place at next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo by reaching the final of the Blind Football European Championships in Rome.
Spain qualified for Tokyo 2020 after beating England in their semi-final.
Although England’s keeper saved Spain’s first effort in the shoot-out, they were successful with the next two and two saves from their own keeper ensured their progress towards the final and towards the 2020 Paralympic games.
The English players offered an honourable campaign throughout the championships and had finished the top qualifiers of their group, only to be overtaken on goal difference by France.
Spain having come through the tense penalty shoot-out against England to advance to the final, enjoyed a more clear-cut match against France.
The Spanish team produced an impressive display to earn a 3-1 victory against their rivals. It was the first time since 2013 that Spain had won the title, when they also defeated France in the final. With this title, Spain have won the championships a total of eight times of the 12 editions of the tournament.
England recovered from their semi-final loss by winning the third-place play-off against Turkey. England faced another tight match which was ultimately decided on penalties. This time England edging their rivals 1-0.
Following the conclusion of the event, three Paralympic qualifying spots remain.
Two places will be on offer at the Asia Regional Championships in Thailand later this month, while the final spot is decided at the African qualifier in November.
Spain and France have joined world champions Brazil, Americas qualifiers Argentina and host Japan in next year’s Paralympic Games tournament.
Hosts Italy finished sixth at the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) European Championships after suffering a heavy defeat to reigning champions Russia.
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