We are now only seventy days away from the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships
in Madrid, Spain.
Teams are fine-tuning their preparations and are getting ready for the biggest competition on the calendar.
Russia are ranked 13th in the IBSA Blind Football world rankings after winning the 2017 IBSA Blind Football European Championships.
Here are five facts about the team that will make their World Championships debut in Madrid.
- Blind football first appeared in Russia in 2004 as part of the Russian Federation President’s Cup.
- Russia topped their group at last year’s European Championships in Berlin to meet France in the semi-finals. In what was a tight match that finished 2-2 at the final whistle, Russia took on the French in a nerve wracking penalty shootout which they won 4-3.
- Russia then faced seven-time European champions Spain in the final, which ended in a 1-1 draw at full-time. Penalties worked in Russia’s favour once again. Andrei Tikhonov fired the ball into the bottom right corner for Russia to win 4-3 and lift the European Championship for the first time in their history.
- At their World Championships debut Tikhonov will be a key player, with his nimble dribbling and sharp shooting.
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 on 7 June, the group stages get underway on 8 June. The quarter finals and play-offs begin on 13 June with the final taking place on 17 June.