With just three days to go until the biggest ever blind football tournament - the 7th IBSA Blind Football World Championships
- kicks off in Madrid, the hosts Spain and debut team Costa Rica have confirmed their squads for the tournament.
Costa Rica, known as ‘Los Volcanes’ (the Volcanoes), qualified for the sixteen-team tournament after being crowned the first Central American Champions of blind football last November. They are one of six countries making their debut at the IBSA World Championships in Madrid.
Costa Rica squad
Goalkeepers: Manuel Guevara, Victor Ortiz
Defenders: Ericsson Araya, Argeni Alvarez, Gerald Morales, Michael Mora
Forwards: Angel Flores, Esteban Chavez, Daniel Contreras (Captain), Felipe Ulate
Costa Rica will play Brazil, England and Mali in Group D. Their first game will be against reigning World champions Brazil on 9 June. They then face African silver medallists Mali on 11 June and European bronze medallists England the following day.
Caption: Costa Rica celebrates winning last year's Central American Championships.
Head Coach, Fernando Montero, believes his 10-man squad for the World Championships could be a dark horse to achieve a top four finish: "Our aim is to advance past the quarter finals. Though we must overcome global powerhouses England and Brazil in our Group, we are well prepared to give them a challenge
Costa Rica won’t be short of goals as their striker Esteban Chavez scored nine in the Central American champions to attain the Player of the Tournament and Top Goal Scorer Award.
Spain has also announced its squad for the tournament. As the only European team ever to have finished in the top three at the event and with the support of the home crowds, a lot is expected of the team.
After six months of preparation with a larger squad of players, head coach Jesús Bargueiras had a tough decision to make on who to leave out.
Adolfo Acosta (Gran Canaria), Iván López (Alicante), Sergio Alamar (Alicante), Javier Muñoz (Tarragona), Vicente Aguilar (Valencia), Antonio Martín Gaitán ‘El Niño’ (Málaga), Youssef el Haddaoui (Tarragona), Miguel Ángel Sánchez (Menorca), Pedro Gutiérrez (goalkeeper) and Sergio Rodríguez (goalkeeper).
Caption: Spain's squad lines up for a family photo.
“It hasn’t been an easy decision because there are other players who have come to different training camps and who also deserve to be here. I can only choose eight players and two goalkeepers, but I think with this squad we can dream about winning the World Championships”
, claimed Bargueiras.
The Spanish national team will play the opening match of the World Cup against Thailand next Thursday at 18:00 hours at the Colegio Sagrado Corazón in the Spanish capital. Following the opener, the hosts will face Morocco and Turkey on June 9th and 11th, both games kicking off at 11:30.
All the games at the IBSA Blind Football World Championships will be streamed live on the official championships web site
. Spain's games will also be broadcast live on Teledeporte
, a national television channel which is part of the national broadcaster's portfolio.
Follow IBSA Blind Football on Facebook
, Twitter (@IBSAB1Football)
Follow the championships on Facebook
and Twitter (@MunFutbolCiegos)
Caption: banner for the IBSA Blind Football World Championships Madrid 2018.