Hosts Spain edged a 2-1 victory over debutants Thailand in the opening game of the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships in Madrid, Spain, on Thursday (7 June).
The Opening Ceremony was held at the Colegio Sagrado Corazon in Madrid, where the record 16 participating countries were welcomed onto the field by Ulrich Pfisterer, IBSA Blind Football committee Chairperson, Miguel Carballeda, ONCE Social Group and Spanish Paralympic Committee President and Angel Luis Gomez Blazquez, President of the Spanish Sports Federation for the Blind President. Former Spanish Football Coach Vicente Del Bosque was present at the ceremony and took the kick-off, accompanied by former Spanish players Emilio Butragueno and Ricardo Gallego.
All the games between 7-17 June can be watched live at the official Championships website.
“It is an honour for me to take the kick-off for the IBSA Blind Football World Championships. What is going to happen in Madrid over the next week is an example for the entire world of inclusion, sport and spectacle. I wish all the participating teams and organisers the greatest sporting success,” Del Bosco said.
Spain were the dominant side in the first half and threatened the Thailand goal on several occasions. But the Asian bronze medallists’ resilience in defence ensured the second half remained goalless. Both teams increased their tempo in the second half, which subsequently saw more fouls being awarded, particularly in favour of Spain.
Halfway into the second half, the Thailand goalkeeper gave away a penalty after catching the ball outside of his area. Spain’s Antonio Martin Gaitan toe-poked the ball into the right corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, Thailand’s Panyawut Kupan dribbled past all four Spanish defenders and fired the ball into the top left corner to equalise and score his country’s first World Championship goal. As Thailand were on the verge of securing a draw, they conceded a sixth foul and were consequently penalised with an eight-metre penalty. Adolfo Acosta slotted the ball into the right corner for Spain to win the opening game 2-1.
“The game was tough but I’m very happy with the result. We’ve made history in reaching this World Championships and we are going to make some changes to our game plan for our next match against Turkey on Sunday”, said Thailand head coach Prajak Ritnuch. Spain top Group A, and will play African champions Morocco on 9 June at 11:30am (CET) and Turkey on 11 June at 11:30am.
Friday (8 June) sees Asian champions China face South Korea at 9am in group C, followed by Turkey versus Morocco in the second group A match. In group B, Americas champions Argentina then face Iran at 2pm and France take on Colombia at 4:30pm. The final match will feature defending world champions Brazil against Mali in group D.
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