Ten men’s and nine women’s teams will go for promotion to the A pool at the 2018 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball European Championships B in Chorzow, Poland, from Monday (24 September).
The podium finishers from each competition will then get the chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at competitions in 2019.
Matches will be shown live at the IBSA Goalball
and IBSA Goalball European Championships B
In the men’s Slovenia, Ukraine and Great Britain will be hoping for an immediate return to the A pool. They were relegated at the 2017 IBSA Goalball European Championships A in Pajulahti, Finland.
However Slovenia will have to cope without their top scorer Matej Ledinik between the posts. He has been sidelined by a knee operation but will travel to Chorzow as part of the training staff.
The team are still aiming for a top finish.
"Despite the absence of Matej Ledinek, our goal is to regroup and be among the best teams in Europe,” Slovenian coach Ivan Vinkler said.
However Ukraine have enjoyed a convincing season so far and currently sit 10th in the world rankings. That makes them the top men’s side in the competition, just one place in front of Slovenia.
New to the B pool are Greece, Montenegro and Portugal. The trio of men’s teams were promoted following their podium finishes at the European Championships C in Chisinau, Moldova, also in 2017.
Caption: The gold, silver and bronze medals of the 2018 IBSA Goalball European Championships B
Greece won the tournament after a close final with Montenegro, a developing side that are on the up.
The 10 men’s teams will play in two groups. Ukraine, Israel, Hungary, Greece and Montenegro are in group A. Slovenia, Great Britain, Spain, Poland and Portugal are in group B.
Hosts Poland will play the opening game in the men’s on Monday against Great Britain.
In the women’s Finland, Ukraine and Sweden are aiming for a quick return to the A pool following relegation in 2017.
Sweden have already been in action in the top flight in 2018, competing as the hosts of the IBSA Goalball World Championships in Malmo where they finished 12th.
But as in the men’s, the Ukrainian women are the highest ranked team in Chorzow.
Belgium, France, Sweden, Ukraine will play in group Y. Finland, Spain, Poland and the Netherlands will compete in group X.
The opening game will take place on Tuesday (25 September) between Spain and the Netherlands.
The 2018 IBSA Goalball European Championships B run from 24-29 September. Matches will be played in the Stadio Slaski and MORiS Chorzow.
Group matches will be played between 24-26 September. Playoffs will then take place on 27 September ahead of the semi-finals on 28 September and medal matches on 29 September.
Updates will be posted to the IBSA Goalball European Championships B Facebook page