Only four more days to go until the balls starts rolling and rattling at the IBSA Blind Football European Championships 2019 in Rome, Italy.
Teams are now travelling to the Italian capital for the tournament, which brings together the top ten nations in the continent for eight days of blind football action.
Following the opening ceremony on Monday 16th at 11:00, the action begins at the Tre Fontane
Paralympic Preparation Centre on Tuesday September 17th with the opening match featuring the hosts and Turkey, 2015 European Champions and 5th at the Berlin 2017 Europeans.
Top tip Russia will be looking to retain the title it took at the Europeans in Berlin, but will face stiff competition from some of the world’s top teams. Drawn in Group B with France, England, Germany and Greece, the Russians open their defence of the title on Tuesday at 11:30 against France.
Group A sees hosts Italy face 2017 runners-up Spain, Belgium and Romania as well as Turkey.
Full match schedule
Tuesday 17th September
09:00 Italy vs Turkey
11:30 Russia vs France
15:00 Spain vs Belgium
17:30 England vs Germany
Wednesday 18th September
09:00 Turkey vs Spain
11:30 France vs England
15:00 Romania vs Italy
17:30 Greece vs Russia
Thursday 19th September
09:00 Belgium vs Romania
11:30 Germany vs Greece
15:00 Russia vs England
17:30 Italy vs Spain
Friday 20th September
09:00 England vs Greece
11:30 Spain vs Romania
15:00 France vs Germany
17:30 Turkey vs Belgium
Saturday 21st September
09:00 Greece vs France
11:30 Romania vs Turkey
15:00 Belgium vs Italy
17:30 Germany vs Russia
Sunday 22nd September
15:00 semi-final 1
17:30 semi-final 2
Monday 23rd September
11:30 9th-10th place play-off
15:00 7th-8th place play-off
17:30 5th-6th place play-off
Tuesday 24th September
11:30 Bronze medal match
17:30 Closing ceremony
Caption: match schedule in graphic format.
In addition to the European title, the teams are playing for a slot at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The top two teams in Rome qualify for the games to join Brazil, Argentina and host nation Japan, who have already secured their place.
The IBSA Blind Football European Championships 2019 are hosted by FISPIC
, the Italian Paralympic Federation for the Visually Impaired. FISPIC President Sandro Di Girolamo expressed his delight at being selected to stage the competition:
"We are really proud to host the IBSA Blind Football European Championships in Italy, in Rome, and we are sure this is going to be a great sports celebration event. This event represents an important step for the qualification to the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, and we hope that the Italian national team will do well. We wait for you in Rome."
Football Committee Chair Ulrich Pfisterer is also looking forward to the championships:
“The IBSA Football Committee is delighted to see FISPIC stage the Blind Football European Championships 2019 in Rome. We have fond memories of the last championships in Loano in 2013.”
“I am sure we will have exciting championships as there seems no real favourites for the title and the resulting qualification spots for the Paralympics 2020 for the two finalists. Good luck to all ten participating teams.”
All games from Rome 2019 will be streamed live with English-language commentary on the IBSA Blind Football page
, FISPIC’s Facebook page
and FISPIC’s YouTube channel
Did you know?
- The first European Championships were held in Barcelona, Spain, in 1997
. Spain won the inaugural title, defeating Greece 1-0 in the final. England took third place.
- Rome 2019 is the twelfth time the championships are taking place, and they have been held in eight different countries - Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain, Greece, Turkey, Germany and Italy.
- Full results and final standings from the previous European Championships are available here
- Spain, France, Turkey and Russia have all held the title at some stage.
- Italy last hosted the championships in Loano in 2013.
- Romania and Greece qualified for Rome 2019 at the European Championships Division 2
in Bucharest in March this year.
Caption: link to highlights video from the 2017 European Championships in Berlin, Germany. Click on the image to view the video.
Note: article edited on Wednesday 18th September.