Cagliari, Italy, takes centre stage in blind sports this morning as the IBSA Partially Sighted Football World Championships (for B2/B3 category) get underway in Sardinia.
The opening match kicks off at 11am local time, with hosts Italy facing Russia following a brief opening ceremony.
The draw saw hosts Italy matched with 2015 silver medallists Spain, Russia and Turkey in group B, while in group A Ukraine will face the challenge of Japan, England and Feance in the first round of the event.
The rest of the match schedule for the three days of the qualifying stage is as follows:
Monday 29th May
15:00 Spain vs Turkey
17:00 Japan vs England
19:00 Ukraine vs France
Tuesday 30th May
11:00 Turkey vs Italy
15:00 Russia vs Spain
17:00 France vs Japan
19:00 England vs Ukraine
Wednesday 31st May
11:00 Russia vs Turkey
15:00 Spain vs Italy
17:00 England vs France
19:00 Ukraine vs Japan
Eight teams are competing in the WC, with reigning champions Ukraine the one to beat as they attempt to defend the world title they won in Seoul, South Korea, in 2015.
Caption: Ukraine at the 2015 World Championships in Korea.
Rai Sport is delivering great coverage of the event, with all Italy's matches broadcast live and other games shown later the same day.
The final will be played on Saturday, June 3 at 16:00. Sandro Di Girolamo, president of FISPIC (Italian Paralympic Sports Federation for the Visually Impaired), said he was honored to be able to host such a prestigious event. "For the first time, the IBSA Partially Sighted Football World Championships will take place in Italy", said Girolamo, "and we are very happy, this is a goal that rewards us for so many efforts in these past years. It will be a real sport festival in a charming place in our country."
Caption: The Italian Paralympic Committee and FISPIC present the championships.
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