Argentina take blind football World Grand Prix crown
Date: June 5, 2021
World Championships silver medallists Argentina marked the return of blind football with a 2-0 victory over the hosts at the final of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Grand Prix in Shinagawa, Japan, on Saturday (5 June).
It was the perfect re-start for Argentina, finishing on top of five of the eight qualified teams for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Star striker Maximiliano Espinillo was once again the star of the show in Shinagawa, scoring both of his team’s goals.
Japan found themselves behind midway through the first half when Espinillo showed great footwork to get away from three players before finding the bottom corner.
Espinillo then bagged his second five minutes later with a similar finish after holding off a defender as Argentina went on to seal the title.
The win brings Argentina’s record for the tournament to four wins and one draw having previously overcome France (1-0), Thailand (4-3) and Spain (1-0).
Japan were the only team able to hold them to a goalless draw in the group stages. The Paralympics hosts will be encouraged by a successful week at home which featured two wins and two draws, showing great promise for the side who were out to demonstrate their progress to the world.
Third place play-off
Blind football legends Spain, where it is believed the sport started in the 1920s, once again landed on the podium.
In their clash against Thailand, who will make their Paralympic debut in Tokyo in August, Adolfo Samuel Acosta Rodriguez found the back of the net for Spain one minute before half-time.
Thai goalkeeper Ponchai Kasikonudompaisan saved an earlier penalty attempt by Youssef El Hadaoui Rabii.
Thailand also showed they will be a threat this summer, winning two of their earlier matches, including a 3-2 victory over Spain.
France finished fifth.
The Blind Football Grand Prix was the first IBSA-sanctioned competition since November 2019.
Full results are available at the official website and all matches can be watched-back at the IBSA YouTube channel.