Blind football: Stage is set for world’s best teams at Tokyo 2020
Date: August 28, 2021
The Aomi Urban Sports Park is set to stage blind football at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games from 29 August as eight of the world’s best teams gather in Japan.
The highly anticipated competition starts on Sunday with the opening match featuring hosts Japan and European silver medallists France. The teams’ last meeting at the 2021 IBSA Blind Football World Grand Prix in June ended in a slender 1-0 victory to Japan.
Defending champions Brazil will be looking to add to their unblemished record of four consecutive Paralympic titles since the debut of the sport at Athens 2004, but face tough competition from some of the other of the world’s best blind football nations.
Drawn in Group A with Japan, France and China, they will open their defence of the gold medal on Sunday at 11:30am JST against China. The Brazilian side includes eight players who won gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, including Thiago Da Silva.
“I aim to perform everything that I have been working on in the last few months for Tokyo 2020, and, with the team, to maintain our union, the concentration to do our best work and be able to fight for the title again. It is very important to bring another gold medal to Brazil,” Da Silva said.
Ricardinho Alves, who won gold, top goal scorer and featured in the team of the tournament at the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships will represent Brazil at the Paralympics for the fourth consecutive time.
Argentina is one of Brazil’s challengers for gold, winning bronze at Rio 2016. The world’s top ranked team is pooled in Group B with Morocco, Thailand and Spain. They will also play their opening match on Sunday against Morocco at 16:30 JST.
Spain and China are also expected to contend for podium finishes having won top honours in their respective regional championships in 2019. China has one silver medal from Beijing 2008 and Spain has two bronze medals from Athens 2004 and London 2012.
Japan and Thailand will both make their debut, looking to continue their strong run of performances from the World Grand Prix. Japan grabbed silver while Thailand missed out on bronze after a 1-0 defeat to Spain.
By Keon Richardson | For IBSA