Five things you should know about France’s blind football team
Date: March 24, 2018
There are just 75 days left until the seventh IBSA Blind Football World Championships get underway in Madrid, Spain, on 7 June.
Here are five things you should know about world No.14 France, and their journey to Madrid 2018.
- The French national team was formed in 1998 under the governance of the Fédération Française Handisport.
- The team are a familiar face at the major Championships level. In addition to a football 5-a-side silver medal from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, France have previously qualified for the past four World Championships (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014). Their best finish came at the 2010 World Championships in Hereford, Great Britain.
- Les Blues (The Blues) qualified for the 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championship after they reached the semi-final of the 2017 European Championships in Berlin, Germany. France finished second in their group to face Russia in the semis.
- France held the Russians to a 2-2 draw in Berlin at full-time with goals from Hakim Arezki and Martin Baron. However, it was the Russians who edged a 4-3 win in the penalty shootout. Subsequently, France met England in the bronze medal match, which they narrowly lost 2-0. But their fourth-place finish saw them qualify for Madrid.
- Experienced French defender Hakim Arezki will be the star player with his physical strength in defence and his clinical right foot in attack.
The 2018 IBSA Blind Football World Championships will feature 16 of the world’s best teams. As well as the title on offer the competition is also an important step on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
After the Opening Ceremony on 7 June, the group stages get underway on 8 June. The quarter finals and play-offs begin on 13 June with the final taking place on 17 June.