Japan makes history with blind football win
Date: August 29, 2021
Hosts Japan made history on the opening day of blind football at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics on Sunday (29 August), beating European silver medallists France on their Games debut.
The opening match at the Aomi Urban Sports Park highlighted the first Group A matches.
Japan’s sturdy attacking and defensive shape triumphed over a lacklustre France side, resulting in three goals in the first half and one goal in the second half to secure a 4-0 win. Ryo Kawamura and Tomonari Kuroda both netted a brace to record Japan’s first Paralympic football 5-a-side victory and take them top of Group A.
Defending champions Brazil defeated China 3-0 to add a 23rd game unbeaten in the Paralympic football 5-a-side competition. A game full of physical battles which saw Raimundo Nonato convert a direct free-kick in the first half and two second half goals from Reis Cassio and Nonato again to secure three points and 2nd place in Group A.
“It’s a huge feeling to be able to contribute and score goals, converting a direct free-kick and scoring in a combination that we have practised a lot,” Nonato said.
Argentina were pitted against Morocco in the first Group B match. Argentina’s goal machine Maximiliano Espinillo scored the opening goal in the first half, but Morocco equalised shortly after thanks to their young prodigy Zouhair Snisla.
Maximiliano Espinillo found the net again in the second half to secure a 2-1 win for the Rio 2016 bronze medallists.
Spain and Thailand in Group B was the final match of the day. Chances came at both ends throughout the game but it was the third eight-metre penalty struck by Antonio Martin Gaitan which gave Spain their first three points.
Two more days of group play will take place at Tokyo 2020 on 30-31 August, followed by a rest day ahead of the semi-finals on 2 September. Eight of the world’s best teams are in Japan trying to secure a place on the podium.
By Keon Richardson | For IBSA