22 September 2019
GB just miss out on Tokyo spot as spirited England bow out
England’s IBSA European Championship journey came to an agonising end after they were edged out 2-0 on penalties by Spain in the semi-finals, meaning they miss out on a Paralympic place.
After a goalless 40 minutes in which Spain came closest, only for England goalkeeper Dylan Malpas to deny them from the penalty spot, the match went to spot-kicks and Adolfo Acosta sealed his side’s place in the final when his shot squirmed under Malpas after England had missed both their efforts.
The result means that there will be no GB representation in football at Tokyo next year, the first time since 2004 that this will be the case at a Paralympics.
England came into the semi-finals off of the back of wins against Germany and Greece, alongside draws with France and European champions Russia, and looked to maintain this momentum from the off but were denied by a resilient Spanish outfit.
Scoring chances came at a premium in a tight and tense encounter with Spain the closest to settling the fixture when Malpas brilliantly denied them a potentially match-winning goal from the penalty spot.
Neither team could be separated after normal time so the game went to penalty kicks and these started well as star performer Malpas again played his part by denying Antonio Martin with the first kick.
It was then the turn of Owen Bainbridge for England but he saw his effort superbly pushed wide by Spanish substitute goalkeeper Sergio Rodriguez.
Youssef El Haddoui netted for Spain before Brendan Coleman was this time denied by Rodriguez, leaving Spain with the chance to send themselves through with their third penalty.
And they did just that as Acosta’s driven effort slipped under Malpas’ body and crept into the corner, sealing a third successive win for Spain over England in the European Championships.
Jon Pugh’s side will now aim to end the tournament on a high by beating Turkey in the third-place match on Tuesday.
Joint the ParalympicsGB movement
The ParalympicsGB movement
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