13 June 2018
Spain triumph as England lose on penalties for second time in two days
GB football chief Jeff Davis believes tiredness played a major role in England losing on penalties for the second time in as many days at the Blind Football World Cup.
After being knocked out of the tournament by Argentina in Wednesday’s quarter-final, hosts Spain were the opponents this time around, prevailing on spot-kicks in a match that decided who should play-off for fifth in the competition.
After the match in Madrid finished goalless, England were 2-1 down going into the final kick of the shoot-out, with Keryn Seal needing to score after Dan English had converted and Brandon Coleman had struck the bar.
However, Pedro Gutierrez guessed correctly and palmed his shot away to spark cheers among the home faithful.
England will now contest the seventh-place play-off on Saturday in the hope of ending their tournament on a high.
And Davis, performance manager for Paralympic GB football, felt the game today was a match too far in such a short space of time for his England charges.
“It’s probably the worst game we’ve played in the whole of the World Cup but when you got to play four games in four days, [it’s difficult] – the players looked very tired,” he said.
“We’re obviously very disappointed with our performance but when you’re asked to play so many games in so many days, it’s virtually impossible for players to play at their peak.
“Spain are a very good team and play a very good game. We know in the European level, it’s always very close between us and them.
“But what we hoped to do is take on the form we showed against Argentina – again, unfortunately, we’ve lost on penalties and we need to do something about that because we always seem to keep losing on penalties.
“Spain are a very strong side and we wish them all the luck in the fifth/sixth play-off.”
Spain had the better of the chances in regular time, going closest through Sergio Alamar, who saw his shot from the left cannon back off the upright midway through the second period.
England had chances too, notably through Coleman, whose free-kick was smartly palmed away by the in-form Gutierrez, who also kept out English’s low shot with his right boot.
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