Last night, IBSA Blind Football announced the group draws for the IBSA Blind Football World Championships, scheduled to be played in Japan in November. There are three groups. Group A contains Japan, France, Paraguay and Morocco. Group B has Brazil, Turkey, China and Colombia. Group C includes Spain, Argentina, Germany and South Korea. The top two teams in each group, and the next best two teams overall qualify on through to the quarterfinals.
Group B looks to be the toughest group to advance out of. Brazil is the current reigning world champions, having won the 2010 edition in the United Kingdom. China finished third at those world championships while Colombia was sixth. Brazil are also the current Paralympic gold medalists after finishing first in London. China finished fifth in those games, after beating Iran in penalty kicks in the fifth-sixth place game. Turkey finished eighth after losing 0 – 2 to Great Britain in the seventh-eighth place ranking match. Turkey finished third at the 2013 Italian hosted blind football European championships. Brazil also finished at the top of the ladder at the 2011 Parapan American Games, while Colombia finished third. China finished first at the 2010 Asian Para Games, and at last year’s Asian blind football championships. In June of this year, Brazil took first at the Quad Nations Tournament.
Group C also looks to be very strong. Spain was the runner up at the 2010 world championships, while Argentina was seventh and South Korea was tenth. Spain also picked up a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, beating Argentina for the medal. Argentina finished second at the 2011 Parapan American Games. South Korea finished third at the 2010 Asian Para Games, and third in a competition with three teams at last year’s Asian blind football championships. Spain finished first at the 2013 Italian hosted blind football European championships, while Germany finished fourth. How good the Spanish side currently is could be in question. In June of this year at the Quad Nations Tournament, Spain did not win a single game. They lost to Brazil, Italy and England. Spain does have one of the best blind football players in the world on their team with Antonio Martín Gaitán. Earlier this year, he guided his club side Asd Roma 2000 to finish at the top of La coppa Italia di calcio.
Group A looks to be the weakest group. Only two of the teams competed in the last world championships, with France finishing fifth at the 2010 world championships and Japan ending up in eighth. France performed well at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, picking up a silver medal. France finished second at the 2013 Italian hosted blind football European championships. Japan finished second at last year’s Asian blind football championships.