England blind football team miss out on Rio Paralympics

Welshman who aimed to lead England to glory

England's blind football team finished fourth at the European Championships after a second consecutive penalty shootout defeat.

The team had lost out on spot-kicks in Friday's semi-final to Russia, missing out on a qualification slot for the Rio Paralympics in the process.

And they were defeated again in Saturday's bronze medal match by Spain.

The game finished goalless in normal time and England failed to score in the penalty shootout.

Blind football facts
Blind football is a five-a-side game with a sighted goalkeeper. Players wear eye patches and blindfolds during the games.
Players locate the ball, which contains a bell or ball-bearings, by sound. They are directed around the pitch by other players, the manager, a shooting assistant behind the goal and the goalkeeper.
Players require complete silence from spectators when the ball is in play. Each half lasts 25 minutes, but the clock is stopped whenever the ball goes out of play.

After both sides missed their first two penalties, Carmelo Garrido scored to put Spain, the defending European champions, 1-0 ahead but Jono Heenan's effort, which would have kept England in the match, went wide.

The team had to finish in the top two to clinch a slot for Great Britain in Rio where they had hoped to improve on the eighth place they achieved at London 2012.

But it was a similar story in the semi-final with England working hard but unable to get a goal and Russia's Alexey Loktionov found the net in the shootout to put them through to the decider.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said: "My heart goes out to all the England players. They gave it their all."

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