The Spanish soccer team for the blind prepares for the Games at the World Grand Prix in Tokyo

The Spanish soccer team for the blind will play, from this Sunday until Saturday, June 5, the World Grand Prix of Tokyo, a friendly tournament that will serve to know the state of form of the national team for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

It will be the first official competition after more than a year and a half of a break caused by the coronavirus pandemic; The last tournament the team played was the European Championship in Rome, in September 2019, in which they won the gold medal and the direct ticket to Tokyo.

Since then, the Spaniards only played four games a month ago against the French team that resulted in three victories and one defeat for the Spaniards.

The Spanish coach, Jesús Bargueiras, has called up the same players who conquered the European past, with the exception of Iván López, who is recovering from an injury. The team traveled to Tokyo a couple of days ago and is in quarantine inside the concentration hotel waiting for the competition to start, in which Argentina, Thailand, France and Japan will also participate.

Spain will start the tournament this Sunday against Thailand, will rest the next day and on June 1 will face Japan. On day 3 he will play against France and will finish the first phase against Argentina, runner-up in the world. The two highest ranked teams will compete in the grand final on June 5.

Blind and severely visually impaired people compete in two different categories, with great differences between the two. Players with severe visual impairment (B2 / B3) hardly need any adaptations to compete.

These adaptations are mainly aimed at achieving a contrast between the color of the ball and the ground, the goal and the back and lighting of equal intensity during the 40 minutes of actual play that the match lasts. Therefore, they play their matches in a covered pavilion.

Football for the blind has needed more adaptations. The essential specific characteristics are: sound ball; lateral fences that avoid the out of band, unless the ball goes over these; the goalkeeper is sighted and his maneuverability is limited to a small area within the penalty area; a guide behind the goal guides the players; and the obligation of the players to say, clearly and audibly, the word ‘I’m going’, to avoid blows and guide the opposing player.

Given the specific needs, this modality is played on an uncovered artificial turf field to facilitate the hearing of the ball, that is why the silence of the public is necessary while the ball is in play and until a goal is scored or there are time-outs.

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