Argentina secured themselves a place in the final of the 2018 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Football World Championships after a tension-filled match that ended with penalties in Karlstad, Sweden, on Thursday (16 August).
With the first half ending goal-less despite chances for both sides, including Argentina hitting the post, the South American side were the first to find the net.
Top scorer Gaston Ariel Ibarguengoitia struck a cross from Luciano Alejandro Campitelli in the 60th minute to give his team the lead.
But European champions Poland fought back just seven minutes later. Piotr Krawczyk capitalised on a neat set of passes from the midfield and, despite hitting the post with his shins and nearly injuring himself, managed to nudge the ball home to bring Poland level.
The whistle blew at full-time but there was more drama to come.
Argentina once again edged ahead courtesy of Ibarguengoitia in the first 15 minutes.
Poland refused to give-up and levelled the score for the second time in the match. Pawel Michalski scored after Argentina let their guard down to allow Krawczyk an almost unchallenged run down the right wing where he passed the ball to his teammate.
But with no more goals attention turned to the penalty spot.
Argentina and Poland both scored their two opening chances. But it was Krawczyk, the man who had been involved with both of Poland’s goals, that was the first to have his shot saved by Argentina’s Fernando Rafael Pereira.
With the pressure on to maintain their goalscoring record, Rodrigo Balquin steeped up to score Argentina’s fourth penalty.
Poland’s Patryk Kruszec, now under extreme pressure, then missed to hand Argentina a 4-2 victory.
Defending champions Saudi Arabia to meet Argentina in the final
Saudi Arabia maintained their great run in Sweden to advance to the final after a 4-1 win over France.
Team captain Abdullah Aldosari was the first to score for the defending champions in the 16th minute from the penalty spot.
He was bought down in the area after an untidy challenge from Dylan Moreau and duly converted. Abdullah Adam added one more in the 20th minute.
France clawed back some ground just before half-time, also from a penalty. Fuad Ahmed Kaabi was seen to hand-ball a free kick in the box. The task of taking the shot fell to Morgan Lebraud who slotted it home.
But what seemed like a glimmer of hope for the French faded in the second half when two more goals came for Saudi Arabia. The first was a great effort from Ahmed Bu Helal who dummied the French defense before firing a shot across the goal and into the far corner.
Omar Abdullah Kaseer then claimed the fourth in the final minute.
“It will be a strong match and we need to prepare [for Argentina] more than this game,” Helal said.
Saudi Arabia will face Argentina for the title on Saturday (18 August). France will play Poland for third place in the day’s first game.
About the 2018 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Football World Championships
The 2018 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Football World Championships have seen eight countries play for the title – Sweden, France, Germany and Argentina. Saudi Arabia, Poland, Japan and Russia.
Games are being shown live at the World Intellectual Impairment Sport YouTube channel. Information about groups, the schedule and results are available at https://iwfc.se/.
Photographs are available on request from email@example.com.