Japan edged a nail-biting 5-3 victory on penalties over hosts Sweden in blazing sunshine at the 2018 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Football World Championships on Wednesday (15 August).
The win means Japanw will advance to the fifth-place play-off, when they will play Russia after their 9-0 rout over Germany.
In normal time Japan achieved a 39th minute breakthrough from a Hiroto Adachi with a close range finish into the Swedish net.
Kazuma Kimura made a searching run into the box and the Swedish defence failed to clear the ball. It rolled across the five-yard box and Adachi slotted the ball home to give Japan the lead at half-time.
As the sun continued to shine, many local fans brought deck chairs and settled down for the second half.
Their loyalty was nearly rewarded early on when Sweden just missed a shot on goal. The hosts then equalised with an 84th minute goal with centre back Houssein Soumare heading in a quality cross.
Neither team could produce a goal in extra time and with the weather players were tiring. The game was destined for penalties.
Both teams delivered some quality kicks. However it was Sweden who made the first mistake, when Hidemitsu Uchibori saved their third penalty.
Japan’s Takuya Taniguchi stepped up to win the match 5-3. The Japanese were delighted and immediately celebrated with their coaching staff.
Yuki Urakawa netted Japan’s third penalty: “I am happy with the win. We have a strong heart that got us the goals,” he said. “We believed in our goalkeeper.”
Russia produce thriller against Germany
Russia will face Japan for fifth place after they produced a stunning 9-0 victory over Germany in Wednesday’s second game.
The Russians started the first half with lots of chances and the Germans could not cope with their attacking play, finding themselves 5-0 down at half-time.
A goal from Beglar Galustian in 27th minute gave Russia the lead. That was quickly followed by another from Ivan Romanov less than 60 seconds later.
Alexey Shcherbakov and Dmitry Bugaev scored in the 32nd and 44th minute respectively before Romanov doubled his goal count right before the first whistle.
Despite their comfortable lead Russia did not hold back in the second half.
Germany gave away a penalty in the 74th minute, calmly slotted in by Bugaev.
That gave Russia a boost and when Andrey Alexeev came on as a substitute he scored twice to bring their lead to 8-0. In the final minutes of the game, Dmitry Kazakov scored the ninth and final goal.
Afterwards an overwhelmed Bugaev said: “It was a good game. We will enjoy this wonderful victory today and then we will work on the next game against Japan.”
Germany will now play Sweden for seventh place on Friday (17 August) alongside the Japan v Russia fixture.
The semi-finals between Argentina and Poland and Saudi Arabia v France will take place on Thursday (16 August).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.