Craig Lundberg speaks of joy at representing his country.
England Blind team v Germany
Friday 16 and Saturday 17 April 2010
The England Blind Squad warm up for this summer’s World Championships with a pair of friendlies against Germany at thePoint4 in Hereford on Friday and Saturday.
The games come just days after the Blind World Football Championship draw at Wembley Stadium which saw England draw Spain, Japan, South Korea and Colombia in Group A of the tournament which runs from 14-22 August.
While Friday’s friendly is behind closed doors, Saturday’s game will have spectator seating in place for the 2pm kick-off.
Looking forward to the Germany friendlies is England squad member Craig Lundberg whose journey into blind football has seen him make headlines in the national media.
The 23-year-old from Merseyside won a News of the World Children’s Champion Sports Award after he was blinded by a rocket propelled grenade while on active service for the 2nd Battalion of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment in Basra three years ago.
And the Metro newspaper ran with a photo of Craig in conversation with Steven Gerrard when the Blind squad met their senior counterparts at London Colney ahead of England’s 3-1 win over Egypt last month.
“I loved serving my country in the army and now I’m looking forward to pulling on that England shirt and serving my country at football,” said Craig who met 1966 World Cup winner, George Cohen, at the Blind World Football Championship draw on Monday.
“It’s brilliant being a part of this team and we want to win the World Championships but what really matters is standing shoulder to shoulder with your team-mates. Win or lose it’s a real proud moment for all of us.
Craig also spoke about that fateful day in Basra back in 2006: “The shrapnel from the grenade attack hit me in the eyes so I’m lucky to be alive to be honest.
“When I got back home I wanted to get out and be active again. I met England Head Coach, Tony Larkin, through someone called Dave Kelly who provides sport opportunities for disabled people.
“I didn’t know blind people could play football but it’s been a fantastic opportunity for me.”