Blind squad's draw with France is enough to see them progress.
By James Watkins
The England Blind Futsal Team completed their final group game of the IBSA European Championships in Turkey with a sound 1-1 draw against reigning champions France, which sets them up for Friday's semi-final against Spain.
The first half produced a limited number of clear chances from open play, with both teams cancelling each other out. Despite a number of positive forward runs from Robin Williams and Dan English, the Three Lions were unable to break down a strong French line-up.
England’s defending was equally resolute with France threatening the goal on a single occasion in the first half. Keryn Seal again worked tirelessly at the heart of the defence to keep the French attack at bay. For England, David Clarke again looked sharp and twice shot narrowly wide of the opposition goal with the game remaining all level and 0-0 at the break.
The first period of the second half was again finely balanced. However, Clarke then beat the defence at pace and won a penalty following a clumsy French tackle. The skipper converted confidently to give England the lead.
France immediately pressed for an equaliser, forcing 'keeper Dan James into action. Through continued pressure, England conceded two eight metre penalties. James came to England’s rescue on the first strike by tipping the ball onto the post to keep the ball out and the French squandered the chance to equalise by firing wide at the second attempt.
As the final stage of the match was played, the game became more open. Dan English was denied by the French 'keeper before Fredericks equalised for the opposition meaning the Three Lions remained unbeaten in their group campaign.