Para Football
Para Football

England Blind coach Jon Pugh excited by Euro challenge

Wednesday 16 Aug 2017
Roy Turnham (No9) in action for England in 2014

England coach Jon Pugh is expecting a tough test when his side travel to Germany for the IBSA Blind Football European Championships this week.

The Three Lions face Romania, France, Italy and Germany in Group A, with the top two sides going through to the semi-finals.

Being held in Berlin, the tournament brings the 10 best sides in the continent together, with reigning champions Turkey and 2015 finalists Russia both drawn in Group B.

England's Euro fixtures
  • Sat 19 Aug: v Romania
  • Mon 21 Aug: v France
  • Wed 23 Aug: v Germany
Pugh’s 10-strong squad have been busy preparing at their base in Hereford, with warm-up matches against the likes of Romania and Japan.

And despite beating their Group A opponents Romania twice, scoring a total of 12 goals and conceding none, he is still wary of the threat they post in Berlin.

Pugh said: “I think it’s going to be the most competitive European Championships I’ve been to during my 22 years of involvements.

“We should be ok against Romania – although they were missing a few players so I’m not taking that for granted.

“That would be the team that we should go and beat, though. Italy have got a strong, new side. They’re an unknown quantity.

“Then France are multiple European champions, so we know they’ll be a difficult team. And Germany will be one of the strongest teams there.”

He added: “The other group has the European champions, as well as the second and third-placed teams. It’s a group of death. If they get out of that group they’ll be thinking they’ve all got a chance – so it’s going to be really difficult.”

England failed to make the final at their home championships two years ago but with a change in style and better preparations, Pugh is upbeat.

He said: “Preparations have been really good. We thought going into 2015 that we didn’t play enough games close enough to the championships.

“We hadn’t played in three of four months so we burned out midway through.

“We’ve had good preparation this time, though, and are playing a better passing style of football, so we feel quite positive.”

England squad

Dan James (GK), Dylan Malpas (GK), Dan English (joint captain), Robin Williams (joint captain), Darren Harris, Owen Bainbridge, Roy Turnham, Brandon Coleman, Nathan Edge, Keryn Seal.

You can watch every England match live on the tournament's YouTube channel

By FA Staff