The England Powerchair squad won the EFPA Nations Cup, after beating current world champions France in Finland.
The Para Lions beat Les Bleus in a penalty shoot-out, after coming back from 2-0 down. France had yet to concede a goal throughout the whole tournament and had beaten England in the qualification group by 3-0.
But head coach Colin Gordon had great belief in the players and their style of play to show character and strength throughout the game.
France had taken an early lead through Momo and had the better of the first half, as England struggled to get their free-flowing passing game going, as France smothered and broke up all England’s attacks to hold a 1-0 advantage at half time.
However, England came out for the second period with renewed energy and started very brightly, only for Brian Wiess to score from long range, leaving Chris Gordon struggling to cut the ball out
It looked a long way back for the Para Lions but the recovery started with a swift counter attack, as Ed Common found himself in space and shot from his own half. The ball struck the post but Marcus Harrison was first to react and coolly finished from the rebound.
England regained confidence and began to press France back and in the 37th minute, another sublime counter attack saw the ball passed to Common who majestically swept the ball across court to Harrison who drew England level and took the game to extra time.
With no clear-cut chances, the game went to penalties where Chris Gordon opened the scoring and then promptly saved Wiess’s kick, to make it 3-2 to England.
Common, who’d been one of the stars of the semi-final and final, missed his kick as France scored to make it 3-3.
Captain Jon Bolding scored to make it 4-2, only for France to then miss their next penalty.
It was left to man-of-the-match Harrison, England’s top scorer in the tournament, to take the final penalty and he coolly slotted home to win the European Championships for England.
“I am so proud of the players who showed great determination and grit to get back in the game,” said boss Gordon after the game.
“We kept believing that our tactics and style of play would be successful and the players executed this to a tee.
“This is one of the my proudest moments and I would thank all the players, staff and carers for their fantastic support and hope this is the start of much more success.”