Para Football
Para Football

Para Lions coach Jon Pugh proud of his squad after reaching IBSA Euro semi-finals

Friday 20 Sep 2019
Jon Pugh (far right) and the England squad sing the national anthem at the IBSA Euro Finals

Jon Pugh says his England blind squad are quietly confident they can progress beyond the IBSA Euro semi-finals.

The Para Lions beat Greece in their final group game to secure progress to the knock-out stages, after a hectic schedule of four matches in four days.

And they now have a chance to reach the Final, and qualification for next year’s Paralympics in Tokyo, if they win Sunday’s semi-final.

They won’t know their opponents until all the group games are finished on Saturday, but the head coach is pleased to have wrapped up their games with more than two days to rest and recover ahead of the next one.

“We’ve been here before quite a few times now and not got over the final hurdle but they’re quietly confident but also composed with it, which is good,” revealed Pugh, after Friday’s 3-0 win.

“They’re a good bunch of lads and they were confident that we could get through the group, but we’re not getting carried away by any stretch.

“We went at them [Greece] early today so we could try and get the game won and get more of the players out on the pitch, which was what we did in the end.”

England keeper Dylan Malpas and Roy Turnham celebrate in Rome

It brings to an end a busy spell for Pugh’s squad, who kicked-off the competition with a win over Germany on Tuesday, then picked up successive draws with France and Russia over the last two days.

“When the draw came out, we knew it was going to be a hard group,” he added.

“France have got their full team back in there and we know they are decent, Russia are the current Euro champions and Germany have a new head coach and some good players.

“Even Greece are not an easy team to just push over and beat, so we’re happy to come through and reach our first target of the semi-finals.

“We’ve done just what we’ve needed to do, which is good as it means we have a bit more time to prepare for the semi-final.

“We’re pretty sure that Spain will top the other group and Germany have still got to play France and Russia, so we just have to wait until we know and then we can look forward to the game.”

You can watch the action live on Sunday via the FISPIC YouTube channel.

By Nicholas Veevers