4 Sep 2012

ParalympicsGB footballers out after missing four penalties

ParalympicsGB footballers fail to progress to the semi-finals after being beaten in their final group game by Iran.

(Pictures from Channel 4)

The blind and visually impaired team needed to beat Iran by two goals to reach the semis, but a well-taken penalty by Iran put an end to their hopes.

Great Britain’s iconic captain Dave Clarke, the David Beckham of the team, missed a penalty in the first half. With Dan English suffering a similar fate three times in the second 25 minutes, the home side were condemned to a bottom-placed finish in their group.

In the first half, Iran were the better side, creating more chances and enjoying more of the possession, while the home side were penalised on several occasions for fouls on their opponents.

One of Great Britain’s best chances came when English made a darting run up the right wing, but only managed to kick the ball into the side netting.

In the second half, the home side perked up. Clarke did his best to get Great Britain back in the game, but was thwarted by the Iranians.

He came within inches of scoring on two occasions, with the Iranian goalkeeper, Morteza Maboodi Dalivand, getting his fingers to a well-struck shot as it headed towards the top right-hand corner of the goal.

A great run by Shah Hosseini, who scored the penalty, almost led to another Iran goal, but Great Britain managed to scramble the ball away before it did any damage.

Clarke and English were resolute and determined throughout and over 50 minutes their team did not deserve to lose, but luck was not on their side.

How the game is played

The 50-minute game is played by the blind and visually impaired who wear eyes shades to ensure no-one can see anything.The exception is the goalkeeper, who can see.

The ball has a bell inside which rattles when it is kicked, and spectators are asked to remain quiet so the players can hear the bell.

A guide/coach shouts instructions from behind the goal, and the goalkeeper also gives instructions.

Standard football rules apply, with penalties for fouls and handballs, or players touching their blindfolds. But there are no throw-ins or corner kicks and the offside rule does not apply because the game is played in a walled pitch.

Brazil are the defending champions.