Groups drawn for Blind Football Europeans19.07.2019
Russia lead Group B while hosts Italy are in Group A
The groups for the 2019 Blind Football European Championships have been decided following a draw that took place early July at the Fontane Paralympic Training Centre in Rome, Italy.
Reigning European champions Russia headline Group B, which also includes France, England, Germany and Greece.
Russia went undefeated at the 2017 edition, and their toughest challenge could come from European bronze medallists England.
Spain will be the team to beat in Group A, as they aim to do better than their silver medal from the 2017 Europeans in Berlin, Germany. Hosts Italy would also hope to come out on top of the group. But they will have to get past Turkey, Belgium and Romania.
Matches kick off in Rome on 17 September and run until 24 September. In addition to the European title, the Championships will decide which two teams will also gain a slot to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The Americas Championships was the first competition of the year to kick off the regional qualification period for Tokyo 2020.
Brazil captured the title, but after having already qualified as the 2018 world champions, runners-up Argentina earned the qualification slot.
The Asian Championships will follow the European Championships from 27 September in Pattaya, Thailand, where two nations can earn spots for Tokyo 2020. The African Championships will wrap up the year from 15 November in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, where one spot is up for grabs.