England suffer penalty heartache in semi-finals
England suffered semi-final heartbreak at the IBSA Blind Football European Championships as they lost 2-1 on penalties to Spain and will instead contest Saturday’s third-place play-off.
Roy Turnham’s sixth goal of the competition after just one minute of Thursday’s match and Keryn Seal’s composed second-half finish had put England in command at 2-0.
But Adolfo Acosta’s low drive with four minutes to go gave Spain hope before a Dan English own goal with seconds left took the game to penalties.
Misses from English and then Seal meant England agonisingly missed out on their first European final in eight years.
Despite a bright start for Spain it was the Three Lions who broke the deadlock with a fine piece of individual skill from Turnham.
The striker was at his clinical best as he weaved down the left wing before jinking past two players and slotting past Pedro Gutierrez at his near post.
Antonio Martin was sent on for Spain to try and get a goal but a nasty head collision with Seal saw him leave the field of play for the rest of the half.
Spain continued to pile the pressure on the England goal and substitute Acosta almost levelled halfway through the first phase but his powerful right-footed drive was well saved by Dan James.
England nearly doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time and it was Turnham again causing all the problems.
Another dangerous run and right-footed drive was well saved by Gutierrez as Turnham looked to get his second of the game.
And six minutes into the second half England, who have lost on two occasions in a European Championship final, doubled their lead thanks to Seal.
A mistake in the Spanish defence allowed Seal to get a shot away and he confidently despatched his shot into the bottom corner from close range.
Spain weren’t ready to give up, however, as James was tested twice in quick succession shortly after Seal’s strike.
England had kept a clean sheet in every match but their defences were finally breached as Acosta’s drilled shot found its way past James with four minutes remaining.
As the Three Lions tried to run down the clock they gave Spain the ultimate gift as English deflected a back pass into the net beyond James with just 12 seconds to spare.
With three penalties each in the shoot-out, England went up first and got off to the worst possible start as English fired over.
After three successful penalties from England and Spain it fell to Seal to keep the Three Lions in the tie but his penalty was superbly saved by Gutierrez to prevent England from reaching the final.