England Partially Sighted players 'are a credit to their country and their families'
Steve Daley was so proud of his team's efforts against Ukraine in the 2023 IBSA World Championship final
England Partially Sighted head coach Steve Daley said his Para Lions players are a credit to the country after seeing them go so close to winning their first IBSA World Championship.
England PS were minutes away from beating world number one Ukraine on Tuesday night before suffering a 4-3 defeat after the reigning champions scored the winner with only 22 seconds left of extra-time.
"Listen, I couldn't ask any more of the lads,” Daley said. “They gave me everything. They took it to extra-time with 20 seconds to go and I thought it was going to go to penalties.
“It was a tremendous effort. All the players, all the staff, the families - they have all been absolutely brilliant. The whole tournament was brilliant."
Full Match | England Partially Sighted v Ukraine
Watch the Para Lions in the final of the 2023 IBSA World Championships in Birmingham
He continued: "They are a group of young men who have stuck together, through the highs and the lows.
“The FA have been fantastic with the investment they've put into para football, but also into this squad.
“They believe in each other. No team has ever taken Ukraine to extra-time [in the World Championship], never mind taking the lead against them, so I just hope they go on to do bigger and better things.
“Whatever they do, whether in football or in life, those lads are a credit to the FA, to their country and obviously to their family and friends."
England’s three goals in the final were scored by Adam Lione, with two of them particularly impressive finishes.
And Daley said: “Adam was superb. In his own words, he didn't have a great semi and he thought he had something to prove tonight in the final.
“Not many players in the history of football get a hat-trick in a World Cup final so for Adam to put in a great shift and obviously get the third one when we went 3-2 up, we probably got ahead of ourselves thinking that might have been the winner."
The IBSA Partially Sighted World Championship was held at the University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall Campus, as part of the IBSA World Games which was taking place in Birmingham and across the West Midlands.
England PS were supported all the way by a passionate home crowd and Daley made a point of highlighting the crucial role played by Para Lions’ nearest and dearest.
He said: “It’s a home crowd but it is also the family and friends. They’ve followed us all over the world and haven't had many opportunities to actually come and watch the players play [due to COVID].
“They're the people who make the sacrifices and I think they carried us through. The noise was great. The atmosphere, and the whole week, has just been fantastic."
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