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Published 10 June 2023 5 min read
England Para Teams

England CP miss out on Euro title after defeat to Ukraine

Written by:

Nicholas Veevers

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England Cerebral Palsy were playing in their first major final after some impressive performances during the 2023 IFCPF European Championships

England’s cerebral palsy team suffered heartache at the hands of serial champions Ukraine in Saturday’s IFCPF European Final in Sardinia.

Andy Smith’s Para Lions were appearing in their first ever Euro Final, after winning all four of their games in the tournament this week.

But they came up against a ruthless Ukrainian side in the Final, as they added another title to their impressive roster following their 3-0 win in Orsitano.

For England, it’s a best-ever performance in this competition as they were crowned as runners-up and Smith, his staff and the players can take a great deal of pride in their campaign.

The Para Lions approached the game with confidence, after comprehensive wins against Spain, Italy and Netherlands in their group stage before seeing off Republic of Ireland in the semi-final.
Sam Dewhirst looks to get things going against Ukraine
Sam Dewhirst looks to get things going against Ukraine
But expected, Ukraine put up a stern challenge for the Para Lions and after an equal start to the game the deadlock was broken in the 13th minute.

Sherii Bedenok was the architect, as he burst down the left wing and past Sam Dewhirst before drilling a low cross into the area where Ivan Donenko was well placed to smash a close-range shot past Giles Moore.

And they doubled their lead in the 26th minute when Artem Sheremet was dragged back in the box at the expense of a penalty, which was emphatically smashed home by Bedenok.

Smith and his players would've gone in at the break hoping to regroup and come back out with the aim of getting the next goal, but unfortunately it was Ukraine who got the crucial third less than a minute after the restart.

Sheremet cut the England defence in two with a fine pass from inside his half to pick out Anton Balakai in the area, with the substitute firing past Moore to make it 3-0.

Smith made changes both in personnel and shape in a bid to find a way back and there was no shortage of gusto in their attempts.

However, Ukraine were strong enough to hold off the challenge as they went on to lift the trophy.

England: 1 Giles Moore, 2 Liam Irons, 3 David Porcher, 4 Sam Dewhirst, 5 Mason Dunbar, 6 Matt Crossen (c), 7 James Blackwell

Substitutes: 12 Matt Robinson for Dunbar 31, 9 Jayden Kenyon for Irons 51, 8 Harry Baker for Blackwell 59

Substitutes not used: 10 Aaron Lucas, 11 Will Ramsay, , 13 Reagan McMillan, 14 Ethan Day

Head coach: Andy Smith