Saudi Arabia's special needs football team wins the World Cup for the fourth time in a row

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AFP
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Updated 18 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia's special needs football team wins the World Cup for the fourth time in a row

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia won the INAS World Football Championships in Sweden on Saturday for the fourth time in a row after beating Argentina 2-0 in the final. 

The showdown of the competition for athletes with intellectual disabilities saw star man Abdullah Al-Dosari score twice as Saudi Arabia highlighted why they went into the match as favorites. 

As soon as the captain got the first goal in the 24th minute there was only going to be one winner, he netted the second in the 81st minute to put the result beyond doubt. 

Al-Dosari and Co. got to the final thanks to possibly their most impressive performance of the tournament, a 4-1 thrashing of France. Al-Dosari was once again the star in that match as he put on a captain’s display, leading by example, netting the first before Abdullah Adam, Ahmed Bouhlal and Omar Cassar completed the rout. 

Argentina triumphed 4-2 on penalties in a dramatic semifinal clash with European champions Poland, to make the final but from the start of the final in Tingvalla IP they looked half a yard off the pace.

Saudi Arabia’s dominance of the sport started in 2006, when they beat the Netherlands after extra-time. Another victory over the Dutch followed four years later, before a 4-2 win against South Africa in 2014 and yesterday’s victory against the Argentines.  

To participate in an INAS-FID event, an athlete must have an intellectual disability that was evident before the age of 18, significant limitations in adaptive behavior, and an IQ score below 75.

More to follow...


Ronaldo ‘committed to Juve despite Champions League flop’

Updated 19 April 2019
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Ronaldo ‘committed to Juve despite Champions League flop’

  • Cristiano is the future of Juventus. says Juve coach

MILAN: Cristiano Ronaldo is committed to Juventus next season despite his bitter disappointment at the Italian giants Champions League flop, coach Massimiliano Allegri revealed on Friday.

Allegri’s injury-hit side hosts Fiorentina on Saturday needing just a point to lift their eighth straight Serie A title, days after a shock home 2-1 defeat to the Dutch side that saw them eliminated 3-2 on aggregate.

“Cristiano is the future of Juventus. He has done very well this year and will do so next season, of course he is disappointed like all of us but he’s calm about it,” said Allegri.

“Cristiano has had an extraordinary season and will play tomorrow.”

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo had been bidding for a sixth Champions League title to add to his four won with Real Madrid and one with Manchester United.

The 34-year-old joined Juventus from Real last summer in a 100 million-euro ($117 million) deal which runs until 2022, with a reported annual salary of 31 million euros.

He scored six of his teams’ 14 Champions League goals this season and has 19 so far in Serie A, four behind leading scorer Fabio Quagliarella.

“Ronaldo’s arrival did not give us any certainty of winning the Champions League,” continued Allegri.

“Barcelona play a semifinal this year for the first time after four years and they have (Lionel) Messi. Football is not just about individuals.

“We have to put the disappointment of the elimination in the Champions League behind us.”

Injuries have hit Juve hard ahead of the weekend’s clash, with Sami Khedira announcing that he is set to have season-ending knee surgery, while Allegri revealed that key attacker Mario Mandzukic could also miss the rest of the season.

“(Goalkeeper) Mattia Perin is out until the end of the season, as is Sami Khedira and maybe Mario Mandzukic.” he said.

Meanwhile striker Paulo Dybala will be out for three weeks and Douglas Costa and Jose Caceres for 10 days each, while defender Giorgio Chiellini could be back for next week’s trip to Inter Milan.

However with a 17-point lead over Napoli Allegri’s side are almost certainties to lift their 35th league title as they cement their domestic dominance despite continental disappointment.

“The eighth consecutive Scudetto is a source of pride for everyone. Once it’s sealed we all have to enjoy it, it wouldn’t make sense not to celebrate it.”