The Pararoos have defeated Spain 4-2 in their opening group match of the 2011 Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA) Football 7-A-Side World Championships which are currently being held in the Province of Drenthe, Netherlands.
Victorian Ben Roche was the hero for the Pararoos scoring all four goals, including a hat-trick within a six minute period during the first half.
The Pararoos started nervously with the side boasting three players new to international competition.
Spain took the early lead ten minutes into the match after a poor pass back to a pressured David Barber. Spain was unlucky not to have a second two minutes later, but for a brilliant save from Pararoos goalkeeper Jamie Paulson.
After some good work up the left side through Thomas Goodman, Ben Roche got clear of his marker and managed to slot one in the bottom right hand corner to equalise in the 14th minute.
The Pararoos seemed to settle after the goal and played some good, patient football. The patient build-up worked well and a very good ball from Scott Kennedy allowed Ben Roche to score his second of the afternoon three minutes later.
In the 19th minute Beau Menzies made a great run which gave him a one-on-one opportunity with only the Spanish goalkeeper, Omar Álvarez Serrano, to beat, but a fine save denied him on this occasion. Fortunately for the Pararoos, Ben Roche was on hand to collect the rebound and chip in for his third goal to give the Pararoos a 3-1 lead going into halftime.
Spain came out with renewed vigour and a different attacking strategy in the second half.
Sergio Clemente Munoz and Raúl Pacheco Perez were the danger men for Spain and after some good combination play from the Carlos Rodríguez Grande, managed to set up Munoz to reduce the deficit to one goal in the 38th minute.
Spain played some good football and the Pararoos seemed to panic early in the second half and lost their composure. The Pararoos were trying to hold on to their lead, but Spain was gaining the ascendency with quick one-two’s in the Australian defensive third.
Thomas Goodman was substituted with goalkeeper Sam Larkings and Jamie Paulsen moved from goalkeeper to field player. Sam Larkings made an immediate impact with a great save denying Munoz in the 48th minute.
Spain were looking very dangerous as they started to move players forward. Grande, held up the ball well and distributed some good penetrating passes to Munoz and Perez in the dying minutes of the match.
In the later stages of the game the Pararoos tried to put the game beyond Spain’s reach and came close with both Scott Kennedy and Ben Atkins having opportunities in the Spanish defensive third.
The result was sealed in the 58th minute when Ben Roche once again beat Serrano to put Australia on top of the group.
In the other group match, Brazil and the Netherlands drew 1-1.
The Pararoos will now face Brazil in their next match on Monday and will then play their final group match against the host nation, The Netherlands, on Wednesday 22 June.
The CPISRA Football 7-a-Side World Championships serve as the qualifiers for the 2012 London Paralympic Games with the top seven teams progressing to the final tournament next year.