PREVIEW: PNT Looks to Continue Strong Start Against N. Ireland at World Championships

After defeating Australia 6-0 to open the 2017 IFCPF CP Football World Championships, the first-place U.S. Paralympic National Team will take on Northern Ireland in its second match of the group stage (3 p.m. ET, YouTube). A victory would clinch a spot in the knockout round and a berth in the 2019 IFCPF World Cup for the U.S.

Monday’s rout of Australia represented a complete performance for the PNT. The USA got off to a fast start and didn’t look back, as the relentless attack broke through in the fifth minute with a Seth Jahn goal. The red, white and blue poured it on in the first half, benefiting from an own goal, and braces by Cameron DeLillo and Adam Ballou.

MORE: U.S. PNT Defeats Australia 6-0 in Opening Match of 2017 World Championships

MORE: Sharp Names Paralympic National Team Roster for World Championships

Matchday 1 did not go nearly as well for the Green and White Army. Northern Ireland lost 5-0 to world’s top-ranked team and reigning Paralympic champion Ukraine. Despite the result against the 7-a-side powerhouse, Northern Ireland is a team on the rise in the sport. Currently ranked No. 13 in the world, the team is a contender for next year’s top-10.

MORE: PNT Draws Paralympic Champ Ukraine, Northern Ireland and Australia in World Championships

Northern Ireland qualified for the World Championships with a fifth-place finish at last year’s IFCPF World Championship Qualification Tournament and finished 15th at the last World Championships in 2015.

One of the tournament’s strongest No. 3 seeds, the team’s physical style is balanced by its technical ability. The Northern Irish are a familiar foe for U.S. head coach Stuart Sharp, who coached neighboring Scotland’s Paralympic team from 2005-2011. Northern Ireland’s coaching staff features former Manchester United and Northern Ireland player Mal Donaghy.

PNT Roster by Position (Hometown):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Boyle, Sean (Minneapolis, Minn.), Estrella, Marc (Bakersfield, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Ballou, Adam (Virginia Beach, Va.), Boarman, Bryce (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Brigman, Gregory (Harrisburg, N.C.), Garza, David (San Diego, Calif.), Hensley, Kevin (Memphis, Tenn.), Lindau, Benjamin (Chicago, Ill.)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Abbiate, Mason (San Diego, Calif.), Bennett, Tyler (Wadsworth, Ohio), Bremer, Andrew (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Mayhugh, Nicholas (Manassas, Va.)
FORWARDS (2): DeLillo, Cameron (Blandon, Pa.), Jahn, Seth (Lakeland, Fla.)

NRI Roster by Last Name

Brit, Cormac; Canning, Christian; Cassidy, Seamus; Coyle, Sean; Cush, Jordan; Fogarty, Charlie; Leavy, David; McClean, Timothy; Neill, Ryan Jonathan; Walker, Jordan; Walker, Ryan

Group D Matchday 4 Schedule:

Date

Match

Time (ET)

Venue

Sept. 12

USA vs. Northern Ireland

3:00 p.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes

Sept. 12

Ukraine vs. Australia

5:00 p.m.

Stadium J.G. Funes