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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 August 2006, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
England ready for title defence
Bertie Brayley
The England Learning Disability football team will begin the defence of their World Championship crown against Mexico in Germany on Friday.

The team had a dramatic 2-1 victory over Holland in Japan four years ago and are hoping to reach another final.

After the opener against Mexico, they play South Korea and Hungary before the knock-out phase begins with the final on 16 September.

Brazil, Holland, Russia and Spain are likely to be England's biggest rivals.

The 18-man England squad includes former West Ham United trainee Bertie Brayley, who scored three goals in the 1999 FA Youth Cup Final, playing alongside Michael Carrick and Joe Cole in a 9-0 aggregate victory over Coventry.

Bromley striker Tony Boot is likely to play a key role up front after scoring 16 goals in the Ryman League last season for East Thurrock United and Chelmsford City.

He first came to prominence at Slough Town where he scored 59 goals in two seasons.

The team, managed by Lyndon Lynch, also features Grays-based brothers Frank and Scott Curley.

Scott is the older of the two and plays in midfield for AFC Wimbledon, whilst Frank plays for Leyton FC.

To qualify for the team, players must have an intellectual disability with an IQ equal to or below 70-75, as determined by the World Health Organisation.

The players must also have been in receipt of special education, employment and/or respite care between the ages of 0-18.



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