The Danone Nations Cup, which was recently held in Barcelona, is a unique football tournament that brings together qualified teams of aged 10-12 year olds from all over the world. Over 2 million players participate in the competition every year in hopes of qualifying to reach the world final which gathers just 500 finalists respectively. This year the Nations Cup hosted 20 different international boy’s teams and 8 international girl’s teams, England were represented by the best players at under 11 level from across Nottingham’s schools.
Nottingham reached the International stage of the tournament after winning the National title here in the UK. The prestigious tournament was competed for by the best Under 11 teams in the world and included teams from Germany, Mexico, Morocco, Uruguay, South Africa, Senegal, France and Spain.
The squad were in a tough group and had mixed fortunes in terms of results throughout the competition, losing to Mexico, Morocco, Portugal, Uruguay and Germany (on penalties!), but they had a convincing win over South Africa and a narrow win over Senegal. Well done boys!
The team had a great time and gained some very valuable experience of playing football at elite level in tournament conditions away from home. They also had an amazing opportunity to socialise and make new friends with players from all over the world.
The final was a fantastic spectacle as the Spanish girls’ and boys’ squads reached both finals. An estimated crowd of 15-20,000 were in attendance to see Mexico (conquerors of the Nottingham team in the group stages) pick up the Danone Nations Cup.
Nottingham’s Schools Under 11’s were awarded the fair play trophy for their sportsmanship and positive attitude throughout the tournament, they are a credit to Nottingham Schools and to Nottingham itself!
The opportunity for the boys to take part in an International Elite Football Tournament was enabled through the new partnership between Nottingham Forest and the Nottingham Schools Football Association. The boys were able to have this amazing experience due to the hard work and passion of the coaches to help the players win the UK competition and then give up their own time to accompany the boys to Barcelona and make sure they had a fantastic experience.
For a school’s representative side from Nottingham, to qualify for an elite international tournament and then go on to play some great football and be the outstanding team for behaviour and attitude is something for Nottingham to be proud of!