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Danone Nations Cup Finals 2019

A clean sweep for England in the Fair Play Awards

Last week, four football squads representing Team England flew over to Spain for the 18th Danone Nations Cup World Finals, this year in Salou and Barcelona.

Winners of the English leg of the Danone Nations Cup from 2018 and 2019 were invited to attend the world’s biggest football tournament for children aged 10 to 12. Teams traveled from Newham Schools’ Fa, Nottingham Schools’ FA, Easington Colliery Primary School and Ponteland Middle School. The tournament had a year off last year, which culminated in a huge and unique double world final this October, featuring 56 teams, 27 different countries and hundreds of children from across the World.

Elements of the event

The World Finals consist of two days of qualifying tournaments plus the day of World Final matches, this year at the RCD Espanyol stadium in Barcelona.

Kicking off with a spectacular opening ceremony on Wednesday 9 October, the teams then faced two days of qualifying matches to secure their ranking spot and match times for the World Finals in the stadium on Saturday 12th. With a host of additional activities focused toward Danone’s “One Planet One Health” campaign, teams could take part in various sports challenges plus “openness” activities, whereby for each point earned within challenges, 1Euro would be donated to the Watering Mind charity – this included the chance to plant your team’s own tree!

Fair Play Awards

The Danone Nations Cup implement their “Fair Play Charter” into the Danone Nations Cup competitions with a view to putting players and the game at the heart of every match and rewarding teams that uphold the values of the tournament. There is an appraisal of each delegations’ conduct by members of the Danone Referees and Organising Committee – and delegations are ranked on observations made throughout the entire tournament for each of these teams.

The English Schools’ FA are absolutely delighted to announce that the Fair Play Awards were a clean sweep across the board, with all four England delegations being awarded the accolade in their own categories. The Association is incredibly proud of the outstanding attitude shown by all four of our teams and for this to be recognised so widely at the biggest football tournament of its kind in the world, pays incredible testament to the way in which Schools’ Football is run in this country.

The route to the final

National tournaments have been run worldwide to determine the teams eligible to travel to the World Final. Each year the ESFA run the U11 Danone Nations Cup competitions across England for school teams, girls’ teams, small schools and district teams. The winners of the district cup competitions are invited to attend the World Finals and in 2019, for the first time, the winners of the girls’ cup competitions in 2018 and 2019 were also able to take part.

The two 2018 winners, Newham PSFA and Ponteland Middle School were crowned National Champions back in May 2018 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena. Nottingham SFA and Easington Colliery School both achieved National Champions status in May 2019 at Birmingham City’s St Andrew’s Stadium.

DNC 2019 draws for each of the four teams took place on 16 September, which was the first chance for the England delegations to see which teams they would be pitted against during the qualifying rounds.

The opportunity of a lifetime

The four England sides experienced the most incredible journey in Salou and Barcelona, making friends from all over the world and winning awards for their incredible displays of character and sportsmanship. The ESFA would like to thank our partners, Danone for giving schools’ football players in England such a fantastic opportunity to be part of something so exciting. During the Finals on Saturday, it was announced that the Danone Nations Cup 2020 will take place in Indonesia – another trip of a lifetime awaits this year’s Danone Nations Cup Winners!

featured, Match Reports

#MatchReportMonday- Glenthorne 2 v 2 Westminster School (3-4P)

Westminster School progressed to round 2 on penalties, winning their first ever ESFA National Cup fixture in the process after a hard fought game in Surrey against Glenthorne.

It was the home side who took the lead in the first half when Amuah sprinted down the right and fired a blistering shot into the bottom corner of the net, a fantastic finish.

At this point the home side looked the most likely to add to their lead but were unable to make the most of their pressure around the Westminster box and were made to pay when Plowman drew the visitors level, directing the ball home from a set piece to send the sides in level at the break.

The game was wide open in the second half with both teams having chances to edge in front and it looked as though Westminster would claim their first ESFA Cup scalp when Afram raced clear and slotted home for a 2-1 lead.

With time ticking away, Glenthorne threw bodies forward in an attempt to find an equaliser and it came when they were awarded a penalty for a push in the box following a long throw in and Nividi stepped up to score and take the game to penalties.

And so it proved that keeper Shahbakhti was the hero in the end, saving with his feet to set up Ghai for the winning spot kick and a little piece of history for the Westminster School football programme.

Another excellent cup tie and both schools were well represented by their teams but it will be Westminster who travel to Alexandra Park School in round 2. 

Congratulations to both teams involved! If you would like us to feature your ESFA schools’ cup fixture, Please send your match report alongside pictures of the game to Jacob.Blades@schoolsfa.com – alternatively, please feel free to contact 353 Photography to request his presence at your upcoming match.