Following the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, Danone decided to create an international football tournament for kids.
In 2000, the 1st edition of the Danone Nations Cup took place, gathering 8 teams from 2 continents: Bulgaria, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Turkey and Ukraine. Already 35,000 players and 125,000 spectators worldwide! France became the first team to raise the DNC trophy, whilst Aydin Yilmaz, one of the Turkish players, is now playing as a professional for one the best clubs in his country, Galatasaray. Stories like these confirm the philosophy of the event: “Believe in your dreams”.
In 2001 the event grew considerably with 24 teams, representing 24 nations from 4 different continents, in the competition. Giovanni dos Santos, was chosen as the best player of the tournament; he now plays for the Mexican national side and played a pivotal role in the most recent FIFA World Cup. Reunion Islands won the competition in 2001, while Argentina won the 2002 edition. In 2003, the Danone Nations Cup moved up to a higher level! 32 countries participated and Zinedine Zidane became the official ambassador of the competition. Between 2003 and 2006, the event was respectively won by South Africa, Spain and Reunion Islands.
In the year 2007 the Danone Nations Cup took another step by gathering 40 countries from all over the world. Therefore, new countries joined the adventure such as Saudi Arabia, Chile, Hungary, Uruguay, Namibia and Bangladesh. The World Final took place in front of 35,000 spectators and more than 250 journalists. South Africa won its second DNC.
In 2008, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Mauritius Islands and Qatar took part in the event. 8 years after its first victory, the team representing France made its dream come true by winning the 9th edition in front of their ambassador and World Cup Champion Zinédine Zidane.
The 2009 and 2010 editions were won by South Africa and Mexico respectively with the finals taking place at the same time in South Africa in October 2010. This was a significant step for the Danone Nations Cup as it was the first time the World Finals were played out of France. The 2011 World Finals took place in sunny Madrid, Spain, and team England came a very respectful 5th in the tournament!
In 2012 the World finals took place in Poland, held in Warsaw International Stadium, which also hosted the European Cup 2012.
2013 was a big year for the England team, as the World Final was held in our very own Wembley Stadium. With a convincing win over Russia, the England team came 9th in the overall rankings. France lifted the trophy, and England’s Bobby Duncan was named top-scorer of the tournament. Keep your eye out for him!