Twelve boys, aged 10 to 12 from London, are preparing to travel to Brazil in less than two weeks to play in the Arena De Sao Paulo, in the Danone Nations Cup World Finals 2014 where they will be hoping to progress further than their senior counterparts did in June this year.
The team, crowned champions of the U11’s Inter-District English Schools’ FA tournament in May, have spent the last four months preparing for the finals including spending two days at St George’s Park, the English Football Association’s national football centre.
Team England will face 31 other teams from across the world, including the best young players from China, Germany, Argentina, USA and Spain on the 16th November in the 62,601 capacity Arena De Sao Paulo where this years’ FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony took place.
With Brazilian legend Cafu and a number of other greats of the game in attendance, Team England, who will be staying at training facilities used by Vincent Kompany and the Belgium national team earlier this year, will be hoping to end England’s long awaited search for an international tournament trophy.
Andre, aged 11, captain of Team England said: “We have been training hard together at St George’s Park, getting ready for the trip to Brazil. To play on the same patch of grass that our heroes played on less than 6 months ago will be incredible, I hope we can do England proud!”
Former Tottenham, Liverpool and England centre back John Scales, an ambassador of the tournamentsaid: “The team have been training extremely hard and we are all hoping that they can do the business out in Brazil. The level of competition will be undeniably competitive and I am sure we will see some future world class players make their name known.”
Scales continued: “The Danone Nations Cup aims to inspire, educate and motivate all those that it touches. It’s a truly remarkable project that brings joy to thousands of kids worldwide.”
The Danone Nations Cup, is the world’s largest tournament for 10-12 years olds which has been FIFA approvedand represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for young players.
It is an annual highlight in Danone’s ongoing programme of support for healthy lifestyles through education, fun and fairplay, which includes its ‘Eat Like A Champ’ healthy eating initiative.
Each year, 2.5m children worldwide take part in the competition, which has former France and Real Madrid captain Zinedine Zidane as international ambassador. More than three thousand schools compete in the English leg run by the English Schools’ Football Association.
Not only is the tournament endorsed and supported by great ambassadors, the level of football is also very high and many players go on to have successful professional careers. Previous participants include Manchester United and England centre back Phil Jones, QPR winger Junior Hoilett, recent Tottenham signing Erik Lamela and Aston Villa’s Andreas Weimann who played in the Danone Nations Cup in Austria.