Tuesday, September 10, 2013


25.000 people packed the stands at Wembley Stadium to support the world’s biggest international football tournament for 10-12 year olds

Over 400 children from around the world descended into Wembley Stadium on Saturday to celebrate the world’s largest international football tournament for 10-12 year olds at the Danone Nations Cup World Final. The event saw the world’s most promising U12 football teams compete at the iconic stadium.

International legend and Danone Nations Cup Ambassador, Zinédine Zidane, cheered the teams throughout the afternoon and took part in football chants and a giant Mexican wave alongside national tournament Ambassadors John Scales (UK), Tom Ince (UK) and Gheorghe Hagi (Romania). During the tense final between France and Brazil, it was 0-0 at the final whistle which took the game into penalties. Team France, were crowned the international winners as they beat Brazil on penalties (3:1), and were presented with their winning trophy by Zidane at the official tournament prize ceremony.

Amongst the 32 national teams, Team South Africa showcased their footballing talents in front of a lively crowd and beat Bulgaria 7 – 6 on penalties to clinch 29th position.  But where team South Africa scored the most was on the dance floor, even trading pennants by some countries for a few dance lessons.  So impressed were the organisers of their talent they were asked to perform at the opening ceremony. “We learnt such a lot about different cultures,” said Teboho Msiza, the kids reporter who travelled with the team.  “But the country we bonded the most with was Bulgaria.  They could all speak English and some of our team got to learn to speak the language better as well.”  What the youngster enjoyed the most was improving his interviewing skills.

The event, which was hosted by British Olympic sprinter Iwan Thomas and TV presenter Abi Griffiths and included a special performance from Britain’s Got Talent winners Diversity, football freestyler demonstrations and a giant zorbing competition which took place on the pitch.

Awards were presented to the ‘Best Player’ of the tournament, Hiro Satho from Japan, the ‘Fair Play’ award went to the country of Japan for their presentation of the fair play oath, 3rd place went to Japan, 2nd to Brazil and the winners were France.

Zinédine Zidane, Danone Nations Cup Ambassador, said: “A massive congratulations to France for winning this year’s Danone Nations Cup World Final. The teams all showed tremendous skill and professionalism on the pitch and I’m very proud to be a part of a fantastic program to help children develop their love for football and grow with respect for themselves and others around them. I wish everyone the best of luck in the future.”

Coach of the host team, Ian Forgie of England, said: “The atmosphere at Wembley was incredible. Our team are so grateful for everyone who came down to watch and support us and all the international team. It is an experience the kids will never forget and we are delighted to have been part of this and send our thanks to Danone.”

Over the Danone Nations Cup’s fourteen-year history, the tournament has established itself as a highly respected event and gained official FIFA endorsement. By bringing this competition to the UK on the anniversary of the 2012 Games, Danone showed real commitment to helping deliver a sustainable activity, health and sports legacy. From this, the 2013 World Final was officially recognized by the 'Inspired By 2012' campaign.

Nicolas Riom, Managing Director for Danone UK & Ireland, said: “For Danone, it is more than just a competition. It is a way of putting into practice the company's mission, to bring health through food to as many people as possible, by teaching children about the positive values of sport and the importance of a proper diet and exercise. This year, we are fully supporting the award-winning healthy eating education program for primary schools, ‘Eat Like a Champ’, which we have created in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation and in support of the Change 4 Life campaign.”

Surrey Sports Park in Guildford played host to the 32 national teams whom stayed on site, took part in various training and nutritional learning games and activities. The Danone Nations Cup World Final event is designed to symbolize a professional football camp so the children involved experience playing abroad, competing in a competitive environment, and living and learning together.

The week-long event kicked-off with an official opening ceremony where the children performed national dances alongside signing the oath to the ‘Fair Play’ rule. Openness, respect and fair play are the core principles on which the event is built upon. Everyone involved in the competition - children, coaches and accompanying adults – undertakes a promise to respect these values by signing an ethical charter at the opening ceremony.
Next year the Danone Nations Cup World Final will take place in Brazil.

1 France
2 Brazil
3 Japan
4 Ireland
5 Mexico
6 Netherlands
8 Indonesia
9 England
10 Russia
11 Czech Republic
12 Argentina
13 Spain
14 Canada
15 Italy
16 Saudi Arabia
17 South Korea
18 Uruguay
19 Belgium
20 Germany
21 Algeria
22 China
23 Switzerland
24 Belarus
25 Chile
26 Turkey
27 Morocco
28 Romania
29 South Africa
30 Bulgaria
31 Ukraine

32 Tunisia

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