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Christmas Truce Tournament 2013

Aidan Roberts
CONTRIBUTOR
News
796   //    10 Dec 2012, 13:49 IST

Last year, the Premier League held their first Christmas Truce Tournament to commemorate the sacrifice of brave men and women during World War I. The event was such a huge success that they decided to bring it back again this year. The Christmas Truce Tournament doubled in size in 2013 and featured some of the best U12 talent from England, France, Belgium, and Germany.

The Premier League was represented by two teams this year. Manchester United returned as defending champions of the event with West Bromwich Albion earning the right to do battle on behalf of the country as the second English side. Qualifiers took place at St. George’s Park in October.

Christmas Truce Tournament qualifiers:

The whole tournament was 9-v-9
  • Standings determined on goal difference
  • West Brom won on penalties in the final after a 1-1 draw.

Christmas Truce Tournament results:

  • Fulham 2-1 Arsenal
  • Leeds 0-0 Liverpool
  • WBA 0-2 Crystal Palace
  • Arsenal 2-1 Leeds
  • WBA 2-1 Fulham
  • Crystal Palace 0-4 Liverpool
  • Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal
  • Liverpool 1-1 WBA
  • Leeds 0-2 Fulham
  • Fulham 1-1 Crystal Palace
  • Leeds 1-0 WBA
  • Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool

Fifth/sixth place playoff

  • Fulham 0-1 Crystal Palace

Third/fourth place playoff

  • Arsenal 1-1 Leeds (Arsenal win on penalties)

Final

  • Liverpool 1-1 WBA (WBA win on penalties)
Christmas is a time of peace and giving and the tournament remembers the Christmas Eve truce of 1914 at Ypres. German and British soldiers even met and exchanged gifts and even played in a football match according to reports. More than 8,000 officers and men from the 17th and 23rd Middlesex perished at the Somme alone. The Footballers Battalion as it was known, included players from a whole host of clubs ranging from Chelsea and West Ham to Clapton Orient, now Leyton Orient.

With that knowledge bestowed upon the players, the Christmas Truce Tournament is certainly more than a ‘just a football tournament’. It is also a learning experience for youth. Year 7 children study about the Great War at school and the event will be used as a hands-on learning experience about World War Iand the sacrifice that footballers and millions of others made during the war.

“Going abroad, you get to know the lads better and get more from a four or five-day tour than six months of coaching in terms of finding out what they are like.”
Neil Harris, ManUtd.com

Joining the two English teams were three Belgian Pro League Teams as well as teams from the Bundesliga and Ligue 1. Club Brugge, Beerschot, and Anderlecht played for the Belgian Pro League while FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Moenchengladbach represented the Bundesliga and Valenciennes Ligue 1.

“If we are going to be as good or better as the rest of the world, then we have got to expose our young players to those situations”
-Martyn Heather

One of the teams in the event, Manchester United, is famous for their spirit of giving. Several stars of the main squad took part in a Manchester United charity poker event where proceeds were raised to support an Irish hospice. With the Christmas Truce Tournament, organizers hope to impress on youth the importance of the ultimate act of giving by fallen footballers of the past which might hopefully set them up to give back…just like many players do now.

This year’s event will certainly not, however, be the last. The British Government recently announced that they want football to play an important role in the centenary commemoration of World War I and thePremier League has committed to host the event through 2014. By then, many hope that the event will have grown to the point that it becomes a cultural even and continues for many years to come.

The Christmas Truce Tournament 2013 winners were Borussia Moenchengladbach who beat Club Brugge in the final.

Interested in learning more? Watch a video from 2011?s tournament here.

“The standard of the football was very good. It was a good lesson for our boys.  Their whole experience was travelling away and preparing and the tournament fitted in with what we are trying to do in our philosophy about playing best against best.

“The coaches were great, too. Obviously, they would have liked to win it but it was more about the education in terms of the game rather than going out to win the tournament. The only way we are going to make our players better is by putting them in situations like that where they are challenged.

“If we are going to be as good or better as the rest of the world, then we have got to expose our young players to those situations.”

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Aidan Roberts
CONTRIBUTOR
Passionate about English football and keeping up with the brightest young talent in the game today. **club agnostic** on the terraces.
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