On Sunday the 11th of January 2015 our U12 Eagles partook in an international tournament, where they were in a group with the students of the WYNRS Academy from New Zealand and OSA (Okudera Spots Academy). The first match was set to begin against the New Zealanders, who preformed the “Haka” (ritual dance of the Maori) in front of everyone prior to the beginning of all matches.
Our team was not impressed and started the game with lots of pace and purpose and converted their first chance for the 1:0 lead. The ball was passed from the center to the wing and scored by Felix P.We kept up the pressure and tried to play possession football, but with the last touch of the first half the WYNRS equalized with a penalty kick, which in my opinion did not need to be given since our goalkeeper played the ball hard but fair.
This little mishap however did not influence our players and directly after halftime we took the lead again for a 2:1 score, also by a penalty kick. Felix P. stepped up and scored his second goal of the match. Only a few minutes later our boys scored again to make it 3:1. After a fast counter attack we got the ball to our striker who was brilliantly stopped by WYNRS goalkeeper, but unluckily for him, the ball dropped directly to the feet of Felix who slotted home into the empty net for his hattrick. Right at the end of the match the referee once again called for a penalty for the New Zealanders, which they converted to make the final score of the match 3:2.
In our second match of the day against OSA, we started the match just like the first, with a lot of pace and purpose which led to loads of chances in the early stage of the match but we just could not convert them. This proved to be fatal as our lack of concentration before halftime gave the opponents the chance to score and sent us into halftime demoralized and with a 0:1 behind.
In the second half things got even worse as the opponents scored again to make the score 0:2. The shot came straight at our keeper who could not keep the ball under control and it rolled into the back of the net. Not much more happened in the remaining time but Felix once again showed a flash of brilliance by taking a long ball to the left side under control and slotting it into the far corner with the outside of his foot to make the final score of the match 1:2.
This result was still good enough for the second place in our group, which qualified us for the match for third place, because OSA had won their first match against WYNRS Academy.
The match for third place would prove to be difficult even before kickoff as our opponents were physically superior to us, but our boys managed to still keep themselves in the game. Partially we played possession very well but when our concentration broke for just a second the opponents realized their chance and converted for the 0:1 lead. We did not let this get to us though and almost instantly found the reply that we needed. Again a long ball from the back found its way to the left side and who else but Felix to take it under control and slot it home to equalize the match at 1:1 for halftime against physically superior opponents. After a short break we showed that we came here to play and had some good possession, but it was not enough to take over the lead. Another lapse in concentration gave the opponents the ball in a dangerous position right in front of our goal and they found the back of the net for the final score of 1:2.
With that we came in 4th place for the whole tournament, although I think with a little more luck and concentration it could have been 3rd or even 2nd place. After the tournament all teams went to the cafeteria together, made “Onigiri” and ate together. It was an exciting and fun day for everybody. We want to thank WYNRS for the set-up and wish them lots of fun in Japan and a safe and pleasant trip back home.