Kids’ World Soccer Finals
September 28, 2012
Warsaw hosted the finals of this year’s Danone Nations Cup, a soccer tournament for children sponsored by the food producer Danone, known as Dannon in the United States.
The tournament, which was held in Poland for the first time, ended with the victory of pint-sized players from South Korea, who won the final against a team from Japan in a penalty shootout Sept. 9. The Polish team finished 17th in the tournament.
The Danone Nations Cup is open to children aged 10-12 years—classified into the U12 age group. The tournament involves more than 2.5 million young competitors from five continents. The top 40 teams compete in the world finals, which are held in a different country each year. This year’s Danone Nations Cup world finals were held at the National Stadium in Warsaw and attracted no less attention than last year’s finals at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain. More than 45,000 tickets were sold to the Warsaw championships in all. Proceeds from the ticket sales will go to benefit the Podziel się Posiłkiem (Share Your Meal) program, which aims to support local organizations carrying out projects in providing subsidized meals and education on the proper nutrition of children across Poland.
The “global ambassador” of the tournament, retired French soccer player Zinedine Zidane (pictured left), in an interview with the media, praised the skills of the young players, but also the way in which the tournament was organized in Poland. “I am impressed by the National Stadium in Warsaw. I didn’t get a chance to see it during the European championships,” Zidane said.
Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive officer of the Danone group, handed the cup to the winners and the tournament’s Fair Play award to the Irish team.