CELEBRATING O JOGO BONITO
This diplomatic football tournament between players from several embassies amped up the excitement for the FIFA World Cup 2018
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup just a couple of days away, football fever is at an all-time high. And, a recently organised football tournament in the Capital kick-started the celebrations for the ‘beautiful game’ in advance.
Hosted by the Embassy of Russia, the Diplomatic Football Tournament saw players from various embassies, such as China, Denmark, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Russia, and the UN come together to slip, slide, tackle, and bond over football.
“If there is one language that people understand, that brings people together, it is the language of football. We chose to organise this tournament because it is events like these that strengthen cultural ties and bring communities together,” said Nikolay Kudashev, Ambassador of Russia to India.
The group games began at 7.30am and continued till noon, leading the Russian and French teams to face off in the finals. While France took the lead with a perfectly executed goal, Russia bounced back with an equaliser followed with another goal, one that won them the match and tournament. Also attending the event was Minister of State for Sports and I&B, Rajyavardhan Rathore. “Of late, the interest in sports has surged tremendously around the country. The craze for football, too, is increasing in
India, and the under-17
World Cup we hosted was proof since it hada bigger audience than that of the Indian Premier League. Sure, the Indian football team might have never qualified for the FIFA world cup, but they have great potential. And if we bridge their potential with opportunity, we might soon see our team competing in future world cups. We plan to organise under-17 and under-21 games, and will also be starting a talent hunt which, via a mobile app, will connect schools, state governments, and NGOS dedicated to sports, so that we can pick kids in the 8-12 age bracket and help develop their talents,” he said.
France has the best players. So, if Antoine Griezmann plays well, I think we can win. Apart from France, Brazil, who have Neymar will also be one of the top contenders to win. SYLVAIN BURON FRANCE
It’s unfortunate that our national team didn’t qualify for the World Cup. I have not decided whom to support yet. I will decide after the quarter finals; so, let’s see. ULYDEK TULEKIN
France and Russia faced off in the final game of the tournament
(Above and right) Russian players celebrate winning the football tournament