From October 5th to October 7th, the time had finally come: the third SEKISUI European Football Tournament was held in Salou, Spain. This year’s edition was once again marked by great team spirit but also fierce competition. Nevertheless, the Spanish team managed to defend its title against the Dutch Team Mepke. The players had to wait until the penalty shoot-out to cheer though.
Nine teams from all over Europe took part in the third edition of the SEKISUI European Football Tournament. The players arrived one day before the tournament and landed at Barcelona airport in the early evening. From there they continued with the shuttle buses to the beautiful Cambrils Resort in Salou, Spain.
Get together and drawing of the teams
After checking in to the apartments, the players gathered in the premises of the Bar Forum. In a lively atmosphere, the participants exchanged their experiences of the past tournaments and were pleased to see familiar and new faces.
After the organisational team welcomed the players, a refreshment at the buffet and the highlight of the evening followed: the selection of the groups for the following tournament day.
The teams were drawn by Alfredo Seco, Site Manager at SEKISUI Specialty Chemicals, and Hiroshi Kobayashi, Managing Director of SEKISUI Europe. If you like to follow the draw again in full length you can watch the following video on Facebook.
Early autumn in Spain shows its best side at the start of the tournament
Although it was a bit cloudy on Saturday morning, the weather cleared up towards midday and offered perfect conditions for an exciting tournament. As in the first edition of the tournament, the games were held on the sports facility of Futbol Salou. After a short warm-up, the group stage started with the following teams:
AFV (Amateurs for Victory)
Top Scorer BS
Legends in Progress
The 1st group phase: The game system with nine teams
As nine teams competed against each other this year, the final matches were decided in two group phases. In the first round, the teams played against each other in the groups A, B and C. Already in this early phase of the tournament it became clear who the favourites were. With two wins each, Team Mepke, Top Scorer BS and Hispania FC won their groups. While Team Mepke took two goals, the other two went into the next round without conceding a single one.
The 2nd group phase: The cards are shuffled again
Based on the results of the first run, the teams were divided into groups D, E and F in the second group phase:
- Group D: Team Mepke, Allington Unathletic, Legends in Progress
- Group E: Top Scorer BS, Alveo United, ER United
- Group F: Hispania FC, AFV (Amateurs for Victory), Zwarte Samurai
The winners of the first group stage were able to maintain their position at the top in the second round. In the overall ranking, Allington Unathletic, Alveo United and AFV followed in second place. The third places went to Legends in Progress, ER United and Zwarte Samurai.
First and foremost: the spirit of sport
Despite all the ambition to win, the tournament was primarily characterized by team spirit and fair play. The fun atmosphere, the friendly cooperation with colleagues from all over Europe and the shared experiences on and off the pitch were highlighted by all the players.
After a barbecue and sunbathing the final matches start
After the group stage, a delicious barbecue waited for the players. After recharging during the lunch, many of the teams used the free time to enjoy the sun before the final matches started at 3:30 pm. Due to the 9-team play mode, the final matches were not played one after the other as usual. Instead, there were several classification games that decided the final ranking.
Place 4 to 1 were decided by penalty kick
In the match for the third place as well as in the final, the winner was not decided before the penalty shoot-out. In the match for the third place Alveo United faced Top Scorer BS. With a beautiful cross from the half-field, Top Scorer BS took the lead: 1-0. Alveo United, however, scored the deserved 1-1 with a well-placed shot into the bottom right corner of the goal. Finally, Alveo United won the subsequent penalty shoot-out with 4-2.
At 6:00 pm in the evening, it was time for the final! Team Mepke and Hispania FC met in the final match of the day. Hispania FC took a 1-0 lead right after the kick-off. Team Mepke then put his opponents under pressure and pushed for the equaliser. But also the Spaniards had their chances. Before halftime, Team Mepke scored 1-1 with a fast pass to the top.
In the second half both teams showed their best and both had their chances. But no more goals were scored. When no winner was determined after an overtime of five minutes, the penalty shoot-out started. The shooters were highly concentrated and scored penalty after penalty. Finally, at the score of 7:7, the ball missed the goal. The Spanish team scored the following penalty kick safely and cheerfully celebrated their title defence, as the following video on Facebook proves.
The award ceremony concludes the tournament
After the final, the players returned to the resort to take a well-deserved shower and attend the award ceremony in the Bar Forum.
In addition to the teams, the winner of the SEKISUI football bet was honoured for the second time this year. Xavier In de Braek donates his winnings to the non-profit organisation “Spieren voor Spieren“.
Place 9 - Zwarte Samurai
Place 8 - Legends in Progress
Place 7 - ER United
Place 6 - AFV (Amateurs for Victory)
Place 5 - Allington Unathletic
Place 4 - Top Scorer BS
Place 3 - Alveo United
Place 2 - Team Mepke
Place 1 - Hispania FC
Football Bet (Christian Kiser taking the cheque for the winner)