What an intense and exciting tournament! Players from five different countries within the SEKISUI family came to Tarragona to determine the group’s European champion. Did Tarraco FC use the home advantage to get their hands on the cup?
The host team, Tarraco FC, around team captain Javier Rojo had an excellent start against Ex Amateurs For Victory Roermond (won 1-0) and dominated Group 1 as they wished. On the other hand, EAFV was lucky to claim the second place with Alveo United following up, with the scored goals giving EAFV a slight advantage. Sekisui Europe Resin Plant United clutched their only group stage win against Boca Seniors, who finished without getting a single point. Jalal Tijer later admitted that “we don’t have the best team, but we try hard” and argued that the replacement of injured players was a major challenge, too. Surprisingly, Alveo United was ranked at three, despite having never played as a team together before.
In Group 2, things were more complicated: Six of ten matches were a draw, with five of them ending 0-0. With three (!) teams finishing at six points, it was a matter of goals, too. Players from different teams of this pool shortly after unanimously said that there were many good defense lines, which made scoring goals very hard. While German-based Top Scorer BS managed to finish with a clean sheet as they conceded no goals, it was Allington AFC from Kent, who claimed the first place with four goals scored. S-Lec United was unlucky to play 2-2 against Tic Tac Like Barcelona, resulting in the fourth place. Wales based Y Ddraig Balch managed to get one point out of the British duel against Allington AFC, but finished last. Robert King from Y Ddraig Balch later stated that “nothing went wrong, we just didn’t nick the goal at the end.”
Entering the final stage, Boca Seniors had to concede to Y Ddraig Balch, with the Welshmen finishing the tournament at the ninth place. S-Lec United managed to defeat Alveo United and claimed fifth place by defeating Top Scorer BS afterwards. The latter ruled Resin Plant United to the 7/8 final game, but lost the placement match for rank five to S-Lec United. Concluding this tournament phase, Resin Plant United ruled Avleo United to the eighth rank.
Both SEKISUI Alveo teams – “Ex-Amateurs For Victory” (EAFV) and “Tic-Tac Like Barcelona” (TTLB) – entered the semifinals. TTLB had the difficult task to challenge the favored Tarraco FC for a place in the final. As it turned out, Tarraco FC had a momentum and advanced to the final match, having a great opportunity to win the trophy on their home turf. In the second semifinal, Allington AFC and EAFV battled for their shot at the cup, with Ex-Amateurs advancing into the final.
The final match started with EAFV quickly establishing a narrow 1-0, before Tarraco FC came back and reversed the standing into a 2-1 lead. Again, the captain of the host team formidably lead his team and marked the 2-1 lead goal himself. It was to EAFV fighting spirit that they never gave up, and managed to even the score. On Roermond’s side, goalgetter Richard Paas constantly found himself in the front line, battling hard against the opponent’s defense to gain momentum. The stakes were high, some challenges were intense, but the spectators saw an incredibly fair final. Sadly, the captain of the host team had to be taken out because of an ankle injury. With Tarraco FC’s best player out – Rojo still being on the sideline, guiding his teammates – EAFV dealt the final blow: Coach Henk Dohmen carved his way to the front and scored the final goal, marking a 3-2 win and winning the cup.
After the final, Dohmen revealed the secret for EAFV’s victory: The team used the lunch break to relax their legs in the pool at the resort. Refreshed, they were able to minimize exhaustion for the final. On the other hand, Tarraco FC’s Manuel Rivero was sad, because the home team dominated the tournament, with the final being the only game lost. But overall, Tarraco FC displayed great sportsmanship and congratulated the winners wholeheartedly.
Unsurprisingly, the captain of the host team was unanimously voted best player of the tournament. His skill and presence was astonishing. Moreover, he set an example for all other players with his focus on fair play. Richard Paas from EAFV managed to win the best goalscorer’s trophy, thus being an essential part for his team winning the tournament. Allington AFC was awarded the fairest team of the tournament: As a team, they combined great skill and dedication with fair sportsmanship. But overall, all teams due credit for playing a tournament in mutual respect, fairplay, and an overall exceptionally good spirit. Allington AFC’s “The Darren Bodkin” managed to claim the trophy for allowing just three goals throughout the tournament.
During the Award Ceremony, the mood of the teams reached its climax. Every team and player received their trophys while the other teams cheered and shouted, celebrating themselves. It felt like the whole room was about to explode due to untamed joy. And still, everyone took it humorously that Henk Dohmen accidentally damaged the tournament winner’s cup in the locker room. So, everything was set for the players to dive into a night of party, celebrating themselves and a successful tournament.
The following day, all teams were invited to explore the ancient city of Tarragona, built on Roman ruins. During this tour, it could clearly be seen who the real winners were: All players, mixing themselves across teams, talking, cheering, laughing together. The exceptional power of football being a sport that unites people has never been as clear as on this tournament.
Gain more impressions of the football torunament from our video interviews with the players: www.sekisui.eu/newsroom/sekisui-european-football-tournament-video-interviews-with-the-players
Learn more about the teams in our team presentations: