Danone Nations Cup : France represented by OL on all the steps of the podium
The world's largest U12 football tournament brought together 56 teams for its World Finals from October 9-12 2019 in Barcelona.
For the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of the brand Danone, organizers of the competition, the organizers have seen things grow. A single double world final gathered qualified teams from 2018 and 2019. The program was therefore: 27 countries around the world, nearly 700 players, 4 tournaments (2 boys, 2 girls), and 2 editions (2018 and 2019).
But to present oneself in Spain, it was necessary to qualify on the national stage, in a tournament played at Clairefontaine at the end of the season. And this is precisely what we managed to do with 3 teams from Lyon: 2 women (2018 and 2019) and a male (2018), the last French representative being Paris FC (2019).
Men's team wins the bronze
In the footsteps of Anthony Lopes (Portugal, 2002), Alexandre Lacazette (France, 2003) and Maxwel Cornet (France, 2008), a team of 12 players now U14 found themselves back on the small pitch 15 months after winning the national games (June 2018).
But France, already champion three times (at the first edition in 2000 but also in 2008 and 2013), could not write its name once again on the trophy. They did not miss by much, though, suffering a last-minute defeat in the semi finals against Brazil, who would go on to be winner of the event (0-1). Lyon's young generation of 2006 had to that point a perfect record (5 wins). Despite the elimination in the last four, the protégés of Manuel Rodriguez and Jessim Ferraro were able to raise their heads by winning at the stadium of Espanyol Barcelona the third place match against Bulgaria (1-0) in a tantalizing game.
The women win gold and silver !
The creation of an all-female tournament in parallel with the initial tournament was held for the first time last season. And this year, OL represented France on both fronts. After a smooth group stage (5 wins, 1 defeat), Julien Legrand's players clearly dominated the Italian side of Inter Milan in the final (3-0). It was a first championship that preceded another a few minutes later.
But for the charges of Abdel Laaziri, who finished undefeated in their league (6 wins, 29 goals scored), they finally stumbled against Spain, with many thousands of supporters in the stands for the event (2 -1).
Beyond the sporting result, the Danone Nations Cup has also allowed the teams to share central values such as fair play and openness and to discover the riches of new cultures. It was a great experience and a title to chase next season!