Dacorum hot-shots are one step closer to Brazil dream

Zinedine Zidane is an international ambassador for the Danone Nations Cup
Zinedine Zidane is an international ambassador for the Danone Nations Cup

A team of schoolboys from Dacorum are celebrating after reaching the regional finals of the Danone Nations Cup, the world’s biggest football tournament for 10 to 12-year-olds.

The Dacorum SFA U11 team – who are representing Hertfordshire – are now just two stages away from a dream trip to Brazil to represent England in the Danone Nations Cup world final.

Dacorum successfully progressed from the county knockout rounds of the tournament earlier this month and will now compete in the regional finals of the tournament, which are being held at Chigwell School in Essex in March.

Regional winners will go on to compete in a national final where the champions will earn a place in the world finals that take place in Brazil in October.

Each year, 2.5m children worldwide take part in the competition, which has former France and Real Madrid captain Zinedine Zidane as international ambassador.

Around 3,000 schools competed in the English leg run by the English Schools’ Football Association.

The Danone Nations Cup is an unique FIFA approved tournament which has been given the government’s Inspired by 2012 seal of approval and represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for young players.

It is an annual highlight in Danone’s ongoing programme of support for healthy lifestyles through education, fun and fairplay, which includes its Eat Like A Champ healthy eating initiative.

Former Tottenham, Liverpool and England centre-back John Scales, an ambassador of the tournament said: “I am so proud to have so closely supported the Danone Nations Cup for almost 10 years now.

“It’s a truly remarkable project that brings joy to thousands of kids nationally. Being active, eating well, having fun and working hard as part of a team are fundamental pillars of influencing the many that participate.”

Charlotte Broos, CSR manager at Danone, added: “Congratulations to Dacorum SFA. They have had a great tournament so far and we hope the children are enjoying this unique mix of football, friendship and fairplay.”