On Friday, May 31st and Saturday, June 1st, the international TopParken U14 Soccer Tournament took place at the Lunteren soccer club for the 25th time. It was a prestigious tournament with top teams under 14 years of age from the Netherlands and abroad, including the champion of the Netherlands Under 14s FC Utrecht (Netherlands), Standard Luik (Belgium), Everton (England), Sparta Praag (Czech Republic), and Randers FC (Denmark).
Despite the fact that it was already the 25th time that this prestigious tournament was organized, it was the first time that, apart from the home team vv Lunteren, only Professional Soccer Associations were present. This was also visibly beneficial for the level of the entire tournament. As a proud main sponsor of the tournament, we were present on both days. Read a report about the TopParken U14 Tournament below.
The TopParken Tournament began at 11:00 a.m. The tournament was played in 3 groups of 4 teams, which means that each team played 3 matches. The first 2 matches that were played were between FC Utrecht and Randers FC (2-2) and between Club Brugge and vv Lunteren (3-0). Then came:
After a few matches, it was already clear that the tournament's level was extremely high. This resulted in wonderful matches all throughout the day. The first day of the tournament was dominated by the group phase. The 1s and 2s of each group played for the tournament win on day 2, complemented by the two best number 3s. The remaining 4 teams played in the "losers group" for places 9 through 12.
Surprisingly enough, the two English teams, Crystal Palace and Everton, both ended up in the "losers group". Several members of the association touted them as potential tournament winners. FC Dordrecht and vv Lunteren also wound up in the losers group. Randers FC and Sparta Praag finished as the best number 3s, meaning they got to stay in the race for the title.
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The day began at 9:30 a.m. with 2 matches from the losers group. The English teams immediately showed that they actually didn't belong in the losers group. Everton won 8-1 against vv Lunteren and Crystal Palace beat FC Dordrecht 4-0. Everton ultimately also beat FC Dordrecht (3-0) and Crystal Palace (4-0) and finished in 9th place.
Meanwhile, the battle for the much sought-after title had begun. After a number of thrilling matches, FC Utrecht and Standard Luik finally reached the finale. More than once, FC Utrecht showed that they aren't the champion of the Netherlands for nothing. They consecutively beat Vitesse (1-0) and Sparta Praag (3-0). However, Standard Luik showed that FC Utrecht wouldn't be able to win the tournament just like that. They beat sc Heerenveen 3-0 and Royal Antwerp FC 2-1. The match for 3rd and 4th place was played between Sparta Praag and Royal Antwerp FC. In the end, the Czechs took bronze for a 3-0 victory.
It was the moment everyone was looking forward to: the finale. FC Utrecht – Standard Luik. Before long, Standard Luik gained a 1-0 head start thanks to a penalty. For a while, it seemed like that would also be the final score. Until 1 minute before time was up. An a-ma-zing free kick by FC Utrecht landed spectacularly in the top corner, the best goal of the tournament!
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This fantastic goal meant that it was time for a penalty shootout. Standard Luik won the first series of penalties, but a substitute scored one of the penalties and the whole shootout needed to be redone. Once again, the Belgians came out on top.
Every year, an award is also given to the best player and best keeper of the tournament. In the past, Vurnon Anita (Ajax), Youness Mokhtar (PSV), and Pablo Rosario (PSV) have been among those proclaimed best player of the tournament. This year, the honor went to Club Brugge player Kyriani Sabbe, but there had to be at least 10 other players running around who would have deserved this award. It has never been so hard to choose a winner. The best keeper of the tournament was Tom Poitoux of Standard Luik.
It was a fantastic tournament with soccer at the highest possible level. TopParken is delighted and proud that we can continue to sponsor this wonderful tournament in the coming years as well!
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