The Gothia Cup is the world’s largest youth football tournament, with around 1,700 teams representing 80 countries taking part. 820,000 people watched online as games were streamed live from Gothenburg. Six Scottish clubs sent teams to compete in the tournament, with mixed fortunes.
The Dons sent just one team – their Under 17s - to Gothenburg with high hopes and were rewarded in their first match, a 2-1 win over IFK Gothenburg of Sweden. In their two remaining group stage games, Aberdeen were defeated; a 3-1 loss to Gamba Osaka from Japan and a 2-1 defeat to Swedish side AIK. The Dons were on track to take AIK to penalties before conceding a late goal. In the last 16, Aberdeen faced Djurgarden of Sweden and came back from two goals down to draw the match 2-2, with goals from Joseph MacPherson and Lyall Booth. Aberdeen went on to lose the shootout 5-4 as their run in the tournament ended.
Boroughmuir Thistle (pictured above)
The only team in Scotland to send girls teams, Boroughmuir Thistle sent two teams of Under 12s to contest in Gothenburg. Boroughmuir were chosen to represent Scotland at the opening ceremony at a packed 50,000-seater stadium. The first team were defeated in each of their group games against Toronto High Park FC of Canada and two Swedish outfits: IK Zenith and Orby IS. They dropped into the B playoff and were subsequently beaten 5-0 by Sweden’s Kullavik IF. The second team fared a little better; they were defeated in each of their group games against Canadian and Swedish opposition, but won their knockout match against Rodsle BK from Sweden. In the last 16, Orby IS overcame Boroughmuir 2-0 and their cup run was over.
Scott Freeborn, manager, said: “I think it was a great experience for them. Just travelling around the city you’d see so many teams from all around the world and you’d get talking to them. I’m sure the girls are feeling inspired and ready to move up to the next level, and that will stand them in good stead going forward.”
Currie Star FC
Currie Star sent six teams from four age groups to compete at the Gothia Cup - three teams of Under 12s, an Under 13s, an Under 14s and an Under 18s. The third group of Under 12s performed admirably, competing against opponents from Sweden, Brazil and Mexico whilst overcoming another of Currie Star’s teams on the way. The 18s can look back on their tournament with pride; victories over Sweden’s Frolunda (1-0) and VfR Bachem of Germany (2-0) gave them a flying start in the group stages. Cruelly, they conceded a late goal against Burnley College Football Academy, losing the game 1-0, which meant that they dropped into the lower playoff despite finishing their group on six points. It meant that Bachem finished ahead of Currie Star by a single goal in the Goals For column. They were then knocked out in the next round by Swedish side Kallerad SK by four goals to nil.
Chairman John Brock said: “The feedback from the coach was that the boys had a fantastic time. Our oldest group won their first two games in the group stage then lost the last one with the last kick of the ball which was a bit of a blow, because it meant they finished third. It was really draining for the players but the boys put as much as they could into it in terms of preparation and applying themselves.”
Hutchison Vale FC
Hutchison Vale also took part in the opening ceremony alongside Boroughmuir and are sure to remember the experience for a long time. The Edinburgh club sent one team to Gothenburg but will be pleased with their performance in the Gothia Cup. The 13s overcame German opponents Haltern Am See 3-0 in their opening fixture and followed it up with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sweden’s IF Vaster. Their perfect record in the group stage continued in the third match when they narrowly defeated Norwegian outfit Stryn 2-1. In the knockout round they beat Sweden’s Norrkoping 1-0 thanks to a goal from Keir Brown but were then eliminated in the next round,
following a 7-1 defeat from England’s Lambeth Tigers.
Monifieth Athletic FC
The Under 13s were the club’s sole representatives at this year’s Gothia Cup. The Dundonian club faced defeat in each of their 3 group matches against Sweden’s Vasteras SK, Ordin FC from Brazil and Portuguese side Colegio Atlantico. After dropping into the B playoff, Monifieth defeated US team FC Conneticut. When the referee blew for full time the match remained goalless despite the Dundee side’s dominance, then Monifieth won the resulting shootout 4-2 to progress to the next round. They faced Footgeneration FA Algarve from Portugal and were beaten 3-0. The Portuguese side would go on to be the losing side in the cup final.
Andrew Mccafferty, coach, said: “I think we improved every game until the last half hour of our final game, when we just ran out of steam. I thought in the game against the Americans we were brilliant, we should have been out of sight by half time. Getting the boys to be brave on the ball like that in a tournament like the Gothia Cup is probably the biggest thing we can take away with us.”
Tynecastle sent one team for the Under 13s, 14s, 15s, and 16s and can look back on each of their records with great pride. Every team finished in the top two in their respective groups and recorded a number of impressive victories. The Under 13s overcame German opposition SV Rugenbergen 1-0 in their first knockout match before narrowly losing 3-2 to Prep School Lions from England. The 14s went one better, twice knocking out Swedish opposition with a 3-1 victory over Skoftebyns and a 6-0 thrashing of Tuff. In the next round they faced German side Niensteden and were beaten 3-0.
The 15s managed to score 13 goals in the group stage but were knocked out by CEF 18 Tucman from Argentina 4-2 on penalties after drawing 1-1. The 16s won all four of their group stage games, scoring 15 goals in the process. In the first knockout round they drew 1-1 with Portugal’s Almada Foot and lost the resulting penalty shootout 7-6.