THE MAGNIFICENT 9 !
9 different nationalities were represented in today's game on the tiny island of Ti Top in the Halong Bay area of Vietnam. Stopping off there at 7.45am before sailing on to Cat Ba Island, I only had an hour to organise a game. Things were slow at first. Juan, from Cordoba, Argentina, was first to join me. We just played shots against each other for 10 minutes. I asked others to play and miraculously, after about 30 minutes, a game started to take shape. Players form Vietnam, France, Germany, Russia, Norway, Denmark, USA and England joined in. Game on!
Played against the incredible back-drop of the Halong Bay islands, the game was hard going at first on the sand, but the cool air helped the players to keep the game at a good tempo. Strong tackling was a feature from the start as the ball bobbled and held up on the surface. Victor form Russia, and Tom from England kept goal well for their respective teams. After a few near misses from either side, the impressive Sam from Vietnam darted through and thumped a cracker beyond the helpless Victor. Allie from the USA showed great, quick feet as she and her team pressed for an equaliser. Flo (France), Melina (Germany) Josephine (Denmark) and Emir (Norway) were working their socks off against each other in midfield, as Tom from England's impressive young son pushed for a second for his team. Anastasia (Russia) stayed out wide for her team and played with speed and determination. Victor, sensing defeat with the clock ticking down, left his goal and surged forward. Picking up a loose ball he fired the equaliser and the game was done. A 1-1 draw a fitting result on the balance of play.
Thanks to everyone for getting stuck in so early in the morning! A true united nations of a football game on a tiny island in South East Asia. Marvellous !!!