Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Homeless World Cup 2012: Scotland in Mexico

Day four of the 2012 Homeless World Cup in Mexico yesterday and the tournament entered the second group stage.

After mixed results in the opening group Scotland moved on to face Ireland, Brazil, Portugal, Ukraine and South Africa in the second phase.

Which means facing some traditionally doughty Homeless World Cup opponents.

Yesterday's match against Portugal looked particularly tough.

The Portuguese won all four of their opening games, scoring 34 goals and conceding just eight.

Scotland, defending champions, lost their first two games 6-5 to Lithuania and Indonesia before recovering to beat Greece 4-2 and rounding the group off with a 6-3 win over Peru.

And tough it proved with the Portuguese running out 6-2 winners.

So a difficult opening to the second stage but still a long way to go.

This is one tournament where it doesn't feel trite to say that the taking part is a victory in itself.

Scotland coach David Duke - whose involvement with the tournament began when he was selected for the Scotland team in 2004 - estimates that some 700 players were involved in the selection process for this tournament.

One of the eight chosen for the final squad was Mark Stack, a 35 year old for Coatbridge who has battled heroin addiction and lived through years of homelessness:

"Without that, I wouldn’t be able to reintegrate with people. I’ve went through my life without really having anything, so even to be selected is a massive achievement."

Such stories are repeated globally. The tournament organisers estimate 250,000 people have been involved in Homeless World Cup related projects around the world.

Football is often bombastic in championing itself as a unifying lingua franca.

Every year the Homeless World Cup proves that football really can offer something overwhelmingly positive to the lives it touches.

Having been involved when the tournament was staged in Edinburgh back in 2005 it's also remarkable to see the scale of the event in Mexico City - over 50,000 spectators turned out on the opening weekend alone.

That's not a bad way to celebrate the unique work of the Homeless World Cup throughout the rest of the year - a network of football projects covering 73 nations and giving men and women of all ages the chance to rebuild their lives.

And, with four second group stage games left to play, Scotland's new squad will be keen that the sun doesn't set on our reign as champions just yet.

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(Source: The Big Issue)

Scotland at the Homeless World Cup today

A couple more big asks for Scotland today.

First up Ireland who started with a defeat to Costa Rica in their opening game but recovered to win their next four.

Yesterday in their opening second round game they drew 4-4 with South Africa.

Later the Scots take on Brazil whose 9-3 win over Ukraine yesterday build on some impressive form that saw them win their opening group games with 49 goals scored and just 12 conceded.

The Ireland game kicks off around 5.50 pm our time with the Brazil match scheduled for around 7.30 pm.

All games can be watched here:

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