World In One City 2024 tournament kicks off


The World in One City Football Tournament is underway.

The opening games were held at Jericho Lane, Otterspool with two games from Group A, with current champions West Indies facing off against Brazil, followed by Nigeria v Namibia. It’s the fourth instalment of what will be another exciting, action packed event with plenty of drama and goals.

The tournament sees 16 teams representing the nation of their heritage qualify in four groups, the top two in each group go to the knockout stage with the final on June 30. Each game is 60 minutes and in the knockout stage drawn ties are decided by penalty shootouts.

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Both managers shared their thoughts on what they want from their teams. West Indies Manager, Curtis Lopez told the ECHO: "First, I always expect hard work. We know if we control the game we control our aggression and with our quality we've got, it will shine through".

Brazil's manager Tairone Bertolai added: "We need focus as we have been preparing the team for a month. Everything is fine and no injuries, and just to enjoy the game".

West Indies (L) and Brazil line ups for the first game of WIOC 2024 which the West Indies won 2 - 0 (Image: Ruachkuoth Ter WIOC)
West Indies (L) and Brazil line ups for the first game of WIOC 2024 which the West Indies won 2 - 0 (Image: Ruachkuoth Ter WIOC) -Credit:Ruachkuoth Ter WIOC

Four minutes into the game saw the first save from Brazil’s goalkeeper, followed a few minutes later by a glancing header from the West Indies that whistled past the Brazil keeper's upright. Brazil's goalkeeper saw most of the action and made a few good saves in both halves.

Despite the domination of the West Indies the first half ended 0 - 0, with them looking more likely to score. The West Indies came out in the second half moving the ball a little quicker and two minutes later the tournament's first goal was scored by the champions.

Goalscorer Connor Spiers told the ECHO: "I was on the floor and as I got up I saw it come flying in from one of our players. I thought I might try something Brazilian and I flicked it up, and it went in luckily enough.

West Indies player Connor Spiers, the WIOC first goal scorer of the 2024 event and the man of the match (Image: Joel Ogiugo)
West Indies player Connor Spiers, the WIOC first goal scorer of the 2024 event and the man of the match (Image: Joel Ogiugo WIOC) -Credit:Joel Ogiugo

"Thought I did well, our team did well, nothing to complain about. I think the team have done really well. Could have got a couple more goals, but their keeper was ok".

Just like the first half the West Indies dominated the play with Brazil relying on the long ball for the most part, were very physical and failed to keep possession when they tried to play on the floor. Six minutes after their first goal the West Indies struck again with a superbly taken free kick, driven hard and low, around the wall and into the right of the Brazil net.

The West Indies continued to dominate with Brazil forcing a real first and comfortable save from the West Indies keeper with three minutes to play. Overall the West Indies saw about 65% of the ball and due to a handful of good saves from Brazil they would have run out with four or five goals. In the end the 2 - 0 win was comfortable for the champions.

Connor, who finished man of the match has been playing football since the age of three. He currently plays for FC St Helens, recently promoted to the Northwest County Premiership League after winning the First Division North.

He said: "I play semi-professional and everyone has their sights set on it (top level) but I’m just happy to be playing football to be honest". He said young people getting into the game should "Practice hard, keep going, the only person telling you that you can't do it is yourself, so keep going, keep improving.

West Indies player is head and shoulders above the rest in the opening match against Brazil (Image: Joel Ogiugo WIOC)
West Indies player is head and shoulders above the rest in the opening match against Brazil (Image: Joel Ogiugo WIOC) -Credit:Joel Ogiugo WIOC

"Keep your head down in school, get your grades up, constantly do your homework. If you get good grades you will always be set if something happens”.

Connor has recently started working with children with disabilities in a primary school.

West Indies manager Curtis said: "For me, it could have been more. Getting the win in the end, as they were a very physical team.

"The second half we moved the ball quicker. As soon as we started moving it with one and two touches they could not live with us, and we put them to bed".

The second game of the evening saw Nigeria overcome newcomers Namibia 3 - 0. They led 2 - 0 at half time and in the second half had two goals disallowed for offside, but took their chances when they came to secure a comfortable win, with the third goal from the penalty spot.

For information visit WIOC HERE

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