The Romanian Football Federation - looking forward to hosting matches at UEFA EURO 2020 - recently staged a 'mini-EURO' for youngsters in Bucharest.
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For Bucharest and its National Arena, hosting UEFA EURO 2020 matches represents more than just the largest-ever sports event organised in Romania. It means promoting football among youngsters – the future of Romanian football – and celebrating the cultures and heritage of all the countries involved.
As part of its long-lasting partnership with the local authorities of Bucharest’s 5th District, the Romanian Football Federation recently organised a ‘mini-EURO’ for schoolchildren in the local area.
The 24 schools taking part in the competition were split into six groups of four teams, with each school representing a different UEFA member association.
Before the tournament began, the children were invited to a celebration attended by several of the foreign ambassadors based in Bucharest. The teams took centre stage at the event, giving top-class performances which showcased the culture and traditions of the countries they would be representing in the upcoming competition.
Two days later, the children gave a different kind of performance – this time showcasing their football skills during the group matches. The semi-finals were played the next day, and the final and third-place play-off were organised at the Bucharest National Arena to coincide with the Europe Day celebrations on 9 May. The lucky teams involved fulfilled their dream of playing on the biggest footballing stage in Romania.
Former internationals Miodrag Belodedici, Ion Vlădoiu and Marius Lăcătuș were on hand to offer their support to the players. Together with Rudi Verkempinck, assistant coach of the Romanian national side, and Daniel Florea, mayor of the 5th District, the stars presented the awards at the end of the tournament.
The mini-EURO was won by School No. 280, competing as Armenia, who beat Ion I.C. Brătianu, representing Belarus, in the final. Joy and happiness, tears and disappointment; the players experienced the same emotions felt at all major football competitions.
This article originally appeared in UEFA Direct No169