Football stars of future set for showdown at Under 13 Dubai Intercontinental Cup
Winners of the 2019 edition celebrate with the trophy. - Supplied photo
Dubai - Top European clubs like Real, Barcelona, Bayern and Arsenal among 24 teams who will be competing for honours at Dubai Sports City from Feb 13-15
The 4th Under 13 Dubai Intercontinental Football Cup - featuring teams from European powerhouses Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Celta Vigo, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Inter Milan and FC Porto gets underway at Dubai Sports City from Thursday, February 13.
Organised under the aegis of Dubai Sports Council, the three-day tournament will also feature four UAE club teams - Al Nasr, Al Wasl and Shabab Al Ahli of Dubai, and Abu Dhabi's Al Wahda - alongside Zamalek (Egypt), Pyramids (Egypt), Zed FC (Egypt), Al Fateh (Saudi Arabia), Al Ahli FC (Saudi Arabia), Levante Azzuro (Italy), Muscat Football Academy (Oman), Jef United (Japan), Maldives FA, Wakatake (Japan), CAF Canada, and two teams representing Spanish Soccer School (UAE).
The 24 teams have been divided into six groups of four each, and the top two teams from each group will progress to the Round of 16 along with the four best third-placed teams. The eight winners of Round of 16 match will then advance to the Gold Cup and the eight losers will play for the Silver Cup.
Inter Milan and FC Porto have been drawn in Group A, alongside Al Nasr and Wakate FC of Japan, and the Italians will take on the Dubai club in the opening match of the tournament on February 13, with kick-off scheduled for 9.30am.
Two other matches will take place concurrently on adjacent pitches, with Porto taking on Wakatake FC, and Group B's Levante Azzurro squaring off against Zed FC.
FC Barcelona, who have been drawn in Group B, will open their campaign at 10.30am against Abu Dhabi's Al Wahda, while the two Group C matches - featuring Celta Vigo against Al Ahli Saudi and Pyramids FC against SSS 'B' - will take place on adjacent pitches.
Real Madrid will then follow their Spanish rivals onto the pitch, taking on CAF Canada in the opening Group D match from 11.30am, while the second match of that group will feature Dubai club Al Wasl against Zamalek.
Drawn in Group E alongside SSS 'A' and Maldives, Arsenal will open their campaign against Al Fateh of Saudi Arabia at 12.30pm. Bayern Munich will get their Group F proceedings started against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai at the same time, while Muscat Football Academy will clash face Jef United in the other match of the group.
All teams will place twice on the opening day, with the evening session starting at 4.00pm. On Friday, the teams will play their final group matches in the morning session before returning in the evening for the Round of 16 knockout matches.
The quarterfinals, semis and finals of the Gold Cup and Silver Cup will take place on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of the start of the tournament, His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council, said: "The U13 Dubai Intercontinental Cup is a really important tournament for us as it is part of Dubai Sports Council's initiatives to improve grassroots football in the country.
"We are really excited about the start of the tournament, which has attracted 24 teams from 12 different countries this year. The event will see more than 400 players - the cream of under-13 talents from around the globe - showcasing their skills and giving us an exciting glimpse into the future of international football.
"Many of these players will go on to represent their clubs and countries, and win many titles with them. This is why this tournament is so special, because it is the only international tournament of its kind for this age group."
The matches will be broadcast live on Dubai TV.