After eight days of competition, the 2010 Homeless World Cup came to a close with the host nation, Brazil, winning the Men’s tournament. The US Men’s team finished 20th overall by taking 4th place in the City Cup division. The Americans’ final placement was one place higher than where they were ranked coming into the tournament, but one place lower than how the team finished at last year’s tournament in Milan.
The US started the tournament in Group B along with South Africa, Slovenia, Sweden, India and Ukraine. The tournament started off on the wrong foot when the Americans lost a close game to last year’s tournament winner Ukraine 3-2, but the team quickly rebounded winning each of their next three group games against India (6-1), Sweden (8-4) and Slovenia (7-0) by comfortable margins. The US lost their last game of the preliminary group stage to South Africa 5-3. The team’s record of 3-2 placed them third in the group.
In the secondary group stage the US was placed in a group with Ireland, previous tournament winners Italy (2004, 2005), Scotland (2007), and Poland (2006), who have finished in the top three teams four out of the previous seven tournaments. Unfortunately the US team did not fare well in this group of death, but kept the scores close in most of the games. The team finished fifth in the group with a 1-4 record. The US’s only win came in penalty kicks after playing a closely contested and high scoring game with Italy that ended 6-6.
After the secondary group state the US was placed into the City Cup with a chance to finish as high as 17th in the tournament and return home with some hardware. The US faced Luxembourg in the quarterfinals and won 6-5. The team’s next opponent was Austria, but the Americans were unable to advance to the final after losing the game 4-2. In the third place game the US faced off against Costa Rica, however the team could not turn their play around and were shutout 5-0.
Although the US Men were unable to improve from their performance at last year’s tournament, the team began with a strong showing; narrowly losing games against tough opponents and pulling together to defeat past champions. Unfortunately the Americans could not get the advantage in the close games later in the tournament. Next summer the Americans will work to improve on their finish this year when they compete in the 2011 Homeless World Cup which will take place in Paris, France.
For complete results from the tournament visit the official site of the 2010 Homeless World Cup