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Chile: Proud moment for players at Homeless World Cup

Chile beat Argentina 16-0 in the first game of the 12th Homeless World Cup in Santiago at the weekend ...

Some 54 teams paraded through central Santiago, Chile, at the weekend, waving flags and dancing all the way to the to get to the Opening Ceremony of the 12th Homeless World Cup.

The packed stadium in Plaza de la Ciudadanía roared with delight as each of the 42 men’s and 12 women’s team captains lined the perimeter of the pitch as Homeless World Cup Founder and President Mel Young declared the 2014 Homeless World Cup open.

Mel astounded the packed stands with an emotional speech saying, “To the players I would like to say you are standing proud representing your country. The world today for many, many people is not a good place. Too many people live frightened lives trying to scratch a living in the dark. We need to bring more light. We have to end homelessness and poverty and we can do it – if everyone plays their part!”

The atmosphere quickly changed as host nation Chile (above) kicked off the street soccer tournament against South American neighbors, Argentina.

The Chilean national anthem saw the patriotism and unity of the home crowd and much like the scenes in Brazil earlier this year, there was an encore with the players, urged on by the singing crowd, repeating the verse of the national anthem in acappella style.

Argentina kicked off and had the first shot, nearly scoring within seconds, but shortly after Chile showed their dominance. By half time the host were leading 9-0. In the first half Chile’s number seven Ismael Mariquez was, much like his idol Alexis Sanchez, the standout player.

The second half saw the introduction of Chile’s number 17, Francisco Espinoza. He made an instant impact on the game scoring 30 seconds into the second half. The crowd got behind Argentina urging them on, but nothing was going to stop Chile’s determination.

Espinoza scored five second half goals and much like his favourite player and look-alike, Chile star Arturo Vidal, had the crowd on their feet.

The match finished 16-0 to the hosts and this was just the start of what is sure to be another amazing Homeless World Cup.

Play continues through the week until semi finals and finals at the weekend (25/26 October 2014).

The Homeless World Cup is being live streamed from Santiago on www.homelessworldcup.org

You can also follow the action on:
Twitter @homelesswrldcup  #hwcsupporter
Facebook www.facebook.com/homelessworldcup
Instagram @hwcsupporter

A staggering 80+% returning to full time accommodation, education and employment after taking part in the Homeless World Cup, literally transformed by the experience of representing their nation, having previously completed year long programmes of training in each of their individual countries.

Players can only take part once. Some 74 nations worldwide run street soccer programmes positively affecting the lives of more than 100,000 each year, offering alternatives to gangs, addictions and the crippling isolation of homelessness.

Participating Teams for Chile 2014

Men’s Teams

Argentina, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyz Republic, Lithuania, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, South Korea, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and Wales.

Women’s Teams

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, England, Hungary, India, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, USA and Wales.

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