KADEEM SIMMONDS on representing England in the Three-Sided World Cup in Denmark
The first ever Three-Sided World Cup was held on Saturday in Silkeborg Denmark where I was lucky enough to represent one of the England sides.
Played on a hexagonal pitch with three teams and three goals, the winner of three sided football is the team that concedes the least amount of goals after three rotations.
Instead of 11 players on each-side though, three-sided football is often played with smaller numbers and the World Cup was played with five players on each side with three substitutes allowed by each team.
England entered three sides, Philosophy Football England, my side Philosophy Football Europe who became Jorn Three (in honour of Danish artist Asger Jorn who came up with the idea of three-sided football) and The Republic of Deptford.
Denmark entered two teams, Silkeborg IF — made up of former Danish Superliga players — and Silkeborg YMCA, who had played in the Superliga lower leagues.
France, Poland, Germany and Lithuania entered teams which are open to male and female players.
Lithuania took advantage of this rule and entered its team with both men and women but decided to play under the flag of Uruguay, something they picked up on tour in South America.
Jorn Three entered the tournaments as favourites and as we turned up to the pitch we were greeted by a local brass band and a sizeable crowd made up of local community members and fans from around Europe who had come to cheer their countries on.
The tournament itself consisted of three stages — the initiators, the heats and then the final.
The initiator was used to determine a ranking system, with the winners of the first match put through to play a team that finished second and a team that finished third in the other games.
The winner from each heat would then go on to play in the final for gold, silver or bronze.
Group A was made up of France, Philosophy Football Europe and Germany, B had Silkeborg YMCA, Jorn Three and The Republic of Deptford and C consisted of Uruguay, Poland and Silkeborg IF.
Our opening match kicked off with us and Deptford forming an alliance to take out the ex-professional footballers of Denmark.
However, in a game where alliances are quickly broken, Deptford turned on us as they were determined to finish the game in second place.
YMCA proved to be too strong for both teams though and, although we had the three-sided experience, they had the superior football skill and it proved to be key has they ran out winners. Final score was Deptford 2, Jorn Three 1, Silkeborg YMCA 0.
Finishing second, we were drawn in the heats against our club mates Philosophy Europe and Uruguay.
I had hoped to meet my friends in the final but fate would deny us the opportunity and it meant only half of the squad which travelled would leave with a medal round their necks.
The game started off with both Philosophy sides passing to each other and attacking the Uruguay goal. Due to the familiarity of the players, the match looked like it would be 10 against five.
However, any hopes of an alliance with our English counterparts were quickly dashed as Philosophy England attacked our goal early on.
Angered, we focused our attacks on our so-called friends and managed to put a few goals past them.
Uruguay were the third-ranked team in the match and it showed as the two Philosophy sides played most of the game attacking each other and turning on Uruguay when the opportunity arose.
The match finished Uruguay 7, Philosophy England 5, Jorn Three 1 but there was no anger towards us from our friends.
We shook hands, hugged and they wished us luck in the final as news filtered through that both Danish sides would be our opponents.
Despite being early tournament favourites, we were underdogs now.
The game started off very cagey, with no side wanting to open up to much. Silkeborg IF passed the ball around between them and linked up with YMCA but it was nothing to trouble myself in goal.
When the breakthrough did come, it was a well-worked move between us and YMCA and Silkeborg found themselves a goal down.
We managed to put another past Silkeborg but the two Danish sides, apparently rivals beforehand, joined up and I was beaten, meaning YMCA were in the lead after the first rotation and still hadn’t conceded a goal all afternoon.
The second rotation was a lot more open and a nice one-two between the Jorn Three attackers saw YMCA concede their first goal. It opened up the final and going into the third rotation, the score was Jorn Three 3, Silkeborg IF 3, Silkeborg YMCA 1.
A final isn’t a final without a streaker and an older member of the Uruguay side took the opporunity to streak across the pitch holding a cardboard cut-out of Jorn.
In previous three-sided games, the team in the lead heading into the final third were often the victims of an onslaught from both teams. However, with Silkeborg IF determined not to come last, they were unwilling to co-operate with us and decided to team up with their Danish counterparts and secure second place.
We found ourselves having to defend against eight players and in the end we lost 7-5-1.
Gutted as we were, to reach the final is a proud achievement and we managed to get bronze.
Only a select few can say they represented England in a World Cup final and I now can.
Played on a hexagonal pitch with three teams and three goals, the winner of three-sided football is the team that concedes the least amount of goals.
Instead of halves, the game consists of three rotations with teams moving around the pitch over three periods rather than exchanging sides over two.
Teams can be mixed with males and females and there are no age restrictions.
Rotations are between 10 and 30-minutes and there are no offsides. Teams are allowed a maximum of three rolling subsitutes.
If two sides concede the same amount of goals, goals scored comes into play. If the sides are still level then the match is decided by penalties.