For three days at the end of July, the population of Hjørring in Northern Denmark was doubled. Once again Hjørring played host to the Dana Cup as well as the 15,000 players and 10,000 parents, coaches, and supporters who attended.
The boys and girls ranged in age from 12 to 19, and hailed from all over the globe – not only was Europe well represented, but teams travelled from as far away as the United States, Brazil and the Philippines!
This year marked the tournament’s 30th anniversary. Over the years around half a million players from over 100 nations have taken part in the Dana Cup, and it has become one of the largest youth football tournaments in the world! With a strong international message, and as a prime example of football’s power to unite children from all walks of life, MTG United for Peace and the Dana Cup have a lot in common. So much so that the best finishing Danish U12 girls’ team at the Dana Cup wins a trip to Oslo to participate in the MTG United for Peace Cup final.
With all that at stake, competition was fierce, and the 850 teams played their hardest in the round robin and knockout rounds, having loads of fun, and demonstrating some truly impressive football skills. Two sets of brothers stood out during the competition – one team had quadruplets on their roster, while another boasted the Aase twins, members of Norway’s U16 national team.
Despite the buzz from the boys, MTG United for Peace’s eyes were on the U12 girls’ final which came down to Âlvängens IK from Sweden and Fortuna Hjørring from Denmark. Älvängens IK put on an impressive show, against a Fortuna Hjørring team who had just endured a difficult semi-final game, and won 3-0. Despite the loss Fortuna Hjørring was celebrating their second place finish on the podium. As the best finishing Danish team they also came away a winner, securing their place in the MTG United for Peace finals!
Throughout the three days of the tournament the camaraderie between the players and football’s power to unite were evident. Kristian Andersen, a reporter with Viasat Sport in Denmark who was sent to cover the Dana Cup, said, “We had some long and tough days in Hjørring, but it was exciting to be a part of a tournament like that with so many happy people all over the place.”
Congratulations to all the winners of the Dana Cup, and good luck to Fortuna Hjørring in Oslo!