The boys' team from Alunorte Rain Forest made it all the way to the A finale in the Norway Cup. After losing the match on a penalty shoot-out, the team still had a lot to celebrate.
On Saturday, the boys' team from Alunorte Rain Forest played the A finale against Karanba, also a Brazilian team, based in Rio de Janeiro. After full time - and extra time - the score was 2-2, so a penalty shoot-out was necessary in order to select a winning team. Karanba scored on all their penalty shots, while Alunorte Rain Forest missed one. As a result, Kranba, were the ones to rise the winner’s cup over their heads in Oslo, Norway.
“Many nations came here to play soccer, and I think it’s remarkable that we came all the way to the finale. I am very happy,” says Wilham de Castro Tavares, just minutes after losing by the least possible margin.
More than soccer
Norway Cup is the world’s largest youth soccer tournament. This year teams from 51 nations participated. Hydro and Alunorte have been sending teams to Norway Cup since 2001. The players are picked not only because of their skills on the soccer field; equally important are good behaviour and participation and efforts at school.
This year, a girl’s team from Alunorte Rain Forest also came to Norway Cup. After winning their group in the qualifying rounds, the team lost in the 8th final.
Dream come true
Wilham, 16 years old and in his first year of high school, says participating at Norway Cup has been a dream come true. “It’s amazing to think that I have been here, in Norway, representing the state of Para, and my family’s name,” he says.
Kirsten Larsen from the local sports club Tyrving, has been coordinating the teams’ visit in Norway and their participation at Norway Cup. After nearly two weeks with the Brazilian youths, she says she’s made good friends with the players.
“I don’t speak their language, but still they are easy to get to know. They have shown remarkable behaviour throughout these weeks,” she says. “This year we made it all the way to the A-finale. But if we didn’t, the atmosphere in the group would still be excellent. I think that characterizes this group,” says Larsen.