The 2016 Homeless World Cup took place in the heart of Glasgow, from July 10-16. For the duration of the seven day event, Glasgow’s George Square was transformed into “the most inspiring place on the planet.”
Teams came together from across the globe to celebrate and highlight the year round life changing work of the Homeless World Cup National Partner network. Five hundred twelve players arrived in Glasgow each with their own story to tell, their own point on a journey to create a better life for themselves.
George Square was converted into an outdoor street football venue for the event, with three purpose built pitches with seating. Approximately 80,000 enthusiastic spectators braved the sometimes grey Scottish weather to attend the tournament.
A unique feature of the Homeless World Cup tournament is that regardless of ability, all teams compete for the same number of days. The competition breaks into a number of different trophies. Because of these levels of competitions, the games are exciting and meaningful even on the final day of the tournament. On the last day, each team earns their final position – and those standings then influence the rankings that will seed next year’s tournament.
There are a total of eight trophies: six for the men’s competition and two for the women’s. The Homeless World Cup and Women’s Homeless World Cup trophies are the top prizes, respectively.
This year’s Women’s Homeless World Cup went to Mexico, who have now taken the lead in both the men’s and women’s competition as the only team to have ever won the Homeless World Cup four times. The Mexican women were the highest scoring team in both the men’s and women’s competition, banking a total of 107 goals throughout the week. Conceding only 10 goals, the team had the strongest defense of the competition and reached a goal difference of 97, the highest of the tournament. Mexico took the glory after an emotional final against Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz players were incredibly determined, but in the end Mexico proved stronger, with a final score of 5-0.
The Women’s Plate went to Argentina, one of this year’s most popular teams, who played the final against Greece – another crowd favourite. Argentina were awarded champions after defeating the Greek squad 3-2. Team Argentina scored a total of 37 goals over the week
The Homeless World Cup is the top prize in the men’s competition. The iconic trophy travels the world with each winner and is then brought to the next host city before the competition begins. This year, the cup is returning to Mexico after the Mexican men’s team took the glory for the second time in a row. The team were undefeated throughout the competition and scored a total of 90 goals. Mexico also had the strongest defense in the men’s competition, conceding only 10 goals during the week long tournament. The men’s final of the Homeless World Cup saw Mexico defeat Brazil 6-1. Women can also compete in the men’s tournament and second place Brazil was one of several teams to bring a mixed squad to this year’s event.
The second tier of the competition saw Ireland take the Men’s Plate. The Irish team were the highest scoring team in the men’s/mixed competition, scoring an outstanding 101 goals! Ireland played the Men’s Plate final against debuting team Egypt, which was one of the most exciting games of the event. The winner had to be decided by sudden-death penalty shootout, after play ended with 4 goals each.
The third tier trophy in the men’s/mixed competition went to the Bulgarian squad, who took the trophy from Poland after a tense match which resulted in another sudden-death penalty shootout. Bulgaria’s Team of Hope tied with Bosnia and Herzegovina for the 4th highest scoring team with and impressive 86 goals. The Men’s Bowl competition also included host team Scotland, neighbor England, and this year’s guest team comprised of refugees living in Scotland, Street Soccer United.
The Men’s Globe went to team Cambodia, one of this year’s most popular squads. The final match saw the Asian country defeat Sweden with a score of 8-2. Cambodia, whose Chan Minea received the Best Men’s Player award and helped his team bank 51 goals throughout the week.
The fourth tier trophy went to the Welsh squad. This year’s Dragons defeated Zimbabwe in the final match 8-5. As it has now become a tradition of the Homeless World Cup, the Welsh teams had one of the loudest and most memorable cheering squad, who did not disappoint this year as the “Waaaaaaleeeees” chant could be heard all over George Square during their matches. The Welsh Dragons scored 56 goals throughout the week. Men’s Shield runners up, Zimbabwe, scored an impressive 72 goals during the week.
The sixth tier trophy was earned by Czech Republic, who defeated South Korea in an inspirational match that ended in a tense three-round sudden-death penalty shootout. After some incredible saves, it was the Czechs who secured the victory. The Czech team scored a total of 30 goals over the course of the competition.