India wins inaugural iCUSU World Cup

Gerald Wu 12 March 2013

Last Saturday, fourteen countries braved the freezing weather to participate in iCUSU’s flagship football World Cup at the Gonville and Caius sports ground.

Students from different countries formed their own teams to battle for national bragging rights in the five a side tournament. The atmosphere at the venue was akin to a carnival and the matches were played with great sportsmanship.

The competition showcased the best football one could find in Cambridge, apart from the Blues, and some thrilling matches were played. In the standout round robin match, Hungary edged Malaysia 3-2 that featured relentless end-to-end action.

The Malaysians scored against the run of play in the first half before Hungary’s Balazs Torok took over. He produced some clinical finishing that left the Malaysians startled, putting Hungary in a 2-1 lead. All credit to Malaysia, the players plugged away and scored a well-constructed volley to equalise. However, Hungary’s class showed in the end when they counter-attacked with lightning speed to score the winner. The Malaysians had an effort denied by the cross bar in injury time, but it was a well deserved win for Hungary.

In the other round-robin matches, India, Iran and Romania negotiated their groups safely to advance from their respective groups. In the semi-finals, India defeated Romania 4-1 while Hungary were in full flow as they thrashed Iran 7-1. It is only in Cambridge that one can have an India-Hungary World Cup final.

In the high-octane final, India produced an upset to defeat a somewhat stunned Hungary team which had been on form throughout the competition. With goals coming from Sagar Thanki, Viraj Patel and Jaisal Gohil, India notched an impressive World Cup win, and this time it is not in cricket. As a consolation for Hungary, Balazs Torok’s 11 goals in the competition earned him the golden boot award.

In the third place playoff, Romania defeated Iran 3-1. Romania’s Camil and Andrei Sofian scored for Romania while Hadi Modarres bagged a consolation goal for Iran.

No one was more pleased with the event than outgoing iCUSU president Jinho Clement who remarked, “iCUSU is really pleased with the turnout and everyone had a fantastic time. This marks a great finale to the current committee’s tenure.”

Clement added that the iCUSU World Cup has the potential to grow into something even bigger and better in the coming years. It is a unique opportunity especially when not many people get to play for the country, albeit in a student environment.

Gerald Wu