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Football kicks off in style

Football kicks off in style

It was goals galore at the Hamilton Palace Sports Ground as the football tournament got the International Children’s Games off to an action-packed start.

Clearly intent on mounting a strong challenge on the gold medal, some teams showed their strength early on with some impressive scores in both the boys' and girls' events, sponsored by construction and property development company CCG.

In the boys competition, Romanian side Medias scored an astonishing 20 goals without reply against Sialkot of Pakistan while Team Lanarkshire were convincing 10-0 winners against Ravne Na Koroskem of Slovenia. Both teams will play each other tomorrow in what looks set to be a battle for the top honours in Group B. Ravne Na Koroskem atoned for their earlier defeat by winning 10-1 against Sialkot in the group's final game of the day.

In Group A, Tralee won their opening game 2-1 against Penisca of Slovenia in a tight and evenly-matched game. The Irish side then won their second game of the day 3-1 against Karachi of Pakistan to sit top of the standings. Karachi also lost their first game, 4-0, against Szombathely of Hungary.

Bangalore of India suffered two heavy defeats in their first two games of Group C, losing 12-0 against Daegu of South Korea and 7-1 against Sentilj-Ruse of Slovenia. Sentilj-Ruse lost 1-0 to Sparta of Greece in their first game of the group.

Ptuj of Slovenia sit proudly at the top of Group D, winning their first game 5-2 against Sopron of Hungary before smashing Lahore of Pakistan 14-3.

Lahore also suffered a heavy loss in their first game, losing 12-1 to Kesckmet of Hungary.

The girls competition began this morning with Team Lanarkshire recording a 4-2 win against Hamilton, Canada and Seoul, South Korea, set out their stall as one of the strong contenders with a 7-3 win against Marion, USA.

In the afternoon games a tight clash between Team Lanarkshire and Seoul ended up with the South Koreans narrowly winning 1-0. The clash of the Canadians ended up a one-sided affair with Hamilton beating Fort Simpson 14-0.

Officials from each of the 21 teams taking part in the football were impressed not only by the quality of play on show but also by the spirit that the teams were demonstrating.

Greg Maychak, ICG Official Committee Member and travelling with the team from Hamilton, Canada, said: "The Games have been absolutely great so far, certainly one of the best that I have been involved in and I have been to every one, more or less, since 1993.

"The opening ceremony last night was absolutely outstanding and we were involved in a great game of soccer in our first game even though we went down 4-2 to the hosts.

"We are all having a great time.

"The people have just been so nice to us - the volunteers have been extremely helpful and Scotland is just such a beautiful country.

"I've been joking that our parks staff back home would be extremely envious of the turf over here - the quality of the pitches has been first-rate.

"The organisation of the games, the accommodation and transportation has been tremendous but mostly the people have made the whole thing such an enjoyable experience so far."

Cierra Torosantucci, player with the Hamilton, Canada, girls' football team, said: "We are more used to playing 11-a-side games so it was a bit tough adapting but we got there in the end and improved as the game went on. It's been really fun meeting lots of people from countries all around the world, finding out about their different cultures and languages."

And Rafique Ahmad, Head of Delegation with the Karachi, Pakistan, team, said: "This is the fourth time we have participated in the Games and so far things have been going great. The opening ceremony last night was wonderful and our athletes and representatives have been making friends with competitors from lots of different countries " it's a really good experience for them."

"Everything we could need is at our accommodation - we have been staying at Holy Cross High School and it's a tremendous place. Above all, we are here to participate and hope to do well in all the sports we are competing in."

Sufiyan Nadeem, player with the Karachi, Pakistan, boys' football team, said: "The first game went well for us but unfortunately we ended up losing. But it's all about participating in the games though and going out and enjoying ourselves. The experience has been great and I have made a lot of friends already."

The tournament continues tomorrow (Saturday) with the boys' and girls' quarter finals. Semi-finals are to be played on Sunday morning, with the finals and medal ceremonies on Sunday afternoon.

You can tweet from the event - #icg2011 or join us on facebook.

Film from the Games will become available on YouTube and photographs on the ICG flickr pages in the course of the next few days - so keep checking!

The full results each day will be posted on the boys and girls results pages.

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