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Last Updated: Wednesday September 10 2008 12:12 GMT

Team England take on the world at footie


It's the world's biggest football tournament for the Under 12s - the Danone Nations Cup.

Sportsround went out to see how Team England were gearing up for the competition and here midfielder Brodie kept us up to date with how the team got onů

Wednesday 10 September - 1pm

I am finally back in England so this will be my last blog entry.

I last wrote just before Zidane came onto the pitch and before England's final game so I'll tell you a bit about how it all went.

At first I didn't really get a chance to see Zidane, because everyone was crowding around him, so all we could see was a load of people and a bald head! There was cameras flashing everywhere and so many people - it was all so exciting.

The last game was against Italy, and it was quite close. We were playing well, both teams had their chances and it was an exciting game. Towards the end we thought we scored. I headed the ball out of the keeper's hands and then Connor knocked it in the goal. For that minute, when I thought the goal went in, I was so excited; I was thinking 'yeah we have done it'! In the last minute of the game, Italy had a chance to score and took a great shot and Charlie did an amazing save and tipped it onto the cross bar and then it went out. Huge relief! Then Karim went for a challenge and fell down and seemed to be in pain, his ankle started swelling up and he got taken off the pitch to hospital. Luckily it was just bruised but he was on crutches for the rest of the time in Paris - bit of a nightmare for Euro Disney but he still went on all the rides! The final whistle went and we all knew it was going to go to penalties. We were confident though because we won against Romania on penalties last time.

Penalties was so nerve wracking, we could see all the England supporters in the crowd and wanted to win so badly. We missed our second penalty and we were gutted because we thought we had lost it then, but then the second Italian penalty taker completely missed the goal - so our heads went back up and we thought we could win it. When our goalie Charlie dived for it though, he started holding his side and looked in pain and we were worried he couldn't go on but he battled through. In the end Team England won 4-3 on penalties and the feeling was amazing. We were over the moon because it meant we had finished 15th which was two places higher than England had ever ranked before.

We celebrated like mad, ran over to the parents and other England supporters and clapped them, ran around the pitch and it was so exciting - they threw their flags down to us and we held them high in the air. It was such a good feeling.

We all went to the sidelines with the other 37 countries to watch the final between France and Russia. It was a really exciting game - there was so much skill in the game, some really good goals, and I think we could really learn from both teams. In the French team there was a really short player who was as good as the taller ones if not better, showing you don't need to be big to be good. It makes me feel good because I'm quite small! France won in the end and to be fair they really deserved to win in their last game, but if I could have chosen a winner it would have been Cameroon but they got disqualified from the tournament for being late.

The Danone Nations Cup tournament ended with a massive presentation, where all the 40 countries joined together in ceremony and paraded round the pitch each holding their own flag. Team captains from each country went up onto the stage to collect their prizes from Zidane. Our captain Mikey went up to get ours and said it was amazing to shake hands with Zidane.

Then we all got on the bus and headed off to Euro Disney for the Danone Kids party. It was so cool because it opened its gates just to the Danone Nations Cup for the night, which meant it was all free and we didn't have to queue for any rides. We all went on the Tower of Terror and I was so scared, I was hugging Dean! But it was wicked.

So, it's back to England now and I feel a bit sad because I love playing football for my country and I am upset that I might not get to see the lads again. It has been the most amazing experience and I still can't believe we have played football against teams from all over the world. Maybe I will see the lads again though, I reckon I will run into them in the future when we are all real professional footballers!!

Sunday 7 September - 2pm French time
I am writing this blog from the Parc de Princes about an hour before our final match and any minute Zinedine Zidane is going to come onto the pitch!! It was so amazing to walk into the stadium this morning, we all felt like proper international footballers - it's just so massive! I can't believe Zidane is arriving soon, he is the ambassador of the Danone Nations Cup and one of the greatest footballers of all time - I can't believe I am going to meet him!!!

This morning we played against Austria and it was definitely our toughest game so far. All the players were so tall it was like they were all 15 years old not 10, 11 or 12!! We played so well as a team but they were just too strong for us, we couldn't get them off the ball. It seemed like every time their manager sent a new player on he was even taller than the last one! We lost 3-0 in the end but we are trying to not feel too bad because they really were a hard team to beat.

I can't believe how much the crowd has grown, there are now about 20,000 people in the crowd and it's getting us really worked up for our final game against Italy at 3.20pm. I feel positive about the game against Italy, I have seen them play and I really think we can beat them. The coaches are just telling us to think more when we pass to each other and I think everyone is really taking it on board.

The final is between Russia and France - whoever wins will win the Danone Nations Cup 2008 - if it is France I bet the stadium will go mad.

Saturday 6 September
We were all really nervous this morning because we were playing Argentina and heard they were really good. In the end they beat us 1-0 and although we played really well they were a hard time to beat. We went to lunch feeling a bit sad but then I was thinking how cool it is to be playing against all these countries from all over the world. We have got to experience loads of other cultures we don't normally see so it's wicked.

Lunch was yummy today - we all had lasagne and it felt like home food.

We were playing India after lunch and I think the nerves got the better of us. We weren't playing as well as we could and John and Marvin our two coaches were shouting at us loads from the touchline. None of us thought the ref made good decisions in the game though - there were definitely three penalties that we should of had that we didn't get and I'm really gutted about that. India beat us 2-1 in the end. I just wish we would have chased the ball more and our coaches felt the same and told us so - the team feel a bit low because it's never nice to hear them saying we didn't do as well as we could.

The games are over for today though and tomorrow is a new day where we can really give it our all. The most exciting this is we are finally playing at the Parc de Princes stadium which is one of the biggest football stadiums in France and is supposed to be massive. Apparently there will be more than 20,000 people watching us so we will really feel like international footballers then and the crowd will definitely get us going! We have two matches tomorrow which will determine where we finish in the Danone Nations Cup, we know the first match is against Austria but are waiting for all the results of today's games to be collected before we know who we play after.

We are going on a Paris River Cruise now and I'm going to take loads of photos and hopefully it will be a good chance to get the lads happy again, have a laugh and get over today's result. I'm definitely going to try and get us all fired up for tomorrow later as well - I'm confident we can do well.

Everyone in England keep your fingers crossed for us and I'll let you know how we get on tomorrow. Au revoir!

Friday 5 September - 5.30pm French time

It's wicked to be in Paris, although I keep forgetting we are actually in France because it looks like London here with all the buildings!

We went on a tour of the landmarks yesterday and all took loads of pictures it was brilliant! It was cool to see the Eiffel Tower and even though I've seen it before its always so exiting to see it again - I really want to go up to the top but I definitely won't get a chance on this trip!

I've certainly got a taste of the nerves of an international footballer - when the crowd is cheering it really gets you going!

Training has been good, but by the time we arrived in Paris we only managed to squeeze in a couple of hours. It's cool having John Scales as team manager he's an ex-England player so knows his stuff. Jamie Redknapp has also been a great head coach - he must get it from his Dad!! It's so cool having him around, sometimes you forget it's actually Jamie Redknapp and then you remember and realise how wicked it is.

Team Ireland actually can't believe he is one of our coaches, while he's running about with us they are all trying to get his autograph.

The England team at the Danone Cup
The hotel isn't that of an international footballer though - we actually have bunk beds! I'm sharing with Jordan from Bristol and he's really cool.

We didn't stay up chatting last night though because we were so tired from the travelling and training and wanted to get some good sleep time before all the games today.

The food is ok, in France it's like lots of cheese and ham stuff but I was happy with some English chicken last night for dinner - I am scared someone will make me eat frogs legs though!

The first day has been great - We played four matches today. The first game against Turkey didn't go so well. In fact it was quite embarrassing - they scored during the first minute and then scored another four goals to beat us 4-0. We were down on ourselves but John and Jamie told us to see it as a warm-up, put it behind us and believe we can do better.

We went out for the second time against Romania and really went for it. We ended up going to penalties and then we won 7-6 on penalties with Charlie our goalie saving Romania's last kick.

I felt like we were really beginning to play well together as a team and we took that to our game with China where we won 1-0 and James scored a wicked goal.

In our last game we played against Bangladesh and we won again!! James scored again, meaning we won 1-0 but I kind of wish we could have worked a bit harder and wrapped it up with another goal.

We are now down to the final 16 and this is the highest England has ever ranked in the Danone Nations Cup so we are so pleased. I'm exhausted but ready for tomorrow to give it our all - we need to wait for all the results to be worked out before we know who we are playing though.

I'll let you know in tomorrow's blog! Wish us luck!!