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Last Updated: Monday, 25 July, 2005, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
HWC: The final countdown
The Homeless World Cup is taking place in Edinburgh
The Homeless World Cup kicked off in Edinburgh on 18 July - and you'll be able to catch all the latest action from the tournament right here.

Four graduates from the BBC Tackling Skills project will be reporting on all the games throughout the week-long tournament, which will see 32 countries and over 250 people taking part.

Here is a report as the event is discussed on the eve of the final.

By Adam Hassan

The closing news conference consisted of co-founder Mel Young, plus players and coaches from the two semi-finalists, Scotland and the Ukraine, and finalists Poland and Italy. The teams discussed their feelings on the tournament and the games ahead of them.

As this year's HWC comes to a close, all eyes are fixed on next year's tournament in South Africa. Given the British government's refusal to let teams from five African countries enter the UK, visa problems are a key consideration for next year and future venues. Organiser Mel Young said: "It should be easier for the African countries to take part in South Africa, however it is not entirely straightforward. We have started talking to the South African government fifteen months in advance. With visa and immigration a prime concern for potential host nations, it could be that the HWC is never played in Western Europe or the USA again." He also made the point that inclusion is the key to the tournament and has to be the main consideration when selecting a venue.

The Italiains initially had immigration problems when coming over, with some players being left behind. Only having four players and no reserves has affected the team but they have overcome these problems to reach the final. The Italian coach Bogdan Kwappik has positive feelings towards the match, saying: "The Polish team are complete and strong but we're prepared and ready to reconfirm our title from last year. We are here to represent all the homeless people across Italy."

The Italians found it difficult to play against Scotland yesterday, even though they won. The coach said: "It was very hard as Scotland were very strong and they had such massive support from the crowd but we are an Italian team and we succeeded in these circumstances."

The Polish team have looked strong throughout the tournament, supported by a large vibrant fanbase who can always be heard during their matches. Captain Lukas Zdych gave his feelings on the HWC: "My time in Edinburgh has been fantastic, thank you for your hospitality. I feel we can win, our team is good, we play tough, strong football. Last year in Gothenburg we lost to Italy and came third. Here we now have a chance to take the title from the Italians."

Ukrainian captain Alex Kopylov stated that his team had faced some tough games, especially against Poland and England. He added: "The game against Scotland will be tough. I think we can win but still wish them good luck." He also added that they hope to host a European Championship in Kiev next March.

Gary Lipscombe, captain of the Scotland team and local Edinburgh hero, made clear his team have developed and come together as a group. "I definitely noticed the support from the crowd, it has been amazing," he said. "We had two good games against Italy and the boys are looking forward to today's match."

Scotland certainly have the strength and support to overcome the Ukranians to make third place, an achievement after finishing fourth last year. However the Ukrainian side have demonstrated their persistence and stamina throughout the week.

The final between Poland and Italy should be an intense and feverish affair, especially for Italy who will be defending their title as last year's champions. Nevertheless, the Polish supporters will be crying 'POLSKA' until the bitter end of the match.

Links to more Tackling Skills stories


Players gear up for Homeless World Cup
04 Jul 05 |  Tackling Skills

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