Neymar Jr’s Five is a global youth football event and its finals took place on 20th and 21st July 2018. The finals took place in Instituto Neymar Jr.
59 countries participated in the men’s category while 16 countries participated to the new addition of women’s category. Team Alrjab represented United Arab Emirates in the finals after previously winning their national levels at Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah.
Team Alrjab’s journey began when they competed and won every match in the U.A.E. To further advance on an international level, the team flew on 18th July to Sao Paulo, Brazil. They were drawn to compete against the teams of Ireland, Mexico, Namibia and Russia. This year, Team Alrjab’s were thoroughly determined to do better than their last year’s counterpart by making it past the round of 32s.
The following were the U.A.E. team’s scores:
1. Won 1-0 against Namibia
2. Lost 0-5 to Mexico
3. Won 5-0 against Russia
4. Drew 0-0 with Ireland
The team came second behind Mexico (who won all their games). One the second day of the Round of 32s, the U.A.E. team Alrjab contested in a match with England. On that day, Team Alrjab planted their affirmation in themselves and played to their strength- defense.
Further down the Round of 32s, the U.A.E. team won against both England and Malaysia through penalty kicks and a 1v1 tie breaker format called the golden goal.
The quarter finals were met with the Danish team which was also won through 1v1 tie-breaker. Team Alrjab hit its peak in the tournament by making it to the semi-finals which was contested by the Mexican team. A close game which ended in a draw and later bagged by the Mexican team through a 1v1 tie-breaker.
The team that hailed from U.A.E. and represented us all in the world stage shattered stereotypes of “rich kids from Dubai” to showing how true passion in Football and handwork took the team to be the only non-latin football squad in the top 4. Despite playing against experienced full-time football players, team Alrjab has made us all proud and has shown what the youth in the GCC can aspire for. Passion, faith and hard-work are the ultimate precursors to success, not just opportunity.