Norway is home to one of the world’s biggest annual football tournaments, the Norway Cup, which attracts youth players from around the globe to compete in the prestigious event. The matches have been underway in Oslo since Sunday, and will culminate in high-profile finals played today and tomorrow.
The Norway Cup is a boon for young footballers, as it allows them a rare chance to show off their skills on a world stage watched by many talent scouts and fans. Up to 30,000 boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 19 have competed for the top honours this year. They represent an amazing 48 different countries.
The 1,400 teams involved in the Norway Cup have played most of the 4,000 games at Ekeberg. This scenic location sits atop a plateau overlooking Oslo, making an ideal setting for passionate football involving some of the world’s best up-and-coming young players. Other matches took place at smaller fields around Oslo and more than 60 stadiums across Norway.
The tournament is a trendsetter in many ways. The Norway Post reports that girls have been playing in the Cup since its first year in 1972, an extraordinary move even in gender-friendly Norway. It wasn’t until 1976 that the Norwegian Football Association officially recognised women’s football.
Another commendable feature of the Cup is it invites 20-30 teams from underprivileged areas each year. The teams are flown to Norway and given free room and board for the week. This has helped boost the role football plays in many impoverished places, especially Africa, which has a strong connection with the Norway Cup.