Published: 00:00, 09 May 2014
| Updated: 12:47, 09 May 2014
England’s footballers will do well this summer if they can emulate the achievements of Rainham School for Girls.
But it was still the same old story at the Futsal World Cup – “we was robbed”.
Twelve footballers from the school took on the rest of the planet in last week’s competition, and can now call themselves the sixth best Futsal team in the world.
Before last year, none of the pupils had played the South American five-a-side indoor version of football, but they took apart the competition at county and regional level before being selected to play for England – then flew out to Sardinia to take on the world.
“They did really well considering it’s the first time England have been entered,” said PE teacher Louise Barry. “It was an amazing achievement.”
After qualifying from their group, they lost to France in the quarter finals, then beat Belgium to secure a play-off for fifth place, which they lost to China.
Which makes England the sixth best in the world. Or should that simply be recorded as Rainham School for Girls?
Just as Rainham was selected to represent England, so the other countries were supposed to pick a school to represent them, but Mrs Barry suspects opposing players were handpicked from around their respective countries, and that many players were older than Rainham’s.
The school has now asked the English Schools FA to investigate.
“There’s no way the girls that were playing could all be from the same school and the same area,” added Mrs Barry.
“A lot of girls we were talking to said they were from different schools.”
Despite that, there was no ill feeling between teams, and the World Cup proved to be a great cultural exchange for all involved – especially for the Chinese, who Mrs Barry recalled “wouldn’t leave us alone.”
The teams paraded through the packed streets of Cagliari, Sardinia’s capital, for the closing and opening ceremonies, and left with happy memories of a fantastic trip.
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