Former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is set to lead his country once again as the inaugural Star Sixes tournament promises a feast of footballing fun and razzmatazz this summer. Featuring more than 100 former international icons from across the globe – including Germany’s Michael Ballack and ex-Arsenal and France midfielder Robert Pires – the six a-side tournament is sure to provide plenty of competitive entertainment.
The exciting new concept will provide fans with a wonderful opportunity to see their childhood soccer heroes in action, as twelve international teams battle it out from the 13th to 16th July at London’s O2 Arena. .
Qualification into the quarter-finals will be ensured by claiming a place in the top two in each of the three four-team groups, with the two best third-placed teams also going through.
Ballack hoping to face England
Ballack took his place alongside Pires as they completed the draw live on Sky Sports on Friday, after the retired Bayern Munich and Chelsea star had earlier told Talksport listeners to the Alan Brazil show that he was hoping to face England in the final itself. Before that becomes a possibility, the two former adversaries will meet again face to face in the group stages as the French and Germans clash in their opening group game.
Memories of Munich glory
A Germany-England final would be a mouth-watering prospect, with England expected to include in their ranks their three goal-scorers from the heady 5-1 success in the #world cup Qualifying game in Munich in 2001.
Gerrard, Michael Owen and Emile Heskey will hope to resurrect that understanding, developed during their Liverpool careers together, as the hosts seek to march towards the latter stages.
Scots to face England
Scottish fans may have bemoaned the absence of their national side from the Euros last year, but they can at least look forward to locking horns with their old enemy south of the border in Group A. Whether the likes of Barry Ferguson, Christian Dailly and Don Hutchison can halt England’s progress in the second group-stage match and give the Tartan Army plenty to enthuse about, only time will tell though.
#Roberto Carlos adds Brazilian flair
Samba kings Brazil will no doubt expect to match their past global glories, especially as their ten-man squad includes Roberto Carlos and World Cup winner Juliano Belletti, and will be joined by their South American compatriots Mexico at the O2.
Europe provides the majority of the entrants (at eight), but the continents of Asia and Africa do have representation in the shape of China and Nigeria, respectively.
Usual European suspects involved
Fans can no doubt expect the usual strong challenge for supremacy to be provided by the powerhouses from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal as the names of Marcel Desailly, Carles Puyol, Luis Garcia and Deco once again take centre stage.
Opener against Spain
England open their campaign against Spain on 13th July and after their tussle with the Scots the following day, they round out the group stages with a potentially pivotal encounter against Mexico.