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Saturday 24 December 2011

Christmas Truce video feature

Inaugural Premier League competition marks historic football match in 1914

The story of Man Utd’s under-12s as they take part in the emotional international youth tournament in Ypres

Manchester United Under-12s won the Premier League Christmas Truce tournament in Ypres earlier this month. Watch our video feature to learn more about the inaugural tournament and its success.

The tournament, which took place between 3-4 December, honoured the historic impromptu football match on Christmas Day between troops fighting from both sides in the First World War in Ypres in 1914.

Under-12s representatives from England, Germany, France and Belgium recreated the spirit of the Christmas Truce as well as improving their skills development by challenging themselves against the best young players in Europe.

"It's been wonderful to have the time with the kids this weekend because they inspire you"
- Brian McClair

England was represented by Barclays Premier League title holders United, Germany by Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund, Belgium by reigning Pro League champions Genk while RC Lens were France's ambassadors.

The teams played in a round-robin tournament at the home of Belgian club KVK Ieper before a final and third-place play-off on the Sunday.

Before the tournament, the United players commemorated the soldiers who lost their lives during the war by leaving a football close to the site of the historic match between the warring troops.

A young United player, whose grandfather was among those who fought in the war, also read a speech at the last post memorial service at the Memim Gate in Leper.

And on the football pitch, the boys in red excelled themselves, beating Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in the final to lift the inaugural title.

Top class

"As a tournament for kids the Premier League Christmas Truce Tournament had everything," said the former United striker Brian McClair, now Academy Director with the club.

"The opposition was top class, the facilities were top class and the organisation was top class. The weekend has surpassed expectations.

"It's been wonderful to have the time with the kids this weekend because they inspire you. They're doing things that you're not expecting them to do on and off the pitch, which is really great."

The Manchester United group beat Borussia Dortmund in the tournament final

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Key Points

  • Inaugural competition in Ypres is marks historic match
  • Young footballers develop skills and learn about WWI
  • Manchester United run out eventual winners