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Thursday 19 September 2013

Six 2013 Christmas Truce National Finalists decided

Six U12 teams come through regional qualifiers to play in National Finals at St George's Park

Arsenal qualified for the Christmas Truce National Finals as the best runners-up

Two English clubs will get the chance to participate in the 2013 Christmas Truce tournament in December for the first time following the outcome of the regional qualifying rounds of the Under-12 tournament last weekend.

West Ham United, Bolton Wanderers, Stoke City, Reading and Manchester City won the right to compete in the National Finals, after emerging victorious from their regional qualifying groups. They will be joined at St George's Park, The Football Association's national football centre, on Remembrance Weekend (9-10 November), by Arsenal, who qualified as best runners-up from the five groups.

From the national tournament two of the above teams will qualify for the Christmas Truce Tournament in Ypres, Belgium in early December. The Christmas Truce tournament, which began in 2011, brings together teams from England, Belgium, France and Germany to recreate the spirit of the Christmas Truce in 1914 when World War I troops from those countries in the trenches, stopped fighting and exchanged gifts, sang carols and played impromptu games of football.

The Ypres tournament serves as an educational, cultural and developmental event, with youngsters learning about the conflict and honouring the sacrifice by those in World War I, forming relationships with other teams, as well as testing themselves against the best players in Europe on the pitch.

Last year West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United played in Ypres and the club's Head of Education, Mike Scott, was honoured that his players could attend. "The Premier League not only organised a world-class tournament but brilliantly showed how football and education can develop a greater understanding of the importance of shared histories," said Scott.

The regional qualifying events, held in Liverpool, London and Wolverhampton, featured 25 teams, playing matches comprised of two 15-minute halves in a nine v nine format, in a round-robin competition. The final tables can be found below.

Under-12 Christmas Truce Regional Qualifiers

*Teams in bold qualified

Regional qualifier (North - Liverpool)
Blackburn, Liverpool, Man City, Newcastle, Sunderland

Regional qualifier (North - Everton)
, Everton, Hull City, Middlesbrough, Manchester United

Regional qualifier (Midlands - Wolves)
Aston Villa, Leicester City, Stoke, West Brom, Wolves

Regional qualifier (South - Spurs)
, Cardiff, Norwich, Spurs, West Ham

Regional qualifier (South - Spurs)
Chelsea, Fulham, Reading, Southampton, Swansea

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Key Points

  • Six teams qualify for 2013 Christmas Truce national qualifiers
  • West Ham, Bolton, Stoke, Reading, Man City and Arsenal through to National Finals on 9-10 November
  • Two successful finalists will play in tournament in Ypres in December along with teams from France, Belgium and Germany