Zurich: Where stars are born
© Foto-net

On 3 December 1938, Swiss club FC Blue Stars Zurich formally established the Blue Stars Tournament, the forerunner to today’s world-renowned Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup. In the course of its more than 70-year history, the tournament has proved a springboard to the big time for countless talented youngsters, who have later gone on to become internationally-known football stars.

This year’s 73rd Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup will be staged at the Buchlern sports facility in the Zurich district of Altstetten on 1 and 2 June, with ten top-class teams battling to claim the glittering trophy and follow in the footsteps of many illustrious past winners.

Last year, the Zurich crowd witnessed an exciting final between Boca Juniors and FC Zurich, which ultimately went to a penalty shoot-out. Once the dust had settled, the youths from the famous Argentine club were left holding the cup. The two finalists are back again this year with a new crop of skilled young players.

Stay on the ball!
In Group A, Swiss clubs FC Blue Stars and Grasshopper Club Zurich face FC Porto (Portugal), Dynamo Zagreb (Croatia) and Maccabi Haifa (Israel). Group B promises equally thrilling football, as FC Zurich and Boca face up to Napoli (Italy), Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) and FC Thun (Switzerland) in the fight for a place in the final.

The tournament kicks off on Wednesday 1 June at 3 pm, with Porto versus Blue Stars in Group A, and Napoli versus Thun in Group B. The play-offs to settle the final placements as well as the grand finale take place on Thursday 2 June. The duration of the group matches and the play-offs for third to tenth place is 20 minutes each way, with two 25-minute halves for the final. There will be a five-minute half-time interval in all matches. If a play-off or the final ends in a draw, the result will be determined in a penalty shoot-out, with no extra time.

On-site facilities include a marquee with bar and a VIP tent, and plenty of family-oriented fun, including a football skills circuit and a kids’ playpark.

Stay tuned to www.youthcup.ch for all the latest news and scores from the event. You won’t miss a goal either, as all scores will be updated in real time. An exciting tournament is once again in store for 2011.