It was a game where distance played a part, when the Australian team Subiaco Junior Soccer Club played against Swedish Utbynäs SK in the B15 class.
Perth-based Subiaco is the team that traveled the furthest (19 hours and 13 778 kilometers) to get to this year’s tournament, while the players in local Utbynäs probably could take their bikes down to the pitch at Bergsjövallen.
In order to get here, Subiaco’s efforts started a long time before the actual tournament.
”To afford our trip here, we raised a lot of money together. It shows that Australians love football, and that we are passionate about it,” says Sunil Rajan, team captain of Subiaco Junior Soccer Club.
Cinema nights and football tournaments
The team sold things and organized events for six months before the trip in order to save up for the tickets to Gothenburg and Gothia Cup.
Together, they put on events like cinema nights and local football tournaments for younger kids, all in order to be able to get to the tournament.
But it’s not only the fact that they have traveled the furthest distance of the participating teams, or that they worked hard to raise the money themselves that motivates Subiaco – there are also the supporting people around the team.
”Both the coaches and our parents provide a good motivation for us,” says Sunil Rajan.
Right now, all focus is on the upcoming games, and the team haven’t had the time to do anything else but to play. However, later in the week they are planning for some other types of activities.
”We’re looking to go to Liseberg later, and maybe the countryside. I’m looking forward to that, because I’ve only really seen the city so far.”
The team’s goal is to get to the round of 32, Sunil Rajan says, because that was how far the Subiaco team from last year got.
And the game itself? Since it would decide which team would win group 29, it was a close affair.
Utbynäs had most of the possession in the beginning, creating several good chances. They took control of the match with 1-0 in the middle of the first half, and continued to create dangerous situations.
Shortly after, Subiaco’s keeper saved a penalty, which gave Subiaco an injection, and they equalized following a messy situation after a set piece.
Second half was more even, with no team really breaking through.
Subiaco soon started to push forward more and more, and near the end of the game Sunil Rajan almost got to score the deciding goal on a indirect free kick.
The 1-1 result meant that Utbynäs won the group by goal difference, with both teams through to play off A. There, Subiaco meets Belgian team Belgica 1 on Wednesday evening, with only one more win separating them from their goal this year.