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Lan The Baron 5-a-Side World Cup

For football fans, a summer with no European or World Cup football can be a dull prospect but thanks to the Lan the Baron Foundation’s 5-a-side World Cup tournament, football-free summers can now be a thing of the past. For the second year in a row, the foundation, in honour of Lanfranco ‘the Baron’ Gaglione, brought footballers from across the globe (or at least across London!) together to compete for the coveted 5-a-side World Cup. The event kicked off at 10am on Saturday 3rd August when over 100 footballers descended on Downhills Park, north London, representing the great footballing nations of the world. The atmosphere was electric as the teams eyed their competition; Uruguay – the reigning champions – looking strong, Italy with last years’ man of the tournament posing further threat and Holland, who had almost beaten Uruguay last year in a tense final, were ready to claim the title. But this year all eyes were on Australia, not just because of their eye-catching yellow jerseys but because Australia was the tournament’s first ever women’s team! As the matches began, Australia put up a brave fight but despite attracting the biggest crowds they did not make the final 16 teams through to the knockout stages.  They joined the other teams and spectators who were able to make the most of the various refreshments and merchandise stands where volunteers served hotdogs, drinks and delicious homemade cakes or painted the faces of children and footballers alike. Back to the tournament, Italy were knocked out before the quarters and so attention gleaned to last years’ finalists, Holland and Uruguay. As events unfolded the two favourite teams battled for their place in the final once again, but were knocked out by Trinidad and Tobago and France respectively. These two newcomer teams to the tournament were worthy opponents who ultimately went on to the Final. The World Cup Final was a well fought contest with the first half remaining 0-0 but by the second half, France had pushed ahead with two goals to secure a well deserved 2-0 victory. Carlo Gaglione, Lanfranco’s proud father, awarded France the stunning World Cup; this year a gold plated cup replacing the paper mâché one of the previous year, indicating this amazing event is set to become a regular feature on the fundraising calendar. France also claimed the awards for Player of the Tournament and the Golden Boot which both went to one player, Dan. After the event Giancarlo Gaglione, brother of Lanfranco and co-organiser of the event said, “Since Lan passed, we have held many events to raise money for CALM and to help raise awareness for this cause, but the World Cup for us is the essence of what Lanfranco loved and stood for – great football, good friends and delicious food – all raising money for a good cause. That’s why it’s so important for us and we hope that next year will be bigger and better so watch this space …!” First estimates are that the event has raised around £3,000 for CALM bringing the total raised by the Lan the Baron Foundation to the region of £50,000. These events would not be possible without the dedicated support and efforts of ‘Lan’s friends’ and the Gaglione family would like to reiterate their thanks and appreciation to those involved. To anyone wishing to form a team for next year’s tournament, please email lanthebaron@gmail.com and we will keep you updated of the Foundation’s plans. Keep CALM and Baron.

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