ENGLAND might have failed dismally to make their mark on football’s greatest event, but school pupils did much better when Poulner Junior School staged the entire World Cup in a day.
All 32 of the ‘real’ teams were represented as each pupil was put into a team and asked to wear that nation’s colours for the day.
They were allowed to wear face paint and a group of children from the school near Ringwood provided samba music to help create a Brazilian atmosphere.
With the draw split in half – Years 3 and 4 taking Groups A to D and Years 5 and 6 taking Groups E to H – every child played in the qualifying rounds in the morning and many enjoyed a picnic with their families at lunchtime in glorious sunshine.
In the afternoon there were World Cup-themed stalls for teams that were knocked out, while the rest tried to get to the two finals.
The whole school and parents watched both finals, with England doing much better than their ‘real’ counterparts by reaching the Year 3/4 final against Mexico, which they lost 0-4. The Year 5/6 final was much closer, with Bosnia and Herzegovina just beating Belgium 2-1.
The school’s PE manager Keith Archer said: “It really was a fantastic day, and seeing the children working and encouraging each other so well was a joy to witness. Children who may not have previously thought they could play football really blossomed and enjoyed the whole atmosphere, with many now wanting to start playing.”
A trophy and medal were presented by head teacher James Stanford to all four finalists.