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France, The Netherlands and Portugal are three of the six countries that will be participating in the 2013 FIFPro Tournament, this weekend in Rijnsburg, The Netherlands. Two teams consider themselves to be title contenders.

 

For the ninth consecutive year FIFPro organizes its tournament for players without a contract. This time six players unions will make their appearance at the event, which means that approximately 110 footballers will be trying to impress the scouts and earn a new contract.

 

In Group B, the players associations from France (Team UNFP), The Netherlands (Team VVCS) and Portugal (Team SJPF) will meet each other. France and The Netherlands have won seven of the eight previous editions of the FIFPro Tournament, with Team UNFP claiming the cup in 2005, 2009 and 2010 and Team VVCS in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2012. This year, both teams expect to win once again.

 

‘We have a really good team’, says Stéphane Saint-Raymond, spokesman of Team UNFP. ‘There is a good spirit in the team. When they play, they play together as a team. They do everything for the team. I do not see any weakness in the team: we have good forwards, strong midfielders, solid defenders and reliable goalkeepers. I think we can win the tournament.’

 

Team UNFP has played four friendlies, drawing once against Châteauroux (L2, 0-0), losing against Le Havre (L2, 0-2)  and winning against Amiens (Nat., 1-2) and Créteil (L2, 3-1).

 

The team is a combination of experienced players like Grégory Vignal (who played in France, Scotland, England, Germany and Greece) and talented young players such as Dylan Deligny (former youth international). Both players scored against Amiens (see video, Vignal scores at 4 minutes, Deligny at 4.20 minutes).

 

VVCS president Danny Hesp is almost as positive about the Dutch union’s squad. ‘I think we’ve got a decent team’, he says. ‘It is a typical Dutch side, a team that wants to keep possession of the ball, with two wingers, an attacking midfielder and a striker.’

 

Team VVCS played three friendlies against three of the better sides from the countries second division. They lost against Helmond Sport (2-3) and FC Volendam (1-4) and drew 1-1 with FC Den Bosch.

 

‘I am satisfied with the level of play’, Hesp continues. ‘We have some very experienced defenders and we’ve got some creativity in our midfield. The only thing we really need to improve on is scoring more goals.’

 

Portuguese head coach José Carlos is more cautious than Saint-Raymond and Hesp. The Portuguese players union SJPF operates with two training camps (North and South). José Carlos selected players from both teams. ‘They barely know each other, we still have some problems with our chemistry. They have trouble finding each other on the pitch. But I expect that will improve in the next few days.’

 

The SJPF teams (North and South) have played two matches in total. Team South lost against premier league side Belenenses (0-2) and Team North was beaten by Fulham reserves (0-3). Most prominent players of Team SJPF are Lourenço (former Sporting Lisbon, Belenenses), Cafú (Boavista, Belenenses) and Tiago Maia (2011 U-20 World Championship runner-up).

 

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Team SJPF

 

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Team UNFP

 

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Team VVCS