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Soccer Aid is a British charity event which has raised £2.6 million in aid of UNICEF UK. The event is a football match between two teams comprising celebrities and World Cup legends, one representing England and the other the Rest of the World. Television coverage began on ITV on 22 May 2006 in a show presented by Ant & Dec. Soccer Aid was initiated by Robbie Williams and Jonathan Wilkes.The event returned for a second time, on 7 September 2008.

2006: Series 1

ITV1, 22 May - 27 May 2006.

Event schedule

The Practice matches were over 60 minutes, with the Soccer Aid match over 90 minutes.

There are currently no plans for the tournament to become an annual event; however there has been a recent increase in the number of charity/legends games, and a more formalised system of fixture, similar to that of the Masters indoor soccer, may be introduced.

The competition was organised on behalf of UNICEF UK, with profits from the matches along with donations and sponsorship donated to UNICEF programs in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

England beat the Rest Of The World 2-1 with the goals coming from Les Ferdinand and Jonathan Wilkes which put England into a two goal lead but a handball inside the area from David Gray resulted in a penalty converted by Diego Maradona. Wilkes won the Man of the Match award.

England squad

The England squad was managed by former England national football team manager Terry Venables, assisted by David Geddis and Ted Buxton. The original squad comprised 16 players, with Bryan Robson added later. A handful of the players, notably Angus Deayton, had previous celebrity international experience from the previous month's England v Germany: The Legends match in Reading, Berkshiremarker, which Germany won 4-2. The England squad went into the match with no major injury worries. Their victory over a squad of ex-England internationals from the 1960s to 1990s on Tuesday morning was tempered with defeats to the Rest of the World in a penalty shootout and football quiz.



Rest of the World squad

The Rest of the World squad was managed by Ruud Gullit, with Gus Poyet as his assistant. Captain Gordon Ramsay injured his leg in the early training sessions and was considered doubtful for the match. The original squad of 16 players, which later saw 2 changes, was supplemented by the addition of Diego Maradona during the build up to the competition. Lothar Matthäus had appeared in the England v Germany: The Legends match the previous month.The Rest of the World squad was wracked by injuries and withdrawals, and suffered from a lack of players. Desailly, Matthäus, Schmeichel and Ginola all arrived with only 2 or 3 days to spare before the match; Ginola arrived during half-time of their warm-up defeat to the Scotland Legends on Wednesday afternoon, and Diego Maradona only joined the squad on the day before the match. Also, Craig Doyle and Brian McFadden went into the match carrying knocks, which led to management members Ruud Gullit and Gus Poyet coming on as substitutes on Wednesday and in the match itself.



Other notable participants

The match was refereed by Pierluigi Collina, the Italian referee considered by many fans as the best referee of all time.

The match

Starting Lineups

  • Seaman (Theakston 45)
  • Gray
  • Williams (Barnes 85)
  • Adams
  • Shephard
  • Lewis
  • Wilkes
  • Gascoigne (Le Saux 55)
  • Walsh (Redknapp 55)
  • Ferdinand (Deayton 52)
  • Kelly (Robson 64)

Rest of the World

  • Schmeichel (Kielty 45)
  • Doyle (Johnson 45)
  • Desailly
  • Matthäus (Dunga 45 (Poyet 73))
  • Greco
  • McFadden (Thomas 8)
  • Campbell (Ginola 45 (Gullit 55))
  • Nivola
  • Fedorov
  • Ramsay (Zola 11)
  • Maradona


First Half

0 min: England get the match under way.

3 min: Following a defensive mistake by Greco, Ferdinand hits the side-netting when it seems easier for him to score.

5 min: Ferdinand draws a great save from Schmeichel following a cross by Wilkes.

7 min: Set up by Gascoigne, Kelly sends a curling shot just over the bar.

8 min: Substitution (ROW): Thomas for McFadden, who has struggled from the outset with a thigh injury.

9 min: A right-wing free kick from Gascoigne causes some panic in the ROW penalty area, but three defenders, under pressure from Adams, manage to scramble the ball away.

12 min: The ROW's first real foray into the England box ends as Williams tackles Nivola.

13 min: Schmeichel makes a great save from Walsh's powerful drive from 10 yards.

14 min: England 1-0 Rest of the World: On a quick break following an ineffective ROW corner, Gascoigne delivers a great cross from the right wing into the six yard box, where the arriving FERDINAND heads past Schmeichel, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

20 min: England 2-0 Rest of the World: Maradona plays in Nivola down the right wing; his cross is met by the head of Ramsay, but Seaman saves easily. England go right down the other end, and a jinking run from WILKES sees him beat a couple of defenders and then calmly chip the ball past Schmeichel.

24 min: Matthäus's free kick is comfortably claimed by Seaman.

25 min: Nivola goes past Williams, but his attempt to beat Seaman at his near post causes the England custodian no problems.

28 min: The impressive Wilkes wins a corner off Thomas.

29 min: Kelly's long-range shot is turned round the post by Schmeichel.

30 min: Thomas barges into Kelly, a foul that would earn a professional a yellow card. All it gets is an England free kick.

32 min: Walsh blocks a long-range drive with an arm. He tries to convince Collina it was his forehad; the ref is having none of it.

33 min: From the ensuing free-kick, Matthäus sends a cross/shot across the face of goal from a tight angle.

36 min: Desailly goes down heavily following a challenge from Lewis. The free kick is given, but a cynic might suggest the tackle predated the fall by a number of seconds.

37 min: Maradona plays in Ramsay down the left. Ramsay is fouled by Gray just outside the box. Ramsay screams at Collina for a penalty, but the Italian is unmoved. The free-kick is then wasted.

40 min: The attendance for the match is announced as 71,962.

42 min: Gascoigne dives in on Nivola, but again the free kick comes to nothing as Ramsay is caught offside.

43 min: Fedorov goes on a powerful run, beating three defenders before Adams puts in a tackle.

45 min: Schmeichel flaps at a Gascgoine free kick, but the ROW defence manages to clear. Schmeichel appears to have dislocated a finger on his left hand in the incident. He is fit to continue.

45 min +1: Pierluigi Collina brings the first half to an end, with England well on top. However, with the rules of the contest dictating that both goalkeepers will be substituted by celebrities at half time, the game is far from over.

Second Half

46 min: Substitution (ENG): Theakston for Seaman.

46 min: Substitutions (ROW): Kielty for Schmeichel; Dunga for Matthäus; Ginola for Campbell; Johnson for Doyle; Zola for Ramsay. The rules are changed on the fly to allow each team five ex-pros on the pitch at once. Maradona takes the captain's armband.

51 min: Theakston's throw out goes straight to Ginola, who hooks a shot far over the bar.

52 min: Substitution (ENG): Deayton for Ferdinand.

54 min: Ginola is left limping by a strong challenge by Gray.

55 min: Substitutions (ENG): Le Saux for Gascoigne; Redknapp for Walsh.

55 min: Substitution (ROW): Gullit for Ginola.

62 min: Wilkes plays in the overlapping Le Saux down the left flank, but his cross eludes everyone in the area. The ball finds its way to Zola inside the centre circle in his own half, but his attempt to lob Theakston drifts just wide.

64 min: Substitution (ENG): Robson for Kelly.

66 min: Wilkes fires a drive from the left corner of the box over the bar.

69 min: Shephard makes a run into the box, but is penalised for a push.

71 min: Zola beats five England defenders and hits a drive low to Theakston's left, but Theakston gets down well to save.

73 min: Substitution (ROW): Poyet for Dunga, who has been struggling with an injury for the last few minutes.

75 min: England 2-1 Rest of the World: Gray handballs in the box; Collina waits a long time before awarding the penalty, which MARADONA converts with ease.

77 min: Wilkes shoots from 25 yards, but with little power and all along the ground, causing Kielty no trouble.

82 min: Great footwork from Deayton is followed up by a through ball to Lewis, but he gets no power behind his shot and Kielty saves comfortably.

84 min: Gullit shoots from the left corner of the box, but the ball clips off the outside of his boot and goes for a throw in.

85 min: Substitution (ENG): Barnes for Williams. The England captain gets a standing ovation as he departs.

87 min: Theakston commits himself to a challenge on Gullit outside the box; he is left stranded but Zola shoots far over from 15 yards.

90 min: Wilkes makes another run into the box similar to his goal, but this time he is tackled.

90 min +1: Collina blows the final whistle, and England have beaten the Rest of the World by two goals to one.

2008: Series 2

ITV1, 18:00-22:00, 7 September 2008.

Event schedule

England v Rest of the World, at 19:30 just before kick-off Jonathan Ansell sang the footballing anthem Nessun Dorma whilst the players were introduced to Sir Geoff Hurst.

England squad

The England squad was coached by Harry Redknapp.With Bryan Robson as assistant manager.



Rest of the World squad

The Rest Of The World squad was coached by Kenny Dalglish, with Ian Rush as player-assistant manager.



Taffarel replaces Peter Schmeichel

Other Notable Participants

The match was originally refereed by Pierluigi Collina, who also refereed the previous match in 2006 and is regarded as the best referee of all time.. However, after Collina was injured in the first half he was replaced by Scottishmarker referee Hugh Dallas.

The match

September 7, 2008Wembley StadiummarkerKick-Off 7.30pm

Starting Lineups

  • Seaman (Theakston 45)
  • Deayton (Bracken 43)
  • Walker (Le Saux 15)
  • Shephard
  • Fountain (Gates 45 (Felton 81))
  • Jones
  • Wilkes
  • Redknapp
  • David (Speer 45 (David 74))
  • Shearer
  • Sheringham

Rest of the World

  • Taffarel (Kielty 45)
  • Jones
  • Stam
  • Ramsay (Lara 9)
  • Cabrera
  • Di Canio
  • Figo (Baresi 45 (Campbell 81))
  • Logan (Mcfadden 65)
  • Byrne
  • Marini (Santoro 60)
  • Romario (Rush 81)


England 4-3 Rest of World.

England Scorers: Sheringham, Shearer (2), Wilkes.

Rest Of World Scorers: Di Canio (2), Marini.

Man of the Match: Craig David.


England 1-0 Rest of the World: Sherringham

England 1-1 Rest of the World: Di Canio

England 1-2 Rest of the World: Marini

England 2-2 Rest of the World: Shearer (Pen)

England 2-3 Rest of the World: Di Canio

England 3-3 Rest of the World: Shearer

England 4-3 Rest of the World: Wilkes


External links

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