The Chelsea under-12s won a very special pair of matches on Sunday. This weekend, Ypres was hosting the 100th anniversary Christmas Truce Tournament, in memory of the match played between the trenches during World War One, and the Blues qualified by virtue of winning the Premier League edition in November.
Drawn in a group with Hearts, Schalke, Valenciennes and Anderlecht, Chelsea played out the first round of games on Saturday, winning two, drawing once and losing once to qualify for the knockout rounds as group runners-up. And today they played those knockout games*, defeating Liverpool** 1-1 (5-4p) in the semifinals before a closely-fought 1-0 win against Paris Saint-Germain in the title game.
*I really hope they weren't 90 minutes each!
**The losing finalists from the Premier League tournament also qualified, which is kind of weird, but ok.
All of which means, of course, that Chelsea are your 100th anniversary Christmas Truce Champions. Congratulations to the boys, and I hope that their experience visiting Belgium shed some light on just what they were commemorating.
white creature of chalk pounded
and the world crumbled away
and get ready to advance
you have not the capacity for added fear only the limbs are leaden to negotiate the slope and rifles all out of balance, clumsied with long auxiliary steel
-David Jones, 15th (1st London Welsh) Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers, from In Parenthesis