Viewpoint: Medical football championships are hotting up, says Dr Paul Fourie

Writing exclusively for GPonline, GP and British Medical Football Team member Dr Paul Fourie writes about ups and downs on the pitch, and a chance for Brazil to take its revenge on Germany.

British medical football team: competing in Brazil
British medical football team: competing in Brazil

The morning before our second group game against Sweden was taken up with medical lectures on knee injuries, sports nutrition and exercise in pregnancy.

Six of our players were speaking at the Global Conference of Medicine and Health in Sport, which runs in parallel to the football tournament.

After opening the 2014 World Medical Football Championships with a 5-0 win we felt very confident, if not a little overconfident, ahead of our second match.

On a beautiful bowling green-grass pitch we quickly took a one-goal lead, which we held until half-time.

Controversial Swedish goal

Midway through the second half, the Swedish centre forward barged into our goalkeeper and bundled the ball into our net.

The referee gave the goal despite our protestations and to add insult to injury, the Swedes launched a late attack, smashing the ball into the roof of our net to take the win 2-1.

This was our first defeat in open play for two years, since we lost – again to Sweden – by the same score in a semi final.

Getting up at 6am for breakfast isn’t the usual first-choice plan on holiday, but the following day we were playing Belarus at 8.30am. Fortunately Belarus did not offer much resistance – I scored the second goal as we went 4-0 up by half time, finally finishing 14-0.

That score certainly lifted the spirits, and the Belarus team took it all well, and beat us to the bar by 10am.

Top of the group

Australia then beat Sweden, which meant we finished top of our group.

That afternoon we went en-masse to a local fan zone, to watch the World Cup semi final between Brazil and Germany. The atmosphere was electric during the build-up, but when Germany took the lead and continued to score at will,  the crowd were silenced, shocked and sad.

The Medical Tournament entertainment was in full swing when we arrived back at the hotel.

The German contingent were in fine voice celebrating their national team’s progress but aware that they have a quarter final match themselves against the Brazil doctors’ team.

Results from the World Medical Football Championships

On our one day off during the tournament, we set out at 9am for a day trip on a minibus to tour Natal and the surrounding area, taking in the old town, a fortress, markets and beaches.

We finished with a trip to the largest cashew nut tree in the world,  extending over an area the size of a football pitch.

Next we take on Venezuela in a quarter final – we are expecting a physical match because they accumulated 12 yellow cards and three red cards in their group games.

The week is half way through, but the Medical World Cup is now starting for real.

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