United States hosts sixth International Champions Cup

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Read or listen to a Portuguese translation.

The Sixth International Champions Cup recently welcomed 18 of the best-ranked world class soccer teams to the United States this July.

Real Madrid, Manchester United and F.C. Barcelona will all play in the tournament, which will run through August 11. Out of 27 games, 17 were played in America. England is the most represented country with six teams, followed by four from Italy and three from Spain. The combined teams have earned countless national titles.

Due to the 2018 World Cup,  Cristiano Ronaldo — who recently signed with Juventus F.C. of Italy — will not be present, but world class stars like Mohamed Salah, Gareth Bale and Alexis Sanchez are guaranteed to entertain their fans.

“We are supposed to get all the players from teams that didn’t get past Round of 16, and some players from quarterfinal teams may choose to come get prepared for the club season,” said Charlie Stillitano, the executive chairman of Relevent Sports, which manages the ICC.

Portugese team S.L. Benfica and Juventus played on July 28 at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. The high-profile game brought the ICC plenty of attention.

A Benfica fan predicted before the game that “this is going to be an easy game for Juventus. 3-0 will be the final score.”

Portuguese fans were not so confident but believed in their team’s performance.

Two fans from Juventus and Benfica enjoy the fan zone with a great amount of fair-play. (Joao Grilo)

“It’s always hard to play against Juventus but Benfica is still Benfica,” said a Portuguese fan from New Jersey.

The first half was dominated by the Portuguese side while the second half belonged to Cristiano Ronaldo’s new team. Although he was not present due to his participation in the World Cup, his team set the pace of the second half against the 36-time Portuguese National champions.

Benfica’s high pressure in the first half gave them a strong lead, butseveral substitutions led to Juventus’ strong comeback in the second half. However, Benfica’s goalkeeper, Vlachodimos, managed to shut out the Italian team.

Benfica took advantage of a free-kick to score first with an amazing goal by Alex Grimaldo. The ex-Barcelona left-back made the Portuguese section cheer and scream after the ball hit the net.

With only twenty-five minutes left in the game, Juventus kept the pressure up as they tried to break even. A magic play by Luca Clemenza within the last six minutes tied the game.

Following a penalty shootout in which Benfica missed two shots, Juventus won the match.

Joao Grilo
Juventus’ player prepares to take a penalty not giving a chance to Benfica’s goalkeeper. (Joao Grilo)

Despite the loss, Benfica supporters were happy with the overall team’s performance against Juventus, while the Italian team’s fans were delighted by the team in the second half.

“I can’t wait for Dybala, Ronaldo and Douglas Costa to come back. We will be stronger and my dream of winning the Champions League again is closer to happening,” a Juventus supporter said as they left the arena.

The ICC’s final matches will take place on August 7 and 11, and will feature Chelsea FC and Real Madrid. For more information, visit the ICC’s website.

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