Socca World Cup: Mark Clattenburg and Ron Atkinson at Crete six-a-side tournament

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By Frank Keogh
BBC Sport
Play characters and beach boys guaranteed. Seems like Love Island, but this really is a international soccer tournament with a difference.
Mark Clattenburg directs the referees, Ron Atkinson is Englands director of football and a Euro 2004 winner makes his comeback.
It is the Socca World Cup – a worldwide six-a-side championship coming into a pop-up arena in Crete…
The tournament would be a gathering of players from around the globe who compete with a background over eight days at a recently built place.
From gamers from championships all will feature in a tournament, which begins on Saturday from the old city of Rethymno, by the Mediterranean shore.
Youll sit in the scene and see the sea, says International Socca Federation championship executive Tom Nash.
Matches last 40 minutes, using two halves.
A number of the rules are like soccer, although there are sin bins and drawn suits go straight to a form of shootout – although instead of conventional penalties, players dribble in the halfway line in front of a one-on-one contrary to the goalkeeper, under the strain of some 10-second clock.
For those who might have hoped to represent their nation from the 11-a-side game, this represents the next greatest thing. A sales rep, insurance broker and PE teacher attribute from Englands 12-man group while Wales possess a bricklayer, electrician and accountant.
As a small boy, everyone dreams of playing for England, says 27-year-old Helge Orome, a non-league player that has modelled as a body double for Paul Pogba and captains the side.
You go outside with your soccer, T-shirts for goalposts, therefore to be the man to lead the country out is a big, big honor, and I just aspire to get the nation proud.
Scotland and Ireland have clubs, and are within an eclectic qualifying set which also includes France, China and Iraq.
I will be helping the manager, having a peek at some of the training sessions, states former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson.
Now aged 80, he remembers the benefits of kickarounds in coaching sessions.
With virtually every club I was at, we would have a session of small-sided matches, be it five, six or eight per side, provides Atkinson, who also managed Atletico Madrid, West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry City and Nottingham Forest.
The focus was on quality of passing and pace, keeping the match dynamic. For wanting gamers to slog it out in training for 2 hours I wasnt one. Id sooner have a hour of high speed, nonstop intensity.
Occasionally you limit the amount of bits, you might say everyone has to push up over the halfway line or it doesnt count.
If folks are appreciating things, they will obviously do the job harder, that was my philosophy – and to be courageous enough to take this fashion to the area.
I used to love to visit training camps at World Cups – viewing Germany, Brazil – and it was very like what we all do. We were always assumed to be the whole opposite but I did not see much I had not already noticed, therefore it reinforced my faith
The venue is built and has the capability of 3,200, using grass employed for a pitch which is in demand.
There are 13 matches together with Latvia and Egypt opening the competition at time plus holders Germany confronting Hungary at the evening.
If the stadium is complete and its a night game using the floodlights, it is extremely great. Its friendly, but people are still cheering and jumping up and down, says Julia Colter, that has helped the German group and preparation for the championship.
Greece will boast the assistance of defender Kostas Katsouranis, part of this side that won Euro 2004 along with a veteran of 116 games that are international.
I wanted to perform again in a group and its a huge pleasure for me, says the 40-year-old.
Many gamers and the sport will have been from the youth schemes of clubs that are pro, but many play .
Some are in jobs, some are students. That is the neat thing about socca – that they have normal lives and one week per year, they can be superheroes, adds German Colter.
They might have always wanted to play at the Bundesliga or even 11-a-side but they nevertheless have a dream to sing the national anthem and might be brilliant in the small-sided game.
It is spectacular, quickly, you can never relax. People say that they are completely emptied. Every second, something can happen on the pitch. You need to run all the time.
The referees use headsets and will consist of Bobby Madley and former Premier League officials Clattenburg.
Clattenburg, who took charge of their finals at that calendar years Champions League and at the Euro 2016, is a referee after a stint in Saudi Arabia in China.
I had been a part of this first Socca World Cup in Lisbon. It was an incredible affair with players and referees from all around the world, he says.
Its an exciting moment since in 11-a-side, it is quite restricted and it takes longer.
More people are playing six-a-side internationally and it is more enjoyable because anybody can playwith. All shapes and sizes, young girls, young boys. There is interaction far more touches, there are, its over very fast and it keeps you fit.
If you look in Lionel Messi and a number of the top players on the planet, they played futsal, which is a very similar concept – with slightly different rules.
Clattenburg stated the fast-moving temperament of this match contrasted with all thestagnation in some Premier League matches.
Once I reffed there, It wasnt like the great old days and the 4-3s at the days of Kevin Keegan in Newcastle. Because teams didnt want to lose, it might be zero-zero.
When you find some of the drama in the Socca World Cup its unbelievable – the goalkeepers are at this high degree.
Reigning champions Germany are regarded one of the favorites, also Colter is clearly hopeful about the chances of her countrymen.
They are amateurs so you cannot compare them , say Bayern Munich, but our level is high, she explained.
I would say, obviously, we will take action. Our primary purpose is to try and make it as professional as it can be. We have worked hard to make them concentrated.
We have to watch out for England. Scotland are very brave on fighters that are tough and the pitch – they operate. Poland were very good last season, the USA should adapt quite well and Id like to watch people go mad for Greece.
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Pakistan are defined as in action with players aged 17 to 32 chosen after a national trials procedure.
Last time Pakistan attracted a group, thinking they would do well and got defeated greatly in all three matches, says Clattenburg.
They have been choosing players but now theyve got a league along with the standard is growing.
Organisers expect millions of people to capture some of the actions, together with games highlights via media and streamed online.
I believe socca, or small-sided football, is one of the most played sport on the planet, says Colter. The capacity to bring more folks under the umbrella is really huge.
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