On Sunday 10th June, in a packed Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, the seventh Soccer Aid for Unicef match kicked off.
Hopes were high, emotions were tense, each team was ready to win. In an unprecedentedly close match, captained by Olly Murs for England and the legend that is Usain Bolt for the Rest of the World, all players, from Eric Cantona to Lee Mack, sweated their socks off to secure a three all draw. It was then all up to the penalties. Usain Bolt, true to his name, bolted his ball right into the back of the net. But England came fighting back, and the penalty shoot-out ended in a six all draw again. Sudden death saw an unlikely hero step up to score the winning goal; Blake Harrison, better known as Neil from The Inbetweeners. The victory was sealed – England had won!
Throughout the ITV show, short appeal films presented by Unicef UK Ambassadors and supporters Michael Sheen, Olly Murs, Nicole Scherzinger, Dermot O’Leary, Keeley Hawes and David Harewood highlighted where the money raised by Soccer Aid for Unicef goes to help protect children in danger around the world.
The match was a unique opportunity to see celebrities and ex professional footballers playing side by side in a stadium of almost 72,000 fans, watched by over 3 million people on the night. Though the real victory of the night was the fact that over £5.5 million was raised on the night for Unicef’s vital work protecting children in danger around the world. This was thanks to the UK public, ITV and STV viewers, and the UK government who have matched all donations so far pound for pound. It was the most successful year of Soccer Aid, and there is still more to come, as we await the totals from corporate partners and local fundraising too.
Robbie Williams, co-founder of Soccer Aid and England Assistant Manager said:
Tonight we showed that Soccer Aid for Unicef 2018 truly is bigger and better than ever before! The passion and commitment of all the players, coaching staff and teams across both World XI and England meant the match raised an incredible, record-breaking £5.5m. I’m truly speechless! Being on the sidelines this year, managing the England boys and watching them put in a match winning performance, has really opened my eyes to the place this game now has in the UK public’s hearts. It makes people stand up and take notice. It changes children’s lives! Thank you so much to everyone that came to Old Trafford tonight or watched the match at home and most importantly to all of you who so generously donated. With the UK government matching every pound you have given, children in danger all around the world will see double the impact.
This just one way we use our reach to encourage the nation to act and support important causes. See the Partnerships pillar of our Corporate Responsibility strategy to find out more about what social causes we support and the difference we’re making.