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Mini-cups

These are notes for teachers on how to stage your own football tournament. You can have a big event or perform each stage as a smaller one. To start with, remind children that sport is for good health and fun. Don't let anyone get too keyed-up about it!

Start with two leagues of four teams (every team plays three games in its own league). The top two in each league then play in semi-finals and the final for the "Cup" trophy.

In the World Cup itself, the bottom two teams would be out of the tournament, but here they can play each other in another round of semi-finals and final for a second trophy, the "Plate". This way every team plays again and this keeps up everyone's interest.

Pupils should not worry if they're not good at football. There is a lot of organising and supervising that needs doing. The important thing is to build teamwork. You could also make and give out certificates to those who supported other players or made unselfish contributions to running the games.

Perhaps someone will donate a modest trophy and invite parents and friends along for the semi-finals and finals.

Here are some ideas as to how it might work:

* Select teams of three or four players (or pupils can form "squads" and take turns to play for their team).

* Each team takes the name of one of the 32 countries in the World Cup.

* Play short games (three or four minutes each way) on small pitches.

Other activities:

* Keep the results up to date and displayed on a notice-board, or on computers.

* Plenty of maths - make league tables (three points for a win, one for a draw, and show the numbers of goals for and against). Histograms can be used to show how many goals each team scored. You can calculate the average number per match and work out the difference (take away "goals against" from "goals for" - a nice introduction to negative numbers).

* Pupils can referee and run the line (good for "citizenship").

* Write match reports for a newsletter, website, or sports video.

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