2023 MATCH REPORT
SOCCER AID FOR UNICEF AT OLD TRAFFORD, MANCHESTER, SUNDAY 11 JUNE
It was another enthralling contest between England and the Soccer Aid World XI FC, with the charity match’s first female captain, Lioness Jill Scott for England and Usain Bolt returning to captain the Soccer Aid World XI FC after he famously handed his captaincy to Ukrainian football legend, Andriy Shevchenko during last year’s match.
Stormzy made his Soccer Aid for UNICEF debut as England co-manager alongside Harry Redknapp and Emma Hayes, and with Robbie Williams, Vicky McClure, David Seaman and Zavon Hines making up the coaching team. They were up against the star-studded Soccer Aid World XI FC management team made up of football manager Mauricio Pochettino and Martin Compston, with Daniel Bachmann, Jesus Perez, Robbie Keane and Sporty Spice Melanie C as coaches.
Usain Bolt scored the opening goal, marking a special moment for the Olympian and Manchester United fan in his fifth Soccer Aid for UNICEF appearance, with the first half ending on 1-0. England turned up the tempo in the second half, with Asa Butterfield scoring the equalizer with his first touch. Paul Scholes put the Three Lions ahead by scoring a second goal just minutes later, before going off injured as he received a standing ovation at his old stomping ground, Old Trafford.In spite of England’s best efforts to turn the game around, World XI’s Robbie Keane scored two goals minutes after coming on. Shortly after, teammate Kem Cetinay scored his fifth goal, making him the all-time top scorer in Soccer Aid history, ending the game on 4-2 – and a fifth consecutive win for World XI.
As the only official FA sanctioned mixed gender match, Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2023 saw more female celebrity players taking part than ever before. Skippered by Lioness and Euro 2022 Winner Jill Scott, Eni Aluko returned for England, and Heather O’Reilly returned for the Soccer Aid World XI FC, whilst ex-professional footballers Karen Carney, Kaylyn Kyle, Izzy Christiansen and celebrity players Scarlette Douglas and Maisie Adam made their debuts. In a Soccer Aid for UNICEF first, the match officials for the game featured an all-female line up, with Abi Byrne as referee, Georgia Ball and Nicoleta Bria as assistants and Jane Simms as the 4th official.