Swindon Town opened the tournament with the first of their five games against German side Schalke 04. The games are only 15 minutes each way, with a quick turnaround at half-time. Swindon started a bit nervously and didn't really create many opportunities. They were restricted to try from longer range, as Schalke were very organised and disciplined and we found it hard to break the German team down. They dominated a lot in the second half and caused us a few problems down their right side which we struggled to deal with but managed to hold on for a 0-0 draw in the first game.
In the second game, we came up against opposition from Sweden in the form of Brommapojkarna. We lost 3-0 and never really looked a threat going forward. We changed personnel a few times and changed the shape of the team to try and get something but we were overpowered in a few areas and it showed, with us not being able to compete physically.
The third game we played against Feyenoord in our final group game to see what part of the tournament we would be in next. The game started poorly with us conceding a goal early on and we again struggled to get any kind of rhythm going but we equalised when Oscar Webster went down the right hand side, passed across to Rhys Wells and his shot was parried to Levi Irving to tap in to make it 1-1 and we needed this for a lift for the players to take into the half-time interval. The second half started and Oscar Webster scored from a powerful run and neat finish to put Swindon 2-1 up with eight minutes remaining. We would have liked to have manage the game better but individual mistakes eventually cost us the game. Feyenoord equalised and then took the game away from us to win 3-2.
The fourth game saw us play Genk from Belgium and this was a good test for us, knowing that they had done well in their previous games. They were full of confidence where we were a bit low and looking for a win. The game started well for us and, at times, we looked in control and looked to dominate in areas but let ourselves down in the final third. This would come back to haunt us as Genk were very clinical and took their chance to sneak a goal and then see out the game.
Game five saw us play our friends at Den Haag and, although we lost the game 3-1, the players can take lots of positives from the last game of the day. The games have been very draining for the players and all players that travelled have all played in the tournament. Oscar Webster scored from the penalty spot but was guilty of missing some easy chances on goal, along with Rhys Wells and this summed up our day.
Overall, the players have seen tournament football of the highest quality, with clubs like Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, PSV, Feyenoord, AZ Alkmaar, Genk, Den Haag, Salzburg and Sparta Rotterdam all taking part. This is where the players and staff are challenged and it's important for the development within the Academy, playing against different and top European sides, along with different formations and points at stake for wins. It's a fantastic experience for us and something that we need to take our players into for preparation of the future careers.