Nowhere was this more apparent than at the EuroCopa Walking Football Tournament in Albufeira organised by Algarve Football Tours. Teams from Scotland, England, Spain, France, South Africa and Portugal converged on the Estádio da Nora, Ferreiras, for two days of intensive competition with the eldest competitor being a sprightly 81 year-old David Trueman (EAWF São Bras 60+).
Two tournaments, for those 50+ years and 60+ years, and with some 300 players rotating on six pitches the event proved to be a great success. On the playing front England was represented by Hartshill (Warwickshire), Cottingham (Hull), Clacton (Essex), Rushden (Northamptonshire), Brackley (Northamptonshire), Northwich (Cheshire), Fulham (London), Oxford and Sheffield.
From Scotland came North Lanarkshire Auld Gits WF whilst Aulany (Paris) WF flew the flag for France. Esquina Park WF (southern Spain) and Luso Africa (South Africa) completed the foreign line-up.
A strong contingent from Portugal included Benfica (Lisbon), Silver Coast Strollers (north -west Portugal), Lagos Strollers, and Browns (Vilamoura). East Algarve Walking Football entered five teams across the two age groups.
In the EuroCopa 60+ Tournament it was Brackley Sinners who took top spot from Brackley Saints with North Lanarkshire in third followed by Aulany and EAWF Olhão.
Lagos Strollers won the 60+ Bowl Competition with EAWF Tavira finishing as runners-up. The EuroCopa 50+ Final between Sheffield United and Luso Africa was full of fast, skilful walking football with the team from the southern hemisphere taking the lead in the first period.
The Blades struck back to level the score and take the tie to penalties with Luso Africa edging home 2-1.
Clacton Knights took third place with a 2-1 victory over Esquina Park, Spain. EAWF Olhão were the best placed Algarve team in fifth place after a 5-0 win against French side Aulany. Paulo Dias, Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Albufeira, was full of praise for the mature athletes and referees before presenting the trophies and awards.