The Florida Cup was officially declared open on Tuesday at Universal Studios in Orlando, where fans were treated to a great goal from Uwe Bindewald, Timothy Chandler on a rollercoaster and a press conference with Fredi Bobic.

The media interest was matched only by the fervency of the fans as the Florida Cup was officially opened at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday. Starting Thursday, Eintracht will battle it out with Brazilian sides Sao Paulo (Friday 01:10CET) and Flamengo (Saturday 22:00CET) in the tournament’s fifth edition following its inception in 2015.

Bobic eager to get started

At the official press conference, Eintracht board member Fredi Bobic explained the club’s reasons for taking part in the Florida Cup: “It’s the third time we’ve visited the USA since 2017. We travel a lot, which reflects well on an international city like Frankfurt. We have 17 different nationalities in our squad, so we’re very diverse. It’s great to be able to test ourselves against teams like Sao Paulo and Flamengo.”

Dutch giants Ajax complete the foursome competing for the crown, and the format dictates that the two European sides will each play their Brazilian counterparts. If there are any draws, penalties will decide the outcome with no extra-time. Three points will be awarded for a regular win, with two awarded for a victory on penalties and one for defeat on penalties – much like in ice hockey.

Chandler’s rollercoaster ride

USA international Timothy Chandler represented the Eagles’ squad at Universal Studios, where he was joined by one lucky fan on one of the rollercoasters. “I could do that ten times,” he said after several loop-the-loops, “it was great fun.”

There was plenty of football on show in the specially-constructed Mini-Arena too, with each of the four participating clubs putting out legends’ five-a-side teams. Eintracht’s team contained brand ambassadors Karl-Heinz Körbel and Uwe Bindewald, long-time goalkeeper Oka Nikolov, team manager Christoph Preuß, Bobic and one guest player in the form of ex-Stuttgart midfielder Pavel Pardo.

There were also a host of stars on display from the other clubs, including Edwin van der Sar, Denilson, Aron Winter, Richard Witschge, Falcao and Zico, who went up against his (nick)namesake Uwe ‘Zico’ Bindewald.

Bindewald scores a belter

Out on the pitch it was the Frankfurt version of Zico who grabbed all the attention, scoring a corker against Flamengo. Another goal from Bobic ensured a 2-2 draw, before Eintracht bowed out on penalties to the eventual champions.

As for the first team, they’ll be kicking off their Florida Cup in earnest against Sao Paulo at 19:10 local time in St. Petersburg before facing Flamengo at 16:00 local time at the Al Lang Stadium in Orlando on Saturday. Both matches will be available to watch on EintrachtTV.

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