The Florida Cup is a relatively obscure exhibition held each winter since 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The teams involved aren’t always the best, but they’re recognizable, with the likes of Bayer Leverkusen, Rangers, River Plate, Corinthians and PSV Eindhoven having been involved in recent years.
This year’s Florida Cup features Ajax, Sao Paulo, Eintracht Frankfurt and Flamengo — plus a concert Saturday night from Brazilian star Ivete Sangalo at Orlando City Stadium.
After the first two matches on Thursday, the final two matches of the competition were played Saturday afternoon. And let us tell you, nobody kicks off meaningless exhibition matches like us Americans.
In 2017 for the International Champions Cup, Ronaldo McDonald stole the show before Manchester United and Real Madrid played at Levi’s Stadium.
On Saturday, it was Shrek, Princess Fiona and a couple Minions who got the crowd rowdy for football for the Florida Cup ahead of the Ajax-Sao Paulo match.
Hot transfer targets De Jong, De Ligt and @AFCAjax take on @SaoPauloFC_eng to kick off our @Florida_Cup double-header! #FloridaCup
: beIN SPORTS
: https://t.co/8Vw2z7cxwS pic.twitter.com/NRcDEblhuc— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) January 12, 2019
I wish every match started with some animated movie character mascots parading around the pitch.
Shrek and Fiona got to rub shoulders with Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, who both started for Ajax despite being the target of numerous transfer rumors.
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana was giddy to meet his hero.
Or maybe he was just upset Shrek wouldn’t let him close to Fiona.
Perhaps still coming to grips with the magnitude of playing in front of ogre royalty, Ajax went behind in the first half thanks to a goal from Sao Paulo captain Hernanes.
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) January 12, 2019
Ajax fought back in the second half to win 4-2, probably wanting to do its best to excite those Minions, who I assume have names, but seeing as I don’t have kids, I have no idea what they might be.
As great as the opening for the Florida Cup match was, it couldn’t hold a candle to the opening of the 1994 World Cup.
WORLD CUP: Still the greatest opening ceremony moment of all time. Diana Ross fails from the penalty spot at USA 94. With hindsight, she was over-confident. A feint here, a dummy there... sometimes you've just got to put your foot through it, son. pic.twitter.com/AxXGOGW4RK— Proper Football (@sid_lambert) June 14, 2018
The U.S. may never win a men’s World Cup, but at least we can do crap pregame festivities like no one else.