International Champions Cup. One great location, Three great games

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Come July, three top teams – Atlético de Madrid, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) – will face off in this little Southeast Asian island called Singapore.

As the only Asian stop for the global International Champions Cup (ICC), Singapore will welcome legions of fans coming from the region to watch their favourite football stars in action.

Since 2013, the ICC has been recognised as a world-class tournament that transforms the pre-season tour for the world’s biggest and best football clubs.

This year is the second time this competition is held in Singapore, after its expansion into Southeast Asia in 2017.

Just like Malaysia, Singapore is more than just a popular tourist destination but also a unique host because of its matchless blend of cultures, ethnicities and religions.

Tourists can learn about the disappearing traditions of the Peranakans, see the glitter of Little India, or spice things up with the famous Malay curries.

As for those coming all the way from England, Spain or France to support their beloved team, they will not feel out of place in this cosmopolitan city.

Spanish tapas, French baguettes and, of course, fish & chips are available at many of the European eateries dotting the island.

The active ones will enjoy a walk at UNESCO World Heritage site the Singapore Botanic Gardens; getting a tan at one of the beaches in Sentosa; or getting a bird’s eye view of the city aboard the Singapore Flyer.

And for a tipple after the game, there are always the bars and pubs at Clarke Quay, Boat Quay or Orchard Road.

This football-crazy city is also raising the bar as a sporting and lifestyle event host, after witnessing an increase in the participation rate, and interest, in a wider variety of sports.

The country now looks toward sports events, such as the ICC and Formula One, to create greater sporting opportunities and access, as well as facilitate a broader development of capabilities.

Its award-winning National Stadium, with its iconic dome roof, is one example of its infrastructural development in that direction.

The stadium sits within the Sports Hub – an integrated sports, entertainment and lifestyle hub that also houses the Indoor Stadium, the OCBC Aquatic Centre and the Kallang Wave Mall. So almost anything, from shopping and concerts, to recreational water activities and beach volleyball, are available at one venue.

It was in this stadium that Inter Milan defeated both Bayern Munich and Chelsea last year, and it is here that the three teams for this year’s ICC will play.

The Gunners will be gunning for revenge when they meet 2018 Europa League champion Atlético de Madrid in the kick-off match for the Singapore leg of ICC on 26 July. They were booted out of the Europa League by the Spanish giants during the semi-final stage in May.

The English team will then battle it out against PSG on 28 July to settle a long-running tie. Three out of the four previous meetings between these two have ended in draws, so it is about time for the better team to emerge.

The closing match for this leg of the ICC will give fans an extraordinary treat. Though hugely successful, PSG and Atlético de Madrid have only ever played each other to a draw in 2009. Their match on 30 July will be the second time these two titans are going up against each other.

It is a match not to be missed.

 

Fixtures for the 2018 International Champions Cup in Singapore

At Singapore National Stadium:

Thursday, 26 July 2018 – Atlético de Madrid vs Arsenal

Saturday, 28 July 2018 – Arsenal vs Paris Saint-Germain

Monday, 30 July 2018 – Paris Saint-Germain vs Atlético de Madrid

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