Usain Bolt captains World XI to victory in Soccer Aid charity match

Bolt's team beat an England line-up 3-0 in the UNICEF fundraiser, as Mo Farah limped off with a suspected hamstring injury. 

By Rory Jiwani
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

"Usain Bolt led the Soccer Aid World XI to a 3-0 victory over England in the UNICEF celebrity football fundraiser at Manchester's Etihad Stadium on Saturday (4 September)."

"The Jamaican sprint hero captained the side featuring Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf and Patrice Evra, old Manchester City favourites Pablo Zabaleta and Shay Given, former Scotland striker Julie Fleeting, and pop star Yungblud."

There were two Olympic champions in the England squad with Mo Farah and Max Whitlock, weeks after retaining his pommel horse title in Tokyo, starting on the bench.

Both came on in the second half, but four-time track gold medallist Farah lasted just a few minutes before going off with what looked like a pulled hamstring.

The 38-year-old had reportedly warmed up by running round the pitch 17 times during the half-time break.

Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Bolt wore a shirt with the 9.58 on the back, in honour of his world record time for the 100m.

He troubled the opposition with his pace early on with former Manchester United and England full-back Gary Neville pulling him down just outside the penalty box.

From the resulting free-kick, Seedorf hit the post but the ball went to safety.

Usain Bolt of Soccer Aid World XI before the Soccer Aid for Unicef 2021 match in Manchester
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

After a goalless first half, the World XI scored three times after the break with the first two from British reality TV personality Kem Cetinay.

The opener was something of a howler from England goalkeeper, stand-up comic Joel Dommett.

Whitlock could easily have conceded a penalty late on with what looked like a clear foul on singer Chelcee Grimes.

But the referee allowed play to continue and Lee Mack scored a third goal for the World XI.

On the eve of the match, Farah admitted to the Manchester Evening News that he was risking injury by making his third appearance in the charity game having missed last year's fixture to break the one-hour world record in Brussels.

He said, "I had a stress fracture on the outside of my foot, it was a small problem on my ankle and then it developed and developed and I kept running on it as you do.

"Training here was the first bit of exercise I have done for some time but I wasn't nervous because I really look forward to this. It is all for a good cause and I am wearing massive shin pads!"

Soccer Aid was started by singer Robbie Williams in 2006 and this was the 10th edition of the match.