July 13, 2017 12:24 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand team up for Star Sixes

Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand team up for Star Sixes

Robert Pires, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand are among some of the legion of legends preparing to fight for the honour of lifting the first Star Sixes tournament.

Robert Pires, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand are among the legends preparing to fight for the honour of lifting the first Star Sixes tournament.

The star-studded event takes place at London's O2 Arena with 12 international teams packed full of footballing royalty ready to battle it out. 

The occasion will see many big names attempt to roll back the years including Michael Ballack, Steven Gerrard, Alessandro Del Piero and Roberto Carlos among the former top players ready to compete at the inaugural competition.

Arsenal legend Robert Pires is looking forward to captaining the French team at the Star Sixes  

Arsenal legend Robert Pires is looking forward to captaining the French team at the Star Sixes  

Arsenal legend Pires, who will captain the French team, is looking forward to the eagerly-awaited event. He explained: 'This football will be totally different.

'This is inside, the pitch is smaller and the fans will see more dribbling, more skills.

'I’m very happy to be a part of Star Sixes. I’m a competitor and although I’m retired, when you play football the most important thing is to win!'

Pires with wife Jessica at the Star Sixes pre-tournament party at The 02 Arena in London 

Pires with wife Jessica at the Star Sixes pre-tournament party at The 02 Arena in London 

Many of the players enjoyed their impromptu reunions at the pre-tournament party, with Del Piero sharing a joke with Italian team-mate and former West Ham man Paolo Di Canio. 

Despite retiring in 2015, former Juventus hero Del Piero showed the competitive juices are still flowing ahead of the first-ever world football tournament for iconic former international players. 

Proving old footballers never lose their will-to-win instinct he tweeted: 'Back on the field, with some old friends with a great desire to have fun, enjoy and of course win!'

Former West Ham favourite Paolo Di Canio shares a joke with Alessandro Del Piero and pals

Paolo Di Canio (second right) shares a joke with Alessandro Del Piero (left) and friends 

Former Arsenal loanee Julio Baptista (left) takes a selfie with former Fiorentina player Amaral

Former Arsenal loanee Julio Baptista (left) takes a selfie with former Fiorentina player Amaral

All pals together - the Brazil team pose for a group photo ahead of the eagerly-awaited event

All pals together - the Brazil team pose for a group photo ahead of the eagerly-awaited event

The 12 Star Sixes teams have been drawn into three groups of four, with the top pair from each group as well as the best two third-placed teams qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Group matches will take place across three sessions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with all nations playing a 20-minute game in each session.

There will also be a Saturday evening session featuring four quarter-finals, with the Sunday evening session including two semi-finals and a third-place decider prior to the Star Sixes final.

The Italian camp are in good spirits including irrepressible Di Canio (right) and Del Piero (left)

The Italian camp are in good spirits including irrepressible Di Canio (right) and Del Piero (left)

Here's a full list of the players set to compete in this eagerly-awaited new concept.  

Brazil: Roberto Carlos, Juliano Belletti, Gilberto Silva, Rivaldo, Dida, Elano, Juninho, Djalminha, Julio Baptista, Amaral.

China: Peng Weiguo, Jiang Feng, Wei Qun, Li Wei, Chen Yongqiang, Peng Weijun, Yao Xia, Hu Zhijun, Liu Cheng, Liang Jiangfeng.

Former Arsenal man Gilberto takes a selfie on the pitch ahead of the Star Sixes tournament 

Former Arsenal man Gilberto takes a selfie on the pitch ahead of the Star Sixes tournament 

Denmark: Martin Jorgensen, Stig Tofting, John Sivebaek, Daniel Jensen, Mads Junker, Mikkel Beckmann, Chris Sorensen, Hjalte Norregaard, Per Kroldrup, Jan Hoffmann.

England: Steven Gerrard, David James, Michael Owen, Rio Ferdinand, Emile Heskey, Phil Neville, Paul Merson, Danny Murphy, Lee Hendrie, Wes Brown.

France: Robert Pires, Olivier Dacourt, William Gallas, Eric Abidal, Ludovic Giuly, Marcel Desailly, Sebastien Frey, Youri Djorkaeff, Bruno Cheyrou, Vincent Candela.

Friends reunited: Old Middlesbrough team-mates Fabrizio Ravanelli (left) and Juninho 

Friends reunited: Old Middlesbrough team-mates Fabrizio Ravanelli (left) and Juninho 

Germany: Michael Ballack, Marco Reich, Simon Rolfes, Dietmar Hamann, Kevin Kuranyi, Jorg Albertz, Jens Nowotny, Maurizio Gaudino, Dariusz Wosz, Timo Hildebrand.

Italy: Alessandro Del Piero, Angelo Di Livio, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Luciano Zauri, Marco Amelia, Marco Delvecchio, Massimo Oddo, Paolo Di Canio, Simone Barone, Stefano Fiore.

Mexico: Jared Borgetti, Luis Hernandez, Joaquin Reyes, Mario Mendez, Alberto Garcia Aspe, Hector Altamirano, Alberto Rodriguez, Braulio Luna, Miguel Zepeda, Erubey Cabuto.

Ravanelli (left) and Juninho reminisce about their Premier League playing days at the Riverside

Ravanelli (left) and Juninho reminisce about their Premier League playing days at the Riverside

Nigeria: Jay-Jay Okocha, Celestine Babayaro, Daniel Amokachi, Julius Aghahowa, Garba Lawal, Joseph Yobo, Victor Ikpeba, Taribo West, Uche Okechukwu, Peter Rufai.

Portugal: Deco, Vitor Baia, Maniche, Fernando Couto, Jose Bosingwa, Nuno Gomes, Raul Meireles, Helder Postiga, Paulo Ferreira, Luis Boa Morte.

Scotland: Don Hutchison, Dominic Matteo, Simon Donnelly, Christian Dailly, Paul Dickov, Rab Douglas, Barry Ferguson, Mark Burchill, Jackie McNamara, Richard Hughes.

Real Madrid and Brazil legend Roberto Carlos inspects the pitch before the Star Sixes start

Real Madrid and Brazil legend Roberto Carlos inspects the pitch before the Star Sixes start

Spain: Carles Puyol, Gaizka Mendieta, Michel Salgado, Pedro Contreras, David Albelda, Alfonso Perez, Luis Garcia, Fernando Morientes, Carlos Marchena, Joan Capdevila.

GROUP A

England

Spain

Mexico

Scotland 

GROUP B

Brazil

Italy

Nigeria

China 

GROUP C

France

Portugal

Denmark

Germany 

The group stage games start on Thursday evening:

Group A: England v Spain (7.30pm), Mexico v Scotland (8pm)

Group B: Nigeria v China (9.45pm), Brazil v Italy (10.15pm)

Group C: Portugal v Denmark (8.30pm), Germany v France (9.15pm)

Pires in his Arsenal pomp earning his reputation as a Gunners legend as Ashley Cole looks on

Pires in his Arsenal pomp earning his reputation as a Gunners legend as Ashley Cole looks on

Friday matches will include: 

Group A: Spain v Mexico (9.45pm), Scotland v England (10.15pm)

Group B: China v Brazil (8.30pm), Italy v Nigeria (9.15pm)

Group C: France v Portugal (7.30pm), Denmark v Germany (8pm).

The tournament continues into Saturday and will see some tasty clashes including: 

Group A: Spain v Scotland (2pm), England v Mexico (2.45pm)

Group B: Brazil v Nigeria (1pm), Italy v China (1.30pm)

Group C: France v Denmark (3.15pm), Germany v Portugal (3.45pm). 

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard in his role as the club's academy boss looks forward to playing again 

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard in his role as the club's academy boss looks forward to playing again 

The best teams emerging from the groups will then face-off in the evening knockout stages with the quarter-finals at 7.30pm, 8.15pm, 9.05pm and 9.50pm.

The semi-finals, play-off and final will then be held on Sunday evening with the action kicking off at 7pm.

Prices kick-off at only £30 for adults and £10 for children. Buy them here: www.theo2.co.uk/starsixes.

 

 

 

 

 

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