In photos: Tears, triumphs – and luchadors – at the Homeless World Cup

The opening days of the 13th Homeless World Cup, held this year in Amsterdam, have been a thrilling mix of jubilant highs, emotional scenes, friendships forged and, of course, a showcase of exceptional football skills and inspirational stories.

Hundreds of Dutch football fans and a number of high-profile guests, such as Hollywood actor Colin Farrell, have streamed through the pitches erected in the city’s Museum Square to show their support for over 600 players from around the world.

Homeless World Cup photographers Alex Walker and Paul Bence capture the spirit of the Homeless World Cup, which runs until 19 September.

An aerial shot of Amsterdam’s Museum Square, during the opening match of the Homeless World Cup 2015.

Photo: Alex Walker
Mexican players danced, sang and cheered with the rest of the Homeless World Cup teams as they made their way to the tournament venue, during the Opening Parade on day one.

Photo: Alex Walker
Flags from the 48 participating nations were displayed during the Opening Parade, which introduced the Homeless World Cup players to the crowds in Amsterdam’s Museum Square.

Photo: Alex WalkerAfter the opening parade on the first day of the tournament, King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands officially welcomed players and gamely took a penalty against the Dutch goalkeeper.

Photo: Alex Walker
The action kicked off in gorgeous sunshine. Here, a Chilean striker showcases his skills against Bulgaria’s goalkeeper.

If you can’t take the heat, get off the pitch. A player from Bulgaria cools off after losing 4-11 to Chile. Over 120 matches were played on the first weekend in Amsterdam.

This is the first year Egypt has brought a team to the Homeless World Cup. They are one of 16 women’s teams to take part – the most female teams seen in any Homeless World Cup.

Photo: Alex Walker
Homeless World Cup teams play two matches a day. Games only last 14 minutes, but play is still intense. A good warm up in the player’s area is essential.

Photo: Alex Walker
There are plenty of colourful characters here at the tournament, including the Mexican team in their luchador-style masks.

Photo: Alex Walker
While every team is in it to win it, there are no losers at the Homeless World Cup. No matter the scoreline, teams celebrate the end of every match together – Ireland and Namibia being no exception.

Hollywood star and Homeless World Cup ambassador Colin Farrell showed his support for players and football fans.

Photo: Alex Walker
Almost all Homeless World Cup players you meet will say, “My team is my family.”

16. On day four of the tournament player from India and England help to mark UEFA Respect DayOn day four of the tournament player from India and England help to mark UEFA Respect Day.

Photo: Alex Walker
A team of young girls from India have captured the hearts of everyone at the Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam. Here, a player celebrates an emotional 10-1 victory in their first match against Eygpt.