World Cup 85 || RP Thread

A battle ground for the sportsmen and women of nations worldwide. [In character]


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Postby Ko-oren » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:04 am

It's do or die time. The Dragonflies have plenty of experience with this - from all of our 12 World Cup appearances, we've only ever been safe or already eliminated in about three of them. The other nine came down to the last day, and the Dragonflies have been successful - or lucky - on just over 50% of those attempts. And World Cup 85 is no different. The entire group is in a gridlock, each team winning one and losing one match. The winners of these final games, Kita-Hinode versus Ko-oren and Vilita versus Main Nation Ministry, will represent the group in the next round.

No clue who the opponents will be, because Group C is also too close to call. Pasarga are on a significant disadvantage, Sarzonia are doing a little better than the rest, but that's it. That said, on the Farfadillis' side of the World Cup, only two teams are safe among sixteen.

Oh, but what happens with a tie here or there? Well, then we're out. Our defence was thoroughly pummeled by the Vilitans, and our offence couldn't find the net often enough to balance it out. So that means we have to defeat Kita-Hinode in the 'K and a dash' derby. But what will that take?

The Poltergheists' balanced 4-3-3 will be hard enough to break. The 4-3-3 might be rare on Ko-orenite fields, it's a staple on many others', and don't take this the wrong way, but it was enough to beat the number one team in the Multiverse. Playing with flair and adventurous curiousity, the Hinodejin have a team full of different backgrounds and influences. That's in stark contrast to the Dragonflies - who might coming from different backgrounds, but - who also play methodically and with meticulous discipline. Time and time again, the Dragonflies have shown to be able to beat teams that are far stronger than us. Time and time again, the Dragonflies have also shown that adhering to the system whatever is thrown at it can backfire. No matter what, the Poltergheists will have to be at their most creative to break down the 5-3-2. At the same time, the pressure is on us. We must score. And that's not something the system is designed for.

"Be prepared for some slight changes," head coach Juliasterinthen announced. That's what he does: slight changes, just enough to prop up the team from one World Cup cycle to the next, each time reverting the changes and implementing something new, learning from each new iteration, and hopefully one day finding something that sticks. Juliasterinthen's also bound by the players that are selected. Not by him, but by a committee of selectors, gurus of football, but not the people that have to turn 23 players into a team - let alone take that team into a World Cup. Whereas the last few World Cups were all about small changes to the back line, and experiments with 4-man back lines while in possession, this World Cup has been all about inventing something new for the often ignored midfield. Yokota is the everlasting defensive element, Longchambon is the ever-present attacking element... and that leaves one other player where you'd need two in order to get a functioning unit.

But maybe the changes go deeper than that. Instead of using the same formation that has brought us success and frustration for years, maybe it's finally about celebrating the different elements of Ko-oren. The archipelago is varied enough, and everybody knows it. But for the sake of keeping this country together, as any History student could tell you, we need to rely on set principles to make this rag tag collection of languages and origin stories into one functional group. Maybe, just maybe, we let the football field be a place where we can see these different starting points. Attacking football from the east. Defensive stability from the north. Tactics and positioning from the west. And, er, finding creative solutions in the face of certain doom from the south. That's the one thing the selectors have done well. We have players from all regions of the nation. The stability and creative solutions are side by side in defence: Hellegeland, Van Schelven, on the one hand, and Basquez on the other. Positioning and attack in midfield. Just doing whatever works and accuracy up front. Juliasterinthen, please, focus on what we do well, individually. The system works, and it's in everyone's mind. The individuals on this team can do the rest. If that's not what they're there for, then you could've put anyone on that field.
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Siovanija and Teusland
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Postby Siovanija and Teusland » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:29 am

RBC Sports

Post-Match Panel

Stepan Stelik: Good evening Siovanija & Teusland, and welcome back to RBC Sports’ live coverage of World Cup 85 from Hosingr, Mriin. Siovanija & Teusland have just defeated Baker Park 1-0, an absolutely massive win for the team. I’m here with former FC Teussen Stelburg manager Joseph Grassl, and Energija Chernovets captain Miroslav Dinev, who scored 23 goals for his country, to discuss tonight’s result. Gentlemen, a big win tonight!

Joseph Grassl: Ribbeck is going to get the credit for that goal tonight - and it’s so well deserved, he played an excellent game - but for me, every member of that backline deserves a St. Gustaf Cross. That was the best game I’ve seen Karl-Heinz Jager play for the national team, he was confident all night, made that beautiful tackle on Jamari Bozeman at 0-0, and was just so steady all night.

Miroslav Dinev: Jager was incredible, and Raphael Klopfer beside him was just as strong. I remember playing with Rafa back in World Cup 80, and you could see what a great leader he was, always yelling out instructions and encouragement to the team, and now he’s got the captain’s armband, it’s so well deserved, and he’s left it all out on that field tonight.

SS: Those two were excellent, that’s for sure. And the one and only mistake they made, arguably - that run by Westmoreland, who managed to get past Klopfer - Ewald Heuser was right there to shut the door.

JG: It was a big save, yeah - and you saw the reaction of his teammates afterwards, coming over to clap for him. You can bet that at half-time Jager and Klopfer went over to him and said we’re not going to let anything else through, and that’s exactly what they did.

MD: It’s such a boost to your team to have a keeper like that in net, I got that feeling for the national team with Viktor Venev, you just know that you can rely on your man between the sticks to do a job for you. And Heuser, he reminds me a lot of Venev, and I think at his age he can go on and become even better.

SS: It was a battle of a game in the first half, hard work seeming to take priority over anything else. And the Goldhorns and Baker Park were about even in that regard - Joseph, you said to me at halftime that you thought this one would only need one or two goals. What gave you that impression?

JG: Well, both sides were just playing such great football, but it was so tight at the same time - neither side were giving up very many chances, we saw Westmoreland’s opportunity and for us, maybe Tauscher had the best chance of the half, but the game was very much about the battle in the midfield, and whoever seized the moment first was always going to get a big advantage.

MD: And Joseph talked about the battle in the midfield - who exemplified that hard work more than Thorsten Kramer did today? He was everywhere, just a total force on the park, it was like he’d decided in his mind that they were going to win today and he was going to do whatever it took to make it happen.

SS: Let’s talk about the goal now - into the second half, still all square, and suddenly the Goldhorns get an opportunity out of what seemed like a nothing moment.

JG: Yeah, it was Edgar Steimle that made the great tackle on Westmoreland to win the ball, and he gets it over for Jager. And then the Goldhorns just settle in, Jager content to hold onto it for a moment as things open up. They love to get the ball up to Mihailov, and that’s exactly what Jager’s looking for here, and when he finds the opening sends the pass forward.

MD: And Mihailov is so good with the ball - he changes the tempo of the game just like that, suddenly the Goldhorns are surging forward while Baker Park are rushing to get back. Sprays a pass out to Tauscher on the wing, Tauscher, we all know what he can do when he’s running at you at full speed, and he sends in a pass for Ribbeck. I can tell you, as a forward myself, watching that pass my eyes lit up - sometimes you just know when it’s the perfect moment. Michael had no trouble finishing that one, and that gave us the lead.

SS: Such an important moment in the match, that was - and the Goldhorns knew they’d have to do some hard work at the back afterwards. Baker Park were pushing for the goal in the final 15 minutes or so of the match, but the Goldhorns held out. What exactly was it that got them through the onslaught?

JG: Tactically, Gavin Hughes made a very smart move bringing on Brotzmann in place of Mihailov and having Kramer and Dimitrov switch positions. Brotzmann’s your anchor, the hard man in midfield, and he really stepped up for the team today. Kramer going up, to play almost directly behind Ribbeck, gave Dimitrov more responsibility in the midfield as well, and that helped in keeping the ball away from Baker Park when it mattered.

MD: And mentally, I think they felt very confident after everything that had transpired in the first 75 or so minutes. Jager and Klopfer were just so tuned in, reading every ball, every pass - what a great play by Jager to move just a bit forward and catch Sabrina Patton in the offside trap. We haven’t really talked about Steimle and Vesele all that much, but they were a key part in it as well - when you think of the most dangerous players on that Baker Park team, you think of Jamari Bozeman and Annabeth Westmoreland on the wings, and they weren’t getting anything going today.

SS: Alright, and that brings us to the final match of the group stage, where Siovanija & Teusland will take on Terre Septentrionale. They may be the Pot 4 team, but they’ve proven their will so far - a 6-4 loss to Baker Park in their first game, and a 3-3 draw with Eura earlier today. Is there anything you need to see from the Goldhorns in this last group stage match, any adjustments to be made?

JG: They’re a tricky one to go up against - on one hand, they’ve got all systems go on offence, 7 goals for so far. But they’ve struggled at the back, giving up 9 goals in their first two games - which is an interesting opportunity for a Goldhorns’ team that hasn’t really been all that clinical in this World Cup so far. I’d be telling them to get balls up to Ribbeck, Tauscher, Kramer - your main guys, give them opportunities and you have to believe you can find a way through.

MD: And I wouldn’t really be making any changes to the team, either. They looked perfectly in sync at the back - and I’ve advocated a lot for Darijen Vesele this tournament, and I think his crossing can really open up options for them if it becomes a high-scoring game. What I’d be telling them, though, if I was Gavin, is to stay disciplined at the back - if you let it get out of hand, you play into their game, how they want to beat you. You want to stick to your game plan.

SS: Everyone knows the implications of this one as well - Siovanija & Teusland control their own destiny. If the Goldhorns win this game, they advance. There are other scenarios involving a draw, but they rely on the other game in the group, which sees Eura taking on Baker Park. Surely, though, the focus in that room will be about getting the win - how do you think the Goldhorns will handle that pressure?

JG: I think back to two years ago, when they took on Audioslavia on the final day and needed a win to get through. They were in their own heads a bit, I felt, and looked weak to start - they’d end up drawing it 2-2. Since then, however, there’s been a bit of a change in them. You look at the AOCAF, after losing the opener they had to win the next 3 to win the group and they did just that. Even in Qualifiers, they were in top form the whole way no matter the situation. That mentality will be huge for them in this one.

MD: I think the pressure is a bit different on their shoulders now, really. I remember back in my first AOCAF tournament, we went into the last day needing a win over Qasden to reach the playoffs, and in the room there were a lot of nerves - a lot of the young guys had never quite been here before. In the end, we pulled it together and won 4-2, but it was tough. Now, though, you look at that national team - Thorsten Kramer has played in a Champions’ League Final, they’ve got league champions, Golden Boot winners, heroes for their clubs - they’ve been playing high-pressure games now for their whole careers. They know what it takes to win at this level, and I think they’re going to handle it as best they can. It should be a good one - Terre Septentrionale can give themselves a chance at advancing if they win, so it’ll certainly be a hard-fought match on both sides.

SS: That does it tonight for us, we’ll be back at Iron Alley for full coverage on matchday 3 for the final game of the group stage of World Cup 85, between Siovanija & Teusland and Terre Septentrionale.

Baker Park 0-1 Siovanija & Teusland, @ Iron Alley, Hosingr, Mriin

Starting XI: Heuser; Steimle, Klopfer, Jager, Vesele; Mihailov (Brotzmann 78’), Kramer, V. Dimitrov, Kogler (Kokalj 61’), Tauscher, Ribbeck (Mandl 89’)
Goals: Michael Ribbeck 67’
Stelburger Zeitung Man of the Match: Karl-Heinz Jager
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Kita-Hinode » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:49 am

Garbodor opened her eyes, yawning. She got up from her surprisingly clean bed and fluttered towards the main room. She landed on the couch, pulling out the TV controller. As her eyes travelled throughout the room, she noticed a little light pink furball. Her hand stretched out to pat the little kitty, who by then was sleeping. Garbodor was startled by the reaction: the kitty barely opened her eyes, registering the alien's sight before bolting off in seconds, fleeing to Canvas' room. The bug girl tilted her head somewhat, confused.


"S-S-She had t-those big e-eyes... a-a-and she was too s-scary..." Rienna struggled with the words to put it, clutching tight to a glass of water that Canvas had brought her. Canvas sighed, sitting on her bed, tapping on the wooden panels of the bed. "So... you're scared of bugs too?" Rienna looked to the side, pondering how to reply it best. "It's not that I fear her... I was just startled, t-that's all." She then downed the entire glass of water, gathering her courage. "Alright, see? Now that I'm ready, I'll face her just fine. I'm the guardian of my owner, after all, can't let my guard down."

Rienna stood in front of the door. Canvas watched in silence for a while as the self-proclaimed guardian stood in position. After three minutes of that, she got up from her bed, confused. "Shouldn't you go and face her?" The cat humanoid looked at her, frowning. Her lips curled up and she started to cry. "Why did it have to be bugs of all things? Damned bugs!" Canvas sighed, looking at the catgirl. "Are you that scared that even your mission takes the passenger's seat?" Rienna blinked, dashing out of the room. Canvas chuckled as she heard the noises of a conflict.

"See, easy."

Being cheated out of points is something that is as normal to the sport of football as the grassy pitches, the overpriced beverages and the Apoxians being rubbish at it. The Hinodejin themselves might not have had that kind of story (or at least didn't care much when it did) but the loss to the Ministry was probably the most alarming case of a refereeing kerfuffle. Not that the Hinodejin were upset over the circumstances, believing that an error is human and you can't really ask much from someone who lacks the slightest bit of electronics inside them like most referees in the body of World Cup Committee's refereeing crew.

There was something rather poetic in this: many believe that the moment the Dreamplanetians blew themselves up into a stupor of angry nationalism and suicidal thoughts when the very same nation won a Cup of Harmony in spite of their lack of flair or really looking like they put the slightest bit of effort in the sport. It has to be reminded, however, that a football match isn't exactly the tale of a single tape. There's no unilateral version of a game, the same match that saw the Hinodejin robbed of any kind of benefits by a belligerent referee was also the match where the Main Nation Ministry, with some help from the bad afternoon the referee had, managed to sneak themselves a win over one of the multiverse's major teams.

Myozan Namezono, the less annoyed player of the bunch about the subject, seemed rather understanding of the whole ordeal. It has to be said that for a student of the Imperial Forces' Academy, the goalkeeper showed a surprising amount of diplomatic tact, politely noting that any team gives their 100% at all times, even if their 100% can be arguable as to whether it would be considered as so if done by another team. He also understood that the manager, Eleanor Lindgard, would rather put the result in the hands of another goalie - although it's unknown if this will be Sawano or Hiraguma at the net.

The game against Ko-oren might not align with what the simulation did put before the tournament (the groups being incredibly different comes to mind) but the Empire is looking forward to somehow proving the simulation wrong. With all respect to the Ko-orenites, but if they want to make it through the Hinodejin, they better bring their A-plus-plus game.
Last edited by Kita-Hinode on Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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95X WC 85 RP

Postby 95X » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:24 pm


Before the World Cup began, Sarah Foureleven was invited to her friend Margaret Revol's apartment, a small and unremarkable flat in Pacific City. After Sarah declined both coffee and tea, they had a friendly conversation on the upcoming games. It was going to be strange, as 95X would play Valanora, and Sarah Foureleven still had a bit of childlike "hero worship" for Laborious Hawk (she wrote fan mail to him in-character years ago), despite otherwise despising men to the point of not even acknowledging their presence unless she's required to.

The game came, and 95X Interim Coach Luke Trenton wisely kept Sarah Foureleven on the bench, who was allowed to sit next to Margaret.

Moments after the opening kickoff, Sarah began to gaze in awe and amazement. No amount of training or discipline could stop it.

Margaret eventually waved her hand in front of Sarah's face, no response.

Later, an assistant coach carefully tapped Sarah's shoulder.

"It's halftime," she said, "and everyone else is in the locker room."

The team doctor checked in with her there.

"She's just starstruck," the doctor said after a quick examination.

Sarah's chance to face off against the best in the world would have to wait, her greatest weakness was revealed, and she didn't return to the field. The 95Xers would come up short.
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Postby Zwangzug » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:00 pm

"The last time you faced off, of course, HUElavia emerged as the winners thanks to that dramatic 94th-minute goal from Navarro. What's changed since then?"

"Well, obviously, HUElavia are more highly regarded by international observers, and rightly so," Chevanthi jumped in. "Um, and another way to describe it is that, for ninety-three of those minutes, the match was actually quite level. They were an attacking side, us not so much, but overall I would say they held their own without being dominant, necessarily--"

"That's a pretty bleeping charitable way to look at it," Randall muttered.

"But I don't think it takes a lot of analysis to see what's changed since then," Chevanthi went on, "Coach Sonnabend is here and likes designated strikers, that's opened up opportunities for Johan, when maybe he wouldn't have gotten a look-in before. Lucas and Marlon have stepped down, Kurt's league went gray-and-white, which is obviously unfortunate but that's how these things go, and--Paige has experience dealing with the crowds and ambiance in Farfadillis as well as a lot of high-level competition from her time in Nephara, right, she's really stepped up and we know she's an important piece of the puzzle for us."

What she did not say, of course, was Joel, Joel is different. It wasn't just Navarro and it wasn't just Kawesa, it wasn't the Challengers' Cup or the TdC, it was the strain of all of it at once that weighed on him. Except that even if it hadn't been that sudden, that painful, he would still have been old and Paige would still have been up-and-coming, ready to supplant him. For us it was his stoicism in the face of everything that we remember, but HUElavia went out on tiebreakers, for goodness' sake, there were thirty other sides that remember the proper for something else, and most of them did better than we did. What does it matter?

"The Financier has pointed out that Zwangzug's 1./ has achieved strength without particularly deep pockets, how do you account for that?"

"Our pockets are fine," said Paige. "Both men's and women's, it's not like one of those sexist countries where the uniforms--"

"Setting aside the fact that our economy is, frankly, a contrived robotic mess," Satenik interrupted, "I think it's as simple as trusting in homegrown talent and recognizing that a lot of the world doesn't necessarily want to deal with our...eccentricities, it's maybe not as inviting a destination as some. But the stuff Coach Sonnabend accomplished in Bassabook, or Petrell in Arlington, there's nothing fancy, just knowing what you have to work with and playing to your strengths."

"Yeah," said Amos, "and also, I would say amateurism is pretty well ingrained in the university system, so if we're attracting young people from Brenecia or Kelssek or...whatever Qusmo are on makes sense that we wouldn't necessarily be reporting that data."

"The nation's IFCF strength is actually trending ahead of its KPBs, putting you more on par with, say, Valladares than Baker Park in the 'Lopez Principle' comparisons that have recently resurfaced in Astograth. Surely this is unexpected?" the reporter pressed.

"I really don't think so," said Joshua, acutely conscious of the metaphorical time bomb twitching between Chevanthi and Akhil further down the table. "I think some of our compatriots have worked long and hard to ensure that football has deep-lying roots here, not just the twenty-three of us, but a thriving league as well. The grueling schedule of these modern World Cups means that interruption there is perhaps more likely than it was in the past, but while some aspects come and go, our grassroots are secure, even if they do some things, uh, differently than other associations."

"This side's shown a lot of form in the qualifiers, not just these but others, and of course the Eagles' Cups and club tournaments are also to your credit. But my goodness, the last time Zwangzug won a match in the proper was when Davi Keane-Liuprand and Khamisi McCluey were playing against West Angola in World Cup Sixty-Six. And before that, you have to go back to--"

"No. You. Don't." The time bomb exploded.

"Excuse me?"

"We do not have to go back to whenever," Sydney growled. "Not only because that would be a violation of the laws of physics, but because no one cares. If you care, great, dwell in the past and cite allusions nobody will read to feel good about yourself. But don't drag me into this. Leave me alone, leave all of us alone, because we have a bleeping match to prepare for."

"Um...well...thank you for your insight, as always, and good luck today."

Joshua shook his head slightly. They had to know better, and yet they continued. Maybe they were just really hurting for a soundbite.


Paige could say what she wanted, but as far as Sydney was concerned, there was no way to get used to a flagship stadium that was permanently on fire. Flares when fans got out of hand? Sure. A stadium completely burnt down due to domestic turmoil, resulting in significant disruptions to the World Cup hosting schedule? It would make sense, and it had probably happened before. Actually, it had certainly happened before, but it wasn't any of Sydney's business. But this enduring flame, drawing Chevanthi's reverent gaze and making Coach Sonnabend act overprotective and worry about the nearby fans? Nah, that was just weird.

Chevanthi at least looked fresher than she did in the domestic season, stifling Gallego and Rossi's attacks. Akhil played with abandon, maybe trying to get yet another round of scouts to notice him, maybe no longer caring, and elegantly dispossessed Cristiano. Paige controlled the box in all three dimensions, jumping and diving low when she needed to.

The Amarillos brought on a fourth attacker, and at first the midfield seemed to waver against their numbers. But Sydney was from Arlington, she knew how to hold down a defense even if the formation looked askew. She fell back, linking up with Randall and Sophie, trying to shut them down.

The fans grew restless, though in some sections' cases that had more to do with standing and roaring next to an unnatural fire for an hour and a half. Ninety minutes came and went.

There were times when Sydney herself had been the hinge, pushed forward when no one else dared. How many times before it became a pattern, before people lost sight of her athleticism in their quest to connect dots? She was tired, too tired to think. HUElavia were pouring forward, and it was her turn to fall back, positioning herself to back up to Chevanthi and Paige if the traffic surged their way. Except it never came, Gordon was alone, and still pushing...

Mobbing did not make sense if you saw it as a way to idolize Gordon, to mess up his hair as you congratulated him--there were twenty-two of them and one of him, and even advanced geometric packing techniques did not allow for him to be everywhere at once. What they were mobbing was each other. Sydney squeezed Paige's hand, tossed her head on Chevanthi's shoulder, and acknowledged Riley's exuberance from the bench. Someday they would be someone else's past, and those who followed them would have to have the chance to be just as careless, carefree, as Sydney had been. So they would have their own chance to yell, to bask in their shared sweat and glory, to see nothing beyond the minute at hand.
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Postby Mriin » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:04 pm

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WC85 Qualifying - Searching for a lean Sheet

Postby Vilita » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:16 pm



Tivali Ring Stadium, Alikki-Corra, Vilita :: It was 7 Wins in 7 Matches for the Vilita Jungle Cats to kick off the World Cup 85 Qualification campaign. It was the first time since World Cup 81 Qualifying that they had even made it past Matchday 4 without conceding any points and in fact, the World Cup 85 Qualifying campaign had gotten off to a very similar start to the one during World Cup 81. Of course, this was good news for the Vilitan National Team who ultimately would go on to be crowned champions of World Cup 81 in Banija and the Free Republics.

During World Cup 81 Qualifying, the Jungle Cats would win their first 13 games - an all time National Team record for consecutive victories to start off a qualifying campaign. Vilita would fall agonizingly close to achieving the prophesied 14-0-0 record but were held on Matchday 14 on the road to 230th ranked Rannoria.

Like during World Cup 81 Qualifiers, the Jungle Cats successfully hit the 8 goal mark in a match - although putting eight past an unranked Swibia team didn't quite reach the level of eternal enshrinement that the scenes and scorelines from Vilita's 8-3 victory over Krytenia at the Lirai Asku Castle would create.

While the demolition of a well regarded rival nation in Krytenia - a nation that had held Vilita to a draw at the same venue just one cycle prior, was still being celebrated throughout the nation, the National Team were already off on their way to Newmanistan where the Jungle Cats would face another tough challenge against the Esportivan nation and home to the NSSCRA sanctioning body for organized Stock Car auto racing crossing two of the three most popular sports in the Tropics.

 Vilita 4 - 2 Newmanistan	
Goals: :: 13' Sipke Tarala:: 37' Limu Katarakhna:: 57' Fishtii Blikala:: 88' Clarana Refiami
Team: Vernasa Sanamun, Mileke Drokasorna, Jirak Trikala, Inbekira Ajhabekk, Polaox Torerun (Va'a-Rio Kiwavn 64'), Limu Katarakhna, Cywrenta Vlintejni, Jyuola Mtalata, Intikko Kuhilana (Nii'arala Milaaso 45'), Tenziki Kulakao (Fishtii Blikala 67'), Sipke Tarala

It was a game that the Vilitans were always holding the upper hand, taking an early lead through internationstatal super star Sipke Tarala and maintaining a 2-1 lead at the half. The start of the second half was a period of high pressure being applied by the Vilitan attackers who struck the uprights twice inside five minutes from the restart. Newmanistan was able to absorb the pressure for a time but ultimately it was just one too many chances for Ryan McNamara to keep out. With fresher legs, half time substitute Nii'arala Milaaso finally converted for Vilita who expanded their lead to two goals. Jarrell Connolly was providing the spark for Newmanistan when they were able to maintain possession and gave the home fans at the Proving Grounds something to cheer about pulling them within one goal as the stadium began buzzing wondering if the Rockets could steal a point from the Top Team in the multiverse. Ultimately, however, the home fans would go home disappointed as Nii'arala Milaaso scored for the second time in the match to seal the game for the Jungle Cats.

While it was only half of the output that the Jungle Cats had in their previous game against Krytenia, it was still an important victory as they crossed the 1/3rd mark in the Qualifying Campaign. With 8 matches down and 16 to play, Vilita had won all their games and scored goals in buckets. The only concern - if there was any, would be on the other side of the pitch where through 8 games the Jungle Cats had failed to keep a single clean sheet.

 Vilita 6 - 1 Oberour Ar Moro	
Goals: :: 15' Va'a-Rio Kiwavn:: 28' Linkat Cjinder:: 35' Clarana Refiami:: 68' Enzoril Alabonni:: 76' Linkat Cjinder:: 83' Limu Katarakhna
Team: Vernasa Sanamun (Enzoril Alabonni 59'), Rojara Tiones, Linkat Cjinder, Mileke Drokasorna, Cywrenta Vlintejni, Limu Katarakhna, Va'a-Rio Kiwavn (Jyuola Mtalata 45'), Polaox Torerun, Berali Tzufarei (Intikko Kuhilana 45'), Nii'arala Milaaso, Clarana Refiami

If any game was the epitome of the Jungle Cats campaign thus far it was their Matchday 9 clash with Obverour Ar Moro. Vilita were both efficient on offense and careless on defense, letting the Moro'ns clip off an early lead with poor ball control in the defensive half before rattling off six unanswered goals to take charge and extend their winning streak to nine consecutive games.

It was a second straight appearance for Vernasa Sanamun with the Kiiarana City netminder continuing to earn the trust of the Vilita National Team training and coaching staff despite playing domestically for a side outside the top levels of the Vilitan League. While there have in the past been inquiries for Sanamun's services to attempt to learn the goalkeeper away from Kiiarana, Sanamun themselves has refused to entertain such inquiries preferring instead to stay close to family even if it meant less income and fewer domestic titles. Of course, for a goalkeeper who already has won the World Cup Title on two different occasions, the importance of chasing top level domestic trophies may not rate as highly as it oes for a player who has not already experienced the greatest accomplishment in the sport.

 Vilita 1 - 1 Drunk People at the Local Tavern	
Goals: :: 44' Cywrenta Vlintejni
Team: Vernasa Sanamun, Rojara Tiones, Inteali Koranjo, Linkat Cjinder, Jyuola Mtalata, Polaox Torerun, Cywrenta Vlintejni (Kudii Davasarii 60'), Limu Katarakhna, Va'a-Rio Kiwavn, Enzoril Alabonni (Tenziki Kulakao 45'), Sipke Tarala (Nii'arala Milaaso 45')

While Vilita had opened the World Cup 85 Qualification campaign with nine victories from nine games - just their second best start to a campaign in the modern era, there was one common sticking point that the Jungle Cats could not shake. No matter how much they outclassed their opponents on the pitch, no matter how many goals they were winning by, they always found a way to concede at least one goal to their opponents. Over nine matches the Jungle Cats had not one single clean sheet. It hadn't hurt them yet but it was about to.

For the third consecutive match it was Venasa Sanamun between the pipes for the Jungle Cats and the Kiiarana City goalkeeper did about as well in this game as they had against any others. This game, however, was by far the most confusing of all the Vilita National Team had faced to that point. Their opponent were the Drunk People from the Local Tavern. They had no ID and their rostered names were no more than the names of the nations competing in the World Cup. In fact, one of the opposing players shirts just said "Vilita Turori" on the back of it. There was no first name listed, Just Vilita Turori. What did that mean? Was this a drunk person whose legal name was Vilita Turori? Was this a Drunk fan of the Vilita National Team who was given the nick name 'Vilita' due to their fandom?

The explanation was unknown but the ramifications were non-trivial. The Vilitan offense struggled against the uncharacteristic and at times chaotic "Super Drunk" defense as unknown defenders with confidence several orders of magnitude above their raw skill level denied chance after chance of Vilitan build up. While Cywrenta Vlintejni did manage to find a way to get a ball past a drunk Equestrian to give Vilita a 1-0 lead at the half, that would be the only goal the Jungle Cats would score in the match. They were unable to pad their lead in the second half and it would come back to haunt them as Sanamun conceded the obligatory second half goal - normally just a consolation tally for the Jungle Cats opponents but this time the goal would steal two points from the Group 14 leaders and be the first blemish on their World Cup 85 Record.

 Vilita 4 - 2 Riena	
Goals: :: 13' Rojara Tiones:: 37' Jurzen Devmiko:: 56' Linvoi Warazil:: 84' Nii'arala Milaaso
Team: Mako Canopii (Vernasa Sanamun 61'), Linkat Cjinder, Rojara Tiones, Jirak Trikala, Polaox Torerun, Cavuna Aquafek, Jurzen Devmiko (Linvoi Warazil 45'), Limu Katarakhna, Kudii Davasarii (Sipke Tarala 45'), Nii'arala Milaaso, Fishtii Blikala

The Result would spark a change in the Jungle Cats who would have a rebound match with a 4-2 victory over Riena on Matchday 11 before having another minor rivalry game to close out the first half of qualifying on Matchday 12 againstst K Legalese. While the most fond memories between Vilita and Legalese for most modern Vilitan's is the World Cup 68 final, the historical record shows a history of two nations connected more closely than it would appear. The two nations would co-host the Baptism of Fire Cup together and from there go on to co-host the 22nd World Cup along with Liverpool England.

The Jungle Cats would take no mercy on their former partners and hold the Bekkside nation out to pasture with a 4-0 victory on the road to conclude the first half of World Cup 85 Qualifying. The match was a surprise opportunity for Tropicorp based goalkeeper Hanauma Ranbomahi to make just their fourth start for the Vilita National Team. While Ranbomahi is not typically at the top of the selection list for the Vilitan National coaching staff, with a grueling 24 game qualifying schedule the staff dug deep into their pool of goalkeepers to select the Tropicorp FC netminder who has spent more time on the international stage acclimating Cocoabo to the pitch then taking the spotlight themselves. In addition to being the starting goalkeeper at Tropicorp FC in the Vilitan Stellar Division, Ranbomahi has also appeared in the AOCAF Cup for Team Tropicorp whom they qualify for by virtue of their employment with Tropicorp FC.

The world of sports betting, while not common in Vilita, would have been hard pressed to find any takers on the line of Ranbomahi being the first Vilitan goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet during World Cup 85 Qualifying. On the other end of the pitch, there wasn't much to speak of from the Vilitan attackers as all the offense on the day came from the midfield or back. The scoresheet was dominated by the veteran Turoki Tide midfielders Polaox Torerun and Cavuna Aquafek who accounted for three of Vilita's four goals on the night. As the first half of World Cup 85 Qualifying came to an end, the Jungle Cats were comfortably on top of Group 14 with 34 points, 7 clear of second place Qasden and 14 points ahead of Riena who occupied the challenging position.

 Vilita 4 - 0 Legalese	
Goals: :: 26' Polaox Torerun:: 28' Polaox Torerun:: 69' Cavuna Aquafek:: 75' Mileke Drokasorna
Team: Hanauma Ranbomahi, Linkat Cjinder (Cavuna Aquafek 45'), Mileke Drokasorna, Jirak Trikala (Berali Tzufarei 71'), Cywrenta Vlintejni, Va'a-Rio Kiwavn, Limu Katarakhna, Polaox Torerun (Intikko Kuhilana 45'), Jyuola Mtalata, Sipke Tarala, Tenziki Kulakao

-¤-¤-¤World Cup 20 Champions¤-¤-¤-¤-¤-¤World Cup 68 Champions¤-¤-¤-
-¤-¤-¤World Cup 77 Champions¤-¤-¤-

Region: Atlantian Oceania - The Home of Sport

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Kelssek » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:40 pm



Kelssek gains a point, ponies await

Taeshan were let off the hook by a Kelssek team that failed to solidify its possession advantage on the scoreboard, said manager Andrea Crowe after the Voyagers’ second match at World Cup 85 ended in a 1-1 draw. The Voyagers were the ones who looked like a team 15 rungs higher on the world rankings ladder, and Kelssek took the lead on 15 minutes through an unlikely 35-yard howitzer from captain Ruslan Demetriev.

Possibly the more hospitable temperatures in Fröndt helped Kelssek find their legs, although questions would have to be asked on the Taeshan side why the Purple Knights didn’t look more lively themselves early on. And the trade-off of avoiding the Szoiria heat was the flying jellyfish, some of which met their final demise when hit by the ball or had simply chosen to perish on the field, creating slippery patches which had to be mopped up by stadium workers at half time.

Colm Ó Tuathail benefited from one such incident when the corpse of a particularly large specimen tripped up Taeshite full-back Sullivan Garrett, allowing the Shamrock Cathair winger time to place a cross onto Matt Lister’s forehead. But Florian Wagner produced an excellent acrobatic save that denied Kelssek a possible 2-0 advantage after 39 minutes.

Taeshan improved noticeably after the break, and a smaller jellyfish was visibly dispatched by a curling shot that wrong-footed Kai Poirier before going inches wide. They secured the equalizer through Wilhelm Nkitilina with 50 minutes gone, with the KT Itzalovalle target-man rising over Joseline Fourtin to turn a long ball into a headed pass to Nycolas Jackson, who played a diagonal through ball for Nkitilina to shoot past a sprawling Poirier.

Andrea Crowe clearly felt Kelssek could have taken this match, however, sending on Rémy Dionne for Demetriev as a statement of offensive intent for the closing 20 minutes. Both sides traded half-chances in the remainder of the match, but were unable to get the right finish. Perhaps they were held back by a bit of a cautious attitude knowing that while a draw wasn’t ideal for either side, a loss would almost certainly end their involvement in the tournament.

Crowe said as much in her post-match comments. “Can’t help but be disappointed that we gave away that equalizer. We had a real chance to win this match, if we had some willingness to run at the defence and play that forward pass more quickly.”

Meanwhile, Ruslan Demetriev was quick to play down talk of a possible progress to the second round and seemed to suggest high expectations and the elements will post a real obstacle. “Hope is pretty dangerous to be pretty honest. We have to go for it but you know, we’re back in Szoiria again. It’ll be key that we do not become addicted to water. It will take hold of us and we will resent its absence.”*

Kelssek: Poirier, Bowler, Fourtin, Halliger, Liadon, Lapierre, Demetriev (Dionne 71’), Ó Tuathail, Champetier (Douglass 78’), Custworth (Taleb 59’), Lister.

So you’re saying there’s a chance
Kelssek must win against Equestria to have any chance of advancing from the group stage, but if Taeshan also wins against The Holy Empire and by the same margin, who goes through could come down to a coin toss. And we mean that literally – the next tiebreaker is the head-to-head matchup, but since that was a draw, under competition rules such a circumstance means that random chance will decide who moves on.

FK rejects “economics voodoo”
Football Kelssek development director Rhys Tierney meanwhile rejected calls to encourage the Kelssek Football League (KFL) clubs to spend more money on transfers, based on a widely-shared article in a Reçueçn business newspaper. Tierney called the idea “economics voodoo” and said it would actually harm the development of Kelssekian players.

“The way to improve the national team is ensuring a solid developmental system with highly trained and qualified coaches especially at the youth levels. You also ensure pathways to excellence and competitive opportunities within the country and abroad. That’s how we’ve been able to produce the crop of players that’ve gotten us to this point.”

“The idea that the national team will improve if the league starts buying more expensive foreign players, that’s not very logical. It’s totally the other way around. If foreign leagues are paying lots of money for your players, now that’s more of a sign that talent is coming through.”

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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Banija » Fri Jun 26, 2020 2:52 pm

Marcus Waters, Banija v. Free Republics, 55th minute

The Banijan manager was pacing up and down the sideline, frustrated with how the match was turning out so far. The start to the World Cup for Banija was on the brink of being labeled disastrous. They had already blown a 2-0 lead to Pot 4 Sarzonia, a match that had crushed the spirits of the squad and probably gave Marcus Waters his worst press cycle as manager, since he took over for the team in the middle of World Cup 80 Qualifying. The World Cup is a special competition- nothing else compares to it, not even the AOCAFs. Every match was amplified, every moment was amplified.

Sometimes it was good. Sometimes, it was bad. World Cup 83 showed the benefits of all those moments being amplified. The country had gotten behind the Kadongo Kamu unlike it ever had before as the co-hosts made their miracle run all the way to the semifinals. They downed big squad after big squad, defeating then 5th ranked South Covello in a penalty shootout, and then putting the sword through the Vilitan dynasty as it would be the Banijans who would end their chase for this tournament's second ever threepeat.

It had been beneficial in so many ways for the sport in the country. Banija had long been making the climb- but that was the team's explosive arrival onto the international scene. Nothing could compare to it- and it had benefited players up and down the country. Scouts started flooding into Banija, as the value of a Banijan player went through the roof. All sorts of players on the team got recognition, in terms of big contracts being handed out, bigger transfer fees flooding into the Banijan Soccer League, and even Kuma Bultum being named a Galactico. Marcus Waters probably has the safest job security out of any non-Equestrian or Vilitan manager in Atlantian Oceania.

Now, of course, one bad World Cup wouldn't erase all that progress. But it would be a significant disappointment. There were legitimate expectations on this team, and anything short of the quarterfinals would be a failure. Being eliminated after just two games when you're ranked in the Top 5, when you just finished shredding all comers in World Cup Qualifying? Absolutely and utterly unacceptable. And yet, that's exactly what Waters feared at the moment. There was no inspiration in the Kadongo Kamu at the moment. Lazy, looping crosses into the waiting arms. Gitonga Kahara, the captain, running around like a maniac, playing like a man who knows he's in the later stages of his career, but nobody else doing much of anything. It had been 19 year old Love Holm who had made it 1-0 to the Free Republics in the 37th minute, and if things stood, that would be Banija's earliest elimination from the FInals since World Cup 80, our first ever World Cup.

Waters knew that he needed to do something. Sarzonia's draw with Pasarga earlier in the day meant one thing. The live table was Free Republics at 6 points, Sarzonia at 4, Pasarga at 1, Banija at 0. Banija could be eliminated. He looked out at his bench. "Nwabudike!" He yelled. Nwabudike Ugonna, whose starting spot had been usurped by Okparra. "And, let me see.... Ephrem!" The backup right back ran up to the manager as well. "You all know the situation we're in. You're two of the most experienced players on this team. You know what it means to wear the shirt. I need energy. We're down 1-0 here. Our fans will start booing us in a couple of minutes. Don't let that happen."

They needed to warm up, of course. A couple of other substitutes warmed up as well, just so the other manager didn't know exactly who was going on. The mind tricks of sport, eh? Ephrem Selassiee coming into the game for Iruka, and Ugonna coming into the game for Madu Okparra. "Come on guys!" Marcus Waters yelled. It was his big risk- would the veterans be able to turn the tide for the Kadongo Kamu? In the immediate aftermath, it looked to be disastrous. Selassiee did fumble away the ball to an attacking Porbergur Lydsson, who was able to fire on it. A good diving save from Francois Tantoh, however, seemed to do the trick and turn the tide.

All of a sudden, there were players matching the endless energy of the 'Boy Wonder', Gitonga Kahara. Ugonna flying up and down the field. Selassiee, even playing from the back, was racing up to have an extra man in attack. And the sight of these veterans, especially the 33 year old Selassiee, playing with boundless amounts of energy, the rest of the team started to pick up the slack too. The extra run was being made. Minds were being focused. And the pressure was really being put on the Republican defense. It wouldn't take long for the Banijans to score. In the 69th minute, a cross from Selassiee found the head of Ilman Jawara, who headed it into the corner of the yes.

"YES!" Waters yelled on the bench as the Banijan fans started to make some noise again. Kahara had raced into the back of the net to grab the ball and run it towards the center line. The Banijans were continuing to pile pressure onto the Free Republics- the Pot 2 side were now firmly on the back foot, as they seemed to be holding on for dear life, packing it in the back to prevent opportunities for going forward. Once the 80th minute hit, and it was still 1-1, Waters knew he needed one more game changer. He looked out as his bench. "Kizza!" He yelled. "Wait no- Kiggwe." He motioned to Basamula. The attacking midfielder came over. "You'll go into the game for Uche. Let's get her done."

It wouldn't take long for Basamula to make an impact. The fresh legs in the midfield, in this late of a game, did wonders for the team that was knocking on the door. An overhead through ball saw a great opportunity for Basamula, who timed his run perfectly as the tired legs of the Free Republics mistimed their offside trap. But still, he had a lot to do to finish. The goalkeeper did not come forward either, staying on his back line. It was a mistake, as from about 8 yards, Basamula had a free diving header that he buried into the back of the net in the 83rd minute. The crowd went wild. "YES!" Waters screamed as the entire Banijan bench ran to the corner to celebrate with Basamula. He stayed, hugging some coaches.

"Come on boys, finish!" Waters said. But at that point, their talent and drive took forward. They were hungry for more, and there was no doubt they would get some. The Free Republics weren't really extending themselves at that point, as even a 1 goal loss would put them in a strong position. But a sloppy pass forward in the first minute of stoppage time was intercepted by Namakula Kawesa, who led the Banijans on the break. A through ball to Gitonga Kahara saw the captain cross the ball to a wide open Nwabudike Ugonna, who headed the ball straight into the back of the net. The celebrations were great.

After the game, Marcus Waters made sure to speak to reporters. "Look at THAT!" He told members of the media. "This team has courage, this team has fight. We certainly have what it takes- we have just hit a rough patch in our last few matches, including friendlies. But now, for once, we've put it together. But there is no time to celebrate- this win will mean nothing at all if we can't follow it up with another one. But I, for one, believe that this team has found something today. We have this fight within us, and we know, when we focus, when we play selflessly, when we are in the moment, we can compete with anybody. But we must apply that mentality for 90 minutes against Pasarga! All eyes are on the Wanderers now."

He answered some questions, and then went back to the locker room. He was 0-2 as Banijan manager against Pasarga, falling on Matchday 3 of both World Cup 81 and 82 against the Wanderers. He knew that for the Banijans to finally beat them, he'd have to have a strong gameplan. And he began to put one together, a lineup that could drop the one-time World Cup winners and put Banija into the knockouts...

Starters: 4-2-1-3
Players who are based in a foreign league are bolded.
Players who have their first ever competitive callup received in World Cup 85 Qualifying are green.
BSL = Banijan Soccer League, Banija's only national professional soccer league.
GK #35 François Tantoh. Age 28. Plays for Herzegovina City FC in the BSL. Started MD26 of Qualifying and WC 85 MD2.
RB #27 Uzoma Iruka. Age 25(Female). Plays for Hoima Warriors in the BSL.
CB #3 Kuma Bultum. Age 25. Plays for Raynor City United in Valanora.
CB #5 Demba Kinteh. Age 22. Plays for Port Sebastian in Schottia. Captain of the U18 Sporting World Cup 8 championship squad. On bench for first half of Qualifying.
LB #13 Fekati Abdi. Age 29. Plays for the Herzegovina Phoenix in the BSL.
RCM #6 Mzukisi Nzo. Age 23. Plays for Yaton FC in the Taeshan Premier League.
LCM #14 Ablie Kah. Age 31. Plays for Istria City FC in the BSL. First start of the World Cup Finals, on the bench for most of Qualifying.
CAM #10 Namakula Kawesa. Age 28. (Female). Plays for Tanrısal in Pasarga. .
RW #12 Nwabudike Ugonna. Age 29. Plays for FC Rotmunde 1932 in the Republikaliga in Siovanija & Teusland. First start of World Cup 85.
LW #11 Gitonga Kahara. Age 32. Plays for OAS Royal FC in the Härlighet Ligan in Cosumar. Captain.
ST #17 Ilman Jawara. Age 28. Plays for Soldarian FC in Valanora.
GK #23 Wanda Kouyaté. Age 23(Female). Just signed by Jungle Strike FC in Vilita. Started MD21-MD25 of Qualifying.
GK #1 Jumu Sanneh. Age 35. Plays for Turoki United in the Vilitan League's Declasse Division. Starter for most of Qualifying and WC 85 MD1.
RB #2 Ephrem Selassiee. Age 33. Plays for Sterling City United in Darmen. First start on MD21 of Qualifying.
CB #20 Kawsu Kaba. Age 29. Plays for the Hoima Warriors in the BSL. Captained Di Bradini Cup 44 side. Starter for first half of Qualifying.
LB #4 Lama Nyang. Age 22. Plays for Jinja City FC in the BSL. Starter for second half of Qualifying.
CM #8 Kizza Okafor. Age 31. Plays for the Coret Hawks in the Nepharim Premiership. Started WC 85 MD1
CM #15 Amadi Uche. Age 29. Plays for Wexax United in Valanora. Started WC 85 MD2
CAM/CM #29 Kiggwe Basamula. 28 years old. Plays for the Busembe Timberwolves in the BSL.
CAM #21 Enyinnaya Jideofor. Age 26. Plays for Lhor in Chromatika. On bench for first half of Qualifying.
RW/RM #71 Anwar Dawit. Age 21. Plays for Kitara AA in the BSL. Captain of the DBC 47 Championship team. First start on MD21 of Qualifying.
RW/LW #22 Madu Okparra. Age 25. Plays for Raynor City United in Valanora. Starter for WC 85 MD1 and MD2.
ST #19 Idai Uster. Age 22(Female). Plays for AFC Treason in the Nepharim Premiership. First start on MD21 of Qualifying.
President of the World Cup Committee and the World Cup of Hockey Federation. Back to Back defending IBC champions.
Kabaka = King
Lubuga = Queen Consort
Isebantu = Crown Prince
Waziri = Foreign Minister
Katikkiro = Prime Minister
Omugabe/Omugaba= Prince/Princess
Banija Domestic Sports | Map of Banija.
NSCF 14 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria), NSCF 17 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria), NSCF 19 CHAMPIONS(Northern Moravica), NSCF 21 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria)
Sporting World Cup 8. World Baseball Classic 47. Di Bradini Cup 47. World Cup 86. IBC 30 & 31. National Trophy Cabinet.
Does your country need public transit? Contact the RTC!
If you see this, assume you have an embassy in my country and we have an embassy in yours!

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Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Sarzonia » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:42 pm

Scene: The Gray House, Woodstock

President Grant Haffner flew in from Farfadillis as the Sarzonian Secret Service decided not to take any risk of a potential incident between Haffner and representatives from Free Republics.

Without having a chance to unpack Sarzonia's 2-2 draw against Pasarga, he and first lady Gloria Haffner were both ushered on board Sarzonia One and heading back to Woodstock. If not for Free Republics senator Samuel Izmailov's bluster, the Haffners would simply be awaiting a football match instead of preparing for a possible war.

Instead of taking a day or two to decompress, recover from jet lag, and gradually ease back to work, the Sarzonian head of state and his wife were in an underground bunker sitting across from Senio Vice President for Defence John Newman and the joint chiefs of staff and evaluating their next move. Haffner watched as lieutenant president Brian Patrick paced the room.

"Brian! Sit down before you make everyone nervous!" Haffner said sharply. Too sharply, he thought as he saw the deer caught in the headlights look on the face of the face of Sarzonia's de facto head of government.

"It's just that seeing you wound so tight is going to make everyone nervous," Gloria Haffner whispered to Patrick. She caught the glare from Grant Haffner, but returned it with one of her own. Even if Grant Haffner could make policy that affected millions of Sarzonian lives, she still had the authority to make the nation's chief executive sleep on the couch. Grant Haffner knew not to cross his wife, so he resumed the briefing.

"As you're aware, Consul Scarlett Nichols just sent a communication to you and Mayor Alta about the status of their election and the bombastic comments from Senator Izmailov," Newman said.

"I read it, John," Haffner said. "I know what she said. We need a response to it that lets them know we mean business."

"Consul Nichols proposed to have a summit in Republicana to discuss the state of relations between our countries," Senior Vice President and External Affairs Officer Bryan Conway said. Haffner scowled and pit his hand up.

"Out of the question," he said. "We're not going to that shithole country." Conway shot Haffner a scowl that made clear that he was already aware of that response from his boss.

"We already transmitted our objection to the venue. We proposed a neutral third party as a location for potential talks," Conway said, aware by the sceptical look on Haffner's face that he would have to make the case for talking both countries down from the precipice of war.

"We sent them a list of countries we would be amenable to having serve as mediators," Conway said. "We believe it's in both countries' best interests to prevent war.

Haffner opened his mouth, ready to speak.

"I'm willing to talk," he said, "but we can't allow Izmailov's threat to invade go unchecked. We also want to make clear that we don't want war, but they shouldn't be so smug that they feel they can win a war as easily as Nichols believes."

"Cut the bullshit, Grant!" came the reply from the only person in the room who could get away with being that blunt with Grant Haffner.

"Gloria," Grant Haffner said in a firm tone, enough to convey his irritation and and with his wife, but not enough to guarantee his sleeping on the couch that.

"You're talking about waving your penis around when it could cost millions of lives on both sides, "Gloria Haffner retorted. "Mike Sarzo nominated you to be the country's top diplomat because you can talk to foreign leaders and foreign ministers, well pick up the fucking phone and start doing the job you were originally picked to do."

An audible gasp pierced the tense silence in the room as even the joint chiefs were stunned at how Gloria Haffner interjected into the discussion.


Scene: Aboard the ISS Furious

Barkley, Lewis and Munoz were sitting in the ready room. Barkley had returned from another meeting aboard the flagship and the orders from the top were to prepare for launch.

Obviously, the talks in the situation room broke down enough for this next step to be the topic of discussion.

"As you know," Barkley said, "before we launch, all three of us have to come to a unanimous agreement. I can't order you to commit to launching a payload that could kill millions of lives and will start a war of mutually-assured destruction.

"We've been given orders to decide whether to open fire. I need to know from both of you what your votes are before I give the order. Commander Munoz?"

Munoz cleared his throat, aware of the anticipation by both superior officers. He drew in his breath and exhaled slowly.

"In favour," he said. He knew his captain was ready to pull the trigger that would have caused death itself to rain down like a violent summer thunderstorm in Nicksia. Barkley noted the vote glumly as he began to have second thoughts about his own decision, already recorded in the ship's log as supporting a cataclysmic first strike. He then turned to Lewis.

"Commander Lewis?" Now it was Lewis's turn to feel piercing eyes upon her, knowing full well that a vote she turned over in her mind, one which caused her to skip lunch in the officer's wardroom because of anxiety she admitted to no one was now up to her.

She put her hand to her forehead, feeling the beads of sweat that began to slide down her face. She couldn't pretend to be impervious to her nerves now and she hated that. Ultimately, however, the decision about whether to start this war was hers and hers alone.

She slowly breathed through her nostrils and exhaled. She opened her mouth, and suddenly, she found her voice with surprising confidence.

"I vote no," she said. She didn't look st Barkley, so she missed the flash of relief in his eyes.

"Let the record show," he said, "the vote was 2-1 in favour of launch. However, because the vote for a launch must be unanimous, the vote fails. I'll contact Admiral Gardiner. Commander Lewis, notify the helmsman to surface the boat."

"Aye, sir," Lewis said, now not trying to hide a smile that finally eased the tension in the room.
World Lacrosse Council President. Member of the WBC Council. the IBO Committee, and the WCoH Federation. He/him/his.
World Cup 22; World Baseball Classic 18; Di Bradini Cup 8 (U21 World Cup 29); World Bowl XI & XIV; FHWC 15 & 18; Quidditch World Cup 9; NS World Cup of Masters; Wonder Cup: Back From The Stars; World Indoor Soccer Championship I; Aussie Rules Football World Cup I; World Softball Classic I; AOCAF XII & XXIX; Gold Coast Basketball Tournament; AOLC 3; 3-time Draggonnii Inviyatii champions; 4-time IBC champions; 5-time WLC winners and Scott Cup champions.
First nation to win NSWC grand slam (Baptism of Fire Cup 3; Cup of Harmony 10; World Cup 22; AOCAF XII and XXIX). NSWC Hall of Fame

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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Farfadillis » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:43 pm

Más vale tarde que nunca.

That's what every single Faroleran said when they were late for practice. It's a saying that, from what she could gather, pervaded Farf society. Late for practice, late for lunch, late for dinner, late for the game, officials also late for the game to cancel that out. Baldomero Teijeiro, however, had a tendency to use that saying a lot more often than his teammates. Pam was already this close to benching him for insubordination. Cue the Turori game.

Toru'u strips rue Cazade of the ball, then punts it towards Aikiki. The Turorian forward turns around and faces Ûsêtêrnìx. The Rulandese is positioned correctly, getting past him without help would prove difficult. However, this is a quick counterattack, and la Vherderoja does not fare well against those. Like, at all. Especially not with Teijeiro on the pitch.

As Aikiki passes the ball to an incoming Umaka'a, Pam watches in horror as Wìjìnì covers for Teijeiro, who's just bombed forward and chosen to not track back at all. Wìjìnì, hardly the best defender, is easily dispatched of with a good feint. Umaka'a then smashes it past Phelede. As the ball goes in, a strolling Teijeiro finally makes it to where he should've been at the start of the counterattack.

"Better late than never, right?" Pam sarcastically whispers to herself.

As much as she wants to replace Teijeiro, doing so in the seventh minute would cause a shitstorm. She'd cautiously wait till half time, then bench his disrespectful, careless ass.


Târdâré vâ nünkâ.

The Rulandese version of the saying. A careless Alxíkí not tracking back after losing the ball. A bit more forgiveable, as he is supposed to make the difference up front, unlike Teijeiro. However, staying off-side? That's just lazy.

And what's that? rue Cazade recovering the ball. A quick one-two with Êns. rue Cazade looking to pass the ball to a pacey winger that might break away and find himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Alxíkí's unmarked. He's fast, surely he'll be a good recipient for such a pass! Pam sighs. She knows what's coming.

A great, precise through pass leave the youngster free to score his first World Cup goal. He cheekily chips it. It goes in. "Gôóóól" he shouts out. He punches his chest, points towards the Farf crowd. A whistle blows. Offside, of course.

Pam shakes her head.


Mieuxvautyél később ke soha.

Two minutes to go until half time. The Eels are utterly dominating. It's not even a contest; Farfadillis has failed to show up. Another long pass breaks the Farf defense, this time from Mpala'a. Aikiki heads it and it falls to Iretziia, who is now through on goal. Phelede should've come out of his goal by now. But he hasn't. Iretziia tries to dribble past him, but Phelede arrives late.

It's a penalty and a red card.

Pam chooses Dieje Ibrelaná to replace him. The Ferdullaelan dives to the left, Iretziia's shot goes to the right, and Turori are now two goals ahead and one man up.


Vela más tarrhar que no arrhibar.

Half time has come and gone, and we're thirteen minutes into the second half. A mistimed tackle from Fermández, who's come on for Teijeiro, leads to a free kick for Turori. It is Mirana Gotuai that is going to take it. Dieje sets up the wall and gives instructions to his teammates. Very basic ones at that, but with this team that's not unwarranted. He positions himself perfectly. Gotuai would have to pull off a very, very good shot to score from there.

He pulls off a good one, instead. It arches over the wall. It's not a cross, so for once Farf defensive fragility won't be playing a role. It's pretty precise, and it's coming towards the goal pretty fast. But it's a shot that can be saved... if only Dieje uses his great agility and height to his advantage. But his feet have yet to leave the ground. The ball's coming fast. He's reacted. He's jumped. He's grazed the ball with his fingers, and it has gone in. A few instants can make all the difference.

Pam is just looking deflated.


Paremmin spät än aldrie.

It's too late to turn the game around. It's the eighty-fifth minute, Turori are three goals ahead, and the team's missing a midfielder because Phelede went and got himself sent off. Holsteiner lives to win. He would sell his grandmother for a win here. He's been trying to wind up the Turorians the whole game, to no avail: it usually works much better when the team at least is in the game.

As the Eels' backline passes the ball amongst themselves, Holsteiner continues to press. Every goal can make a difference - goal difference is a tiebreaker, after all. But as he gets to Mpala'a, something in him snaps. A flying kung-fu kick, studs up, straight to the chest. A fight almost breaks out, but the Turorians know better than to stain their convincing victory.

A red card, probably a lengthy suspension. Mpala'a is taken off the pitch on a stretcher. But Holsteiner now feels better. He got something out of this game, at least.

Pam can only facepalm.


Better late than never.

That's what Pam tells the team ahead of the match against Zwangzug.
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Pasarga » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:07 pm

"The Wanderers are out of this, aren't they?"

"Well not mathematically, but for all practical purposes, there really is no road to recovery for the side to come out of the group at this point. It would require the team to play so far above themselves, so far above what they have put out on the field thus far in Farfadillis, and then to get a little help from the Free Republics as well. At this point, the only thing the Wanderers really are playing for is a bit of pride, to be able to go back home to the dual islands with the heads held high and the belief that they can build on from this cycle to put forth a capable team for the next. That and apparently the Wanderers have not been bested by Banija in the Finals yet, so keeping that record in tact would be a nice feather in the cap of the side given Banija's rise through the ranks of footballing powerhouses in the world."

"What a difference a poor forty-five minutes can make on a teams fortunes. A three to one win over the Republicans and the Wanderers would have been out of the starting gate flying, the sort of momentum that you can then take into your second match and get three points where you might have only gotten one otherwise, such as how the Wanderers failed to make their chances count against Sarzonia. Five dropped points of six and sitting on the brink of elimination, with no one really to blame but ourselves and letting the foot off the gas after that impeccable first half against the Republicans. It is a bitter pill to have to swallow when you look in the mirror and know that the failure and hurt that you are experiencing is all on your own feet, that there is no one else that could blame for your shortcomings."

"A bitter pill indeed, even if the group looked very dangerous from the onset, there was still the hope that the Wanderers could have found a way to escape from it in their first time back in the Finals in three editions. However that sour feeling of not being good enough, of letting your naivety get the better of you against a better team, that will make the team grow and get better if they take the lessons to heart. Instead of letting the Republicans back into the match, they should have put their cleats on the throat of the Republican team and not let up. Not finishing off opponents that they have beaten has been something of a weakness for the Wanderers for years and it finally bit them in the biggest of stages. It is time for the entire organization to learn from the past and figure out a better way forward."

"What chance do you give the Wanderers of finding a way to nab a result and spoil Banija's chances at advancing out of the group?"

"Honestly, probably around twenty percent if I am being honest. Banija wants a chance to prove why they were some bookies favorite to win and they want to finally get one over on the side in the Finals, it is all there for them to play for. As has been said, the Wanderers would have to win and then have a lot of help to be able to find a way into the knockout rounds, so clearly Banija is going to want it more. Can the team get a result? Sure, but the odds are clearly stacked against them and the team has not shown the skill needed to do so. If I was a betting person, I would wager on a two goal Banija win, though my heart is hoping for a Pasarga victory and for the Republicans to flex on Sarzonia the same way that they flexed against the Wanderers in the opening match. It would not be deserved after what we have seen in the first two matchdays, but the sweetness of such a scenario that sees the Wanderers advance would be like drinking the nectar of the gods."

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Democratic Socialists

WC85-MD2 - Farfadillis Destruction

Postby Turori » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:48 pm


Eels Silence Angry Hosts in Squatters Arena

La Snerra, Ferdullaele, Farfadillis :: After making their competitive debut in the Baptism of Fire Cup prior to World Cup 15, the Turori National Team quickly rose to become one of the most formidable and consistent performing teams in the multiverse. Just two cups after making their debut in World Cup 15, Turori had advanced to the World Cup 17 Finals. The very next cycle they would advance to the Quarter Finals for the first time where they would be defeated by Squornshelous by a score of 3-1. The next cup after that they hosted the World Cup Finals for the first time. It seemed that the trajectory for the Turori National Team was straight up.

But the weight of all the that the Turorians had accomplished in such a short time caused the trajectory itself to topple over. From that point the 'Eels' - as they were affectionately known - had hit a ceiling. Three consecutive 0-1 defeats in teh World Cup Quater Finals, a total of three 0-1 eliminations from the World Cup Finals by Audioslavia. Of course, perhaps the most heartbreaking of all, a Penalty Kick defeat to Sarzonia in the World Cup 22 Quarter Finals. The closest the Turori National Team had ever come to advancing out of the World Cup Quarter Finals and by extension, the Closest they had come to winning the World Cup itself. They had lost on penalty kicks to the team that would go on to win the World Cup.

For the next 62 cycles, the Turori National Team could not lift the weight of their own trajectory. As heavy as it had been in the upward direction in order to topple over on itself, it had grown thrice as heavy in the horizontal direction. Turori would have more Quarter Final defeats to Audioslavia. A new foe would appear in Eura, knocking the Eels from the World Cup three times including on penalty kicks in the World Cup 71 Quarter Final.

Then the fall. Turori failed to qualify for World Cup 75 and World Cup 77. Something had to change. The Football Association of Turori brought in the Cocoabo from the Cocoabo Enrichment and Enhancement Project at Cocoabo Park. While they were never able to out perform the Citizen Squad in the grand scheme of things, the competition between the Citizen Squad and the Cocoabo squad seemed to universally raise the bar for footsport in Turori. The Eels made the Quarter Finals in World Cup 79 just to lose to eventual champion Schottia. They returned again in World Cup 80 but the trajectory stayed flat, losing to the Holy Empire.

But in World Cup 81, at last, something changed. The magical day came against the Flammable Gas of Ethane. With a fitting scoreline of 1-0, the Turori National Team had for the first time since their debut 66 Cycles prior, advanced beyond the World Cup Quarter Final. Of course, what happened after that was quickly stricken from the Turorian historical sporting record, but the important thing was, they finally figured out a way to bump a trajectory that hadn't moved in 63 cycles. The long seemingly endless flat line started to develop a little bump.


When Turori once again won their Quarter Final match in World Cup 82 against Cassadaigua, the upward trend was confirmed. The notch was not a mere blip. Turori were finally trending upwards once more. While it had taken them a modest 63 cycles from their first ever Quarter Final appearance until their first ever Quarter Final victory, Turori had a chance to change both the narrative on their history and the trajectory of their future when they squared up against regional rivals Farfadillis in the World Cup 83 Semi-Finals.

It was a clash between one of the highest scoring teams in World Cup 82 and one of the best defensive teams in the tournament. Naturally the expectation was that if the game were high scoring, it would be Farfadillis that would emerge victorious. A low scoring game, on the other hand, would favor the Turorians.

Everyone was wrong. Turori stunned not only the Farfies but the entire multiverse putting 6 goals past their Fiery opposition. The Eels got goals from all over the pitch - up top, in the middle and even the back. It seemed the only one not on the scoresheet was the goalkeeper Timaala Hualtia.

63 cycles is how long it took Turori to earn their first Quarter Final victory after their first Quarter Final appearance. 1 Cycle is how long it took the Turori National Team to earn their first Semi-Final victory after their first appearance at that stage.

Turori's upward trajectory took a pause from there. While the Farves were initially bitter as Turori stole the chance for them to earn their own shot at a first World Cup title - then totally wasted the chance in the Final as Turori were disassembled wholly in the Final, the bitterness wore off quickly as Farfadillis would rise to the top in World Cup 84.

Perhaps it came as a blessing for Turori that the Dilli's were perhaps more focused on celebrating their triumph from one cycle prior in front of their home fans. While Farfadillis surely would have had the World Cup 82 Semi-Final defeat in the back of their minds, it was apparent from the get go that the back of their minds was exactly where it stayed.

Taking a page right out of their World Cup 82 playbook, Turori came at Farfadillis with a counter-attacking rage. The home side wanted to put on a show for their home fans. They wanted to bring to them the beautiful play that had earned them the World Cup 84 Trophy. Turori, self-proclaimed holders of the Karelan Shield, wanted nothing more than to snuff out each and every Farfadillis attack. Unlike normal, however, Turori were not just clearing the ball or playing the possession game. They were turning it around, finding space and taking the attack right back onto an unprepared Farfadillis defensive line. Daliora Toru'u created the chance for Turori's opener by extinguishing a Farfadilliotic advance and pinpointing Nua'oma Aikiki who outpaced their own marker into space and as the Farfettes scrambled to cover the gap, Aikiki found Kentu Umaka'a left unattended to.

It was not the show Farfadillis wanted to put on in front of their faithful supporters, but it was the show Turori was giving them. While the skillful attacks nearly put the Farffix on the board, the number of times they successfully broke through to attack was far out numbered by the number of times they were squashed by the Turorian defense. As frustration set in for the home side, their play got even sloppier and it all came unglued just before the half when Turori scored their second of the night from the penalty spot while the hosts saw their numbers reduced by one through the accompanying red card.

There was little that Farfadillis could do to get back into the game against a disciplined side such as Turori. When the Eels got their third goal in the 68'th minute from Mirana Gotuai, the standing room only crowd at La Stenna decided they didn't want to stand around all day and watch this any longer, with droves filing out of the stadium and the remainder finding a spot to sit to at least give their legs a respite for the remainder of the match. Those who did remain were treated with a shining display of unsportsmanlike conduct from the Farves usually lethal attacker Oskar Holsteiner. The Euran based attacker who, along with Xíxì Êns had carried the Farfadillis team to their first World Cup title during World Cup 84, had been frustrated immensely at being thwarted by the Eels and tensions among the Farfadillis players were boiling over after having dropped two points in their opener to HUElavia and being left in a must-win situation.

There was still time left in the game and even if Farfadillis were defeated, Holsteiner wanted to get on the scoresheet. End positive. Do... something. Holsteiner did something alright. When Yitizo Mpala'a dispossessed the Farf'is striker yet again, Holsteiner came back with one of the worst attempts at a bad tackle in recent World Cup history. Holsteiner's boots were in the Turorians chest by the time Mapala'a fell to ground and the defender would ultimately get taken from the game on a stretcher for precautionary reasons. The Turorian coaching staff were taking no chances with the game already in hand, despite having no substitutes remaining.

 Turori 3 - 0 Farfadillis	
Goals: :: 7' Kentu Umaka'a:: 43' Wiztsana Iretziia:: 68' Mirana Gotuai
Team: Wiyauw An'maude, Mikki Mayelli, Yitizo Mpala'a, Biliki Rona'atu'i, Moumouni Verre'elali (Lati'ala Giaoka 65'), Daliora Toru'u, Mbdiai Akarenaa (Mirana Gotuai 61'), Kentu Umaka'a (Nubara Moafalia 45'), Kiidallen Aeroluzzi, Nua'oma Aikiki, Wiztsana Iretziia

While a mere formality with the "kick seen around the world", the Football Association of Turori did release a statement that they would be discussing the incident with the World Cup Committee and expect formal disciplinary action against Holsteiner as a valid pursuit in this case. They did mention, however, that their focus was on the health of defender Yitizo Mpala'a and on securing three points in their next match against HUElavia so they were not expecting any further statements on the incident.

<Silexhera> Why does Turori make sense? :p

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Democratic Socialists

Postby Valanora » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:21 pm

Nephara: Bruised, battered, and taken care of.

95X: Snuck past in a blaze of stardom and absolute glory.

Audioslavia: Pending...

If one was to indulge in a bit of villainous methods, the dossier would look a little like the above and it would lead those who were to be neutral parties to be all so inclined to hope for the Audioslavia team to punch the Marauders in the teeth and send them toppling down the group table to some very improbable group stage exit after some mildly vintage displays from the squad in it's first two matchday. Nephara was bested not really through a means of rough and physical play, but by the sheer fact that Laborious Hawk is a step too far for even the most talented of players to handle when the legendary player is in the mood to win a game. When there is that fire in his eyes that he is going to grab the opponents by the scruff of the neck and discard them while he carries the rest of the team on his back towards victory. That opening matchday victory happened to be one of those days where Hawk was not going to be denied and Nephara played into that hand with giving the player far too much room on the ball for someone of his skill and accolades. Add in a bit of needed catharsis for the rest of the team given the pain of two years prior and the result was somewhat predictable if a bit harsh on the Nepharim.

As the Marauders braced themselves for a tie with surprising victors of the first matchday of 95X, mentally the side had to steel itself for a challenge from a team that they knew historically had a way of ruining the Marauders day. Perhaps it is through a bit of fortune that the side had Saxtrom there to lead the line, a player who had none of this history with the teams of past or of their rivals. For Saxstrom, it was just going to be another day at the office and to do what was asked of her, convert the goals that the creative players behind her would create and that she did just a few minutes into the match. Hawk followed through shortly after the half hour mark with one of his trademark freekicks from just outside the area that wrong footed the keeper. The 95X team seemed in a daze in that first half but came out stronger in the second and put together a good move to get a goal on the board shortly after the restart but Hatsune, Thor, and Saxstrom played a neat triangle and Hatsune slotted home a hard shot into the bottom right corner to seal the match, though 95X would then get a late consolation goal that made the scoreline a bit more flattering.

Full points from the first two games and only a match against one of the teams that loved to beat the Marauders left in the group of death. It is a strong position that the side is in, with full points, yet for all of that the side has yet to secure their advancement out of the group and could still be sent home despite the two victories if a nightmare scenario unfolds here in Mriin. If the Marauders lose to the Bulls and then 95X pours on the misery for the Nepharim, the side will inexplicably find themselves bounced from the tournament despite only the single loss to their name. Luckily for the Marauders, they need but to avoid defeat against the Bulls of Audioslavia and their passage into the next round is secured. Given that the Audioslavs have gotten the better of the results when the two have played in the last couple of matches, there will be a bit of animosity going, though again it could be fortunate enough that Saxstrom is not a part of that history. Still, the Marauders would love to get the victory to remain perfect in the group and have a chance to send the Bulls back to their homes in the Northeast, turning this would be rivalry back in the Empire's way. In short, there is a single thought that would be going through a villainous mindset right now...

Screw Audioslavia in particular!
World Cup 40, 42, 43, 52, & 61 Champions
WC 47, 51 (2nd), WC 34, 38, 39, 41, 44, 45, 53, 60, 67 (3rd), WC 49, 58 (Semifinalist), WC 33, 35-37, 46, 48, 54, 55, 62, 63, 65, 72, 83 (Quarterfinalist)
WCoH VII, VIII, XVII, XXVIII, XXX, XXXII (1st), WCoH I, XXXI, XL (2nd), WCoH II, XXIX (3rd), WCoH XII (4th)
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EPL Season 20,073

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Postby Brenecia » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:06 pm

Brenecia 3 - 2 Qasden
(4-3-3) 20 - Wright; 2 - Shepherd, 22 - Leadbetter, 6 - Mathers, 19 - Prentice; 8 - Matheson (c), 4 - Townsend (23 - Fallon 65'), 14 - Caitiff; 7 - Cheney, 10 - Ciogach (9 - Bremner 81'), 16 - Fletcher (11 - Pace 76')
Goals: Caitiff 22', Prentice 37', Matheson 61'

Esther Caitiff had never taken much pride in glamour.
Her presence here was a minor miracle. Growing up in the wetlands of the Rath was never easy to start with, enduring a moist childhood in the river city of Lastcreek. On the muddy, pot-holed pitches there, survivors had to be cut from a certain cloth; either big and strong enough to lay out a few hits, or resilient and determined enough to take them.
Caitiff was in the latter camp. But she offered more than that, too. Pace and incision and a beautiful close control under pressure. Even now as she scythed through midfielders on a perfect pitch on the world stage it may as well have been the wet divots and ditches as gangly, downy-chinned teenagers tried to end her budding career.
She'd grown up as the right player in the wrong time and place, trying to make up for that by taking the knocks without complaint, biting down hard on her lip. Saying little, giving even less away. She'd survived. She'd clawed her way into a club side willing to give its young guns a shot, fought her way to becoming one of the A-League's premier box-to-box midfielders and now she was here, starting for Brenecia. When Brelk-Xeral had needed someone younger, fresher and more vigorous than Corby Wheeler to come in, discarding her and her century of caps with their trademark bloodless finality, and Caitiff had been right there...
... and now she was right here. Not comfortable. She knew, on paper, she was regarded by most neutrals as just kind of being a water-carrier, someone dull and ordinary that had to take up space on the pitch to give the properly good players more time on the ball and less need to track back. But try telling the Qads her impact was lacking. She snapped into every tackle, nipped in hard at their heels, and almost always came away with the ball. There could be no comfort around her, and now, having bulldozed the geriatric captain Icarus Darsten and swarmed past him, there was only fresh air ahead of her.
Pace, against this Qasden side? Yeah, they'd crumble. She hit it up to Fletcher, Fletcher smacked it back, she took it neatly, cut outside across the sluggish Miacaro, got it onto her more comfortable left and spinning, off-balance, hit it cleanly towards the corner.
Perhaps Abbott would have got to it a decade ago. Today, though, it clanked against the foot of the post and rolled in.

It wasn't often that you could point to a move as being the worst mistake of your career, but Morwen Prentice had that dubious luxury.
Her mother and father had both been tradesfolk. Judging by her surname, it had been a family tradition. Growing up in Westpike, culturally and in its construction the most explicitly Nepharan of Brenecia's cities, had been a similarly wet experience to that of Caitiff, but at least the sea air was breezing.
Still, she'd found Westpike United's mediocrity stifling, though she'd managed to use it to break through and put her name on the transfer window. And then she'd gone to the Crystal Empire and essentially dropped off the map for years.
It had only ever been meant to be a stepping stone. But many years - well-renumerated, yes, and at a decent level, no disaster - had got to her, culminating in a desperate effort to try and force a move out once her Patriots career was in jeopardy. She'd nearly made 50 caps in Gethin Quill's shadow, and while it wasn't her fault that she'd been waiting in the wings for Brenecia's best-ever leftback, well...
Anyway, she was in Eura now, like so many of her compatriots. Even then she hadn't stuck the landing. Adapting to two-legs had been a process. But she'd eventually asserted herself, started to play herself into form. Played herself back into the national team. Started to throw up at the sight of the number 19, successfully wrestled 3 off the newcomer Watermark after an impassioned, slightly sickly plea to Brelk-Xeral. It was her bloody number! She'd waited so long for it!
And God, did it feel so good on her back in a World Cup.
The match had quickly taken shape. Qasden: slow, technically adept, experienced. Brenecia: all pace, all dynamism, trying to get in behind a stubborn low block. Much as the Qad instinct was to drive forward, the Mercedini manager Bjarnasson knew that would be suicide here. What that did give an enterprising attacking leftback was room to rove forward, room to surge in and blindside the rightback Kornijka, go shoulder to shoulder with him under pressure, cut suddenly inside and leave him overbalancing the wrong direction.
Preston was coming, and her right foot was for standing on. Ah, to hell with it--
She swung in the shot. Macron Abbott scrambled to the right direction, right up until it took a hefty deflection off Miacaro's spine on its way in past the sprawling veteran keeper.

Elysse Matheson needed no introduction, but she was about to get one anyway.
2-1 up by half-time - Miacaro had made up for a beleagured first half by heading home Darsten's corner at the near post - Brenecia needed someone to put the game to rest. Matheson had the armband. It was her job.
She was the most middle-class player in the team, stereotypical Upper Rozelle girl. She looked the part with her delicate blonde waves. And perhaps at the start of her career she had coasted a little, found it a bit too easy to ease past the hulking brutes of the youth leagues, then the A-League. Waltzed into regular starts for a most-conquering Rozelle, played a crucial role there. Eura was just the next natural step.
Specifically, Hornchurch.
Specifically, Hornchurch's bench.
In her darker moments, she'd written what was in retrospect a rather pathetic journal, much of which was taken up by wanting to string up her countrywoman Danielle Granger. Why had the manager brought her here only to wait? Why had her beautiful forward momentum been stopped? Why had--
But when the chances did start to arrive, not just cameos or stop-start 75-minutes, she'd found herself motivated by the need to prove herself. And the fans had blinked and suddenly Matheson was a key player, combining drive with flair, someone who could grab a game by the scruff and drag a team kicking and screaming to the three points.
Brenecia needed such players. She'd started out prized for her pace and intelligence, but the sweeping crossfield passes of Corby Wheeler were the team's primary creative asset. Then, after some stumbles in qualification, Matheson had been abruptly shifted into being the team's creative fulcrum.
It was a masterstroke. No longer was the team overreliant on the counterattack; they had someone who could genuinely just drive down the middle of the pitch and start things. With her thug Caitiff by her side and Finn Townsend growing into the role of a high-class defensive midfielder, the balance was perfect.
She'd shown plenty over the first hour. What she needed was an opening. And when one arrived, and, yes, it was on the break after Wright had crisply caught a cross from Milanoa and quickly moved the ball upfield, she didn't think twice, bursting down the eye of the needle past three men before they could even blink, and then it was just her and Abbott, and Abbott - who Wright had pushed out at RCU - was looking very 38. But he had to come out. He had to force Matheson, at least, to go over him.
Fuck that. She went through, changing course abruptly to send him sprawling outside, turned around the course hazard of his trailing ankles and clipped the ball into the empty net. Margin secure. Brenecia looking assured. Next.
Puppet of Nephara.

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Postby Mriin » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:12 pm

Celebrate tonight, but remember: the morning comes. Cutoff for Groups A-D!
Nephara wrote:It's retro as all fuck, and it works like a charm.

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Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:31 pm

© Sporting Times Daily 2020
Backs to the Wall for Bees against Eura
by Mindy Cartwright, National Soccer Editor

Following a qualifying campaign that was one of the longest in history, which saw only six of the top 30 nations not advancing through to Finals in Mriin and Farfadillis, the last matchday of Group Stage action threatens to see several more of the top sqauads in the world heading for an early exit, and the Commonwealth is among that number.

Regardless of any other scenario, Baker Park must win against 3rd ranked Eura at Flaneur in Vidial unless Siovanija & Teusland lose to Terre Septentrionale or they will be eliminated after just three matches for the first time since their debut at World Cup 80.

For the second tournament in a row, the Goldhorns proved be a formidable opponent keeping a clean sheet just as they did in Farafadillis in the AOCAF, frustrating the attack with their disciplined defensive shape.
Make no mistake, Siovanija & Teusland don't just win matches on luck, and they didn't come out on top on this night because of an "off-day" by the Black & Gold clad Bees; they have have taken a path to building their national side in smaller steps than we have, but have pulled along their entire infrastructure--much in the same way that the much-missed Qusmi'i did--and their progress is well-earned. The FAC have no quarrel with our BoF 67 compatriots, and if they should advance at BP's expense, they would probably make a personal visit to congratulate honest, fair opponents.

The mood after the match was one of disappointment at wasted opportunities that might've brought about a different result. Among critics, it has brought up the question--would elimination prior to the knockout round, in the wake of a dominating qualifying performance--be a setback for the National Team? For some of the players in the squad, this will probably be their last go round, if previous history is any guide. For others, this is probably the peak of the careers, with the only way to go is down. Age creeps on soccer players suddenly, especially among players who rely on pace and acceleration, which of course is a central weapon for Baker Park.

If it really is the end, it's hard to call the entire cycle a failure, or call it a problem of talent, tactics, coaching, skill, motivation, dedication or any other element that many of the nations we face on a regular basis fall back upon as explanations as to why they come back empty handed. Ichi Tuzzio will not be quietly asked to 'retire' nor will the FAC look to make a sudden course correction; it is just not in the nature of David Carlson, Trevor Richmond or anyone else at the top of the organization. Years from now, people may look back on this as the finest squad the National Team has fielded in a competition, victims of an unlucky 90 minutes in a familiar stadium, against a familiar foe.

They say it's a funny old game, which of course is a trope that is uttered when the odd result goes a certain way, and truth be told, the Commonwealth have had just as many 'lucky' breaks go in their favor as they've had go against them. We would never accuse another nation of "stealing a result", or gaining an advantage through the consumption of a Chocolaty Delectable. The current Cocoa-bo Controversy rages on across the multiverse, although our own government has moved past the issue with the assurance of the Ministry of Health & Agriculture refuting all claims that there is a substance in Cocoa-bo that is addictive or provides an advantage to physical performance in humans.

Well, we've gone well beyond the word count the powers that be in Riverside prefer we adhere to, and I've not yet wished my friend, the great Frank Armitage of The Daily Mail, a happy retirement in print here in the Sporting Times. On behalf of all of us covering soccer at home and abroad for the STD, we thank Frank for his guiding example and friendship to our staffers who have been lucky enough to spend time with him. Well Done, Frank.
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Baptism of Fire 67 Runner-Up
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World Cup 85 Fourth Place
World Cup 84 Co-hosts
World Cup 81/82/83/84/86 Round of 16
World Cup 80 Group Stage
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playoff semi-finalists
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playoff quarterfinalist
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Postby Mriin » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:39 pm


In the cavalcade of World Cup 85 tie-in products to come in ever since the announcement that the MNL had won the rights alongside the FFFF, one of the more... unexpected ones has been a special set of cards from board game maker Pirates of the Coast that "homages" teams that made it to the final 32. Here's an assortment of them they're allowing me to show, apparently wanting to keep the full set under wraps until closer to the release date.

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Alternately, view the album of the cards here.
Last edited by Mriin on Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nephara wrote:It's retro as all fuck, and it works like a charm.

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Postby Farfadillis » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:12 pm

Today is not 9 de Julio. Cut-off.
The Outlandish Lands of Farfadillis Ӿ Population: 20,814,000 ± 11,186,000
Capital: not applicable Ӿ Demonym: Farf, plural Farves Ӿ FFL Results by Season Ӿ How to get any WA Category Ӿ Map of Farfadillis Ӿ Name Generator

Champions: World Cup 84 and AOCAF Cups 43, 48 and 57
Hosts: World Cup 85, Baptisms of Fire 54 and 68 and AOCAF Cups 38 and 60

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Audioslavia » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:31 am

..."thanks Malcom. I'm here in the tunnel with Sean Patterick. Sean... deeply, deeply disappointing result. Can you tell us... Why? How? Why couldn't you beat Valanora? What is it that they have that Audioslavia couldn't deal with? Why are Valanora so strong?"

Click the image to watch the video

In Episode 2, Chapter 1 of The Idiot Project, we quite rudely asserted that it’d be boring to focus on the most successful teams of the world cup. ‘Boring’ wasn’t quite the word. The word we were looking for was ‘predictable’.

This is the third episode of The Idiot Project and, in all the stats I’ve collated, it’s almost impossible to find one where the elves *don’t* dominate.

So this is the game we’re playing. Untitled Elf Game. The rules are simple:
1: Find a metric where Valanora aren’t completely fucking dominating
2: Stay at home.
3: Wash your hands.

Here we go. Round one. Win percentage over total games played. The key here is to be right at the northern end of the chart. Here’s all the usual suspects… and here’s Valanora. No dice.
Okay, round two, here’s The Torch from Episode 2. It hasn’t been updated for World Cup 84 but it’ll do the job. Total games played over Goal Difference. The better the goal difference, the further to the right you’ll be. Here’s three of the usual suspects. Where’s Valanora? We’ll need to go further east. There. Valanora are so far away from everyone else, that the majority of the football world are literally over the horizon. The graph is made fifteen percent bigger just by them being on it. This why you didn’t see them in The Torch in the last episode, I had to cut them out to fit everything in the screen.

This shit is hard. I mean, take that Quarter Final stat for example. There’s only a couple of teams who have even made 17 quarter-finals in their history, let alone in a *row*. Valanora, with 34 total appearances in the last eight, are miles ahead of everyone..

Let’s try this chart. This chart shows every international football team to have won at least two major trophies in their history. By ‘major’ we mean any one of the three official NSWC tites - the World Cup, the Cup of Harmony and the Baptism of Fire - and any of the four major regional championships, the AOCAF Cup, Copa Rushmori, Campionato Esportiva and the Independent Associations Cup. As promised in chapter two, we see Pacitalia near the top, but it’s Starblaydia above them rather than Valanora. There. A metric Valanora don’t dominate. Kind of. I mean, if you compare them to pretty much every other team in the multiverse then… erm.. Okay. I’ve got another one. Here’s one where Valanora aren’t at the top.

We’ll stay on this graph. Every colour here represents a different type of trophy. Dark colours for the regionals, light for the NSWC titles. At the bottom there’s the teams who’ve only won one type of trophy. Hypocria have a pair of AOCAF Cups, both Candelaria and Marquez have a cup each, Bostopia have two cups of harmony. The digit next to their name tells you how many colours are on their bar, for those of you who are colourblind or easily distracted. Further north, there’s a group of teams with one Cup of Harmony and one regional championship, plus Lethislavania with a BoF and CoH that they won in the *same cycle*. We’ll keep going. There’s four teams with exactly four World Cups each and nothing else, plus Druida with a slew of early AOCAF championships. Bettia are the first of a very select group of three-colour sides, while Sarzonia were the original winners of the Grand Slam - one regional title and one each of the three NSWC championships. Four in total. Four is the maximum amount of colours a team can have. That’s rule four of Untitled Elf Game. “Four is the maximum amount of colours you can have”

Nephara missed that memo. The Cormorants were already Grand Slam champions by the time the five-time Campianoato Esportiva winners leapt into Rushmore after cycle 77. They’d win the Copa Rushmori at their fourth attempt, cementing a record that is unlikely to be beaten.

Unlikely… but not impossible.

For most teams, the Grand Slam is impossible. If you don’t win your Baptism of Fire tournament then your Grand Slam ambitions die before you’ve even kicked a ball in qualifying. Let’s remove everyone in this chart that hasn’t won a BoF. Here’s Audioslavia right near the top. They were close to completing the Grand Slam in cycle 80, but lost to Mercedini in their one and only Cup of Harmony final appearance.

Of the teams left, Turori and Newmanistan are best placed to pick up the Grand Slam. Both need unlikely World Cup wins, Newmanistan require an Esportivan regional title while Turori have already shared an AOCAF Cup with neighbouring Vilita.

And… that’s the sticking point with this metric. Turori and Newmanistan would both *dearly* love to complete their Grand Slam, to win the World Cup and to be part of that elite two-team group, but here’s the thing: Valanora are still *eligible* for this Grand Slam.

When the Marauders signed up for World Cup 29, still under the moniker ‘Elves Security Forces’, they declined to enter the Baptism of Fire tournament. If they wanted to really *go* for the Grand Slam, they’d need to pull out of international football for long enough for their KPB points to decrease to zero, and then make their move. They could try to win the Cup of Harmony, but it’d mean missing out on the World Cup and another chance to win that coveted sixth world championship. They could even challenge for Nephara’s record of five colours if only they’d leave Atlantian Oceania for pastures new.

They don’t want to do that. They don’t want to do *any* of that.
In this metric, Valanora don’t absolutely dominate because - and only because - *they don’t want to*.

Maybe there aren’t any metrics wherein Valanora aren’t crushing it.

Maybe if we want a chance at winning The Untitled Elf Game we’ll have to invent a whole new way of deciding which team is the best…

Notes / Extras
Low-key my favourite TIP video.
Intro music was initially Lulu’s cover of Man who Sold the World but good lord that song is annoying to listen to more than once. Also there were originally more shots of that episode of Jeopardy interspersed with the footage. It was really bad.
Colourful graph showing every major title ever won
Quarter-final appearances in a row
Quarter-final appearances.
The Torch
Win Percentage / Total Games Played
Other random images
Last edited by Audioslavia on Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:25 pm

BP slip under the wire to Last 16
Scott McCrae
Daily Mail Soccer Writer

True to their word, the Commonwealth National Team did not bask in the glory of making the knockout stage of the World Cup for the fifth straight Finals at the end of the 3-3 draw with Eura at Flaneur in Vidial.

The celebration was muted, treated the way a come from behind, drawn match normally is acknowledged--satisfaction in the fight back, relief at not losing, but not a joyous occasion--although they did accept the congratulations from the Euran players; the final whistle was a bit anti-climatic, as both sides essentially took turns burning off the final four minutes of regulation time and the 3 additional minutes of stoppage time.
There was a continuous feed of information coming in from Gold Field, where Terre Septentrionale, were holding a 1-0 lead against Siovanija & Teusland, a result which would knock the Goldhorns out.

Of course, the roller coaster of emotions among the supporters, as well as the staff on the bench made the 90 minutes a test of nerves; Eura jumped out to a 2-0 advantage just 25 minutes in, before DeAngelo Simmons cut the deficit in half shortly before halftime. Then Jamari Bozeman leveled the proceedings 12 minutes into the second half before the Rushmori giants regained the lead less than 10 minutes later.

Simmons was replaced on 73 minutes, after he came up limping during a period of sustained forward pressure, by Jessica LeClair making her second straight appearance; the forward who now plays in Eura for club WEA glided in unmarked on a corner to draw the score level again with 8 minutes remaining.

The other match was about a minute behind schedule, but the Nordiques held on for what has to be a famous victory for them, while Maestro Ichi Tuzzio beamed with satisfaction as his side will continue on in the tournament.

Now that 4 nations ranked ahead of Baker Park have been eliminated--Pam Scott's defending World Cup champions Farfadillis, Equestria, our WC 84 co-hosts Cassadaigua, and Kita-Hinode--the chance for a jump in the rankings is only blocked by a formidable obstacle: Starblaydia, seeking their elusive sixth WC title.

The Starblaydi's were in one of the groups that Baker Park hosted in World Cup 84, and were the opponents in the milestone 500th National Team match at Keller Stadium just prior to the World Cup 82 Finals; the match at Dockside in Hosinger will be the 125th match for the Black & Gold since that 3-0 defeat.

The FAC have made the decision to continue at their training base in Reyn, requiring only a straight ferry trip to the stadium on the island of Westhold; the match will mean that the Commonwealth National Team will have played matches on all three of the islands that make up the host nation.

The other matches in the Mriin half of the draw that will determine the quarter-finalists are the hosts facing Nephara, Eura against Brenecia, and Valanora against Recucen--one of three nations from outside the top 25 to advance (Kelssek, and BP's qualifying group opponent Zwangzug being the others).
AOCAF LXII Champions
2x Under-18 World Cup (SWC 5&9) Champions
Baptism of Fire 67 Runner-Up
AOCAF LVIII (co-hosts), LX Third Place
World Cup 85 Fourth Place
World Cup 84 Co-hosts
World Cup 81/82/83/84/86 Round of 16
World Cup 80 Group Stage
AOBC 5 Champions
NSCF 21 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff semi-finalists
NSCF 18 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff quarterfinalist
NSCF 19 & 20 Mineral Conference Champions

WLC Vice President
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Postby Nephara » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:47 am

Nephara 2 - 0 95X
(4-4-2) 1 - Mercator; 2 - Stride, 5 - Thorn (vc), 6 - Brosch, 3 - Close (c, 19 - Muscadin 63'); 13 - Saroszi, 7 - Kuepper, 4 - Shone (15 - Kastriot 76'), 11 - Strongbow (16 - Deventer 70'); 9 - Bastable, 10 - Metzger
Goals: Strongbow 51', Bastable 58'

Eventually, it would become known as the Miracle of Wyrmstone.
The name was patently ridiculous. 1) it consisted of the first seed beating the fourth seed, fairly comfortably. 2) the only miraculous aspect was how badly the Nepharim had screwed themselves over in the first place. 3) even with that caveat, the real miracle from a Nepharan perspective was happening over in Wyvernscrest, where Valanora were dispatching the Bulls by the same scoreline.
Still, the Miracle of Wyrmstone was a good brand, so the PR guys went with it after a time.
Sure didn't feel like a miracle through the first half though. There were nerves in the tunnel, very different to the cocksure figures the Cormorants had been over the first couple of matches. There was still a faint haze in the air from Solitaire sweeping over the area with a cleansing censer. Nobody knew exactly what she put in the thing, but they all hoped to God it couldn't somehow seep into their pores and get mistaken for a performance-enhancing substance.*
Lauren Hills was in full Football Manager form, a second-minute Aristide Metzger piledriver bound for the stanchion that was somehow tipped over by the flying goalkeeper, while Saroszi and Bastable both lashed shots against the bar, in Bastable's case deflected upwards by the knee of covering fullback Sixteen.
And, aptly, in the sixteenth minute, Nepharan hearts were in mouths. Ajax dispossessed Kuepper, slipped it to Madison, who hacked it over the top of the defence. Dart and Brosch wrestled, but the 95X striker managed to flick it over to the right with the outside of her boot before they wrestled one another to the ground. Hardin had possession and a stride on Close, and bore down on goal--
Mercator's reflexes were astounding. Somehow, the boot swept out and sent the ball over, mercifully over the goal.
The rest of the half, Nephara continued to hammer on the door. Ajax kept the side in garish magenta alive, stemming the tide from midfield. Marica Kuepper was having to play the Moxham role and while she was certainly serviceable, it wasn't her best position. Saroszi tested Hills from distance; she could, and should, have played the open Metzger through, so of course that triggered a shouting match between the two.
The journalists were already typing up their articles about a Nepharan meltdown. It couldn't stand. They needed a hero.

They had one.
Rowena Strongbow cut a weary, jaded figure. It had been a long season, a long qualifying run, and a long seventy minutes getting kicked pillar to post by Audioslavians. There'd been something of a hobble in her step when she'd let Morena Deventer take her place.
Aisling Ayala was not so inclined to brutalise her, but she was quick, clever, technically able. Strongbow had managed to peg her back and keep her honest, but so far that had been about it.
Still, how long was she really going to be happy with that?
It started, as with a surprising number of decisive goals, with the rather needless concession of a throw-in. Moody on the other flank turned away from Saroszi into trouble, with Stride rushing in to charge her down. She panicked, tried to wriggle clear in possession but only took the ball out of play. Rather pleased with herself, Stride took the throw-in - if foul throws were something referees were interested in above the park football level, this would absolutely have been under scrutiny - rather sloppily, to Saroszi's feet. Saroszi dedicated a moment to looking up at her - really? - before tucking it inside and racing past Moody on the inside stretch. Sixteen was above, and she'd already played the hero once, and the strikers were surging forward into good positions. Good, but marked positions. Saroszi had a plan. It was time for a big switch.
They hoofed it.
The ball hung in the air for quite some time, before landing sweetly into the path of Rowena Strongbow.
A lesser player would have trapped it. Objectively that was the better thing to do, despite the risks of Ayala closing her down, but Strongbow wasn't interested in waiting. She knew her left boot. She knew how to put it through the ball as it fell. She knew, in short, how to turn that sweeping, instinctive movement of the boot into a rocket that blazed past Hill into the top corner; the shellshocked goalkeeper actually wound up falling the other way in a desperate scramble to just do something to stop the unstoppable.
Deadlock: broken. Shackles: off. Albatross? Fuck that albatross. Pick out Bastable's flying forehead with a pinpoint cross a few minutes later, and that was two. That was game. And that just meant they had to sweat on the elves.
Anxiously, the staff - and the fans - stared into their smartphones. Out on the pitch, Tawny Shone's particular brand of cunning brutality ran the show until a caution put her in dangeous territory, replaced by Mercurio Kastriot's brutal cunning. Bastable had more chances. Metzger didn't. Hill capped off an exceptional game and it didn't matter, because the elves had won it, the very same 2-0, and--

Daniella Strauss' eyes flickered open the next day.
What had happened after the match? Well... there had been rather a lot of wine. Which was different to after a defeat, where there was also a lot of wine.
Come to think of it, she was drinking rather a lot these days. She counted herself lucky to be the gaunt type of alcoholic. It may not have been in the vogue of fashion**, but it helped a lot keeping up with the lads at her age.
Reluctantly, she lifted her head. Checked her phone again. Was it real? Were the memories-- ohhh, good. Good, they were real. Ugh.
Okay, okay. She settled back in on her bed. Come to think of it... with a sudden flash of panic, she prodded at the rest of the blankets. No? No flesh? No mistakes? Good.
Leaving her free to settle, maybe even convalesce a were those footsteps?
The door flew open. "Honey, I'm home!" trilled ... trilled...
"Who the fuck are you?" Strauss snapped, and regretted it, her head flaring back up. And it was all for nothing, because she realised the moment he turned. "Oh, God, it's you."
"And you sound so delighted!" Bors Montag grinned down at her. "Here, I brought you breakfast in bed and everything."
"That's... nice... ?" It smelt nice. If a little excessive. Strauss squinted as Montag came closer before depositing the tray heavily in her lap. "It's a little early, isn't it?"
"For breakfast? It's 9am, love."
"Is it? Fuck. And, no, for mind games."
"Ah, cool it, Leila Henrick.*** We've got work to do, you and I." Montag squatted down at the side of the bed. "For one, have you got any thoughts on your successor?"
Strauss paused midway through clumsily buttering a scone to peer balefully at her tormentor. Fuck it, she'd straight-bat it. "No."
"Ahh, that's a shame, that is. That really is. 'Cause two defeats from three, sunshine, that isn't good enough. Audioslavia should've beaten the trackheads, and that would've been us rightfully smoked. This is far from par."
"I'm aware," she said, icily. "Believe me, I am."
"Mriin isn't the last chance saloon. Let me demonstrate; Mriin is the bus, see," he dragged a fried egg onto a piece of toast. "To get to the last chance saloon. And once you're at the last chance saloon, Eura's gonna be waiting with a big stick, right."
"Or Brenecia," she said, automatically.
Montag gave her a look as he picked up the pepper mill. "It won't be Brenecia. It'll be Eura. And they're gonna take this stick and BOOM!"
He drove the pepper mill down into the improvised egg half-sandwich. Yolk exploded, the plate underneath cracked. After a deep, meditative breath, Montag pointed the yolk-dripping mill at Strauss, poking her in the nose with it.
"And-- oi, listen-- and that, love, will be your career. Or you beat them, and you salvage something. Maybe get another little bronze medal 'round your neck. Maybe something better. But if I sense one flicker of complacency around the camp, sunshine - pay attention when I'm talking, love - one iota. I will find you after your next drunken stupor, I will drag your head through a noose and I will let your earliest riser, which I believe is usually Marica-"
"Sounds right," mumbled Strauss.
"- don't interrupt, and she will find your body. Got that? Beat Mriin. Beat Eura. Beat everyone else. Or you are done, love. Enjoy your..." He poked at the remaining breakfast with the mill. "... this."
He unfolded, headed back towards the door.
"Hey. Hey! Isn't this when you're meant to say 'no pressure?'" Strauss heckled, after a moment to collect herself.
It went ignored. Strauss clicked her tongue. Well... okay, he wasn't happy about the budding alcoholism. Maybe with a point. Perhaps the Godhead was a bad influence on her.
... Whatever the issue was, it could wait. She had a hot, only slightly dented breakfast in front of her, with someone else paying. You could never get rich enough or successful enough to turn your nose up at that, could you?

* It is doubtful that the WCC actually does have any measures against performance-enhancing substances, given the various ignominies it is forced to legalise, but Nepharim tend to delude themselves that the world has a natural order to it.

** For centuries, the fashionable figure in Nepharan women has been dictated by traditional pressures. Ideally, your wife should be able to survive four or five poor harvests from the bad soil, but also be able to break into at least a passable sprint should the cavalry arrive and start torching your village. Even in a post-marauding world, the ideal has remained.

*** It's okay if you don't get it. Rest assured it was an extremely droll remark.
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Postby Brenecia » Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:56 am

Starblaydia 1 - 0 Brenecia
(4-3-3) 20 - Wright; 18 - Lonergan, 22 - Leadbetter, 6 - Mathers, 19 - Prentice; 8 - Matheson (c), 4 - Townsend, 14 - Caitiff (21 - Parker 86'); 7 - Cheney, 17 - Lindauer (10 - Ciogach 59'), 16 - Fletcher (11 - Pace 74')

Phrases about frying pans and fires came to mind.
In this instance, the punishment for failing the frying pan was the fire. The way Group C had shaken out, Eura had predictably taken top billing, though the way they got there had been any way but straightforward. This had perhaps been exemplified by the fact that, had Michael Ribbeck had his shooting boots on, the rock-solid but toothless Siovanija and Teusland would have ended the group at the top, not as bottom feeders.
Nevertheless, Eura were top and that meant that, although a draw would see them both progress, first place remained a prize. Not much of a prize, the Commonwealth were no cakewalk, but something to strive for with all power.
Nobody could say Brenecia, their qualification already confirmed, didn't strive. They just didn't make it.

It's hard to see exactly what went wrong. What mistakes were made, apart from facing a team that was technically superior and more consistent?
It had been billed by some as a battle of playmakers. Elysse Matheson, increasingly prominent for her country, against Calindra Apelles, arguably the best player in the A-League. The white and the blue marched out in identical 4-3-3 formations, the script set; Starblaydia would dominate possession, Brenecia would press them high and hope to find spaces at the back. The Starblaydi players performed the Raiigar. Lauren Cheney stared back, intense. Keane Mathers wondered if Lucy Saraviva was single. Finn Townsend made a point of pretending to yawn throughout, for which Ortiz would crunch through him in the sixth minute.
But the open game most anticipated never materialised. The first ten minutes failed to see either goalkeeper tested. Then fifteen, twenty, thirty... ? No, in the twenty-ninth minute Hope Roshanak swivelled suddenly, made space from nowhere and rushed a shot down Scathach Wright's throat.
And that was... it. Things opened up a little towards the end of the half, but at no point did anyone truly seem to threaten goal, the closest an overhit pass from Matheson that Cheney just managed to run onto but had to rush a vicious strike into the side netting. Velasquez slung in crosses that the giants Leadbetter and Mathers ate up. Caitiff was on a caution. And if the hope was that the second half would open out a bit, that didn't bear out. Not that they were playing for a draw, but the game just seemed to lack that final touch and both sets of players seemed to know it.
Perhaps that was why Morwen Prentice got a little too relaxed with the ball at Hope Roshanak's feet, inviting the winger to surge forward. It was an invitation she didn't need to take; from nowhere, al-Hashem surged forward on the overlap, and Roshanak found her with a deft touch. Prentice was now between two people and marking neither, al-Hashem returned it to Roshanak who did not depend on further charity, but struck for the top corner.
The arc was beautiful. Wright flew, but didn't stand a chance.

The draw as it happened was a strange old thing. There were four World Cups in Brenecia's quarter of the draw, which was certainly respectable, but also one fewer than either Valanora or Starblaydia in the other half of Mriin had on their own.
In any case, the Patriots had the [pending nickname of Eura national football team], and had to be considered underdogs. They knew they were the underdogs because the media fairly instantly swarmed them to ask about they felt being the underdogs, and if that was in fact where they were most comfortable. It was quickly learned that saying 'yes' got them to go away faster.
Anyway, the curious thing about the draw wasn't the Round of 16. It was the prospect of the quarterfinal. And, yes, it was a bit much to expect the wildly inconsistent Cormorants to stumble through against the hosts. But should they and Brenecia both win, they would meet in the World Cup finals for the first time ever.
For some, this meant more than others. Townsend, Watermark and Farrell were among the more jingoistic, eager to show the old enemy a thing or two. The Westpiker Prentice was unsurprisingly less enthusiastic about the prospect. But Brelk-Xeral, whose message mattered most of all, wasn't thinking about it, and told everyone to stop obsessing over it. "Beat Eura, first. If it gives you some edge in your performance, fine, but if your head is in the clouds we'll be destroyed next week."
With their words and the backing of key figures in the dressing room - captain Matheson among them, thankfully - the rancor began to die down. Somewhat. Eura were strong, but no longer exotic, not an unapproachable megapower like the early days. Their star hadn't fallen, Brenecia's merely risen; much of their side now played in the Goldleague, to the point where being in the Goldleague alone no longer guaranteed you caps. Nor, to everyone's relief, would there be the slightly strangled atmosphere at the recent Eagles Cup, with the faint suggestion that maybe the rogue nation under the autocratic Clarisse Ward should try and keep their heads down when the world police rocked up. This would just be 11 vs. 11, pure, unadulterated, and yes, with Brenecia entirely comfortable in the role of underdogs.

The brightest, of course, had their eyes on the big prize. For if they did beat Eura, and they beat Nephara or Mriin after that... well, why not two more wins after that?
No, no, no. Feet on the ground. Eura first. And at least a thumb in the eye of Michael Brandon and Monica Rowland would be some motivation for the shag-haters.
Puppet of Nephara.

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Free Republics
Posts: 3114
Founded: May 03, 2013

Postby Free Republics » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:14 am

Once again, the Republicans marched through the forest to La Gran Avenida heavily armed and singing patriotic songs en route to the stadium. The opponent this time was Sarzonia, a nation that seemed to be run by individuals who were every bit as hot-headed as Senator Izmailov. Theriault's connections in Republica's Navy, where both his father and grandfather had been admirals, informed him that their intelligence believed that Sarzonia may be planning a first strike on the Free Republics. This concerned Theriault going into the match, especially in the event that they were soundly beaten on the pitch. Nonetheless, he was not going to be intimidated.

Rule Theriault - Today, we have 1 task before us: win at any cost. While the athletes on the other side may not be a bunch of hotheaded fools who are willing to start a war over speeches of a single legislator, they've likely been fed a steady diet of propaganda about how we're all evil.

Maxim Izmailov - I don't have a problem with them. Uncle Samuel's polling numbers go up every time Sarzonia pulls some stupid stunt.

Rule Theriault - Maxim, I completely understand why your uncle is goading them on but I hope he's not planning to invade everybody at the same time!

Maxim Izmailov - I don't know but if we do go to war with Sarzonia, we'll kick their ass just like we're about to kick their ass on the pitch and just like our reigning World Bowl champions will kick their asses twice in the World Bowl. Just how good at waging war can a bunch of pussies who shut down their country over a damned cold virus be?

Rule Theriault - I think you're being a bit overconfident. We need to forget about the fact that Sarzonia's not very highly ranked and remember that they upset Banija and drew Pasarga!

Johnny Smith - Well, we'll just have to give them a taste of defeat then, won't we?

Love Holm - Coach is right. This is just another soccer match. We need to impose our will upon the match and dominate like we always do.

Rule Theriault - Just relax and play soccer. The rest will come to you. But remember that we need to win today. Not only to continue on in this tournament but also for national pride. This could very well be the first battle of a war that we didn't want and that we didn't choose but rather was chosen for us. We must win it.

The Republicans did not waste any time coming out of the gate quickly. From the start of the match, they went on the attack. Johnny Smith set up a 2nd minute Love Holm strike that hit the post. Tommy Benignati would clear it to midfield where it bounced off the head of Maxim Izmailov and to the feet of Archie White who was starting at left midfield. White ran forward and launched a cross to Kalervo Peltola. Peltola's shot would be batted away by Stars keeper Carlton Sandt for a Republican corner. Johnny Smith's corner would find the back of the net via Izmailov's head and the Republicans had jumped out to a 1 goal lead.

After the Republican goal, the next goal did not come easy for either team. Both the Republicans and the Stars blew several scoring opportunities in a rather fast-paced match. The Republicans had succeeded in imposing their pace upon their opposition while turning up the intensity quite a bit. As Theriault's team reach were all reaching their athletic prime more or less simultaneously, they were now relying upon an extremely fast pace to wear their opponents down. The second Republican goal would come after Porbergur Lydsson and Matt Taylor collided in the penalty area. The official chose not to award any cards but still awarded a penalty to the Republicans. Love Holm converted it easily to put the Republicans up 2 goals to nil as the Republicans in the crowd erupted in a rendition of Rule Theriault: The nations not so blest as we must, in their turn, to defeat fall, while we shall flourish great and free. Halftime would arrive with the Free Republics leading 2 goals to nil.

After the half, the match would momentarily turn in favor of the Stars. A mental mistake by Izmailov would see him give the ball away to Clayton Wilson. Wilson would move the ball forward to Cayden Aguirre who would set up a shot by Jake Campos that would get by Sergeyev to cut the Republican advantage in half. Until the hour mark, it would be all Sarzonia. Finally, the stars got their golden opportunity and Campos would send his shot sailing way over the top of the net and into the bleachers after kicking the ball way too hard. The ensuing goal kick would quickly result in the 3rd Republican goal. Sergeyev's kick would land at the feet of Archie White and, after a cross, at the feet of recent substitute Amy Ashbolt who faked a shot and passed it slightly back to Smith to put the Republicans up 3 to 1.

The Republicans pushed onward, hoping for a 4th goal as an exclamation point on their victory. At this point, they were not thinking about goal difference or knockout round matches. The only thing the Republican players cared about was routing Sarzonia. The 4th goal would come in time as Denes Polak, who had come in for White, set up a cross to Ashbolt in the 84th minute and the youth striker provided the finish. The Federation of Free Republics 4, Sarzonia 1. Even after this goal, Theriault's troops did not let up but that was it for the scoring nonetheless. After the match, Theriault addressed the many Republican fans:

Rule Theriault - Today, we've kicked down the door to the knockout rounds! Sarzonia did play a competitive game for about an hour or so but in the end the better team won, just as the better nation will win if they are so foolish as to start a war with us! If they're the Stars, we're the Superstars! Let's not forget that they started all of this because their incompetent government thought that Maxim Izmailov's uncle was actually the leader of our Federation rather than just one of thousands of Senators who is slightly more notable because he almost got elected consul once. Now, they've made Senator Izmailov one of the 2 candidates remaining for consul along with the beautiful and extremely talented Nova Hellstrom-Hancock!

The Republicans cheered loudly at the mention of Nova Hellstrom.

Rule Theriault - I see that we have lots of Nova Hellstrom fans here. Not surprising since an entire generation grew up reading her journalism and following her wrestling career. Soon, we will have a vote to choose whether Hellstrom or Izmailov will be one of our two leaders for the next 8 years and I want to assure Sarzonia that they won't have any more success against us on the battlefield than they had on the soccer pitch or they'll have against us on the gridiron in the great sport of football that we invented!

Referring to gridiron as football got some boos from the locals who had stuck around to listen to Theriault but they were drowned out by the loud cheers from Republican fans.

Rule Theriault - In the republic of Nejax, they have a saying: Don't Mess with Nejax. Well, I think we should have a new slogan for our Federation: Don't Mess with the FFR! With the group stage out of the way, we now enter the knockout rounds. 16 teams enter, 14 teams will lose a match, 1 team will lose 2 matches and 1 team will remain unscathed and victorious. I do not guarantee that we will be that last team standing but you will get all of our blood, our sweat and our tears. After 4 long years, we now return to the knockout rounds with unfinished business and we're coming for that trophy! Thank you for making the trip with us today and we hope to see all of you for the knockout round match which will be in this very stadium.

The cheerleading squad played another rendition of Rule Theriault (the song) followed by the Republican National Anthem as fans filed out of La Gran Avenida for the long walk back to Farolera...
Why I left NS Sports
World Cup 85 Champions
1st: DBC 28, X Winter Olympics, Independents Cup 4, CoH 66, WBC 46, World Bowl XXXVIII, World Cup 85
2nd: World Cup 68, DBC 27, U15WC 8, UWCFA Gold Cup I, BoI 15, 2nd Imperial Chap Olympiad, NSCF 11
Host: World Cups 68 & 81, CoH 58, Games of XIII Olympiad, X Winter Olympics, World Bowls XXII, XXXI & XXXVIII, WBCs 42 & 46, RUWC 25
Current Senior Consul: Nova Hellstrom-Hancock (Golden Age)
Current Junior Consul: Samuel Izmailov (Nat-Gre)
Demonym: Republican
Trigram: FFR
Official Nation Name: Federation of Free Republics
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