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World Cup 85 || RP Thread

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

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Mriin
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 396
Founded: Nov 17, 2016
New York Times Democracy

Postby Mriin » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:19 pm

As the tourney stretches on, make sure you've got enough gas in the tank to make it all the way. Cutoff for the Farf-half quarterfinals!
Nephara wrote:It's retro as all fuck, and it works like a charm.

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Farfadillis
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Posts: 1922
Founded: Feb 26, 2012
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Farfadillis » Wed Jul 01, 2020 8:00 pm

Time for a cut-off. Music.
The Outlandish Lands of Farfadillis Ӿ Population: 20,814,000 ± 11,186,000
Capital: not applicable Ӿ Demonym: Farf, plural Farves
ffffofficial.com.fa Ӿ FFL Results by Season Ӿ How to get any WA Category Ӿ Map of Farfadillis

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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Commonwealth of Baker Park
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Posts: 1289
Founded: Jan 10, 2018
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:07 pm

(opening is video montage of crowd reactions to the events of the match)
"Just a bit of the excitement from earlier on a extraordinary night. Good evening, Teresa Meredith here on CommNews One Evening Edition. Across the country, celebrations still going strong following the National Soccer team's victory over five-time champions from Valanora in the World Cup Quarterfinal in Hosingr, Mriin. Let's go live to our Bob Sedgewick, downtown in Belle Haven at the Convention Center, Bob takes us through the early part of the watch party there."

BS: "Teresa, Metro PD made a decision early this morning to close the off-ramp to Front Street from the Prince of Wales Bridge immediately after the morning rush, and around lunchtime they diverted southbound traffic on Alexandria St, to be able to effect a perimeter larger than what usually is set up in circumstances like this. The estimates of the size of the crowd on the Plaza were about 14,000, plus many who watched from Parliament Square, which to give you a comparison, the largest crowd during the last World Cup was about 11,000, and the other site outside the Arena was about the same. As the match progressed, there was a lot of tension, a lot nerves, but when the goals came, enormous explosions of joy. At the final whistle, lots of unbridled emotion, people hugging one another, total strangers; a couple of people came up and hugged us while this was going on. And you could see the traffic on the expressway slow down at that moment as well."

TM: "So, what about now, it looks like there are still a good number of people on street?"

BS: "People dispersed fairly slowly, many stayed and watched the post-match interviews, groups are still talking, it's like they don't want to moment to end, or they want to keep enjoying it with others. It really was, of the many crowd occasions I've covered, both sports and non-sports, one of the most remarkable scenes I've witnessed. We're going to get a few more individual reactions, which we've been doing since the end of the match, so we'll send it back to you."

TM: "Bob Sedgewick from Convention Center Plaza, now let's hear from Amy Larkins in Endborough, Amy, tell us about the evening there."

AL: "Teresa, we're here in the nightlife district on McKenna Street, although the big screen was set up outside Rogers Stadium for the viewing party. and it was a massive turnout there. Endborough City Constabulary decided to block off the ends of McKenna St for a two block length just about the time the second half was underway and most of the establishments here were packed solid. The area inside the police perimeter was extremely crowded until about 25 minutes ago, and there are probably fewer than half the celebrants here at this point."

TM: "Any arrests or issues that you've heard about?"

AL: "we've only heard about a few calls for PI's but nothing serious yet."

TM: "Thanks Amy. Stay tuned, we'll be back in 90 seconds."
Soccer--2x Under-18 World Cup (SWC 5&9) Champions
Baptism of Fire 67 Runner-Up
AOCAF Third Place LVIII (co-hosts), LX
World Cup 85 Fourth Place
World Cup 84 Co-hosts
World Cup 81/82/83/84 Round of 16
World Cup 80 Group Stage
Basketball
AOBC 5 Champions
Football
NSCF 21 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff semi-finalists
NSCF 18 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff quarterfinalist
NSCF 19 & 20 Mineral Conference Champions

Lacrosse
WLC 34 Fourth Place
WLC 30/31(host)/32/33 Quarterfinal
WLC 29 Playoff Round

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Banija
Minister
 
Posts: 2504
Founded: Mar 06, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Banija » Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:21 pm

18 years before World Cup 85, Moravica High School Division I Boy's Soccer Championship Game


It was a rainy day here in Herzegovina City. Basically all of Moravica High School sports, that had neutral site championship games, alternated between Herzegovina City and Istria. Thankfully, this boy's soccer game would be held on this side of town, in Herzegovina City. The anchor of the Northern half of the Moravica region, Banija's oldest city and the capitol of Moravica in general. Many were gathered here, however, for what was always a popular event within Banija- high school championship weekend.

This was going to be a hyped up matchup. There was a lot of excitement, and plenty of energy, between a pair of star players, one on each side of the field, who would dictate the day, and possibly go on to have crazy exciting futures. Both of them, of course, were freshman. One was Gitonga Kahara. He was the best prospect anybody had seen in years. Just 14 years old, he had the ability to run all sorts of circles around his opponents. There were rumors that he was even getting scouted by a foreign youth academy in Kita-HInode, something that almost never happened in Banija.

Fortunately for Coach Jawara(no relation to Ilman Jawara), this Gitonga Kahara kid was on his team, playing for Lugabe High School. On the other side? Was a big, imposing striker, 15 year old sophomore Kabir Jobateh. He was a massive kid who was absolutely dominant in the air, and could out-muscle almost everybody at this high school age. Coach Jawara had remarked that Jobateh legitimately looked like he was 20 years old. But he was worried about Kahara. How to get him the ball. How to feed his star. How to make sure Lugabe High School got that glory they had been searching for.

"Coach, can I just say, I love these jerseys." Said Gitonga Kahara. Ever since Coach Jawara's arrival at Lugabe four years ago, he had switched the traditional white with a black cross, to a black and white checkerboard, reminiscent of one of his favorite national teams to watch back in the day, Zwangzug. "I'm gonna go out there like Martina Ruan one day, coach." Gitonga continued. "She's scored in a World Cup, she's been a captain at a World Cup. Why can't I?"

"Don't worry about the national team, son." Coach Jawara replied. "Think about what's in front of you. Big games come, but championship games are the rarest of opportunities, child. Those games, deep into tournament runs, are all fun, and that journey is something special. Think about what those great World Cup teams have done. Not ours- you saw us go 0-12-0 a couple of years ago. This high school championship game- there's no guarantee you'll be back. You'll be a legend here at Lugabe if we win it. We've got all those gridiron titles- but nothing in real football. Miss me with the handegg stuff."

The young boys went out, and starting playing. 40 minute halves- these were boys after all, not men. Kahara was struggling, however. He was a record-setting player his freshman year of high school, his only full season before he'd eventually begin his career by going off to Kita-Hinode, as a young lad, and joining the multiverse's most prestigious youth league. But Kahara could not win this one on the day. Jobateh's size was too much for that Lugabe defense to handle, as he led them to a 2-0 win and a Moravica Regional title. But we'd all see how the careers of those two stars would turn out after that....

Gitonga Kahara, World Cup 85 Quarterfinal v. Zwangzug


Gitonga Kahara was standing on the sideline, just towards the end of halftime, stretching his legs. The game was still 0-0, nothing to separate the two World Cup Quarterfinalists. They had met at the previous World Cup- but of course, due to a red card in their group stage match against HUElavia, the captain could only watch from the bench, as Banija searched desperately for the three points they'd need to reach the knockout stages. Fortunately for the Banijans, Namakula Kawesa would step up and drill a penalty kick in the 90th minute to send the Banijans to the knockout stages alongside eventual champions Farfadillis, and send Zwangzug home.

This time, Gitonga Kahara would not be suspended for this match, and would be playing in this quarterfinal. What a crazy experience. He remembered watching Banija go 0-0-12(W-D-L) at World Cup 73 Qualifying when he was just a young lad. And yet, now in their third straight World Cup Quarterfinal? Absolutely and utter madness. He spoke to Ilman Jawara. "Hey, Ilman, did you know I wore that kit in high school?" And he pointed vaguely to the Zwangzug bench.

"What the hell?" Ilman Jawara. "How'd you wear that kit?"

"I don't know, our high school coach loved Zwangzug." Said Gitonga. "Apparently they were his favorite World Cup team in the days before we used to actually play in it ourselves. Have you heard of Martina Ruan?"

"Martina who?" Replied Ilman. "And your high school coach- didn't he die recently?"

"Yea, I got the news he passed right after the Pasarga match." Gitonga Kahara said. "I don't want to talk about that, not now- can't let those emotions up when we got a match in a minute. But anyways, Martina Ruan. I must have only been a few years old when she was playing in World Cups. But hell, she's in the Hall of Fame now, I think! One of my all-time favorites. One of my coach's favorites. She could do whatever with the ball." Just then, Marcus Waters yelled at his players to come over for one final set of instructions.

GItonga Kahara hadn't thought about Coach Jawara. His heart was heavy at the loss of his high school coach. But he had wanted to channel that energy into the game. He had quite a poor first half, by his standards. But in the second half, the Banijans really started to roar. Kahara would give the opposing back line all kinds of problems. But he wouldn't score the first goal to open this game- that would belong to Ilman Jawara, the star #9 for this national team. An overhead ball from Kahara saw Ilman Jawara run past the back line, and with the Zwangzugger goalkeeper coming out, chipped the ball straight over her head into the net. Perfectly executed.

"YEAAAAA!!!!" Gitonga Kahara yelled as he leaped on top of the Banijan #9. But the game was far from over- just 30 minutes left, and as everyone knows who follows this sport, goals in major tournaments tended to come later on. But the Banijans were not sitting on their heels- no, they would push for more. Kahara himself put one on goal in the 65th, forcing a save from the opposing goalkeeper. Madu Okparra, who had come into the game for Ugonna after the goal, had a great header that beat the goalkeeper, but went just inches over the crossbar for a goal kick. The pressure was building for a second goal.

The Banijans would get greedy though. A poor pass from Amadi Uche to Gitonga Kahara was intercepted by Joshua Twoni, and all of a sudden, the Zwangzuggers were sprinting down the field. In numbers. Kahara started to sprint back too, but it was too late. A pass up to Johan Idmar, who played it back to Ione Friede, who blasted it into the upper corner. Francois Tantoh simply stood, not having a chance. "Shit." Kahara swore as the goal was put into the back of the net.

The Banijans would go back and try to get that second goal, to avoid extra time. In the 83rd minute, Namakula Kawesa was fouled outside the box. A free kick for the Banijans. Who would take it other than Kahara? As, of course, the Zwangzuggers tried to get into his head. He thought about the magnitude of the moment. A World Cup Quarterfinal. The importance of seizing it- how many of these would he have left? He was 32- he's played in more games already than he will for the rest of his career. And thinking of his coach. Jawara, watching from the heavens. His star pupil against his old favorite national team.

Kahara stood over the ball. The referee blew his whistle. He put his left leg through the ball, and it bent into the upper corner. The Banijans screamed as half the stadium went absolutely bananas. Kahara, an emotional release, sprinted all the way to the corner. There were tears in his eyes- scoring against those checkerboard shirts he was so familiar with, brought him to tears.

The Banijans held on to win the match, two goals to one. Kahara went out to search for the Zwangzugger number 10, Jonah McCollins. It wasn't Martina Ruan, but it was that jersey that he had watched as a small child, that his coach had introduced him to. Maybe he'd send one to the Jawara family. They knew what he liked. Alongside a signed jersey of his own, of course. A heavily emotional day, considering that death and simply the emotional story of this match. He wasn't going to watch the Free Republics v. Turori later that night. He'd sit and call home- and mentally prepare himself for whichever opponent the semifinals would throw at him.
Last edited by Banija on Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reigning champions of the Di Bradini Cup and present bronze medalists of the World Cup. Vice President of the World Cup Committee.
Kabaka = King
Lubuga = Queen Consort
Isebantu = Crown Prince
Waziri = Foreign Minister
Katikkiro = Prime Minister
Omugabe/Omugaba= Prince/Princess
Banija Domestic Sports
NSCF 14 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria), NSCF 17 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria), NSCF 19 CHAMPIONS(Northern Moravica)
Sporting World Cup 8. World Baseball Classic 47. Di Bradini Cup 47. National Trophy Cabinet.
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Free Republics
Minister
 
Posts: 3114
Founded: May 03, 2013
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Free Republics » Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:28 pm

La Fantás, the stadium on fire, was the home stadium of the Farfadillis National Team. It was also notorious throughout the multiverse for its bleachers which were permanently on fire. On this day, it was the site of the Free Republics-Turori match to determine the second semi-finalist. As the wealthiest part of Farfadillis, Ferdullaele was hospitable territory for the Republicans. Although the path to the stadium was nowhere near as dangerous as the path to La Gran Avenida, Theriault's team still chose to march with their fans as they had in all 3 of their wins. Given the ethnic tensions in the area, the Republicans still traveled with their guns and some enterprising Republican fans may or may not have secretly sold some guns to the locals. Farfadillis felt like a more dangerous, poorer version of the Free Republics where people spoke weird languages like Spanish, which sounded to Rule Theriault's ears like a bastardized version of Latin.

Their opponents on this day were the Eels of Turori. The Eels were undefeated and untied in the World Cup including a win over defending champs and hosts Farfadillis, the only team to beat the Farves at this World Cup. They had also won their qualifying group outright. Rule Theriault's team had barely qualified for the World Cup but with 3 victories at La Gran Avenida, they had somehow made it into the last 8.

The match began with each team making an unsuccessful challenge at the other's net. A serious Eel challenge led to a Meldi'ita Mungwaii shot that was caught by Republican keeper Taras Sergeyev who launched a goal kick. Johnny Smith would head it forward to Love Holm who dribbled past Amakli Inuro'o and took a shot at Timaala Hualtia's net. Hualtia would deflect it out for a corner. Smith would take the corner for the Republicans but his kick found the head of Inuro'o who headed it back out to safety.

After about 20 minutes of back and forth with no goals, Mbdiai Akarenaa would open the scoring by hitting a long shot off of Sergeyev's fingers and into the net. Turori led 1 goal to nil. Several minutes later, Zak Josef went after Mungwaii with a reckless challenge in the penalty area. The referee awarded Josef a red card and Nua'oma Aikiki would convert the penalty to put Turori up 2 goals to nil. Mungwaii stayed in the match after convincing his coach Klaillal Tuirma that he was fit to play on but he was clearly limping for the remainder of the match. The Free Republics were down 2 goals to nil against a higher ranked opponent and, more importantly, were down a man for the rest of the match.

Maxim Izmailov would move into a slightly more defensive role but the Republicans played on. Turori would control the match until around the 36 minute mark when the Republicans managed a challenge on a counter attack. Catching the Eel defense completely off guard after a great clearance from Izmailov, the Republicans soon had 7 men forward to just 4 Turori defenders. Norman Casares, who was playing at Porbergur Lydsson's spot, had the ball near the goal area and saw Love Holm completely uncovered. But before he could pass to Holm, he was fouled by Moumouni Verre'elali who would receive a yellow card from the official. This set up a free kick attempt. Johnny Smith took it for the Republicans and blasted it off the post and straight to the feet of Love Holm, who provided the finish for the first Republican goal. Turori's lead was now 2 goals to 1.

Just before the half, Mungwaii had a perfect scoring opportunity but his shot sailed just inches wide for a goal kick when it should have been an easy goal. The score at halftime was 2 to 1 in favor of Turori.

That lead did not last long in the second half. Love Holm had just the keeper to beat, faked a shot and then immediately passed to Steven Bosters who put it in the net in the 47th minute to tie the match at 2. The third Republican goal would follow in the 51st minute. Archie White launched a cross from the right side and right to the goal, where Verre'elali headed it out for a corner. Johnny Smith's corner would find the head of Maxim Izmailov who put it into the net to put the short-handed Free Republics up 3 goals to 2.

The match soon got bogged down into midfield as the Republicans desperately tried to park the bus to hold onto a 3-2 advantage and escape with a win over Turori. Eventually, White made an 87th minute mistake on a back pass to Akarenaa. Seconds later, Akarenaa's cross found its way to Mungwaii who would put it into the back of the net. The match was now tied 3 to 3 with just minutes to go in regulation. At this point, both sides were out of substitutes as Mungwaii got yet another scoring opportunity in added time. Mungwaii's shot missed the net by miles, traveling out for a goal kick. The star Eel striker collapsed on the pitch as the official called time on regulation. The match was heading to extra time with both teams even at 3 goals and with both teams down to 10 men.

In extra time, most of the first 15 minute period passed without a serious scoring chance. Turori would get one however in the 104th minute. Timi'sala Koarena's cross would find Aikiki and the young Eel striker knocked it into the net to put the favorites up 4 goals to 3 in extra time. The match would go to the second halftime with the score Turori 4, The Free Republics 3.

With their backs against the wall, the Republicans came out on the attack in the second half of extra time. A Love Holm shot was deflected by Hualtia for a corner which set up a series of Johnny Smith corners that were all deflected for another corner. Finally, Archie White would take a corner and send it directly to the feet of Smith, who took a shot that was blocked by Verre'elali right to the feet of Faith Marshall who did not hesitate to put the ball into the back of the net to tie the match at 4 apiece. The remainder of the extra time period did not see a serious shot at goal which meant that the match was going to a penalty kick shootout.

Fortunately for the Republicans, Theriault had anticipated that the match might go to penalties and had his 5 best penalty kick takers on the pitch. Love Holm would go first followed by Johnny Smith. Then Amy Ashbolt followed by Faith Marshall and finally Archie White. The Republicans would also go first. Holm's shot was high and to the right. Hualtia jumped to the left and the Free Republics were on the board in the shootout. Turori would equalize as Aikiki found the back of the net with a direct challenge down the middle of the net. 1-1.

The second Republican penalty kick was a rocket off the foot of Smith, who put it through the legs of Hualtia. Turori's Koarena would send his free kick straight into the hands of Sergeyev. 2-1 Free Republics. The third Republican PK was a very quick shot from Ashbolt that found its way into the bottom left corner of the net. Turori's Verre'elali sent his penalty kick way over the top of the net. 3-1 Free Republics. Now Faith Marshall could end the match by converting. She did not waste the opportunity, hitting it off of Hualtia's fingers and into the net for a 4 to 1 Republican victory in the shootout as Rule Theriault's entire team rushed onto the pitch to celebrate while the Republican cheerleaders sang Rule Theriault. When the celebration died down, Rule Theriault grabbed a microphone to address his team's fans as usual:

Rule Theriault - Did we put on a show tonight or what? That may have been the greatest soccer match I've ever been part of. Every time you thought it was over, one team or the other came fighting back. Then our brilliant young lady strikers slammed the door shut on the Eels. With this victory, we have now won 4 matches at this World Cup and there are just 2 more to go!

The Republican fans remaining in the crowd erupted into a chant of "2 More Wins"

Rule Theriault - Turori has a great soccer team. We've now beaten them twice at the World Cup but nonetheless they are a great team and a great soccer country. Some day, they're going to reach the same heights that Vilita has reached on several occasions. But this was not that day. This day is OUR day. This is OUR victory and now it is our turn to prove that we are an elite soccer nation.

Theriault paused for a minute.

Rule Theriault - Banija, we have unfinished business with you! You may have beaten us in the group stage but it won't be so easy in the semis when we actually need the win! The winner of this match earns a trip to Mriin to play for their first World Cup title. The loser goes back to La Gran Avenida to play for 3rd place. The semis will be held in Ruland in a stadium that seats just 35,000. While we hope to see as many of you as possible, it will be difficult to get our fans into that stadium. If you make the trip, make sure you bring your guns and make sure you walk with us as it may be too dangerous to go near the stadium alone.

Some of the fans gasped. They booed the small capacity of the stadium.

Rule Theriault - But all of that is out of our countrol. We're going to show up to Ruland, we're going to put forward our best effort and we are going to give it everything we've got. We've been fighting against the odds throughout this tournament so what difference does it make if we have to do it again to return to the World Cup final for the first time in 17 years?

Theriault dropped the mic as the cheerleaders burst into another rendition of Rule Theriault followed by Republica, Gem of the Oceans. The Free Republics had done it again. Now, they just needed to do it 2 more times...
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
Stop Biden: Vote Trump!

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Commonwealth of Baker Park
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1289
Founded: Jan 10, 2018
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Fri Jul 03, 2020 1:46 am

Does Baker Park have a Date with Destiny?
Frank Armitage
The Daily Mail Chief Soccer Writer Emeritus

Commentary from Reyn, Mriin:

I may be getting a bit sentimental as my time covering the Baker Park National Soccer Team approaches its final chapter, because of all of the matches I've reported on through the years, this particular run during the finals of World Cup 84 here in Mriin has--at times--taken on a surreal, dreamy aspect.

Nearly all of us associated with the team--the squad, staff, & officials from the FAC; the loved ones of the players--who are accorded similar status as the others mentioned--and the majority of the media, have been based here in the coastal outpost west of Vidial for the duration of the tournament. In keeping with a long established tradition of securing a training HQ and nearby accommodations for the normal "Official Party", the FAC's Allison LeFleur goes above and beyond the call in identifying just the right location in other nations to assure that preparation for the matches is the only problem that has to be confronted.

It was her idea to enlist the Ministry of State for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Commerce, and BP Telecom in the effort to charter the ferry that took us back & forth to Hosingr once the team had secured a place in the knockout stage; it's been this mode of transport that's eliminated one of the most overlooked aspects during a month long tournament--the time spent checking in & out of hotels, along with the process of taking airline flights between cities, both of which are time consuming and can be causes of unexpected aggravation or stress.

Both of our round trip voyages aboard the MMS City of Hosingr produced several memorable episodes; an enormous crowd of supporters gathered when the ship arrived ahead of the Starblaydia match (and a similarly large crowd after the match at both Hosingr and Reyn's ferry port quaysides); on both return trips, players were free to come spend time with the rest of party on the 2nd class deck, (everyone except the playing squad & backroom staff were relegated to the lower compartment on the trip over) which obviously made time fly by quickly; the upper 1st class deck was for those who wished to have a more low key experience, both Laura & I were invited to socialize with this group on both trips.

But to go back to original thought, if you look at the circumstances as they stood just before 3pm BPDT on matchday 3, the prospects were grim: Terre Septentrionale lead 1-0 over Siovanija & Teusland, while Eura had a 3-2 lead at Flaneur; those scorelines meant that both of the Baptism of Fire 67 quarterfinalists would be going home after just 3 matches.

Until there was one those strange things that occur, that later look as though there is some supernatural meaning behind them, that changed the entire landscape of World Cup 85; Jessica LeClair, who came on in place of DeAngelo Simmons, pulled BP level against the nation where she currently plays professionally. That result pushed the Bees through, and the rest has been documented in detail already; they've gone from less than 20 minutes from being eliminated, to just 90 minutes from playing in the World Cup Final.

Against two of the three nations that have lifted the World Cup on five occasions, this group--who are surely the best collection of players ever produced by the Commonwealth--have made a statement to the multiverse that we are now a top level soccer nation; five straight times qualifying for the Finals on merit (and a sixth as co-hosts), a feat shared by our friends & friendly rivals Banija (who will square off in the other semi-final against their former WC co-host, Free Republics), who qualified for the first time in World Cup 80 alongside us.

An all-AO Final between two nations who have a close relationship--Baker Park have welcomed a vibrant ex-pat community centered around Mansfield, while the Kingdom is the leading overseas market for the BCEL Beverage Company and is home to approximately 12,000 Parkers employed across a number of industries.

The immediate opponent at the 65,000 seat Haven in Maal--where Baker Park drew 3-3 against Mriin in the Group Stage of AOCAF LIX--is also a thorn in the side; Nephara have won all three previous encounters between the countries: the sides finished 1-2 in their qualifying group for World Cup 82, the Cormorants sweeping the series for 2 of the 3 losses BP had during that campaign; they also met on matchday 2 of World Cup 84, a 1-0 win for Nephara, who advanced to the semi-finals and finished in 3rd place.
Several players from the Commonwealth play professionally in the Nepharim Premiership and the First Division; Sarah Foreman and Sabrina Patton are both in contention to make the teamsheet.
In addition, Nephara provide a number of players for clubs across the NSL, although none of them are currently part of the National Team setup.

Will this be Ichi Tuzzio's finest hour? Will the "Golden Generation" of Baker Park's Development Charter Scheme pull the nation past the final obstacle in the long trek from soccer obscurity to biggest prize?

We're soon going to find out.
Soccer--2x Under-18 World Cup (SWC 5&9) Champions
Baptism of Fire 67 Runner-Up
AOCAF Third Place LVIII (co-hosts), LX
World Cup 85 Fourth Place
World Cup 84 Co-hosts
World Cup 81/82/83/84 Round of 16
World Cup 80 Group Stage
Basketball
AOBC 5 Champions
Football
NSCF 21 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff semi-finalists
NSCF 18 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff quarterfinalist
NSCF 19 & 20 Mineral Conference Champions

Lacrosse
WLC 34 Fourth Place
WLC 30/31(host)/32/33 Quarterfinal
WLC 29 Playoff Round

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Nephara
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1413
Founded: Jun 06, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:03 am

Nephara 3 - 2 Eura
(4-4-2) 1 - Mercator; 2 - Stride, 5 - Thorn (vc), 6 - Brosch, 3 - Close (c, 19 - Muscadin 78'); 13 - Saroszi, 21 - Moxham (8 - Chalk 72'), 4 - Shone, 11 - Strongbow; 9 - Bastable (17 - Avetisyan 78'), 10 - Metzger
Goals: Strongbow 20', Bastable 32', Metzger 64'

It was poetry in motion. The big man in the black and gold saw the danger. Legs bent, then released from the grass. He sprang, balletic, towards the top corner of the net. His hand shot up, his palm rested underneath the ball, almost nestled into it. The wrist coiled, then flicked up, then the fingers twisted up and gently, deftly tossed the ball onto the roof of the net. It is the save of the tournament.
Almost gracefully, the big man hits the floor, crumples, rolls. All is serene.
"FuuuUUUUUuuck!"
Almost all is serene.
Kurtis Bastable clapped Aristide Metzger on the back, his strike partner, his companion. His own hand curls around the neck of the bigger man - taller, at least, though Bastable was gently the broader - gently scruffing him, taking him aside.
He leaned in and murmured something in his ear with a "Don't let them see it. No free real estate in your head, right?" he murmured.
It was easy for him to say, he knew. He had three goals from the four games so far, which was three more than Metzger had. The Treason striker had been dropped against Mriin, for 'tactical reasons' - probably fair enough, but a drop was a drop. And that was a peach of a strike. It should have broken the drought, but Kevin Belgrave thought otherwise.
Were one to use Belgrave, Metzger and one other to triangulate, one might arrive at Rowena Strongbow. Belgrave's Directus teammate could have told Metzger of his skill, and could also commiserate at having been dropped in the last round. There was no doubt in anyone's mind, however, that she would return. She was just... well, she was getting old. In her early thirties! What a career this was.
There had been three players circled a few times pre-match. One was Scott Coles. If Strongbow was old, Coles was geriatric. He'd been perhaps the best rightback in the world in his day, but that day was past. Strongbow was being quietly trusted.
Soon enough, she'd get her chance to prove why.
Metzger's strike was the outstanding chance of the opening stages, but Eura had the greater volume. Bond - the second name Strauss had circled, arguably the world's most in-form striker - had been kept quiet, but Griffiths had singed Mercator's fingertips a couple of times. The tone of the match was promising; quick feet, quick passes, constant movement. A world-class hammer beating on a world-class anvil. It really could be the final, you know.
Moira Woakes made the mistake of dawdling for a second; partners in crime Moxham and Shone double-teamed her, hacked the ball away from her feet. Shone came away with it in the end, surging forward with Woakes in pursuit, swinging the ball down the right before she could catch up. The ball thunked into the side of Saroszi's boot. They glanced up, saw Strongbow moving forward on the other wing... saw Burns coming up to chase, drove the ball down to Stride on her overlap. Stride ran. Stride kept running. Stride hooked a rather unconvincing cross into the box, clearly gassed, pace over composure, but Metzger gamely headed it further down the line.
The ball dropped right onto Strongbow's foot, and rocketed straight into the underside of the bar. This time, Belgrave could only claw at the air.

On the sidelines, Michael Brandon's lip twitched. Strauss pumped her fist, then snatched a thermos of Cocoa-bo off her goalkeeping coach.
Strongbow remained a danger, but she couldn't do shit without the ball. Another of the players Strauss had singled out for special attention was Monica Rowland; her job was to stanch that particular flow.
Rowland was a dignified, austere woman, all flinty, heartless ambition with just a glimmer of a deep-seated need to be a crucial part of the cutting edge. The Cormorants knew this because she'd been one of them, before Eura opened up its doors to women and she'd traded sides, in large part because she was essentially a Euran at heart but by no means blind to the fact that, at the time, it was a step up from the deeply dysfunctional Cormorants.
She was better than Tawny Shone, which deeply annoyed Tawny Shone. Strauss trusted Shone, something of a psychopath-for-hire, to channel that aggression productively, such as by carefully scything down the area around Rowland, nipping the ball away from her feet.
Moxham always knew to be nearby to pick up her scraps. She took the ball neatly, turned, but there wasn't far to go anyway. They were pressing high, trying to keep Brandon's charges off-balance. So far, it was working. Any situation where Chimera Moxham had the ball on the edge of the box was 'working'. And she had options there, Bastable and Metzger presenting themselves, but sometimes the wind is at your back and the ball at your feet on the edge of the box, you've just taken out their defensive midfielder with your defensive midfielder, and it would be criminal not to let fly.
Again, Belgrave swung balletically into action. Moxham grimaced as the goalbound strike clanked dismally against the bar. Kurtis Bastable, though, had no time to fret. He darted forward and, yes, Blake was leaning on him heavily, shunting against him. But he shunted back, practically threw him like a stallion, hurled out a boot and flicked the ball into the net a half-moment before Belgrave could recover it. If you couldn't win pretty, win ugly.
Eura didn't need to learn that lesson, judging by Brian Bond's tap-in in the 42nd minute. Of course. Things had to be interesting.

That half had started to peter out, but both sides benefited from the interval. Stoic Brandon's arms were crossed, one of Strauss' hands on her hip. Brightwater, behind Strauss' shoulder, swore loudly over a touchline mic, prompting many beautiful innocent children to ask their parents what a 'thundercunt' was.
The Cormorants went in strong, fierce. Eurans probed sharply, looked for openings, and gave as good as they got. A minor scuffle somewhere was inevitable, and a Stride challenge on Bowman became the flashpoint for a bit of shoving. All the while, Rowland stood firm and imperious in the centre of the pitch, and even got a couple chances to metaphorically clip Shone around the ear by literally clipping her ankles. But true chances remained elusive, and ones from distance had Mercator to deal with.
Until what seemed like an innocent throw-in was flicked over into the melee by Griffiths. Woakes ran with the ball, blazed past Brosch and fired low, surely into the corner... but the satisfying clap of leather-on-leather accompanied Mercator's sharp save.
Brandon wasn't one to stick with something that wasn't working. Woakes hadn't quite been on the pace, sadly. And so, fifty-eight minutes in, she was hooked. On came Dion Underwood.
Sometimes reshuffles just work. With a satisfied sigh, the Euran machine clicked into its familiar 4-2-2-2* shape and started to pump out shots. A cross from Griffiths was deflected off Brosch, came to Bond, but Mercator swept out and managed just about to smother the shot as it came. The ball spilled loose and Brosch, desperate to atone, threw herself into Bond's path and tried to hook the ball away and Thorn, covering, beat Underwood to the rebound and twatted it into low orbit.
At least, that's what the glowing Godhead seemed to want. But rather, in somewhat un-Nepharan fashion for a centre-half, the vice-captain raced into midfield with desperate energy. Close offered himself up as an option, Thorn took it up gratefully, and the leftback moved it forward to Strongbow. Coles was there, backing up, praying to God he was a few metres back. He wasn't. The cross was open, but instead, she arrowed it across to Bastable, who clipped the ball forward with his first touch, sending Metzger through past Roberts. The two clashed. Their hands were all over each other. But the bristling, tattooed blond got to the ball first even as Belgrave rushed out, no time for a second touch, just take it and bury it.
He let fly.
Belgrave opened up, splayed his limbs. The ball shaved his knee. Didn't stop and, ever so narrowly, slammed into the inside of the crossbar and span into the net.

"... And then?"
"Ah, I don't fucking know, Merci," snapped Marcin Close, captain and self-proclaimed annalist of the Cormorants. "The good part's over."
"The part where you scored all your goals?" Close knew Mercedes Reeve was smirking on the other end of the line.
"Yeah, that part. After that... well, they came at us hard. I mean it's fucking Eura, Merci. They're, what's the meme? Stronk?"
"No need to sound like such an old man about it."
"Why didn't you just watch the game, anyway?"
Reeve was absolutely smirking again. She was his Brinemouth teammate, notably uncapped, and wished a little too obviously that she was there herself. She was bright. Blunt, but sharp. Close missed her company.
"You're smirking," Close accused.
"I am. Anyway, I did watch the game."
"What?"
"Have to admit that was a good goal."
"Yeah," Close admitted. "When it came. By that point we were just kind of kicking it to Voska where we could, and the extra bulk of Mal in midfield helped. You know Moxi-- well, you know of Moxi. She was gonna get a card at some point. And yeah, Tawny had it in for Rowland, but she was kept afloat knowing that Rowland would be smug and superior if she got a card. Rowland thought she was just a thug, after all."
"She is a thug. Tell me about the goal."
Close sighed with needless drama. "We let them get the ball to Underwood. Yeah, took long enough. Almost forgot the cunt was there, but nevertheless. Griffiths had been... a threat, all game. Real duel between the two of us. And maybe around the eightieth minute or so he... got the better of me, drove the ball back into midfield, Bevan slid it to Bowman, we didn't shift across in time to cover the pass to Underwood. And to be fair, Thorn was on him, Stride coming across, but that old dog, I mean... give him a sniff, that was all it took. Heste didn't stand a chance."
"Mm. Still, you held out in the end."
"Could've stood to be more comfortable. By the end, we all just kind of... slumped." The Eurans had been mentally drained, the Cormorants physically. That slight edge in the match had been won with that little edge of power and pace, just enough to negate the Eurans' technical edge.
"Mark of a good match," said Reeve blandly.
"Mm. Hey. So if you saw the game, why put me through all this, anyway?"
"Just wanted to hear you talk about it. You've got a gift for talking, Marcin. It's little wonder you took to that journaling project. And..."
"Yeah, and?"
"And I wanted to know if, you know, you'd skip the part where Griffiths stepped inside you and then dragged the ball between your feet, then rushed past fast enough you span around and fell flat on your arse."
Close's silence said it all. Reeve chuckled. "Goodnight, Marcin. Good luck for the Commonwealth."

* 4-2-2-2 is the Euran term. Nepharim call it a 4-4-2 but with boring fullbacks with no sense of adventure and lazy wingers with no sense of industry.
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Zwangzug
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Postby Zwangzug » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:38 am

After a barrage of tests, breathing and being poked with various tubes of all dimensions, Vaughn and Samuel had been advised to retire for medical reasons. The remaining Rovers were cleared to play, which in Tim's case involved some ribbing about the mediocre Cup of Harmony run and, for the others, bearing down for another fifteenth-place campaign.

Hallam was, in fact, reunited with his clipboard, which he magnanimously lent to the Collective to transcribe and back up. Outrive withdrew its host bid proposal from the national federation, which awarded a few CoH games to Sharag in Namiri, presumably so the teams playing in Guariday wouldn't be so isolated. Wayr Stadium is temporarily closed for refurbishing, but it will be reopened in time for season 31, you can't possibly think we're the kind of nation to just shut it down forever. Bassabook, once again, submitted its baffling proposal for the Cereal Cup final rounds, and it was voted down 14-2. (Ephesian FC surprised everyone by coming around to the Old Boys' side, but it wasn't the strangest thing they've ever done.)

Misako Tsuki, who has mostly but not entirely given up on the "mysterious causes of death" pie chart woes, led the prestigious Bryce College to their first @@MONTH@@ @@CRAZY ALLITERATIVE WORD@@ championship.

By participating in their twenty-first World Cup cycle, the Zwangzugger Zwangzugian local federation earned a sixth slot in the player Hall of Fame. This has yet to be awarded, although speculation circles around Lucas Kukiseso, given how his leadership both on the national team and in Spenson was recognized by the Galactico committee. Some domestic fans support awarding Sydney Stefred, who did what Kukiseso could not in winning the 1./ not once but twice as a player; however, the image of her giving a Hall of Fame induction speech while being enshrined along old names like Martina Ruan has everyone either very scared or very amused.

Naomi Clarkson returned from Trolleborg with a sufficient appreciation of the weight of history, and the value of actually being a real manager, that she was not tempted to re-apply for the newly vacant Squornshelan Remnant States coaching position. At least, not this time around.
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Free Republics
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Postby Free Republics » Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:02 pm

Free Republics Consul Debate for Round 3
CoCoCo Stadium, New City

Extra seating was installed on the field of CoCoCo Stadium and many thousands of people were allowed to purchase standing room only tickets as over 200 thousand Republicans packed into the stadium for the final debate of the consul election. For this debate, there was no moderator. Samuel Izmailov and Nova Hellstrom-Hancock were to discuss the issues between themselves and attempt to persuade the electorate around to their point of view. This format was traditional in 3rd round debates. The debate would continue until such time as the candidates agreed to end it and the television networks agreed to cover it until its conclusion.

By mutual agreement, Nova Hellstrom-Hancock would both enter the debate first and speak first. Izmailov insisted upon a "Ladies First" policy. While neither candidate was usually one for norms, both understood that a certain degree of decorum was expected in a final debate. Both candidates entered to their choice of songs. Nova Hellstrom-Hancock chose to enter to the National Soccer Team's theme song Rule Theriault to emphasize her close relationship to the team. Samuel Izmailov chose the song God Bless the FFR to attempt to pick up the votes of some religious conservatives while playing up his nationalism. That seemed a bit bizarre given that the Patriarch of Republica, the leading bishop of the True Church of Iesus Christus in the Free Republics, had just endorsed Sister Polus's views on wearing face masks. The government of the Malifornia Charter Society, run by the Salvation Circle, had even passed a law making it illegal to leave your home without wearing a mask. However, a number of other Christian groups did not agree with the Sanctii church's opinion on this matter.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - Welcome to the final debate. Soon, our Federation will have a choice before it between 2 candidates. This choice will determine our destiny over the next 8 years. I am Nova Hellstrom-Hancock and I am running to bring about a new Golden Age with true equality for women, an economy that works for everybody and a strong military that protects our nation and fights to free those oppressed.

Samuel Izmailov - And I am Samuel Izmailov. I am running for Consul to restore the Greatness of our great Federation and to Take Up the Republican's Burden to civilize backward nations like Equestria, Farfadillis, Sarzonia and South Covello, among others. I also wish to restore our lost empire by re-establishing colonial rule over Noburu Taiyou, Irad, Ciqi and the rest of our former colonies.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - Samuel, I think that's one area where the two of us differ. I do agree that some of the nations you mentioned have problems but I'd prefer to address things through diplomacy, foreign aid and, as a last resort, humanitarian intervention. I don't think we need to invade the world nor do I particularly think we should invite the entire world to immigrate here.

Samuel Izmailov - Nova, I think you lack ambition. Some people have asked me how we're going to find enough manpower to fight these wars but the solution to that is my Invite the World policy. We will invite everybody in the multiverse who wants a better life and everybody who is unhappy with the way their country is run to come to the Free Republics and join our military to fight and help us Invade the World. Why shouldn't the Federation of Free Republics be the one and only government of the entire multiverse? That's how we can best help those less fortunate than us!

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - I respect your desire to help those less fortunate, Senator, but unfortunately you can't help people who don't want to be helped. If you enjoy being oppressed, then you're not going to appreciate somebody trying to set you free. Sadly, some people don't want to live the way we do and I'm willing to let them have the form of government they want. I'd rather focus my energies on freeing those who want to be free from bondage than on freeing those who don't want to be free just because they make my blood boil. That's why I have no intention of interfering in the internal politics of Equestria, Sarzonia or South Covello in any way if I win the election. However, I do believe that we should offer developmental aid to poorer nations like Farfadillis.

Samuel Izmailov - Nova, I think you are far too nice a person to be in politics. There's no room for being nice when you're running a superpower. You need to be willing to throw your weight around to stablize the multiverse.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - I do respect your machismo, Samuel but it is really dangerous to have a leader who is so gung-ho about going to war. I admit though that I'd probably be the way you are were I born a man.

Samuel Izmailov - And I'd hope I'd be like you if I were born a woman!

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - Well, regardless, I'm not going to launch any personal attacks on you tonight.

Samuel Izmailov - Nor will I. We should discuss the issues like the good friends that we are.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - I agree. With that out of the way, are you willing to agree to accept the result of the election and recognize whoever wins as the legitimate junior consul of the Free Republics?

Samuel Izmailov - Yes, I will. After the election, we need to unite for the good of the Federation. Besides, I'd probably vote for you if I weren't running.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - Same. Valentin's kind of weird and Fukuhara-san's ideology is kind of foreign.

Samuel Izmailov - That's one way of putting it. One more thing I'd like to know about foreign policy before we move on to other topics: If some foreign power were to launch a nuclear first strike against us, would you hesitate to use our nuclear deterrent to make them pay?

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - There's no way I'd hesitate for even a second! If you try to nuke the Free Republics, you deserve to be wiped from the face of the multiverse. On a related note, would you launch a nuclear first strike?

Samuel Izmailov - I would only authorize a nuclear first strike as an absolute last resort if, God forbid, we were actually defeated in a war and about to be conquered by the enemy. Of course, we're not going to lose a war because we are the Indispensable Nation.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - Let's move on to other issues then. Where do you stand on intellectual property?

Samuel Izmailov - I believe we should continue our current policy of only recognizing copyrights and patents on works that have been either made by Republicans or sold in the Republican market. If a foreign corporation won't release it here, they shouldn't expect to benefit from our copyright laws. I also oppose patent protections for products created by foreign companies. Patents exist to encourage our scientists and recognizing foreign patents does not benefit us in any way. It only makes us beholden to foreigners for items that might be essential to our nation.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - You actually made a good point about patents. I think I'll probably adopt the same policy on that issue. My priority on the issue of intellectual property, however, is to finally secure the rights of employees to create things on their own time with their own funds and retain the intellectual property rights. Just because you work for a company does not mean that they should own every single thing you do. On a related note, I also want to protect workers that hold multiple jobs from discrimination. Your boss shouldn't be allowed to force you to choose one job or the other. I've even heard that there are athletes that are good enough to play on the national team in multiple sports but have been forced to focus on 1 sport due to injury concerns. This needs to end!

Samuel Izmailov - I didn't think of that but I see where you're coming from. I know you discussed your proposal for pensions for elderly people at the last debate. I also have a plan for pensions that permits employers to choose the best pension plan for their workers between both private and public options, including the option for the plan to be paid directly by the company.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - Does your plan cover pensions for workers who are already too old to benefit much from retirement savings plans?

Samuel Izmailov - They will be covered by the sale of enemy property seized by our military as part of my Invade the World, Invite the World program.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - My plan involves a temporary payroll tax on employers that will directly fund pensions for workers currently over 70 and proportionally for workers between the ages of 20 and 70 based on how many years they worked. It would eventually be disbanded and replaced by a market-based pension plan once nobody is receiving it any longer and the debts of the program are fully paid off.

Samuel Izmailov - So you're proposing an unfunded liability for future generations?

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - I don't agree with that characterization. Besides, the cost of my plan will drop as the years go on. I anticipate that it will be fully paid for before the last recipient stops receiving a pension.

Samuel Izmailov - I think we've settled that issue then.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - Then let's move on to the issue of labor unions. Do you believe in the right to unionize for the purposes of collective bargaining?

Samuel Izmailov - I support unions but I oppose strikes because they are harmful to the public. I believe that all intractable disputes between labor and management should be subject to mandatory arbitration by a neutral arbitrator chosen with the consent of both sides. Should they be unable to agree upon an arbitrator, the government should be the arbitrator of last resort.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - I strongly disagree with this as I support the right to unionize, to collective bargain and to strike for better working conditions.

Samuel Izmailov - I believe we are in agreement for the most part on social issues.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - And we both recognize that the Sherpa Cold Virus is overblown.

Samuel Izmailov - Yes, we agree on most of that.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - In that case, what do you say we take turns giving speeches and then call it a night?

Samuel Izmailov - Fine by me. Good luck in the election, by the way.

Nova Hellstrom-Hancock - Thank you. Good luck to you as well. You can speak first this time.

Samuel Izmailov - Very well.

The 2 candidates spoke to the crowd for about 30 minutes each and then concluded the debate. Now all that remained was the actual voting that would determine which of these candidates would be the next consul...
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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Recuecn
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Founded: Feb 02, 2015
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Recuecn » Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:56 pm

Starting the world cup with back-to-back wins meant that Reçueçn had already put forward its best performance in its history in the tournament. When Les Licornes qualified for the round of sixteen despite losing their final group stage game and dropping to second, it meant that they would be at least pulling tieing for their deepest ever run in the tournament—not that the round of sixteen was an impressive benchmark there. It was made all the sweeter by the fact that advancement came at the expense of Cassadaigua, who had crushed Reçueçn's dreams in the round of sixteen two cycles ago. This time there would be a new challenge. Valanora.

Playing the five-time world champions would have been intimidating any day of the year, but doing it right after they had just completed a perfect run through the group of death, it was clear that the elves' billing as their group's second seed belied their true strength. The ÉNRF had heard so much about the holy empire, but this would be their first time ever meeting them on the pitch.

At half-time, the Reçuecians were feeling confident. The commentators were saying that they were being outplayed by the Marauders, but Franky had managed to score a goal—the only goal—and Les Licornes were leading. The team was used to this. They'd held off many a foe for a one-nil scoreline, opponents who launched non-stop attacks and higher-ranked competitors alike. This was what Reçueçn was supposed to be good at. They'd shut out Drawkland and Cassadaigua, not to mention more than half of their qualifying games... now they just had to do it one more time.

It fell to Firaut. He was the star who could make the dream reality, but it would also be on his shoulders now. He lasted for fifty-five brave minutes of shot after shot, and then there was a yellow card for Cutrona, a free kick for Veliz, a soaring ball that Firaut would have no trouble with, the redirection he'd predicted, and then—

Then, instead of feeling the ball in his gloves, a second redirection from Saxstrom, a header, sending it right past him in the opposite direction as he dove. The game was tied.

It wasn't over by any stretch of the imagination: Reçueçn was outclassed, unable to get any scoring chances, but they might get lucky again, or they might make it to penalties and be saved yet again by Firaut. But in his heart, Firaut knew it was not to be. He'd given up the lead: now he knew he'd give up another, and that would be the game. He could have been the hero; instead, he'd be the goat.

Firaut didn't have to take the blame. Cutrona provided an all-too-obvious scapegoat when fourteen minutes later he fouled again—another yellow card, and this time he was gone. Tremblay sent on Hagen Groos to shore up the defense, but he couldn't do anything about being a player down. Another goal for the Marauders, and the game was over. Reçueçn would be going home, proud of what they accomplished, but nonetheless, for the first time, wishing they could've had more.
Last edited by Recuecn on Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mriin
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Founded: Nov 17, 2016
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Postby Mriin » Fri Jul 03, 2020 6:02 pm

Cutoff, and scores, for the Farfadillis Semifinal.
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Farfadillis
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Postby Farfadillis » Fri Jul 03, 2020 7:17 pm

Whoever wins today will not be going to some other place because the final will be played in Mriin, which is where the teams in this half are playing.
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Commonwealth of Baker Park
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Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:27 pm

"Hello, and welcome to CBC Soccer Night, World Cup edition. Aiden Donnan, Gary Kostka, I'm David Blake, and we have a few friends who've joined us here outside Haven in Maal [cuts to crowd shots of supporters standing off to one side of the outdoor studio set] as we bring you all the latest ahead of the...oh, I can't believe we are here right now..."

Gary Kostka(off-camera): "That makes two of us."
DB: "semi-finals of World Cup 85, as the Commonwealth of Baker Park face Nephara with a place in the Final on the line."

Aiden Donnan: "David's already hyperventilating, the match hasn't even started yet!" (laughs)

DB: "Guys, there's so much energy among everyone who are close to the squad right now, among the supporters, among the media. How do the players block all of that out to concentrate on the opponent rather than the occasion?"

AD: "It starts on the morning after the Valanora match, you know there is another hurdle that needs negotiated, and the staff are already narrowing your focus on the 11 v 11 element."
GK: "Exactly, it's a match three days from now, and it has to be approached from a training standpoint as our players against theirs, our system against theirs. National teams aren't like club sides where you know there's x number of matches in the season, so it's a defined path. Ady?"

AD: "Emotions, heightened tension, those only come into play at club level if you're in a title chase or a relegation battle, or on a cup run. The trick with national side is to try to keep the day to day stuff as much like they would experience back home, and try to hold back having to deal with the other stuff as long as possible."

DB: "Ichi Tuzzio got Farfadillis into the World Cup Final by man-managing his players in such a way that almost seemed like assembling a jigsaw puzzle on match day, then flipping it over and starting over again."
GK: "And he's made it clear on many occasions that he knows full well that he doesn't need to take that approach with this group. He's probably spent the last couple of days reinforcing the belief among the squad that they are good enough to win this tournament, now."

AD: "I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that this is Pam's team. The Maestro has tweeked and tuned some of the fine details, but the regular starting XI through this cycle is identical to the one she put on the field in her final match."
DB: "There's been a story that some of the players have taken to paying quiet tribute to their former manager, not out of disrespect to Tuzzio, but to emphasize their appreciation to Scott for her influence."

GK: "I'm not going to name the player that I definitively know has done that for probably most of the qualifying and the Finals, but I'm sure they aren't the only one."

DB: "So let's bring in the men who'll be describing the action from inside the stadium, Craig Snyder, Mark Tolbert, it's a long ways from the Baptism of Fire to tonight."

Mark Tolbert: "Indeed it is David, and the chance of the whole journey coming full circle with a BP-Banija spectacular on Sunday has been on the mind of both Craig & myself since earlier today.
[OOC--the time difference certainly would mean that the Mriin SF would've been played first ICly] Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the weather, which is superfluous since you are only about a good 800 meter run from us, but it's clear skies, temperature 82 degrees, but luckily the dew point in quite low, so the notorious humidity here on Easthold will probably not be a factor. Craig, the pool from which the starters are chosen seems to have shrunk since the knockout rounds began, there hasn't been the squad rotation on a large scale as we've seen in the past."

Craig Snyder: "Mark, it hasn't been a function of not having confidence in the replacements, but more that the main squad members have insisted on not being rotated out. Even now, there are some of the core group--Callum, Taborn, Westmoreland, Patton, Briggs, to name a few--who are reaping the benefit of not playing as many minutes during qualifying, feeling as though they are recovering faster than if they had played a lot earlier."
MT: "It seems that the players who have seen their time limited have been Wadsworth, Stone, Foreman and Grant Coffey, but there are certain tactical reasons why some players have been in the lineup for particular matches."
CS: "In the situations where they have looked to utilize the tactical setup that came out of the AOCAF, there's been a plan of sacrificing a couple of positions for an hour or so, then bringing on subs to take advantage. Which was also an idea Pam Scott utilized on several occasions, way back in the mists of time, Ady. But we've just been handed the team sheet, and it is the same as the lineup against Starblaydia. Caroline Gordon with her 5th start here in Mriin, with Derick Briggs, Tracey Vasillias--who'll wear the armband for probably the final time in her career--and Terrence Stephens in front of her in defense, Daisy Callum, Annabeth Westmoreland, Lorenzo Taborn and Junior Ngoba across the midfield, and Jamari Bozeman playing behind the forward pairing of Missy Tilton and Tyrek Jones. Sabrina Patton, Antonio Sotolongo, DeAngelo Simmons, Amanda Hayes, Sarah Foreman, Nicki Stone, and Grant Coffey the main subs available to Ichi Tuzzio tonight. Back to you David."

DB: "Thanks guys. Aiden?"
AD: "Well, they come back with the same lineup from the Starblaydia match, so I expect they will play a similar game plan--aggressive press against the backs, try to get the numerical advantage in midfield, really high defensive line, don't give any space for buildup. It's worked pretty much every other time they've used it, so why not?"

GK: "Just wanted to make Ady aware of Craig's reminder of another time when he identified the greatest manager in the world."
AD: "I heard him. (background laughter) That's why I never went into coaching, I'm stupid about tactics." (more laughter)

DB: "We are way past time for a break, so let's hold it there. We'll be back to discuss the opponents after these messages."


(OOC--congratulations to Neph and FFR; it's been a great WC for storylines involving drama and unexpected outcomes for all the Final 4)
Soccer--2x Under-18 World Cup (SWC 5&9) Champions
Baptism of Fire 67 Runner-Up
AOCAF Third Place LVIII (co-hosts), LX
World Cup 85 Fourth Place
World Cup 84 Co-hosts
World Cup 81/82/83/84 Round of 16
World Cup 80 Group Stage
Basketball
AOBC 5 Champions
Football
NSCF 21 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff semi-finalists
NSCF 18 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff quarterfinalist
NSCF 19 & 20 Mineral Conference Champions

Lacrosse
WLC 34 Fourth Place
WLC 30/31(host)/32/33 Quarterfinal
WLC 29 Playoff Round

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Banija
Minister
 
Posts: 2504
Founded: Mar 06, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Banija » Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:27 am

Banijan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Diplomatic Profile- Internal Job Posting for Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Baker Park


Memo to All Banijan Foreign Ministry Employees:

As you may know, the Banijan Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Baker Park is retiring. Thomas Danso has served as a proud member of the Banijan Diplomatic Corps for 33 years, culminating in six years of service in Belle Haven as Banija's Ambassador in the country. In 3 months time, he will be saying goodbye to diplomatic service, and will return to Banija to serve as the Senior Director of International Recruitment for his alma mater, the University of Moravica. Danso is distinguished, and will provide great service to his alma mater, as they try to increase foreign student enrollment.

This means, of course, that there is an opening for the Baker Park Ambassadorship. This is legally considered a top-priority relationship, a term which we will go through later in this document. It is a term reserved for our closest allies and the nations most important to Banija, as we will go through later in this document. There are exactly 40 days from the sending of this Memo to return your applications to both the Foreign Ministry and the Palace.

What is a Top-Priority Relationship?

Informally and popularly known as the "Big Five" Ambassadorships, these are the Ambassadorships that, due to history, size, and economics, this country considers most crucial to its success. Therefore, the Ambassadors for these top-priority relationships have a special hiring process. The present top-priority relationships, in no particular order, are as follows- Eshan, Equestria, the Royal Kingdom of Quebec, the Commonwealth of Baker Park, as well as the United Republics of Siovanija & Teusland, who is the most recent edition to the list.

There are a number of different things about the hiring process. The main difference of the hiring process here, is that interviews will not be conducted by the Foreign Ministry, and then recommendations being made to the Palace. Instead, for these relationships, interviews will be conducted by His Majesty, the Kabaka himself, at a time or place of his choosing.

What are the Qualifications?

Because of the importance of these relationships, they have their own set of Qualifications. First, anyone must have at least two years experience serving as a member of either the Banijan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This can only be substituted for two years of service in the Armed Forces, if one received an honorable discharge. Furthermore, one must have an additional year of Ambassadorial-level experience or equivalent experience.

Equivalent experience at the Civilian Government level would be a Senior manager pay rank or higher, or in the military would be the rank of Captain or higher. IN the private sector, an equivalent would be some sort of Department Executive experience. Since Baker Park is an English-speaking country, there are no specialized language requirements for the position.

One must also be a Mormon "in good standing" with the national church, or if they are unbaptized, receive a dispensation from the Church affirming that they are of "strong moral character." However, these dispensations are a rarity in this arena. And lastly, one must have a Bachelor's Degree(in any field) from an accredited University.

What are the Expectations?

The expectations for somebody in this job would be as follows

- Serve as the point of contact between Busukuma and Belle Haven. Must stay appraised on Baker Park current events and political happenings. Establish a good working relationship with the government in Belle Haven, currently led by Prime Minister Rebecca Schoenlein, and maintain an open door of constant communication with the Prime Minister, with her Foreign Minister and Ministry, as well as President Gregson, when necessary.

- Serve as an effective representative of Banija and a promoter of Banija's interests. For example, ensure that Banija is well represented at important Baker Park national events- 11 November Foundation Day events. Promote and support the Banijan ex-pat community in the country, centered in Mansfield- visit the area frequently, attend cultural and religious events there. Ensure that your Embassy serves as an effective resource for potential investors and emigrants from Baker Park to Banija, and vice versa.

- Serve as a coordinator when a high-ranking Banijan government official visits Belle Haven. This will happen fairly often. Any member of the Royal Family, or a high ranking official, could visit for a number of reasons- some diplomatic in nature, some cultural. Serve as support for the PLDS church in Baker Park.

- Participate in foreign policy strategy calls at home. The "Top-Priority Relationship" Ambassadors participate in Foreign Ministry strategy meetings, by video conference, twice weekly at the discretion of the Isebantu. The schedules for these calls do change frequently- must maintain the flexibility necessary to attend these meetings, as an absolute top priority. Because of the nature of Banijan relationships in these countries, discussions with host governments often concern things that having little to do with direct bilateral relations. Must stay on top of Banijan happenings in general, both at home and abroad, in order to effectively represent Banija well.

- Have an in-depth understanding of Banijan politics, Banijan foreign policy, and Baker Park politics. Be able to effectively and rapidly communicate with Busukuma anytime there are potential issues with our two nations, and serve as an effective resource to coordinate calls and visits between Belle Haven and Busukuma.

Basic Information- Banijan Priority Relationships
Top-Priority Relationships
Royal Kingdom of Quebec
Eshan
Equestria
Commonwealth of Baker Park
Siovanija & Teusland

Priority Relationships
Valanora
Timuria
Busoga Islands
Ko-oren
Mriin
Vilita
Eura (Euran Oceania Territories are also specifically listed as a priority partner, even if they are part of Eura)
Liventia
Kelssek
Taeshan
Sarzonia
Cassadaigua
Free Republics
Qasden
Geisenfred
Qusmo
Hapilopper
Newmanistan
Ranoria
South Covello

Normal Relationships
All other countries.
Last edited by Banija on Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reigning champions of the Di Bradini Cup and present bronze medalists of the World Cup. Vice President of the World Cup Committee.
Kabaka = King
Lubuga = Queen Consort
Isebantu = Crown Prince
Waziri = Foreign Minister
Katikkiro = Prime Minister
Omugabe/Omugaba= Prince/Princess
Banija Domestic Sports
NSCF 14 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria), NSCF 17 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria), NSCF 19 CHAMPIONS(Northern Moravica)
Sporting World Cup 8. World Baseball Classic 47. Di Bradini Cup 47. National Trophy Cabinet.
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Commonwealth of Baker Park
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1289
Founded: Jan 10, 2018
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Sat Jul 04, 2020 4:58 pm

© Sporting Times Weekend 2020
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?
by Mindy Cartwright, National Soccer Editor

The first NS era match played by the Commonwealth National Team was at Banija's Stadium of the Restoration in Busukuma; for the 58th AOCAF the two nations shared hosting duties and both advanced to the semi-finals, although they had differing results; both qualified for their first ever World Cup Finals at the same time; in the latest edition of the regional championship, Baker Park played their group stage matches at La Gran Avenida in Purto Favalero, and the Banijans have played some of their group matches in this World Cup here.

But when the nations, that share a close friendship in the fields of government, commerce and mutual aid, meet to determine the Third Placed side for this World Cup, it will mark the first time they will have faced one another in a competitive match in soccer. The eighth encounter--9th actually, if you count the Banijan women vs BP women matchup in the first BPOC--will be a monumental event in the history of the nations' relationship, regardless of the winner.

Ichi Tuzzio will rotate in all of the players who didn't start the semi-final for this match: Grant Coffey in goal, JC Bartok, Emily Arnold & Sarah Forman in defense; Nicki Stone, Amanda Hayes, Antonio Sotolongo and Maria Fernandez in midfield; and Jessica LeClair behind Sabrina Patton and DeAngelo Simmons up front, with Lainey Wadsworth expected to come as early as half-time to ensure all 21 position players will have had the opportunity to play in the final two matches.

The Kadongo Kamu and the Bees face off on the home turf of the soon to be former World Champions, now coached by one Pamela Scott, who replaced the manager on the Baker Park bench. The circle is complete, a circle of goodwill and respect between two nations that just happen to play at the highest level of the sport.
Soccer--2x Under-18 World Cup (SWC 5&9) Champions
Baptism of Fire 67 Runner-Up
AOCAF Third Place LVIII (co-hosts), LX
World Cup 85 Fourth Place
World Cup 84 Co-hosts
World Cup 81/82/83/84 Round of 16
World Cup 80 Group Stage
Basketball
AOBC 5 Champions
Football
NSCF 21 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff semi-finalists
NSCF 18 Mineral Conference Champions
playoff quarterfinalist
NSCF 19 & 20 Mineral Conference Champions

Lacrosse
WLC 34 Fourth Place
WLC 30/31(host)/32/33 Quarterfinal
WLC 29 Playoff Round

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Farfadillis
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1922
Founded: Feb 26, 2012
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Farfadillis » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:00 pm

And for my final cut-off I'll leave you with one of my favorite songs. For anyone curious, the lyrics are the inspiration for the second part of my post-win WC 84 RP. :)
The Outlandish Lands of Farfadillis Ӿ Population: 20,814,000 ± 11,186,000
Capital: not applicable Ӿ Demonym: Farf, plural Farves
ffffofficial.com.fa Ӿ FFL Results by Season Ӿ How to get any WA Category Ӿ Map of Farfadillis

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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Nephara
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1413
Founded: Jun 06, 2014
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:48 am

Nephara 4 - 3 Commonwealth of Baker Park
(4-4-2) 1 - Mercator; 2 - Stride (18 - Longship 80'), 5 - Thorn (c), 6 - Brosch, 19 - Muscadin; 13 - Saroszi, 4 - Shone, 21 - Moxham (8 - Chalk 86'), 11 - Strongbow; 9 - Bastable, 10 - Metzger (23 - Lovelace 74')
Goals: Muscadin 7', Bastable 26', Strongbow 37', Moxham 66'

The match itself went deceptively quickly. In a flurry, almost.
It opened in near-disastrous fashion. Two minutes in, Westmoreland set up Missy Tilton on the edge of the box. Roxelana Thorn was wearing the armband, with Close given a break from the rigours of the tournament. She slipped. Tilton sensed blood, her posture opened, she fired... and Mercator flung herself far, flicked out her wrist, and sent the ball spiralling wide.
All forgotten five minutes later. Muscadin, somehow, was the furthest forward, breaking through the middle. Through power and persistence, Metzger managed to flick down a cross to her. He was expecting Bastable, probably, but Muscadin was there, and buried the half-volley past Gordon.
Bastable would put Nephara back in front after Tilton had made good on her second big chance, and a howitzer blast from Strongbow made it 3-1 by the end of the first half. The Commonwealth edged the second half, nails were bitten, and Metzger wrenched something in his shoulder with yet another selfless and brutal assist laid on for Moxham. But Nephara were through.
There was a point at which you stopped looking back, you started looking forward. For the next step was the Final itself.

For Daniella Strauss, that point came when she returned to the hotel. She didn't remember what she'd told the squad. Something vaguely uplifting but with an undertone of menace should they ever threaten to slip control of a match like that again.
She returned back to the hotel. Had the... experience synthesiser or whatever, the chubby girl, Sutter, take her bags up for her. She had to keep limber. Wasn't getting younger, and anyway, she had to get ready for Montag, the awful non-swearing man, to harangue her.
It never came, despite her lounging around in the main room, sinking a couple of cocktails, target on her back. Some guy got an autograph.
Eventually, she went back to her room. Slumped down on her bed, and, huh. Sounded like... crinkling, behind her ear?
She sat up. Blinked, squinted at her pillow. White note on a white pillow. Helpful, at her age. She picked it up, and squinted at the sharp, staccato lettering in clerkly blue pen.
Job nearly done. One more.
Finish this right.
- M

"... Huh."

The next day, they returned to their training schedule. Life as normal. Nobody really wanted to talk about what was coming next, to confront it.
Eventually, it became too big to swallow. Excitement in some voices. Others were tentative, perhaps a little overawed. Training didn't go as well as Strauss would have hoped for; neither trait was positive.
Then the night before, over the dinner table - brown rice and flayed chicken swimming in oil, the only lubricant tolerable to the nutritionists - Aristide Metzger shared his own thoughts.
"I asked Fabian what kits we'd be wearing on the night."
Bastable, his strike partner, supplied him. "Yeah?"
Metzger nodded, mouth full of rice, then swallowed. "Yeah. Well, they're listed first, and they wear blue and white. So apparently we're in a bit of a chimera. The terracotta aways, right, the shirts and socks--"
"Right."
"-- but with the black shorts from the home kits. There's an alternative set with white numbers instead of green, just in case of... well, this."
"It's bullshit," opined Saroszi, taking their seat across. "Blue and green shouldn't count as clashing."
"Yeah, well, they do. And they do kinda clash, anyway. They can blur together."
Acatha Feldman nudged him in the spine as she passed with her bowl in hand. "Don't forget the 'keepers, eh? What's Hesterine wearing?"
Metzger swallowed again, heavily. "Dunno. Di'n't ask."
Muscadin snorted. "Like it matters for you, Acca, you'll be in the jacket all day anyway--"
"Hey, if I cared about your opinion, Vivi, I'd ask." Feldman sat with a grunt. "I think it's a chartreuse. Why d'you care, anyway, eh?"
"Huh?"
"No, not you. Ari. Why were you asking Fabian about the kits?"
They all waited patiently for Metzger to swallow again.
"Well. See, I've got this technique, right--"
"Here we go..." muttered Saroszi.
"'Positive. Visualisation.' So what I do, right, is I take what I want to see - me scoring a goal, tomorrow night - and I visualise it."
"Positively," suggested Feldman.
"Right! So I'm there." Metzger gestured in a pseudo-camera way. "In the red and black kits. I've seen the stadium. So, I'm in the stadium. The Republicans, I know what they look like too. And I see it, me, scoring the first goal in the final. And tomorrow, when I get into that position... Rowena, you'd best be paying attention--"
"Huh?" Strongbow's voice chimed in from the next table over.
"-- 'cause it's you with the cross, and when that swings in, I'm seeing myself scoring it now, right. So when it happens. it'll just be... swhoooosh."
A pause. Saroszi gave Bastable a what-the-fuck look. Bastable gave Saroszi an I-know look.
Feldman ripped off the bandage. "Swoosh?"
"I'll just ram it home." Metzger clicked his finger. "Just like that. 'Cause it's already happened, in my daydreams. Positive. Visualisation."
A while later, Saroszi and Bastable wound up taking their bowls back to wash up at the same time. "Did you hear that shit?" Saroszi prompted.
"You know I did, Monako. I was right there."
"What is he on?"
Bastable smiled tightly. "On a goal drought, love. Does funny things to the mind. But hey; if there's a chance it works, I'm not getting in the way. You want him to lock up when the chance comes his way tomorrow?"
"No."
"Then leave it. Trust me. You know, a couple years ago when I was scoreless in, like, eight, I had this funny thing with shoelaces..."

While the leftback was Close, the strikers were closer. Emotionally as well as physically, the centre-halves were closest of all. It took one kind of intimacy to admit, as Ilyana Brosch now did, that "I'm worried about tomorrow," and another kind of intimacy to do so from the vantage of Roxelana Thorn's shoulder.
Thank God, Thorn thought. It isn't just me. "You? Worried? Get over it. It's just another game, Yana."
"Yeah, uh, that's. You don't need me to tell you that's bullshit, Roxi." Brosch shifted under the covers to look better at her, nestling an elbow painfully into Thorn's midriff. "Come on. I want to hear you say it."
"You-- ? Ugh, fine. You're right. Yes; tomorrow makes me nervous. The expectation's choking me, we're expected and expecting to win, what if we don't, what if we don't specifically because of something I do. That about the size of it?"
Brosch allowed herself a smug smile. "Just about."
"But it's... the night before." Thorn plucked a hair out of Brosch's face. "This is where we're meant to get nervy, and not sleep enough. I was bricking it before the NFX game, and what happens? Clean sheet, easy win. I play, bluntly, like a God. Same will happen tomorrow."
"You really believe that, huh?"
"I've got to. Only way I'll be worried is if I can't get to sleep at all, but, well... I got you here. Keeping me warm." She pinched at one of Brosch's cheeks. "Like a little teddy bear."
"Oi! Hey!"
"I'll miss you, you know?"
Brosch blinked at her, startled. First the pain, and then to blindside her with feelings? "It's a tournament affair, Roxi." And that meant no strings attached, no regrets. Sometimes it even meant no kissing, were one sufficiently able and willing to compartmentalise.
"I know! I know. I'm not saying it becomes anything more than that. It's just..." Thorn shifted. She didn't deal well with feelings and tenderness. Or honesty. Her emotional palette generally extended as far as 'stoic, butch' and 'angry, shouty'. "We work well together," she said, feeling how lame the words were as she said them.
Brosch only snorted. "Try again."
"No, you know what-- okay. Uh. No, it's that... ugh. Look. After this, right. We should be... friends."
"... Friends."
"Stay in touch. You know?" said Thorn, hopefully.
That only made Brosch giggle, which was an odd verb to attach to a bull-necked, inked-up 6'1" defender. But when that subsided, she said, "I know."
"Oh, good. 'Cause I don't."
Brosch snorted.
They settled in against each other, for a time. Thorn idly stroked at the ridges of Brosch's spine.
"We'll be fine tomorrow," she said, at last. "Better than fine. We'll win."

The squad rocked up at the Kapytaal early. The hedge wizard Solitaire lead the way from the bus to the stadium, still loyally bearing her censer, warding away any arcane energies innate to Mriin that might have designs on the players. Already, they could hear the fans on the street, gathering, burning flares. Some of the images hovering around social media were spectacular.
They trained. Just another game, they told themselves. Every reason to go at them 120%, but that was every game. This was just another game. Play the way they should, and they'd win it.
What to tell the lads? Strauss tossed around ideas with her assistant, Brightwater. She'd been plotting since last night. Had plenty of thoughts, cobbled them together. But when the lads finally took their positions in front of her...
Chills down her spine.
She forgot everything. This was it. Time to improvise.
No room for doubt with the XI. Rule Theriault could probably have picked it for her. Mercator between the posts. Stride and Close either side of Thorn and Brosch. Shone covering for Moxham in the centre. Saroszi and Strongbow on the flanks. Bastable and Metzger up top. Strong names for world-class talent. Nephara would be playing four-four-fucking-two.
And all of them were watching her. All eleven. All twenty-three. All the coaches. All the staff.
She liked to think she cut a dignified figure. A tall, lean, proud figure, raven hair fading to grey, age only enhancing the fey quality of her fine features. She didn't need to clear her throat. They were watching.
She began.
"It's been over forty years since we first came onto the scene. Nephara was a backwater, they said. These Marchers, yeah, too corrupt, too much infighting, too insular. Just gonna spin their wheels.
"Nobody says that now; we have our reputation because of what those early sides did for us. Baptism of Fire: ours. Regionals: first time of asking, two more in the next few years. Qualifying: got there nice and early. Cup of Harmony: yeah, we'll have that, too. The big show, that took some grinding. Some noble failures. A few more managers discarded. But we got there in the end, too, didn't we. And the best winning record in history, so I'm told.
"See, what Cormorants do is we win. We seize the fucking day, every fucking day. This is what defines us. Not our kits, not our tactics, not our bloody tattoos. We are champions. Others, maybe, took that for granted. Look at the trophy cabinet. Enough silver near the top to weigh the thing down, but last couple decades... look a bit dusty. Maybe we forgot who we were.
"There's been eight Nephara managers since we came into the WCC. And the Old Man's died, since. In all that time, that old, crusty bastard Rule Theriault's been there. He knows who he is. And he's been waiting for this. He's been waiting for what we've got- that gold star! Point to it now, lads. Kiss the damn thing. And the silver and the bronze for good measure.
"You'd better believe he's been working long and hard to get one of his own. Been close before, closer than you'd believe, closer than I did 'til I read the history books. But we have the star he covets. And we are gonna go out and burst that fucking dream, lads. This is our fucking stage. This is our fucking time! We are champions!"
The squad answered in a roar that shook the stands above.
WCC Grand Slam champion.
Accidental Gridiron Championship Silver Belt holders for six cycles??

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Free Republics
Minister
 
Posts: 3114
Founded: May 03, 2013
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Free Republics » Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:46 am

Since the start of the World Cup finals, only Banija had defeated the Republican National Team, LLC team. That had been on the 2nd matchday of the group stage when the Republicans were already virtually assured of advancement if they defeated Sarzonia. Many players on the team openly admitted they had not gone all out in that match as they knew they did not need to win it. Now, in a surprising twist of fate, they were staring down that same Banijan team in the semifinals. Banija, which would have faced an early exit from the group stage had they not beaten the Republicans or had they not held on to a draw against Pasarga, would nonetheless be the favorite in a World Cup semifinal match.

The match would take place in the Ruland Colosseum, a 35 thousand seat stadium in the most run-down, impoverished and dangerous part of Farfadillis. Saying Ruland was the most run-down, impoverished and dangerous part of Farfadillis was like saying that Samuel Izmailov was the biggest flag-waving nationalist politician in the Free Republics. A number of Republican fans braved the danger, once again walking the streets with their National Team, large guns in hand, as they sang patriotic songs. Due to the low capacity of the stadium, there were fewer of them than usual but they made up for that by singing louder.

The Republicans also entered the match without Zak Josef, their starting centerback, due to his red card against Turori. Theriault moved Maxim Izmailov back to centerback and started Nicolai Svendsen at CDM. Faith Marshall and Amy Ashbolt, who had broken out as stars over the course of this World Cup, would start opposite Love Holm.

The first half would see surprisingly little scoring as both teams spent the first 15 minutes or so trying to feel each other out. The first serious scoring opportunity of the match would be Gitonga Kahara's one time shot off a cross from Nawakula Kawesa. Taras Sergeyev would make a spectacular save, giving the Kadongo Kamu a corner. Svendsen would leap just slightly higher than Kizza Okafor to get his head on the corner and send it out to safety under the legs of Johnny Smith. The Republicans seized the opportunity to go on the counter-attack as Smith passed it forward to Marshall, who made the last defender miss, faked a shot fooling Jumu Sanneh completely and then passed to Ashbolt who put the ball into the net. After a lengthy consultation, the officials determined that Ashbolt had barely been onside and the Republican goal counted. The Free Republics led Banija 1 goal to 0 as the Republican fans started singing Rule Theriault. When halftime rolled around, that was still the only score of the match, in part due to a controversial decision to call Madu Okparra offsides after he had seemingly scored an equalizer.

Following halftime, Banija quickly seized the momentum. An errant back pass by Ralf Schroder, intended to set up a clearance by Sergeyev, instead reached the feet of Kahara and the Kadongo Kamu captain was always going to make the Republicans pay for that mistake. The score was now tied. Just a few minutes later, Svendsen would foul Ilman Jawara just outside the penalty area, earning a yellow card from the official. Kawesa would convert the free kick to put Banija in the lead. Theriault responded by immediately sending Archie White, the young attack-minded midfielder, into the match as a substitute for Svendsen.

Despite upping the pace immediately after falling behind, the Republicans still did not get many scoring opportunities for a while. Theriault would respond by replacing his wing midfielders with Kalervo Peltola and Porbergur Lydsson resulting in a front 7 of attack-minded players and putting extra pressure on his defenders to protect the net. Ralf Schroder would make up for his previous error by blocking a Kahara shot that seemed certain to go into the net and Izmailov's strong play continued. Still, as the 80th minute came to a close, Banija still led 2 goals to 1.

Then, the Republicans would finally break through the Banijan defense. Archie White would come through big for the Republicans, placing a perfect long shot at the goal which was deflected by Sanneh. Love Holm would then head the ball into the net to tie the match right as the 83rd minute began. Now, it appeared that the match would be going to extra time and possibly all the way to penalties.

But the Republicans were not content with going to extra time. They pushed forward again in the 88th minute, culminating in a shot by Marshall that hit the bar and was cleared by Demba Kinteh. When the official said there would just be 2 minutes of added time, it looked like a certainty that the match was going to extra time. However, the Republicans would get one last shot at the goal. A shot by Peltola would be deflected out for a corner that would surely be the conclusion of the match. Johnny Smith walked up to take the corner as all 22 players were near the Banijan goal. Smith finally placed a corner near the far post where the Republican keeper Taras Sergeyev managed to get a head on it. To the amazement of just about everybody in the stadium, this header would just miss the chest of a couple of Kadongo Kamu defenders and then just miss the hands of Jumu Sanneh by less than an inch, finding its way into the net. The score of the match at the end of regulation was the Free Republics 3, Banija 2. The Republicans had pulled off their most improbable comeback yet and were going to Mriin for the World Cup final!

For a moment, the entire stadium sat in stunned silence until it sunk in that the Republicans had won the match at the literal death on a goal by their goalkeeper. The defeated Kadongo Kamu players walked back to their own sideline as the entire Republican National Team roster and the entire cheerleading squad rushed onto the pitch to celebrate. Then Rule Theriault grabbed his microphone:

Rule Theriault - For the first time in 17 years, the Free Republics are back in the final match of the World Cup! And what a way to do it too. I'm sure many of you had doubts but I always knew we would find a way. That's what we've been doing. We were tied for the second worst record in qualifying of any team that reached this World Cup. There was widespread speculation before this World Cup started that this would be our final World Cup. There have been doubts about us throughout this World Cup. But we have overcome all of the odds again and again. Now, we will travel to Mriin for a final against either Nephara or Baker Park. I don't have a preference either way as I believe in our ability to hang in there with both of them and, if fate wills it, beat either of them. A year ago, they were talking about us as one of the favorites to win the tournament, especially after we started with 2 straight wins to open the World Cup for the first time in our history. Then Baker Park knocked us out of the tournament. We still owe them a receipt for that. On the other hand, Nephara is seemingly an eternal rival of ours and I would welcome an opportunity to renew that decades-old rivalry on the biggest stage in our sport.

Theriault paused for a moment and then continued.

Rule Theriault - There's been much talk in our sport about an "Old Guard" that have been around forever and always seem to win the championships. Well, given that none of the semi-finalists at this World Cup even attempted to qualify for one of the first 63 World Cups, I think we can safely put aside the idea that its impossible for newer nations to succeed at the highest level in this sport. Of the 4 semi-finalists, only Nephara have won the World Cup in the past. But I don't expect that to stay the case for long. I fully believe that all 4 of the nations that reached the semi-finals of this World Cup will eventually be champions. I have nothing but respect for the talent of Banija, Baker Park and Nephara. None of those teams is a fluke or an accidental semi-finalist and there will be no easy games in this year's final 4. But I believe we can do it and I believe that we will do it!

The Republican fans and players cheered.

Rule Theriault - 20 years ago, we met Nephara for the first time in the Cup of Harmony opener. They beat us 2 goals to 1. Then they didn't win another match in that Cup of Harmony and we actually finished ahead of them in the group because we beat Jeru FC and Falcus in our final 2 matches. Although Nova Hellstrom once thought that Brenecia was Nephara!. They got the better of us in a playoff 18 years ago but we held them to a draw in the World Cup opener 17 years ago. Then we didn't face them for a long time!

That brought laughs from the crowd.

Rule Theriault - We lost to them 3-2 in the World Cup 80 opener during our long losing streak in World Cup finals matches. Then we beat them 1-0 in the opener last year. If we face them, they're going to want revenge for the injury to Rowena Strongbow during that match. They still think we put a bounty on their star player!

The Republicans booed.

Rule Theriault - Whether its Nephara or its Baker Park, it is going to be a very intense match. I hope all of you will join us in Maal for what will be a World Cup final for the ages. I do not guarantee that we will win but we will leave everything we have on that pitch. We have arranged for a fleet of Nicholls Air flights to transport our fans to Mriin. We have purchased hotel rooms for our fans and as many tickets as we could get our hands on. We will be doing everything in our power to pack the stands for the final. Unlike last time where we naively thought the Legalites would do the right thing and move the final to our soil, we aren't taking any chances this time around!

That brought thunderous applause.

Rule Theriault - I want to thank all of you for your support so far. Without our fans, we couldn't have made it this far but with you at our side, we will finish what we've started! See you in Mriin!

The cheerleaders started singing Rule Theriault[/url] and then followed it up with the Republican National Anthem and [i]God Bless the FFR. Then, the Republicans, both the team and its legion of fans, left the stadium and made the long celebratory walk back to the hotel for the final time in Farfadillis.




That night, Nephara defeated Baker Park by a 4 goals to 3 margin. Several days later, Banija would defeat Baker Park by the same margin to earn 3rd place. The Republican National Team and fans arrived in Mriin on so many planes that they almost looked like an Air Force. Nicholls Air assumed responsibility to protect their guns while they were in Mriin as it would be considered inappropriate to march around that country like an invading Army as they had in Farfadillis.

A large number of Republicans had made the trip, far in excess of the number of tickets the National Team had purchased. Tons of money had come in from the team's sponsors and even from the Federation Government to ensure that the Republicans had as many tickets as possible. There were numerous Republican agents going around the streets offering to buy tickets for the World Cup final at far above the face value. When they managed to buy tickets, they were awarded to Republican fans by lottery. Every single Republican fan was gifted with free Republican National Soccer team merchandise and Theriault specifically asked them all to show up in Republican colors and waving flags. The idea was to make the final feel like as much as possible like a home match so that the crowd would help lift the underdog Republicans to victory.

The day of the final was also election day in the Free Republics. By order of the consuls, the vote counting would begin immediately following the World Cup final. The day was proclaimed as a national holiday and businesses were strongly encouraged to let their employees have the day off to vote and watch the World Cup final. Samuel Izmailov and Nova Hellstrom-Hancock agreed to watch the match together at the Consuls Mansion with Scarlett Nicholls and her father Robert Nicholls. Outgoing consul Kyle Bolton would be on the Republican sideline for the final along with a number of other players from the first generation of the Free Republics National Soccer Team. Theriault had them speak to the team one by one, culminating with a speech by assistant coach Koby Theodore. Each of them spoke about the importance of this moment and how the current generation should not take it for granted like they did. Finally, Theriault announced his starting lineup at the very last minute:

GK - Taras Sergeyev
RB - Ralf Schroder
CB - Maxim Izmailov
LB - Vaclav Urbanek
CDM: Lecha Arsanukayev
LM: Usman Eldarkhanov
RM: Archie White
CAM: Johnny Smith
ST: Faith Marshall
ST: Love Holm
ST: Amy Ashbolt

Potential Substitutes

GK: Stig Roivas
DEF: Jake Reed
DEF: Zak Josef
MID: Donka Solyom
MID: Denes Polak
ST: Kalervo Peltola
ST: Steven Bosters

While Nephara went with the most predictable lineup possible, Theriault decided to trust some of his emerging young stars in the starting lineup once again. Their emergence was the reason why the Republicans made it this far and Theriault rewarded their strong efforts off the bench with bigger and bigger roles as the tournament went on. By this point, the time for talking had passed. After 90 minutes, or possibly more, of action on the pitch, there would be a World Cup champion. The Cormorants and the Republicans each believed that would be them. Soon, one of them would be right...
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
Stop Biden: Vote Trump!

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Mriin
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 396
Founded: Nov 17, 2016
New York Times Democracy

Postby Mriin » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:09 pm

This is it. Don't choke.
Nephara wrote:It's retro as all fuck, and it works like a charm.

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Free Republics
Minister
 
Posts: 3114
Founded: May 03, 2013
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Free Republics » Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:18 pm

The World Cup final was the extremely physical match that everybody had been expecting. When it started pouring down rain about half an hour into the match, this allowed Nephara to impose their style of match on the underdogs. The memory of Maxim Izmailov taking out Rowena Strongbow in the World Cup opener a year prior to collect a bounty from Sir Koby Theodore still burned within the Cormorants. With both teams struggling to get shots on target around the hour mark, Strongbow made a run towards the Republican goal and found herself with just Izmailov to beat. As Strongbow approached, Izmailov would take a dive and do an award-winning acting job on the pitch pretending that Strongbow had injured his leg. The official fell hook, line and sinker for this acting job and awarded Nephara's star player a red card for a flagrant offensive foul, stopping play. The Republican medical staff came onto the pitch, helped Izmailov to his feet and the nephew of the Nat-Gre leader "miraculously" recovered. Now the Free Republics had an 11 to 10 advantage.

With the man advantage and the rain beginning to let up, the Republicans would go on the attack. Finally, Amy Ashbolt would put a shot on goal for the Republicans, forcing Mercator to bat it out for a corner. Johnny Smith put the corner at the far post where none other than Maxim Izmailov was there to head it in for a goal. The many Republican fans in attendance and the cheerleaders broke out into a performance of Rule Theriault as they had after every Republican goal in Farfadillis. The lesser nations never shall succeed and all their attempts to break us down will but arouse our furious flame, to breach their net and secure our victory.

With a 1-0 Republican lead, they were now in an unfamiliar position. Throughout this World Cup, they had always been playing from behind and overcoming the odds. Now, with just minutes left to play and an opponent that was down a man due to a red card that was questionable (to put it mildly), the Republicans just had to hold on to complete an improbable run to the World Cup trophy. While most managers would have parked the bus at this point, Theriault's instructions to his team were to stay on the attack. The remainder of the match was marred by fouls but Nephara would get one last chance in added time. Saroszi set up a perfect chance for Kurtis Bastable and the Cormorant striker took full advantage of the opportunity to score an apparent equalizer. Then one of the officials raised his flag signalling that Bastable was offside. After Taras Sergeyev kicked it away, the official called time on the match and the Free Republics were champions.

Rather than a celebration, the final whistle was met by a bench clearing brawl between both teams as many of the Cormorant players justifiably felt they had been cheated out of the match by dirty play from the Republicans and bad officiating. At first, the defeated team seemingly had the upper hand but eventually Republican fans, who vastly outnumbered fans from Nephara due to the Republican National Team's policy of purposely buying up as many tickets as possible for the match, decided to rush the pitch en masse to help their team. Seeing the mob of fans in blue and white coming straight at them, including many fans who were clearly members of Samuel Izmailov's "Blueshirt" militia, several members of the Nephara coaching staff convinced their players that it would be prudent to flee the scene. Now the Republicans could finally celebrate their victory as Theriault grabbed a mic.

Rule Theriault - We did it! Just a few short weeks ago, all of the experts said we had "no chance" while speculating that we wouldn't even be back for World Cup 86.

The crowd booed.

Rule Theriault - Well, look at where we are now. We're the champions of the World Cup. We had to go through half of Atlantian Oceania to get here and now we've taken down the great Nephara. Speaking of Nephara, that Rowena Strongbow sure has some bad luck against us, doesn't she? Last year, she hurt herself on a 100% clean Maxim Izmailov tackle. This year, she decided to foul Maxim and got a well deserved red card. Whether Maxim's uncle Samuel or our own Nova Hellstrom-Hancock wins the election, our nation is going to be in very good hands for the next 8 years!

That brought a round of applause and dueling chants of "Nova" and "Izmailov". All indications were that it would be an extremely close election.

Rule Theriault - While we will likely find out the results of our election later tonight, I think we ought to focus for a moment on what unites us. We all honor our great ancestors who created our Constitution, which is the most perfect governing document yet devised by mankind. We all salute our flag and we all stand proud and salute when our National Anthem plays. We are the greatest nation in the multiverse and tonight we are the World Cup champions!

The crowd cheered even louder this time and started chanting "FFR"

Rule Theriault - They put every obstacle that they could think of in our way but we kicked them down one by one. Now, all of their heroes have fallen and they must acknowledge us as the best. There are many nations that will be furious at the news of our victory but they can all seethe in their impotent fury because they had better accept that there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. No nation in this multiverse can defeat us in a war anymore than they can defeat us on the soccer pitch or the football field. Even as we wait to find out whether our people chose National Greatness or a Golden Age, we have already secured both. I hope to see all of you soon at the Sporting World Cup in Baker Park.

As Theriault finished, the crowd broke out in another performance of the song Rule Theriualt: To us belongs the World Cup. Our cities will in victory shine. All our players will be legends eternal and every stadium where we play, ours.




The results of the election were delayed for several days as voting was extended to a series of strong storms that knocked out power in many parts of the Free Republics. This extra time even allowed the members of the Sarzonian football team to vote while they were in Republica pulling off a shocking upset of the Republican football team. Following the closing of the polls, the vote count took an extremely long time because it was so close that an automatic recount was triggered. The initial results had Izmailov winning by just 31 votes, without counting the absentee votes for Republicans who were out of the country and thus unable to vote.

The recount would continue for days. Soon, Nova Hellstrom-Hancock would end up in the lead by a mere 8 votes. When it seemed like Nova would be inaugurated as consul, Izmailov would sue claiming that a number of fraudulent votes had been mailed in from Sarzonia and South Covello. A fraud investigation discovered thousands of fraudulent mail-in ballots sent from various foreign nations though fraudulent ballots from Nordernious which were overwhelmingly cast in favor of Izmailov outnumbered fraudulent Hellstrom ballots. The Supreme Court heard the case of Izmailov v. Hellstrom-Hancock and ruled that settling disputed elections was outside of their jurisdiction and that the only constitutional options were either for the Assembly, Senate and Consul Nicholls to agree upon the outcome of the election and certify it as such or for a re-vote to be held.

Specifically, determining the outcome of the election would require a concurrent resolution of both legislative bodies and the active assent of the consul. Kyle Bolton's term as consul had expired and he had already taken up his seat as a Senator Emeritus. After deliberating for days with the Senate deciding that Izmailov had won and the Assembly deciding that Hellstrom-Hancock had won, the two legislative bodies agreed to punt on a decision by passing separate concurrent resolutions declaring each candidate the winner and let Scarlett Nicholls make the decision.

Scarlett appeared on national television for a special where she would sign one resolution and veto the other, effectively naming the new consul. Shortly after this television program started, a gunman in a Blueshirt uniform broke into her office and shot her. The Consul Protection Service (CPS) rushed into the Senior Consul's Office and tackled the gunman. Consul Nicholls would be taken via an ambulance to a local hospital. From her hospital bed, she signed the resolution declaring Nova Hellstrom-Hancock the junior consul of the Free Republics as the Federation Investigation Bureau (FIB) began interrogating the suspect...

OOC: If you're wondering why I never returned for another World Cup, please see this. Also note how the very individuals who I called out as the problem went to great lengths to shut down any discussion of the issues that I attempted to raise.
Last edited by Free Republics on Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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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