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World Cup 87 - RP Thread

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

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Audioslavia
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Audioslavia » Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:35 am

Image
(clicking the image takes you straight to the YouTube video)


Original Script
Eastfield Lodge are ten games World Cup 57 qualifiers and Eastfield Lodge, as usual, are languishing in mid table and going absolutely nowhere. There are six games left. They are eight points shy of the playoffs.

If a fightback is going to happen, it has to start now.

The Eastfielders move up to third, but they’re closer to second last than second place. Tretskivucia remain eight clear with five games left to play. Both teams have still to face Aguazul, who are thoroughly Aguazulling the group, and both teams have to face each other right now. It’s must win for Eastfield Lodge.

Awesome. Let’s see what Eastfield Lodge have to say about it….

...

Okay they’re probably happy but they’re not paying attention any more because that’s… that’s a lot of bodies.  This is EFL’s last roleplay of the thread so the team are going to be flying blind from here on out but that’s okay. This comeback is still possible. Tretskivucia have a bye-day, so a win for Eastfield Lodge is sure to close the gap, but they’ll need to keep winning, and they need Tretskivucia to drop further points.

Three points clear with one game left to play. Eastfield Lodge have to travel to Aguazul. Aguazul are unbeaten. Aguazul have scored eighteen goals in their last three games. Aguazul will go on to win this World Cup and the two after that. This is an impossible task… right?

Right. EFL have played their last game. They must now wait on Matchday 18. Tretskivucia have to get a point in their final game, but that game... is against Aguazul. Aguazul are unbeaten. Aguazul have scored twenty-one goals in their last four games. This should be an impossible task.

Should. We’ve already seen that it’s not.

In Chapter 1 we said this match meant nothing, but that was only true for Aguazul, not for Tretskivucia, and not for the Eastfielder population slumped on the couch, watching the TV with increasing disbelief. 

Aguazul were supposed to win. Aguazul always win. How could this happen? And when it comes to Eastfield Lodge, how could this happen over and over again?

Eastfield Lodge joined the football world in cycle 49, carrying with them arguably the worst flag in the history of the multiverse. They entered the same Baptism of Fire tournament that gave us Andrewboy, Osarius and an Oberour Ar Moro side that would beat the Eastfielders in the knockouts. The note at the top of this post probably didn’t seem quite so sarcastic back in 2009. Eastfield Lodge have generally not enjoyed further success in World Cup qualifying.

The yellow line here shows the Eastfielders’s goal difference throughout a qualifying campaign, including any friendly matches deemed ‘official’ by the World Cup Committee, but omitting playoffs or finals appearances. 

We’ve chosen goal-difference because it gives us a base: This faint black line with positive goal differential above it and negative below. 

Yellow zigzag above good, yellow zigzag below bad.

Here, we can see the Eastfielders’s slow start to the World Cup 57 qualifying campaign, with their goal differential in the negative. It drops further after their mid-qualifying exhibition game against Bears Armed, and rises again with a comprehensive friendly-match victory over Cyborg Holland. We see their late-campaign fightback as they charged back up the table, including their other destruction of Cyborg Holland - this one in the qualifiers - followed by defeat to Aguazul and three post-qualifying friendly matches. Two losses and a draw against Eura, Tamarindia and The Weegies. 

Eastfield Lodge were one of those weird teams that wore blue on the Inverted Sosimo Lissón Chart. They’re in a modest position just outside the top two-hundred. Their worst trio of cycles apparently 73 to 75. 

Cool let’s have a look at those cycles.

Okay. Not great but not terrible.

World Cup 73 qualifying, you don’t need me to tell you that’s a mid-table performance. Fourth in a group of seven, finishing with a goal difference of minus one. They may as well have not been there at all. 

World Cup 75 is almost exactly the same story, but about World Cup 74? This doesn’t seem so bad so far…

Qualifying group 19, four matchdays to go, here’s the situation in this alternative version of the table. Looking at the group four years on, it doesn’t seem particularly strong save for top-seeds Cosumar in the playoff spot. The auto-qualification spot belongs to Eastfield Lodge. 

They have a game in hand, they have seven wins from eight games. They’re flying.

Defeat away to Cosumar is nothing to be ashamed about. Five points ahead of Szavoda with only three games to play, all they need is four points from their three remaining fixtures in order to progress, and the first of them is a six-pointer against Szavoda. Victory here would put them into the playoffs at least. A draw would do just fine.

Okay. Not ideal. Two ahead with two to play, but the first of those two games is against Vaugania, who haven’t moved from zero points the entire campaign. 3-0. One game to go, two points the gap, and unlike the Tretskivucia situation, Eastfield Lodge’s fate is in their hands. A win here would seal that playoff spot. A draw would be fine as long as Szavoda don’t win. 

---

Eastfield Lodge are a master of the dark art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. 

I mean look at this. This has to be a successful qualification run, right? I mean if it isn’t then this has to be one weird qualifying tournament…

World Cup 54 qualifying. The format: 17 groups of six… plus 13 groups of 5. Double round robin - so 10 games or 8 depending on your group. Top two progress to a secondary single round robin with ten groups of six, where the top three qualify for the World Cup. 

Not a typical qualifying format. It was a doomed one-off experiment and the only upside was that it provided Eastfield Lodge with the opportunity to fail in a new and exciting way.


The side strolled into first place in their group in stage one, went onto stage two, won their first two games, and just had to get through their final three matches without dropping too many points. A couple of draws or a single win should be enough here, and they’ve got three matches to do it in. You ready? 

One. 
Two. 
Three.

We’ve seen Eastfield Lodge capitulate spectacularly from a position of power.  We’ve seen them fight back into contention and get slapped back down by Margaret. Is this how Eastfield Lodge live their life? A succession of glorious, romantic failures at the final hurdle?

If only their existence was so exciting. Throughout their eleven-year history, spectacular failures are few and far between. Eastfield Lodge lead a purgatorial existence. We may associate them with losing, but losing accounts for only 30% of what they do. They’re not a football team that loses. I mean, life would be simpler if they were. There’s a stark, palpable certainty in a string of 4-0 defeats. Teams that finish bottom of the group know their place in the world. The Eastfielders’ meagre diet consists of 6-3-5 records and fourth place finishes, and it has been so since their inception.

Eastfield Lodge are not losers like DJ8989, losing meaninglessly,  to the utter indifference of the entire country.
They are not losers like The Babbage Islands, capitulating heartachingly on the grandest scale.
Eastfield Lodge are losers in the worst possible sense. They trudge endlessly through a grey fog, seeing nothing, touching nothing, signifying nothing. A paradox. Bewilderingly inconsistent, but crushingly, thuddingly predictable.  

They are connoisseurs of capitulation. They practice losing in its grandest and its most terrible form. 

But surely that can’t be all there is? Somewhere in that long history their fans must have had something - anything - to cheer about...

Notes/Trivia
  • Working Title: “The Eastfield Logic”
  • The script was largely finished by mid October. The video was mostly finished by early November.
  • The first twenty seconds are among my favourite opening 20 seconds of all TIP videos. Entirely for the song.
  • This EFL bit is very clearly influenced by Jon Bois’s series on the Seattle Mariners, which you should definitely watch. That runs to about 3 and a half hours. The Eastfield Lodge section here ends up at only 40 minutes.
  • The final scene is pretty much stolen from the fourth video of that series. The bit that introduces Ichiro Suzuki.
  • I have a list of about half a dozen NS Sporters who have told me they’d like to narrate a video and who I haven’t asked yet. I was going to choose one of them for this one, but after Nethers knocked E5C1 out of the park I was having trouble reading the script in anything but his voice, so eventually I asked him to do it.
  • I had a chat with Nethers about his pronunciation of ‘bewilderingly’ and he decided he wanted that to be the IC pronunciation of the word according to Nethertopians. I like this.
  • Whatever the previous record for 'amount of individual images used in a TIP video', this video broke it. By a lot.

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Savojarna
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Founded: Nov 11, 2016
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Savojarna » Thu Feb 11, 2021 7:03 am

SavojarSports.sj - inside reports from all Savojarna
Previewing the World Cup


By Jaukka Halanen

Savojarna’s return to the World Cup has been celebrated by many. During the draw, the Savojar social media landscape voiced disappointment for the fact that the Northlights were drawn into the Ethanian groups, as that would mean fans didn’t get the expected short trip to their neighbours Taeshan. The decision went so far as to spark a twii.tur campaign under the hashtag #PlayRegional, demanding that groups not involving hosts should have their venues allocated past the draw to ensure that as many teams as possible were drawn into their own region (read more here). But that, predictably, hasn’t gone anywhere, and so the Northlights will be travelling to Ethane soon enough. With the 23-man roster Mikaela Rangren is taking there now known - and largely devoid of any surprises - let’s look at the tough group that the Savojars have drawn, featuring a favourite, a proven name, and a bogey team. In short, it’s not a good draw - in almost every pot, we got the one opponent that got the least votes in our pre-draw online poll.

Game 1: Commonwealth of Baker Park vs. Savojarna
Previous games: 0W 0D 2L, goal differential: 3-6
Pot 2, perhaps even more so than in previous editions, truly did not contain any good draws. Perhaps we would have preferred Vilita, against whom Savojarna have been remotely successful in their first heyday around WC 80; or perhaps we would have liked to see another clash with Brenecia - a regular opponent early in Savojarna’s career that often led to narrow losses for the nascent Northlights? Others, more fond of numbers, would have pointed to Audioslavia as their desired opponent, given they were the pot’s lowest seed. However, plenty of people agreed they’d rather not play Baker Park again, as we’ve seen that matchup fairly recently in a series of games that weren’t really screaming budding rivalry, so that was predictably what we’ve gotten. While the Savojar record isn’t great (losing the first game 2-3 in Baker Park, and the return 1-3 at the Bjurman), this is not an unbeatable team, and chances are that with a bit of luck Savojarna may scrape out a draw. Still, our Fan Prediction Game sits comfortably at 48% for Baker Park, with at least 33% predicting a draw.

Game 2: Geektopia vs. Savojarna
Previous games: 1W 0D 2L, goal differential: 8-9
Well, well, where do we start on this one? First time we met the Geeks was in rugby, when the Savojars were poised to make it out of their RUWC group stage on second place behind Ethane before Geektopia swiftly ended that hope. Then, we’ve met again at the World Cup 84 qualifiers - the first match in football - where the first game ended 2-3 for Geektopia, sitting at the start of a winless streak that would end Olaf Jurtanen’s tenure as Savojar national coach. By the time we visited Geektopia, Rune Zackrisson had taken over, and actually got one of his seven victories in Geektopia (3-2). Mikaela Rangren is also no stranger to the Geeks, having faced this team at the Cup of Harmony following her first WCQ campaign (85), and once again it ended badly, losing 3-4 in extra time after a 2-2 draw at 90 minutes. Games against Geektopia are close, and many fans would have preferred any other opponent from Pot 4 thanks to this history. To top things off, Geektopia are also one of the highest ranked opponents from that pot, 34th to Savojarna’s 31st, with only the Independent Athletes from Quebec sitting in between the two. Although the Northlights will enter this game slightly favoured, the predictions from fans aren’t too comfortable, with there being only 38% predicting a Northlights win, and 28% going for the draw.

Game 3: Savojarna vs. Banija
No previous games
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s nothing less than the best team in the world that ends this group stage. Banija are both on top of the KPB rankings and the defending World Champions, and a team against whom the Savojars never played an official game before. This, surprisingly, was the only opponent where there was an even less popular choice in our fan poll in the pot: Cassadaigua, a country that not only has a very strong team, but also a football scene that isn’t widely covered in Savojarna and therefore didn’t elicit strong reactions from Northlights fans. Banija, on the other hands, does elicit such reactions: Not only are they the Best Team of the World, there are also multiple players for whom this is a special matchup. Savojarna goalkeeper Iiro Pakanen plays in the newly founded Banijan-Farf-Busogan S-FPL together with Banija’s Lama Nyang and Musa Gaye; Krister Voynov meets two RCU teammates in Kuma Bultum and Madu Okparra. Banijan midfielder Abigail Admassu plays, of course, for our own Energie Thorsborg and will have faced a significant share of the Northlights. And of course, there is the elephant in the room with Sergey Nweke, son to a Russian-Savojar mother and a Banijan father, citizen of both countries and briefly rumoured to be approached by the Kadongo Kamu, although he ultimately opted for Savojarna. Despite all these ties, chances are high that this will be a defeat: 68% of fan predictions in our online game are for Banija to win, and only 23% of Savojar fans believe in their own country.

The SavojarSports.sj prediction game would, on one hand, mean losing two games - a first in a World Cup group stage for Savojarna. On the other hand, winning a game would be their first World Cup Proper victory, as the Northlights finished both her prior appearances with two points. Four points would be an upset, although not one that is impossible - Baker Park have appeared beatable in the qualifiers two years ago, with both games being close; Banija are probably out of reach, but Savojarna have a history of slaying (or at least drawing) giants like Eura, Valanora, or the Holy Empire. Four points would also mean a realistic chance at qualifying for the knockouts - a major surprise for sure, and a historic success, but not impossible. Succeeding to do so would see Savojarna matched up most likely against Ko-oren, whom the Northlights drew twice in two different Cups of Harmony, or a familiar Rushmori opponent with Pasarga.

What about some other groups? Group A, featuring the hosts Taeshan, was the group most Savojar fans wished for, as it would have meant fighting our neighbours on their soil. They got a tight and wide open group with one-time champions Brenecia, up-and-coming fellow hockey nation Siovanija and Teusland, and the promising debutants South Newlandia. Savojar sympathies are probably split between their Taeshani neighbours and South Newlandia, who will have their supporters concentrated in Bergheim, the adopted home of Elephants captain and goalkeeper Mikhail Trischuk. For our prediction game, this is the most even group; however, the favourites of the people are Taeshan and Brenecia. Group D is also an interesting one, as it sees Savojar qualifying opponent Zwangzug and The Holy Empire, both of whom struggled in the qualifiers and had to go through the playoffs. These two are being challenged by the rising stars of Vdara and the number 4 of the world, Cassadaigua. While there is little doubt over Cassadaigua, the opinions of our readers on who will win the second knock-out spot are split. There is a lot of sympathy for Vdara as an underdog pick, but the prediction game has eventually centered onto Zwangzug, who seem to have caught themselves after a rough start.

Another one our predictors are on the efnce about is Group H - although 91% of readers agree that Nephara will qualify despite a rather rough qualification campaign, the vote between Drawkland, Astograth and Tikariot is very splintered. There is a very slight majority onto Drawkland, with its pot 2 status potentially weighing in on the matter, but the predictions of our voters are really too close to call. The Sympathy Poll conducted by our friends over at STV2 reveals there may be more at play than just the dynamics of a tight group, as Savojar fans are clearly fond of their fellow region-mates. Asking whom they would support if Savojarna are out, the poll is topped by Nephara (showing that the Copa Rushmori rivalry the two share is clearly more friendly than anything else), followed by Taeshan and Tikariot. While neighbouring Taeshan and much-covered Nephara are perhaps expected, the inclusion of Tikariot is somewhat surprising at first, but probably explained by the sudden rise in popularity of its domestic league after multiple Savojar players moving there.

The 87th NationStates World Cup is about to start in a few days, and all the games will be live broadcast on STV2 - and, of course, covered in our live blog on this very page. Let’s go Savojarna!
MT socialist (mostly) island state - Cultural mixture of Scandinavia, Finland and Russia -Exports iron, steel, silver and wood - Low fantasy in terms of animal species - Sports-loving - 22.8 million inhabitants.

The adjective is Savojar; Savojarnan is not a word!
I am a student of (European) politics, ice hockey fan, left-wing communist bordering on anarchy, and European federalist. Enjoy!

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PotatoFarmers
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby PotatoFarmers » Thu Feb 11, 2021 9:49 am

Previous RP [Chapter 4 Part 2]

RP Series: Getting to the top
Chapter 4: Can we finally get a different ending?
Part 3: 2 familiar foes, and the Untitled Elf Game

1 year ago, when the final whistle blew at the Stade de la République, at least 60 thousand Poafmers who followed the Red Panjias' journey in the World Cup qualifiers were celebrating. The 33-member squad that played parts of the World Cup Qualifiers thanked all the visiting fans who were in the stadium, going to the group of away fans and thanking them for coming down to support the team throughout their journey in the qualifiers. Adnan Suliaha, back then, made a teary speech about his journey starting 10 years ago, when he first proposed to have the national team and became its first manager. He also thanked Omerica for playing the playoffs with them, and promised to bring the hopes and dreams of Omerica to the World Cup.

1 year later, Adnan stood on the stage in PFFA headquarters, announcing the 23-man squad Poafmersia will be sending to the World Cup. A number of names were dropped, some surprises here and there, but otherwise the list was well within expectations. Iulianus Innocenti, having 12 goals in 7 games, was invited to the squad, a surprise considering that many thought he would be dropped in favour of more experienced people. Adnan, however, saw the potential of him, and picked him in the squad. "Hopefully, these players will learn a lot from the big teams that we are going to face in Taeshan, and while we do not have any expectations about how much we need to achieve, I hope that the team is able to do their very best and grab at least 2-3 points."

In reality, Adnan was very scared about what is to come. The first time playing on the biggest stage in world football, and the nervousness is definitely there.



The group stage draw was just a week ago, held in Taeshan.

Adnan Suliaha, the only representative from Poafmersia (he volunteered to go, and since not many people were available, including Katiri Hedge, he went alone), was sitting alone. Poafmersia, being the third lowest ranked team in the tournament, just ahead of Tikariot and Savigliane, is going to have a hard time wherever they go. Clearly. But there was no escape, because in the world's biggest stage, every team is a strong team.

But as the draw progressed, Adnan realised that our Lord and Saviour, Maggie, was helping him.

Valanora as 1st seeds. Audioslavia as 2nd seeds. Trolleborg as 3rd seeds. Really, you can't ask for a better draw than this. On paper, this looks really difficult. Valanora and Audioslavia have 7 World Cups between them. Trolleborg and Poafmersia look like the severe underdogs. We then look at what happened last cycle.

Last cycle. World Cup Qualifiers 86. Audioslavia almost didn't make it into the World Cup, because Adnan himself masterminded 2 wins against the Bulls. 2 wins. It was so ridiculous that the word Potato became a curse word in the country overnight. If Poafmersia didn't implode with a 5-game winless run towards the end, Audioslavia may not even be the 2nd seeds this cycle. But in the World Cup, Audioslavia failed to exit the group stage in a group with Kandorith, Baker Park, Turori, and them. Drawing Kandorith, winning Baker Park, but losing to Turori wasn't enough. Speaking of Kandorith, they were in the same qualification group as Valanora. Valanora topped their qualification group with 16 wins and 2 draws, went unbeaten with a group involving The Holy Empire, Reçueçn and Savojarna, beat Eura in the Round of 16, but lost to eventual champions Banija in the Quarterfinals. Trolleborg? Well, their last cycle was really stunning. As though they had finally found peak form, they went 14 wins, 3 draws, and 1 loss in a group which includes the current World Cup hosts Taeshan, the Hindoejin Empire (who promptly went on retirement after that cycle), Riena, and fellow World Cup proper debutants Savigliane. They went to the World Cup, but only grabbed 1 point - from a tie against Siovanija & Teusland, and both teams went out on 1 point in a group with Nephara and Cassadaigua as the remaining members.

This cycle. World Cup Qualifiers 87. Trolleborg required a coin flip to qualify ahead of The Holy Empire, after both teams were even on all tiebreakers. Audioslavia almost got a scare by Cup of Harmony 79 co-hosts Northwest Kalactin, before winning the group by 3 points ahead of Huayramarca, who lost to Tikariot in the playoffs to miss out on the World Cup. And, as expected, Valanora utterly dominated Group 11 (alongside Kelssek), with 16 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss.



Adnan knows he cannot ask for more. Poafmersia opens their World Cup campaign against the Bulls of Audioslavia, a team where history puts them in favour. Adnan has previously masterminded 2 big wins home and away against the Bulls, and Audioslavia will definitely be out for revenge when both sides meet. But Adnan is determined not to let the team get carried away by history - he has prepared a lot against Audioslavia. He studied the team in and out, trying to figure out how they will change themselves to deal with Poafmersia following those 2 losses against the Red Panjias 3 years ago, and took a look at some of the newer players in the squad. Captain Shakira Handris is bound to lead the line, and with the possibility of meeting a whole bunch of familiar faces in the opposition squad once again, it would be up to him to determine where the match would go.

The second match of the World Cup will be against Trolleborg, as the top 2 seeds fight each other in the other match. Adnan knows the team will definitely be out for blood - it is absolutely ridiculous to imagine that the players like Joel Haodao, Shakira Handris, and Pete Carisa, will take this match easy. Everyone knows what happened 8 years ago, during the 71st Baptism of Fire semifinals. Poafmersia almost equalised to bring that match into semifinals, but the referee made a controversial call to disallow the goal, denying Poafmersia the stoppage time equaliser and sending them to the Bronze medal match. Danzik Hoboson, who has said that he will make the trip down to Taeshan to watch the match, has said that a win will definitely be some sweet revenge for that painful result. Interestingly, Trolleborg has made a surprise tactical switch, with the CEO of their FA (how does a non-profit organisation have an CEO, it puzzles us here in Poafmersia) saying that they are here to make sure that they keep the defence up. Score as little goals as possible. In fact, looking at their performance in the qualifiers and before, it would be a surprise to see them try for 0 goals conceded and go for all out defence. Adnan has much doubt on whether they can pull it off, considering how they have been known for their super fast-paced attacking football. Interesting.

If all goes well, and somehow the team still remains in the hunt for a place in the Round of 16, then the final match becomes very important. Poafmersia will be playing the top seeds, Eternal Empire of Valanora. The Elven Security Forces, as they are formally known, have a rich history. They are well known in the multiverse for holding various records, various good performances, so much so that there exists this "Untitled Elf Game" where historians, statisticians, and experts all around the multiverse are trying to find something in football where you don't see Valanora at the top or close to the top for. Poafmersia knows they are a very strong side, and the Marauders have a record many envy. If Poafmersia survive the first 2 games, this may still not be any form of guarantee. Things will be tough. The Red Panjias will be bound to bring forth a performance to convince the multiverse that they deserve a spot in the Round of 16.

Omerica 0

Poafmersia 0

Lineup for Poafmersia (4-3-3): Sandi Jaliaha; Nasri Sanchez, Hollis Stephenson, Simone Gori, Natalia Abbott; Gisiik Moonar, Ftiks Wariq, Daas Taisg; Joel Haodao, Shakira Handris (c), Pete Carisa
Substitutes: Alex Hoboson (Gori 58'); Nero Wood (Taisg 74'); Hansel Tang (Haodao 84')
Last edited by PotatoFarmers on Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
IC Name: The People's Republic of Poafmersia (Trigram: PFA)
IC Flag: Refer to my flag with my IC nation Poafmersia, though that nation's RP will be done with this account.
Citizen of The North Pacific (and also other regions)
Ambassador of The North Pacific to Europe and Thalassia
Minister of Communications, The North Pacific

Sportswire. Achievements: BoF 71 Bronze; IAC X and IAC XI Champions
WCC Football (Pre-WC87) - 48th, KPB=17.74, Style: +2.781

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Pasarga
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Founded: Feb 09, 2009
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Pasarga » Thu Feb 11, 2021 2:08 pm

Meriadoc Griffiths sat at their desk inside the PFA headquarters, looking down at the list of names that they had used in the Qualifiers and trying to decide which twenty-three players were going to make the cut to the Finals after the side had managed to survive their run in in the playoff against Reçueçn, thanks in large part to a resolute squad that had put in a good shift away from home and then clawed their way back to victory in the leg at the Stade de Torgos. A month ago he had allowed himself a moment to celebrate the progression into the Finals in that bitterly contested tie, one where he had had to put in the most work he had in the job, carefully crafting a game plan that preyed on the weaknesses of their opponents and built on the strengths that his own side had shown in the qualifiers. Two weeks ago, he watched with a bit of nervous energy as the Finals draw was then made, as each team was drawn into their respective groups, watching and waiting for the moment when Pasarga was pulled out of the machine and into their groups. None of the groups were easy, but some had less challenge than others, and getting either of the hosts would have been ideal, avoiding a true first seed in the group.

Anyone that was near Griffiths would have been able to see for just a moment a smirk appear on the manager's face when the Wanderers' were pulled into Group E, where cohosts Ethane had already been drawn into the group, by far the weakest "first seed" that was slated for the tournament. While playing a host in their own nation is always a difficult task, Griffiths far preferred that sort of challenge than trying to take on the likes of Banija, Nephara, Valanora, Farfadillis, Starblaydia, or Cassadaigua. Those were all teams with championship pedigree, even if Banija and Nephara both for a time looked like they had been struggling quite a bit through the qualifiers and might miss, but like they Wanderers themselves, they managed to make it into the tournament and that made them as dangerous as ever. Avoiding that sort of pedigree was definitely a boon, it raised the chances of the Wanderers qualifying for the knockout stages significantly, and that had to be the goal for Griffiths if he wanted to retain his position past the Copa Rushmori following the Finals. While a Copa Rushmori run or even a win might also be enough, he would feel more comfortable in getting the results in the Finals than the Copa, not to mention the added prestige that the World Cup had over the regional tournament.

Looking at the keeper position, it was perhaps the easiest of the choices he had to make, with the only really difficult decision was who was going to be the third choice keeper on the plane. Both Galambos and Mezei had had wonderous domestic seasons and both had been good when called upon in the qualifiers, though Mezei still has the sting of letting five past him against Hampton Island, but Griffiths knew that the entire team had a poor showing that game and was not going to hold it against the keeper for that result, especially when the handful of other games he was called upon he stood tall in net, even if Galambos was the first choice keeper. For the third choice though, it was a difficult decision, with Borka Szekeres having started for CA Paulinthal in their run in to the SuperLiga title and having played well additionally in the IFCF, yet Lo Duca had played as well if not better in Taeshan. Szekeres also had a tendency of letting in a lot of goals if the defensive line was not having the best of games. With that in mind, Griffiths decided that Lo Duca would get one more run in with the team in the Finals.

Leftback had the penciled in fixture of captain Deli Ács, yet the back up was also hotly contested. There was a heavy pull to put in Lõrinc Vass of Hellinic Rouge, after the Spartans great defensive work and Copa de la Luna title, yet to do so would to leave out one of the most gifted defenders the Wanderers had. While Rozalia Sebeôk was a few years older, she was just that more defensively solid that Griffiths had to go with his mind and not his heart and included her in the roster instead, to be that defensive rock if the Wanderers needed to hold onto a lead. The center of the defense was going to stay mostly the same, but Herrera was being dropped in favor of Borsala Máté, with the latter having had a remarkable domestic season to earn the trip to the Finals in what was likely their last tournament in the national team pool. At right back, Igor Topić was a good defender but there was times they were showing they were past it, coupled with Anita Szarka having a standout season with Sardin, it meant a change in the backup was deemed required there to. Something Griffiths noticed was that much of his defense was on the older side, something he would have to consider in the Copa Rushmori and the next Qualifiers if he was still in the job.

Out on the right wing, it basically picked itself and Griffiths felt a moment of pain in knowing that Jan Gersten was likely in his last few games in a Wanderers' shirt and a reserve at that. Gersten would likely go down as the most underrated player of his generation, having been stuck in the national teams that had failed to qualify and never seemed to have the domestic career expected of him. Erik Földessy on the other hand was having a great career and carrying on his family's footballing legacy, alongside one of his brother's, the family becoming something of footballing royalty in the dual islands. The center of the park had a three battle for the last remaining spot, with the initial thought to keep Ors Rátz after a wonderful domestic campaign, but then there was the unheralded Ubul Kuruc who really just got the job done and was seven years the younger. Kuruc also provided far more defensive cover and was better in the air for set piece situations and was making gains with one of the best up and coming clubs in the IFCF. Kuruc was the way of the future and Griffiths decided the future needed to start now. The only question on the left wing was whether or not Vojmil Topić had done enough to overtake Pellegrin Csapó as the starter, something that would be decided in the next few weeks in the build up to the Finals.

Up front was the biggest question mark, with only Júlia Müller as the penciled in starter, meaning there was five people competing for three spots. Oriel Villagómez Acuna was supposed to be a solid striker partner for the Zozi forward but it just never came to be and Griffiths needed players that could handle the pressure of the big game, something Acuna did not inspire confidence in after the qualifying campaign. It was a tough decision, given they were the original starter, but they would not be making the trip to the Finals. Najiyah Lubanah Mifsud probably deserved more of a look in, yet had not done well in the few appearances they were given, unlike Salai, Nagy, and Szôllôssi. It was a bit of a cutthroat decision, but like Acuna, Griffiths needed the players that he knew would deliver the goods and the other three had done so at various points in the campaign. With that selection done, the final twenty-three was now complete, Griffiths could rest for a moment before getting ready for the high intense two to four weeks that the Finals were going to be in Ethane.

Ko-oren offered up an interesting challenge, they were like Taeshan and Reçueçn, keen to put up a defensive front that was quite intimidating and very difficult to break down. It was something of an odd gift then that the Wanderers had such experience in playing against these sort of teams and had found ways to overcome such defensive mastery to great success, having advanced out of the playoff and having an excellent record against the Purple Knights of the other hosts. Using that experience would hopefully see the Wanderers to at least play for a draw when the two highest ranked seeds met on the second matchday in the group. Squornshelous was something of a surprise package, not fancied to make it to the Finals and yet had and were now riding high on the momentum that got them here. The Wanderers would have to be cautious against them or hope that the group was already decided by the time the two teams met in the last fixture of the group schedule. For the cohosts themselves, they were one of the weakest teams to be in the tournament yet they were on home ground, something the Wanderers knew quite well would serve them well in the task at hand. Could it be enough to overcome the difference in quality between the Wanderers and Ko-oren or would form and quality pave the way in the Finals, unlike the tumultuous qualifying cycle? For Griffiths sanity, he hoped quality and preparation would win the day and the group.

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Drawkland
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World Cup 87 Proper Preview

Postby Drawkland » Thu Feb 11, 2021 5:02 pm

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WORLD CUP 87 PROPER PREVIEW
Written By: Taylor Jones and Hayley Powell

Now let me be clear. When I say I had doubts about this qualifying cycle, I by no means meant that I expected the Elite Eleven Kick Corps to fail. It's just that ... optimism, in the soccer spheres, is hard to come by for Drawkland. I would even argue that's true across all sports in which our national teams compete.

Perhaps this seems almost arrogant, or even ungrateful. Literally hundreds of nations come out to try and realize their World Cup dreams by qualifying, and only a couple dozen manage to actually attain this feat. The fact is that Drawkland has gotten over this first hurdle towards greatness, only to trip and fall flat on their face before getting to the next hurdle. I'm getting ahead of myself right now, so let's just get on with the qualifying recap and the group stage preview.

QUALIFYING HISTORY
Touching back on what I said earlier, I have to say that it feels wrong to experience optimism. For all the astounding results of the first four cycles of the Kick Corps, none of those cycles were comfortable. The first two both came down to clutch final matchdays in which our destiny was not in our hands. The third one was a free pass thanks to our hosting job, and the fourth cycle had our own destiny in our hands, but we still had to get a certain result to come away with qualification. In each of these cycles, we needed to punch above our level and pray for other results to go our way to make it in. We were not in control of that situation at all!

Then came the World Cup 81 cycle. After being pretty mediocre at the World Cup group stage for all our previous cycles, we'd finally accumulated a high enough rank that we were a Pot 1 team. Finally, we'd be the ones punching down on our opponents. Finally, we'd be the ones who are expected to advance and only have to hold serve to succeed. Instead, we dropped 2 games to Barunia (decent revenge for our first cycle, really) and lost to Natanians and Nosts on the final matchday that sent us skidding to the playoffs ... which sent us skidding to three straight failed qualifications.

So once again, a new-look Corps had to try and find a way to build back into a qualifying contender. The Elite Eleven followed through and restarted the qualification streak, once again aided by a hosting job. Still, we were stuck in lower pots and had to pray to keep our heads above water long enough to come away with the coveted qualification. This cycle was the first since the dreaded World Cup 81 cycle where we landed in Pot 1, so this is why I was a little nervous going into this. All we have to do is just win when we're supposed to win! Which is against everyone! So why is this so stressful?!

QUALIFYING RESULTS
Somehow, someway, the Elite Eleven managed to do what I thought was impossible. They qualified outright with minimal upsets and - get this - clinched qualification before the final matchday! Now isn't that something? Our qualifying group was admittedly pretty soft. If we'd ended up in something like Group 17, with a top four including Vilita, Newmanistan, Tikariot, and Tequilo, we might've had a much rougher this time. The company of Chromatika, Mavinet, and Devonta as our toughest competition was much more welcome. In reality, the group draw is immensely more important compared to your rank or team skill. There is no way we could've qualified in our first cycle, had we not lucked into the ailing Barunia as our Pot 1 squad.

The same goes when you're at the top as well. Tougher opponents leads to more dropped points which leads to a tighter race. Despite all this, the Elite Eleven steeled their nerve, went out to play at Chromatika on Matchday 1, and came away with an incredible 3-2 win to kick things off. Our fortunes would remain intact as the next four games resulted in solid wins, including a 6-1 drubbing of Logano Fraza. Unfortunately the very next match was a trap game at Arklanda which ended in a 1-1 draw ... resulting in our first dropped points of the cycle.

Instead of having a good tune-up game at home to make up for the dropped points, we instead lost 0-2 to the United States of Devonta, a definite upset. Considering we were undefeated up to that point, it was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, we no longer had the pressure of remaining undefeated, on the other hand, we still had more solid opposition to go. It seemed that the Devonta loss was simply a brief blip on the radar, because the Elite Eleven went back out and won against Eastfield Lodge (Pot 5) and Mavinet (Pot 3) by three and four goal margins. At the halfway point of the campaign, we sat at a respectable 7-1-1 with the other top teams nipping at our heels, especially Chromatika.

The next match, home against Chromatika, would be key. To retain the head to head tiebreaker as well as keep on top of the table was essential. The Anomalies came out to play this time though, and instead the match ended in a draw. At this point the toughest opposition was now in the rear view mirror, and our main task at hand was to run the table and stay on top of the group through the coming five-game stretch of bottom table teams. The Elite Eleven managed that and more.

Even through facing the pots 3 and 4 teams on the road this time around, including the only team to defeat us, the Elite Eleven pitched a perfect second half of the campaign. Not only was qualification clinched, the dreaded playoffs were avoided, and the group was won outright. The most impressive element was the outright performance - 47 points over 18 matches. A new Corps record, and hopefully the standard for the foreseeable future. For those counting at home, that's 2.6 points per game.

WORLD CUP GROUP DRAW
The fantastic qualifying campaign not only set the tone for a successful World Cup proper with plenty of hope and momentum, but it also gave us another advantage. With the WCC ranks updating to include our most recent qualification cycle, we've taken a couple steps forward in the KPB points. The mediocre WC84 qualifying campaign is now out of calculation, and the worse WC85 campaign now less relevant in the calculation. Now the forefront is taken by our current performance, which allowed us to step to 14th in the KPB rankings.

This is key, because with two low-ranked nations hosting the World Cup and advancing automatically to Pot 1, we'd need to be 14th in the rankings to get a spot in Pot 2. We thankfully got to this benchmark, but it turns out that we wouldn't actually need it. Both Eura and Mriin failed to make even the playoffs, so we'd be assured to be in the Pot 2 selection.

It's a huge moment for Kick Corps history. We may have been in Pot 1 twice before, but that was both times that we hosted. All the other World Cups featured Drawkland as a Pot 4 or midtier Pot 3 squad at best. In short, we were expected to get rolled over by the better teams en route to their expected World Cup knockouts run. This time, we are naturally in the position to make the knockouts. Of course, we still need to take care of business against the toughest competition the World Cup world has to offer. Just like the qualifiers though, it's nice to finally be in the position that doesn't require an upset to advance for once.

So what of our opponents, the key three foes separating the Elite Eleven from repeating their playoff feat of last edition?

This is where the bad news kicks in. There was only a 25% chance of drawing a fake Pot 1 team in the hosts of Taeshan or Ethane, but unfortunately we missed that stroke of luck. There was also the chance we could've gotten a "softer" Pot 1 team, with a KPB in the mid 40s that we could possibly grind away with a point against. We also missed on that chance. Instead, we were handed one of the top two teams, which have had a stranglehold on the top of the rankings for the past few Cups. Our poison of chance this time is Nephara, who we've played twice before. The first meeting was a friendly match in Drawkland, right after our first Baptism of Fire. We lost 2-4 at home. The original Kick Corps would never again face Nephara, and the Drawkland national team wouldn't come against the Cormorants until the Elite Eleven era. In the E11's first World Cup (WC84 in Baker Park), they were bested by Nephara 2-5. You could argue that the Elite Eleven had already given up by then, having gone 0-0-2 against Baker Park and the Free Republics, but the point stands that Drawkland has never beaten Nephara.

Coming from Pot 3, we had somewhat better luck. From here we were drawn Astograth, a Rushmori squad which has never gone head-to-head with Drawkland. This was a fortunate draw, as we could've just as easily landed Pasarga or Zwangzug from Pot 3, and instead we lucked into #28 Astograth. Now, this isn't to discount the skill of a squad like Astograth's Olives. This is the World Cup, after all. All these teams are good at winning, and can take points from anyone. Still, it's nice to have drawn a nation a dozen ranks below us, rather than just a couple.

Finally, our Pot 4 opponent would be the up-and-coming Tikariot. Tikariot qualified from a relative Group of Death in qualifying, featuring Vilita, Newmanistan, Tequilo, and themselves. Being a recent nation on the World Cup scene (they debuted in World Cup 86 qualifying), we've not yet had the fortune to come across the Owlets. On one hand, they are only ranked #64 in the World, being the penultimately lowest ranked nation to qualify for this World Cup 87. They may be the weakest team in the group by a long shot, but by no means are they going to be pushovers.

PREDICTIONS
With this group draw, how does the Elite Eleven stand? This is a really tough question. If I'm being honest, the Kick Corps (of both flavors) has been historically mediocre in the World Cup proper. You could even make a case that they've been bad. Out of seven qualifications prior to this Cup, only once has Drawkland ever reached the Round of 16 in the World Cup. Even that berth was held atop home field advantage and being placed in Pot 1 as a host nation. Drawkland has never made the Round of 16 in a "fair" group stage. Precedent dictates that we will once again fall short of this mark.

On the other hand, we're also the highest ranked we've ever been in our history. Thanks to the Elite Eleven's continued superhuman perseverance, they've grinded higher and higher into the rankings into what should be the upper echelons of the World Cup. Right now we stand in a precipice. Making it to the knockouts of this Cup will continue to elevate the ranking and experience of the Eleven, and set the stage for even greater success down the line. Another group stage exit would likely cause a slight slip in the rankings, and resign the Corps to being on the edges of Pot 1 in qualifying and Pot 3 in the World Cup, depending on the format. A constant struggle to break from mediocrity.

The first match will be against Tikariot, starting off with the "easiest" matchup. Theoretically, we should win this game. Low ranked teams always have a tough time in the World Cup, especially in their first outing. Some of these teams manage to heat up, rise to the occasion, and punch far above their weight level. This could easily happen to Tikariot. Thankfully, we're the first team they'll see, so we may be able to get away with three points before their form gets into motion.

Our second match will be the most difficult, going against Nephara. I'm going to be blunt here: anything better than a blowout loss will be a miracle. This is a team which has been historically great in the World Cup, especially recently. They're looking to finally recapture a title after two straight championship losses. A minnow like us is just a warmup for the task they have ahead. I would be remiss to predict anything other than a zero-point outing for the Elite Eleven.

Finally, we'll face off against Astograth. Considering our placements in the group, this could very easily decide who makes the knockouts and who goes home. You could assume that both of us are 1-0-1 at this point, so this match would be the real tiebreaker to send someone on. In my opinion, this match will end in a draw, and whichever nation beat Tikariot harder/got blown out less brutally by Nephara will get the nod. Of course, weird shit happens, so it's anybody's guess what the group situation will be on MD3. This is just my particular projection.

All in all, Drawkland will scrape by into the playoffs, get blown out by a Top 5 team in the Round of 16, and go home feeling bittersweet about it. That's it, that's my official prediction for World Cup 87. No matter what, I'm sure we'll enjoy our time playing in "The Pit" in Deloitte, Ethane. The fantastic qualifying campaign was enough, I feel, to make this a successful cycle. My only hope at this point is that we don't get embarrassed in the World Cup. That's for Margaret to decide, however, and us to find out. No matter what, we know what to say. On Corps.
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Zwangzug
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Zwangzug » Fri Feb 12, 2021 5:37 pm

"...a dominant second leg in which the biggest struggle Zwangzug faced was how to pronounce 'Cwierczakiewiczowa.' But looking ahead to the World Cup, and there's quite the field--to say nothing of the immense depth of the 64 teams in the Cup of Harmony already underway in Cassadaigua and Northwest Kalactin. In the meantime, we'll be taking your calls."

"Hi, this is Quentin in Zwischen, and I'm a little worried that my dad may have Reverse Vdara Syndrome."

"That...does sound serious, could you elaborate?"

"Well, as you know, Vdara Syndrome refers to the condition when a young person is unable or unwilling to go to bed at a reasonable hour, leading to all sorts of fruitless interventions from their community. My dad has never had that problem, thankfully. However, when I wake up, I often find that he has sent me e-mails in the wee hours of the morning, even when it's supposed to be his day off! And he's from the FTC, that's even farther west than here!"

"Does...Zwangzug even have multiple time zones? I thought we just sort of shifted around according to the whims of the broader multiverse, but weren't split up."

"I dunno, dude, it's the principle of the thing. How do I get him to relax and sleep in?"

"Are you sure he minds?"

"I mean, no, he's always been the type to turn in early with a good book. It's just weird."

"Maybe he's just getting to an age where he needs less sleep."

"That could be. I guess I'm a little uncomfortable coming to terms with the passage of time."

"Hey, we all are, Quentin, except maybe Juan Tzimisces and I'm not even sure about him. In the meantime, if our listeners have any advice, call in with that too. Before we let you go--are you excited to watch real Vdara in group D?"

"Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean it'll literally be a question of which team decides to show up, in terms of whether they have a bunch of defenders or forwards or what. But either way they know how to attack and how to explore the stress of being a manager through the modus of interactive fiction, which are both useful strengths."

"Uh...great. And who do we have on the line now?"

"This is Lisa from Bassabook. I've got to say, I'm looking forward to playing in Taeshan--and outdoors, at that! It'll be a real test of who can endure in the weather, and I think our squad has what it takes. Well Burkhart and Kivrin and them do, I'm not sure about everyone."

"Yep, Zwangzug in group D, featuring the immense Docktown Memorial Stadium as well as the Stairway to Heaven, not sure about the theological or architectural significance of that one."

"I do feel sorry for the teams in Group C, though. Not only do they have a dome, they also have to visit (Redacted) Island! It's terrible when the revisionist historians take over and make people feel like they have to (redact) things! I mean, will Bayern be next because some other dimension had a Bayern too? Where does it end?"

"I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself there, Lisa, but--"

"That's what they all say. Then the next thing you know it'll be [CENSORED] this and bleepinator that and (redacted) the other thing, you can't have an honest conversation with people these days!"

"Well, I hope you're wrong."

"I do too, but that's no--"

"Ah, I think we have another caller."

"Hi, this is Jin from 102d. DiMarini pretty much has to be given the job full-time now, yeah?"

"I think it's hers if she wants it, yeah."

"What's not to want? It's relatively stable, as long as she stays on-topic and doesn't go off on tangents like Sonnabend I can't imagine the federation would want to dismiss her even if the next qualifiers aren't great either."

"Then what's the question?"

"Whether the federation will actually do the responsible thing and make her a permanent offer, or whether deep down they really want someone like Sonnabend who can use his antics to deflect mistakes. It's a lot easier to explain why the team has dropped points six games running if your manager is...that."

"I think that's a bit uncharitable, they wouldn't have reached out to a foreigner if they didn't want the maturity and reasonableness that comes from being from a pleasant and warm society."

"They reached out to her after Laura Petrell blocked their number, is what I'm thinking."

"That's...also a bit paranoid. Okay, who's this?"

"This is Kimberly in Slogda and I'm rooting for South Newlandia in Group A!"

"Glad to hear it. Do you think they have a favorable draw, or will Taeshan exceed expectations as 'pot one' hosts like Newmanistan did against Zwangzug last cycle?"

"I don't know, I just like those little pictures of elephants kicking the football around, they're adorable!!"

"You...do know that's just a nickname, that's not actually the team."

"Of course I know it's a nickname! Elephants wouldn't actually be able to play a organized game of football, now would they?"

"Considering some of the other teams we've seen, I'm not sure--"

"That's all I wanted to say. Bye!"

"Um...okay. I think we have time for one more caller?"

"This is Bobby from Arlington, and I don't really give a bleep about the World Cup, nations are more trouble than they're worth--"

"Are you sure this is the right number?"

"Oh, totally sure. See, I do care about football, and so I want to know; when is our association going to affiliate with one of the big federations?"

"What?"

"Atlantian Oceania, Rushmore, Esportiva--can't we send our clubs to one of those tournaments? I mean, completely dominating the Taça das Confederações is getting old, we should give some of those other sides a chance."

"I'm not sure any change is planned any time soon."

"Other associations don't take us seriously. The Chromatik press keeps being surprised by our clubs going deep in the Champions' League, as if we weren't already a deserving top-eight side in our own right. Heck, we were a top-seven side before if you don't count Freeport, and really, who does that."

"I'm not sure why affiliating with one of the larger regions would help that?"

"Oh. Uh. I dunno. It would...put us on the map. Maybe."

"Well, I don't think that's likely any time soon. Zwangzug doesn't share a lot of cultural or political history with any of these, and besides, how would you even fit a large, northern, humid-continental landmass into Rushmore anyway."

"I dunno, Taeshan did it. Sort of."

"Well, I think that's all we have time for today. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you in the World Cup!"

(Kolodziejczyk 19, Cwierczakiewiczowa 74; Blum 12 and 66, McCollins 41, Kent-Maner 80, Crain 47)
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Chromatika
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Chromatika » Fri Feb 12, 2021 8:00 pm

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World Cup Special, Part 3

By: Jordan Lawless, Chief Correspondent

Last time, we looked over the Chromatik Roster for the World Cup Proper. Now, let's see how the Ethane half shakes out, and focus on Group G!

Ethane Half

Group E
Average Rank: 31.50 (8th highest out of 8 Groups)
Average KPB: 23.83 (8th highest out of 8 Groups)
Rank Gap Between 1st and 4th Rank: 34 (5th highest out of 8 Groups)
KPB Gap Between 1st and 4th Rank: 13.17 (8th largest out of 8 Groups)

1. Ethane
Region: Esportiva
Rank: 49
KPB: 17.54
Qualifying Record: Host

2. Ko-oren
Region: Atlantian Oceania
Rank: 15
KPB: 30.71
Qualifying Record: 14-3-1 (1st Group 15), 34 GF, 5 GA, 29 GD

3. Pasarga
Region: Rushmore
Rank: 18
KPB: 28.97
Qualifying Record: 13-2-3 (2nd Group 18), 36 GF, 20 GA, 16 GD, defeated Reçueçn in playoffs (6-3).

4. Squornshelous
Region: Balder
Rank: 44
KPB: 18.08
Qualifying Record: 15-1-2 (1st Group 14), 55 GF, 30 GA, 25 GD

Group Summary: Congratulations for hosting the World Cup, Ethane. You get... the moniker of being the worst ranked first seed in the tournament. This absolutely opens the group up to the third and fourth seeds in the group. Ko-oren will be absolute favorites with one of the stingiest backfields in the multiverse, while Pasarga sees themselves as a bona fide second seed, ranked twenty-seven places ahead of Squornshelous. The spicy take? Whoever prevails between Ethane and Squornshelous will only need to pull one upset to cause absolute chaos in this group.

Predicted Placing: 1. Pasarga 2. Ko-oren 3. Squornshelous 4. Ethane

Group F
Average Rank: 18.75 (3rd highest out of 8 Groups)
Average KPB: 32.96 (2nd highest out of 8 Groups)
Rank Gap Between 1st and 4th Rank: 33 (6th highest out of 8 Groups)
KPB Gap Between 1st and 4th Rank: 34.30 (2nd largest out of 8 Groups)

1. Banija
Region: Atlantian Oceania
Rank: 1
KPB: 53.78
Qualifying Record: 14-1-3 (1st Group 13), 58 GF, 26 GA, 32 GD

2. Commonwealth of Baker Park
Region: Atlantian Oceania
Rank: 9
KPB: 37.36
Qualifying Record: 13-3-2 (2nd Group 4), 64 GF, 35 GA, 29 GD, defeated San Ortelio in Playoffs (5-3)

3. Savojarna
Region: Rushmore
Rank: 31
KPB: 21.20
Qualifying Record: 10-5-3 (1st Group 5), 35 GF, 21 GA, 14 GD

4. Geektopia
Region: Europeia
Rank: 34
KPB: 19.48
Qualifying Record: 14-3-1 (1st Group 1), 42 GF, 17 GA, 25 GD

Group Summary: The second strongest group on paper, mostly due to the presence of Banija, the #1 team in the world. Don't count out Baker Park, the defending Atlantian Oceanian Champions - their presence means this group will have the winners of the two biggest AO competitions in the same group. For Savojarna and Geektopia, even getting here as group winners was a pleasant surprise; it's very likely that their match will determine who'll finish third.

Predicted Placing: 1. Banija 2. Baker Park 3. Savojarna 4. Geektopia

Group H
Average Rank: 27 (6th highest out of 8 Groups)
Average KPB: 30.44 (4th highest out of 8 Groups)
Rank Gap Between 1st and 4th Rank: 62 (2nd highest out of 8 Groups)
KPB Gap Between 1st and 4th Rank: 37.28 (1st largest out of 8 Groups)

1. Nephara
Region: Rushmore
Rank: 2
KPB: 52.32
Qualifying Record: 11-5-2 (1st Group 9), 37 GF, 20 GA, 17 GD

2. Drawkland
Region: Sonnel
Rank: 14
KPB: 31.45
Qualifying Record: 15-2-1 (1st Group 10), 49 GF, 19 GA, 30 GD

3. Astograth
Region: Rushmore
Rank: 28
KPB: 22.95
Qualifying Record: 14-1-3 (2nd Group 14), 36 GF, 17 GA, 19 GD

4. Tikariot
Region: Rushmore
Rank: 64
KPB: 15.04
Qualifying Record: 12-4-2 (2nd Group 17), 42 GF, 20 GA, 22 GD, defeated Huayramarca in playoffs (5-2)

Group Summary: After a huge scare, Nephara secured qualification to the World Cup on the final day. Their reward? A group featuring two other Rushmoi nations. Astograth was one of the best performing second placed teams, while Tikariot prevailed over Huayramarca to secure their first qualification; though there are two teams in this group that finished second in their groups, the fight for second place will be one to watch. Don't be surprised of Astograth or even Tikariot is able to catch Drawkland - it may all come down to who's able to withhold any points away from Nephara.

Predicted Placing: 1. Nephara 2. Astograth 3. Drawkland 4. Tikariot
Group G
Average Rank: 17 (1st highest out of 8 Groups)
Average KPB: 32.98 (1st highest out of 8 Groups)
Rank Gap Between 1st and 4th Rank: 30 (8th highest out of 8 Groups)
KPB Gap Between 1st and 4th Rank: 26.48 (4th largest out of 8 Groups)

1. Farfadillis
Region: Atlantian Oceania
Rank: 3
KPB: 46.26
Qualifying Record: 15-2-1 (1st Group 7), 63 GF, 27 GA, 36 GD
Chromatik History vs. Farfadillis: 0-0-3, 1 GF, 8 GA, -7 GD
AOCAF 53 Semifinals: Chromatika 0-1 Farfadillis
World Cup 79 Round of Sixteen: Chromatika 0-2 Farfadillis
World Cup 83 Group Stage Matchday 2: Chromatika 1-5 Farfadillis
When Farfadillis will Face Chromatika: Matchday 2
Opponent Analysis - Farfadillis: One of the two "bogey teams" that Chromatika has in Atlantian Oceania (the other being Mriin), the fact that it's the Farves that headline this group is bad news for the Anomalies. Not only have they lost all three times that they've faced Farfadillis, but the Goals Differential of -7 tells a different story - Farfadillis is controlling the pace and scoring almost all the goals. The Chromatik backfield will be the ones being tested in Matchday 2, where the Anomalies will be hoping for any points at all, or even a respectable loss.

2. Turori
Region: Atlantian Oceania
Rank: 8
KPB: 39.71
Qualifying Record: 15-2-1 (1st Group 6), 30 GF, 11 GA, 19 GD
Chromatik History vs. Turori: 0-0-1, 1 GF, 2 GA, -1 GD
World Cup 84 Group Stage Matchday 3: Chromatika 1-2 Turori
When Turori will Face Chromatika: Matchday 3
Opponent Analysis - Turori: One of the teams that Chromatika hasn't played very often in Atlantian Oceania, the Eels and Anomalies will face each other for the second time to close out the Group Stage. (Curiously, Chromatika has never faced the Vilita and Turori unified team in the AOCAF, and has only played Vilita twice as well, going 0-0-2 with 0 GF and 5 GA in back in World Cup 73 Qualifying in Chromatika's debut cycle.) The notable thing is that Turori only conceded eleven goals in qualifying, meaning that it will be the midfield and strikers who will be put to the test to see if the Anomalies can get anything going on the offensive end. By the third match, we should know if the Anomalies are in contention or not; it's possible that proceeding to the next round can all hang on this match.

3. Chromatika - That's us!
Region: Atlantian Oceania
Rank: 24
KPB: 26.17
Qualifying Record: 14-2-2 (2nd Group 10), 57 GF, 22 GA, 35 GD

4. Independent Athletes from Quebec
Region: Atlantian Oceania
Rank: 33
KPB: 19.78
Qualifying Record: 12-5-1 (2nd Group 15), 38 GF, 17 GA, 21 GD, defeated New Lusitania and the Algarves in playoffs (4-3)
Chromatik History vs. Quebec: 2-1-1, 10 GF, 8 GA, 2 GD
AOCAF 50 Group Stage Matchday 1: Chromatika 1-2 Royal Kingdom of Quebec
Eagle's Cup 6 Group Stage Matchday 2: Chromatika 4-2 Royal Kingdom of Quebec
Eagle's Cup 6 Group Stage Matchday 3: Chromatika 2-2 Royal Kingdom of Quebec
World Cup 76 Round of Sixteen: Chromatika 3-2 Royal Kingdom of Quebec
When Quebec will Face Chromatika: Matchday 1
Opponent Analysis - Quebec: If you throw out the two Eagle's Cup matches, where teams don't field their best eleven, the record between these two squads is 1-1. Also of note, they haven't played each other in ten World Cups, which is several ages in football. So, when the Chromatiks face their fellow Northern AO neighbors in the first matchday to set the tone, it will be as equals. Chromatika is a slight favorite, but the edge between them is very slim. Chromatika is a bit more prolific in scoring, while Quebec is a bit more prolific in the defense, which is peculiar given their approach to the game. Expect fireworks, expect quick turns, and expect a tight match from start to finish.

Group Summary: Welcome to the Atlantian Oceania battle royale, group of death, etc., etc. - or Chromatika's nightmare. To have both the third ranked team in the world that is also a team that Chromatika has never beaten alongside a strong Turori side, and then to bookend it with a new-look Quebecois side that the team hasn't faced in ten cycles will be a tall order. If Valens and Landers can will the squad to the Second Round, that'd be a sight to behold. Of course, it can be argued that it may be better if they didn't - whomever plays runners-up here is likely to have to face Nephara in the Round of Sixteen.

Predicted Placing: 1. Farfadillis 2. Turori 3. Chromatika 4. Quebec
Overall Summary: The Ethane Half is stacked. World #1, #2, and #3 in the same half? It can be argued that the Taeshan Half is far more open - the fourth through seventh ranked teams in the World all reside there, before the eighth ranked team in Turori and the ninth in Baker Park are also in the Ethane Half. For teams playing in Ethane, they'll be trying to avoid the juggernauts of Banija and Nephara, who seem to be drawn to each other to an inevitable, epic semifinal that would be a rematch of the last World Cup; for teams playing in Taeshan, if they can seize the moment, their best cycle may be just ahead.
Former User of the Nations of Yesopalitha and Falconfar

Regional Tournaments: 52 (2nd), 53 (4th), 54 (QF), 55 (Champions), 56 (Ro16), 59 (Ro16), 60 (QF), 61 (4th), 62 (Ro16), 63 (2nd)
WC Proper Appearances: 75 (Ro16), 76 (SF), 77, 78 (QF), 79 (Ro16), 80 (Ro16), 81, 83, 84, 86, 87 (Ro16)
CoH Appearances: 77 (Ro16), 85 (Ro16)
KPB Ranking: 15 (Post 87)
RP Population: 20 million

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Commonwealth of Baker Park
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1623
Founded: Jan 10, 2018
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Fri Feb 12, 2021 9:27 pm

© Sporting Times Daily 2021
What's the buzz in Zwangzug?
by Mindy Cartwright, National Soccer Editor

There has never been much attention paid to the annual holiday trip made by the Laughlin family back to the Commonwealth from their overseas home in previous years; thousands of couples with young children who reside abroad pass through Border Control at various airports every spring & summer to visit family and friends; as citizens holding valid passports, there is nothing that would draw attention to ex-pats returning for short periods.

But this is no ordinary trip for Sean, Katherine and 5 year old Will, as they've had to make the trek earlier in the year than normal, as they will be taking another foreign journey during the time when they would usually be catching up with the home folks. Mrs Laughlin—who is better known to most people as Kate DiMarini—will be leading the Zwangzug National Team into the World Cup Finals, having been elevated to the job of Manager halfway through the qualifications and steering the side to a playoff berth, where they swept past Terre Septentrionale 6-2 on aggregate to join the Commonwealth, and her old boss Pam Scott's Farfadillis team as well, in the last 32.

She stopped in at the FAC Development Center in Birkenfeld to say hello to her former colleagues, and was gracious enough to take time afterward to speak with Sporting Times about the last year, which she called “one the most exciting, exhausting times of my life.”

MC: “Kate, thanks for taking time away from your vacation to chat with us. You've been keeping busy, I suppose?” (I smiled and she let out a laugh)

KdM: “Yeah, I guess so. Idle hands and all of that. (laughs) We've been building up towards great things at Cham (Trebuchet Cham, the club in Zwangzug where she's been for 5 seasons) and making the Champions League is one of the rewards for all of the staff, the players, the fans who've kept the faith.”

MC: “There was some talk when you got the job that your lack of experience managing at club level might be an issue, but you erased any doubts early on.”

KdM: “I worked for Pam at Sprites, so I knew some of the tasks that club management involves that are different from national team work, but I have a great deal of support from the board, they provided me with the resources I needed to succeed. I've made my fair share of mistakes, but I've not broken anything or done anything embarrassing. (laughs) I guess there's still time though.”

MC: “What was the reaction like when you were announced as the interim national team boss? People obviously knew you ran a fairly big club and had done well, but was there a wariness of an outsider, of how you might change things in way that would be detrimental to the overall NT program?”

KdM: “One of the lessons I learned after I came to Birkenfeld was explained to me by George Prather (the FAC Player Development Chief who was then a staff coach and previous to that had coached and managed at club level), that if you are dropped into a situation suddenly—taking charge mid-season—you can't just change everything on day one. You can make changes in the dressing room, the way things are done, the culture among the players. But you have to find out what you have to work with, you have to do as much hard training—pre-season type training—as possible to get a sense of where to start renovating, that's the term he used.
So when I accepted the offer, I told the association that I would try and figure out how to use what I had, but I needed to be able to make some changes, and they agreed wholeheartedly. The media played it pretty straight up--'what do we have to lose at this point?'. The nationality thing never came up, at least to me personally.”

MC: “How do you see the situation playing out in terms of being asked to take the job full-time, whether you could stay on at the club and lead the NT, or whether it might not matter if they were to decide to go in a different direction?”

KdM: “That's a discussion we are going have once the World Cup is over. I like the country, the people are great, my husband and son like living there. I figure I'll have a job one way or another, because I'm sure the club aren't in a big hurry to get rid of me (laughs) as far as I know! It would extremely difficult to continue to hold both jobs full-time, so it's going to be an either/or decision I'm sure, but I also think it's a no-lose question, for me personally.”

MC: “I saw a clip of your son having a kick around with the NT players at training, what's his thinking about all of this?”

KdM: (laughs) “He is the biggest attention hound. He's been best friends with the entire squad at Cham, and the national team have adopted him as their mascot as well. He complains at home that Mommy is being too mean to his friends. (laughs)”

MC: “I wish we had an hour to just chat, but thanks again for this short talk, and of course continued success at Cham and best of luck with the Zwangzug national side, I'm sure a lot of people here in Baker Park will be pulling for you.”

KdM: “Mindy, I've missed our chats over a glass of wine or three. (laughs) I thank you for well wishes, and also to people here in the Commonwealth who have sent messages of support and good luck to us already. I know that in a way, I also represent Baker Park while I am representing my adopted home country. Blessings to you all.”
AOCAF LXII Champions
2x Under-18 World Cup (SWC 5&9) Champions
Baptism of Fire 67 Runner-Up
AOCAF LVIII (co-hosts), LX Third Place
World Cup 85 Fourth Place
World Cup 84 Co-hosts
World Cup 81/82/83/84/86 Round of 16
World Cup 80 Group Stage
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 Vice President
WLC 34 Fourth Place
WLC 30/31(host)/32/33/35 Quarterfinal
WLC 29 Playoff Round

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Valanora
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Posts: 3965
Founded: Sep 03, 2007
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valanora » Fri Feb 12, 2021 11:34 pm

At the end of the day, the Marauders had a fairly successful qualifying campaign, even if they had a pair of shock results where they had dropped points after having walked the group through the first half of the campaign. After such a mesmerizing first half display, there were quiet talks of the Marauders perhaps having another perfect or undefeated qualifying campaign on their hands once more, like they had done previously a few times, most notably in the early 40 cycles. However a shock loss at Darmen and then a bizarre draw at the Hatire Memorial against fellow Atlantian Oceania outfit Jabal Akhdar saw such hopes dashed. Nonetheless, only having a pair of results at the end of a very long and difficult campaign to qualify for the Finals is by no means anything to turn your noses up at, especially considering some of the records that were on display by some of our fellow first seeds through the qualifiers, with Eura having bit the bullet and being the premier side that will be missing out in Ethane and Taeshan after their failure to navigate a very difficult group themselves. It was a very good campaign all in all and because of how good it is, there is only one change from the initial twenty-three listed players and those that will be traveling to Taeshan.

That change will be veteran midfielder Sabrina Möller being dropped in favor of Gideon Riemann. There were a few reasons for this change, the most evident among them is the eleven year age difference between the two, with Riemann's youthful legs being expected to be able to handle the quick fire schedule more adequately than the more veteran central midfielder. In addition to being younger and more exuberant, Gideon also adds cover in multiple positions, able to play both in the center of the park and on the left hand side, making that versatility a very nice luxury to have for a substitute coming off the bench. Lastly and perhaps more importantly, Riemann had a campaign to remember after transferring over to AS Bezieres in Valladares, helping the side advance out of the IFCF Champions' League group stages, which is far from an easy feat with the level of parity and competition in the international club football scene in these days, as any of the groups in the Champions' League or Challengers' Cup are packed full of very talented teams who could easily make a run in to the Final if they hit the right run of form. Riemann and the rest of the AS Bezieres squad were in that form and able to make it to the knockout rounds, while Sabrina's Char Sara had a very difficult season and just manage to string together enough results to stay out of the relegation battle.

With the team settled, it was then a matter of where the team would be booking their trip to and who they would then be facing in the group stages themselves, with the Marauders comfortably maintaining their status as a first seed despite the cohosts being put into the first seed pots as well. It did not take long for the Empire to be drawn out though, being drawn into Group B and that would mean that they were going to be traveling over to Rushmore and Taeshan. As the draw continued to play out, it was clear that the Ethane half was going to be the more difficult one to navigate, with many of the highest teams in their respective pots being drawn into that half of the Finals. However there was quite a bit of championship pedigree in the Taeshan half, with all three teams currently tied at five World Cup titles a piece in the Taeshan half, with Vilita and Starblaydia together in Group C. In addition, The Holy Empire with four, as well as former champions Brenecia, Audioslavia, and Cassadaigua making their way into Rushmore and this half of the group draw, with any of the aforementioned teams able to put together a run to add to their trophy haul that they have already accumulated.

As the draw concluded, the Marauders know who they would be facing and it ultimately looked to be a group that was going to be navigated with relative ease, as any group in the Final had its own potential challenges and every team has ways of achieving results. The first match on the docket will be against Trolleborg, a team who qualified to the Finals by virtue of beating out The Holy Empire on tiebreakers, having bested the former champions and gone on a good run in the group. A side that likes to open themselves up to attack, they conceded a surprisingly few amount of goals and only managed to drop points in four matches, but all four matches were defeats, either having the glory of victory or bitter taste of defeat at the end of each of their matches. If the Marauders are going to win this opening game, they are going to have find a way of limiting the fierce Trolleborg attack while also finding ways to get past their relatively resilient defense. Pánfilo Veliz and Indra Söderström are going to have to do a lot of work on the wings to make sure the Marauders are secure in the defense and free flowing in the attack, while Amalie Nergård will look to be the lynchpin in transitioning from defense to attack, and as ever the efforts of Hawk and Saxstrom will need to be high and Ludwig continuing to deliver on his promise.

Afterwards is a game against Audioslavia, an all Atlantian Oceania affair and one with a lot of history between the two teams. While the pendulum seems to swing to and fro in this long standing matchup, it currently is in the Bulls' favor and if the Marauders are quite intent on adding a sixth star to their crest in this edition, finding a way to best the Bulls and getting their foot into the door of the knockouts after two matches would go a long way in setting them along that patch. Audioslavia is a team the Marauders are very familiar with, they are tough and physical and they like to skirt around the laws of the game, which is quite vexing for a team like the Marauders who like to rely on their technical superiority rather than physicality. It is a bit of a mind game and how the Marauders handle it usually determines how the matches go, if they can overcome the Bulls' game, the match is theirs, elsewise the Bulls are more than likely to grab a result. Additionally the Marauders have Poafmersia to end out the group, a team that they are not very familiar with but know that they are quite a challenge, having given Audioslavia fits in the past, and the side would rather not still need a result against them on the last matchday of the group to secure progression. It all starts in a fortnight though and in New Capetown Memorial Park, an over hundred thousand seater stadium. It will be loud, it will be difficult, but Elune willing, it will be the first step on the road to record setting glory.
World Cup 40, 42, 43, 52, & 61 Champions
WC 47, 51 (2nd), WC 34, 38, 39, 41, 44, 45, 53, 60, 67 (3rd), WC 49, 58 (Semifinalist), WC 33, 35-37, 46, 48, 54, 55, 62, 63, 65, 72, 83 (Quarterfinalist)
WCoH VII, VIII, XVII, XXVIII, XXX, XXXII (1st), WCoH I, XXXI, XL (2nd), WCoH II, XXIX (3rd), WCoH XII (4th)
AOCAF 44, 46, 51, & 53 Champions, AOCAF 39 & 43 Runners Up
Co-Hosted: too many events to count

EPL Season 20,073

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Brenecia
Diplomat
 
Posts: 666
Founded: Apr 14, 2013
Capitalizt

Postby Brenecia » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:54 am

They would always dig deeper.
They would always fight harder.
This was the core of the Brenecian ethos, from the very beginnings of the side as a team of aging, muscular journeymen, through the hard-fought years of being perennial dark horses battling away on the fringes of the finals, a third seed nobody wanted or a second seed nobody feared. Through Jim Reid winning the World Cup - 14 years ago, now, already a generation of talent past - to today, as Brelk-Xeral's mission had, somewhere along the line, stopped from merely making the Patriots presentable to turning them into a force.
Tenth in the world.
It wasn't that they were any kind of all-conquering force, because they weren't. Brelk-Xeral's tenure had consisted of a group stage exit followed by three consecutive Ro16 exits. They remained four wins away from glory. But Brenecia could never be a side who expected or demanded glory. Only to stay in the fight. Only to stay in the conversation. That was the victory, for a small island of eight million, one that had battled bankruptcy, multiple match-fixing scandals, authoritarianism, the threat of civil war and 59 caps for Jayce Pence, but still stayed in the fight.

Brelk-Xeral Erv sucked their teeth, leafing through dossiers. Jess Curtin was, nominally, there to help, but that help had limits right now, since her head was on the desk and faintly snoring.
Brelk-Xeral sighed, and sipped on their tonic water. No gin, no vodka, but the mixer alone. They would need a clear mind to go, one last time, through their exceptionally even group.

First were Siovanija and Teusland. The star power was undeniable, and arguably on paper the Goldhorns boasted more power than the Patriots themselves. Heuser, Jager, Kramer, Ilev - that was a spine perennially known to the Galacticos longlist. Michael Ribbeck, scourge of the A-League, probably wouldn't even start. The right flank, too, saw one of the world's premier rightbacks in Vesele partnering Heuser's Brinemouth teammate, Tauscher. They had the look of a side long in the making and only now coming to the peak of their powers, and many had them tipped to progress through the group - some at Brenecia's expense.
S&T arguably had better players. Brenecia, one might say, look the better team. And it was Brenecia's own right flank where Brelk-Xeral saw their greatest advantage. Steimle was an excellent leftback, you didn't get to the World Cup without being an excellent player, but he was at his best going forward and perhaps lacked the engine to track back. Linoan Waters could be the lynchpin, a focal point, almost in the vein of Cheney herself... or would they get cute, just put Cheney there in the first place, have Mhacha White lead the line? They wouldn't expect that, after Cheney had played up front through basically all of qualifying. Clovette Bravender's attacking edge would be welcome, too - with the defence in such imperious form, they could take it.

Taeshan were next, first seeds but third on paper. How much would the crowds of the infamously massive Taeshani stadia come out to back them? While the Goldhorns felt like a squad perhaps two years past their prime, this World Cup was maybe two years too early for the Knights; Wagner, Benjamin and perhaps Elciega could be world-class in time, but right now, they were 22, 20 and 19. And the latter was not exactly prolific, with Nkitiina the more consistent threat. No, it would be that axis of Nycolas Jackson and Shiloh Morgenstern providing the danger, but of course Taeshan would be happy with a single goal against a side that had conceded just five times in qualifying.
The main challenge would be, as always, breaking down the Knights - particualrly with a vociferous home crowd at their backs, and particularly with Wagner's undoubted promise between the posts. This time, the left looked the more potentially fruitful avenue of attack; Sullivan Garrett was a rightback by trade, with over a hundred caps by 20, but shunting him out to the wrong flank could leave him open. The only question was - was he more vulnerable to Ceridwen Fletcher's crossing, or Tricia Pace's... speed? But there was no question up front. Lauren Cheney could find the back of the net reliably, and that was paramount, far more important than White's subtler virtues.

South Newlandia would be last, and far from an easy three points. Where Taeshan were rising in individuals, South Newlandia were rising as a nation, only just starting to venture offshore to the strongest leagues and to import foreign talent themselves. Players from lands as disparate as Graintfjall, Taeshan, Savojarna and Ko-oren banded together to make something better than their parts. They, too, would be hard to break down in a defensive-skewing group, with Mikhail Trischuk an excellent goalkeeper defended ably by a corps of foreign-based defenders, though there was vulnerability to be found in Kevin Mohamed, stranded in Jeckland under unclear circumstances. Plainly he was match-fit, but that had to affect the mind.
Then that would be Brenecia's main avenue of attack, and a match where Dreigiau Parrish would absolutely need to shine. The game would be won or lost in midfield, where Brenecia's advantage on paper was greatest, with Esther Caitiff coming through qualifiers in understated electrifying form. The main concern was far more mindset than personnel - how comfortable were Brenecia ever going to be, really, when expected to win? And South Newlandia had shown more than their share of sides that it did not pay to underestimate their considerable teeth. Yes, Brenecia would probably take most of the ball, and Trischuk was likely to be the busier goalkeeper. The challenge was making sure the scoreline reflected that.
But there was one ace up Brelk-Xeral's sleeve, no matter what - the Brenecian spirit.
They would always fight harder.
They would always dig deeper.
Puppet of Nephara.

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PotatoFarmers
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 404
Founded: Jun 07, 2017
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby PotatoFarmers » Sat Feb 13, 2021 6:25 am

The previous RP [Chapter 4 Part 3] has been modified slightly due to an error in reading the fixture list. There has also been some additional content that may or may not affect your RP grading, you may want to take a look. Thanks!


Previous RP [Chapter 4 Part 3]

RP Series: Getting to the top
Chapter 4: Can we finally get a different ending?
Part 4: If we were in the Cup of Harmony


(Note: This was taken from an article written by a former national team player, as posted on some sports newspapers and magazines. While the identity of the writer remains unknown, netizens on Chirp.er has pointed to former captain Danzik Hoboson as the author of this piece. Danzik himself has never admitted that this was written by him.)

The Cup of Harmony has never been a place where Poafmersia has done well in. Not one of the best 3rd-placed teams the first time round. 4 years ago, we made the the Round of 16 before losing to Mercedini. Then 2 years back, the Round of 32 penalty loss to Sarzonia. Can you imagine what would happen if we ended up in the Cup of Harmony this time again? I wouldn't want to try to imagine the result, because this Cup of Harmony looks extremely stacked. By stacked I really mean it.

I took a look at some of the results last night, where the Cup of Harmony had its Matchday 2. It is unlikely I would be looking that way after today's World Cup proper kickoff, as I follow my fellow comrades' journey in the World Cup, against Audioslavia, Trolleborg, Valanora, and hopefully, beyond. It is tough, but I have complete faith in my former teammates and the rising stars that have taken our place. This team is very capable - I have seen the potential of some of the newer players. Nero Wood, Aleka Dufour, Makana Tuft, Natalia Abbott, and Nasri Sanchez. The 5 of them, I have complete faith in. Of course, my old comrades Sandi, Shakira, Joel, Gisiik, Daas and Pete. The entire squad can definitely work wonders, and I look forward to seeing their performances.

On to the Cup of Harmony. My, what a bloodbath it has been. The 8 highest ranked teams don't look like they belong here. 37th ranked Krytenia. Yes, we consigned them here. But as defending champions, they will give many other teams nightmare. Mercedini. HUElavia. Kandorith. I have played against all 3 before, and know how difficult they are. Really strong teams. Newmanistan. Reçueçn. We are going into the top 24 teams in the multiverse, and really, they would give any team headaches. Mriin. They are here too? Eura. Wait, you may think that I made a mistake. The 12th-ranked Eura? Yes, that is not an error. The joke that the E in Group E of the Cup of Harmony stands for Eura has been trending on Chirp.er and twii.tur for weeks since the draw.

We start with the various groups on the Northwest Kalatin side. Group A has hosts Northwest Kalactin, Valladares, Indusse and Frestovenia. Indusse, despite their good performance this time, have been struggling, having lost to Frestovenia and Valladares. Northwest Kalactin await them, and the final day would be a difficult race. If undefeated Valladares does not win against Frestovenia, then Indusse has been eliminated regardless. Valladares, however, would require just 1 point to progress, while Northwest Kalactin needs to collect at least the same amount of points Frestovenia collects. In Group B, Mavinet and Newmanistan wrapped the group up, with the two teams facing each other on Matchday 3 to decide who plays who in the Round of 32. In Group C, Græntfjall also qualified for the Round of 32, needing a point against WCQ87 surprise packages Mytanija to win the group. Tumbra and New Lusitania plays each other in a winner-takes-all match, the first of many such matches around. Somehow, because Goals For is a tiebreaker (which I will never agree with for a 3-game group, that encourages lots of nonsense), Tumbra holds the advantage. Just what the hell. Group D is still pretty much open. Last CoH's bronze medalists Sylestone is leading with 4 points, but may be eliminated if they lose to TJUN-ia. Yuezhou, on the other hand, has to deal with Pulvia and the Saxean Isles. Yuezhou needs a win to secure qualification, while their opponents may not even qualify with a win. That is how the group is shaping up to be.

Group E, F, G, H is a nightmare. Eura has progressed from Group Eura, holding the UWC belt, and needing 1 point against Hapilopper to keep the belt and progress as group winners. Kohnhead, Baggieland, and Hapilopper all can still qualify, with Kohnhead needing at least 1 point to qualify. Mercedini and Tequilo, in Group F, would play each other to determine who avoids Eura in the Round of 32, with both teams having qualified thus far. Squornshelan Remnant States qualified in Group G, while the defending champions need to win Lorrana to progress in a winner-takes-all match. A draw, as it looks, isn't enough, simply because they have an inferior goal difference. Group H is also very open, like Group D.

The other half of the bracket looks interesting. The Cassadaigua side, of course. In group I, San Ortelio and Xanneria play each other. A draw will send both through. Else, Jeruselem and Netop has a chance to sneak in with a win. If San Ortelio wins, Xanneria qualifies if Netop wins. If Xanneria wins, San Ortelio qualifies if Jeruselem wins. It may go to goal difference or goals for if some weird situation happens. Mriin, the top seeds in all of Cassadaigua, qualified from Group J, needing a point against Garifunya to secure top spot. Huayramarca looks like favourites to just defeat Ibixa and secure the next spot. Also, Forca Bluecliff. Saltstead somehow is eliminated, leaving Zeta Reka and Kandorith to fight for the second spot behind Bluecliff in yet another winners-take all. Though I think Kandorith has the ability, Zeta Reka is well capable of stealing an upset. Somehow in Group L, Saint-Domingue qualifies, and Squidroidia has been eliminated with 2 losses, leaving Omerica and Hebitaka to fight for the 2nd spot. Omerica just needs 1 point against Saint-Domingue to qualify. Group M is still too close to call, with Darmen playing Abanhfleft, while Barunia play Wreckeria. Though I tend to think that Darmen and Abanhfleft should qualify from that group, but if Barunia wins, one of Darmen and Abanhfleft has to go. In Group N, HUElavia is through as group champions, while the remaining teams are left fighting for air. Hard to make a call, though South Covello are clearly favourites to take the second spot. Group O is yet another underrated group, with Gyasto-Kai, Reçueçn and Electrum in the group. Surprisingly, it is unfancied Balqia that has pole position, and they will qualify with a point against Reçueçn. Electrum play winless Gyasto-Kai, with the latter needing a win to have any chance of qualification. Electrum, however, just needs as many points as Reçueçn to qualify. In Group P, Twicetagria has qualified, while Busoga Islands and Sargossa play each other in a winner-takes-all match, with Busoga Islands having the goal difference advantage.

So what is it for Poafmersia? If Poafmersia were to be in the mix, I think they will find the knockout stages to be a pain. Maybe not as painful as the World Cup, but I would rather be in this World Cup group then be stuck with Eura, Mriin, Newmanistan, and many strong teams to fight for a Cup of Harmony trophy. Maybe Poafmersia may not even get past the Round of 16 in the Cup of Harmony. But this World Cup is certainly playable. Certainly playable. In my honest opinion, this group can be a blessing from Lord Maggie. Thank her for giving us a manageable group. The players just need the fullest confidence in themselves and they can work wonders.
IC Name: The People's Republic of Poafmersia (Trigram: PFA)
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Siovanija and Teusland
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Postby Siovanija and Teusland » Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:56 am

1:00PM - Nationalstadion, Stelburg, Teusland

The press conference to see off the national team to major international tournaments had become pretty standardized over the years, and the two men standing at the podium, Gavin Hughes and Thorsten Kramer, were by this point regular faces. What was not usual, however, was how we got here: a… odd performance in qualifying. Not really disappointing, but not a great success either, rumours that the manager was out the door, and then, 11th hour salvation from Kramer himself. So, naturally, there were going to be some interesting questions. The STFA’s new media guy, Daniel Brack, spoke up.

“Ok guys, questions for Gavin first and then Thorsten after. Not too many, we’ve still got a picture to take.”

The journalists jumped into action, hands going up. First question, Stelburger Zeitung. “Gavin, it was a difficult road for you to get here, and at times even your future with the national team was questioned. Any thoughts?”

“Well, that’s the nature of the business we’re in. When you don’t perform, there’s always going to be questions. But we always believed in each other, and now we’re here.”

“The squad you’ve gone with for the World Cup is quite young, with several veterans of the team out the door. What do you think those younger players like Florian Krukenberg and Taras Maksimov can bring to the squad?”

“I think you’ve seen their contributions already during qualifying, they were both excellent, and Taras, he’s one of the best defenders in the world at the moment. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to see him, we’re excited about putting him and Karl-Heinz together at the back. I think there were a lot of different combinations we could’ve had to get a great group of 23, but we’re very excited about this one.”

“Was it tough letting guys like Ivo Romanov and Raphael Klopfer know that, hey, this is it?”

“I think it’s unfair to say this is it. Look, they have been excellent players for their country since the very beginning, and we can’t thank them enough. But both guys talked to me a lot during Qualifiers, and by the end of it, they both knew it maybe wasn’t the right fit this time around with the young talent we have breaking through. Ivo, I know, is thinking about retirement, and Raphael is eager to go back to 1912 Stelburg and work harder next year. Again, two legends, and we’re all so grateful.”

“That means that, for the first time, Thorsten Kramer is the official captain of the team, sitting beside you. Was that the easiest decision you’ve had to make in your time as Goldhorns’ manager?”

“Haha, definitely top 5. Look, this guy beside me, he’s a household name around the world. When you think of Siovanija & Teusland, in football, you think of Thorsten Kramer. He is a force of nature. And so yeah, I think if I’d tried to give it to someone else, they’d have walked right over to Thorsten and handed the armband to him anyways.”

“You had some controversy with Denis Dezelac during qualifiers, particularly during his actions in Borograd, wearing a championship belt to the game. He makes your 23 man squad here. Have you worked out how to control Denis?”

“I wouldn’t say Denis needs controlling. He’s his own person, of course, and while that might sometimes be very different from the other 22 guys, it’s important for our team. He brings effort, and commitment, every night. When he’s out there, the only thing he wants to do is score and win the game, and that’s what we need.”

“For a third straight World Cup, the Goldhorns will face their toughest challenge on matchday 1, as they take on Brenecia. The Goldhorns are 1-0-2 in opening matches so far. What needs to happen to improve that record?”

“Brenecia are a great team, one of the best in the world. It’s going to be very tough against them. But look, our formula doesn’t change, we’re going to play the way we want to play and not be affected by anything else.”

“It doesn’t get any easier in the second game, either. You have to face the host nation, Taeshan, in what is on paper a potential decisive game. How do you prepare for that, especially in such a massive stadium that will be filled to the brim with the home crowd?”

“Again, same as always. We have played in plenty of hostile atmospheres before - do you think the crowd in TJUN-ia was in our favour? The only thing that changes in our gameplan is knowing that they are going to want to get something going early.”

“Finally, it’ll be South Newlandia on matchday 3. First-time qualifiers, what can you say about the Esportivan side?”

“They fight, and of course, just like we were at World Cup 85, they are going to be looking to make an impact. There are no easy games at the World Cup, and South Newlandia will be going into it hoping to get 3 points, just like us.”

“Final question for Gavin, just generally, how do you see your future? Given how close the end seemed to be, do you feel that maybe the time to move on is coming?”

“I’m excited to go into work every day and work with some of the best players in the world. When I stop feeling that way, you’ll know.”

Brack spoke up again: “Questions for Thorsten now?”

Of course, once again, the journalists hurried to ask the national team captain the first question. “Thorsten, obviously an honour to get the armband. You’ve worn it a lot in your career, but you are now officially the full-time Goldhorns captain. What does that mean to you?”

“It’s unbelievable. Like you said, many times I’ve served that role, but it never gets old, it’s always a thrill, just like it always feels like Christmas morning getting to put on the gold shirt. Being the captain of this team has been a dream of mine since my very first day, and I hope I can lead us even further.”

“You did lead the team here, to the World Cup, almost single-handedly in the second leg of the playoffs. What can you say about your performance?”

“Single-handedly is unfair, our team played excellent that game as a unit and everybody contributed. But I can’t deny it, it was one of the best games of my career. Some nights you just won’t let yourself lose. I had the combination of that, plus a little luck, to get us here.”

“Thorsten, it’s your fourth trip to the World Cup. Feeling any different this time, or the same feeling of excitement?”

“There’s a difference in that we have more expectations on ourselves. The first few times, we were just going and hoping to maybe play spoiler. This time, we’re confident in ourselves, and we think we have a real shot in this group, and to perhaps even do some damage if we get out of it, too.”

“How would you view a fourth World Cup in a row without qualifying from the group stage?”

“Same way I viewed the first three, disappointing. When you get to the World Cup, there’s only one goal, and anything else doesn’t matter. We’re not insane, we know there’s a lot of great teams in our path, but that’s the simple matter.”

“The last time you visited Taeshan, Thorsten, the national hockey team won the World Cup of Hockey in a famous overtime victory, leading to jubilant celebrations across all of Siovanija & Teusland. Can the national football team write a similar story?”

“We just have to believe in ourselves, keep fighting, and never get down. Anything is possible.”

“Some words about your manager, Gavin - with lots of uncertainty now seeming to be the past, what can you say?”

“Yeah, we didn’t really listen to the noise. The respect we have for the manager in the room is incredible, and I think you saw that in our performance in the playoff, and we hope we aren’t quite done just yet.”

Daniel Brack spoke up once again. “That’s all for today, now if you’d wait a few minutes, we’re going to go set up the picture outside.

Some new faces in the team photo at the centre circle of the Nationalstadion, wearing the suits with gold cuffs reading ‘World Cup 87’, as well as the traditional national cap and edelweiss badge. A few photos, boarding a team bus, then a plane, and a few hours later touching down in Taeshan to prepare for World Cup 87.

Siovanija & Teusland National Football Team
Squad Selection - World Cup 87
Group A against Brenecia, Taeshan, South Newlandia


GK - Ewald Heuser, Anatoli Sveteikov, Dennis Eulenberg
LB - Edgar Steimle, Axel Richter
CB - Karl-Heinz Jager, Erich Thierse, Taras Maksimov, Niels Kronthaler
RB - Darijen Vesele, Pierre-Louis Lotbiniere
CM - Thorsten Kramer, Todor Mihailov, Heinrich Bahr
LW - Mario Kogler, Lojze Kokalj
CAM - Leopold Bliznakov, Viktor Dimitrov
RW - Lukas Tauscher, Florian Krukenberg
CF - Michael Ribbeck, Stanimir Ilev, Denis Dezelac

Expected Starting XI vs Brenecia: Heuser; Steimle, Jager, Maksimov, Vesele; Kramer, Mihailov, Bliznakov; Kogler, Tauscher, Ilev
The United Republics of Siovanija & Teusland
Capital: Borograd | Population: 74,245,000 | Demonyms: Siovanijan, Teus | Country Code: STL

World Cup of Hockey 40, 41 & 42 Champions ⋆ World Junior Hockey Championship 14 Champions

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Banija
Minister
 
Posts: 2900
Founded: Mar 06, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Banija » Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:07 am

Image

Banijans play an up and down trio of friendlies before their World Cup opener against Geektopia

Image
Banijan players walk off the pitch after a stunning 1-0 loss to Ranoria


ISLE OF LOWE, ETHANE- The Kadongo Kamu have safely arrived on the Isle of Lowe, to prepare for their 8th consecutive World Cup Finals berth. A great achievement, of course, but they will be looking for me. Their goal over the course of the next three games will be to secure their fifth consecutive trip to the World Cup knockout stages- and eventually beyond that. But only approach what is in front of you, one game at a time, right? The Banijans will prepare to take on Geektopia, who will be making their debut here at the World Cup Finals.

In preparation, of course, the Royal Banijan Soccer Association scheduled a trio of friendlies for the national team. One at home, the farewell match held at the Stadium of the Restoration. The RBSA was able to schedule a big-name opponent for this friendly. The big name opponent, of course, would be none other than Eura. A team that has qualified for 27 straight World Cup Finals finally had their luck run out, with Savigliane stunning the multiverse, beating out both Eura and Siovanija & Teusland to the top spot in their Qualifying group, sending our neighbors the Goldhorns into the Playoffs(and eventually to the Finals) while Eura was relegated down to the Cup of Harmony.

This shows you- Qualifying is never guaranteed. If even a fixture like Eura can miss it, the rest of us, sans Valanora, surely are capable on missing out every once in a while. Nephara had a great scare there as well, having to fire their manager, Daniella Strauss, who had taken them to consecutive World Cup Finals, to claw back up out of desperation and reach World Cup 87. Eura obviously now knows this experience first hand. But what is done is done. Eura is relocked and reloading, preparing for a deep run in the Cup of Harmony. And what happened when we faced off? We drew 1-1. Not a ton of note happened in the match. However, the key was this- this was Namakula Kawesa's first match for the national team since AOCAF 62. She, of course, had a pregnancy and a baby, and missed all of Qualifying for being a mother. She looked sharp in her return, coming in at about the hour mark and playing for 30 minutes. She looked in great game shape, however, with the 34 year old displaying her traditional energy and forward thinkingness.

Next, of course, was a Banijan trip to Vdara. Remember- the Banijans are searching for win 250. Following the Qualifying campaign, they had 249 all-time wins, in all competitions, including friendlies, since their formation and introduction to the WCC entering World Cup 73. Vdara is a first-time qualifier for the World Cup Finals, have beaten out the Commonwealth of Baker Park to first place within their World Cup group. The two teams clashed at the Stadio Fotellis in Nicosia, Vdara. A smaller ground with a capacity of 22,000, the Vdara national team wanted to spread some of their games out across the country, to help unify the country ahead of their maiden World Cup campaign.

But a game that they were hoping would bring them the highest of hopes, instead brought them the scariest of nightmares. The Banijan national team came into the game absolutely firing on all cylinders. Namakula Kawesa got the start for the Banijan national team, and with the side playing their first-choice XI, they wanted to get win #250 before getting to Ethane for the Finals. And everything went right in Nicosia for the first 45 minutes. The Banijans were dominant in the midfield, as we controlled possesion and snuffed out any of Vdara's potential attacks before they got to the halfway line. This is probably the best game we've played in years, or at least the best half, in terms of statistical dominance. 62% possession. Shots on goal? 11 to 0. Shots in general? 16 to 1. 16 shots in a half. And on the scoresheet? 7-0. Jawara and Uster both with braces. Namakula, Cyper Corr, and Alanso Tibamba scoring the other 3.

Dominant in all phases. The Banijan media was excited after that one, as it seemed as if we knocked the bad taste of our up and down second half of Qualifying campaign out of our mouths. The score for that game finished 7-3. Lastly, came our trip to Rosin Stadium, in Ranoria. A smaller stadium- capacity of only 18,500. A testament to the relationship of the two countries that we came there at all. Trying to grow the sport in a country that does not follow the sport much. The crowd was probably 2/3s in favor of the Banijans- get to watch the national team at far cheaper prices than you'll find in Ethane for the Finals.

And coming off the heels of a dominant victory #250 against Vdara, many thought we'd put Ranoria to the sword in a similar fashion. But that is far from what happened. Ranoria, even in a game that was essentially a "home away from home" game for the Banijans, was organized and disciplined. They stayed in front of us, were physical, and did not allow anything to get past. A lot of long shots for our team. Their goalkeeper, Vincent Emilia, was on top of his game, with 12 saves. And he got the assist. After catching a cross, he booted a long punt that took a great bounce, and allowed Chlorid to outrace Chiokie Uchie in the back. In his one on one with the Banijan goalkeeper in the 58th, Chlorid chipped it over the keeper's head, and held a finger to his lips to silence the Banijan-friendly crowd.

Of course, the announcer yelled "touchdown"! And the scoreboard operator put six points on the board, before somebody told him to lower the points from six to 1. And the Ranorians held on. Their team sprinted onto the field- a great victory for them, over the world #1 and defending champions. A stunning loss for us. Marcus Waters said a few words after the game. "You know, simply put- the finishing was not there. We had plenty of possesion, but we could not find the spaces that we wanted to get the goals that we came here to score. Full credit to them- they had one chance, and Chlorid put it away with plenty of confidence and skill. We'll learn from this one, and take those lessons into Matchday 1 against Geektopia."

Matchday 1, of course, looms for the Kadongo Kamu. Geektopians do not play with fear- they try to attack you, and they play to win, rather than out of fear of losing. Of course, the Banijans are naturally looking at Matchday 2, where they have a big rivalry game against Baker Park. But the problems of looking past your competition are evident- as shown by Ranoria on our final friendly before the Finals. Let's take on Geektopia, get ourselves three points, and then prepare for what will surely be the game of the Matchday against Baker Park.
President of the World Cup Committee and the World Cup of Hockey Federation. Back to Back defending IBC champions.
Kabaka = King
Lubuga = Queen Consort
Isebantu = Crown Prince
Waziri = Foreign Minister
Katikkiro = Prime Minister
Omugabe/Omugaba= Prince/Princess
Banija Domestic Sports | Map of Banija.
NSCF 14 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria), NSCF 17 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria), NSCF 19 CHAMPIONS(Northern Moravica), NSCF 21 CHAMPIONS(Loyola-Istria)
Sporting World Cup 8. World Baseball Classic 47. Di Bradini Cup 47. World Cup 86. IBC 30 & 31. National Trophy Cabinet.
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Cassadaigua
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Founded: Sep 19, 2008
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Cassadaigua » Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:20 pm

Q and A with CASE President Taylor Connolly,
By Chelsea Dufresne, Concord Heights Times


With World Cup 87 about to begin and the Cup of Harmony underway in Cassadaigua, there is plenty of soccer to talk about within the country. If you love the sport, then this could not be a better time of year for you. The person at the head of making all of this possible is Taylor Connolly, a former superstar midfielder who’s #18 sits on a monumental wall at the Dagan Airways Stadium, and will never be worn again in soccer. Taylor continued her ascent through the ranks, becoming interested in the business side of things after retirement more than any form of management role. It’s been a great ride for her, and as we begin this conversation, we have to begin by asking if this will be a case of going out strong.

Q: Taylor, thank you. Before we begin talking about other topics, there has been some recent speculation that you are preparing to step down as CASE President following the World Cup. Is there any truth to this?

Connolly: It’s something that I have been thinking about. I enjoy everything that there is to do with the sport, but I am in my 80’s now, and there has to be a point in someone’s life where they can enjoy retirement, right? (laughs)

Q: Should we take that as a yes?

Connolly: I am not ready to commit to that decision. I will say that this is the first time I ever have thought about stepping down from the position, because my goal has always been to win a World Cup as President of CASE. Those things are hard to win, and I am beginning to accept that as a reality. I have been spoiled to have already won it as a player. When people talk about my age right now, it does not seem real, because I still feel like I am 30 when it comes to thinking about this great sport. I would have to say that I am very close to officially making an announcement that I will finally retire and maybe go play bingo in Winchester.

Q: Have you considered who might be your replacement? Would Stephanie Sweeney be considered?

Connolly: There is a list of people we have talked about. When I say we, I reference my top aides in the office. Stephanie is at the top of the list. You look at what she has done for Cassadagan soccer after our return. She’s done everything but get us to a World Cup final, and that’s no exaggeration. Two semifinal appearances, that’s pretty good. She’s young. In her 60’s young, but next to me, very young.

Q: That would create a coaching vacancy. Daniella Strauss might be available?

Connolly: We aren’t interested in Daniella Strauss. She’s done a great job as the manager of Nephara, but we would not pursue her as a manager. As great of a job as she has done, it was a curious head scratcher that she would look at a short string of poor results, not think she could turn that around despite having some of the greatest players in the world on her team, makes me wonder if she also just wanted to call it a career. We all get to that point. We would look for a homegrown candidate above all else. That is all under the assumption that we will be looking for a new manager. I am still the President of CASE and Stephanie Sweeney is still the manager, and not my successor. For now.

Q: You’re dropping some big hints, though. It would be a great way to go out on top, with the World Cup beginning and the Cup of Harmony on home field. What went into the decision to bid to host the Cup of Harmony?

Connolly: We had heard that there were nations out there looking to team up with experienced partners for it. The people from Northwest Kalactin have paid their dues and have earned the chance, and right now they are doing a great job as our co-host. It was an honor and fun to bid against two other nations we really like, Baker Park and Tikariot.

Q: That was an interesting bidding process.

Connolly: Full respect for those two nations, and there was a lot of communication between all of us during the voting process that it never seemed like a competition. Each one of us involved wanted to ensure that the those who won the vote were ready to hit the ground running immediately, and because of that, we were ready to roll immediately with Northwest Kalactin. It would have been no different if Baker Park and Tikariot won the vote.

Q: This team had a remarkable run in qualifying, but that doesn’t mean anything now. What do you think of this group and the way things look now in the World Cup?

Connolly: This was a very hard World Cup to make. Look, we have two of the last four co-hosts playing in the Cup of Harmony right now. Eura is there. This means that there are no weak opponents in the World Cup. If we don’t win this, then it would not surprise me if we have a completely unexpected winner when this is all over.

Q: But you would love to go out on top.

Connolly: It would make that decision easy. You have to go back to World Cup 52 to find the last time a Cup of Harmony co-host won the World Cup in the same cycle.
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Specific Titles: World Cup 50, 51; WBC 14, 16, 19 & 50; WB 8, 22, & 40; WCOH 11 & 39; IBC 13.
Also: CoH 39; Swamp Soccer 4, WVE (Vball) 6; NSCAA 3, 5 & 9; NSSCRA 7
Runner Up: CoH 40, WB 21, WcoH 8, IBC 12, WBC 13, 15, 47 & 48, DBC 21. 3rd Place @ WC 86
WC Qualified for: 45, 46, 49-61, 67, 79 (DNP WC 69-77), 81-86.
Games of the XIII Summer Olympiad: Second Most Medals
Hosted: World Cup 54, 67 & 84; CoH 57 & 73, BoF 47, CR 30, WB 16, WBC 18, 26, 40, 45 & 50, Some NSCAA, NSCH 1; WLC 7, 30 & 33.

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Alasdair I Frosticus
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Posts: 1288
Founded: Antiquity
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Alasdair I Frosticus » Sat Feb 13, 2021 1:44 pm

In the end, the Holy Empire had won both playoff matches against South Covello, though only by one-goal margins; and the bonus of scoring two away goals in South Covello had been rather thrown away by conceding three at the Imperial Hippodrome. Still, the Holy Empire - the oldest active nation in the tournament, a four-time World Cup winner, the nation with record for the longest consecutive streak of finals appearances, and the nation with the less-enviable record of the most second-round exits in tournament history - was back for another run. A group with Zwangzug, Vdara, and Cassadaigua presented some challenges; nothing insurmountable, but nothing that a team that had uncharacteristically struggled to qualify could take for granted, either; especially since Margaret was at her most capricious. Meanwhile, the Imperial Secretariat of the Purple Inkwell noted with interest some trial proceedings from a near-future Mavinet that seemed to involve the Juan Tzimisces playing in left-central midfield....


"The defendant will please state their name for the benefit of the court."

"Nguyen Van Long"

"And you understand the charges against you?"

"That I willingly gave succour and support to a football team composed entirely of the M'Rong minority in defeating a football team composed entirely of Ma Viet."

"Indeed; and how do you plead?"

"GUILTY!"

<consternation>

"I'm sorry, but did you say... guilty?"

"Yes... Guilty and proud of being guilty!"

"You understand that the maximum penalty for encouraging minority groups to humiliate the glorious Ma Viet rather than collaborate with the wise and supportive majority population in a spirit of harmonious co-prosperity is 20 years in prison?"

"I do."

<more consternation>

"You leave me then with little choice. Do you have anything to say for yourself before I pronounce sentence?"

"He'll know you know..."

"I'm sorry, but who knows?"

"The Doctor..."

"Doctor who?"

"Doctor Tzimisces! He's out there, travelling through time and space in his gold and red Distar - 'Dimensional Space, Time, and Relativity', that's what he calls his ship - with his companions Simeone and Margaret. He's the man who abhors violence, almost never carrying a gun - only a football. He's like fire and ice and rage, he's like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He's ancient and forever, he burns at the centre of time, and can see the turn of the universe. And ... he's wonderful. All those stories you've heard about him: they're not stories, they're true. He is Doctor Tzimisces. He has walked the multiverse for centuries untold. He has seen stars fall to dust. He has played football against both gods and men. When you play football with Doctor Tzimisces, it feels like it'll never end. But however hard you try you can't run forever. Everybody knows every game ends, and nobody knows it like Doctor Tzimisces. But I do think that the final whistle might be blown on all the football matches of the multiverse and all the skies of all the worlds might just turn dark if he ever, for one moment, accepts it. You know exactly who he is. He's the Doctor. Sorting out fair play throughout the universe."

"What is this nonsense?"

"Doctor Tzimisces knows. He knows how we Ma Viet treat our minority groups; how we treat the Yue, the M'Rong, and the Khrai. He knows that 'the spirit of harmonious co-prosperity' is just something we tell ourselves to justify our complete domination of Mavinet society. What's the point of a democracy if only one group can benefit? And so he gave me a football - he gave me this football - and he told me how to coach the M'Rong so they could beat a Ma Viet team, so I could show you that the M'Rong are no worse than the Ma Viet. This is all about fairness."

"It's also sedition. And if this Doctor Tzimisces is so wonderful, where is he now? You're facing a very long time in prison, and he seems to have left you conveniently alone..."

"That's what you think; we only wanted to get this on the formal trial record..."

<There is a repeated raspy whooshing sound. A wind blows through the court. A gold and red box marked 'Imperial Police Box' materialises over the box where the defendant is standing. The raspy whooshing sound starts up again, and the box disappears>

"Where is the defendant? Security! The defendant has escaped - DON'T JUST STAND THERE; DO SOMETHING!!!!"

<chaos ensues; the trial is subsequently adjourned in the absence of the defendant>
Last edited by Alasdair I Frosticus on Sat Feb 13, 2021 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια?

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Kelssek
Minister
 
Posts: 2068
Founded: Mar 19, 2004
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Kelssek » Sat Feb 13, 2021 1:53 pm

“...and so they said this was an ethics breach and you cannot sell things without being tested by the scientists, who as you know all work for the cell phone companies. And they were all like, you can’t make people vote by show of hands, it needs to be a secret vote. That’s so silly, how will you know people are honest and will vote the way they promised you? How can I know I’m getting my money’s worth if you pay people to vote for you and then you can’t verify that they actually did? It’s ridiculous, these consultants have no concept of transparency and democracy. But I’m just glad to be away from the 5G waves and all the mean-spirited people who think they can decide who’s a yogi and who isn’t.”

Thamior took a breath. It had been almost a half hour since leaving the outpost that marked the boundary of the elven lands, and finally that human had stopped talking. It seemed bizarre that he’d been able to get permission to visit the Syfirithin lands for some kind of spiritual journey, but then again those who decided such things probably hadn’t ever been to Burnaby where it seemed every fourth person was invigorating their spirit with a kale cleanse.

After a few moments, there was a shuffling in the group’s cadence. Thamior could hear that someone was moving through the group towards him. He didn’t want or really have to look to confirm who it was. All in all, the peace had lasted for about ninety seconds.

“Hello sir, nice to meet you, I’m Moonbeam Infantino.”

May Thuban eat your soul... Thamior thought but didn’t say.

Moonbeam tried again. “I’m very grateful that you’re leading us into the Firith Forest today. I really admire how your people keep to an ancient mode of life in harmony with nature.”

“Yes. The quiet of the forest is most sacred,” Thamior said pointedly. At least he hadn’t been recognized.

* * *

“Gold and very shiny.” Galain examined the medal. KELSSEK FOOTBALL LEAGUE CHAMPIONS 64TH SEASON, it said.

“Yeah. And I’ve been thinking, now that I’ve won the title, it may be time to finally go... Hang on.” Thamior said, seeing movement. Galain hid the medal away before turning around to see the visitor.

“Hello! Friends, good friends. Lovely day today. What a blessing to be in this wonderful meadow,” Moonbeam Infantino’s face was locked in a massive grin and he was wearing a billowing purple robe. “And you are Thamior Liadon. I should have known.”

Thamior forced a smile. “So you’re a football fan.”

“A fan? Perhaps you could say that. I am not one of those who would argue whether Matt Lister should start over Loïc Maçon-Petrault. Too much strife and contention. But you, you are an inspiration to many.” said Moonbeam.

“That’s very nice of you to say that.”

“And once more to play in the World Cup! What an honour. A privilege! Do not let me impose on you. I am on my way to attend a healing energies circle. Peace and love be with you!” Moonbeam Infantino walked off, his robe dragging in the long grass behind him.

“Healing energies circle?” Thamior said, but Moonbeam strode briskly away.

After judging the man definitively out of earshot, Galain said quietly and in a different elvish dialect, “A strange person. You must have heard that man is now on the Football Kelssek board? It also seems unclear exactly how that happened.”

Thamior frowned.
Last edited by Kelssek on Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Farfadillis
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1992
Founded: Feb 26, 2012
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Farfadillis » Sat Feb 13, 2021 1:53 pm

"And you gotta water them at least twice a day. Otherwise, they wither."

Uzoma was doing his best to disguise his indifference, and it was getting harder by the minute. At that point, he could only nod and pretend to listen. Mrs. Lüxìnì was delightfully welcoming, sure, but all the talk about botany was getting him nowhere.

"Want to water them yourself? It's not very hard." She offered with a genuine smile on her face.

Uzoma obliged. "Do the kids in this area like watering plants too?" He asked, in a half-assed attempt to get the conversation back on track.

Mrs. Lüxìnì shook her head in disappointment. "No, no. They prefer to play ball. All of them. Appreciating the simpler things in life is more something we old folks do. I mean, just ask my grandson..."

Uzoma's face lit up slightly. "How does your grandson go about, you know, playing?" He gesticulated with his hands. He wasn't sure how to put to words what he wanted to ask, much less in Rulandese.

She laughed. "Well, he used to go about it the way most kids do. He's much busier nowadays, though." She looked disappointed.

This was one of the few things Uzoma did have to show for his efforts: he'd found out men in Ruland usually play football much, much less frequently when they become physically mature. Most end up at the mines. Still, this was hardly useful information, and it was hardly specific to Älgònágù, the neighborhood he had been assigned to study.

"How often does he play?" He asked, expecting the same answer he'd gotten from everyone the past few weeks: about once a month or so.

She looked a little puzzled by the question—understandable when you remember this was supposed to be a conversation about her plants—but responded nonetheless. "Well, pretty much every weekend. Sometimes in the middle of the week, too. Honestly, at my age, it is too confusing to follow."

He raised an eyebrow. That was quite strange. "Huh... that's more than most, from what I've heard around here."

She smirked. "Yeah, it is. But hey, he can maintain the entire family and then some more. There's a reason I can have the luxury of having plants to water, but not eat." Her face showed it very clearly: she was speaking from a place of pride.

Putting two and two together was not hard after that remark. A part of him did make him wonder, though. What were the chances of stumbling upon the grandmother of a professional footballer? Then he remembered he'd been assigned to study this place precisely cause the chances were, in reality, pretty high. "So is he... a professional?"

She nodded, smiling. "I've been told he's very good! I don't watch football, I don't like it much, but quite often the neighbors stop me on the street to tell me he played well. Want to sit down and have tea while I tell you about him?"

Uzoma nodded enthusiastically. "I'd love to hear more. You seem to be very proud of him." To his credit, he was actually quite good at hiding the fact that he was there only for this kind of thing. She made both of them tea, then placed one of the cups in front of him. He took a sip, then spat it out.

"Too hot?" She asked, worried. He looked to be in pain.

"Is this... spicy?" He uttered, confused.

"Yes, sorry, I forgot you're not from here." She swapped teacups. "It's customary here for the host to give the guest their spiciest tea. I don't like spiciness as much, so just drink mine." She looked truly regretful. "I'm sorry, I forget foreigners don't like spicy food as much. Têrtêr told me about it!"

Uzoma shook his head. "No, no, it's ok. We love spicy food in Banija, too. It just caught me off-guard. We don't really..." He stared at the teacup, almost as if curious. "We don't really have spicy tea over there." He took a sip from the second teacup and just about managed to avoid wincing. It was still too spicy. "So, anyway, what's your grandson's name?"

"Oh, right. It's Têrçêr. Ànáxímane. I like to call him Têrtêr. But only I get to call him that." She winked at him with a sly, but decidedly platonic smile.

He spat the tea out again. "Oh dear, is it still too spicy?" She asked, worry showing in her tone of voice. "Want some milk to wash the spice down?"

"No, no, I'm fine. Right, sorry. I just didn't expect that answer." He took another sip, once again managing to not wince. "I was expecting an average player, maybe some reserve player at Rülândéá Kôstä, not someone I've seen play in person." Her smile was now broader than ever. "I guess the rumors were true..." Uzoma continued.

"Rumors?"

"Yeah, about Älgònágù." He stirred the tea. "I've heard lots of great footballers grew up here."

Mrs. Lüxìnì let out a hearty laugh. "Rumor? Where you come from, maybe!" She laughed some more. "You know what Älgònágù means?"

"Not really, no."

"C'mon, spell it out. Your Rulandese is too good to not notice."

"Äl-gò... ná-gù. Älgò ná Âgù!" He exclaimed. "In my country, we'd say 'something in the water'. What about it?"

"It's a humorous way of saying that kids here are usually plain better at playing ball. The name sort of stuck, or so I heard. It's from before my time."

"Is that true, though? Is it just 'something in the water'?" He asked, pretending the answer to this question couldn't render weeks' worth of hard work entirely useless.

She laughed. "Oh no, no. I don't think so, at least. It's just a way of saying it's random chance, or destiny. I don't know, honestly. It might be something else."

"Well, I'd love to hear about that." He bravely sipped on the tea again. "And your grandson, of course."
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 Ӿ Name Generator

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

User avatar
Taeshan
Senator
 
Posts: 4873
Founded: Aug 11, 2007
New York Times Democracy

Postby Taeshan » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:51 pm

Today was the day. The pageantry of a World Cup hosting job over 100 years in the making had come to fruition. The majestic pre-tournament display by the home country would be talked about throughout international media. The best bands from around Taeshan, and weirdly a hit cover a once beloved Zwangzug artist's old classic "Old Town Road" conveniently mixed with more local references for the host city of the opening match between Taeshan and today's victim, South Newlandia.

Daigo Coshan walked nervously around the dugout during the warm up. This was perhaps the biggest day of his international management career. Considering he had done little in the most recent Cup of Harmony, and even less in the following Copa Rushmori this tournament was a rather surprising development for him. He was not replaced and instead the interim tag became permanent after Taeshan, and Ethane, but mostly Taeshan...Had won the host vote for World Cup 87. Daigo had even been able to follow a long held dream to play in Astograth for Blue Mountain Range and his friend Xander McDrew, thanks to this development. But now his managerial worth would be challenged. While Taeshan got the good draw hosts often get, a Group of South Newlandia, Siovanija and Teusland and Brenecia is not the worst draw of recent years, but yet he paced nervously.

Why he wondered, did I get placed here? He wasn't necessarily the greatest option to take over after the failure to qualify for World Cup 86. In fact he had it on good authority that he was picked out of a hat before the Cup of Harmony. He didn't want to manage. All he could find himself thinking about in this moment was his mother. He really missed her. She would be proud right? He had done incredible things by now. He was not only a century winner with the national team, but a Premier League champion, and now the head coach of the Purple Knights. That had to be enough to fulfill his promise to do great things after her death? He had to have made her proud, wherever she was.

But now here he was. Trying to manage things beyond him. This would be a big test on this matchday. South Newlandia, one of the various first timers in the World Cup. Taeshan would be expected to do well in the opener. The Coliseum was the site, and the South Newlandians would surely be overcome by the ravenous home fans. This could only go one way, right? They couldn't fail at the first hurdle, everything set up so well for them to at least advance, or at least be competitive. But yet he, as always had his doubts, and as they walked into the locker room with the time coming close, his panic continued.



"Men we go into today's match with an incredible duty ahead of us. Make our country proud. 102 years since Taeshan started the path to today and hosting the World Cup. Our history is not the brightest, but this is the biggest day in Taeshan soccer history. Not the Quarterfinals at this storied tournament, not the Copa Rushmori win, not the Cup of Harmony win. Today is the day. We are here on the precipice of greatness. We have a chance to make our home fans proud and push for the greatest tournament in our history. And I'd like to inspire you with the words of the great Farf poet (muffled jumble of Diacritics)."

Though art on the stage you were destined to see,
Close to where you were meant to be,
Stand together my brothers,
stand together my sisters,
No legs will be bent today,
No words will be left to say,
The fire within,
and the fire without,
shall burn forever.

What light through yonder window breaks,
but not the light that will be our glory.
Only we can live forever,
as is our destiny.
Today we shall overcome,
today we shall win the day,
and today.
Be what you are destined.
Champions - Copa Rushmori 22, Cup of Harmony 35, Di Bradini Cup 19, World Baseball Classic 13, Gridiron World Championships (World Bowl 0), World Bowl 34, World Lacrosse Championship 2

World Cup Qualifications-41, 44, 46, 59, 61(RoS), 62(Quarterfinals), 63 (RoS), 64 (Quarterfinals), 83, 84 (RoS), 85, 87

Hosts-Cup of Harmony 55, Copa Rushmori 14, Sporting World Cup 10,
Quidditch World Cup 10, World Cup of Hockey 41, World Cup 87

User avatar
Ethane
Minister
 
Posts: 2717
Founded: Sep 26, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Ethane » Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:27 pm

"We Didn't Start The Fire"
Reader submissions to Warning: This Paper is Flammable

Our stadiums are too small

We're hosts of the World Cup. Isn't that exciting? You'd expect the overwhelming answer would be yes - the biggest football tournament in the world is coming to Ethane. We get to see so many extraordinary teams, playing extraordinary football. Why are people grumbling? This is a historic moment.

Oh, I know why. I can't get a ticket. Neither can many Ethanians. Or people from abroad either. Actually, most people can't get tickets. Why? Our stadiums are so small. They're tiny. Let's compare the stadiums between us and the co-hosts, Taeshan. The largest Taeshani stadium is the Atlantea Coliseum. It can hold 550,000 people. Now, maybe that is a bit excessive. Well, extremely excessive. I question whether those right at the back would even be able to see the players on the pitch. What insane seat tier system do they have there? But at least you can fit fans in aplenty. Now let's have a look at the largest stadium Ethane has to offer. That'll be the King Edward IV Stadium, holding 32,500 people. It's no wonder fans far and wide are complaining. You shouldn't be able to host a World Cup unless you have large enough stadiums, and in my opinion Ethane does not.

If we want to host a World Cup again, we should definitely invest more in stadium capacity, and build bigger stadiums. It's a win-win both for the World Cup and for future sporting events that can be hosted here. Heck, why can't we convert other stadiums for it as well? The cricket stadium in New Sarum can seat 37,250 - that's a more reasonable capacity for a World Cup at a bare minimum. We need more joined-up thinking in our hosting, not just the factionalism we have now between different sports.

Submission from Eric Adley by Email.
Loving the new kits

To say I was excited for the grand reveal of the new Ethanian national team football kits would be understating my emotions. It felt like this was a big moment for the national team - it marked a significant investment and would be the replacement for our the kits that we first had when we broke into the international football scene. Of course, it was sad to see the old kits go - we'd been wearing them since World Cup 74. They will always have a place in my heart. After having the same kits for 26 years though, there is a sense that we need new kits. In the time since those kits were introduced to the national team, we've seen Leyton Underwood progress through his teenage years, start his footballing career, become an established Ethanian superstar, rack up records, move abroad, and retire. Heck, I've had kids and now they're adults. That's crazy.

So obviously I was hyped. And then the reveal came... and it was amazing. Honestly, the kits are ridiculously good. The colours work so well, and just represent our nation and the main colours of the team so well. It really gets to the heart of the team. The colours - representing the fire that is so central to the Ethanian identity, the burning passion to succeed in the heart of this team. That desire that no one can ever put out. The purple matches the nation's colours, and the fact that in the eyes of all of us, this team takes its place up there with the monarch in terms of important people in this nation - role models to all of us. The team has it's history borne out of monarchical values, and while we've moved on from that stage in our history, it feels valid to represent that with our kits and with our national colours. And then the red on the primary kit - again I just love their explanations on the promotional material - harks to our national animal. The Red Kite. Just a magnificent bird of prey, soaring in the sky above everyone, roaming the world. That bird really reflects our ambition to soar as a team. See why I love their explanations so much of the reasoning behind the kit - it just gives me so much pride in our nation - Ethane. Breathe it in - national glory. We should be as patriotic as they come.

But there's more. The designs - they're so complex and work so well. Everything has meaning. Everything is inspired. The colour contrast on the main kit is beautiful between the orange and the red. But the way they intersect is just inspired, described in two ways. First, they reflect flames. Second, the way the flames are shaped show the wings of a bird - once again harking to the Red Kites in our glorious nation. It's beautiful. Isn't this a kit we can be proud of?

Submission from Sarah Pillock by Post.


The selection mistakes are shocking...

I've finally seen the roster for the Ethanian team for this World Cup. And what is this Satyr fellow doing? Hello? 5 at the back? Are you mad? We tried that. For a long time. And let's be honest, Curtis Steeling did do us proud as manager in our first few cycles in the World Cup - we impressed enough. But that's tactics from the past. We're looking to the future now. And the formation you've chosen just shoehorns a playstyle on this team that hasn't been used in many years, for good reason. Please!

And because the manager has chosen this stupid system, acting as if we're scared and need to defend otherwise we might get beaten because how sad would that be, we now have a number of extremely good players who should, I think, be in this team but aren't. Remember Kyle Ford? What a quality player. Where is he? He used to be one of the first names on the team sheet, now he doesn't even make the cut?! No midfield wingers? Ridiculous.

Where is Rigby Headley? Where is Andy Obrien? These are players that should be in this team, 100%. Not whatever codswallop Kreuger has put into her final 23 for the World Cup. And then it's easy to tell you who shouldn't be in this squad - and it's primarily the people with limited or no top flight experience. Stephen Baird from Dovertown? What the heck is he doing in this team? James Dance as well?! Kaedan Hunt certainly doesn't deserve a spot, nor does Oliver Reid. What a shocking set of decisions made. Well, I guess good luck to us? If it weren't for the inclusion of this players we could have won the cup. If only...

Submission from Anonymous by Post.




Match Preview vs Pasarga

To even get a point out of this game is going to require a miracle. The guys are certainly going to give it their all out there, but Pasarga are a good team and their entrance to the World Cup through the playoffs understates their quality. Griffiths has made this team a real threat. Yes, they sometimes struggle to score many goals, or win by big margins. But they can and will pose a massive threat to the back five that The Red Kites will be using. Plus, 36 goals during qualifying isn't exactly low. 6-3 in the playoffs as well. The team are going to have a challenge to keep them away from the net, but they might get caught out by the odd counter - which is what the tactics of The Red Kites are really reliant on against such good calibre opponents.
Prediction: 1-3 (L)

Starting Lineup
Roberts - Burgess
Montoya
Woodrow - Kjaer

Johnson - James - Wilburn-Mason - Stevens - Turner
Velázquez
Last edited by Ethane on Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Esportivan and Proud.
<drawk> If the entirety of the nation of Ethane was covered in a single cubic foot of Ethane on its surface, lighting it all on fire would cause a 5.44 megaton blast.
Rest in Peace Prince Philip
Best WorldVision Finish: 2nd. Best World Cup Finish: Quarter-Finals. Best KPB Rank: 8th. Best WBC Finish: 1st.

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Vilita
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1927
Founded: Feb 23, 2004
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Vilita » Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:41 pm

Image


ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage


Jungle Cats Take Group 17, will face AO Rivals in Taeshan


Tivali Ring Stadium, Alikki-Corra, Vilita :: Long Time Vilitan National team midfield Cavuna Aquafek will take the Jungle Cats to the World Cup Finals for the first time as head coach after leading the team through a tense qualification round that nearly saw the team miss out on the finals altogether.

The Football Association of Vilita made the change behind the bench after opening the World Cup 87 Qualifying campaign with three consecutive draws including a goalless draw against the 289th ranked side in the multiverse, Hebitaka.

Under Aquafek's leadership, however, the team rallied and despite a late upset defeat to Balqia, would ultimately survived to claim their spot in the World Cup 87 Finals.

Things had not yet been shored up when the Jungle Cats hosted State of Trinity at the Tivali Ring Stadium on the final matchday of World Cup Qualification, however. While Vilita entered the final matchday atop the Group 18 table, they sat just a single point ahead of both Newmanistan and Tikariot. With just one team advancing ot the World Cup Finals and one other advancing to a playoff, there existed the possibility on the final matchday that any dropped points against State of Trinity could knock Vilita out of the World Cup entirely.

While the Jungle Cats stormed out of the gate and took an early lead through Tenziki Kulakao, the pucker factor dialed up ten fold in the second half when State of Trinity secured an equalizer against the run of play just before the hour mark. In response to the scoreline, Cavuna Aquafek took the unorthodox approach of inserting themselves into the match, replacing long time Turoki Tide teammate Poloax Torerun so they could lead from the center of the pitch. With scorelines as they were, Vilita would drop down to third place in the Group and would not even be advancing to a World Cup Qualifying Playoff match.

Taking matters into their own hands, Aquafek collected the ball after Rammsissil midfielder Kudii Davasarii was fouled just outside the box with 12 minutes left in the match. Standing alongside Davasarii, in conversation, Aquafek handed the ball back to the former Tropicorp trainee. The two continued chatting as Davasarii lingered to the spot the Referee had indicated the kick was to be taken from. Then, with the opposition unprepared, Davasarii quickly tapped the ball back to Aquafek who rocketed in a 20 yard strike to the upper left corner of the State of Trinity goal. The coach had fired the Jungle Cats into the lead. It was the first time Aquafek had found their name on the scoresheet since Matchday seven of World Cup 85 Qualifying when the Jungle Cats ran away as 8-3 victors over Krytenia. The importance of this goal could not be understated, however, as it would ultimately be the game winning goal that secured the Vilitan National Team as winners of Group 17 and automatically qualified for the World Cup 87 Finals. Fishtii Blikala netted an inusrance tally as full time approached to put the result beyond all doubt but it was the confident insertion of themselves onto the pitch immediately following the State of Trinity equalizer that proved to be the difference making moment of the match for Aquafek and the Jungle Cats.

Image


While Aquafek and the Jungle Cats would be heading to Taeshan and Ethane for the World Cup 87 Finals, they would be doing so for the first time in recent history as a Pot 2 team. Despite winning Group 17 in World Cup 87 Qualifying, the struggles with points dropped throughout the campaign would see the Jungle Cats drop one place from 6th to 7th in the World Cup Committee's latest KPB Rankings. With both World Cup hosts taking their place in Pot 1 and being ranked outside the Top 25, it would push the 7th ranked Jungle Cats out of Pot 1 and into Pot 2 along with 8th place colonial neigbors Turori.

In the end, however, perhaps it mattered not as the Jungle Cats primary opposition in the fight for a spot in the Round of 16 will be long time foe Starblaydia - the sixth ranked nation in the multiverse. Initially it wasn't clear whether Vilita's opening match would take place at the Fadron University Field or The Dome. Considering it will be one of the highest profile matches of the entire group stage, many Vilitan fans banked on the match taking place at The Dome, the home of Taeshani side Knightspurs and the only fully-enclosed venue on the Taeshan half of the draw. The Dome is the larger of the two Group C Venues holding about 3,300 more fans than the Fadron University Field. However, they have now learned that only the Jungle Cats Matchday two fixture against Savigliane will be played at the Dome with the opener against Starblaydia and Matchday three fixture against Kelssek each taking place on Taeshan Island at the Gadron University Field.

Despite the long history between two of the multiverse's most storied sides in Vilita and Starblaydia, the opening matchday of World Cup 87 will be just the third time in history that the two sides met in the World Cup Finals.

The history between Vilita and Starblaydia goes back to the Blades very first ever match - the opening matchday of World Cup 15 Qualifying where Vilita defeated Starblaydia 2-1. Since then the two sides have met 19 times in all competitions with a nearly even record - separated only by the Jungle Cats recent 3-1 triumph over their Atlantian Oceania rivals in the Quarter Finals of World Cup 84. Regardless of the outcome when #6 and #7 in the multiverse clash in Taeshan, it is likely that the match will include goals on both sides. Historically the last time the two sides met with one side failing to get on the scoresheet was 53 cycles prior when the Jungle Cats defeated Starblaydia 2-0 in the World Cup 34 Finals.

While both Vilita and Starblaydia share the record of Five World Cup Titles with Valanora, neither side has historically shared the stage with the other - with the peaks of Vilitan performance typically coinciding with a dip in Starblaydi form and vice versa. When the Vilita National Team won their first World Cup Title in Druida and Starblaydia World Cup 20 it appeared they were at a peak, but they quickly dipped to the point of missing out on World Cup 28 - the same cycle Starblayida won their second title. It will be a rare treat to watch two of the winningest sides on both regional and multiversal history sharing the pitch and doing battle at the top of their form.
World Cup 87 Schedule

MD1: Vilita v. Starblaydia - Fadrön University Field
MD2: Vilita v. Savigliane - The Dome
MD3: Vilita v. Kelssek - Fadrön University Field

In advance of the kick off of their World Cup Finals in Taeshan, Aquafek and the Vilitan Coaching staff reduced the size of their Player Pool traveling to Taeshan Island. After taking five goalkeepers with them on the World Cup Qualifying trail, just three will be with the team in Taeshan. With no surprise, Yeaddin Owls netminder Mako Canopii will be the goalkeeper of choice for Aquafek and the Jungle Cats but they could see some pressure from Jungle Strike FC netminder Vernasa Sanamun particularly depending on how the opening match against Starblaydia goes for the Vilitan National Team. Canopii made the bulk of the starts for the Jungle Cats during the World Cup 87 Qualifying campaign recording two shutouts in nine starts. Sanamun had seven starts for the Jungle Cats in qualifying which included four shutouts but was also the goalkeeper of record in four of the six matches where Vilita dropped points including the 0-2 defeat away at Balqia. Perhaps the surprise choice is the third goalkeeper for the Jungle Cats, Tropicorp FC's Hanauma Ranbomahi who did not make any starts for the Jungle Cats in qualifying but did come on in place of Sanamun after the Strike goalkeeper conceded twice against Balqia. Alikki-Corra FC netminder Striitca Virahat who recorded two victories in qualifying is left on the outside looking in along with veteran Eastal Lunar netminder Zelkii Milake who made a surprise appearance for the National Team at home against Kytonya.

As for the outfield players, the biggest story among the newcomers for World Cup 87 Qualifying was Jlinal Cove FC midfielder Trezisi Rokopolis who in just five matches was able to get on the scoresheet three times including on their second career appearance against Widaya. Young Marine Coast United attacker Tyoasi Klipark who made one appearance in Qualifying was not named into the squad but Clarana Refiami of Spartangrad in Eura does make the team despite failing to find the scoresheet in Qualifying. As head coach, Cavuna Aquafek need not take up an additional place on the roster and does not expect to be involved on the pitch during the World Cup Finals, but didn't rule out the possibility "in an emergency" - particularly after the heroics the Turoki Tide midfielder pulled out on the final matchday of Qualifying.


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

Region: Atlantian Oceania - The Home of Sport

User avatar
Vdara
Envoy
 
Posts: 237
Founded: Jul 10, 2018
Corrupt Dictatorship

Postby Vdara » Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:36 pm

Final Day Antics

With Vdara leading 2-0 over Quakmybush, tensions could not have been higher. For qualification, all they had to do was match Baker Park’s result, and they would automatically qualify for the World Cup group stages - and as it stood, Vdara was progressing to the next stage. The celebrations couldn’t begin yet, though. There were still a few seconds to go, and the officials on the sidelines were tinkering with the electronic board to display the amount of minutes to be added on. Væñøœrëñbérghüïś was getting impatient, and shouted towards one of the officials.

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”Are you not ending the game now?”

Fourth Official: ”Nah, not yet.”

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”Well, are you gonna fucking tell me how much time you’re gonna stick on?”

Fourth Official: ”Hey! There’s no need to swear, mate. You’ll see when I hold up the board, eh?”

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”Can you not just tell me now!?”

Fourth Official: ”Just you wait, sunshine. I’m about to put the board up now.”

The fourth official held up the board, and a number that struck fear into the Vdaran faithful flashed up on the screen. The announcer’s voice boomed around the VdarArena with the phrase, ”The fourth official has indicated that there will be an additional FOUR minutes of added time.” Disbelief was visible on Væñøœrëñbérghüïś’ face, and he felt a sudden urge to question the decisions of the fourth official.

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”Where the fuck have you pulled four fucking minutes from, you twat?”

Fourth Official: ”Tone that down, or I’ll have to call the ref over!”

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”I don’t give a shit about the ref, I want to know which part of your peanut brain decided that four minutes was enough? There’s hardly been any play stoppage, for fucks sake!”

Unfortunately for Lükækš, the referee just so happened to be passing by, and when he heard those words come out of his mouth he immediately showed him the yellow card.

Fourth Official: ”See? I told you that you should’ve toned it down. You didn’t, and look where that got you.”

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”Oh shush, you.”

Seconds felt like minutes, and minutes felt like hours, but the time on the clock was ticking towards 94:00, and the score remained 2-0. Væñøœrëñbérghüïś couldn’t keep his eyes off of the clock, his palms were sweating, his knees were weak, his arms... well, you know the song. The tension was definitely getting to him, and despite the fact that he was two goals up he was still quite nervous. That was, until the referee put his whistle to his mouth and blew.

PEEP. PEEP. PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.

The final whistle blew, and the stadium erupted into a cascade of roars from the home fans. They had just witnessed their team qualify for a World Cup, and they were not going to be quiet about it. Væñøœrëñbérghüïś could barely hold in his excitement, and his first response was to turn to the cameraman and scream.

Image

The players on the pitch matched the manager’s energy, with some of them embracing each other, embracing the fans, or just kneeling down on the pitch and letting it all out. The fans were buzzing, the players were buzzing, everybody was buzzing. With the amount of emotions flowing throughout the stadium, you’d think Vdara had just won the World Cup!

Shortly after the celebrations, a reporter from Vai Sports shoved a microphone into Væñøœrëñbérghüïś’ face, and tried to ask him a few questions.

Interviewer: ”Well, first of all, I’d like to congratulate you and your team on your first ever qualification for the World Cup!”

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”Wow, I’m... I still can’t believe it, honestly! I thought the highest we could go was third, but we’ve... we’ve finished top! WE FINISHED TOP!”

Interviewer: ”You sure did! I can hardly hear you over the noise that the fans are making, but how proud are you of your players?”

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”Is that even a question? I’m extremely proud! Why wouldn’t I be? We bested Baker Park and Xanneria to the top spot, I don’t think I could be less proud!”

Interviewer: ”Do you think you’ll enjoy your first jaunt into the World Cup?”

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś appeared to be caught off guard when he heard that question. He never thought his squad would get past the qualifiers, and he sure as heck didn’t think they’d do well in the group stage. He had to think of an answer, and he had to think of one quick.

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”Well, erm, uh... we’ll enjoy tonight, put it that way.”

Interviewer: ”Indeed, you definitely will. Thanks for your time, Lükækš.”

Væñøœrëñbérghüïś: ”No bother at all, darling. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to celebrate with the lads.”

The manager’s hesitance to answer that question was seen as extremely strange, to say the least. After all, why wouldn’t he enjoy his first journey into the World Cup? It’s not like they were going to lose every game, right?

...right?

Oh, bollocks. They are, aren’t they.
The Republic of Vdara
An idyllic archipelago situated in the Mediterranean Sea consisting of the islands of Malta, Cyprus, Crete, Karpathos, Rhodes, Thera, and Kasos.

Factbook | Vdaran Airlines | National Anthem | Royal Family (dead) | Political Parties | Vai News 24
World Cup:
WC84: 7th in qualifying
WC85: 5th in qualifying
WC86: 4th in qualifying
WC87: 1st in qualifying, 4th (last) in group stage

Cup of Harmony:
CoH 76: 6th (last) in group stage
CoH 77: Round of 16
CoH 78: Quarter-finals

U-18 World Cup
U-18 WC10: 4th (last) in group stage
U-18 WC11: CHAMPIONS (1st ever title)

Campionato Esportiva:
CE27: Quarter-finals (lost 2-0 to Esportivan Darmen)
CE28: can’t be arsed checking (lost to Esportivan Darmen)
CE29: [REDACTED]

AOCAF:
TBD

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South Newlandia
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 360
Founded: Jan 18, 2020
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby South Newlandia » Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:51 pm

Green stepped into the Dome with his teammates, their captain Trischuk leading them in, side by side with the Tumbran players. They knew they had a chance today to achieve something heroic, something historic. All they needed to do was to win.
However, the team from Tumbra would not make that easy for the Elephants. They started better, with Cohen (Philip, the Cohen from Tumbra) sending a shot right to the crossbar. Trischuk had his fingers on it, a little bit, and the ball bounced back into the field. Roy was able to clear it, and the game remained tied.
Later, with about 25 minutes played in the first half, McMora had the ball on the right side of the field. He went into a dribbling, found some room after passing a defender, and found Brandon Irving up the middle. He got to the ball, hit it with his right foot, and placed it right on the inner side of the goal post. It bounced in for the score, and the fans felt the pressure drop. They had gotten even closer.
Tumbra remained strong, fighting for every inch of the field, but once again, the Elephants were the team ultimately profiting. McMora saw Green on the left side, he gave it to Wallis, and Wallis’ shot was slightly deflected by the Tumbran defender Johnny Brown, leaving Louis Addison without a chance in the goal. The Elephants were now up two-nil, and the game went to half-time at that score mere minutes later.
In the locker room, Wolverine insisted that they had to remain focused, that a surprise from the Tumbran side could cause them to lose control. It was clear that Tumbra would not give up, at least not yet. The coach brought Mike Sloah on the field for Simon McCabe, switching to a 5-4-1 formation, trying to preserve the lead. It worked.
The Tumbran side wasn’t able to get past an extremely strong Trischuk, and the Elephants turned one of their counterattacks into a goal in the 65th minute. The 3-0 broke Tumbran spirits a bit; coming back from three goals in an away game, as an unranked team playing a team with a chance to go to the World Cup then and there seemed like a hard task. The Elephants were not used to the role of being the favourite; they had hardly been that so far in their games pretty much anywhere, but they managed to keep Tumbra away from the goal.
With minutes left to play, Cohen (Bjorn, the Cohen from South Newlandia) had an opportunity to score another goal. He had been subbed in not much earlier, and after Wallis fell in the box fouled by a Tumbran defender, he was going to shoot the penalty. He sent Addison to the left, shot it to the right, and made it four goals. The game ended not long after. South Newlandia had qualified for the World Cup, with their biggest win in their footballing history. They would go to play on the biggest event in the multi-verse. Pasarga had won their match Fans started to flood the field, celebrating with the players.


Josef Salazar returned to his now freshly carpeted home. He looked at the spot where the mark was now hidden, and wiped a tear from his eye. “Thanks Maggie. Thank you.”



South Newlandia at the World Cup – all you need to know

Who will be playing?
Robert Wolverine has announced that he will play the World Cup finals with the same squad that qualified a year ago. Trischuk, now 30 years old, will be the captain of the team again, and hopefully lead them as successfully as he did in the second half of last year, when the Elephants remained undefeated, with an 8-1-0 record through the last nine games. Wolverine has told us that he didn’t want to make a single change to the roster to keep the dynamic intact – “Every player is an important gear in the machine”.

Where will the games be held?

The Elephants will be travelling to Taeshan in Rushmore to play their games. Precisely, their games will be held at the Atlantea Coliseum (550,000) and the X Island Metropark (250,000). These are not typos; this honestly is the correct number of zeros. It certainly will be a shock for the players to play in front of such a massive ground; but that is the kind of stuff that comes with a World Cup.

Against what teams will the Elephants play?


South Newlandia has been drawn into Group A, and will start their campaign in one of the most important matches of the tournament. They’ll be playing in the opening match against the hosts from Taeshan. While some may claim that a host is the easiest first seed to draw, this is not always true. The stadium will be filled with Taeshani fans, and 500.000 or more of them can create some deafening noise. There will be some South Newlandian fans in Rushmore, but it will not come close to the hundreds of thousands of local fans. Still, the alternatives wouldn’t be much better. Taeshan is currently ranked 27th; they obviously did not play in the qualifying stage. It will also be a special match considering that no fewer than three South Newlandians on the team are earning their money in the TPL at the moment. It will surely be an uphill battle against the hosts, and South Newlandia is expected to be losing this game; just like all the others, honestly.

Image
Next, the team will be playing Siovanija and Teusland, the only team from AO in this group. Despite the fact that the Elephants have never played the Goldhorns yet, there are surprisingly many links between the two teams, if you look hard enough. The team in Blue and Gold has finished second in Group 19, a group that also featured Michael White; he used to be the assistant for the Elephants before taking a head coaching job in Kohnhead. The group also featured Eura, the biggest team to miss out on the World Cup this time; and it featured the worst-ranked team in the World cup right now, Savigliane. The Elephants just lost a friendly match to this team. In the playoffs, Siovanija and Teusland faced TJUN-ia, another team familiar to the Elephants; they had been group mates in the qualifiers last cycle. A shocking 8-8 aggregate finish saw the Goldhorns through on away goals. We do not need to mention that this team is expected to be beating us.

Lastly, we have Brenecia, our regional friends from Esportiva. Fun fact, the four Esportivan qualifiers have less than 30 million in population. Combined. Back to Brenecia, the Patriots won group two without too many problems. They are currently ranked 10th, the best rank in the group, and the best ranking team in Esportiva. They won the World Cup a bit more than a decade ago, and have won the Campionato Esportiva 5 five times. The team is filled to the brim with some of the best players in the multiverse. They are the natural favourites to take this group.
South Newlandia is one of the most forgettable teams in this World Cup, to the point that some may not even have noticed them there. In a cycle with 6 first-timers, South Newlandia does not offer an interesting story. They aren’t Savigliane, the team to fall in love with; they aren’t Tikariot, the rising stars from Rushmore qualifying on their second attempt out of a group of death. They aren’t Vdara, the team finally going where they belong; they aren’t Poafmersia, finally getting to the top, and they aren’t Geektopia either, another team that surprised everyone by winning their group with a game to spare. There is nothing there. The Elephants are the invisible team.


Wolverine was walking in circles, over and over again, while talking to his players. It was going to be the first World Cup game in his life; and the first one for all of his players as well. Their nervousness was only increased by the noise from the stadium coming into the locker room. Saying that the fans were loud would be an understatement. Wolverine got ready to finish; it was about time. The game would kick off in mere minutes. “Alright guys; remember this. No one expects us to do anything. They have us dead last, without a chance; we are nothing but the next victim to them. I tell you all; most of you were there when the best team of all time underestimated us in World Cup Qualifying 85. You all were there when two other big teams underestimated us a year ago. We have nothing to play for, and they’ve got everything to lose. We have a chance to shock the world, or at least the half million here, today. Let’s go out there and show them that Elephants have teeth!”

(line-up: Trischuk – Roy, Anderson, Gurero, Barker – Mohamed, Green, McMora, Wallis – Irving, McCabe)
Not a native speaker, but you probably noticed that already
NS Stats apply (except for population) | Trigramme: SNL | Nickname: Elephants | Proud member of Esportiva
WORLD CUP 87 PARTICIPANT (went 1-0-2, last in group)
Hosted: IBS12 (with Tikariot), CE28
2nd place: IBS13
Semifinals: IBS11 (4th place)
Quarterfinals: BoF72
Round of 16: WBC48, WBC49, WBC50, CE27, CE28, CoH78
Current rankings: KPB 31st | Baseball 11th

Sports Newswire

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Ethane
Minister
 
Posts: 2717
Founded: Sep 26, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Ethane » Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:53 pm

You Want History? Well, you're in the right place. Make it.

Cutoff for Groups A-D Matchday 1
Esportivan and Proud.
<drawk> If the entirety of the nation of Ethane was covered in a single cubic foot of Ethane on its surface, lighting it all on fire would cause a 5.44 megaton blast.
Rest in Peace Prince Philip
Best WorldVision Finish: 2nd. Best World Cup Finish: Quarter-Finals. Best KPB Rank: 8th. Best WBC Finish: 1st.

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Savigliane
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Posts: 69
Founded: May 27, 2020
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Savigliane » Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:25 pm

“Au milieu de l'hiver, j'ai découvert en moi un invincible été.”
In the middle of winter, I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus


1. Amara Vatrican

June 14, 2020
The Dome, Taeshan


”In the midfield tonight, Tlanx-Nulzk is going with the same trio that they played for most of the qualifiers - Pietro Giraudo, Adrian Toscani, and Amara Vatrican. What’s your take on that, Federico?”
“Winning the midfield battle is going to be a key to tonight’s match, in my opinion. Ex-Galactico Ó Tuathail, Lapierre, and Demetriev are three of the finest midfielders in the world, bringing creativity and energy in spades to Andrea Crowe’s setup. The Swans excelled there in the qualifiers, but how will the domestically-based Giraudo and Vatrican fare against higher-level opposition?”


It would have been ridiculous for Amara to think she was most impacted by Bianca Fiore’s disappearance. But two and a half years ago, after the search for the National Team captain’s body had finally been called off and an empty coffin laid to rest, even surrounded by thousands of mourners and joined in spirit by millions more, that was precisely how she had felt. Bianca Fiore had been the heart and soul of the national team for Savigliane’s final decade in their old reality. A seemingly omnipresent box-to-box midfielder and a generational talent for both club and country, Fiore was the captain who took Savigliane back to the World Cup - before everything came crashing down. It was only fitting that she had disappeared running back onto the field as Stadio del Piero collapsed around her, trying to spend the end of the world with her teammates as jubilation turned to horror. Two years later, her absence cast a long shadow over not just Amara or the Swans, but all of Savigliane.

”Lapierre advancing rapidly, this looks dangerous now...shakes off Toscani and plays a through ball in, Lister pounces on it and it’s - deflected away from goal by Amara Vatrican! A delightfully-timed sliding challenge from the Swans midfielder to keep the match scoreless!”
“That’s just a work of art, Federico. Lister has a clear shot at goal, and a striker of his quality will be tucking those in most of the time from such a close distance. Kelssek has a corner, but at a critical moment, Vatrican stops it from being so much more.”


Like so many others, Bianca being gone had left a hole in her heart. More tolerable - but all too real - was the hole she left on the national team. First Laurent Chambéry and then Edward Hernandez had cycled through midfield partner after midfield partner to replace the missing captain at the center of everything Savigliane did. Augustin Dirac had proven too cautious, Sébastien Petit too undisciplined, and Adrian Toscani too attack-minded. Fiore and Vatrican as the midfield pivot had just worked too well, had too much chemistry, to replace, and Amara often felt like half of her game had vanished with Fiore. Only Tlanx-Nulzk Hal had managed to roughly approximate her output, assembling a “Fiore by Committee” that needed every bit of Toscani’s creativity, Vatrican’s energy, and Giraudo’s solidity to replace the Swans’ one and only #8. But it had worked - the critics had been silenced fourteen times over as Savigliane laid waste to a group nobody had them finishing in the top four of, punching their ticket to Taeshan in the process.

”Halliger getting forward, tries to feed it to Ó Tuathail, but it’s read well and intercepted by Vatrican! Vatrican surging forward with surprising speed, she wiggles past Lozic and shoots - tipped by Poirier BUT INTO THE BACK OF THE NET! Amara Vatrican makes history - and sends the Swans fans into a frenzy!”

“Nearly an excellent save by Poirier to deny the chance, but that’s just surgical from Vatrican. She’s absolutely fearless, reading the pass, using her ball-carrying ability to get within shooting range, and unleashing one hell of a shot. The underdogs have leveled the match once more - but will they be able to hold onto the result?”


But although the midfield had been filled, the armband had made its way to Pietro Giraudo’s bicep, and Savigliane had found themselves in the World Cup for the first time (for the second time), there was a sense that the team was still missing their heart. Even when things were going so well during qualifiers, there was always a sense that there was no foundation, that everything could come crashing down without that keystone. And in an even deeper sense, without Bianca Fiore, even the victories felt hollow - what did qualification really mean without the heart of the team? With three of Savigliano football’s toughest-ever tests - Cup of Harmony champions Kelssek, followed by arguably the two greatest World Cup sides of all time in Vilita and Starblaydia, who held five titles apiece - on the horizon, it had almost been comically easy to lose hope. They had stayed strong, instilled that belief in themselves that they could win, of course - it was the only way forward. But if things did go downhill, then that hole between Vatrican’s number six and Toscani’s number ten would be even more painful of a wound.

”Coste’s cross blocked by the excellent Phillip Lozic, Lozic rifles a ball to Demetriev...there’s some miscommunication between Toscani and Giraudo and Demetriev’s run and pass split the defense in two! Custworth is first to the through-ball, dances past Garcia, evades a desperate scything tackle from Amara Vatrican, and rolls it in! D’Ambrosio left stranded by his defense, as Kelssek are back in front!

“Savigliane looked really poor on the transition there, Federico, as they’re practically caught napping by a lethal Kelssek side. Vatrican was lucky that challenge didn’t connect, or we could’ve seen a red card for the Acqui Bollente midfielder. The Swans look sorely wanting for some stability in the back right now, as Kelssek continue to threaten, but Tlanx-Nulzk has no obvious source of that to turn to.”


The fact that they had qualified at all, in this strange new world, while still suffering from the effects of the Undoing, was incredible. Bianca Fiore wasn’t the only person who the Swans had lost. Dynamic striker Raphaël Rovira, versatile winger Sofia Plaisance, and an entire generation of Savigliano youth players abroad had been marooned in Savigliane’s old reality. More broadly, three hundred thousand Saviglianos had been left behind, and many more killed in the ensuing chaos - even without considering Fiore, everyone in that locker room had left someone behind. Savigliane had been brought to its knees, its people mourning, its culture collapsing, its economy crippled. The Savigliano Premier League, a league that had run a century without stopping, had ground to a halt and died. But despite all the lost ones, they had kept moving forward - what other choice did they have? SavigLega had risen from the ashes, the national team returned to the field in a desperate bid to return to the World Cup, and the country moved on.

”Savigliane more lively to start the second half, but they remain two-one down to Kelssek. Giraudo finds a cutting Toscani, who lays it off to the fearless Amara Vatrican. Vatrican evades the captain Demetriev, slides a dangerous through-ball past Vinter to Grimaldi, and the striker blazes it...just wide!”

“Say what you’d like about Savigliane, but they just do not give up. A lethal pass from Vatrican there, and Grimaldi really should’ve been better to finish that chance and equalize again. Federico, I wasn’t sure if they could work their way back into this match...but it’s absolutely game on now.”


And just two years later, here they were. Here she was - because even before things had changed, Amara hadn’t had the easiest path to the national team. Nine years growing up not only poor, but Italophone, in the industrial Francophone city of Trinité, meant she’d never quite fit in anywhere as a child, a feeling of alienation that had indelibly imprinted itself on her psyche. A move back to her family’s original home of Acqui Bollente, along with a successful trial for AC Acqui Bollente’s youth team that would eventually turn into the family’s primary source of income, had brought some semblance of meaning to the young girl. But surrounded by those much more “Italian” and of higher means than Amara, no matter how well she did in training or how much her teammates respected her (and they did), she would always feel like an outcast. Bianca Fiore, back then the affable daughter of two local left-wing politicians, had helped lift her out of that state. Together, they had become the spine of AC Acqui Bollente, the midfield pairing that had taken the once-struggling club to three straight championships. Even though Bianca had gone abroad to ply her trade in Hibernia, Amara had grown to a state where she no longer needed her to keep things from falling apart. As a national team midfielder and an AC Acqui Bollente star, she thought she’d finally belonged. Then everything had come crashing back down.

”It’ll be Douglass to take that corner after Marchetti’s last-gasp tackle sent the ball out. Here it comes...D’Ambrosio goes to collect it, but it’s knocked wide by Chiara Blanco, rattles around in the box...and Kelssek have bundled it home! I can’t believe it! It’s the substitute Blueman who gets the easiest of chances...and the Swans, who looked so close to an equalizer, fall behind by another goal!”

“Well, that’s just heartbreaking, Federico. The Swans were playing with so much energy, so much class, to start that second half - and one unlucky corner, and that’s all been torn away. Kelssek now up three goals to one with just twenty minutes left to play, and with such quality from Andrea Crowe’s side, you have to figure it’s nearly game over in The Dome.”


From the outside, things seemed to be rebounding - Amara captained ACAB to two consecutive league titles in the SavigLega and anchored her national team’s midfield. But for her, the first year after the Undoing had been Hell. The end of the world rattled in her mind for hours on end - Stadio del Piero crumbling, fans rioting, and Bianca Fiore vanishing into the crowd as she tried to spend her final minutes with the Swans that she had taken back to the World Cup. It woke her at three in the morning, shivering and covered in sweat. It followed her around in training, during matches, in her government-prescribed therapy sessions, every misplaced pass or mistimed challenge sending memories of Bianca buzzing endlessly in her thoughts. The one thing she had managed to keep steady was her career; her play remained excellent. But even then, she could feel her walls coming back up again, and that sense of alienation creeping back toward her with nobody left to stop it.

”Vatrican makes the underlapping run, plays it through to Isabella Coste...who Damien Halliger sends flying with a well-timed challenge! The ball goes out of play, words exchanged between the players...and Amara Vatrican will be booked for that.”

“Say what you’d like about Halliger, but that tackle was inch-perfect - Coste could’ve scored or won a penalty if he doesn’t get there in time, and I think Vatrican knows that, and that’s where the frustration is coming from. A rare lapse in discipline, but it does nothing to cover up the fact that Savigliane are two goals down with just ten minutes to play.”


Yet even in this emotional crucible, she had pulled through. Bianca Fiore had gone from the defining feature of her post-Event trauma to her source of inspiration. As she reconnected with her teammates as club captain, redefined her role in the national team setup to adapt to Giraudo and Toscani’s playstyles, and readjusted to life in a new Savigliane, she imagined Bianca Fiore watching her from Above, seeing her Swans - and they were still very much Fiore’s Swans - take flight despite clipped wings. And it was in those moments when the past two years truly became worth it.

”This free-kick is likely the last chance of the match here, as the Swans ultimately just run out of time to mount a comeback against a well-drilled Kelssek side. Here’s the delivery from Toscani...palmed wide by Poirier, falls to Vatrican, who cuts and shoots off the post...but it’s Grimaldi to knock the deflection home! Savigliane just refuse to give up, as Vatrican and Grimaldi both try to get the ball out of the net as quickly as possible, and score a second goal in their World Cup debut!”

“And that’s the full-time whistle, Federico, as Kelssek celebrate a well-deserved 3-2 victory over Savigliane. But the Swans have given their fans a lot to be proud of, as a hard-fought, passionate performance keeps it close and gives the nation their first two World Cup goals. Particularly instrumental was Amara Vatrican, who scored the first and was involved in the second...if this performance is any indication, it looks like Savigliane has found their new number eight.”


Savigliane 2 - 3 Kelssek
Lineup: D'Ambrosio; Marchetti, Garcia (LeClerc 66'), Blanco, Vitale; Vatrican, Giraudo, Toscani; Coste, Grimaldi, Durand (Barthelemy 74')
Goals: Vatrican 26', Grimaldi 90+4'
Last edited by Savigliane on Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The Republic of Savigliane • La Repubblica Savigliana
Leader: Prime Minister Alphonse Duhamel • Capitals: Acqui Bollente, Villenueve • Population: ~8,000,000
Property of Yue Zhou
A MOMENT APART (RP SERIES 1) -- now complete

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Commonwealth of Baker Park
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1623
Founded: Jan 10, 2018
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:32 pm

World Cup 87 Factsheet
[For Immediate Release; direct further questions to Sasha Henderson, FAC Director of Media Relations]

Back for More:
The Commonwealth of Baker Park National Team return for their eighth consecutive appearance in the World Cup Finals, extending their record of never having failed to qualify since their debut following Baptism of Fire 67. As in World Cup 80, BP advanced via a playoff, defeating San Ortelio—making their debut in the World Cup--5-3 over two legs.

Speaking of Streaks:
With Eura and Mriin both falling short, the BPNT now has the fifth longest streak of consecutive appearances in the Finals, tied with Equestria and Banija on 8, with Nephara (9), Brenicia (10), Farfadillis (19) and Vilita (29) having gone longer.

Kadongo Kamu, Bees intersect once again:
Defending World Cup Champions, and current #1 ranked Banija will be the second Group F opponent, which will mark the two nations' 12th meeting all time (most in the NS Era), but just their third in competitive circumstances (and first to take place outside of Atlantian Oceania).
The bond between the countries has been closely intertwined with the stories of how both national teams have risen to rarefied heights of the top 10 in the multiverse; the BOF took place in Banija, the nations qualified for the first time at the same time, they co-hosted AOCAF 58 and faced off in the 3rd Place match at World Cup 85.

Esportiva Calling?:
With the BPNT being drawn into Group F, it will mark just the second time that the Commonwealth will travel to the region that rounds out the “Big Three” (AO & Rushmore) for longer than just a one-off match; World Cup 82 in Apox was the only previous extended time the soccer NT have played there, although the lacrosse national team participated in both of the WLC's held in Esportivan nations—Sylestone and Jeckland. It will also mark the first time the Commonwealth have played in Ethane.

Home Away from Home:
The entire schedule of fixtures for Group F will take place at the 24,000 seat Marianne Detreux Stadium, located on the Island of Lowe, west of the Ethane mainland; there was some concern about the availability of training bases, their quality and the amount of available accommodations for supporters of all four participants (Savojarnia & Geektopia in addition to Banija & BP), as travel to the island is mainly limited to ferry service, but these questions appear to have been answered to the satisfaction of the governing bodies of the group teams.

Fire when Ready:
Baker Park were the joint leaders in goals scored among all 190 nations in World Cup Qualifying with Vdara, as both sides tallied 64 times over the 18 match tournament, a 3.55 average; the Commonwealth had 23 different players who made it to the scoresheet, one short of the record set during World Cup 85.

Defense wins Championships:
At the other end, in their 2 defeats and 3 draws, Baker Park allowed 17 goals, while allowing only 18 in the other 13 matches, with four clean sheets. the 1.9 goals per game is the highest average since World Cup 80, when the Black & Gold allowed 34 goals over 18 matches.

Numbers don't Lie:
The opening match against Savojarna will be the 723rd in FAC history, and the 313th of the NS Era. Currently, the overall match record stands at 381 wins, 225 defeats and 116 draws, and the win over Xanneria in Dominica City on the final matchday was the 200th victory since the first match in Baptism of Fire 67 against Norcambria at the Stadium of the Restoration in Busukuma, Banija.

Lineup vs Savojarna:
Johnston; Bartok, Wiseman, Jordan; Rizzo, Westmoreland (C), Taborn, Ngoba; Bozeman; Simmons, Wasdsworth
Last edited by Commonwealth of Baker Park on Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
AOCAF LXII Champions
2x Under-18 World Cup (SWC 5&9) Champions
Baptism of Fire 67 Runner-Up
AOCAF LVIII (co-hosts), LX Third Place
World Cup 85 Fourth Place
World Cup 84 Co-hosts
World Cup 81/82/83/84/86 Round of 16
World Cup 80 Group Stage
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 Vice President
WLC 34 Fourth Place
WLC 30/31(host)/32/33/35 Quarterfinal
WLC 29 Playoff Round

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