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World Cup 86: Roleplay Thread

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Banija
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Postby Banija » Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:36 am

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Stunning reforms announced as the RBSA, BISA, and the FFFF announce unification of top-flight domestic football

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The logo of the new Shango-Fogoa Premier League


BUSUKUMA, NATIONAL CAPITOL REGION- COCANEFA. The Terranean League. The V-League. The United League. These are just a few examples of current or former multi-associational leagues that have dotted the footballing landscape. And when the RBSA, BISA, and the FFFF convened a joint press conference to announce 'major structural reforms' to domestic football in this corner of the Glorious Southwest, all sorts of theories started flying around twii.tur. Why would they be announcing a random press conference? What sort of reforms would they be going through? Both the RBSA and the FFFF have been preparing for some sort of structural reform throughout the year, but there have been relatively few hints that they were doing so together.

But of course, your favorite sporting magazine, the #1 source on Banijan sports, was there as soon as the press conference was announced. We asked questions, we stayed for the details, and have talked to all the necessary people behind the scenes. Here is the joint endeavor that the RBSA, BISA, and the FFFF have been planning over all this time.

The Shango-Fogoa Premier League(S-FPL)

This, of course, is the crown jewel of the project. RBSA Executive Chairman Robel Ezera told reporters that the unification of the top flights would be beneficial for the growth of football in both countries. "This provides a great avenue for the teams of both Banija and Farfadillis to get stronger. Ensuring that they are playing better competition, week in week out, improves the play on the field, and has plenty of knock on effects. Myself and President Teran have been working on this project for the better part of the year. It is why our media rights deals have been delayed, why the owners meetings have been consistently happening throughout the year. Just yesterday, the RBSA club owners approved the deal with an overwhelming majority, with 64 out of our 68 clubs voting in favor of the changes."

So what exactly is the Shango-Fogoa Premier League? This will be the new top-flight division for Farfadillis, Banija, and the Busoga Islands. It is named after the Shango-Fogoa Basin, the body of water between Banija, Farfadillis, and the Busoga Islands. It is a relatively simple format, exactly what Banijan fans are used to. 20 teams, double round robin, for a 38 game schedule. No playoffs. 10 clubs from the RBSA, and 10 clubs from the FFFF. That will be a permanent number- relegation will occur on a national basis. Remember, for domestic purposes, all six Busoga Islander clubs are full members of the RBSA. The 10 Farf teams who participated in the most recent edition of the FFL will be the 10 Farf squads for the S-FPL. Those squads are Rülândéá Kôstä, René Skaé, Mâ Âlâmëomë, La Nueva Avenida, Dí Maozöxê, Lâ Lüs, Ausharmuj Marusi, Avenida Leal, Avenida Prinicipal, and La Querida.

Who will be the ten BSL clubs? The owners have fierce debates, but have voted on the 10. A mixture of the league table and business decisions were made. The Super 5 clubs will obviously participate- Busukuma AC, Istria City FC, Jinja City FC, Herzegovina City FC, and the BSL champions, the Hoima Warriors. The other five Banijan clubs will be Umbazi Metrpolitan SC, Lakiska SC, and Kitara AA based on sporting merit, while Mynda Electra and the Busembe Timberwolves will also participate.

That leaves the last basic question- are those 20 teams fixed forever? Or will it be an open league? Well, there will be promotion and relegation. Promotion and relegation will occur on a national basis. The FFFF, in typical fashion, has not determined how promotion/relegation will work for the Farf clubs. The RBSA, however, announced how it will work on the Banijan side. Just like before, there will only be one side relegated- the worst finishing Banijan team will be relegated every season. And, of course, the champion of Banija's second tier will be promoted to the S-FPL.

What about the rest of the Banijan Pyramid?

Now, of course, we aren't simply eliminating the rest of the pyramid. Instead, structural reforms are being implemented. The Banijan Soccer League will still exist, in name and logo, and as a national league. It will now, however, become Banija's second tier. Only the top flight leagues between Farfadillis and Banija will be eliminated, as both countries will keep their own lower leagues. The new look Banijan Soccer League will be 18 teams. The 10 BSL teams that were not chosen for the S-FPL will participate in the Banijan Soccer League. Furthermore, the top two finishing teams in the most recent season of each of the regional leagues will automatically join the Banijan Soccer League. That league will be 18 teams, but otherwise keep the same format- double round robin, no playoffs, for a total of 34 games.

That also takes us down to tier 3. The Banijan regional leagues will largely exist, in their present formats. But instead of 12 teams per league, there will be 10, since 2 teams from each league were moved to tier 2. So the existing regional leagues will still exist, and will still be fully professional, and will still play four games per season. They are just the third tier now, instead of the second. Promotion/relegation between the BSL and the regional leagues will remain the same- just one spot going up and down, a Promotion playoff between the four regional league champions to determine who gets that spot.

So the Banijan pyramid is now the following. Tier 1- The S-FPL, shared with Farfadillis. Tier 2- the BSL, a national league. Tier 3, the four regional leagues, equally co-existing in tier 3. Robel Ezera, the RBSA's Executive Chairman, said that this was good for the teams. "We had issues with fixture congestion at our lower levels." He told reporters. "44 games a year, plus cup games and LBCT, was quite a lot. Players would be run ragged, and then when you add in international play, especially for the Busogans, their players would be worn out. This will ensure players can keep up energy levels. As for the BSL, this is good for them as well. Less disparity in terms of talent means you'll have very good games at that level, and even though 10 teams have effectively been relegated, they have been put in a better position for long-term success because of this."

The RBSA and FFFF confirmed media rights deals in Banija, Busoga, and Farfadillis for the new look league, and the RBSA further confirmed deals for the new look BSL and the regional league system. While exact figures were not out, sources said that they were worth "several multiples" of the amount that the old BSL contracts were worth.

What about the Cups?

The federations will also unify their domestic cups. The exact format will be released later, but the cups will be national until the quarterfinals, when they are joined. Four Farf clubs and four Banijan clubs will be guaranteed berths in the quarterfinals of the Cup. The cup's sponsorship rights have been sold jointly to Boom! corporation in Farfadillis, and the Regional Transit Corporation. The official name of the tournament is the Boom! RTC Cup.

The cup, of course, will comprise all the teams in all the federations, and will act as the qualifying tournament for the IFCF Cup Winner's Cup. The Final's location shall rotate between Farfadillis, Busoga Islands, and the Kingdom of Banija.

Massive reforms. Who would've saw this coming? Know this- a new era of club football is underway in the Glorious Southwest, and we are strapped in for the ride.
Last edited by Banija on Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Commonwealth of Baker Park
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Postby Commonwealth of Baker Park » Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:03 am

© Sporting Times Daily 2020
Dagans, BP playing for keeps
by Mindy Cartwright, National Soccer Editor

When Baker Park and Cassadaigua meet at The Root Field in Elstrund in the Round of 16 of World Cup 86, it will be akin to a family reunion of sorts. It will mark the seventh time the nations have met at senior level (including the meeting in the first BPOC as the Dagan men went on to take the title), which will make it the second most played series during the NS Era for the NT; the sides met most recently in the period leading up to the World Cup Finals for a friendly at the Dagan Airways Stadium in Concord Heights, a 1-0 win for the Commonwealth, which left the sides even across the board--2 wins each and 2 draws.

But this match will be different, as it will be the first time the nations have played competitively in an official tournament (although they did meet at DBC 42), and that means the stakes will be much higher; the winner will advance to the quarterfinal to face the winner of the match between co-hosts Drawkland and Vilita.

Of course the reunion feeling will come from the ties both the coaching staffs and the administrative staff from the FAC & CASE--the governing body in the Rushmori nation—have developed over time; the latter resulting from the co-operation during the co-hosting of World Cup 84, while the former has been a residual benefit from the success of the tournament.
A cooperative effort in making certification training compatible to allow for an exchange of up & coming coaches has meant that the both nations host groups from the other's country for periods ranging from a long weekend up to 30-45 days.

Like BP, the Fillies have had their sights set on going far in this WC cycle, as they have re-tooled the national team on the fly, leading to consecutive qualification tournaments where they showed their class and depth; a slow start to the most recent WCQ proved to be an aberration, as the Dagans sewed up their spot in the Finals with comfortable breathing space over runner-up Quebec. Longtime manager Stephanie Sweeney is the constant in a NT setup that continues to evolve through youth development, and has expanded the player pool to tap into a still uncharted vein of talent among the male population.

For the Bees, they have extended their streak of advancement from the group stage to six, although they have just a 1-4 record in the opening elimination match; there will be anticipation not only at looking to advance, but also to a personal milestone that has not escaped notice of the NT squad, as it is deeply interconnected with the present and the past.

A BP win will be Manager Ichi Tuzzzio's 62nd since taking charge, which would move him past Pamela Scott at the top of the list as the all-time winningest manager in National Team history (the number only includes mixed-gender NT matches and doesn't include Scott's 19 Women's NT victories).
At the conclusion of the last training session in Shire-Port before the traveling party were to head back to Elstrund, a squad-only meeting was held on the training ground, where it is presumed that the topic of the Maestro's achievement viz. Scott was discussed, among other issues relative to the match.
Prior to the arrival of the squad in Elstrund, the FAC released a statement that it had exercised its option on uniform choice by electing to wear the all-white kit--generally known in Baker Park as the "Ghost Whites"--for the match.

As for the matchday crowd, this might possibly be the least hostile atmosphere that the Bees will encounter on Sonnel; the native Drawkians who have attended the opening match in Elstrund and the subsequent pair of fixtures in Shire-Port as neutrals have been noticeably anti-Baker Park in a manner that hasn't been seen very often in the NS Era. While there will certainly be a large Cassadaigan contingent to balance out the Commonwealth supporters, it appears that fewer tickets have been sold locally than for the other matches that have been played here.

Lineup vs. Cassadaigua
Gaines; Briggs (C), Rasanamira, Stephens; Callum, Westmoreland, Taborn, Ngoba; Bozeman; Simmons, Patton
bench: Coffey, Bartok, O'Connell, Hayes, Stone, Sotolongo, Fernandez, Jones, Tilton, Wadsworth.
Last edited by Commonwealth of Baker Park on Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Nephara
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Postby Nephara » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:40 am

Cassadaigua 1 - 3 Nephara
(4-4-2 / 4-3-3) 1 - Mercator; 2 - Stride, 5 - Thorn (c), 6 - Brosch, 19 - Strassman (3 - Verlander 78'); 7 - Kuepper, 15 - Kastriot, 21 - Moxham, 11 - Deventer (16 - Caracole 85'); 9 - Bastable, 10 - Lovelace (13 - Belgrade HT')
Goals: Kuepper 6', Moxham 47', Bastable 71'

Ilyana Brosch put her hands on her hips and blew out her cheeks.
Okay. "So that's the goal of the tournament, right?"
"Focus, Yana, focus," muttered her captain, already turning back to halfway.
"I mean, it's gotta be. Fuck, I'll be mad if it's not! 'Cause if that went anywhere near us... like, it's not our fault. It was just a screamer."
"Shut up, Yana."
"Sometimes you have to just sit back and admir--"
"Up? Yana, do you know up?"
"What?"
"Shut it."
Brosch clicked her lips. Her captain, her defensive partner and her fling really could be a Philistine sometimes, let alone insufficiently concerned with avoiding blame. But it had been a hell of a goal, Graham's cross headed firmly clear by Brosch, Shone chasing Wolcott for it but denied when Wolcott instinctively flicked up a heel, scorpion-kicked the ball over Kastriot as it fell, brushed past the stunned midfielder and absolutely put her foot through the ball as it came down, sending it looping over and beyond Mercator's outstretched glove and near-miraculously dropping just enough to shave in frictionlessly off the intersection of post and bar.
Brosch wondered if she'd get credit for the assist.

It had started so well, too. The Dagans worked themselves the first shot of the game, clever interplay allowing Wolcott to steer McClain free of the last man, but under pressure the striker could only shoot straight at Mercator. The Cormorants got the second, and this they made the most of, a powerful shot from Lovelace blocked by the brave, sliding Sutter, bouncing to Moxham who casually found Kuepper unmarked on the edge of the box, the Strike midfielder finding the bottom corner with a fine curling strike. With her left, at that.
And this lead they'd sat on for the better part of half an hour, fairly calm, fairly comfortable, until, oops, 1-1. Strauss kicked a bottle of energy something along the touchline and got bitched at by the fourth official.
The consequences were almost worse than the telling-off, because it gave the Dagans something important, something very dangerous: hope. If 1-1, why not 2-1? Schanke tried her luck a couple of times from outside the box, almost got lucky once when Brosch's interposing knee made it turn wickedly towards the near post, a fantastic diving save from Mercator clawing the ball out for a corner. That, too, almost came to strife when Zack Pierce's delivery found a free header for Standish, one the defender, off-balance, could only send straight at Mercator. Thorn bellowed absolute murder at the rest of the team after that, especially Lovelace, who'd gone wandering.
Strauss shifted and fretted on the sidelines. They needed a change.

"... Which means we're switching to Plan B."
Marica Kuepper's heart sank. Plan B generally fucked her.
"And that'll be Konrad off, Ysabet on,"
Belgrade pumped her fist. "Fuck yes."
", and Mari, you're shifting inside. You and Mox I want running the show, absolutely ruining their midfield."
Kuepper perked up.
"Lads, use the flanks where it makes sense but remember we've one body less in the box and one more in the centre, okay, so aimless crosses aren't gonna come to anything. Their defence knows what it's doing. We need to make proper openings. A draw's only gonna get us second, and that shouldn't be good enough for any of you. Sure isn't for me."

Ahh, 'you aren't doing yourselves justice', 'you know we deserve better', 'not angry just disappointed'... these lines didn't play well from most people, but Strauss could sell sand to an Electrumite and, worse, convince them it's genuinely going to make them a better person if they pour some into their eyes. Good managers could make their players walk on coals. The best could make them think it was for their own good.
Whatever she said and why, it worked. Maybe it was self-belief propelling Belgrade onto the end of a lost cause, maybe it was eagerness to prove her value to her manager, maybe it was even boredom. But she got there, outpacing the startled Sutter, cut inside and dragged a pass between the centre-halves as they tracked back, meeting the run of Moxham as she strode confidently into the box and smashed her first touch into the top corner, Nelson left without a chance.
That wasn't really part of the plan. That was a long ball hooked optimistically over the top with Sutter appearing slightly out of position. But they all counted, and the plan proved its worth through the rest of the match regardless, the extra body in the heart of midfield a telling advantage as the match went on, Moxham and Kuepper both composed and authoritative in possession, Kastriot calming things down behind them.
It wasn't a thrilling match past then, sadly - in truth the peak was always going to be Wolcott's goal. But there was enough to keep a neutral glancing over - Schanke almost levelling the scores out of nowhere, flying out the traps to latch onto a long through-ball from Pierce, Mercator with a spectacular reflex save to deny her, Brosch smashing the ball forward for Bastable to basically do the same thing for Nelson to save at the other end. Moxham, Deventer and the Dagan substitute Porter each gave the opposing goalkeeper something to do, nothing too taxing but enough to keep them on their toes. Eventually, the Cormorants got the cushion they more or less deserved. Strauss may have told them to cross less, but Deventer found the right level of whip to catch Bastable in his stride and his markers off theirs, a deft and forceful finish giving Nephara their third.
Off went Strassman, who had played her part diligently and played in Deventer for the last goal. Off went Deventer herself. Strauss' mind was already on the next round, and in truth, it was likely that the Dagans' were as well.
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Brenecia
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Postby Brenecia » Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:34 am

Newmanistan 3 - 3 Brenecia
(4-3-3) 1 - Wright; 2 - Bravender, 5 - Leadbetter, 6 - Costello, 3 - Prentice; 8 - Matheson (c), 23 - Ondrejko, 14 - Caitiff (13 - Deal 86'); 7 - Cheney, 9 - White (17 - Lindauer 64'), 11 - Pace
Goals: Cheney 25', Lindauer 78' 84'

Brelk-Xeral Erv was precise.
Brelk-Xeral Erv had a plan.
Brelk-Xeral Erv had a plan that did not involve going down 3-1 to the hosts in a match Brenecia likely needed a point, and their main striker going down clutching her ankle.
A big theme in the squad this season had been freshness. A lot of Brenecia's players weren't regular starters - Roscommon, Bravender and White were all fighting for their place, which in Brelk-Xeral's mind was not necessarily a bad thing. They were fresh, and they were hungry, and they were desperate for minutes. That was why Mhacha White was here, who had proven she could do a lot with a little and had room to do a lot more. Eight goals on scraps beat Ciogach's eleven in a feast, though neither had found a breakthrough against Zwangzug.
No, this situation called for Creidne Lindauer.
Linds was fast and available. And a lot more than that, according to herself. In her mind, she should've been playing every damn minute for club and for country, which gave Brelk-Xeral the perfect pep talk to murmur in her ear as she went up to go on:
"Prove it."

While play had been relatively even over the game, the Rockets were playing with more confidence and more vigour, that edge that could turn into a serious advantage on the scoreboard at the elite level. If White had been playing with Allister Levy's confidence, she might have curled that early shot inside Costner's far post instead of just wide. If the young, overawed Tethys Ondrejko was playing with the same aplomb as the stalwart captain Lombardi, she wouldn't have hesitated for the 50/50 that Lombardi won, took down and lamped past Scathach Wright from outside the area.
There was a lot to berate at half-time, but constructive solutions had to be found and Lindauer hoped to be one of them.
Lauren Cheney had been the only party not lacking belief, and unsurprisingly was the goalscorer. She actually was carrying the team, for now - every Brenecian attack seemed to flow through her at some stage, and the only goal had ended in her finish, a drop of the shoulder to beat her man and a low drive past Costner. But she couldn't do it alone, could she?
Not that she wouldn't try. Lindauer's first action was to turn her man, impressively enough, before deferring on instinct to Cheney behind, providing a backheel that Cheney latched onto and pulled narrowly high and wide with a forceful sweep of the boot.
She should've gone herself, and she'd have her opportunity to prove it. 78th minute, a cross swung in by Clovette Bravender, a defensive mix-up meant nobody took responsibility until Lindauer nipped in between everyone, chested down the ball, made no mistake...

"... And the next thing I remember, I'm here waking up with no shirt, a splitting hangover and a party blower horn between my teeth. So I'm guessing the afterparty was pretty sweet."
Triss Roscommon cocked her head. "You don't even remember the actual equaliser you scored?"
Lindauer beamed. "I scored a second?"
"Yeah, I mean, it was a tap-in, but, yeah."
"Oh."
"Got us through to the second round, though, I mean that's the main thing, right," said Parrish, already gaining something of a reputation as a meanderer.
"So we did make it? Brilliant. I only ever get this drunk at wakes, so I figured. Right, then, who's that leave for the knockouts?"
"Where you'll be starting," murmured Prentice. "Mhacha's out for at least a few days. She'll be in full training, but not through properly in time for the match."
"Well, we'll be fine," said Lindauer, cocksure. "Who even are the next opponents? We'll smash 'em."
Rather than answer like a normal human person, Costello turned his smartphone around so Lindauer could squint balefully at it from her repose. When the dark-on-white text eventually solidified into some kind of order, Lindauer managed to parse their next opponents.
She did not like what she saw.
"Oh, shit."
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Starblaydia
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Postby Starblaydia » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:00 am

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Vilita: Avoided
Damocles gives Starblaydia a great opportunity

The Second Round of any tournament is where it starts to really get spicy, and this World Cup is absolutely no exception. Indeed, of the sixteen teams who remain to vie for the most coveted trophy in the multiverse, this is perhaps the strongest field in history. Along with the two host nations, ranked comparatively lowly at 26th and 38th, the top thirteen sides are representing their countries. The KPB's highest teams, ranked from Banija at the top, through Starblaydia in 9th (skipping over the non-participating World Champions in 12th) to Mriin in 14th, this is about as tough as any set of knockouts could possibly be.

There is one team, however, who is not part of that elite cadre of Top-16 nations, nor do they have their home crowd behind them every step of the way. They're no slouches, by any means, however. Listed in - compared to most other teams remaining in the Cup - the lowly 24th position in the world, Starblaydia will still be thanking their lucky stars that they get drawn with Pasarga, who are only former World Champions, Cup of Harmony Champions and four-time Regional Champions in the Copa Rushmori. If you need reminding why this is the best option, the other team that qualified from Group F was Vilita, the most recent inductee to the five-time World Champion club, third in the KPB rankings and winners of more AOCAF Cups than we can count, thanks to teaming up with Turori.

There are, as they say, no easy games in the World Cup. Starblaydia, however, might have lucked their way into perhaps the least-difficult tie. From a Pasargan point of view, however, they have to face the legendary five-time World Champions who are clinging on to their top 10 ranking for the third tournament in succession and also coming into Drawkland off the back of a seventh AOCAF Cup title.

It was Lucien Damocles who ensure that Starblaydia would top Group E, netting the winner in a 2-1 victory over The Hinodejin Empire. The eighteen year old Iskara Daii prospect has been the subject of interest from a club in Taeshan, who attempted to go shopping from the Starblaydi substitutes bench with a bid for the Daii's other eighteen year old starlet, goalkeeper Ruby Narvaez. Damocles certainly put himself into the shop window, however, with Lazareva unable to reach the powerful drive to stop the Poltergheists from exiting the World Cup on a loss, and sending Starblaydia through as group winners. Kasumi Hayabausa had earlier restored parity to the match at 1-1 after Betanni Jetvanna had put the side in purple and black ahead.

Of course Ázëwyn Fëanáro's side were only in this position thanks to their 1-0 victory over Hampton Island in the second game, keeping up the 100% record of defeating the 'veteran' Hampton Island team in the World Cup group stage. Hope Roshanak was the match winner on that occasion, making it her 48th strike for her country. With that, she knocks Nicole Maitland-Banks and Johan Keifner off the all-time goalscoring records, with their tallies of 47 each only now being good enough for 11th-equal. Considering Keifner retired after World Cup Thirty having played 90 times for Starblaydia, that's not a bad record to have held for such a long time. Nicole Maitland-Banks managing it in 8 games less and retiring after World Cup Fifty is no mean feat, either. Hope Roshanak has earned 83 caps, one more than Maitland-Banks managed in her career, and score one goal more. She doesn't yet, however, have a World Cup Winner's medal to go alongside her name, unlike the two who came before her: Keifner in the 28th and Maitland-Banks in the 47th cycles.

Nephara or Turori await the victors of this match, with the likes of Vilita and Baker Park lurking in the shadows of a possible Semi-Final. On the other side of the draw, it's hard to look beyond Banija, Valanora, Eura and The Holy Empire. The bookmakers are having a total field day, as absolutely every team remaining in the competition is entirely capable of taking the trophy, and that certainly includes Starblaydia.
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Pasarga
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Postby Pasarga » Tue Oct 06, 2020 11:39 am

Nothing ever comes easy nor has it been very breathtaking for the Wanderers this cycle, with getting results the ugly way having become something of a trend for the team, despite it going completely against the way that their manager wants to have the team playing the game. With the Wanderers missing Júlia Müller for their pivotal clash against Equestria and the chance of progressing on the line, the team perhaps should have expected it to be an ugly game that they would be thankful to survive without further injury to any of the key players on the team and with hopefully a result that would them through to the knockouts rounds. While there is no denying Alexander Jager's supremely high level of talent and skill, he's on the downward slope of his career and had already put in a performance against Terre Septentrionale to have the Wanderers in the position to move on in the first place, expecting him to be a battering ram to get through the Ponies was going to be a very difficult ask. To his credit, Jager did put in seventy solid minutes of trying to push the attack against the Equestrian backline but to avail.

The Wanderers have become quite reliant on the ability to outscore their opponents in a free flowing sort of tactic for the better part of this World Cup cycle, with the side having a striker core that is good for at least a goal, normally two or more a game. The defense has had its moments at times, yet here in the Finals it has been found out quite heavily, with both Vilita and Terre Septentrionale putting three goals past their defense. Equestria was another team that was noted for having a high scoring offense and could likely smother the Wanderers down with a possession game that would keep the side from putting their good forwards in favorable positions. However in the match against Equestria, the backline finally seemed to get it all together and found a way to not only keep Equestria off the scoresheet, but were able to give support to the midfield and strikers. Lazar Meier finally looked to be an elite level centerback for the first time here in the Finals and was marshalling the teams defense like a general ordering their troops around, keeping the side well disciplined and working together as a unit to keep the Ponies stymied.

A nil nil draw was not the outcome that either side was looking for and for the Wanderers, they knew that their progression to the knockout stages were at jeopardy if the Nordiques found a way to defeat Vilita in the game that was going on simultaneously with their own intense matchup. All eyes were on the video screen for the side clad in their vanta black kits, the second match in a row that the Wanderers had rolled out their third kit, having played in their white kit against Vilita, as they waited for the confirmation of the final score from Terre Septentrionale against Vilita. There was a loud roar of celebration when the video screen lit up with the score, confirming that there had been a two all draw in the other match in the group and that the Wanderers had secured their progression to the knockout stages on the virtue of having the head to head tiebreaker over Terre Septrentrionale. It was in a less than comfortable or convincing fashion but for the first team in over a decade, the Wanderers were going to be making the knockout stages of the World Cup once more.

There is no easy matchups in the knockout stages of this World Cup, not unless you are Starblaydia apparently, who have taken their pairing with the Wanderers as something of a fortuitous bit of fate, according to the Jhanna Chronicle. It is true, besides the hosts nations themselves, the Wanderers are the only team outside of the top thirteen ranked participating nations to still be alive in the knockouts. While this might mean a lot of money is to be made in the betting houses, it also means that there is going to be a lot of very interesting and likely close matches as there is on paper very little separating the teams that are left in the tournament now. With only a single World Cup win and a quartet of regional titles, the Wanderers are not in the same elite company as the Starblaydi and their record tying of five World Cup titles, though their last one is beyond the memories of even the most ardent of footballing fans. Still though, the Starblaydia team comes into the game as comfortable favorites, having won their group, even if it was one of the weakest groups in the tournament.

For the Wanderers, the side will be boosted by the return of Júlia Müller, who has been cleared by the physios to be able to play an hour in the upcoming clash against the Starblaydi squad. It will no doubt be a big boost to morale and the effectiveness of the team on the attack, as the woman has a certain speed and slinkiness about her that you can not really teach. Jager might be a battering ram with a laser guided shot, he does not have the sort of pace nor fluidity to his attack anymore, though he will make for a great option off the bench to try and wear on tired legs and bruised bodies. Every step of the competition from the first matchday of the qualifying campaign has been marked by the Wanderers getting things down the hard and difficult way. Perhaps it is time to put that to their advantage and make the Starblaydia team have to earn every chance they get and muddy up the play with their strong midfielders. It is not the type of game that the Wanderers are used to playing but it may be the answer on how they get one past such a difficult opponent and once more reach the latter rounds of this magnificent competition.

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Newmanistan
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Posts: 5277
Founded: Feb 17, 2005
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Newmanistan » Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:32 pm

THE ROCKET REPORT

OFF TO JESSICAVILLE


By Brianne Henry,

When the Empire of Newmanistan Soccer Association assigned teams to venues, they thought that if Newmanistan were to make it out of the group and into the round of sixteen, that they would be the second place team. As such, the “A2 vs B1” matchup was assigned to Tundra Falls, and the “A1 vs B2” matchup would be sent to Jessicaville. The intention was to get the Rockets to the Proving Grounds again if they would advance to this point. However, they never added the caveat that if the Rockets were to win the group, that they would switch the pairings. By the time they thought about doing this, it was too late. Not because they could not have changed it well in advance with time to advise the participating teams of their venue, but because Jessicaville was immediately on top of the possibility of hosting the Rockets as a group winner in the Round of 16.

“We knew that we had to act quick,” Kailey Callahan, a spokesperson for Empress Jessica I Stadium in Jessicaville, “We saw that initial scheduling plan, and were well aware that they figured that there was no way that Newmanistan would win Group A. After we beat Zwangzug, we immediately began advertising that we could be hosting the Rockets. We did that, because we knew that if they went to 2-0-0, then the ENSA would think about switching the pairings or simply declaring that Newmanistan would go to Tundra Falls.” Sure enough, according to Callahan, the stadium was contacted by the ENSA with their intention to do exactly that, “They came to us and said that they would move Newmanistan to Tundra Falls no matter what and we told them it was too late, we already sold tickets on the hope of people seeing Newmanistan here. It needed to be declared that the Rockets would be playing in Tundra Falls sooner than it was. Eventually, we got them to realize that they could not back out of it at this point.”

Hosting the Rockets in this critical match against Mriin is a major victory for the city of Jessicaville, as they have often complained in other competitions Newmanistan has hosted, such as the World Baseball Classic, that Pocono City, then Southport, then Loudon, always get preference above them even with Jessicaville being the second largest city in the Empire. Jessicaville is often selected as a host city but when games go to the semifinals or even the quarterfinals, Jessicaville is often passed upon. Many regard the stadium and the overall facility as being one of the best in the Empire. The main thing that seems to work against the city is that the cost of living here, and in this market is highest among any of the major markets in Newmanistan and that is often seen in ticket prices, as well as parking and concession prices.

Now, with the chance to showcase our own team in the best ever campaign that they ever had, Jessicaville has a chance to shine and they are making the most of it. They have already declared publicly that concession and parking prices will be equivalent to or even lower than they would be in Tundra Falls. There is hope that the cost of hotel accommodations for traveling fans will be the same, but that is out of the stadium’s control, obviously. This is certainly an exciting moment, as Newmanistan enters the Round of 16 for just the second time in their history, and it is the first time that they finished on top of their group. The opponent, Mriin, knows a thing or two about hosting, having been the site of the World Cup 85 final. The Rockets will not be the favorite in the match, but many feel that they have a good shot at this. Could this team go even further? If so, Jessicaville will forever hold a special place for this national team. A colleague said that if Newmanistan were to win this game, it would be the first time that the soccer team ever went as far in the World Cup as the baseball team did in the most recent to it, World Baseball Classic.
Six-time World Baseball Classic Champions
NEWMANISTAN SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS:
CHAMPIONSHIPS: DBC 4; 27th BoF; CoH 34, 36, & 37; Oxen Cup 12; WBC 10, 12, 15, 17, 41, & 43; IBC 4, 5, & 29; CE 26; WLC 1
Runner Up: DBC 5 & 6; Oxen Cup 6; WBC 7,9 11, 14, & 45; IBC 1; WB 4, 6 & 34; WLC 2 & 3
World Cups qualified for: 46, 48 (R of 16), 49, 50, 54
Hosted: WORLD CUP 49, WB 1, 2, 5, & 35; WBC 8, 11, 14, 19, 38, 44, & 46; CoH 33, 35, & 39; CE 25, WLC 2, 4 & 5; WCoH 10, IBC 24, NSSCRA, Multiple NSCAA Basketball Tournaments, and a horse racing series

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Drawkland
Senator
 
Posts: 3761
Founded: Aug 27, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

At Least Home Isn't Far Away...

Postby Drawkland » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:44 pm

Excerpt from the Official Elite Eleven video channel:

Mike Rodney: Hello ladies and gentlemen, we're the Elite Eleven, and we're here with another great video for you guys!

Jaxon Madison: We're gonna get right into the video, but first, a word from our sponsor. Oh, that's right, we don't have any. Or need any ... let's get into it!

Elias Keys: Jumping right into it, we're about to take on Vilita in the World Cup Round of 16. That's right, we've progressed past the group stage!

Ross Hunter: I'm sure you've been paying attention, but here's how we've managed to actually go further than any Drawkians have gone before.

MR: (Take THAT, old Kick Corps!)

JM: We started off the campaign in Seven Stars Stadium by taking on the storied side of Starblaydia. Thanks to the help of the crowd and a few lucky breaks, we managed to hold the World #9 to a draw. The score was 1-1, thanks to a tying goal near the end by yours truly!

EK: We needed a win to stay in the running though, so in our return to Drawk City we knew we had to make something happen against The Hinodejin Empire, and that we did!

RH: We unleased a flurry of goals upon the Poltergheists, with me and Jaxon scoring in the 20th and 32nd minute. The Hinodejin's Iori Saitou scored in the 44th to make things close at halftime, and he even tied it up in the 53rd to keep things interesting!

MR: Thankfully, Roger Apollo made up for it with a brace of goals in the 68th and 80th minutes to secure the three points and keep us near the top of the group.

JM: This is a dangerous position though, because that's what the old Kick Corps was looking at going into MD3 of World Cup 79!

RH: Yup, all they had to do is not lose by 2 or more, and they lost 4-1 to Cosumar ... we had a similar situation going in to play Hampton Island.

EK: Those old guys made it interesting, all right. Neil McCusker scored in the 17th minute to open up the books, and we were suddenly playing from behind despite being pretty well-rounded all game.

MR: Don't forget though, I saved the day by scoring right before halftime in the 40th to tie it up!

JM: Nice that you forgot to mention the fact that you got shut down and even carded in the second half. Unfortunately we couldn't manage to bypass Hampton Island's stringent defense.

EK: All we needed was points though, and points are what we got! The draw sent us through to the playoffs, in second place behind Starblaydia. Unfortunately, that puts us against the world #3, multi-time champions in Vilita.

RH: Not only that, but we now need to travel down from the Metro District to Raikennax. So here's the deal ...

Roger Apollo: Raikennax and another western fans, we need you guys to show up. Against Starblaydia, a vastly more skilled squad, the crowd at Seven Stars helped willed us to a draw. With extra time or penalties involved, we might've been able to pull out a win.

JM: The captain's right. Castle Stadium may have a hundred thousand fewer seats, but we know how hyped the fans in Raikennax again. We've been to games when the Charge were on their way to title runs. We know what you're capable of, and how many fans live within a day's drive.

RA: We need YOU to show up and be there. Choke the Vilitans out of the stadium. Minimize their impact. We can do this, but if we do it, it will have to be together. There's no better time than now to achieve what's in our grasp. A World Cup title may be unrealistically out of reach, but that doesn't mean we can't make a shock run and show the world what Drawkland truly is.

MR: If not for us, do it for the old Corps that never got the honor of making it to the second stage. I know at least a couple of them will be in attendance.

RH: At least if we're going home after this game, we don't have far to travel. Thanks for supporting us this far, and we hope to see you there.

EK: It's time to make things right.

JM: It's time for us.

RH: It's time for you.

RA: Let's make some magic happen. For the Elite Eleven, I'm soccer captain Roger Apollo.

All: ON CORPS!
United Dalaran wrote:Goddammit, comrade. I just knew that someday some wild, capitalist, imperialist interstellar empire will swallow our country.

CN on the RMB wrote:drawkland's leader has survived so many assassination attempts that I am fairly certain he is fidel castro in disguise
The INTERSTELLAR EMPIRE of DRAWKLAND
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Founder of Sonnel. Legendary and Epic. Rule 33.

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Zwangzug
Issues Editor
 
Posts: 4611
Founded: Oct 19, 2006
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Zwangzug » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:47 pm

The Bassabook Baritone


It was hard not to scoreboard-watch from Emperor Michael IV Stadium. Suffice it to say, the Rockets did their part, taking an early two-goal lead against Brenecia, but Zwangzug spent the first half being stymied by The Sarian, with Lach Houten's 25th-minute goal quickly making up for Edwin Cherenkov-Nguyen's 19th-minute strike. By the time Ione Friede could break the tie in minute 78, set up by a tireless Joshua Twoni run, the Patriots were clawing their way back against Newmanistan and the point was moot.

What next for Brandon Sonnabend and the gang? The question is largely rhetorical; four points is by no means disappointing in a group where Zwangzug were "third seeds," and any setbacks were less significant than the early wobble under Tavish Willow in the WC84 cycle. His job, should he desire it, is secure. So is that of many of the younger players, including Sophie Munshi, who jumped ship to the Mierton Manatees in Taeshan because they had the audacity to scout her and offer a lot of money to Namiri Independent. Such nerve!

The Arlington core of Twoni, Stefred, and Kivrin cannot have much longer together at national level, Challengers' Cup notwithstanding. Indeed, the latter championship almost seems to be viewed as a fluke in some quarters, even though the side clearly had to have serious contenders back home to challenge themselves against and forge themselves into elite caliber. Come transfer window time, however, will Jenna Kowalski or Laura Petrell push themselves to repeat their achievements elsewhere? The answer, so far, appears to be "no."

To some extent, this parochialism is touching; Petrell's allegiance to her homegrown players can't be bought. To another, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the skills required to succeed on a wet rainy night in either of FTC United's two stadiums, or any of the Rovers' oodles thereof, or up against whatever monstrosity Ephesian are doing now, are believed not to carry over elsewhere, then our stars will just stay put and develop an insular culture. If they do, then we'll chase the check (or pound Taurine or silver coin or Audioslavian dollar) to get ideas Above Our Station, such as, you know, we might just be a developed and thriving nation that can expect success. And that, my pious liberal betters inform me, Just Won't Do.

Which brings me to the DHA. (I told my editor I could pull off this segue.) That a religion with non-parsimonious beliefs about what's out there in the metaphysical sense has thrived in Zwangzug should not be a surprise--plenty of close-knit migrant groups have enriched our common culture, locally and statewide, through their worldviews. But most people don't ask their neighbors to assert their faith in Christ (or Vishnu or Caissa) before entering into conversation, and then take umbrage when said neighbors do not shoulder the "responsibility" of keeping up their side of the chat. From the way they've made the news recently, you would think the DHA have enough comrades in the faith to keep to themselves without having to put up with us "blasphemers."

But who knows. Maybe by next cycle, they'll have transformed our culture so thoroughly that I'll be able to begin my columns with "you better agree the Old Boys are the team to beat, or else." Or maybe Sonnabend will have found a more lucrative position elsewhere. Or we'll drag Farf dual nationals onto our side, kicking and screaming that they don't want to be assimilated, thanks.

...Actually, skip that last one. Whatever your creed, I think we can all agree that our transliterators won't be welcoming players with accents any time soon. I mean, they're still struggling to fit "Cherenkov-Nguyen" between one guy's shoulder blades.
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...using the lens of athletics to illustrate national culture, provide humor, interweave international affairs, and even incorporate mathematical theory...
WARNING: by construing meaning from this sequence of symbols, you have given implicit consent to the theory that words have noncircular semantic value and can be used to encode information about an external universe. Proceed with caution.

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Trolleborg
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 478
Founded: Oct 11, 2010
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Trolleborg » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:17 pm

Greetings, compatriots! It’s TTV from Drawkland. Unfortunately, last time, since our team is going home right now.

There were already voices among the experts and pundits that, if the group stage of the World Cup were longer, our team would have not such a weak result, but one can only guess about this. At least our players take at least one point, which puts us slightly ahead of other outsiders - three teams, inclunding familiar to us Hinodejin Empire, did not get any at all. Not that other people's failures warmed our souls very much, but this is still a gratifying fact. In due time fans, experts and the footballers themselves will give an accurate assessment of our performance, but now let's remember what it was like, our last match at the World Cup.

Fate regularly brings us together with Siovania and Teusland on the football field, and in addition made this team the most uncomfortable opponent our guys have ever dealt with. Although, as it seemed to us from the stands, the opponents going to to the field without the mood that football requires at this level, but the first half of the match was with the opponents, who opened the score. Our team did not lay down their arms and by the end of the first half seized the initiative, and after the break they consolidated this situation, although the ball did not go into the net for a long time. Troll had a real chance to equalize, but after his strongest blow the ball was somehow – nothing short of miraculously –knocked out of the empty net by the defender.

Image

However, our playmaker did not lose heart from this, and soon he acted very competently. When he saw a real defensive redoubt in front of him from opponents who obivously had learned something from the previous episode, he passed the ball back to the Kolding, who joined the attack and make fantastic shot to the far corner.

Image

There were some more moments for our lads, but it all ended in a 1:1 draw.

In the last minutes, our third goalkeeper Windass came on as a substitute, under a standing ovation of the stands, played for about five minutes and fought off a rather dangerous shot. It is a great moment to end a career, to be sure, and it is very pleasant that the team sees off its heroes in this way.

After the game was over, the players warmly thanked their fans.

Image

Well, the Trolleborg team is heading home, our debut at the World Championship was not very successful, but we will remember the names of those guys who defended the honor of the flag at such a big international tournament:

Tomas Kot Kotsson 3 games (8 goals conceded); Stuart Kerr 3(1); Kasper Wolters 3; Torgeir Dushegub 3; Morten Levenkrands 3; Morten Troll 3; Finn Finnsnes 3; Nikolaas Laste 2; Ruud Kolding 2(1); Rolf Valgren 2; Hendrick Groningen 2; Aien Troger 2; Torfinn Skaloed 2; Tom Gulbranden 2; Torben Bagger 1; Heiko Aldekamp 1; Joran Du Riis 1; Alexander Bornitse Zach “Zhita” 1; Marten Windass 1(0 conceded).

Goodbye, World Cup and we hope for the next meeting!

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Cassadaigua
Senator
 
Posts: 4364
Founded: Sep 19, 2008
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Cassadaigua » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:28 pm

The Manager Report,
By Stephanie Sweeney


I would like to take this moment to thank everyone out there for all of the support during this entire World Cup campaign. We did not fly out of the gate, but it is not necessary to do that. I really liked that we finished strong during qualifying. Everyone was playing at the top of their game, and like you all know that, you want to be playing your best at the end, and not the start. It’s not like running a race where if you’re good in the first three segments and bad in the last two, and run a race of time of 25:20, it is the same as being bad in the first two segments but good in the last three, and ran a race time of 25:20. You have to be playing well at the end, because you have to carry the momentum into the World Cup. That is a lesson that we have learned from World Cup 85. I thought that we were still playing well enough at the end of that, but evidently, there was no momentum to carry over. This time, things were different.

The opening game against Trolleborg showed what we are capable of when everything is going great. Our opponent was playing their first game, and I really do like them. Seriously, Trolleborg, we do like you. Keep it up, and you will be back into the World Cup proper over and over again. But you had to go for the kill in that game early, knowing that they might be a little star-shook, pun intended by arriving in Drawkland and on this interesting planet of Sonnel. The key was to score first, that was the main plan, because we knew if we fell behind, or even let the score drag at 0-0, then they start to gain more confidence as the game went on. Getting the two goals as quickly as we did put us in the driver's seat. We had a tougher game to follow, but I still loved the way we hung in there and got the win over the Goldhorns.

With only Nephara left on the schedule we knew that we could breath a little easier. Just imagine if this was a critical game in order for us to advance like it could have been. A game does not have to mean anything on paper for it to be one that you want to win, and we saw this match as a great chance to make a statement. At the same time, we were not going to kill ourselves going for the three points. Either Turori or Baker Park were the most likely next round opponent, and when you are talking about nations of that caliber, there are no preferences to be had. Some had suggested that we would prefer Baker Park simply because we had just recently played a friendly with them, but why would we prefer to play a nation that just defeated us so recently?

I really like the nation of Baker Park, and we have a lot of history of working together with them, not only with the co-hosting of World Cup 84. I am also talking about the opportunity they gave for Jessica Curran to get more knowledge for her current position now with Valladares. We have played many friendlies with them and opened up their national stadium with them. Now, the “friendly” tag is off, and we are considered an underdog in this match. I can’t tell you what will happen, but I will have the team prepared to play and we'll do whatever we can to move on. If we were to lose this game, then I might have to buck a personal tradition and root for the team that ended up eliminating us. This is an exciting match for the fans of both sides, and the players hold a lot of mutual respect for one another. This will be an intense game, but it will be clean with two teams playing hard. Thanks again for all of your support!
NS Sports’ only World Cup, World Bowl, World Cup of Hockey, World Baseball Classic and International Basketball Championships winner!

(Motorsports, college basketball, and volleyball, too)


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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Turori
Diplomat
 
Posts: 620
Founded: Apr 03, 2004
Democratic Socialists

WC86F - MD3 & Cocoa-bo Index Review

Postby Turori » Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:39 pm

Image

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Cocoa-bo Index Holds True during World Cup 86 Group Stage


The power of the Cocoa-bo Index was on display in full force on the Newmanistan half of the World Cup 86 Finals as the nations that the Cocoa-bo Index projected to advance to the Round of 16 were able to advance in either 6 or 7 out of 8 cases - depending on how the Cocoa-bo Index scores were interpreted.

From the very top the Cocoa-bo Index accurately projected a result that may not have been assumed on paper with 38th rank Newmanistan surviving as winners of Group A to progress through to a knockout round matchup against Mriin at the Empress Jessica I Stadium in Jessicaville - Just as the Index had projected they would. While the Index flip flopped the 2nd place finisher - having forecast Zwangzug to advance when in reality Brenecia would finish with 1 totoal point more than Zwangzug it was still a strong showing in Group A for the Index.

With only a minor blip in their projection for Group A, however, it made the Cocoa-bo Index projections from Group B and Group C all the more impressive as Cocoabo Scores for each Group were able to perfectly predict the outcome and which teams would advance through to the knockout rounds - even as far as projection which team would finish ahead of the other in the Group Table. With a comparatively high score of 4-Cocoabo, Banija was projected to win Group B over Mriin in a tight battle and that is exactly how the Group played out with Banija winning the group and Mriin finishing ahead of Chromatika only through a single goals differential. It was a similar story in Group C where the Cocoa-bo Index accurately projected that the Group's second seeded nation, Farfadillis, would be able to take their 3-Cocoabo score and finish top of the group ahead of Top 5 KPB Ranked nation Eura.

The most debatable projection from the Cocoa-bo index came in Group D. Once again, just as projected, the two nations with the most Cocoabo assigned to them on the Cocoa-bo index were the two nations who advanced from Group to the knockout rounds of the World Cup Finals. The only catch in this case is that the three Cocoabo assigned by the Index to The Holy Empire were red in color instead of brown, facing left instead of right and aligned from the right instead of the left. While no official explanation was provided for the significance of the leftward facing, right aligned red Cocoabo, it was generally assumed that they were treated as a Negative score on the Cocoa-bo index. Given the performance of the Holy Empire in the World Cup 86 Group Stage, however, and the relative success of the Cocoa-bo Index at projecting outcomes in the World Cup Final, it is possible that the Red Cocoabo were misinterpreted as being negative when in fact they meant something entirely different - or perhaps meant nothing at all except perhaps a mild protest - with the Cocoa-bo marketing team looking for a way to condemn the actions of the dreamed realm at the same time they acknowledge the truly overall positive impact that the Cocoa-bo Inquisition had on sales by still awarding a 3-Cocoabo score to the Holy Empire. Under that assumption, the Cocoa-bo Index had an 93.75% accuracy in the Newmanistan half of the draw - predicting 7 of the 8 teams advancing from the group stage and projecting them in the appropriate seed for the Round of 16 matchups. Only the Cocoa-bo Index's minor projection of Zwangzug over Brenecia for the second position in Group A failed to materialize.


Empress Jessica I Stadium, Jessicaville, Newmanistan :: Average Cocoa-bo Score: 2.50
1. ImageImageImageImageImage Newmanistan (38)
2. ImageImageImageImageImage Mriin (14)


Emperor Michael IV Stadium, Pocono City, Newmanistan :: Average Cocoa-bo Score: 0.00? 3.00? 2.50?
1. ImageImageImageImageImage Farfadillis (11)
2. ImageImageImageImageImage The Holy Empire (8)
Tundra Falls Proving Grounds, Tundra Falls, Newmanistan :: Average Cocoa-bo Score: 2.50
1. ImageImageImageImageImage Banija (1)
2. ImageImageImageImageImage Brenecia (10)


Gladiator Stadium, Olympia, Newmanistan :: Average Cocoa-bo Score: 2.50
1. ImageImageImageImageImage Valanora (4)
2. ImageImageImageImageImage Eura (5)




While host Nation Newmanistan has thrown out the form book with their placement atop Group A, the Cocoa-bo Index suggests that their home-turf run in the World Cup 86 finals is not over yet. The Rockets Round of 16 opponents will be Mriin, the lowest ranked nation in the World Cup Committee's KPB Rankings left in the Newmanistan half of the draw - other than Newmanistan itself. If the Rockets can pull it off they will further extend their triumphant tour of the Nation that will be seeing its fourth venue in as many matchdays. After speeding off to a checkered start at the Tundra Falls Proving Grounds for their opening match against Zwangzug - ironically a nation with a Checkered flag, Newmanistan marched through Southport and then the Capital of Pocono City before landing with a date against Mriin at the Empress Jessica I Stadium in Jessicaville. While all the locals will be fixated on the Rockets Round of 16 appearance, the neutrals will likely be focused on either Farfadills v. The Holy Empire or Valanora v. Eura - depending on their preferred style of play.

As far as the Cocoa-bo Index is concerned, Farfadillis and The Holy Empire cancel each other out perfectly but in reality on the pitch it may be more of an additive effect as the two teams could throw caution into the wind and just tell the defenders to go home in favor of more forwards in the pitch. While there is always a chance for a match to turn tense and drab - if there is any match in the Round of 16 where a scorigami could be had it would most certainly be the one at the Emperor Michael IV Stadium in Pocono City. On the other hand, Gladiator Stadium in Olympia is the absolute perfect venue for what is certain to be a duel of a match-up between Valanora and Eura. The Five time World Cup Champion Vanorians with the Claws out and blades in hand - right off their national flag if they must, will double down in a classic duel for those keen on the traditional game with the strategy and play-making on both sides of the ball. The Cocoa-bo Index, like the latest KPB Rankings, give the Vanorians the advantage in what is on paper the closest matched pairing of the round. The final match of the Group Stage is also potentially the most lopsided on paper as Top Ranked nation and World Cup 86 favorites Banija will look to avoid a slip up against 10th rank Brenecia.

While the Cocoa-bo Index was very nearly perfect at projecting the Group Stage results in the Newmanistan half of the World Cup 86 draw, things were a little less clear over in Sonnel. While the Index appropriately projected 75% of the teams advancing from the Groups into the Knockout stage, there was just one group where the Cocoa-bo Index not only predicted which two teams would advance from the group, but projected them in the correct order as well; Group E.

While there were not many true upsets in terms of lower ranked teams in the WCC's KPB Rankings advancing at the expense of teams higher in the rankings, the Cocoa-bo Index accurately projected all but one of them. In the case of Group E, it was the 26th ranked host nation of Drawkland advancing over The Hinodejin Empire who ended bottom of Group E. This allowed the Drawkian side to advance as runner-up in Group E to five-time World Cup Champion nation Starblaydia - Just as the Cocoa-bo Index had projected.

Thats where things got a little rocky for the Index as just one of the two advancing teams in Group's F and G respectively were accurately forecasted. Group F saw the lone instance of a lower ranked team (Pasarga, 24th) advancing at the expense of a higher ranked team (Equestria, 15th) that the index did not Project. Equestria, the World Cup 83 champions, have always scored high on the Cocoa-bo Index and were even given an index score that was perhaps controversially higher than even that of the Tropics of Vilita. Unfortunately the Equestrians must not have gotten their shipments from Cocoa-bo or perhaps through excessive consumption of the sweet delectables they have grown impervious to the performance enhancing effects - either way things did not go well for the Ponies who crashed out at the bottom of Group F. It had the effect of sliding each of the other nations up one spot from their Cocoa-bo infused projections with Vilita topping the group and Pasarga edging out Terre Septentrionale for the second spot.

The other misfire from the Cocoa-bo Index came in Group G, though it was a misfire of a different variety as it was instead a higher ranked nation with a lower Cocoa-bo Index score that was projected to finish outside the top 2 that instead proved paper was more powerful than chocolate. While Cassadaigua had the highest score in Group G on the Cocoa-bo Index and still easily advanced through to the Round of 16 they would be doing so as runners-up to 2nd ranked Nephara.

Of course, the final group in the half was home to the Turori National Team - ranked highest in the tournament on the Cocoa-bo Index scale. While Group H was one of the tightest on paper - the Cocoa-bo Index correctly projected that this would be a three nation battle for advancement with 0-Cocoabo scoring Kandorith left out to dry in a group filled with Atlantian Oceania heavyweights. Despite their winless departure from the finals, Kandorith would play a major role in determining the fate of the group thanks to their draw with Audioslavia that kept the Bulls from Advancing. That result also meant that Baker Park would leapfrog Turori in the group standings based on the head-to-head result between the two teams instead of the results as Cocoa-bo had projected them, with Turori on top heading into the Round of 16. With Turori finishing with a better overall record than Baker Park, the Cocoa-bo Marketing team is likely to spin the Group H table as a victory for their projections despite technically having the order flipped on the top two.

National Pitch, Metropolon, Drawkland :: Average Cocoa-bo Score: 2.00
1. ImageImageImageImageImage Starblaydia (9)
2. ImageImageImageImageImage Pasarga (24)


As you go down the list of Round of 16 matches inside of Drawkland a trend is quickly evident as the combined Cocoabo score of the two competing nations increases when moving from the first match at the National Pitch in Metropolon to the last at The Root Field in Elstrund. Starblaydia and Pasarga will contest one of two matches which would on paper be considered lopsided. In both cases where the KPB Ranking difference between the two competing nations is 15 ranks or higher - the team projected to win through the Cocoa-bo Index is also the team higher ranked in the KPB Rankings. At the National Pitch this means 9th Ranked Starblaydia are projected to win against Pasarga who needed a result on the final matchday to advance to the knockout rounds. The Starblaydia-Pasarga matchup not only features the lowest average Cocoa-bo Index score of any Round of 16 matchup at 2.0, it also features the combined lowest KPB ranking of any matchup at 31.0 or an average of 15.5 between the two teams.

The stark contrast between that matchup and the one at the Kanyo Pitch is emphasized by the fact that the combined ranking of Nephara (2) and Turori (6) of 8 would still be a higher ranking than the individual ranking of the best team in the first matchup - Starblaydia at 9.

Kanyo Pitch, Kayo, Drawkland :: Average Cocoa-bo Score: 3.00
1. ImageImageImageImageImage Turori (6)
2. ImageImageImageImageImage Nephara (2)


In fact, the Nephara-Turori matchup is the pick of the round on the Drawkland half and features an average ranking between the two nations of 4.0 - slightly besting the mark of the most competitive match on the Newmanistan half of the draw - an average ranking of 4.5 in the matchup between Eura and Valanora.

Of course while Nephara are the higher ranked team on paper at 2nd, when the Cocoa-bo Index is applied it is hard not to see a way through for the Turori National Team who boast a vastly superior Cocoabo score than do the Cormorants. The Eels secured their spot in the Knockout rounds thanks to a 3-1 final matchday victory over Kandorith. After being relegated to the bench for the Eels Matchday 2 fixture with Audioslavia after being the starting goalkeeper for Turori's 1-0 defeat to the Commonwealth of Baker Park, Timaala Hualtia was back in net for Turori against Kandorith but once again was unable to keep a clean sheet - conceding a 30th minute volley to Masada Katano that ensured the scores were level at the half. However, unliked the opening matchday of the tournament where the Turori National Team failed to get on the scoresheet, Hualti'as teammates were there to support in attacking form at the Root Stadium as second half goals from Daliora Toru'u and Timi'sala Koarena ultimately made the difference in securing three points for Turori. The victory not only ensured advancement but also put the Eels level at the top of Group F with the Commonweath of Baker Park. Despite the Eels superior goal differential, however, they were classified below Baker Park who had beaten the Owls head to head on Matchday 1.

Turori 3 - 1 Kandorith
Goals: :: 3' Wiztsana Iretziia:: 62' Daliora Toru'u:: 90' Timi'sala Koarena
Team: Timaala Hualtia, Yitizo Mpala'a, Biliki Rona'atu'i, Tarek Edgeli (Kiidallen Aeroluzzi 45'), Moumouni Verre'elali, Kentu Umaka'a (Mbdiai Akarenaa 45'), Daliora Toru'u, Timi'sala Koarena, Lati'ala Giaoka (Turakia Diijelhma 75'), Nua'oma Aikiki, Wiztsana Iretziia

While being placed 2nd in the group instead of at the top ended up pairing the Eels with the highest ranked nation on the Drawkland half of the draw, it was not the difficulty of their opponent that the Eels players and staff lamented the most but the fact that they would have to re-locate from their comfortable surroundings after playing their first three games at Root Field in Elstrund. From the natural wood to the formative stone of the Kanyo Pitch, the Eels would have to pack their bags and travel to Kayo where the Nepharim would be waiting in their own home-away-from-home, the venue they had contested all three of their group stage matches at instantly taking a slight advantage into the Round of 16 clash.

Castle Stadium, Raikennax, Drawkland :: Average Cocoa-bo Score: 3.50
1. ImageImageImageImageImage Vilita (3)
2. ImageImageImageImageImage Drawkland (26)


While Turori have the highest Cocoa-bo Index score in the World Cup, Nephara's minimal score takes down the Index of the match-up to just 3.00. By comparison, although the Vilita v. Drawkland matchup in Raikennax is the most disparate on paper when considering the KPB Rankings, the Cocoa-bo Index bills it as a fairly competitive fixture with an Average Cocoabo score of 3.50 - a notch up from the Turorian fixture. Unlike in the Newmanistan half of the draw, however, the Cocoa-bo Index does not project a Round of 16 victory for the host nation. Being located right next door to the heart of Cocoa-bo country, Vilita's passively earned 4 Cocoabo Rating still exceeds the 3.0 of Drawkland and projects that the World Cup 81 and World Cup 82 Champions will get the opportunity to wind back up for another attempt at breaking through for a record 6th World Cup Title. If the Jungle Cats are to accomplish it, however, they may have to go through a pair of other 5-Time Champions to do it with both Starblaydia and Valanora also advancing into the knockout rounds.

The Root Field, Elstrund, Drawkland :: Average Cocoa-bo Score: 4.00
1. ImageImageImageImageImage Cassadaigua (13)
2. ImageImageImageImageImage Baker Park (7)


The final match-up of the Round of 16 is also the one with the highest Average Cocoa-bo Index score of any other knockout round match-up. With their Group H victory, Baker Park earned the right to plant their flag into the pristine soil at The Root Field, tearing the Turorian flag out of the ground and tossing it out with the trash in the process. They certainly will not have an easy time in defense of their land however with 13th ranked Cassadaigua looking to score a victory for Rushmore over one of Altantian Oceania's rising generation. It will be a clash of trailblazers in the World of Cocoa-bo as both nation has its own Claim to Fame in the Halls of Cocoa-bo exhibit in Mliona, Turori. Baker Park became the first nation to have one of its entities - the BCEL Beverage Corporation - license the use of the Cocoa-bo name, image and source ingredients to serve its own offerings under the Cocoa-bo branding. While the agreement was limited to Cocoa-bo beverage offerings, the BCEL Beverage Corporation was able to expand the product offerings to include unique combinations catered specifically to the Baker's Market. Cassadaigua, on the other hand, is the Rushmori hub for all Cocoa-bo operations and has become an important stronghold for the multiverse-wide growth of the delectables company. After failing to make a big enough impression on the busy population of Concord Heights, Cocoa-bo retreated to the coastal city of Starksville and found their new home. Since then, Cocoa-bo have continued to grow in Starksville becoming the official sponsor of the city's footsport arena as well as the Title Sponsor of the Cocoa-bo 300 NSSCRA event held in the city during the most recent Stock Car racing campaign. While all of Turori will naturally be focused on the match-up between their beloved Eels and Nephara in Kayo, the multiverse wide media will likely not miss out on the opportunity to play up this battle between the World Cup 84 co-host nations that will leave just one standing to fight on in the World Cup 86 Quarter Finals.

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Last edited by Turori on Tue Oct 06, 2020 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
<Silexhera> Why does Turori make sense? :p

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Eura
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Postby Eura » Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:47 pm

Life in the Seventh Star

Part Seven


It was a weekend, and that meant one thing. ‘Fucking bury it then!’ Uncle Medoro rarely swore. He made an exception for Aspel games though. Striker Julyan Carlevaro was through on goal, pulled the trigger, and watched as the ball thudded against the post and rolled wide. ‘YeeEEAA-awwh, fucking useless!’ Medoro kicked out at the seat in front of him and buried his head in his hands. Him and Mateo were at the ramshackle Delga Park, a 25,000 seater athletics stadium on the outskirts of the city. It was one of the few major sites not devastated by the war, escaping the battles and bombings that ravaged the city through luck more than any kind of deliberate mercy. When the Eurans took over and the war ended, the traditional home of the team - the Dellaro, in amidst the city – had been damaged in more ways than one.

In the past it had been held up as an icon of Sameban football, its spiritual home. Then the Gartanzo dictatorship brought back its old uses; party rallies, propaganda, public beatings and even executions of alleged traitors to the Republic. The Euran government did not see the Dellaro as an opportunity to bring back a more peaceful Sameban identity. They saw it as a symbol of Sameban militarism full stop, an unavoidably nationalistic symbol. Ever since then the Dellaro had sat empty and rusting, much to the anger of the local population. Eventually the Euran government and footballing authorities allowed some of the old Sameban teams (bar Samebus FC from the capital city) to enter the Euran footballing pyramid. All of them were allowed to play at their old grounds, except Aspel.

Carlevaro had another chance. The cross was inch perfect, landed on his forehead, and diverted two metres over the bar. ‘Come on, what the hell was that? Get a grip!’ Mateo had vague memories of going to the Dellaro when he was very little. It was such a heaving stadium, full of life. Delga Park was quite different. No-one could call it lively. Most games there were characterised by a dull atmosphere, a terrible pitch separated from the stands by an athletics track, and facilities completely unbefitting of a stadium its size. It was the nearest stadium that wasn’t damaged which would be fit for hosting a team with such a big fan base, so the Eurans told the club it was “Park Pitiful”, as the fans called it, or nowhere.

Aspel’s hierarchy, half of them dead, imprisoned or exiled after the war and the fall of the regime, had meekly accepted the terms set by the Euran football authorities. It wasn’t like they could refuse if they wanted to play professional football again. Here they were now, years later, and the fans at least were sceptical that it had all been worth it. The club had little money to compete against its largely wealthy Euran opponents apart from occasional injections from sympathetic donors, and suffered from regular orders to play behind closed doors due to security concerns. They had risen quickly into Euraleague itself, the top three tiers of the Euran pyramid. This was inevitable given the club’s levels of support and ability to attract players from across a nation – no, “region” – of Sameba’s size.

However the days when Aspel could have dreamt of silverware were long gone. As if to prove that point, today’s opponents raced up the other end and scored. Mateo dipped his head in resignation as Medoro ranted away at the linesman for an alleged indiscretion in the build-up, along with thousands of other home fans. It was an EFA National Cup game and the opposition, Dudsbury, were now 2-0 up with that goal. A small contingent of away fans were celebrating the goal and jeering at the home fans. They waved Euran flags and over patriotic paraphernalia, which every Euran team did when they visited. The Sameban fans did the same back with symbols of the Republic, but only the hardcore of the Aspel fanbase participated since the Provisional Government had started using facial recognition in stadiums to monitor Sameban nationalist activity.

‘Go on, yes, get there, go.’ Mateo rolled his eyes at his uncle’s vague instructions to the players. ‘Uncle, you know they aren’t listening to you right? They’re probably concentrating on playing.’
‘Shut up Mateo, support the team! COME ON LADS! GET FORWARD!’ An Aspel counterattack ended with the ball pinging around in the box. Carlevaro missed the ball this time – how did this guy start for Holdenberg? Fortunately, Fernando Torjan was there to pump the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the box. He punched the air and the fans were momentarily lifted. They had some hope, at least. ‘He was one of the last players to play for Sameba you know, Mateo. Do you remember? Great young player at the time. Shame he couldn’t continue.’

Mateo couldn’t remember it very well but the biggest insult to Sameban football delivered by Euran rule had been quietly delivered during the war itself. As the Eurans began to plan for what they believed to be an inevitable collapse of the Sameban state, they started outlining their plans for running what would be left behind. The main overriding principle of Euran policy was that Sameba would cease to be an independent state in every respect. In their eyes, too many Endemian wars had left loose ends. Not this time. Sameba would not “rise again”, not on their watch. As part of a long policy paper on cultural and sports policy by the government, they proposed the abolition of the Sameban national football team.

At the time of course Gartanzo’s regime had leapt on this. It was a perfect cultural touchstone to use for propaganda. “Look, the barbaric Eurans even want to take away the football! Is nothing sacred? They can’t be allowed to win.” They did win, though. And when they did the Sameban footballing authorities found themselves being raided by Euran Marines. Secret funds were discovered in offshore accounts that had allowed Sameba to continue participating in international football for most of the war, until the infamous player defections at least. The national team itself was found to be picked against a political blacklist. That was all the excuse the Eurans needed. Before anyone could do object or do anything, organised football in Sameba was being deemed a criminal enterprise and if it was going to come back, the national team of the non-existent Sameban state had to go.

Another chance fell to Aspel. It had to be their last with so little time on the clock. Torjan was out wide this time and hammered in a cross. The ball rebounded away and somehow found itself back at Torjan’s feet. The crowd had become impatient; ‘SHOOOOOOOOOOT!’ they bellowed. He obeyed, swinging his right foot through the ball, and watching it sail beautifully into the air – and just wide of the top right hand corner. The final whistle blew.
‘Fucking hell.’
‘More shit like this and we’ll go down!’
‘Out early again.’
‘Ah, fuck it, who cares? It’s just the Southie cup anyway.’ Medoro was calm now having got any pent up anger out of his system. What other purpose could football serve for a distinctly unsporting old accountant like him? ‘Alright Mateo, let’s get out of here before it all lights off again.’

Previous games had taught Medoro to get his nephew out quickly when games ended. This time even that wasn’t soon enough. The Provisional Government’s laughably incompetent General Police were in town. Several hundred of them had cordoned off the visiting Dudsbury fans to protect them while the Aspel supporters made their way to the exits. And yet, as usual, someone managed to open up a gap in the cordon and, before you knew it, dozens of fans were laying into each other with fists and other weapons. Mateo wandered over out of curiosity, watching as one of the gray-clad police officers tried to separate two fans with their bargain riot equipment. ‘Mateo, get back here! We need to go home.’ Mateo heard his Uncle’s voice and knew he was right. But when Mateo turned around, Medoro was nowhere to be seen. ‘Uncle? Uncle!’ A flare landed at Mateo’s feet and made him jump. He had to find his uncle quickly. If he didn’t, he’d be spending the night in a hospital bed or a cell.
Last edited by Eura on Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
United Federation of Eura - Sporting achievements
Champions: WC66, WC73, CR23, CR27, CR34, Market Cup I, Next Generation Trophy, Gold Medal (Mens Football) Olympics IX
Runner up: WC60, WC72, WC78, CR16, CR20, CR32, CoH51, COH79
Host: CR24, CR37, BoF60, CR Under 21's and Under 17's



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Vilita
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Vilita » Tue Oct 06, 2020 6:09 pm

Image


ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage


Jungle Cats take Group F despite being held on Final Matchday.


Castle Stadium, Raikennax, Drawkland :: After two matchdays of the World Cup 86 Group Stage just six of the thirty-two teams had maintained a perfect record with two victories from the opening two matchdays. Of those six teams sitting on six points, five of them had already clinched their place in the World Cup 86 Knockout Rounds. The other was the Vilita National Team.

Despite victories over their highest-ranked Group F opponents Pasarga and Equestria in the first two matchdays of the World Cup 86 Finals, the Vilitan National Team were still not assured their place in the Round of 16. A 2-goal defeat to Terre Septentrionale on Matchday 3 accompanied by a Pasarga victory of the same or greater scorline over Equestria would see the Jungle Cats ousted on a three-way tiebreaker. While the Vilitans had played themselves into a favorable position of controlling their own destiny on the final matchday of the group stage, it was an improbable position to be in at all considering the quality of their performances on the first two matchdays. Putting five goals past the team that won the World Cup just 3 cycles prior yet still on the brink of elimination if they failed to defeat the bottom side of the group.

The Jungle Cats turned once more to Mako Canopii in goal but did make a handful of changes to the starting lineup as they looked to balance ensuring a place in the knockout rounds with preparing for a knockout round matchup that - at the time - would have been projected to be played against fellow five-time World Cup Champion nation Starblaydia.

When the Jungle Cats stepped on the pitch against the Northern Land National Soccer Team, it was their third consecutive game at Castle Stadium in Raikennax. A win or draw would not only ensure that they would advance to the Round of 16 but that they would get to play their Round of 16 matchup against the second ranked side in Group E at the very same Castle Stadium that they had grown familiar with in the group stage. It was a little bit of an extra incentive for the players on the pitch to complete their jobs and dismiss the Northmen.

Adorning their Red & White stripes, however, it was the Northern Lands team that got on the board first with Zvonimir Kordic latching on to a ball over the top from Sandrine Fontaine after fooling Lohani Riiyaaw into a wrong-direction spin that caught the transfer-listed defender a step behind and unable to catch up before Kordic fired across the face of goal and out of the reach of Canopii who punched the ground as the ball snuck just inside the far post.

While the goal appeared to give Terre Septenrionale the momentum they dearly sought to push forth and the second goal they needed to leapfrog Vilita in the Group F table, it also served to wake up the Jungle Cats who responded just five minutes later when regular substitute Fishtii Blikala took advantage of the opportunity to appear in the Starting 11 and rewarding the coaching staff by leveling the score and giving the Jungle Cats breathing room in the Group Table.

There was a scare just past the half hour mark when the Veteran 34 year old Turoki Tide midfielder Poloax Torerun went down injured after an aerial challenge on one of just 2 corner kicks that Terre Septentrionale had earned. While Torerun ultimately walked off under their own power the Vilita National Staff were taking no chances and removed Torerun from the game in favor of Cywrenta Vlintejni.

With Torerun already off the pitch and the match level at half time, the Vilitans made one additional change to the lineup introducing Intikko Kuhilana in place of Torerun's veteran Turoki Tide teammate Cavuna Aquafek. The presence of Kuhilana would cause jusst enough chaos when the Jungle Cats had their own chance on the hour mark, seeing their close range effort just paried away by Nordiques goalkeeper Georges-Kévin Vainqueur. While it was one of the highlights of the match for Vainqueur it would be quickly forgotten when Kudii Davasarii delivered the resulting corner kick straight into the back of the net with a likely unintentional but effective curve that narrowly avoided the near post and snuck in as Vainqueur attempted to palm it over the bar but saw their progress impeded by their own defenders hugging the defensive line.

The goal gave the Jungle Cats a 2-1 lead heading into the final half hour of the match and comfortable breathing room as they were looking at a potential rare perfect group stage performance. While ultimately Terre Septentrionale would gain a result they could be proud of on the long trip home with Rodolphe Giroux's 87th minute equalizer.


Vilita [2] - [2] Terre Septentrionale

GOALS: Vilita :: 21' Fishtii Blikala:: 60' Kudii Davasarii
STATS: Vilita :: Possession: 54%:: Shots: 4:: Corners: 7 Terre Septentrionale :: Possession: 46%:: Shots: 4:: Corners: 2
Lineup: [GK] Mako Canopii, [D.] Rojara Tiones, [D.] Jirak Trikala, [D.] Lohani Riiyaaw, [ML] Cavuna Aquafek, [MC] Limu Katarakhna, [MC] Polaox Torerun, [MC] Jurzen Devmiko, [MR] Kudii Davasarii, [FC] Fishtii Blikala, [FC] Nii'arala Milaaso
Bench: [FC] Tenziki Kulakao, [FC] Clarana Refiami, [M] Cywrenta Vlintejni, [M] Intikko Kuhilana, [U ] Linvoi Warazil, [D] Linkat Cjinder, [GK] Hanauma Ranbomahi


Although they didn't get the victory they were looking for to finish a sweep of the World Cup Group Stage, the Vilita National Team still accomplished their goal of finishing atop Group F and earning a favorable draw in the World Cup knockout rounds. While the final matchday results in Group F maintained the status Q, Drawkland who had entered the day atop Group E were held in a 1-1 draw by Hampton Island and would find themselves relegated to second place in the group, earning a date with the Jungle Cats in the Round of 16. While Vilita will have the familiar home field advantage being able to contest the first knockout round in the very same arena they played each of their knockout round matches, there is no doubt that the environment at the Castle Stadium will be far different as the host nation travels to a rare appearance in the knockout rounds in front of thousands of local fans on the edge of the seat looking to will their countrymen to an historic World Cup upset.

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

Region: Atlantian Oceania - The Home of Sport

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Mriin
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New York Times Democracy

Postby Mriin » Tue Oct 06, 2020 6:27 pm

And now for the latest installment of Defecating Daffodil's series (youtube link) The Idiot Minute! The video you see here is merely a loose recreation of the actual video for perusers of the RL States platform; ICly Daffodil has much greater video editing skills than the author of this roleplay. Links to all the roleplays featured in this video can be found in the transcript below.

Welcome to the Idiot Minute, a short-form video series where I, Defecating Daffodil, pretend like I know how math works.

In my off-time recently I’ve taken to collating random World Cup statistics. I think Jeremy might’ve infected me with something; let’s hope it makes me immortal. This spreadsheet here records the pre-qualifying ranks of every nation to have made it to the World Cup Finals for as far back as I could find reliable sources for said rankings. This actually stretches us a few cycles past what is generally considered the “modern” era, which begins in World Cup 47. There’s many things that can be derived from this set of data, but today I’m focusing on this graph in particular. It shows the pre-qualfying rank of the lowest ranked nation to count themselves among the final thirty-two. This disregards nations who partook in that cycle’s Baptism of Fire or entered qualifiers completely unranked, as I have a separate chart for those.
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There seems to be an almost asymptotic relationship here: there’s five separate peaks around the 150 mark, but very little action between 160 and 200. Some may have thought World Cup 82’s Bongo Johnson may be the record holder, their fascinating shock run from 158th being of great entertainment to the multiverse. But no, there is one incredibly stark outlier in this graph. A nation in World Cup 54 snuck their way in while ranked below two hundred. That’s over a 40-rank gap from the next-lowest instance! What sort of shenanigans could have gone on to explain this? And why am I bringing it up now, of all times? The answer is simple: That lowly nation, punching immeasurably above their supposedly known weight? None other than World Cup 86 co-hosts, and Mriin’s round of sixteen opponent, Newmanistan.

Now sadly, World Cup 50 doesn’t fit into this narrative at all, but I can’t not mention their qualifying group that cycle. Here the Rockets are, at the peak of their footballing powers, signalling the end of the 40s by denying a group win from the elves themselves. In third is the Sylvanaes Queendom, who’d win their sole World Cup a mere two cycles after this. Then you have the biggest clusterfuck of letters I’ve ever seen in the midtable, with NEWI Cefn Druids--whom I had no idea played past the 20s--and the Initialism Warriors themselves, Andossa Se Mitrin Vega and Oberour Ar Moro, who are better known as ASMV and OaM in common parlance. That just piqued my fancy too much to leave out.

Now we move on to where the story really begins, which is World Cup 51 qualifying. The table here is much less interesting--though we get a cameo from the third horsemen of the Initialism Apocalypse, Queer Poco el Mono Ara. But the table isn’t what we’re interested in here. Instead, we go all the way back to Tundra Falls where a monumental off-field decision is being made. Towards the end of qualifying Emperor Michael IV (not to be confused with former Rushmori nation Michael VII) announced that the Rockets would no longer take part in the World Cup, for the reason of respecting the memory of beloved rivals Dancougar. The entire nation--World Cup champions, powerhouses of the early World Bowl, and interns included--had gone up in smoke overnight. To this day nobody is sure what caused their extinction, but the event had a traumatic effect on the sports scene at large and particularly on the Newmanistanians who couldn’t bear to continue on playing football without that rivalry to drive them. And so it was decided. The nation of Newmanistan would never enter a World Cup for the rest of time.

...until World Cup 54, that is, when Emperor Michael IV announced his deceased sister Empress Jessica was no longer mad at him and would allow him to decide the fate of the nation alone. Look, I’m not the most religious person out there and the Newmanistanians take this spirit business very seriously, so I’m not going to question it. Either way, it led to the momentous occasion of the Rockets returning to the World Cup (and the Di Brandy Cup, but that’s out of my scope here). It was a qualifying campaign fraught with controversy, not the least of which was the inane dual-group-stage format employed by the Babbagers and Dagans running things. But it did give the returning Newmanistanians a great concrete goal: Just make it through the first group stage. Qualifying from a clean slate--oh yeah, they also didn’t include any players from previous Rockets teams, that made quite a few people unhappy--was a complete pipe dream, and everyone knew better than to expect something like that. Set a nice, achievable goal, and chase after it.

Controversy after controversy continued to pile up--would the daughter of Stacey Keisler, one of the best World Baseball Classic pitchers of all time, decide to play football instead because of her footballing boyfriend? Did formerly respected defender Myron Jackson have an affair with said daughter, 15-year-old Courtney Keisler [editor's note: Age of Majority in Newmanistan is 16, and also nothing actually happened)? That Courtney’s supposedly long-lost father was actually Jeremy McAllister Jr, a star for the preceding Rockets teams that had been snubbed when the new one was organized? It was a non-stop barrage of incredible, unbelievable storylines. And yet, somehow, the most unbelievable thing was their position on the table. In the zonal stage--oh hey, Queer Poco el Mono Ara, nice of you to show up again and form a narrative arc for the Rockets--they’d ensure their progression with a final-day six-point win over the Whirl Islands. And then in the interzonal stage they managed to top their utter clusterfuck of a group in Bostopia by virtue of going undefeated, despite only winning two games from five. They’d done it! They’d done the impossible! Newmanistan had qualified for the World Cup from the utter depths of the WCC rankings, a feat no nation on record achieved before or since.

In the finals, they’d only manage a single point--their second draw with Delaclava in this competition--but that was still far more than anyone could have expected. Surely this was the start of a grand rebirth, a new era of Newmanstanian footballing domination.

In a cruel twist of fate, this would not come to pass. In fact, not only would it not come to pass, it was brought by two nations that featured heavily in their World Cup 54 run--interzonal hosts Bostopia took the second spot in Group 3 by a wide margin, while interzonal and finals adversaries Delaclava were hosting. The Rockets wouldn’t return to the final 32 until this cycle, thanks to their hosting efforts. Incidentally, they’ve also never made it past the Round of 16.

Will history be made tonight?
Last edited by Mriin on Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Newmanistan
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Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Newmanistan » Tue Oct 06, 2020 7:37 pm

WORLD CUP 86 - NEWMANISTAN/DRAWKLAND


It's cutoff time again!
Six-time World Baseball Classic Champions
NEWMANISTAN SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS:
CHAMPIONSHIPS: DBC 4; 27th BoF; CoH 34, 36, & 37; Oxen Cup 12; WBC 10, 12, 15, 17, 41, & 43; IBC 4, 5, & 29; CE 26; WLC 1
Runner Up: DBC 5 & 6; Oxen Cup 6; WBC 7,9 11, 14, & 45; IBC 1; WB 4, 6 & 34; WLC 2 & 3
World Cups qualified for: 46, 48 (R of 16), 49, 50, 54
Hosted: WORLD CUP 49, WB 1, 2, 5, & 35; WBC 8, 11, 14, 19, 38, 44, & 46; CoH 33, 35, & 39; CE 25, WLC 2, 4 & 5; WCoH 10, IBC 24, NSSCRA, Multiple NSCAA Basketball Tournaments, and a horse racing series

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Valanora
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Valanora » Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:41 pm

Reçueçn was going to be a difficult game, an up and coming team with a lot of talent and that was looking to exact a bit of revenge for being bounced out of the World Cup two years ago by the Marauders. On top of that, they also needed a win against the Marauders to ensure that they were to progress, while a draw would likely not be enough for them to move on. The Marauders simply had to not lose in this final match and they would be through to the next round, which was a feat that many in the team thought was going to be quite feasible. If they really had to, the team would resort to the possession style of game just to keep the ball from Reçueçn and simply grind out an ugly result to get themselves into the knockouts once more. Given that the side was likely going to either being facing Farfadillis or Eura in the Round of Sixteen, the side was not terribly fussed about whether they were going to top the group or be the runners up, as both of the potential matches in the knockout rounds were going to be quite difficult regardless of which foe they would face.

Reçueçn attempted to do what Savojarna had done to considerable success and tried to keep Hawk from asserting his influence over the game, after all it had worked so well for the Savojar squad, it would have to work well for them as well. The flaw in that idea is expecting the same sort of tactic to work twice against a Vanorian side that was going to be quite well drilled about their shortcomings in the Savojar match by Jens Reiniger. The team had it drilled into them the whole time between the two matches that they had needed to come to rely less on Hawk and come to work as a whole team, not just Hawk and ten good players augmenting his own natural ability. So when Reçueçn looked to mark Hawk out of the game, the rest of the Marauders side was more than ready to pick up the rest of the team and move forward. The attack did suffer a bit without their best piece of the puzzle being able to be utilized, but the team did not look like it was out of sorts and out of idea like it had against Savojarna and instead was pressing hard in on the Reçueçn for most of the game, though the final product was not there to be had.

The match was entering the last quarter hour and it looked like the Marauders would be once again held scoreless by a resilient and up and coming side, a very strange sequence after the offensive showcase of the team against the very good Holy Empire side on that first matchday. While fortune and form may be fleeting, it had not entirely escaped the Marauders grasp despite the diligent efforts of Reçueçn to try and make it so and the field definitely began to feel slanted towards their end as the minutes of the match began to wind down. Harlem Saxstrom finally got a clear look on goal for the first time in the whole match, as she had been saddled with just a pair of half chances that had been blocked and the other that had never dipped down, after Larsen was able to slip her through the defense with some nifty triangle play with Kvaal. A striker of Saxstrom's quality is rarely going to miss a clear chance on goal in such a high pressure situation and she calmly lifted the ball over the shoulder of the keeper and it gently fell into the back of the net, giving the Marauders the lead with seven minutes to play. Try as though they might, Reçueçn was not getting a sniff of the ball nor a chance on net and the final whistle came and went with little in the way of pressure on the Marauder net. Far from elegant but it was quite efficient and had achieved the desired result.

With the rest of the games playing out as expected, that means that the Marauders are going to be taking on Eura in their round of sixteen fixture, meaning that a top five side in the world is going to be going out of the tournament before the Quarterfinals. It is a rather unpleasant fate for both ourselves and the Eurans, though that is somehow the way that the cookie crumbles and that even the best teams in the world will sometimes have an off day. The Eurans have been having something of an off cycle though, having not qualified for the Finals as a group champion, but rather came in second and was one of the best placed second placed team to auto qualify. In the Finals, while the Eurans have looked remarkably strong in two of their three matches, they did get absolutely torn apart by the Farfadillis attack, as they conceded seven goals in that match and another two in their match against Quebec. They seemed to sort their woes out in time for the Kelssek match, managing to hold on to a clean sheet at last, but the previous two matches have given the Marauders' attacking players a lot of food for thought on how to exploit the spaces that the Eurans leave in their shape.

In the rest of Newmanistan half, it plays out as a whos who of the best current teams in the footballing world and then the hosts as the odd team of the bunch. Of the eight sides, three of them come from the Glorious Southwest, including Farfadillis and world number one Banija, the two who announced between the end of the group stage and the start of the knockouts that they will be forming an merged domestic league (alongside the Busoga Islands), dynamically changing the face of club football in the the southwest of Atlantian Oceania. In the most odd of the matchups, the hosts will be taking on Mriin, as the hosts look to lift their curse of never advancing out of the Round of Sixteen on home soil. In a match that is likely to see a whole lot of goals, The Holy Empire will be playing the Farves and the wise money would say to take the over on goals in that game, regardless of whom you might favor to win. Banija will be putting their number one in the world ranking on the line against Brenecia, a side known to be a bit of a nuisance to try and get past but Banija will be hoping to finally put together the run to get what many feel is a long awaited World Cup title to their name.

For the Marauders, the hunger and desire for the sixth title is there, the drive and passion to live up to the name and the history that this side has made for itself in the footballing world is alive and well. Eura however has that as well, though their run of history does not run near as deep as the Marauders, they too have quite a bit of success to look back on and try to uphold a winning legacy. The side will need to channel the sort of energy that they had in that first match against the Holy Empire if they want to be able to deal with the rigors of the Euran side that has no obvious weak points in caliber of player, but seems to be having problems as a defensive unit. Hawk is going to have to reassert his presence in a way that keeps him engaged in the game even if the Eurans attempt to mark him out of it like Savojarna did and Reçueçn attempted to. Eura is a difficult tie but champions are made through a gauntlet of difficult matches and this could very well be one of those matches that spurs the Marauders on to bigger and greater things, with a hunger for another title that is as great as it has ever been since the last star was added to the crest.
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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Farfadillis
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Founded: Feb 26, 2012
Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Farfadillis » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:09 pm

"It's beautiful, the view from up here." Tüý took a puff. "Well, I mean. It's not, actually."

"It really isn't." The sky was filled with smog and dozens of homes were burning, as always. In front of them was the capital of what once was Rülândéá. Half of hat once was the capital.

Tüý tilted his head, then closed one eye as if taking a closer look. "Hmm... I take that back. It's beautiful, but in its own way."

"Oh, really?" Xâráks chuckled. "Is it the traces of the shelling? Or maybe the rampant pollution?"

"Well, it couldn't really be anything else, could it? It's not the architecture, you know that much." As they both stared at The City That Never Sleeps (Because Of Night-Time Gang Shoot-Outs), they started hearing the sound of gunfire. A wave of teal-wearing, armed-to-the-teeth terrorists/freedom fighters were entering the city. They both smiled. "What makes the city beautiful is its struggle." Tüý continued.

"Ok, Tüý, real talk: pass me some of that." Xâráks pointed at the joint.

He laughed. "Nânò... I'm being serious. Art doesn't have to be pretty, does it? Think of this city as art. It is beautiful in its ugliness, its struggles... its many contradictions. We were at Tundra Falls a month ago, weren't we? Great city; not a work of art. Not one I'd find beautiful, at least."

"Fine, I get it. So what? Did we lose our families so that this city could be pretty? That's some fucking consolation."

"All I'm saying is... if this city stops being like this, it stops being Rülândéá. Our aim is to snuff the art out of it. Make it boring."

Xâráks stared at the horizon, as the sunset began. The sound of gunfire was almost deafening, as were the desperate cries of the innocent. "I guess you're right. We don't want to be interesting anymore. We don't want this to be Rülândéá."

"Now we're on the same wavelength. I was thinking we could rename the city. Give it a bland name. How about Lìbêrêtê?"

"Wonderfully boring. I like it." A calm smile overtook his face. "Let's see how everything pans out. This city has a hard time staying boring."

"That it does."

Ӿ Ӿ Ӿ Ӿ Ӿ Ӿ Ӿ Ӿ Ӿ Ӿ

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Now back in print after a brief ten-year hiatus!

Revolutionary Literal Football Club Literally Takes Over Rülândéá


The evening of yesterday marked what might be one of the most important events in the history of Farfadillis; one of its darkest chapters. The filthy scum revolutionary movement fronting very poorly as a football club, Lâ Lüs, got the money from the transfers of traitors to the nation Tôsgo Alxíkí and Çè Quîrîjá. The sum of the two transfer fees, estimated to be far above the one needed to arm a revolutionary movement enough to take over the region, as well as some deal somehow involving Alex Terán in order to actually put that money to use, has led to the region getting completely overrun by the fanatics.

This is particularly worrying, as Ferdullaele has not yet solidified its institutions enough to take back control of the region, which is extremely important for many Farf industries, most notably Uranium mining. It is not yet clear what type of government Lâ Lüs will institute, as the movement claims to be purely nationalistic in nature. What is clear is that Ferdullaele will have to take over the region as soon as a standing army is assembled.

We at The Ferdullaele Post will keep you updated as events in the worst nation in Farfadillis continue to unfold.
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

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Drawkland
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Founded: Aug 27, 2013
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Drawkland » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:20 pm

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WORLD CUP 86 - NEWMANISTAN/DRAWKLAND

Cutoff for World Cup Finals Round of 16

I don't have an unfunny pun for you today. RIP one of the greatest. In other news ... it's playoff time. Get ready.

Results
Last edited by Drawkland on Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
United Dalaran wrote:Goddammit, comrade. I just knew that someday some wild, capitalist, imperialist interstellar empire will swallow our country.

CN on the RMB wrote:drawkland's leader has survived so many assassination attempts that I am fairly certain he is fidel castro in disguise
The INTERSTELLAR EMPIRE of DRAWKLAND
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Kelssek
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Founded: Mar 19, 2004
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Kelssek » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:36 am

A valiant defensive effort was all for naught as a 1-0 loss to Eura left Kelssek packing their bags and heading home from Newmanistan. Joseline Fourtin played an excellent match in relief of the suspended Damien Halliger in a match where the Voyagers found it hard to get the ball off the world’s 5th-ranked national team. Yet they did get a smattering of half-chances and Kelssek were left to wonder what might have been in the 62nd minute as Brayden Custworth was played through on goal by Ruslan Demetriev, and beat goalkeeper but not the upright. With the pressure and possession Eura were enjoying, Burns’s winner was only a matter of time. As the defence poked the ball out of their penalty area for the umpteenth time the left back chested down the clearance and found space to take a stride before launching a howitzer from 25 yards that took a slight deflection on its way into the net.

EURA 1 - (Burns 71’)
KELSSEK 0
Poirier, Bowler, Fourtin, Curtin, Liadon, Demetriev, Blueman (Lapierre 80’), Ó Tuathail, McDonald (Yusupov 64’), Custworth (Lister 74’), Taleb
Gladiator Stadium, Olympia (attendance 71,136)

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Nephara
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Nephara » Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:23 am

Nephara 2 - 1 Turori
(4-4-2 / 4-3-2) 1 - Mercator (12 - Provost 59'); 2 - Stride, 5 - Thorn (c), 6 - Brosch, 19 - Strassman; 7 - Kuepper (8 - Cromwell 73'), 4 - Shone, 21 - Moxham, 11 - Deventer (s/o 72'); 9 - Bastable, 10 - Lovelace (14 - Tzorvas 82')
Goals: Stride 34', Bastable 77'

Aranea Provost shifted her shoulders. All of a sudden, that indigo shirt seemed a little too heavy on her, conspicuously-branded gloves somehow a little too tight.
She knew she'd done well, a little too well, almost uncomfortably well. Had managed a spectacular double save to kill a chance from this same guy, Mungwaii. Another seasoned campaigner, Toru'u, had tested her with a vicious strike that she still wasn't sure how she'd managed to tip past the post. But this...
God, she wasn't even meant to be here. Even an egomaniac like Provost could recognise this was Mercator's tournament and, hell, her swansong to boot. That story wasn't meant to end by catching a high cross, falling awkwardly on the turf and being dragged off by a physio. It wasn't how it was meant to end, and it wasn't where Provost's was meant to start.
Nevertheless...
She took a deep breath, and steadied her stance. Tonight, she was going to become a hero.

Time to set the scene.
Nephara and Turori were both relative rarities in the World Cup scene, eschewing the more open nature of international football by and large to play tough, physiclal football. Their defenders were good, battle-hardened in some of the world's toughest leagues. This would not be an open affair, and any openings would be hard-earned.
Chimera Moxham had to pull her weight to make the difference, she knew. She was the key creative player for Nephara, and of course Turori would know that and try to block her out. Such was only sensible. Anyway, she could kick back every now and again.
So getting a yellow card for kicking Toru'u's shin in wasn't exactly what Daniella Strauss had been hoping for from the twelfth minute, but at least it signified intent from the playmaker that she wasn't going to go down easily.
Both sides had shots, but largely outside the box - though Turori almost took the lead in comical fashion, Umaka'a unleashing a strike from well outside the box that took a massive deflection off Thorn and bounced onto the upright, Mercator sprawling the other direction, Brosch having to nip back and clear way.
There had to be a breakthrough eventually. Predictably, Moxham made it, though it needed other hands; Shone to wrest the ball off Toru'u (fairly! She was learning!) and hand it to Kuepper, Kuepper herself to slip Moxham through the midfield press... Moxham surveyed her options. Kuepper wasn't there, she was here. Surprisingly, though, the overlapping run of Rovena Stride, well... hadn't stopped. And she was still onside, just, as the gears clicked in Moxham's head and she stabbed the ball neatly beyond Inuro'o.
Stride was there. She hadn't broken her... step. And while Inuro'o was there to provide pressure, and Anm'aude closing the angle - cut back! Moxham prayed - Stride went for it, actually screaming as she put her foot through the ball.
It skimmed over the top of An'maude, and Stride ended up hurdling the goalkeeper, too, crashing ungainly to the ground as the ball crashed into the net.

Turori weren't the most outwardly dangerous side, but they had teeth and were eager to show them. Again Mercator was called into action, left relieved when a cross found Aikiki only for him to head it right at her.
Partly it was that the Cormorants were playing more cautiously, but though there were no other shots on target there was a sense Turori were shading the game as the interval came up. To Strauss' dismay, they seemed to shade it for a few minutes after they came out of the tunnel, too.
Fortunately, her players stood up for her. Moxham shouted around, put some stick about, actually tracked back a few times instead of just pressing. Shone played with wits and malice. Control began to reassert itself and of course that's when the Eels struck. If Wolcott's strike had been a potential goal of the tournament, young Lati'ala Giaoka perhaps came up with the pass of the tournament, an impeccably-weighted golf-chip over the top, well past Stride and landing perfectly in Akarenaa's str- movement. Stride caught up, perhaps overeager, slid in before it was a sure thing and Akarenaa just... waited for her to pass, and jinked inside. Brosch came out, but she knew long before it happened that Akarenaa would simply pass it along to the advancing Toru'u who smashed it low past Mercator with his first touch.

But this vintage of Cormorants didn't go down easy. They picked themselves up. They kept playing their game. Bastable threatened before a brilliant blocking challenge from Mayelli; a scrambled corner almost saw Thorn convert but Pumaziiri hooked the ball off the line. And then Mercator crumpled to the deck and yet again, the plan was derailed.
After that, the game found a lull... briefly. Perhaps Morena Deventer wasn't feeling the calm, or it might even have made her angry. She explained her decision later - or tried to - as a ball that just got away from her. An'maude's goalkick, contested by Moxham and the substitute Aeroluzzi, headed downwards in her direction by some combination of the two. Deventer tried to control it, failed, saw it nipped away by the lively Giaoka and tried to get it back.
Pity it took the form of lunging at him hard enough to practically scythe his ankle in half.
It was only ever going to be a red, though the Cormorants protested. What were they going to do, take it lying down? Deventer went through stages of grief; bellowing abuse at the referee and waggling her finger as she went off the pitch, then turning pale and tense, before snatching a towel out of some coach's hand and burying her face in it, definitely not crying...
And that was when Provost got called into action. More than once, always well, always going off pure instinct. Her first cap? No, but she'd never been in an occasion like this, not for the national team, always just some qualifier. Always tests.
She gave them breathing room but the narrative looked to be set, Turori looked like they'd burst through and overcome and overcommitted forwards and an attack broke down, and Moxham had the ball, and Moxham looked up, and there was space, and Bastable was in the space...
Yet another long ball over the top. Kurtis Bastable, one of the finest and most clinical strikers of his generation, one-on-one with the keeper.
Almost universally across the multiverse, commentators said: "He doesn't miss those."

That gave them a lifeline to cling to. They clung to it dutifully. Everyone was pressing, everyone but Moxham was tracking back, everyone was exhausted bar the substitutes, and of those Cromwell had already managed to be booked. Time and again Provost thought she'd be called into action, maybe beaten, but a body somewhere came in and smothered the chance. The Eels became frustrated, trying longer and longer shots, and Provost dared to believe they might just do it--
And then Rovena Stride capped off what was, goal aside, a pretty poor game.
At first, Provost just figured, she'd body-blocked the incoming cross from Koarena, a creaking RCU veteran with serious chops at the highest level, someone who could really make a difference with five minutes remaining but so far hadn't. He had now.
It was a contested call. VAR got involved. The referee frowned, and hustled over to a pitchside monitor.
"He's gonna fucking give it. I don't believe this." Brosch glowered at Stride. "Did you do it?"
"I... felt contact, somewhere--"
"Ah, you're useless."
Thorn cuffed Brosch. "No fighting. He's coming back now. He's... ahh, shit."
It had hit the forearm. Stride would insist it was intentional, perhaps a stretch, and that there hadn't been time to pull away her hand and that it was at a natural running angle anyway, which was true. But none of it mattered so long as Provost could keep the ball out of the net.
Mungwaii kicked at the turf impatiently like a racing stallion.
Provost took a deep breath, and steadied her stance.
The whistle blew.
She guessed right. Mungwaii placed it right, swept the ball cleanly, instinct took over, haunches propelling the goalkeeper onto what she hoped to God was a collision course, Provost stretched out a hand, fingers unfurled.
They didn't touch leather.
The fall seemed to last an age, and hurt, too, as her shoulder slammed into the ground. Momentum sent her spinning onto her back. She gasped. The strike had beaten her, she knew. But she hadn't heard the net ripple, had she?
She looked behind her. Guys in green were cheering like mad.
He'd missed.
Ilyana Brosch hauled Provost to her feet and said something that didn't make it through ringing ears. All she could think was; maybe it was okay she wasn't the hero. Maybe, tonight, it was fine if someone else could be the villain.
WCC Grand Slam champion.
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Starblaydia
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Founded: Apr 05, 2004
Father Knows Best State

Postby Starblaydia » Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:52 pm

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Operation: Cormorants
Starblaydia face Nephara for the first time since Jader Barbahlo heartbreak

Starblaydia hadn't been drawn against Pasarga, at senior level, at least, since Ázëwyn Fëanáro's first campaign in charge of the national team. All the way back in World Cup 78, when she managed to drag her hitherto underperforming nation to the Finals for the first time since World Cup 73, Starblaydia faced the Wanderers in their third and final group game. Having already lost 1-0 to 6th-ranked Audioslavia and held 21st-ranked Semarland to a 0-0 draw, a 13th-ranked Pasarga would be the final hurdle to a knockout stage appearance.

The team in white and purple lost 2-0, and finished 4th in Group C, leaving Cosumar almost as quickly as they'd entered it. The main positive to draw from the experience, however, was that they'd managed to qualify for the Cup itself from a lowly 48th in the world. Under Fëanáro, they have yet to fail to qualify in eleven attempts.

As a matter of fact, the oft-stated five-time World Champions had, before this meeting in Drawkland, never defeated Pasarga at senior level. They'd lost in World Cup 61 and 78, drawn in World Cup 63 and 73, and taken 1 point from two matches in World Cup 75's Qualifying. Whenever the two sides met, the Wanderers roamed around, around, around and all over Starblaydi hopes. Depsite all this Pasarga still represented - on paper, at least - the least-difficult opponent in the Second Round, and certainly the lowest-ranked side not cheered on by legions of their home fans who were all buzzing with World Cup Fever.

Pasarga are a side who have always tried to play exciting, free-flowing football of the highest technical quality, but recently they've had to resort to somewhat more desperate measures to get through their matches. Digging deep and doing it the hard way appears to have become Pasarga's default way of playing, and there's only so long that a team can persist relying on heart, guts and luck to carry them through the hard matches. You can never, however, count them out as there always seem to be an extra hidden depth of reserves that the team can tap into in order to just make it over the finish line. Perhaps it comes from Meriadoc Griffiths, bringing a more Brenecian style to their play with solid defence and gritted teeth, but from the opening whistle they opted for a physical style of play. Starblaydia were, however, more than ready to meet that challenge.

Just two years ago, Aaron Cole's coaching strategy brought the best out of Starblaydia - but also the worst - in the AOCAF Cup Final. The side out-shithoused a nation who had become universally notorious for their sharp elbows, late challenges and ref badgering. Where Audioslavia were expected to go low, Starblaydia out-maneuvered them by going lower. Here, Pasarga tried to be physical, aiming to wear out their opponents and overpower them later with battering ram substitutes of the likes of Alexander Jager or even an outside bet in Ubul Kuruc to come on and push the ideally-exhausted Starblaydi aside. However, Ázëwyn Fëanáro's 4-3-3 is a hard pressing game, relying on positional fluidity and an exemplary work ethic. For the past forty years, she has been working and refining her strategy and tactics, all the while leading the entire Starblaydi national team set up in the direction she has wanted to go. Perhaps, finally, Starblaydia really do have the players to perform in just the manner that the coach wants.

The key battle was in the midfield. Starblaydia, with two hard-working defensive midfielders - in effect, two number 4s - were able, along with the uncharacteristically-restrained Jewel Maddison, to lock down the middle of the pitch, forcing any Pasargan possession to go wide and into the waiting trap of the full-backs, Galdarhim and Wolffe. As well as sounding like a TV comedy about 19th-century detective agency, Galdarhim and Wolffe represent the keys to Starblaydi success. With their seemingly limitless energy, they're able to shuttle up and down the length of the pitch in both attack and defence. As good as Gersten and Csapó were out wide for the Wanderers, they were isolated and hunted down by the Starblaydi pressing game, because when the team in white and purple go for the ball, they do so in packs.

The tone of the game was set after around twenty minutes, once the sides has settled down from the adrenaline of the kick-off and had really got to grips with each other. Betanni Jetvanna seized upon an uncharacteristically loose ball from Laborc Szöllössy and raced away down the pitch, outpacing almost everyone. Her shot, however, was clawed out of the air by Ambrus Galambos when it seemed to be heading for the top corner. The wry smile from Jetvanna showed she knew the chance was a golden opportunity, but would not be the only one she got all game. Goals did not come in the first half, however, Lazar Meier and goalkeeper Galambos both making smart moves to shut down any sign of promising Starblaydi attacks. Likewise, at the other end, Kranendonk, Conway and Leopoldi all had to have their wits about them to prevent the opening goal going against them. By the time the second half kicked off, with words of encouragement and tactical tweaks made in the dressing room at half time, both teams were out to try and put more of a killer instinct on the match. Here, however, it saw a spate of rough challenges, late tackles and the sort of overt physicality that you wouldn't naturally expect from these two sides with their long and successful histories.

Lucius Wolffe being overtly wrestled off the ball as he tried to probe into the final third led to a free kick that Hayden Shepherd demanded to be taken slowly, even though Marcus Jimenez was screaming for the ball to be played quickly into the left channel. It was, nevertheless, in an attacking enough position, out wide on the left but in an area where a ball lobbed into the penalty area would certainly be dangerous. Up came the big fellas from the back as Starblaydia flooded the box, hoping to get on the end of something. Shepherd swung the ball in, but it was just too high and evaded everyone in the middle, looking to be going out for a goal kick. The deceptive angle of the TV feed, however, didn't catch just how much bend and dip the ball had on it, so the sprint and outstretched boot of Betanni Jetvanna at the back post was a shock and a surprise to most. The ball rippled the back of the net as she volleyed it back across the goal and over the line, sliding off the pitch as her momentum took her careening into a pitchside microphone. What was captured by the mic isn't quite fit for print, but it certainly fell under the category of 'jubilant relief'. In response, Pasarga did what they always do: they dug deep, mustered up extra reserves of strength and self-belief, with a never-say-die attitude to try and propel themselves back into the game.

Unfortunately, that played right into Starblaydia's hands.

As the minutes ticked away, the attacks became more frantic and more hasty. This was do-or-die time for the Wanderers and if they didn't score soon, they'd have to wander their way home. Starblaydia kept up their pressing game, refreshing their midfield by bringing in Ortiz and Royce to keep a hold of the game, while also benching the hard-working Jimenez for Lucy Saraviva and dropping to more of a 4-3-1-2 than an out-and-out 4-3-3. Instead of meekly inviting pressure onto her players, Fëanáro was ramping up the pressure on those being urged to attack by Griffiths. A frustrating, brave and sometimes even cynical wall of white was put up in front of Pasarga's players as they tried to get the ball forward to find the equaliser, but Jetvanna and Roshank were always lurking, pressing the defenders when the ball was recycled and waiting and chance to seize the ball and kill the game off. They had to be patient, and as the clock ticked onwards to 80 minutes played, the Pasargan fans in attendance were starting to wonder if their team had it in them to dig themselves out of trouble once again. The players on the pitch sensed it, too, redoubling their efforts and piling into the Starblaydi box, forcing a corner. As the ball was swung in, Szöllössy rose highest and powered the ball down towards the net with a solid header, but Cosmo Leopoldi was equal to it, positioned just right and able to catch the ball cleanly in two hands. He stepped away from the pile of bodies in the six yard box and took three more quick steps, launching the ball like a trebuchet in a low, flat arc down the pitch.

The roar of the Starblaydi crowd half a second later told Leopoldi that they'd seen it, too.

Hope Roshanak sprinted after the ball, crossing the halfway line and eventually taking her first touch some 40 yards from goal. She turned inwards and put on the afterburners, having to do her best to hold off Szalyk Földessy as he stuck to her like a shadow. Knowing that any foul challenge would be an instant red card, Földessy ended up barely challenging for the ball at all, instead ineffectually using his arm to try and put Roshanak off. The Malta Lines forward was having none of that, however, and powered towards the 18 yard box. Galambos was stuck between coming and staying, and seconds later there was no question of the outcome. Clipped from her right boot, Roshanak netted her 49th goal for her country in her 84th match - five more than Simeone Di Bradini managed in the same number of matches across his entire Starblaydi career - settling the first knockout round tie in Starblaydia's favour. The Pasargans, though, would not take it laying down. They threw everything at the side in white over the remaining ten minutes, but just couldn't find the final breakthrough. It had been 32 years since these two sides last met, but finally Starblaydia had a win over the Rushmori former World, Regional and Cup of Harmony champions.

When the dust had finally settled, Starblaydia's next opponent became clear, and it was another throwback to World Cup 78: Nephara.

Starbladydia and Nephara first met in the Qualifiers for World Cup 78, where a 9th-ranked Nephara side topped the group and took four points off a 48th-ranked Starblaydi side that would ultimately finish in the second qualification position, despite losing both of their final two matches - including a 5-3 thumping by Nephara. The very next cycle, World Cup 79, a 38th-ranked Starblaydia manged to claim their first win in World Cup Finals since World Cup 67 as defensive midfielder and captain Pawel Zapotowski's goal sunk the Cormorants 1-0. World Cup 80 in Starblaydia and Equestria made it three campaigns in a row, as a 9th-ranked Nephara defeated the free-scoring 21st-ranked Starblaydia side at the packed Jader Barbalho stadium in Jhanna with nearly one hundred thousand fans in attendance. It has been six cycles since the two sides last met, and every single time Nephara have been, on paper, the better side in a game that is always hard-but-fair versus fair-but-hard. It is no less true here, as despite Starblaydia forging their way into the top ten, their opponents in ediraf's emerald green will be one of, if not the, best side in the multiverse at this point. How come they've consistently been excellent every time we play them?

Starblaydia have a habit of not making it past the Quarter-Finals at the World Cup, although this is their 4th appearance in the last eight in five cycles, a run only bettered by five game streaks from cycles 27-31 and 43-47, and we all know what happened during those periods. World Cup 83 saw the team finish as Runners-Up, and now they're current AOCAF Champions: if anyone can upset the bookmakers' odds and make it to the Semi-Final past this Nepharan side, it's Starblaydia.

Now they just need to get out there and do it.

Final score from Metropolon, Drawkland (147,637)
Starblaydia 2 - 0 Pasarga
(Jetvanna 56, Roshanak 81) - (None)
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Crazinesss Encouraged - An Unofficial History of the NationStates World Cup

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Banija
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Postby Banija » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:19 pm

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Banija v. Valanora- A clash of Southwestern Titans in the World Cup Quarterfinals

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Gitonga Kahara celebrates game-winning 71st minute volley in Banija's 1-0 World Cup Round of 16 victory over Brenecia


LOUDON, NEWMANISTAN- The World Cup, obviously, is always a fiercely competitive tournament. And the deeper you get into the knockout stages, the more monumental each tilt is. The stakes rise, the tensions rise alongside it, and it puts everybody on the edge of the seat. For the fourth consecutive tournament, the Kadongo Kamu have won their Round of 16 matchup and advanced to the World Cup Quarterfinals. Brenecia, once again a Round of 16 opponent, put up a valiant effort against Banija- the two battled it out, and there was not much to seperate them. But the Banijans did find something to separate- in the hands of their captain, Gitonga Kahara. The captain, "The Chosen one" of Banijan football scored his first goal of the tournament via a 71st minute volley to give the Banijans the only goal of the match, and send them to the Quarterfinals.

What has this latest era of Banijan football shown? Top-level Consistency. If you divide the Waters era into two different time periods- before and after World Cup 83. BEfore World Cup 83, we established ourselves as regular contenders to Qualify, but not much more. But in World Cup 83, we went from contenders to qualify to contenders to actually win the damn thing. And that's reflected in the fact that we haven't missed out on the World Cup Quarterfinals since. We're the only nation to the Quarterfinals in each of the last four World Cups, including this one. And while we haven't quite put it together, this is a stage that we are used to, we are familiar with.

And then, we have Valanora. They've got far more experience at this stage than we do. We're not sure how many Quarterfinal appearances they have- countless? Regardless, one of three nations who are trying to become the first in world football to win six World Cups, as they, Starblaydia, and VIlita all pace the WCC with 5 World Cup titles each. This is their third Quarterfinal appearance in four tournaments. They're ranked fourth in the multiverse. We're ranked first. And as we dive into this preview, there is one thing obvious- this top four clash between the two titans in the Glorious Southwest(although are we a titan without any WC titles?) will surely be an entertaining one.

Club Connection

There are a number of Banijans who play football in Valanora. That is not a surprise- their league is both the biggest and richest in Atlantian Oceania, and we not only are in Atlantian Oceania, but we are also in the Southwest. It is not a surprise that all sorts of Banijans want to ply their trade in Valanora. The pipeline from Banija to Valanora is well-established- from Aaron Aiza, the BSL's first true superstar, going to Hondo FC, this path is well-worn. There are no Vanorians playing in Banija yet- and although a number of Banijan clubs are working on signing a Vanorian or two possibly for the inaugural season of the S-FPL, there are no confirmed signings.

So on one hand, it's a one way street. But on the other hand- it has been very beneficial for all involved. Four members of the Kadongo Kamu play in the Elven Premiership, and three are key starters. Ilman Jawara, the Banijan #9, is a starter at Soldarian FC. He helped lead the club on a run to the IFCF Champions League semifinal a few years back. There are two Banijans in the starting lineup at Raynor City United, who are in the starting lineup for the national team. Kuma Bultum and Madu Okparra. Kuma Bultum, particularly, has thrived. He has a Team of the Season performance in a prior season, and has even been named a Galactico. Not just a long lister, but the center back is a straight up Galactico. Can't take that away from him.

And, of course, you have Amadi Uche who starts at Wexax United. Nearly played out from the national team setup before he went to Valanora, his club play in Valanora has forced Marcus Waters to bring him back into the fold. While he comes off the bench, he's a regular contributor for his country. It gives the odd designation that, in their starting XIs, the Banijans have more Premiership players than Valanora. Valanora only has two members of his first-choice XI playing in Valanora, while Waters has 3. These players know each other fairly well, and have seen plenty of each other- it'll make for an even better match.

Key Matchup- Thor Møller v. Kuma Bultum

The superstar striker against the Galactico. Now, there are plenty of talented players on both teams, players who will garner a lot of attention. But when you talk about the individual matchup that is the most important to determining the outcome of this Southwestern derby, look no further than Thor Møller v. The Galactico. Thor Møller has everything you want in a striker- he has the pace, he has the build, he has the smarts, the knowhow. He has a capable strike partner, of course, but when Laborious Hawk looks to set up his players, he looks Møller's way first.

That's why Kuma Bultum will have to live up to his billing if Banija will have a chance of making it back to the World Cup semifinals. It's hard to win at this level- your best players have to perform at their peak, for multiple games in a row, against the very best the multiverse has to offer. But you know what they say- if you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best, and Valanora is the very best. The man marking will have to be great. Bultum cannot allow this striker to beat him one on one. There are plenty of talented players at Valanora's disposal, but you've got to stop this goal-scoring threat.

Managerial Battle- Marcus Waters(EQS- Banija) v. Colin Donaldson(SCT- Valanora)

It is an interesting managerial battle, as these two tacticians are now certainly considered very experienced participants in the international game. We did a Marcus Waters profile earlier in the tournament, so there's no need to go through his background. Colin Donaldson has an extensive background. Former captain of the Schottian national team. Long-time assistant manager to Sir Lionel Mah, the Quebecois legend who led Schottia on a run of longtime dominance at the end of the 70s, winning the World Cup with Schottia in World Cup 79.

And now, of course, has been manager for a few cycles of this national team. These men will surely have an interesting tactical battle between them. We know how the teams will line up, at least to start the game. But if this is as tight as everyone expects, the question is this- what adjustments will these managers make? Both have plenty of options on the bench, whether they decide to push forward for another, or pull back and defend with their lives. Players like Amadi Uche, or Kiggwe Basamula, or Ablie Kah- veteran central midfielders who can come on with 30 minutes left and fresh legs, and make an impact. Those men with fresh legs late could mean the difference between a flight back to Atlantian Oceania, and a flight to Pocono City. Only the manager can make those decisions- which one will make the correct one?

X-Factor for Banija- Mzukisi Nzo

The X-Factor- one player who isn't talked about a whole lot, but who certainly needs to play well if the Banijans are going to beat this streaking Vanorian national team. And Nzo is what makes sense. Now, of course, it isn't going to be his sole responsibility to mark Laborious Hawk- whenever a team just assigns one player to manmark Laborious Hawk, especially in the knockout stages of a major tournament, they will soon tell you the story about how that went from the airport. No, it'll have to be a strategy designed around stopping Laborious Hawk. Marcus Waters has done individual focused strategies on occasion, like against Mriin in the group stages, and on multiple occasions against Pristina Shine, but they haven't tended to work- Banija's record in those games is abysmal.

But if you let Laborious Hawk roam free, Hawk will beat you. And by positioning, Nzo will be the primary defender on Hawk for a good portion of the game. It's an ask- can the Yaton FC player stop a player whom many consider to be the best midfielder in international football? Physically, Nzo can keep up with almost anyone. But there may be a mental block. There's a certain intimidation factor, going against a player of Hawk's reputation and caliber. Before Banija starting participant in World Cup Qualifying, and when we weren't qualifying for World Cups, who do you think Banijans were rooting for?

Many players, especially our veteran players, watched Laborious Hawk almost every World Cup. There goes the old saying- "Make your idols your rivals." Gitonga Kahara has spoken in the past about how Laborious Hawk was one of his favorite players growing up. Kizza Okafor has said it to. Now, this isn't the first meeting between Banija and Valanora- we met each other in the AOCAF 60 knockout stages a few years ago. But this is easily the biggest matchup we've ever had. Will the Banijans, considering the stage and the opponent, be intimidated by the names on the back of their opponent's jerseys and the stars on the front, or will they rise up to the challenge? Nobody is that more important for than Mzukisi Nzo. You can't completely keep Hawk in check.

But he can be contained. Contain him. Don't give him anything easy. Don't let him get a head of speed. Slow him down. Make sure everything he has to do is at a high degree of difficulty. If we can do that, if Nzo especially can win those sorts of battles against Hawk, Banija has the talent up top to take apart the defense and score. But we must give them that opportunity.

Prediction

Ha! You can't truly believe we are actually offer a score prediction. But the ratings for this game are going to be through the roof- this projects to be Banija's third highest rated World Cup game ever domestically, after their World Cup 83 semifinal against Starblaydia(on home soil!), and their World Cup 85 semifinal against the Free Republics.

Here's what we can predict. A ratings bonanza. Big watch parties all across Banija. Expect a packed house at "The Jungle", as these two sets of travelling fans are set to take over this city. Tons of noise, drums banging, choirs singing, the whole lot. And one hell of a match on the pitch, worthy of this stage and its beautiful setting here in Newmanistan.

As always, go Banija!
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Postby Cassadaigua » Thu Oct 08, 2020 5:50 pm

Fillies Top Baker Park; look to bump Vilita out of the way,
By Chelsea Dufresne, Concord Heights Times


Members of the Cassadagan national team are always available to the media, and do their best to maintain an upbeat attitude before any game. This is true whether they are facing an opponent that they should beat, or whether their backs are against the wall. It is not always easy, and there have been times that the team has not been that excited to talk to us. The last World Cup was a big example of that, especially after they dropped to 0-0-2 in the group stage. They were not officially eliminated at that point, but they were in that position where they had to look at “if we win, then blah, blah, blah must happen”. During this World Cup, there was a lot more confidence, and even a bit of swagger when Meghan Wolcott and Quebec’s Michel Fillion were getting in each other’s face. That is expected out of Meghan, and the team came together and finished out qualifying well. When players are winning, they know that the media will mostly have good if not great things to write about them, so they are always happy to see you.

That did not change in Drawkland. As soon as they made it here, you saw that they were on a mission, and that would start with a better group stage. I have written this time and time again now, so we know why this was so important to them. They took care of business in the first two games, and even heading into the Nephara match, you could still see that they were all smiles. Following the 3-1 loss to the Cormorants, the mood was not dampened even if it was a bit of a reality check that there is still some work to do if we want to beat a team like Nephara. Then again, who is beating them these days? When the round of sixteen matchup became known, and that it would be Baker Park, you did not feel as though the team got nervous. They had just played them in their last soccer game on earth before heading out here to Sonnel. It was not a victory, though it was a solid game for the team under the guise of it being a friendly. Therefore, look, the level of intensity was not going to be there like is necessary at this time.

Mutual respect for Baker Park is at an all time high. Before a game of this magnitude, you will normally hear players speaking well of the opponent so that no bulletin board material would be provided but when the Fillies spoke well of the Bees, it came across as an extra sort of sincere. “Danielle Gaines is such a versatile goalkeeper, we will be in tough against her. I am glad that she is finally getting the chance to get this sort of regular playing time with them,” forward and captain Rachel Schanke said of the keeper that she would soon be facing. The outspoken Meghan Wolcott, not often one to give praise like this would be quoted as saying, “They have great players, and I always have fun playing nearby to Daisy Callum. She’s intense, but clean and our careers have paralleled one another a little bit in terms of having a hard time breaking into the starting lineup while being touted highly just due to the overall depth. She’s tough to play, makes me work for it, and I do the same to her. I expect nothing more in this game, but no matter what happens, I will be happy to shake her hand after the match.” That is certainly a much different Meghan Wolcott, who plays professionally in Banija, then Michel Fillion ended up dealing with.

Prior to the game, you could clearly see that the players respected one another, and this was even true in the stands. Both passionate fan bases weren’t afraid of a little interstellar travel to get here, and in several spots the flags of each nation were seen in the same rows of the same section with a lot of respectful discussions of the game. Perhaps stories of World Cup 84 were shared between them.

But now, it was time to play. For the first time, this was not a friendly and each team was ready to raise their game to a higher level. There was no need for the feeling out process since these teams had played so recently, and each team tried to use anything they may have learned, or thought they learned from that game the last time they were on earth. In the ninth minute, Danielle Gaines made an incredible lunging stop on a Rachel Schanke after Courtney Graham had delivered her a great cross. Schanke was probably not surprised by that, and the great goalkeeping was underway. In the 13th, Tiffany Nelson made a big stop on DeAngelo Simmons, as the prolific scorer did well to thread the needle between the coverage of Brooke Sutter and Kimberly Carson to get a great chance on net that Nelson was able to get too. For Simmons, he was only kept off the scoreboard for eight more minutes, as in the 21st minute, he would open up the scoring and the Bees were happy to get the one goal advantage.

On the Cassadagan sideline, Stephanie Sweeney gave out some signs for the defense but was otherwise able to remain calm and composed. She was not concerned that Simmons was able to get the first goal, but more because he had two great chances so early. Those signals appeared to have been positional instructions directed towards Kimberly Carson. Later in the first half, after a couple of corner kicks were unable to get through the Baker Park wall, the third time was the charm in minute 39. Courtney Graham delivered this corner just as well, but Meghan Wolcott was able to get it just over the wall, but right underneath the cross bar to make the score all square at one. This is where we go to intermission, all tied up at one with both teams appearing mostly happy with the way things had gone so far.

In the second half, the Fillies had the better of chances early on and a well placed strike by Zack Pierce seemed to catch Gaines by surprise, and Cassadaigua had a 2-1 lead after 51 minutes. This only made the Bees go to work even harder, and they were able to get the momentum back in their favor. Simmons continued to give the defense a hard time, and got another great shot on net in the 61st minute that Nelson was able to stop, but she could not control the rebound. Daisy Callum beat Michelle Graves by a split second to the ball, and that is all the veteran needed to fire home the equalizer, making it 2-2. Now, just 29 minutes remained in the game, and there would start to become that feeling that the next goal would win the match.

Who would be the hero? Would it be a big name from one of these teams, or would it be an unlikely source? It was almost Sabrina Patton, who in the 75th minute got a great chance, but the Fillies would catch the Bees in the counter attack and quickly send it the other way. Brooke Sutter’s long ball got the team started, setting up Zack Pierce, who looked for options. He thought about going to Madison McClain, who was about to be subbed off for Ashley Dahlin, but Rachel Schanke is the go-to player on this team, and there would be no better option. The pass would be accurate, and Schanke showed the skill that we have become used to seeing from her, and just like grandmother used to display, and she would fire the shot into the postage stamp to give the Fillies the 3-2 lead. Oh, but it was hardly over at this point. Baker Park, as we could only expect from them, showed a high level of resiliency and did everything they could to tie this game up at three. However, Cassadaigua would hold on, barely. On this day, the pink and black had survived in an intense and clean match, just like we were all hoping for.

Next up, the Fillies will take on #3-ranked Vilita. Will the team bump them out of the way in the same way Stacie Houston did to Yraaga Gilli’i to win a NSSCRA race?
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WC86F - MD4 Round of 16 - 4-4 v. Drawkland

Postby Vilita » Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:48 pm

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Jungle Cats Survive on PKs after Late Goalie Change


Castle Stadium, Raikennax, Drawkland :: Unlike other nations competing in the World Cup 86 Finals in Drawkland, the Vilitan National Team had not been packing their bags after each of their matches to travel on to a new city and a new venue to face their next opponents. Instead, the Jungle Cats had been living the life of luxury in their home away from home, Raikennax. They had arrived prior the start of the group stage to begin their familiarization and training regimine. They also had their chance to visit Downtown Raikennax and make a few appearances for locals at a variety of World Cup related fan festivals. As more time was spent in the city, however the players of the Vilitan National Team actually were getting a little stir-crazy with cabin fever after seeing much of the city in the early days of arriving in Drawkland. While they had certainly enjoyed the comfort of not having to pack and move to a new city after each game they were playing, the players were interested in something else. After they completed a 2-2 draw with Terre Septentrionale to finish atop Group F, the Vilita National Team coaching staff announced they would have an off day to take a guided tour through Valsum national park. It would take the whole day to get there, do the tour, and get back but the Coaches decided it was worth it and they could include some team-building activities as well as some light hearted fun to keep the players loose as they prepared for their Round of 16 matchup with host nation Drawkland.

Stumbling upon a big rock, a few players decided it would be a good idea to do 'trust fall' from atop the rock. Refiami and Vlintejni went without issue into the fall and their teammates caught them. Of course, naturally, the prank was on when the young midfielder Lentali Purama stepped atop the rock. While the players didn't let Purama fall entirely - injury was certainly a concern, they all kept their arms on good unison and drop just ahead of Purama's falling back allowing the midfielder to fall until they were just barely a foot off the ground, finally catching and righting the former SissilBank Academy trainee. As the weight came down, however, one of the catchers - Veteran Jurzen Devmiko, was unable to go low enough and back out of the catch. As Devmiko backed away he bumped into Yeadin Owls AFC net-minder Mako Canopii who then took a step back and found the exposed root of a tree. Canopii felt their foot catch the root and twist around the ankle. Instinctively the net-minder took the weight off the foot before any damage was done. "Close one" was the reaction he gave as the players laughed it off and continued on the trail for their off day.

The players continued on and learned a number of things about the history and the local fauna. Canopii noticed a slight twinge in his ankle as the day wore on but shrugged it off as a side-effect of the amount of walking that the team had done on the day. For the most part, the players all enjoyed their time on the mountainside but got back to match preparation the following day, watching tape and practicing drills as they expected a raucus home crowd to limit the range of their verbal communications on match day.

As expected, the crowd was loud even during the warmups but the Jungle Cats had successfully completed all of their exercises and were headed back to the locker room for final preparations. On the way into the tunnel, Canopii and surprise backup goalkeeper for the game Hanauma Ranbomahi were talking penalty kick strategy if needed. While Canopii was the best all-around shot stopper in the Vilitan system, Ranbomahi the Tropicorp FC net-minder had received praise for their ability to predict and stop penalty shots, hence their promotion from the stands to the bench for the knockout round. As they were talking, one of the staff members lost control of a water bottle while trying to stack them into a carrier to take back into the locker room. The staffer quickly yelled 'watch out!' but the two goalkeepers couldn't hear over the noise of the Drawkian crowd, having already started the party in celebration of their teams knockout round appearance. Canopii stepped squarely on the plastic bottle and in slow motion watched as their ankle rolled around the edge of it. After letting out a "Yeaooooowza!" on the way to the ground, Canopii was helped up by Ranbomahi and the duo went back into the Locker Room. "Close one!" again was the reaction.

It was still 30 minutes until kick off, however, and as the team sat in the Locker room making their final preparations, Canopii began to feel something wasn't right. The ankle which had felt fine earlier in the day, and even felt fine after the incident with the water bottle, was starting to stiffen up. 20 minutes until kick off and Canopii was trying to test a range of motion in the foot but the range was virtually non-existant. They called over the trainers who tried sprays, ointments and massages but the ankle was still stiff. 10 minutes to kick off. The Vilitan Coaching Staff had a decision to make. They were favored to win the match but with the home crowd, anything could happen. Their best all around shot stopper after Canopii was Vernasa Sanamun, but Sanamun hadn't even taken warmups on game day and was sitting in their sweatpants. "Get dressed Verny" was the call. They had to be prepared. 5 minutes to kick off and the Coaching staff looked over at the trainers. The motion of the head from the left to the right. Mako Canopii was not ready to play.

If Tropicorp FC goalkeeper Hanauma Ranbomahi was going to make a debut for the Vilita National Team in the World Cup Finals, many would have expected it to be in the final game of the group stage when Vilita had either already clinched a spot in the knockout rounds, or had already been eliminated. Instead, Ranbomahi had the gloves for a winner take all knockout round match against the host nation. For their first ever World Cup Finals start. No pressure.

Ranbomahi got help in the first half from what appeared to be back-breaking back-to-back goals from Fishtii Blikala and Va'a-Rio Kiwavn giving the Jungle Cats a 2-0 lead just after the quarter hour mark temporarily silencing the home crowd. Drawkland were not rolling over, however, and continue to apply counter-attacking pressure and looking for ways to challenge the Vilitan back line. They had their first great chance of the day in the 33rd minute when Trevor Garnet fed Ross Hunter who at point blank range saw their effort parried aside in a great stop by Ranbomahi that also served to give confidence to the Vilitan sideline that the nerves hadn't overcome the first-time World Cup starter.

That would all change less than five minutes later, however, on an ambitious effort form Roger Apollo. The Drawkian captain launched a low shot from 35 yards out that skittered across the ground. Ranbomahi dove to their right just missing the ball which clanged off the upright, hit Ranbomahi's strewn body on the turf and then rolled straight back across the line as the Tropicorp FC keeper fumbled to try to keep it out. The crowd roared as the scoreboard lit up and Drawkland were back in the game.

Despite the mishap, Vilita still held on to a 2-1 lead at the half and the team held on to confidence they could see things through in the second half to progress. Once again, however, it was Drawkland who - willed on by the crowd - found a way to break through and get the ball into the back of the net. In fact, the Elite Eleven would pepper Ranbomahi with 7 shots over the opening 30 minutes of the second half while converting 3 of them, the third a free kick from Trevor Garnet that Ranbomahi punted out of the goal in frustration earning a yellow card. The Vilitan National Team coaching staff wanted to substitute Ranbomahi from the game at that point but knew they needed to save their substitutions to make an offensive impact down two goals with only fifteen minutes to play.

Luckily for the traveling Jungle Cat faithful, a saavy tactical change immediately following Drawland's 4th goal in the 72nd minute would change the course of the match. Towering Marine Coast United utility played Enzoril Alabonni was introduced to the game and the fresh legs made all the difference as Alabonni quickly found the goal to steal momentum back and pull Vilita within one of the home side. Then, with time running out and Ranbomahi looking to the sidelines as to whether they should join the crowd on the 89th minute corner kick, Alabonni took matters onto their own head making pure contact with Va'a-Rio Kiwavn's delivery and levelling the score, sending the match into extra time.

Vilita [4] - [4] Drawkland

GOALS: Vilita :: 15' Fishtii Blikala:: 16' Va'a-Rio Kiwavn:: 79' Enzoril Alabonni:: 89' Enzoril Alabonni
STATS: Vilita :: Possession: 56%:: Shots: 9:: Corners: 12 Drawkland :: Possession: 44%:: Shots: 10:: Corners: 12
Lineup: [GK] Hanauma Ranbomahi, [D.] Mileke Drokasorna, [D.] Rojara Tiones, [D.] Jirak Trikala, [ML] Limu Katarakhna, [MC] Kudii Davasarii, [MC] Jurzen Devmiko, [MC] Va'a-Rio Kiwavn, [MR] Lentali Purama, [FC] Nii'arala Milaaso, [FC] Fishtii Blikala
Bench: [FC] Enzoril Alabonni, [FC] Linvoi Warazil, [M] Polaox Torerun, [M] Cavuna Aquafek, [U ] Clarana Refiami, [D] Inteali Koranjo, [GK] Vernasa Sanamun


Once the end of regular time came and went, however, it was a different match. The thrill of the chase was over and the two teams new any mistake could knock them out of the World Cup. They were tired and they didn't want to lose. The crowd, which had been boisterous all night, even dropped a few decibels in the extra session. Perhaps it was out of tension and fear of the result or maybe they were just saving some energy for the penalty shootout just as the players appeared to be doing. After 120 minutes there was no winner, and the match proceeded into the Penalty Shootout.
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While no one had expected to see Hanauma Ranbomahi starting in goal for the Vilita Jungle Cats during the World Cup 86 Finals, once the damage had been done and four goals conceded, one could argue there were few goalkeepers available in the Vilitan League that one would rather have between the pipes for a penalty shootout than the Tropicorp based net-minder. Ranbomahi set the tone early blocking the first shot of the shootout from Mike Rodney. The next four shooters total were able to convert their penalty kicks to make the score 2-2 as Lentali Purama stepped up as the Jungle Cats third shooter. This time, Elite Eleven net-minder Septimus Xander stood tall in the middle of the goal and that is exactly where Purama placed the ball, an easy stop as the crowd erupted. The score was level after three rounds. Next up for Drawkland was Trevor Garnet who made no mistake to give Drawkland their first lead of the shootout at 3-2. Veteran Cavuna Aquafek would not be shaken and tied things up going into the last of the initial five shooters. For Drawkland it was the Right winger Richard Hanson. Wearing shirt #2, Hanson stepped up confidently and hit a well struck ball to Ranbomahi's left but the Tropicorp keeper was already headed in that direction. The ball struck the fingertips and then clipped the outside of the upright before knocking over the ad boards on the side of the net. The groan and temporary surrender cobra were on display but the match was not over. Eastal Lunar FC midfielder Limu Katarakhna was the fifth shooter for the Jungle Cats. A goal would see Vilita through to the Quarter Finals while a miss would see the match enter sudden death.

As Katarakhna wheeled away into the arms of their Jungle Cat teammates, the majority of the Drawkian players knelt to the ground, the agony of defeat written all over their bodies. One player walked out of the disappointment, however, Elite Eleven captain Roger Apollo began walking towards the stands with arms above head, clapping in support of the fans that had made it such a memorable World Cup in Drawkland. While the run may have ended for the home side, there was still plenty of excitement to come in the World Cup 86 Finals. For the Vilita National Team, it was finally time to pack their bags as they would be headed to Gelia Field, the 'Home of Kickerball', for a Quarter-Final fixture where they would look to Bump Cassadaigua out of the way to a berth in the World Cup Semi-Finals.

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

Region: Atlantian Oceania - The Home of Sport

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