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Thread: The Reinvention of Dustin Powers, International Manager of Mystery

  1. #201
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    2021 England Update: World Cup Qualifying


    Once the summer was over, it was back to business as usual in European World Cup Qualifying. There were still 4 games to play and a return trip to Qatar to secure. There was a minor controversy in my selection for the September qualifiers however. Wayne Rooney had annouced his international retirement after the Confederations Cup but, as he had had an impressive tournament, I persuaded him to stay on for one last hurrah and the following summer's World Cup. When it came to time to name the England squad, I noticed he was struggling for match fitness following a pre-season injury so I decided to explore a couple of other options. Rooney then went ballistic telling the media how he had been 'humiliated' by being coaxed out of retirement only to be overlooked. He has now declared quite clearly that he will never play for England again while I am manager. That's a shame but I'm not going to pick a player who is injured even if they are on the verge of a return to fitness.

    Our first game of the new season was against the only side to prevent us from winning so far, Norway. The game was very similar to the previous one in Oslo as we controlled the game but struggled to break down a well-organised Norwegian defence. A breakthrough finally came in the shape of debutant Bobby Holmes, a striker I had called up for the first time based on his impressive early season form for Blackpool, who fired in a shot from just inside the area in the 70th minute. There was only going to be one winner after that and Sheldon confirmed it with a late second goal for a 2-0 win. A few days later we travelled to Andorra and, as expected, came away with an emphatic win. 6-0 was the final score with the goals coming from six different players including another from the impressive Holmes (maybe Rooney won't be missed after all! )

    In October, we travelled to Montenegro for a game that would confirm our qualification. After their seven goal humiliation at Wembley, the Montenegrians played a tight game and it took a couple of set pieces for us to get the goals with Chalobah coming up from defence to score two headers, one from a corner and one from a free kick, as we won 2-0. With our place in Qatar secıred, the final game at home to Croatia was little more than a practice match for us. For our opponents, however, it was a vital game as they sought to book a place in the play-offs. I guess the no pressure scenario for us coupled with the high pressure scenario for them had an impact as we ran out 6-0 winners! Again, Chalobah caused problems with his height scoring the first two goals and Bobby Holmes continued his impressive start to the season with his 3rd and 4th international goals in just his third game. After all that, the table looked like this:




    That 6-0 defeat proved very costly for the Croatians as, in the ranking of second-placed teams, they missed out on the play-offs on goal difference.

    In November, we played a single friendly at home to Ireland (we were also scheduled to play Italy away but they slipped up in their final qualifying games and went into the play-offs). Two goals early on from Phil Jones and Alex Chamberlain suggested a rout was in the offing but the Irish closed up at the back and kept the scoreline at 2-0.

  2. #202
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    2021 Review: England



    Quick Overview


    World Cup Qualifying: 1st in UEFA Group 2
    Confeederations Cup: Winners!

    2021 Results:


    December 2021 World Ranking: 1st (-)


    A great year for the England national team as we won all of our competitve games and picked up a trophy on the way. The only blemish on our record this season was our friendly defeat against Saudi Arabia but better to have those kind of results in friendlies! We can now approach next year's World Cup as one of the favourites.

    The Story So Far...
    Code:
    Year | Nation        | World Ranking | Notes 
    2011 | New Caledonia | 167th (+3)    | Pacific Games QF
    2012 | New Caledonia | 136th (+11)   | OCE Nations Cup finalists, Coupé DOM Group Stage, Sacked Nov 2012 
    2013 | Haiti         | 126th (+19)   | Friendlies...
    2014 | Haiti         | 142nd (-16)   | Caribbean Championship Winners!
    2015 | Haiti         | 131st (+12)   | Gold Cup Group Stage; resigned June 2015
    2015 | Honduras      | 30th          | Took job June 2015
    2016 | Honduras      | 35th (-5)     | Reached 4th Round of WCQ; Olympics Group Stage
    2017 | Honduras      | 40th (-5)     | Copa Centroamericano Finalists; Gold Cup Semi-finalists; Qualified for World Cup
    2018 | Honduras      | 20th (+20)    | World Cup Second Round
    2019 | Honduras      | 34th (-14)    | Copa Centroamericano Winners; Gold Cup Finalists
    2020 | Honduras      | 27th (+7)     | Resigned June 2020
    2020 | England       | 1st (-)       | Took job June 2020
    2021 | England       | 1st (-)       | Confederations Cup Winners; Qualified for World Cup
    

  3. #203
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    2021 International Review

    Here's a look at the major finals from around the world in the last year:

    Confederations Cup: England 4, Ghana 1
    Gold Cup: U.S.A. 4, Mexico 1
    Mediterranean Games: Serbia 1, Morocco 1 (Serbia win 4-2 on penalites)
    U20 World Cup: Germany U20s 2, Spain U20s 1

    World Rankings (Top 20):


    The biggest mover this year was Belarus - having topped a World Cup Qualificaiton group ahead of Spain, they shot up to 6th in the World!

    World Cup Draw

    The big event next year is the World Cup. England have quite an easy group and should progress easily. Shock absentees for the finals have to be Germany, Portugal and the USA, none of whom even managed the play-offs!





  4. #204
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    Belarus in 6th! Big jump for the small nation.

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    Pretty good group for the World Cup, I don't see much difficulty there

    Doesn't really look like the strongest World Cup either, a lot of smaller nations. The toughest group there would probably be Group E, and even then I'd be surprised if France and Holland didn't get through.

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    Should walk that group.

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    See you in the Second Round.

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    A few easy groups there.

  9. #209
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    Dang it USA

    Great work with England so far

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    What happened to Germany?!

    Nice easy route to the QFs for you (hopefully )

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    What happened to Germany?!

    Nice easy route to the QFs for you (hopefully )
    Just noticed that - where are the Germans?

  12. #212
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    So, where was I before taking an enforced extended break to complete my MA dissertation? Ah, that's right- ın charge of the Three Lions and getting ready to head to Qatar 2022...


    2022 England Update: World Cup Warm-Ups




    Our first action of 2022 was an early spring friendly at Wembley against Italy, the side we had dispatched so easily in the semis of last summer's Confederation Cup. Alas, there was to be no repeat this time as the Italians took an early lead and then held on for the next 88 minutes leaving us frustrated and on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline.

    That was it until the end of the domestic season by which time, I had organised no fewer than five friendlies ahead of the World Cup finals. We started with a trip to Spain in which I looked at some back-up players. They did the job grabbing an emphatic 3-0 win confirming our status as one of the pre-tournament favourites. A few days later, we travelled to Belarus to take on an emerging power in European football. We controlled the game but still needed a last minute strike to grab a 2-1 win. It was then back to London for a send off in front of our home fans. Unfortunately, Mexico decided to spoil the party by defeating us 3-2. To make matters worse, they only had two shots on target in the entire game with the other goal coming from one of our defenders. We had chances but couldn't convert them and suddenly the confidence gained by the win over Spain was gone.

    We then headed towards the Middle East, stopping on the way to play Egypt. Much to our collective relief, we found our shooting boots again and stayed firmer in defence to earn a 3-1 win. One last game then against the World Cup hosts Qatar. This was a nice and easy 5-0 win setting us up nicely for the start of our campaign. One encouraging sign from the friendlies was the performances of Mark Bacon, a striker I decided to pick after an impressive season in the Premier League. 4 goals in 3 starts justified my faith.

    In other news, the qualifying groups for Euro 2024 have been drawn. I think most would expect England to qualify with ease:




  13. #213
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    2022 England Update: World Cup Group Stage




    Matchday 1 v. Switzerland
    What a way to kick off our World Cup campaign! Any pre-match nerves were settled by Wayne Holden's goal after 5 minutes and it was pretty much one-way traffic after that. A don Sheldon hat-trick and a brace from youngster Bacon showed we have a strikeforce to be feared as we romped to a 6-1 victory.

    Matchday 2 v. Nigeria
    A tougher test awaited in the next match as we came up against a well-organised Nigerian side. Sheldon gave us an early lead but unlike the Swiss, Nigeria did not buckle responding with an equaliser before half-time and 1-1 was how the game would finish.

    Matchday 3 v. Costa Rica
    We were still confident of securing qualificaiton in the last game however as we faced Costa Rica, a side I knew well from my days in charge of Honduras. In the end, we earned a solid if unspectacular 2-0 win aided by a first half red card for our opponents. That was enough for us to top the group and advance to the knockout stages.
    Group Stage Round-Up
    Here's how all the groups finished:






    No major surprises apart from Brazil slipping into second place in their group but it was a shame to see my former side Honduras go home without a single point. We face South Africa in the second round.

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    2022 England Update: World Cup Group Stage



    Second Round v. South Africa
    On paper, this was a straightforward game. However, the reality proved quite different as we struggled to break the South Africans down. We eventually took the lead just before the hour mark but were only able to hold on for about fifteen minutes before our opponents levelled the score. That took the game to a tense period of extra time and then to penalties. I guess the tension was simply too much for our opponents as they missed every single penalty but we did not, allowing us to advance 3-0 from the shoot-out.

    Quarter-final v. Spain
    In the last eight, we faced the side we had beaten 3-0 just before the tournament started. An early goal from Blackpool striker Bobby Holmes gave us the lead but it wouldn't last as veteran striker Bojan equalised on 35 minutes and then put the Spanish ahead in first half stoppage time. We had all the play in the second half but we just couldn't get past our opponents defence and a 2-1 defeat meant we were going home empty-handed.

    Knockout Rounds
    Spain would go on to win the trophy beating Brazil 1-0 in the final. Elsewhere, Ghana did well to reach the semis but there were no big surprises.




    Central midfielder Wayne Holden made the World Cup Dream Team. A shame he was injued for the match with Spain as he could have made a difference.

    Going out in the quarter-finals was a dissappointment but there's no shame in losing to the eventual champions. Now, I need to decide what to do next...

  15. #215
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    Once the tournament was over, the FA informed me they were disappointed but could understand that we had lost to a team like Spain and now were ready to turn their focus towards qualificaiton for Euro 2024. I would like a crack at the Euros but I was also tempted to return to a smaller nation, espcially after getting the following job offers after the World Cup had finished:




    Australia, Greece and Romania don't appeal to me at present and I wouldn't want to go to Mexico so soon after leaving Honduras. Belarus is intriguing due to their unexpected recent rise and it could be interesting to see how far I could take them. Saudi Arabia and South Africa offer the chance to compete for plenty of trophies (remember I added a lot of extra international comps to this save) and the chance to manage in a new continent.... or I could just stick with England for another couple of years. I think I'll ponder it for a while.

  16. #216
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    Welcome back! Personally, I'd stay with England, the other options don't seem that appealing.

  17. #217
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    Thanks AK22 It is maybe a bit soon to be leaving England but I do want to manage in Africa and Asia at some point.

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    Staying then?

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltablue View Post
    Staying then?
    For now, yes. I'm aiming for a win at the Euros - if I get that, I'll quit and then seek a new job somewhere a bit smaller.

  20. #220
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    Good to see thing continuing

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    2022 England Update: Autumn Friendlies and Euro 2024 Qualifiers



    With the World Cup over, it was back to life as normal on the international scene starting with a September visit to Montevideo to take on Uruguay. It really was a game of two halves as we were outplayed in the first, but luckily didn't go behind, and then absolutely brilliant in the second, eventually winning 4-0.

    We returned to Europe to start our Euro 2024 qualifying campiagn at home to Lithuania. An easy win was predicted and that was what we got as we trounced the Baltic side 6-1 with six different names on the scoresheet. We then visited Dublin to play Ireland. It was a pretty one-sided game but we struggled to convert our play into goals, ultimately relying on a brace from captain Phil Jones to get a 2-0 win. A few days later, we hosted Faroe Islands with an easy win not only predicted but expected. We gave the fans their money's worth with a landslide win. 13-0 was the final score and it could have been a lot more. After those three games, our qualifying group looks like this:




    Next year, we play Denmark home and away and it will be those matches that decide who tops the group. I really don't see a threat coming from anywhere else.

    We rounded off 2022 with two more friendlies against Holland in Amsterdam and against Portugal at Wembley. The Holland game was surprisingly easy with Jack Wilshere on form, scoring one and setting up the others in a 3-0 win. We totally dominated the Portugal game, not even allowing our opponents a single shot, but again needed Phil Jones to get the goal in a 1-0 victory.

  22. #222
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    You could have gave the Faroes a shot at goal Fantastic result!

  23. #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerud View Post
    Good to see thing continuing
    Cheers cerud. Good to have you along for the read as well

    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    You could have gave the Faroes a shot at goal Fantastic result!
    Went with an inexperienced team but still gave them a good stuffing

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    2022 Review: England



    Quick Overview

    World Cup: Quarter-finals

    2022 Results:



    Obviously, the World Cup was a little disappointing, especially when you consider that we beat Spain 3-0 in a friendly just six weeks beforehand... Nevertheless, we have bounced back well with some impressive friendly results and a strong start to Euro 2024 qualifying.



    December 2022 World Rankings



    Despite the last eight exit, we remain top in the rankings ahead of World Cup winners Spain. Ghana and Nigeria both feature highly after impressive World Cup campaigns while Belarus stay in the top 20 and are now joined by Albania. (Albania?!?)
    The Story So Far...
    Code:
    Year | Nation        | World Ranking | Notes 
    2011 | New Caledonia | 167th (+3)    | Pacific Games QF
    2012 | New Caledonia | 136th (+11)   | OCE Nations Cup finalists, Coupé DOM Group Stage, Sacked Nov 2012 
    2013 | Haiti         | 126th (+19)   | Friendlies...
    2014 | Haiti         | 142nd (-16)   | Caribbean Championship Winners!
    2015 | Haiti         | 131st (+12)   | Gold Cup Group Stage; resigned June 2015
    2015 | Honduras      | 30th          | Took job June 2015
    2016 | Honduras      | 35th (-5)     | Reached 4th Round of WCQ; Olympics Group Stage
    2017 | Honduras      | 40th (-5)     | Copa Centroamericano Finalists; Gold Cup Semi-finalists; Qualified for World Cup
    2018 | Honduras      | 20th (+20)    | World Cup Second Round
    2019 | Honduras      | 34th (-14)    | Copa Centroamericano Winners; Gold Cup Finalists
    2020 | Honduras      | 27th (+7)     | Resigned June 2020
    2020 | England       | 1st (-)       | Took job June 2020
    2021 | England       | 1st (-)       | Confederations Cup Winners; Qualified for World Cup
    2022 | England       | 1st (-)       | World Cup Quarter-finalists
    

  25. #225
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    Euro qualifiers going as expected.

  26. #226
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    I expect that 13-0 win over the Faroe's to be in the HOF .

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    Done.

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    2023 England Update: Euro 2024 Qualifying



    Before our Euro 2024 campaign resumed, we had one friendly againt one of England's bogey teams, Sweden. They would not trouble us this time, however, as a good team performance earned us a 3-1 win.

    We then had three qualifiers to take us through to the summer. First up, we made the long trip to Yerevan to face Armenia. We dominated the game, winning 3-0. My two top strikers Sheldon and Bacon grabbed a goal apiece before Man Utd midfield playmaker Dyson added a third from the penalty spot. At the end of the domestic season, we hosted Denmark. It was billed as a tough game but it wasn't. Don Sheldon shrugged off a disappointing league season with Chelsea to score a hat-trick with captain Phil Jones adding another in a 4-0 win. A few days later we were in Kaunas to face Lithuania. Alex Chamberlain was on form with a brace as we won 3-1. Although they are bottom, Lithuania are the only team in the group to have scored against so far having also nabbed a goal in the game at Wembley last year.

    After six games, the table looks like this:



    A huge win for Ireland over Denmark puts them in the fight for second place. We look pretty much untouchable at the top though.

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    2023 England Update: Euro 2024 Qualifying Complete


    Following the summer, our qualifying campaign resumed with an entertaining match against Ireland, which we won 4-2. Speacial mention of the day went to Jack Wilshere, who collected his 100th cap and marked the occassion with a goal. That meant a point from our next game would be enough to secure qualification with two matches to spare. As our opponents were the Faroe Islands, that was a simple enough task. The minnows fared slightly better than in the game at Wembley as we only won by eight goals this time!

    That meant our trip to Copenhagen didn't mean much to us but it did mean a lot to Denmark, who had to win to stand any chance of taking second place away from Ireland. Unfortuantely for the hosts, we came away with a 2-1 victory despite resting a number of regular starters, thus guaranteeing the Irish a spot in the finals. After that, only Armenia at Wembley remained and that was a straightforward 4-1 win.

    In the end, the table looked like this:




    Got to be happy with a 100% record and an average of nearly 5 goals a game (admittedly, the Faroe Islands helped us a lot there!) Bring on the Euros!

    We tounded the year off with a pair of friendlies in November. We were hit just before the squad announcement that top scorer Don Sheldon had broken his leg playing for Chelsea and might be out for the rest of the season. Other injuries in midfield and attack meant a different look to the squad and the new faces didn't do as well as I might have hoped drawing 1-1 at home to France (thanks to a last minute equaliser) before another 1-1 draw away to Morrocco. I need Sheldon back and fit before the summer...

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    2023 Review: England



    Quick Overview:

    Euro 2024 Qualifying: 1st in Group B

    2023 Results:

    A pretty uneventful year as we went undefeated and secured a spot at next year's Euros in Spain without breaking much of a sweat.

    Speaking of the Euros, our group is as follows:



    Reaching the knockout rounds should be easy enough. Then, it all depends on the draw.

    After the summer, attention will turn to qualifying for the 2026 World Cup. Again, we should qualify easily but short trips to face Scotland and Wales will make it interesting.




    The Story So Far...
    Code:
    Year | Nation        | World Ranking | Notes 
    2011 | New Caledonia | 167th (+3)    | Pacific Games QF
    2012 | New Caledonia | 136th (+11)   | OCE Nations Cup finalists, Coupé DOM Group Stage, Sacked Nov 2012 
    2013 | Haiti         | 126th (+19)   | Friendlies...
    2014 | Haiti         | 142nd (-16)   | Caribbean Championship Winners!
    2015 | Haiti         | 131st (+12)   | Gold Cup Group Stage; resigned June 2015
    2015 | Honduras      | 30th          | Took job June 2015
    2016 | Honduras      | 35th (-5)     | Reached 4th Round of WCQ; Olympics Group Stage
    2017 | Honduras      | 40th (-5)     | Copa Centroamericano Finalists; Gold Cup Semi-finalists; Qualified for World Cup
    2018 | Honduras      | 20th (+20)    | World Cup Second Round
    2019 | Honduras      | 34th (-14)    | Copa Centroamericano Winners; Gold Cup Finalists
    2020 | Honduras      | 27th (+7)     | Resigned June 2020
    2020 | England       | 1st (-)       | Took job June 2020
    2021 | England       | 1st (-)       | Confederations Cup Winners; Qualified for World Cup
    2022| England       | 1st (-)       | World Cup Quarter-finalists
    2023 | England       | 1st (-)       | Qualified for Euro 2024

  31. #231
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    2023 International Review

    It was a busy year with continental championships everywhere except for Europe and Oceania. There was also the U20 World Cup.

    African Cup of Nations: Tunisia 2, Morocco 1
    Asian Cup: China 1, Singapore 0
    Copa America: Brazil 1, Uruguay 0
    Gold Cup: Mexico 2, U.S.A. 0
    U20 World Cup: Brazil U20s 2, Mexico U20s 0

    World Rnakings (top 20):


    A successful qualifying campaign for Euro 2024 means Germany are back after a couple of years in the international wilderness. Spain, hosts next year, drop a little due to no competitive games while a poor Copa America sees Argentina nearly drop out of the top 20.

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    Just read through the whole thread! Great journey and good work at Honduras, that striker (Diaz iirc?) was quality. I don't think any Englishman would've turned down the chance to manage them so you made the right choice, hopefully you can win the Euros then are you going to move on or wait until the home tournament (in Holland )

    Who are the appearance and goal-scoring record holders for England in the save? In mine both always end up being Wayne Rooney!

  33. #233
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    Thanks for reading o Jay Diaz was, and still is quality - in fact, with 34 goals, he has just broken the goals in a season record at Liverpool and has surpassed 100 goals for Honduras.

    Right you are about Rooney - 163 caps and 73 goals make him the current record holder for England on both counts. If I stay long enough, I could take Sheldon past the goals record though

  34. #234
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    Both group look simple enough to qualify from.

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    Dominant qualifying performance.

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    Great year.

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    I've seen worse qualifying performances

    100%- well done!

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    2026 qualifying group looks nice!

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    England 2024 Update: Euro 2024 Warm-ups




    With Euro 2024 looming, I wanted to get my team into action with a few friendlies. In March, we travelled to Albania for an easy 4-0 win. There were no more games until May when we hosted Brazil at Wembley. The old guard did the job for us as Alex Chamberlain and Phil Jones got the goals in a 3-1 victory. A few days later, we saw off Mexico 2-1, a good omen as we had lost to them in our last pre-tournament meeting two years ago. We were then on the road to beat Slovenia 3-0 and Czech Republic 1-0 before a return to Wembley for a pre-tournmament send off in the shape of a 3-0 win over Poland.

    6 wins out of 6 is the kind of form I was looking for ahead of the Euros!

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    England Update: Euro 2024 Group Stage


    We had a straightforward group in the Euros and were looking to build up momentum going into the knockout rounds. All started well as we beat Slovakia 2-0 with an assured performance. We suffered a little blip in the next game as we went behind to an early goal from Bosnia. We pulled level before half-time and should have won as the Bosnians had a man sent off in first half stoppage time. However, we couldn't score another goal and it finished 1-1. That left us with a little point to prove in our final game against Turkey and we did just that with a thumping 5-1 victory to put us through at the top of the group.

    Here's how the rest of the groups tables looked:




    The eliminaiton of Portugal was the biggest shock of the round by far. Here's how the teams have been paired up for the second round:



  41. #241
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    England Update: Euro 2024 Knockout Rounds


    Second Round
    We had a tricky-looking tie with Italy in the second round. Along with Engliand, they have been one of the best sides in Europe over the last ten years but this day was not their day. We dominated from the kick-off and were three up by half-time. One more came in the second half as we won with surprising ease by a score of 4-0.

    Quarter-final
    Czech Republic were up next and this time we were heavy favourites. Once again we dominated and were two goals up in the first 45 minutes. Despite creating more chances, we couldn't extend our lead and had a worrying final 20 minutes after the CZechs pulled one back. Thankfully, we held on for a 2-1 win.

    Semi-final
    Old rivals Germany awaited in the last four. It was a tight game but we had more chances and just about made that count as a goal in first half stoppage time was enough to put us through as 1-0 winners.

    Final
    Onto the biggest match of my career so far then as we faced Russia. An early goal from midfield maestro Dyson settled our nerves and when our opponents had a man sent off on the half hour mark, we knew we had a great chance. Unlike the game against Bosnia, we took advantage adding two more goals either side of the half-time break. Russia would pull one back later on but it was too little, too late from them as we won 3-1 to become European Champions!!

    This is how the rest of the knockout matches panned out:




    Most of the big guns went home in Round 2 meaning Germany were our only real threat. But still, we played well to win as shown by our six players in the Dream Team XI.

  42. #242
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    Congrats on the Euro! Nice to see England push past the quarter final barrier

  43. #243
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    Thanks cerud. As ever, the England team in FM outperforms the real life one - I merely helped them retain the crown after the previous manager won Euro 2020!

    On a side note, just noticed this result. Against Kazahkstan I know but still a big surprise


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    Excellent win for both you and Liechtenstein!

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    England 2024 Autumn Update: World Cup Qualifying



    Fresh off the back of our Euro 2024 triumph, we set out on the Road to Mexico '26 with the first of our ten qualifying games. We couldn't have asked for an easier start as we faced Luxembourg at home. A hat-trick of hat-tricks won the contest for us as Don Sheldon, Shaun Cheetham and Jack Wilshere all bagged three a piece in a crushing 9-0 victory. We came back down to earth with a bump in the next game though as we travlled to Sofia to take on Bulgaria. After falling behind to an early own goal, we took the lead twice only to be pegged back each time with the Bulgarians final goal coming in the 88th minute to earn them a 3-3 draw.

    Our next game suggested that the match in Bulgaria was just a blip as Wales were this time the victims of a Wembley mauling. This time Mark Bacon was the flavour of the day as he scored 5 and we beat our close neighbours 7-0. The next game saw another trip to Eastern Europe as we played Croatia in Zagreb. A woeful first half showing saw us 3 goals down at the break. I lambasted the team in the dressing room and it did the trick as we clawed two quick goals back. Bacon would be them man again as he drew us level with 7 minutes to go and it was then young centre back Michale Sims who became the hero, scoring his first international goal with a 25-yard pliedriver in the last minute. In the end, we won 4-3 but that first half performance was a worry.

    And so after 4 games, the table looks like this:



    When qualifying resumes next March, we face Scotland at Hampden Park. That is shaping up to be a fiery affair!

    Two friendlies were played in November with good results. An early Don Sheldon goal was enough to earn a 1-0 win over Germany and we then beat Nigeria 5-2. That was a good win but there were question marks over the defence in the first half as we allowed the Nigerians to equalise immediately after each of our opening goals. With Chris Smalling now retired, we don't have much cover in defence and if Phil Jones quits soon, we won't have any top class centre backs left.

    Special mention to West Ham striker Mark Bacon here, who scored 10 goals in 4 starts since the Euros. And to think, the press questioned his inclusion in the squad the first few times I called hime up!

  46. #246
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    2024 Review: England



    Quick Overview:

    Euro 2024: Winners!!

    2024 Results:



    A great year then as I won the first major continental trophy of my career and we impressively won all bar two of our games. We are nicely set up to qualify for Mexico '26 now as long as we can avoid an upset when we play Scotland in our next game.

    The Best XI for the year was a pretty accurate reflection of my first choice team (apart from the inclusion of Don Sheldon amongst the subs) and looked like this:




    We will also have a little bit of tournament action next year as our Euro 2024 win means we will head to Mexico for the Confederations Cup. I think it's fair to say we got quite an easy group:



    The Story So Far...
    Code:
    Year | Nation        | World Ranking | Notes 
    2011 | New Caledonia | 167th (+3)    | Pacific Games QF
    2012 | New Caledonia | 136th (+11)   | OCE Nations Cup finalists, Coupé DOM Group Stage, Sacked Nov 2012 
    2013 | Haiti         | 126th (+19)   | Friendlies...
    2014 | Haiti         | 142nd (-16)   | Caribbean Championship Winners!
    2015 | Haiti         | 131st (+12)   | Gold Cup Group Stage; resigned June 2015
    2015 | Honduras      | 30th          | Took job June 2015
    2016 | Honduras      | 35th (-5)     | Reached 4th Round of WCQ; Olympics Group Stage
    2017 | Honduras      | 40th (-5)     | Copa Centroamericano Finalists; Gold Cup Semi-finalists; Qualified for World Cup
    2018 | Honduras      | 20th (+20)    | World Cup Second Round
    2019 | Honduras      | 34th (-14)    | Copa Centroamericano Winners; Gold Cup Finalists
    2020 | Honduras      | 27th (+7)     | Resigned June 2020
    2020 | England       | 1st (-)       | Took job June 2020
    2021 | England       | 1st (-)       | Confederations Cup Winners; Qualified for World Cup
    2022 | England       | 1st (-)       | World Cup Quarter-finalists
    2023 | England       | 1st (-)       | Qualified for Euro 2024
    2024 | England       | 1st (-)       | Euro 2024 Winners!!

  47. #247
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    2023 International Review

    Europe and Oceania played their continental tournaments this year while the Arabs also got together for their own Nations Cup and France hosted the Olympics.

    Arab Nations Cup Final: Morocco 2, Qatar 0
    Euro 2024 Final: England 3, Russia 1
    OCE Nations Cup Final: New Zeland 2, Wallis & Futuna 1
    Olympic Games Gold Medal Match: Czech Republic U23s 1, France U23s 0

    December 2024 World Rankings:



    An impressive run to the last eight of the Euros sees the Czechs rise up the rankings but there are no real surprise teams this year.

  48. #248
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    Well done on winning the Euros and taking England to the top of the rankings!

  49. #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltablue View Post
    Excellent win for both you and Liechtenstein!
    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    Well done on winning the Euros and taking England to the top of the rankings!
    Cheers guys. As I said earlier, I've just picked up where the previous guy left off but my job is getting more difficult as key players get older and/or retire. After picking my latest squad, a news item said just 33% of Premier League players in the game are eligible for England! And only one plays abroad (right-back John Naylor, who is at AC Milan)

  50. #250
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    2025 England Update: World Cup Qualifying:



    There was the usual quiet start to the year with just two friendlies and two qualifiers before the summer. Our first opponents were Switzerland. An awful start saw us two goals down after just 6 minutes. We later pulled one back through Mark Bacon only to go 3-1 behind immediately. A few choice words at half-time had the desired effect as Bacon and Wilshere salvaged a 3-3 draw. Luckily, it was only a friendly but it was another worrying defensive performance.

    We returned to competitive action with a trip to Glasgow to take on the auld enemy Scotland. We were the better side but just couldn't find the breakthrough as the game finished 0-0. In June, we travelled to Luxembourg for another qualifier. An easy win was expected and that's what we got as hat-tricks from Michael Sims and Alex Chamberlain (who also missed a penalty) plus a strike from Bacon made up a 7-0 victory.

    With the Confederations Cup set to take place in Mexico in June, we went to Latin America early to play Argentina in a friendly. An even first half finished a goal apiece but we took control in the second half going 4-1 up before a late strike made it 4-2. Still, that was a good win to give us confidence going into our Confederations Cup defence.

  51. #251

    Cool

    Out of interest which past experience did you choose when you began this career?

    I'm thinking of starting a similar save tonight to take me through the last few weeks before FM13 is upon us

  52. #252
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    I chose Sunday League but I didn't start unemployed. I just plumped for an Oceanic nation as I figured that would be the weeakest group to start with.

  53. #253
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    Great Euros Dodgee.

    Liechtenstein scoring seven.

  54. #254
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    That was a shocker! They got tanked in the rest of their games though

    Got the 2025 Confederations Cup done (report to come later) and the 2026 World Cup seems a good place to round this thread off before FM13. I've just realised however that I haven't actually competed in any of the extra competitions I loaded

  55. #255
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    2025 England Update: Confederations Cup


    Group Stage
    We spent the month of June in Mexico looking to defend our Confederations Cup crown. Our group was very easy with only China seeming capable of posing a threat. They didn't, however, as we dominated the game and were left frustrated that we couldn't win by a greater margin than 2-0. New Zealand were up next and again we dominated scoring two batches of three goals in 5 minute spells in the first half and right at the end for a 6-0 win. Wİth top spot assured, we took it easy against the USA, who needed a win to qualify. We didn't let them have it though as we strolled to a 3-1 victory.

    China then followed us out of the group with the final tables looking like this:




    No Brazil in the last four then but a few dropped points meant we would face world champions Spain in the semis....

  56. #256
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    2025 England Update: Confederations Cup Knockout Rounds




    Semi-final

    After the breeze that was our group, we faced a tough tie in the semis with Spain. We went behind to an early goal but recovered to go 2-1 up by the break. A dodgy penalty award allowed Spain to level the game midway through the second half and that would be the end of the scoring as the game went all the way to extra time and then penalties. Luck was not on our side though as we lost the shoot-out 4-2 marking our second tournament elimination by the Spanish in three years...

    3rd Place Play-Off
    We then had to play one more match for thirs place. Surprisingly, we faced Mexico who had suffered a 1-0 defeat against China. In a reverse of our game with Spain, we took an early lead but were 2-1 down at the break. We then drew level with a second half penalty. Unlike the previous match, the socring did not end there as Michael Sims popped up with a late header to give us a 3-2 win right at the end of extra time.

    Final
    China made a good showing of themselves in the final but ultimately, Spain were too strong for them and ran out 2-1 winners.

    A shame then that we couldn't defend our title. There were promising signs for next summer though, especially the Best Player award winning performances of Jack Wilshere, who is still a key player for us even at 33.


  57. #257
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    2025 England Update: World Cup Qualifying & November Friendlies




    World Cup Qualifiers
    We were back in action in September and October to complete our World Cup Qualifying programme with three home games and a trip to Wales. Bulgaria were the first visitors to Wembley and we made up for our 3-3 draw earlier in the campaign with an emphatic 4-0 win. That meant we travelled to Cardiff knowing a win over the Welsh would put us firmly in the driving seat at the top of the group. A fantastic first half showing got us what we wanted as we raced into a 3-0 lead and that was how it stayed.

    That meant a point against Scotland in the next game would be enough
    . We went one better, scoring an early goal and claiming a 1-0 win. With our pace in Mexico assured, the players switched off a bit for the last game and we played out a dull 0-0 draw with the Croats. We did lend the Scots a helping hand though as that scoreline meant they secured second and a place in the play-offs.

    That left the final table looking like this:




    Friendlies
    In November, we hosted Chile and the usual suspects (Bacon and Wilshere) starred in a 3-0 win. We then decided to try something different and travlled to Tehran to take on Iran. It took a while to get the breakthrough but two quick goals on 70 and 75 minutes were enough for a 2-0 win.

    We now wait to see who we get in next year's World Cup - one last shot at glory!



  58. #258
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    Good luck for the draw.

  59. #259
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    2025 Review: England



    Quick Overview
    2026 World Cup Qualifiers: 1st in UEFA Group 4
    Confederations Cup: 3rd place

    2025 Results:


    Another year of solid results with the only disappointment being the penalty loss in the Confederations Cup semi. Still, we can go to next year's World Cup confident of our chances.

    Speaking of the World Cup, we've been drawn in Group H, which brings me together with my old friends from Honduras.



    Honduras are not wuite as good as they once were (indeed, Efrian Diaz took the decision to retire from international football last season aged just 29!) but Portugal and Colombia are bound to be tough opposition.

    The Story So Far...
    Code:
    Year | Nation        | World Ranking | Notes 
    2011 | New Caledonia | 167th (+3)    | Pacific Games QF
    2012 | New Caledonia | 136th (+11)   | OCE Nations Cup finalists, Coupé DOM Group Stage, Sacked Nov 2012 
    2013 | Haiti         | 126th (+19)   | Friendlies...
    2014 | Haiti         | 142nd (-16)   | Caribbean Championship Winners!
    2015 | Haiti         | 131st (+12)   | Gold Cup Group Stage; resigned June 2015
    2015 | Honduras      | 30th          | Took job June 2015
    2016 | Honduras      | 35th (-5)     | Reached 4th Round of WCQ; Olympics Group Stage
    2017 | Honduras      | 40th (-5)     | Copa Centroamericano Finalists; Gold Cup Semi-finalists; Qualified for World Cup
    2018 | Honduras      | 20th (+20)    | World Cup Second Round
    2019 | Honduras      | 34th (-14)    | Copa Centroamericano Winners; Gold Cup Finalists
    2020 | Honduras      | 27th (+7)     | Resigned June 2020
    2020 | England       | 1st (-)       | Took job June 2020
    2021 | England       | 1st (-)       | Confederations Cup Winners; Qualified for World Cup
    2022 | England       | 1st (-)       | World Cup Quarter-finalists
    2023 | England       | 1st (-)       | Qualified for Euro 2024
    2024 | England       | 1st (-)       | Euro 2024 Winners!!
    2025 | England       | 1st (-)       | Confederations Cup 3rd place; Qualified for World Cup

  60. #260
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    2025 International Review

    A quiet year on the tournament front with just four finals to report on:



    African Nations Cup Final: Cameroon 2, Mail 1
    Confederations Cup: Spain 2, China 1
    Gold Cup: Mexico 3, Honduras 0
    Mediterranean Games: Spain 2, Slovenia 0

    December 2025 World Rankings:




    The main event next year (and indeed the final stop for this career) will be the World Cup in Mexico. You've already seen England's group but now here's the group stage draw in full:




    Last edited by DodgeeD; 20-10-2012 at 10:10.

  61. #261
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    Decent chance of getting through that group.

  62. #262
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    So the FM13 BETA game came along before the World Cup came along and, you know how it is, despite best intentions, I left this save hanging. However, with both my FM13 saves halted by bugs, I thought I'd return to this to keep me ticking over until my copy of FM13 and a new patch arrives.

    A few friendlies to do first then it's World Cup time!

  63. #263
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    2026 World Cup: Warm-up matches



    We had five friendlies arranged ahead of the World Cup, three against demanding opposition in the shape of Spain, France and Russia, one away to Ecuador (suggested by my assistant as a way to get used to playing at altitude) and one against Mexican club side Zacatapec. Results were as follows:




    Against Spain and Russia, we were brilliant. Unfortunately, we were only brilliant for about 60 minutes in the France game as we blew a two-goal lead late on. We had plenty of chances against Ecuador but struggled to take them (although I did give my first choice strike partnership of Sheldon and Bacon a rest) and we were trigger happy againt Zacatapec.

    In cae you're wondering about the Holland game, I was wondering about that too! In order to get to the World Cup more quickly, I didn't arrange a friendly for March and then holidayed the game from December 2025 to the start of May 2026. It would seem that my assistant manager Martin Keown then took it upon himself to arrnage a match with the Dutch, which he also took charge of and we promptly lost 3-1. Especially annoying as that ended a 50 game unbeaten run stretching back to the last World Cup. :Mad:

  64. #264
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    2026 World Cup: Group Stage



    Matchday 1 v. Colombia
    Our opening game was a potentially tough one agasinst Colombia. However, we quickly asserted ourselves on the match dominating the first half and taking the lead mid-way through. There was cause for concern as veteran captain Jack Wilshere had a rush of blood and got himself sent off for a rough tackle just before the break but the team retained control of the game. Late drama ensued as Michael Sims
    extended our lead, Colombia hit back immediately and then had a few good chances to equalise. Luck was on our side though as an own goal late on gave us a 3-1 win.

    Matchday 2 v. Portugal
    The next game was the toughest of our group matches. Again we took control early and two first half goals gave us a commanding position. Portugal came back into after the break a little and made the score 2-1 but that was where the scoring finished.

    Matchday 3 v. Honduras
    And so the final game was against one of my former employers, Honduras. We dominated the game from start to finish but struggled to out the ball in the back of the net, relying on a header from Sims to give us a 1-0 win.

    That put us through to the next round on top of the group. The other groups finished as follows:





    One of the biggest surprises must be the early elimination of Italy, especially as they were top going into the last game only to lose to South Africa. Germany also slipped up with three draws but they have not been a major force for the last decade or so in my game.

  65. #265
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    2026 World Cup: Going out with a whimper...

    Second Round

    One side effect of Italy's early exit was that we ended up with Uruguay in the second round. We were in the weaker half of the draw and if we could get past Uruguay, we would have a good chance of getting to final. Alas, despite dominating the game and playing the last 15 minutes and all of extra time against ten men, we just couldn't score. The game went to penalties and we lost our nerve, missing three and losing out 3-2.

    So the dreams of finishing this career on a World Cup high were only dreams in the end as we go home disappointed.

    The rest of the knockout rounds went like this:






    It was Spain in the end who retained their title and beating a decent Czech side 3-2 in the final.


    That's it for FM12 for me. I guess it just wasn't meant to be as my main club career ended with Champions League disappointment and this career ends without the World Cup. I may do something similar for FM13 if the extra competitions are available again from the editor's forum. Hopefully this time I can have some more success with the smaller naitons.

    Thanks for reading.


  66. #266
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    That was a bit of a limp lettuce of an ending. Never mind!

  67. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by AK22 View Post
    That was a bit of a limp lettuce of an ending. Never mind!
    I know... When it went to penalties, I got a sinking feeling and sure enough, we lost.

    There's a pttern of this developing my careers though - back on FM10, I was in the running to win the Champions League and the World Cup in my last season and lost both and in FM11, my career came to a halt in the Dutch second tier... Who knows what failiures await me next time

  68. #268
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    Oh dear. The same ending as every tournament England play in in real life.

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