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[FM20] - Experiment: A Fairer 2026 FIFA World Cup


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DAY 25 - GAME 3

Biggest surprise of the direct qualifiers to the Round of 16 are Australia. Their free pass didn't give them an easier draw, though, as they'll face Germany.

Round of 16
Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, United States

iconfinder_Flag_of_Australia_96167.png.99d4c9344899cf775cea5d349857309c.pngaustralia1.png.ccb46dd5c5fbd88f04f7e41376fd54bd.pngf71394deae70b2f10568805f66d72fc1.pnggermany1.png.6c68839618a42d584041d7f990e73d14.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Germany_96145.png.94277d3f2c15643370c3a3dfda8b4a2b.png

Lineups:

Australia (Cautious 4-2-3-1 Narrow):
Ryan; Karacic, Degenek, Jurman, Smith (Substituted offSubstituted in 62' Behich); Mooy, Luongo, Kruse (Substituted offSubstituted in 1' Oar), Rogic Yellow card, Troisi; Giannou (Substituted offSubstituted in 56' Maclaren)

Germany (5-3-2 WB):
Neuer; Süle, Rüdiger, Tah, Kimmich, Schulz (Substituted offSubstituted in 46' Gosens); Gündogan (Substituted offSubstituted in 62' Can), Havertz, Kroos; Werner, Volland (Substituted offSubstituted in 75' Reus)

Report:
It took them another 120 minutes, but Germany deservedly qualified for the quarter-finals in Denver tonight. The team dominated all aspects off the game, but Australia, just like other upsets Morocco, haven proven to be nearly impossible to crack defensively. It wasn't surprisingly that the only goal of the game came from a free kick, which was taken by Toni Kroos and extended into the far corner by the head of Jonathan Tah. This will be Germany's seventeenth appearance in a World Cup quarter-final.

Statistics:
Goals 1
Shots 36
On Target 16
0.6 
Expected Goals 5.1
46% 
Possession 54%

Man of the Match:
Joshua Kimmich - Germany
(clean sheet, 5 crosses completed, 7 tackles won, 15 recoveries, 15 fouls received, 10 dribbles, 11 shots, 88% passing accuracy)

fdec190a565280e792b23a34be8e46cf.png

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DAY 25 - GAME 4

The fourth game in this Round of 16 is an encounter between two teams who have already met in the first round of this tournament. That one was a thrilling comeback by Switzerland against Argentina for the final score of 2-2. This time, some team will have to leave the field victorious. Who will it be?

Round of 16
Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, Canada

iconfinder_Flag_of_Argentina_96367.png.e5e8e5afa4ea08ca9617c5d12356f542.pngargentina1.png.030b121796491e0341c0b031baf8cfe3.png9829d748f1448ae89195ac44add40194.pngswitzerland1.png.1cab8c84985cb2ec65d74149c201f105.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Switzerland_96240.png.c5ba2c24de6d6c2cf9d7e82b37bfcd18.png

Lineups:

Argentina (4-2-3-1 Narrow):
Rulli; Bustos Yellow card, Otamendi Yellow card, Kannemann, Tagliafico Yellow card; Banega (Substituted offSubstituted in 84' Di María), Lo Celso, De Paul Yellow card (Substituted offSubstituted in 73' Palacios), Messi, Dybala; Agüero

Switzerland (Defensive 4-2-1-3 DM Wide):
Sommer; Elvedi, Schär, Akanji, Rodríguez; Zakaria, Xhaka, Fernandes (Substituted offSubstituted in 67' Freuler); Shaqiri, Vargas, Embolo (Substituted offSubstituted in 73' Ajeti)

Report:
Argentina's strong midfield quintuplet paved the way to victory for the South Americans in this Round of 16 matchup. Just like in their first encounter, la Albiceleste took a 2-0 lead, but the Swiss didn't manage to come back this time. The first half was pretty even, with Switzerland perhaps having the better chances to score. However, it was Rodrigo De Paul, who played his first minutes this tournament, who opened the scoring with a hard, low shot from outside the penalty area. A spectacular volley goal by Lionel Messi was ruled out for offside just before half time. In the second half, Argentina managed to impose their dominance on the Swiss and looked more like the tournament favourites that they are. Their defence hardly saw any Swiss crossing the halfway line and the midfield managed to create danger in a relentless fashion.

Statistics:
Goals 0
21 
Shots 8
10 
On Target 5
2.5 
Expected Goals 1.1
54% 
Possession 46%

Man of the Match:
Giovani Lo Celso - Argentina
(2 assist, 8 tackles won, 7 recoveries, 4 shots, 106 passes completed, 99% passing accuracy)

db2f9ab83f0e830ab7067407f1a47451.png

An absolute World Cup classic awaits us in the quarter-finals with Germany facing Argentina. After encounters in the 1958, 1966, 1986, 1990, 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, the eighth version will be held in Dallas!

 

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DAY 26 - GAME 1

We're down to the second day of Round of 16 games. Four title favourites will have to confront stiff challenges. Starting with France versus Slovakia.

Round of 16
Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Monterrey, Mexico

iconfinder_Flag_of_France_96147.png.0918239e9e36f49d6c03d90e4e004047.pngfrance1.png.99d4fd21f570e466354ec80a86fa1422.png82b4cc20c7f00ad011f68a42ac8c2a52.pngslovakia1.png.b30c49f6076ff546fb02fa94f1f02594.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Slovakia_96298.png.c7910135e4483bb1ff8ccceff900adbb.png

Lineups:

France (4-4-2 Diamond Narrow):
Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Mendy Yellow card (Substituted offSubstituted in 77' Hernández); Kanté, Pogba, Matuidi Yellow card (Substituted offSubstituted in 56' Tolisso), Fekir; Mbappé, Griezmann

Slovakia (Cautious 5-3-2 WB):
Dubravka; Skriniar, Vavro, Valjent Yellow card (Substituted offSubstituted in 88' Stetina), Pekarik, Hancko; Hamsik, Lobotka, Kucka; Duris (Substituted offSubstituted in 79' Hrosovsky), Bozenik (Substituted offSubstituted in 61' Duda)

Report:
Not the most exciting of games down in Mexico. Slovakia has been one of those hard to crack nuts in this tournament so far and this one wasn't any different. They even created the best chances in the first half. The second half, France managed to impose itself more and push Slovakia back. It took until the 78th minute before a breakaway landed in front of Antoine Griezmann's feet and he scored the winning goal. 

Statistics:
Goals 0
12 
Shots 7
On Target 2
1.2 
Expected Goals 1.0
42% 
Possession 58%

ca4d80a94eae98db11f358342a1e0f10.png

Could it be that we're going to see two prior World Cup finals both taking place in Texas next week?

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  • 2 weeks later...

DAY 26 - GAME 2

We're back with another exciting matchup. Brazil can book a rematch of the 1998 World Cup Final with a win over Senegal, but the Africans have been playing a very good tournament so far. All to play for in Guadalajara!

Round of 16
Estadio Akron, Guadalajara, Mexico

iconfinder_Flag_of_Brazil_96143.png.84a1813479b2ba69c4c78fbd53454d75.pngbrazil1.png.7f17858d2de0449138203c811ecb8a41.png92cff1b5229ae7274d2d39875a11e915.pngsenegal1.png.260956b80452b18fb8e572642e2f4f6b.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Senegal_96200.png.92a7a807e1826d2c93aa0791e251ea22.png

Lineups:

Brazil (Cautious 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow):
Alisson; Alves, Silva, Marquinhos (Substituted offSubstituted in 79' Militão Yellow card), Sandro Yellow card; Casemiro Yellow card, Arthur, Fernandinho, Coutinho (Substituted offSubstituted in 100' Barbosa); Firmino (Substituted offSubstituted in 62' Jesus), Neymar

Senegal (Cautious 4-2-2-2 DM Narrow):
Mendy; Wagué, Koulibaly, Sané, Souaré Yellow card; Gueye Yellow card, Kouyaté (Substituted offSubstituted in 90' Saivet), Ndiaye, Al. N'Diaye Yellow card (Substituted offSubstituted in 84' Kara); Mané, Niang (Substituted offSubstituted in 62' Baldé)

Report:
Tears streamed off Idrissa Gueye's face as the Senegal midfielder struck the post with his spot kick that sent the Lions of Téranga out of the World Cup. The Africans played a very solid game against an absolutely woeful Brazil side. The Seleção started way too nervously on the game as it was clear that the game of rest hadn't done their rhythm any good. It took until the second half before Brazil had their first shot of the game. Senegal had wasted some good chances by then, but the score remained level after 90 minutes. Brazil pressured a little bit in extra time, but it wasn't anything that scared goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who only had to make three saves in 120 minutes. In the penalty series, Brazil took the lead right away when Badou Ndiaye missed Senegal's first kick, but the South Americans didn't take advantage of that chance with their first chance of taking the win when Thiago Silva's kick went straight into Mendy's hands. Eventually it was no Brazilian at all who secured the win, as Gueye struck the post by himself.

Statistics:
Goals 0
Shots 17
On Target 5
1.1
Expected Goals 1.8
63% 
Possession 37%

Man of the Match:
Daniel Alves - Brazil
(clean sheet, 1 chance created, 11 recoveries, 5 fouls received, 121 passes, 94% passing accuracy)

aee3190effa32dccf2871d94c8226672.png

With that (undeserved) win, Brazil will now face France in Houston for a rematch of the '98 Final. Another classic World Cup match!

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DAY 26 - GAME 3

We finish the Round of 16 with two all-European encounters. There's a possibility of another previous World Cup Final coming out of these two ties, as the Netherlands and Spain await tough opponents.

Round of 16
FedEx Field, Washington D.C., United States

iconfinder_Flag_of_Netherlands_96202.png.7d7b4e2736cdedec65016fb3d12f04d7.pngnetherlands1.png.6c5109716140f88936190053749e5faf.png213150710740c09fbacf47e53debfa05.pngsweden1.png.c0e82fe844c1bf043ced47aaec7a3c66.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Sweden_96316.png.cbfae5e90f0678264bb830ef247bcbed.png

Lineups:

Netherlands (Positive 4-2-2-2 DM Narrow):
Cillessen; Hateboer Yellow card, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Aké; De Jong, Blind, Wijnaldum (Substituted offSubstituted in 76' De Roon), Van de Beek Yellow card; Depay, Bergwijn

Sweden (Defensive 4-4-1-1):
Olsen; Krafth, Lindelöf, Gagliolo, Augustinsson; Larsson (Substituted offSubstituted in 81' Kacaniklic), Ekdal Yellow card, Larsson, Forsberg Yellow card; Quaison (Substituted offSubstituted in 76' Tankovic), Isak (Substituted offSubstituted in 67' Berg)

Report:
The Netherlands have reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the seventh time in the nation's history after a boring 1-0 win over Sweden. Oranje went ahead on an early goal from Steven Bergwijn, who tapped in the rebound after Memphis Depay's header was blocked by Robin Olsen. From then on, the Dutch were keen on giving it a rest while the Swedes tried to create danger from their organized midfield. The Tre Kronor played a bit too organized, though, as they hardly ever really broke through the Dutch defense. Bergwijn could have made it two right before the end, but the Tottenham striker hit the post in a one-on-one situation with Olsen.

Statistics:
Goals 0
17 
Shots 12
On Target 5
2.2 
Expected Goals 1.8
45% 
Possession 55%

Man of the Match:
Steven Bergwijn - Netherlands
(1 goal, 8 recoveries, 4 shots)

252beb3cf5119f856a4cf28074d4eca4.png

Some very juicy quarter-finals coming up. Almost impossible to predict who's going to be the World Champion now!

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DAY 26 - GAME 4

We're down to the final game of the Round of 16. After tonight, only eight countries' hopes of lifting the World Cup remain alive. Who will join the seven already qualified? Spain or Austria?

Round of 16
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, United States

iconfinder_Flag_of_Spain_96317.png.283ba2d610d7d91cbff4c550970dc5c3.pngspain1.png.17f12c738231425f5482a3ea240bdcbb.pnga039599fb44459edd7e8b6675b6831d1.pngaustria2.png.d025079b35d9dcc262a3b9d2d079a3a6.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Austria_96139.png.1e17459759da90a2dc71cb6dd1bb6c92.png

Lineups:

Spain (Positive 4-2-2-2 DM Narrow):
De Gea; Roberto (Substituted offSubstituted in 85' Carvajal), Ramos, Hermoso, Alba Yellow card; Rodri Yellow card (Substituted offSubstituted in 79' Saúl), Busquets, Thiago, Koke Yellow card; Morata (Substituted offSubstituted in 85' Williams), Rodrigo

Austria (Defensive 4-4-2):
Lindner; Lazaro, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Alaba Yellow card; Sabitzer, Baumgartlinger (Substituted offSubstituted in 72' Grillitsch), Schlager, Ulmer (Substituted offSubstituted in 61' Hinterseer); Arnautovic, Gregoritsch

Report:
Spain booked its passage to the quarter-finals of this World Cup in comfortable fashion after beating Austria 2-0 in Baltimore. La Roja went ahead early after a good low cross from Jordi Alba found Rodrigo and they never really looked in trouble after that. Some huge chances were missed by Rodrigo to increase his tally, which kept the game only theoretically close. Spain eventually got the bigger victory it deserved when late substitute Iñaki Williams dribbled through the Austrian defense and easily scored his first goal of the tournament.

Statistics:
Goals 0
13 
Shots 8
On Target 4
2.2 
Expected Goals 1.2
52% 
Possession 48%

Man of the Match:
Thiago - Spain
(1 assist, clean sheet, 4 key passes, 2 chances created, 4 tackles won, 94% passing accuracy)

af7505901130c88d7049c10bc1675836.png

And so it's confirmed: we're going to have three former World Cup finals in the quarter-finals!

 

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DAY 29 - GAME 1

It's complete pandemonium today as all four quarter-finals will take place within mere hours. The first one is the "underdog" one, which doesn't necessarily mean anything given that the other three quarter-finals are all prior World Cup finals. Can Morocco finally guarantee a semi-final spot as the first African side to do so?

Quarter-finals
Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Canada

iconfinder_Flag_of_Morocco_96284.png.1c663b4e01ff46efc1c5b233292d3d5d.pngmorocco1.png.35392e21be1869f4a49abdca6067a0db.png21aeb99c56d53f5abedf795f18783e53.pnguruguay1.png.da03064de11c7cb800537b48456abe99.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Uruguay_96224.png.ed3c383ce886bffce9b45b5baa3fd822.png

Lineups:

Morocco (4-2-3-1 Wide):
Bounou; Hakimi, Saïss, Feddal, Mendyl; Belhanda, Amrabat, Ziyech, Taarabt (Substituted offSubstituted in 74' Boufal), Harit (Substituted offSubstituted in 84' Idrissi); En-Nesyri (Substituted offSubstituted in 79' Alioui)

Uruguay (Cautious 4-1-2-3 DM Wide):
Muslera; Cáceres, Giménez, Godín, Olaza; Bentancur (Substituted offSubstituted in 83' Lodeiro), Valverde (Substituted offSubstituted in 83' Vecino Yellow card), Torreira; Stuani, Suárez Yellow card, Cavani

Report:
It was more heartbreak for the continent of Africa by one man named Luis Suárez who prevented a semi-final spot for Morocco. Uruguay will go on to play its sixth World Cup semi-final. It was another strong game from fairytale story Morocco, but they just came minutes short in this game. After a nervous first half, the game was broken open by a piercing cross from Achraf Hakimi which put Amine Harit in the position to score from a tight angle just after half time. The stadium was buzzing, but just like in Johannesburg in 2010, Uruguay managed to sink hearts from the penalty spot. Just moments after the goal, Edinson Cavani was pushed in the box and scored the ensuin penalty kick to tie things up. Both teams created some great chances - Rachid Alioui had a huge chance to score from mere yards out, but his shot was blocked - but the game was decided by Suárez. The Barcelona striker received a cross from Lucas Torreira and powered a header behind World Cup revelation Yassine Bounou one minute before the end of regulation.

Statistics:
Goals 2
12 
Shots 11
On Target 8
1.8 
Expected Goals 1.5 + 1 PK
38% 
Possession 62%

Man of the Match:
Luis Suárez - Uruguay
(1 goal, 1 chance created, 6 tackles won, 14 recoveries, 5 fouls received, 5 shots, 85% passing accuracy)

8ee9255e069be172aacd0ad046aba57b.png

Uruguay is the first team in the Final Four. Will we get a Rioplatense derby or can Germany beat Argentina?

Edited by Timetxu
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DAY 29 - GAME 2

Now it gets really interesting. A trio of World Cup finals, beginning with one of the most played encounters in World Cup history: Germany - Argentina.

Quarter-finals
AT&T Stadium, Dallas, United States

iconfinder_Flag_of_Germany_96145.png.32ab4c9eae4a36cd34e8bd1b6ef95feb.pnggermany1.png.c1e788d7cf59173e42adaa829a17cf25.png75465a4dbe9e2be0ef300f48ce7e1e99.pngargentina1.png.b92b32c2ba127513d6e04eb1e1d9eacf.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Argentina_96367.png.cd0cd81c0816f01737f429fd5ccab518.png

Lineups:

Germany (Cautious 4-2-1-3 DM Wide):
Neuer; Klostermann, Rüdiger Yellow card, Süle, Schulz; Kimmich, Can, Kroos; Gnabry (Substituted offSubstituted in 85' Volland), Reus, Werner

Argentina (Cautious 4-2-1-3 DM Wide):
Rulli; Bustos Yellow card, Otamendi, Kannemann, Tagliafico (Substituted offSubstituted in 74' Pezzella); Palacios, Paredes, Lo Celso (Substituted offSubstituted in 83' Banega Yellow card); Messi, Di María Yellow card, Agüero

Report:
A second half resurgence from Germany paved the way for yet another semi-final appearance for Die Mannschaft. After some unconvincing appearances in the first two knockout rounds, Germany was all over this game and impressively played out their strategy against an Argentinian side that seemed to grow in the tournament. That scenario played out in the first half as la Albiceleste went ahead when Lionel Messi was tackled in the box and scored the penalty kick. Germany was pretty dangerous though, especially on the right hand side where Serge Gnabry completely dominated Nicolás Tagliafico all game long. That led to quite some chances in the first half and even more in the second. The Argentine manager, however, decided to relieve Tagliafico from his suffering just fifteen minutes before the end of the game. By then, Germany had completely come back from goals by, ironically, two of the least offensive players. A corner kick and a free kick, both swung in by Toni Kroos, were worked into the goal by Joshua Kimmich and Antonio Rüdiger around the one hour mark. Argentina seemed stunned as they could hardly regain any grip on the game.

Statistics:
Goals 1
21 
Shots 5
13 
On Target 2
3.0 
Expected Goals 0.6 + 1 PK
59% 
Possession 41%

Man of the Match:
Toni Kroos - Germany
(1 assist, 6 crosses completed, 7 key passes, 8 recoveries, 99 passes completed, 95% passing accuracy)

2c50dabe878958572b752b4ce4b46aea.png

The first semi-final is set! Either Uruguay or Germany will be present in the 22nd World Cup Final.

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DAY 29 - GAME 3

It's quarter-final number three and a repeat of the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final, as well as a repeat of a 2006 FIFA World Cup quarter-final. Both times, France played the final. What will happen in Houston?

Quarter-finals
NRG Stadium, Houston, United States

iconfinder_Flag_of_France_96147.png.93e3003dcb9379de79d51840b8d3acc2.pngfrance1.png.b12a8bef03326c80f71b3ff5bae638e4.png90a753208964292c1071bf5675c3fd13.pngbrazil1.png.886a3134e780a0cc3c497d9d77f67d2e.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Brazil_96143.png.136d7370d7e6d7ca5390aa860fa73485.png

Lineups:

France (Cautious 4-2-2-2 DM Narrow):
Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti (Substituted offSubstituted in 90' Lenglet), Mendy (Substituted offSubstituted in 90' Hernández); Kanté Yellow card, Matuidi, Tolisso (Substituted offSubstituted in 96' Fekir), Pogba; Mbappé, Griezmann

Brazil (Cautious 4-2-1-3 DM Wide):
Alisson; Alves, Silva, Marquinhos Yellow card, Sandro; Fernandinho, Casemiro, Arthur (Substituted offSubstituted in 71' Fabinho); Costa (Substituted offSubstituted in 56' Everton), Neymar, Firmino (Substituted offSubstituted in 68' Jesus)

Report:
It was a true thriller in Houston that had to be decided from the spot, but two stopped penalties by Hugo Lloris and a strong performance by Benjamin Mendy in the 120 minutes prior granted France a passage to the semi-finals of this World Cup. The first half was of a dreadful level thanks to the nervousness of both teams. France managed to assert itself in the second half and a close-range shot by Antoine Griezmann was just blocked. Nobody managed to score, however, and Brazil suddenly changed the momentum by going all out attack in the extra time. Still, none of the teams managed to find the net. The difference was made after penalties. Lloris saved the first two Brazilian kicks and the French takers were all perfect for a 4-2 win.

Statistics:
Goals 0
15 
Shots 9
On Target 3
1.5 
Expected Goals 0.9
35%
Possession 65

Man of the Match:
Benjamin Mendy / Hugo Lloris - France
(clean sheet, 12 tackles won, 12 recoveries) / (clean sheet, 4 shots saved, 2 penalties saved during penalty series)

d21a51c3fad5ee1f5f266d20de56e1b5.png

This will be France's seventh appearance in a World Cup semi-final.

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DAY 29 - GAME 4

We're down to the final one of the quarter-finals. After two former World Cup finals, we finish with a rematch of the 2010 version: Netherlands against Spain.

Quarter-finals
Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, United States

iconfinder_Flag_of_Netherlands_96202.png.183a7d2d5cd61adc32e3a83e627c3e8e.pngnetherlands1.png.4e18a5e1302542d70cb58839fc681484.png81f79c2a2261f9f3f7bad4b085e69252.pngspain2.png.5b42d38f7484327da6f8c2fb28751d44.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Spain_96317.png.221ef98f3371a14ed7f0911efc0f91b7.png

Lineups:

Netherlands (Positive 5-3-2 WB):
Cillessen; De Vrij, Van Dijk, De Ligt Yellow card, Blind, Hateboer Yellow card; Van de Beek, De Jong, Wijnaldum; Bergwijn, Depay

Spain (Positive 4-2-3-1 DM Wide):
De Gea; Roberto, Ramos, Hermoso Yellow card, Alba; Busquets, Rodri, Thiago, Williams (Substituted offSubstituted in 62' Isco), Vitolo (Substituted offSubstituted in 68' Koke); Morata (Substituted offSubstituted in 68' Rodrigo)

Report:
It was a very attractive game in Atlanta between two sides who kept true to their identity and chose an offensive strategy. The first attempt of the game was a goal straight away as Vitolo headed in at the far post after an Iñaki Williams cross and a Thiago extension. The rest of the first half was as expected: Spanish control based football, combined with lethal Dutch counter-attacks. The Dutch equalized after 33 minutes on a corner kick, though, as Hans Hateboer - who is having a ridiculously good World Cup - struck home on a Virgil van Dijk assist. In the second half, Oranje took over possession and pushed Spain all the way back on its own half. It looked like the Dutch were most keen on progressing to the semi-finals, which led to the Spanish head coach to bring on Rodrigo. The striker had been used only 28 minutes in the three pool play games, but he is showing he deserves a starting XI spot. Out of one of the rare moments Spain crossed the halfway line, Rodrigo struck home on a long free kick from Jordi Alba. The Dutch tried what they could, but some sloppy defending crushed their hopes as Rodrigo also recorded an assist. His cross was tapped in at the far post by Isco in the final minute of the game.

Statistics:
Goals 3
13
Shots 7
On Target 6
2.0 
Expected Goals 1.1
47%
Possession 53%

Man of the Match:
Rodrigo - Spain
(1 goal, 1 assist, 1 chance created) 

5bd9d0f4f04f5182fbc71ed968677052.png

This will only be the third semi-final appearance of the Spaniards. How will they fare against France?

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4 hours ago, corinthiano said:

Shame Brazil is out, but it what tends to happen when we play France...hoping for a Uruguay upset now :)

I feel the same way about the Netherlands losing to Spain unfortunately :lol:

Edited by Timetxu
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DAY 32 - GAME 1

It's that part of the tournament where you really start to feel those butterflies. Which team will qualify for the 22nd World Cup Final? Will it be Uruguay or Germany?

Semi-finals
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, United States

iconfinder_Flag_of_Uruguay_96224.png.c0454d0dc27f99c328584d3f46466493.pnguruguay1.png.2c80b818c5e57d6b8ba4f109762271b9.png72d4f664df12000d43a6d71a5c9bc783.pnggermany1.png.d943dd919e623ff518b1404f788625f2.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Germany_96145.png.9826f78c649798685655d9db33b2cf79.png

Lineups:

Uruguay (Cautious 4-1-2-3 DM Wide):
Muslera; Cáceres (Substituted offSubstituted in 97' D. Suárez), Giménez Yellow card, Godín, Olaza; Bentancur, Valverde, Torreira (Substituted offSubstituted in 79' Vecino); Stuani (Substituted offSubstituted in 63' Lodeiro), L. Suárez Yellow card, Cavani

Germany (4-4-1-1):
Neuer; Kimmich, Rüdiger Red card, Süle, Schulz; Gnabry (Substituted offSubstituted in 68' Volland), Kroos, Gündogan (Substituted offSubstituted in 2' Tah), Reus; Havertz (Substituted offSubstituted in 63' Can), Werner

Report:
An ecstatic Kevin Volland sent the Rose Bowl in pandemonium after a heroic, last-minute overtime victory by Germany, who have qualified for the tenth World Cup Final in its existence. The game started with an absolute shock as Antonio Rüdiger was sent off after only 67 seconds for a horrendous tackle on Edinson Cavani. It would turn out that the Germans would therefore play with a man less for nearly two hours. They did not hold back, though, as another horrible tackle, this time from José Giménez, led to a German penalty after 37 minutes. Marco Reus did not waste the chance. The second half was of a different calibre and more of what one would expect from a team down one man: Uruguay attacked and created many chances. Probably the worst one of them, a seemingly hopeless attempt from Luis Suárez, did find its way in when it was deflected. As time went on, Uruguay became more and more dangerous as Germany held on. When the game went to extra-time, though, die Mannschaft seemed to have found a new source of energy. The added thirty minutes were a true attacking spectacle as both countries had good chances to score. Just when everyone thought this one was going to penalties, Nico Schulz broke away on the left flank and gave a perfect cross to Volland, who scored probably one of the most memorable goals in German football history.

Statistics:
Goals 2
20 
Shots 14
14 
On Target 6
2.3
Expected Goals 1.3 + 1 PK
44% 
Possession 56%

Man of the Match:
Nico Schulz - Germany
(1 assist, 1 chance created, 6 tackles won, 14 recoveries, 92 passes, 86% passing accuracy)

c07c99007c117a7861717b6b1cb71c66.png

The World Cup title will stay in Europe as the last three winners are the only teams remaining. There's one thing for sure and that's that we'll have a matchup we haven't seen in a World Cup Final before!

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DAY 32 - GAME 2

There's not a lot to say anymore but who will join Germany in the 22nd World Cup Final?

Semi-finals
Estadio Azteca, Ciudad de México, Mexico

iconfinder_Flag_of_France_96147.png.1fd1c6977004917e6e4f01c2b9a5f53e.pngfrance1.png.6284253e175d49616b7bff96d48ec6b3.png13b9d12e005a249a184df3548e9235f3.pngspain2.png.32c2c348750fa8a7a2171faa2953fd35.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Spain_96317.png.6b0c0d064bb090d0ef95fcabe94a2676.png

Lineups:

France (Cautious 4-1-2-3 DM Wide):
Lloris; Pavard Yellow card, Varane, Umtiti (Substituted offSubstituted in 96' Lenglet), Mendy Yellow-red card; Kanté, Matuidi (Substituted offSubstituted in 90' Tolisso), Pogba; Griezmann, Dembélé (Substituted offSubstituted in 53' Hernández), Mbappé

Spain (Positive 4-4-2):
De Gea; Roberto (Substituted offSubstituted in 82' Carvajal), Ramos, Hermoso, Alba; Saúl, Busquets Yellow card, Thiago, Koke (Substituted offSubstituted in 90' Isco); Morata Yellow card (Substituted offSubstituted in 82' Williams), Rodrigo Yellow card

Report:
After another semi-final worthy of a World Cup, France will play its fourth World Cup Final and its second in a row! It was another thriller that went to extra-time and for the second game in a row, the eventual winners had to play a considerable time with ten men. Up until that fateful moment in the 53rd minute, France was absolutely dominating the game and left Spain without any chance. Les Bleus took the lead on a beautiful strike from Antoine Griezmann. Then, a second yellow card from Benjamin Mendy completely altered the game. Spain went in full-attack mode and bombarded the French goal with shots. Just when everyone thought La Roja would be left with nothing, all hell broke loose. With all three minutes of stoppage time played, France cleared the ball from its box, ready to cheer. However, Thiago brought the ball back into the box and defender Dani Carvajal blasted home a beautiful diagonal strike. The French players were furious at the referee for allowing the goal to stand, who immediately whistled for extra-time. It was all the more commentable, though, that les Bleus recovered mentally in such quick fashion from that goal, because just eight minutes into extra-time, man of the match Griezmann sent away Kylian Mbappé for a breakaway with a sublime pass behind the Spanish back line. The PSG striker did not waste the opportunity and sent France to New York. Spain continued to pound the French goal with shots, but this time, there was no stoppage time salvation.

Statistics:
Goals 1
15 
Shots 31
On Target 16
1.9
Expected Goals 3.5
55% 
Possession 45%

Man of the Match:
Antoine Griezmann - France
(1 goal, 1 assist, 3 key passes, 1 chance created, 4 interceptions, 6 tackles won, 12 recoveries, 6 fouls received, 8 shots)

aca56a6e9ff03ffb1b6bebf91c5d1066.png

And there you have it, the World Cup Final is set! Germany and France will play one final, classic encounter for eternal glory!

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On 11/12/2020 at 21:29, corinthiano said:

Interesting both teams with 10 men won! Spain and Uruguay will feel like they missed a big opportunity...

 

21 hours ago, dcu4life said:

Wow crazy drama in both semifinals! If only the real world cups were this good :)

There's definitely some national trauma material in there! 

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DAY 35

In theory it's the least interesting game, but it's a game between two big countries nonetheless. Uruguay and Spain faced off in the first round of the tournament. There was no winner there. There will definitely be one tonight.

Third place play-off
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, United States

iconfinder_Flag_of_Uruguay_96224.png.2c98dd6955d370789d4e421dc9b6a03d.pnguruguay1.png.fc44aab7afef6f0d191b1e3987ae2201.png3501a3a87758158555933679c03a71d8.pngspain1.png.3934aeec16c8dbc7b490551acb8f0d54.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_Spain_96317.png.2777e470051d4d914db4bde96bdf3870.png

Lineups:

Uruguay (Cautious 4-1-2-3 DM Wide):
Muslera; Cáceres, Giménez, Godín, Olaza Yellow card; Bentancur, Valverde (Substituted offSubstituted in 62' Vecino), Torreira Yellow card; Stuani (Substituted offSubstituted in 90' Lodeiro), Suárez Yellow card, Cavani (Substituted offSubstituted in 102' De Arrascaeta)

Spain (Positive 4-4-2 Diamond Narrow):
De Gea; Roberto, Ramos, Hermoso, Alba (Substituted offSubstituted in 67' Carvajal Yellow card); Busquets, Thiago Yellow card, Koke (Substituted offSubstituted in 62' Saúl), Isco (Substituted offSubstituted in 67' Fabián); Morata Yellow card, Rodrigo

Report:
Uruguay took home the bronze medal after the two sides were forced to slog out another 120 minutes for practically no good reason at all. It wasn't a bad game, however, as both Uruguay and Spain showed enough willingness to attack early on, resulting in goals from Edinson Cavani and Álvaro Morata - who was still in line to claim the tournament's Golden Boot Award. In the second half, chances were fewer, but the quality was higher. Both teams came close to scoring on multiple times. Nobody did, however, and therefore another extra-time for these two worn-out sides was necessary. From that point on, it looked like Spain really couldn't care less about the third place anymore. Uruguay attacked and attacked, did not score, but did secure the win after penalty kicks. Thiago first struck the post and the penalty series came to an end when Fernando Muslera stopped Sergi Roberto's awful kick.

Statistics:
Goals 1
15 
Shots 21
On Target 10
2.0
Expected Goals 2.5
64% 
Possession 36%

Man of the Match:
Luis Suárez - Uruguay
(1 assist, 8 tackles won, 20 recoveries, 9 fouls received, 4 shots)

0d0d5fa96227bfb369320b56ac96ca95.png

Only the Big Game left...

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Is there anything more meaningless than the third placed play-off game?  A game no one can be bothered to win!

It's interesting to see just how tight these last games have been which probably shows the teams deserve to be there.

I've really enjoyed this format and it's been a good read - thank you for sharing 🙂

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20 hours ago, dcu4life said:

You should live stream the final :)

Haha, I'm not really good with streaming stuff, but I'll make sure to write a play-by-play that is as immersive as possible!

20 hours ago, bazhsw said:

Is there anything more meaningless than the third placed play-off game?  A game no one can be bothered to win!

It's interesting to see just how tight these last games have been which probably shows the teams deserve to be there.

I've really enjoyed this format and it's been a good read - thank you for sharing 🙂

Thank you for your words! I've really enjoyed writing it so when I'm done with this, I'll switch to FM21 and see if I can come up with new possible tournament formats that would have a realistic shot at implementation.

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THE FINAL - PREVIEW

There's only one day like this every four years: the day when a nation immortalizes itself into football history. We've gathered at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, nearby New York for a confrontation between four-time winners Germany, who can join Brazil atop the list of most World Cup titles against two-time winners and reigning champions France.

iconfinder_Flag_of_Germany_96145.png.4075a0e9d5a5bfc978a8683fd1bc5a3a.png           iconfinder_Flag_of_France_96147.png.76bce823398ade971a96d931f813ab9f.png

germany1.png.d9ef047745ab06f4b3eb74b5b0209bd8.png france1.png.1f28617217cc6ceb236744579ffad61c.png

Road to the Final:

8e8cfbf83b8d10b0b542d1d4921bd133.png

 

Lineups:

bbe1e573b35a79212b551c0e1b71750f.png

 

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FIRST HALF

3613eb1f9d37950e031546097dcec82f.png

Welcome to New York. It's the 22nd FIFA World Cup Final. Which European nation will claim another star to its collection?

----------

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A rather nervous first fifteen minutes of the game. Germany has mostly pushed France back onto its own half. This has resulted in two rather undangerous attempts at Hugo Lloris' target.

----------

51f7a138c0afa1c479b7afab752d3b3c.png

And it's France's first attempt of the game. Paul Pogba receives a cross from Benjamin Pavard but heads it into the hands of Manuel Neuer. Neuer rolls it out quickly and Germany seem to create a very dangerous counter-attack, but Nico Schulz' shot is from too tight of an angle to make life difficult for Lloris. Still, another shot on target for Die Mannschaft.

----------

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It's a classic World Cup Final in that it's a very nervous affair. In the last six minute, only Germany have tried an attempt, but Kai Havertz' shot from outside the box went deep into the stands. Lot of tension so far!

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France has its biggest chance of the game so far: Benjamin Mendy's head meets a corner kick, but his powerful header ends up straight into Manuel Neuer's hands.

----------

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Both teams add a shot to their total, but nothing really worrisome. Nope, it hasn't been a very good game so far in New York. Let's see if the second half will be any better.

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SECOND HALF:

bd3a20f5fb92a71a428bce0c74bcefea.png

France gets the action back underway. Both teams have come out of the dressing rooms unchanged.

----------

54a115949dcf65c523010e63c05c2e1e.png

Oh and there it is straight away!!! France take the kickoff, pass it wide to Benjamin Mendy who covers some ground, and see him quickly cross the ball into the box towards Antoine Griezmann, who sneaks up on Antonio Rüdiger and lashes out a powerful strike. Neuer can only get a finger to it as the ball ends up in the net for the French lead!

d471eec4ff0bedc694f9086fa3184b1c.png

----------

e20995c47ee514d633ad0324eda4a34e.png

This second half certainly is no copy of the first so far. Germany breaks away for a counter-attack as Lukas Klostermann's cross is found by Kevin Volland, but the Monaco striker's header again ends up in Hugo Lloris' hands.

----------

dfbaba3814e7fbf1f0d48ef868bc3de6.png

Already fifteen minutes down in this second half. Volland has had another header end up in Lloris' hands. Germany will have to think of something here...

 

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89a472d626f8db52d1f314a30856cde6.png

It's basically Germany in possession, passing it wide to it's fullbacks and hoping that a cross meets Timo Werner or Kevin Volland's head. Something's gotta give, so the German manager brings Mario Götze for Volland. The PSV striker made himself a hero back in Brazil in 2014, but he's not gifted with a lot of aerial power.

----------

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Ten more minutes and no new substitutions so far... except for the first five minutes in the second half this has been quite the underwhelming World Cup Final. Are we going to see something spectacular at the end?

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dff612f6b1bc9cd2d4962e0b7858f914.png

Oh it's like there's magic in my words! A cross from Benjamin Pavard ends up at Antonio Rüdiger's feet, who just cannons it away for a corner kick. This ends up as another costly error from the Chelsea defender, because Antoine Griezmann's ensuing corner kick is met by the head of  Raphaël Varane who easily beats Joshua Kimmich in the air. It's 2-0 France with only ten minutes to go!

a8b6e48f9d64a0f0b7ca624ba2449287.png

The German coach is having none of it and makes a double substitution, but weirdly enough, he takes out defenders Rüdiger and Nico Schulz for.... defenders Jonathan Tah and Robin Gosens...

----------

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All Germans go forward at a Toni Kroos cross, but Joshua Kimmich heads it over.

----------

fa21fffa6a995dea90d6d87a7343f2a0.png

Now it's France who get a free kick, but Paul Pogba's header is acrobatically saved by Manuel Neuer.

----------

4bc7fa3719e205f9d0824a0e657d6b4e.png

Three minutes are added on....

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And there it is!!! It's the final whistle! France does it! After Italy '34-'38 and Brazil in '58-'62, they're the third nation to retain the World Cup title! Les Bleus will no longer be wearing just two stars over their emblem. It's three's a crowd from now on!

957e3182ff368589af343f327657f010.png

350546961eacd2ffc73c2b529ebbcd5e.png

e10042f828179647366c43df389018a6.png

3e6e4765854a50ea28a4df7bc93c3fb4.jpg

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DAY 36
THE FINAL
METFIFE STADIUM, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES

iconfinder_Flag_of_Germany_96145.png.55d564193024750ae3e3bf1affc81938.pnggermany1.png.7288aac3253b2cf4fa5e21dda0065282.pnga113e0d4d7c710327f4fa321ef451db3.pngfrance1.png.ec2f7c08c12ccd1fb481353e219f3f40.pngiconfinder_Flag_of_France_96147.png.ab6484fcfb65c551f57885a3369a3c5c.png

Lineups:

Germany (4-4-2-2 DM Narrow):
Neuer; Klostermann, Rüdiger (Substituted offSubstituted in 82' Tah), Süle, Schulz (Substituted offSubstituted in 82' Gosens Yellow card); Kimmich, Can, Kroos Yellow card, Havertz; Werner (Substituted offSubstituted in 67' Götze), Volland

France (Cautious 4-4-2-2 DM Narrow):
Lloris; Pavard (Substituted offSubstituted in 90+3' Fekir), Varane, Umtiti, Mendy; Kanté, Matuidi, Tolisso, Pogba; Mbappé, Griezmann

Report:
France takes home the World Cup trophy for the third time in the nation's history. In a rather underwhelming final in New York, the French were hyperclinical by scoring twice on just three shots all second half. The first half was an absolute eyesore, but the second half started with a Benjamin Mendy cross, finding Antoine Griezmann who struck home after only 37 seconds. The game went flat rather quickly after that. Germany was left to crosses that were collected rather easily by Hugo Lloris. With only ten minutes to go, Raphaël Varane powered in a corner kick to ensure the French victory.

Statistics:
Goals 2
Shots 5
On Target 4
1.2 
Expected Goals 0.8
52% 
Possession 48%

Man of the Match:
Raphaël Varane - France
(1 goal, clean sheet, 7 recoveries, 94% passing accuracy) 

07a69f52bf88451aea8429990cb9af54.png

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WORLD CUP RECAP

The World Cup is over and therefore we look back with some final statistics:

 

GOLDEN BALL:

ANTOINE GRIEZMANN (FRANCE)

 

GOLDEN BOOT (TOP GOALSCORER):

- LIONEL MESSI (ARGENTINA)

- Harry Kane (ENG)

- Álvaro Morata (ESP), Antoine Griezmann (FRA), Marco Reus (GER), Ricardo Rodríguez (SUI)

- Paulo Dybala (ARG), Edinson Cavani (URU)

- Roberto Firmino (BRA), Kylian Mbappé (FRA), Hans Hateboer (NED), Luis Suárez (URU)

- Marko Arnautovic (AUT), Neymar (BRA), Lucas Cavallini (CAN), Duván Zapata (COL), Djaniny (CPV), John Stones (ENG), James Maddison (ENG), Marcus Rashford (ENG), Tammy Abraham (ENG), Iñaki Williams (ESP), Isco (ESP), Vitolo (ESP), Rodrigo (ESP), Timo Werner (GER), Son Heung-min (KOR), Romain Saïss (MAR), Amine Harit (MAR), Youssef En-Nesyri (MAR), Rachid Alioui (MAR), Kalifa Coulibaly (MLI), Moussa Marega (MLI), Miguel Almirón (PAR), Paolo Guerrero (PER), Badou Ndiaye (SEN), Michael Bradley (USA)

127 players

+ 1 own goal

 

GOLDEN GLOVE:

YASSINE BOUNOU (MOROCCO)

 

BEST YOUNG PLAYER:

MOUSSA WAGUÉ (SENEGAL)

 

MOST ASSISTS:

- JAMES MADDISON (ENGLAND), JORDI ALBA (SPAIN)

- Antoine Griezmann (FRA), Younes Belhanda (MAR), Moussa Wagué (SEN), Rodrigo Bentancur (URU)

- Giovani Lo Celso (ARG), Lionel Messi (ARG), Juan Cuadrado (COL), Ahmed Elmohamady (EGY), Trent Alexander-Arnold (ENG), Ben Chilwell (ENG), Thiago (ESP), Serge Gnabry (GER), Toni Kroos (GER), Julio César de León (HON), Bobby DeCordova-Reid (JAM), Raúl Jiménez (MEX), Hans Hateboer (NED), Pape Souaré (SEN), Emil Krafth (SWE), Emil Forsberg (SWE), 

- 104 players

 

TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT:

2d1e0ec85d1a005f58e7d9011ab055af.png

Edited by Timetxu
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20 hours ago, dcu4life said:

Well done! Thoroughly enjoyed this entire experiment! 

 

1 hour ago, collindinho said:

Fantastic from start to finish! Very well executed and written up, @Timetxu

Thanks guys! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I like this new format. Top 8 gets a BI. Now, as for the 3rd place playoff for the bronze medal, people say this match is pointless but I disagree so my suggestion is this: The bronze medalist vs silver medalist, the winner gets an automatic qualifications to the next world cup. This is a great incentive to watch the 3rd place playoff match and whoever gets the bronze medal, they face the losers of the finals and whoever wins gets a qualification to the next world cup. This is great.

Now, looking back at the 1st page, what I don't like is that when it comes to qualifications, I don't like how in a group of 4, only 1st place gets qualified. I'd say let the 2nd place gets qualified as well. It works this way like UCL. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Now, people say the Euros aren't important because how competitive but I believe that the winner of the euros should gets an automatic qualified to the world cup so the current winners are Portugal so they get a BI. This is great incentive. The Best team in Europe gets a BI (1), Best team in South America vs (America vs Canada vs Caribbean islands, etc.) whoever is the Best of the Americas gets a BI(2), Best team in Africa gets a BI(3), Best team in Asia gets a BI(4) and for Oceania(5), etc. Or split the Americas so that Best team in South America and North America gets a BI so 6 total BI's.

Whichever you choose.

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  • 2 months later...

@Timetxu - Edwin, is that you? ;)

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/56325695

"The idea, which has been credited to Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar, would lead to radical change to the group phase.

Instead of eight groups of four playing six games each as is currently the case, all teams would play 10 matches against opponents of varying strengths and decided on each club's Uefa ranking.

Results in these matches would form an overall table which, along with some two-legged play-offs, would determine qualification for the post-Christmas knockout rounds."

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 09/03/2021 at 23:24, corinthiano said:

@Timetxu - Edwin, is that you? ;)

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/56325695

"The idea, which has been credited to Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar, would lead to radical change to the group phase.

Instead of eight groups of four playing six games each as is currently the case, all teams would play 10 matches against opponents of varying strengths and decided on each club's Uefa ranking.

Results in these matches would form an overall table which, along with some two-legged play-offs, would determine qualification for the post-Christmas knockout rounds."

Going to send him a letter for some sweet sweet copyright infringement money.

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