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Everything posted by Matt_no_7

  1. "So Matty, how goes the search for an agent?" Redknapp asked without taking his eye's off the Olympic's final showing on the large TV in the players lounge. "It doesn't really, for the time being i've been able to handle it all, even with all the increased hype after the Euro's..." "Well we've had a few people call offering their service's or just trying to get your contact details..." He said befre cursing loudly as Damiao got to Hulk's flick on before firing low past Hart to put Brazil in front with less than 15 minutes gone. The whole room followed suit with a collective sigh. The game wore on with Team GB struggling to contain the slick passing and movement of the impressive line up of young Brazilan stars such as Neymar, Damiao and Rafael. There was however hope in the fact that as much as they managed to bypass the midfield, Cork, Smalling and Jones all seemed upto the task as they produced tackles, blocks and clearences in abundance. Then, the nation was given further hope as Cork, filling in at left back for the day, played a pass into the feet of Rooney who dinked it into the box where it evaded everyone but Carroll who met it with a powerful placed header to send the 90,000 at Wembley stadium wild. The room erupted in a loud cheer and though Leeds pair McCarthy and Sinclair hadn't started, there was hope that at least one of them would be able to get on and aid the cause in bringing home another honor. "Yeah, i got a call off that Simon Fuller.... His agency has the Beckham's, Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray..... I just dunno, why pay for something i'm handling well enough on my own...." Near enough instantly from kick off though there was another round of swearing at the TV as once more Brazil took the lead. This time Sandro finding space to play in a lovely through ball for Porto striker Hulk to collect and smash into the top corner to silence the vastness of Wembley. There was more of an angry responce from those watching, many cursing the naivity of the backline for switching off so quickly after getting level again. Half time followed soon after, a few Leeds players partaking in the modest refreshments that were put on for them, most the team spending the day in the players lounge as earlier in the day Man Utd beat Liverpool by 2-1 in the Community Shield, Hernandez netting either side of a Gerrard strike. "True but maybe it would be helpful. As you said, that Fuller guy must know what he's doing if he has those sorts of names on his books..... Help you focus and enjoy your free time instead of having to trawl through all the crap that agents normally deal with..." The second half kicked off with a loud roar from the sizeable home support. The players in the Leeds players lounge once more settled into the seats, "I'll leave things as they are for the minute... If it starts to get too much then i'll probably look into..." His sentence was cut short as everyone was again up on their feet again, images of Rooney celebrating. Again it was Cork playing his part from the left with a cross from deep finding Rooney at the back post to volley through the legs of Renan to put Team GB again on level terms. The game wore on with both sides trading blow after blow but neither able to break the deadlock as both Sinclair and Ramsay came in with moments of the 2nd half left. The final whistle came soon after signalling at least another half hour of football and perhaps the drama of penalties. After a quick break to refuel for both player and fan alike the game was once more underway. Both sides were visably tired as the half wore on though the chances were few and far between, both sides though managed to hit the woodwork. Neymar first with a rasping drive which had Hart well beaten but not the cross bar while at the other end a teasing run from Sinclair yielded a shot which hit the near post before being launched clear. In the second half the chances were even fewer, the best one though fell the way of Brazil as a nice passing move yieled a through ball for Hulk but Hart was again on hand to deny him low at the Brazilian forwards feet. Once more though the referee blew his final whistle signalling the dread of the penalty shoot out.
  2. With England still on a high after the summer's European Championship's there was a sence and a hope that Team GB could pull off a repeat and walk away with some winners medals when all was said and done. During the group stages they made an early case for being one of the favourites as they won all of their group games, scoring nine goals and conceding none, 26/7/2012 Ivory Coast 0 Team GB 2 (Rooney 62; Walcott 64) 29/7/2012 Team GB 4 (Rooney 3, 18; Jones 26; Bale 36) Costa Rica 0 1/8/2012 Australia 0 Team GB 3 (Rooney 18; Jones 22; Carroll 83) With the likes of Mexico, Spain and Brazil all making it through to the quarter finals it made for interesting reading as the competition went on. Spain lost out in the game of the round to Brazil by 2-0, South Korea managed a 2-0 win over New Zealand while the Ivory Coast fell by 1-0 against Mexico. For Team GB, they swept aside Ghana with ease to progress to the semi final, 4/8/2012 Team GB 3 (Rooney 4; Cleverley 13; Walcott 72) Ghana 0 The semi finals saw Team GB draw the short straw with Mexico being their opponents while Brazil would face South Korea and in truth the Korean's gave a very good account of themselves as they took Brazil the full distance. After going a man down with over half an hour left Neymar put the Brazilan's ahead only for Ji Dong-Won to snatch an equaliser in the dying moments. New Liverpool striker Damiao handed Brazil the lead once more with just 3 minutes of extra time gone only for Ji Dong-Won to again hit back just two minutes later to make it 2-2. In the shoot out all was going good for both sides until Park Chu-Young missed and after Danilo and Fabio scored for the men in yellow, Suk's missed spot kick put Brazil into the final with a 4-2 win on penalties. In the other game it was another dominant display from the hosts as Team GB had the better and majority of the chances and possession on their way to a 2-1 win meaning they would be handed the chance to make it two international footballing successes in as many months after nearly 50 years of next to nothing. 7/8/2012 Team GB 2 (Rooney 27, 42) Mexico 1 (Hernandez 47)
  3. Thanks and i split it into two with no issue but i'm certain i've posted bigger updates than this without an issue, post 185 and 184 together isn't huge but if ya get any answers about it drop me a PM.
  4. In the weeks that followed Leeds had seemingly had finished their summer spending spree as they now instead concentrated on an intence pre-season which brought five wins and two draws with some large results along the way and one slight disappointment, 14/7/2012 Kaiserslautern 0 Leeds Utd 4 (Nunez 39, 69; Demidov 43; Howson 58) 21/7/2012 Leeds Utd 4 (Vyntra o.g. 1; McCormack 32, 57 & 65) Panathinaikos 1 (Touche 9) 24/7/2012 Guiseley 0 Leeds Utd 6 (Warner 19, 29 & 59; Beccio 32; Jones 45+3, Demidov 62) 29/7/2012 Locomotive Moscow 2 (Loskov 46; Lees o.g 62) Leeds Utd 2 (Yanbaev o.g. 43; McCormack 44) 3/8/2012[b/] Notts County 1 (Pearce 31) Leeds Utd 5 (Warner 12, 28, 46 & 66; Beccio 78) 5/8/2012 Leeds Utd 3 (Warner 5, 58 & 87) Genoa 0 11/8/2012 Leeds Utd 1 (Beccio 15) Fenerbahce 1 (Bilica 13) The manner of some of their wins had people suggesting that Leeds may have what it take to muster a top ten finish. As mentioned however, it didn't all go off without a hitch as De Bruyne picked up an injury which would rule him out until perhaps the start of September but apart from that Leeds managed to keep a near enough clean bill of health as they all settled in after the game with Fenerbahce to watch the final of the Olympic's...
  5. Over the course of pre-season up and down the country teams began to take shape as deals were done and dusted on nearly an hour by hour basis and as always there were a few exciting deals. Firstly Man City splashed out nearly £30m to take both Rafael van der Vaart and Diego Perotti to the Manchester while Liverpool also made big moves with £12m deal for Nicolas Otamendi and a nearly £20m for young Brazilan star Leandro Damiao. Spurs signed Urby Emanuelson from Milan on loan while Adam Johnson left Man City on loan to Fulham. The night out in Blackpool for his friend Joe's birthday was also something much needed but due to the pre-season fixtures he couldn't enjoy it as much as he wanted, the night out falling the day before the Leeds team, Matt included, were due to depart to Russia for their friendly against Locomotive Moscow. "Well thanks for coming out man... Maybe we'll draw each other in a cup and i can give you a schooling." They both laughed as they shook hands once more as Matt left the group, heading off to his car to make the drive home. Upon reaching it he took a glance around, his eye's picking up on a familar face as they wandered down the main stretch across from where he'd parked his car, "Becky?" he asked quietly. He was just about to go over, his heart beginning to race before it sank completely at the sight of a man approaching and kissing her, much to her delight. The twinge of hurt made his stomach turn before letting loose a disappointing sigh and with one last glance as they walked hand in hand, enjoying the warm evening air, he got in his car and took off at speed off back to Leeds.
  6. This may not be the place for it but i'm getting an error message whenever i try to update my story. Forbidden You don't have permission to access /newreply.php on this server. Apache Server at community.sigames.com Port 80 Any idea's?
  7. I had toyed with the idea of un-bolding the text but the reason i highlight it is sometimes with other stories i read depending on how it is layed out speech can get a bit lost in the post but again very thankful for the feedback and something to take on board (would make posting updates a damn sight quicker as well). Already have a half decent idea where it's going and a possible sequel but nice to know people enjoy the tale i'm telling. Still anymore feedback from anyone else is still very welcome
  8. I tend to have my laptop to one side running FM and my desktop for the actual writing (was the other way round until FM decided it didn't wanna work on the desktop anymore). I've tried it the other way (one computer running the game and word) but i find this is much easier as i can write as i play rather than have to stop, windows key and write stuff. Adding finishing touches between games. While i am here i would like an honest assessment of my story A Step Down if possible, tips to make it improve on it and so on. No rush but i know i can improve the story just a bit unsure on how at the moment but thats where the FMS gods come in... I'm not worthy (rinse and repeat a few times while bowing).
  9. The weeks that followed contained more than it's fair share of news from the football world, the big headines being the changes in management at several big clubs as the early merry-go-round got into full swing. The first and perhap biggest piece of news came from London as the F.A. announced that Harry Redknapp would take charge of the English national team after agreeing to leave Spurs. Though it was disappointing for fans of Tottenham and Matt's good friend Pancho, it always seemed on the cards that the F.A. would be looking for an English manager, despite the success of Capello before retiring. "Well your lucky man, he's an awesome manager.... I thought we'd be challenging those top three this season.." "Ya still might... If the new manager can keep the squad together then i reckon you lot have a big shot at doing the business..." "Yup... Though i have heard a few whispers that Harry put Jamie's name forward as a possible successor... Heard anything at your end?" Pancho quizzed. "Well he's just signed a new four year contract so i reckon he's intent on staying. I doubt he'll join Spurs right now, i think he wants to make a name for himself here before moving on to perhaps pick up where his dad left off.... I think it's more likely that Jamie will succeed his dad with England if i'm honest... Anyway, you coming out for Mills' birthday in a few weeks? He wants to do a night in Blackpool..." Matt replied. "Yeah he mentioned it to me a few days ago so i'm in..." They went on talking about the various managerial changes as Tottenham weren't the only North London club looking for a new manager as Arsene Wenger resigned as manager in order to take up the offer to manage Barcelona. Both sides played a very similar sort of football and if he could get them clicking like Guardiola did, they may just continue their spell of dominance in Europe. Over the days that followed his departure though new men were installed at the head of both Arsenal and Tottenham with the Gunner's deciding on Louis Van Haal while Spurs opted for promising young Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino who quit Espanyol to make the move to the English Captial. At Elland Road there was a mixture of good news and bad as Leeds finalised the signing of two more players. Firstly that of 17 year old Danish midfielder Thorsten Norgaard and along with 31 year old keeper Stuart Taylor both joining on free transfers after leaving from OB in Denmark and Man City respectively. The mixed news was that two players from Leeds had been selected by Steve McClaren in his 18 man Olympic's squad, Alex McCarthy and Scott Sinclair both linked up with Team GB though it would mean both would be unavailable for the rest of pre-season. Team GB Squad Goalkeepers Joe Hart (Man City) Alex McCarthy (Leeds Utd) Defenders Glen Johnson (Liverpool) Chris Smalling (Man Utd) Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Phil Jones (Man Utd) Midfielders Gareth Bale (Tottenham) Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) Matt Phillips (Blackpool) Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) Tom Cleverley (Man Utd) Jack Cork (Southampton) Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) Scott Sinclair (Leeds Utd) Theo Walcott (Arsenal) Forwards Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) Andy Carroll (Liverpool) There were more than a few questioning glances aimed at McClaren for his squad selection. Though the team was a strong one, the choice to take only four recognised defenders already had him taking flak from all corners especially when he decided on taking no less than five central midfielders. Many, including Matt, were left asking why the likes of Craig Dawson, Kyle Walker, Ryan Bertrand, Martin Kelly and Kyle Naughton were all left out. There were also call ups for both Jake Sinclair and Zac Thomson for the England U19 side that would be heading to Estonia for the Uefa U19 European Championship's.
  10. 3 weeks later.... After a long list of parties, TV interviews and constant media attention both at home and abroad, Matt returned to Leeds United for the first time since he made the move perminent. Following the success of the European Championship's he, and many others, went off on holiday to recharge the batteries. Matt opted for trips to L.A. and Cancun in Mexico, enjoying the time to himself for the most part as he finally found time to fully think through the events of the season just passed, the joy of promotion and Engand's international success and the massive sadness felt at the loss of his dad and the failure of relationships with both Kelly and Becky. Soon though his holiday had come to an end and eventually he was back in Leeds where he was added to the nine other new players that would be wearing the famous white shirt of Leeds for the coming season, the last of those signings being the £3.7m capture of Real Sociedad central defender Vadim Demidov the day before the European Championship final. In addition to the various different players going in and out of Elland Road there were a fair amount of changes in Redknapp's staff as the entire four man physio team, both fitness coaches and a scout all left with no less than ten new staff members coming in to replace them though one name courted more interest than others as it wasn't just Matt who recieved a heroes welcome during the return to training. Lucas Radebe, The Chief, had returned to Leeds. A footballing legend the world over due not only to his ability on the field but also his work off of it as well. Renowned as a world class centre back, he captained both Leeds and South Africa, a man who was once refered to by the great Nelson Mandela as his hero. The signing was greeted with mass support from all sides as he slotted in to take charge of the defensive side of the coaching set up and, if he could turn the promising young players such as Dawson, Lees and Gimpel into half the player he was, Leeds have a very bright future ahead of them. Over the course of pre-season there wasn't really much in way of drama. Their pre-season schedule, though tough, went well while avoiding any major injury worries. As the hype of the European Championship's began to die down slightly it was replaced by the start of the Olympic's with many still left wondering how Steve McClaren managed to get the job which Redknapp himself made known publicly he'd applied for. The Olympic's, though big news, did however take a back seat to the main story of the month which was the F.A.'s search for the next England manager. Many names were bartered around as candidates for what now was looking an even tougher job after Capello's leading of the England team to glory at the European Championship's. Mourinho, Redknapp, O'Neill and even that of former Chelsea man Claudio Ranieri were all touted for what had been described by many as the toughest job in football although there was another job in the world that could perhaps rival it. Josep Guardiola, perhaps the best manager in the world at this point, resigned from his role as manager of Barcelona in order to become the new Spain national team coach after Vincente Del Bosque was sacked. Elsewhere the transfer market was in full swing for the majority of Europe as sides looked to build for the season ahead though Leeds, having already done alot of early business, were seemingly done in the transfer market though it didn't stop rumours of possible exits and even offers as McCarthy became subject of a cheeky £1m bid from Man Utd which Redknapp knocked back almost straight away. Though he'd looked shakey at times the young stopper was rated highly and was seen as a possible future England international aswell as a long term number one at Elland Road if he could continue to progress.
  11. Snuck into the top 10, a first leg win in the cup... Fantasy life is good!
  12. If i have six wins in the cup... Shouldn't i have 18 points rather than 15?
  13. Disappointing (though understandable considering the competition around here) not to be up for an award but i'll be knocking my votes together sometime in the next couple of days, i am open to bribes so keep that in mind lol
  14. I've recently downloaded a number of kit packs for FM 2012 however there are three teams who's kits will not change. One of the kit packs i have is a 2012/13 kits pack for the Championship and the three teams in question (Portsmouth, Coventry and Doncaster) were the three teams relegated from the Championship in the actual 2011/12 season meaning that somewhere there is a gap. Now my question is, can i copy and paste just their kits and parts of the config file from another kit pack into a seperate folder and will it work? I haven't had a chance to try it as i'm at work but the idea just came to me and thought i'd seek guidence from the Si Guru's before trying anything.
  15. I take breaks from the game, i'm only in my third season of FM12 and i got that last x-mas. Still very much enjoying the game so it seemed pointless to drop it when the new version came out but i can see where he's coming from... I didn't get that same twinge of excitement when details of FM13 came out. To make the game really fresh i wouldn't mind seeing them drop all the new stuff (match engine, tactic's and so on) but with a database from 2000. Trying to re-write the history of the last decade would be a pretty fun challenge for me though it would have a touch of the predicatable if they managed to add stuff like Chelsea and Man City's takeovers, Messi and Ronaldo's rise and so on... Still, could be a fun idea.
  16. The sound was electrifying, the scenes one of both chaos and joy as those stood waiting on the sidelines suddenly flooded onto the pitch. After 46 long years of waiting England had won a major competiton once again. The French players all had that lonely look of dejection while they watched England celebrating their success, some even breaking into tears as the realisation of being so close to extra time only for it to be snatched away being too much for them to bare. There were handshakes and pats on the back from the England players but little would help numb the pain of defeat in such a big game. Matt was once more mobbed by his team mates following his last minute heroic's, the final whistle seeing him once more point to the sky and then to the area in which his family and friends were seated before being surrounded. The celebrations were manic but soon it all calmed for a moment as the stage was erected and the trophy was carried to it's podium by Michele Platini, the head of Uefa. First was the turn of the French players, the England squad offering a round of applause along with the rest of the stadium as they went up one by one to be handed their runners-up medals by their fellow countryman. It was at that point that it dawned on Matt that, even though it was never confirmed nor denied by Platini, it seemed that the man who has for so long seemed to have an agenda against the English game was now going to have to crown them as champions ahead of his homeland. Even though it wouldn't be spoken about now, he was sure the press would play it up to the maximum and Matt for once was hoping they did as it has seemed clear for a while his objections against English football. He shook those thoughts aside however as the last French player collected his medal leaving John Terry to lead the players up the small ramp to where Platini was waiting with the winners medals. One by one each player had their medal handed to them with a firm handshake and a slightly forced smile, Matt stood at the back of the line with Capello as they got closer and closer to the pristine trophy which sat proudly at the front of all the players. "Not a bad way to go out, eh Gaffer?" Matt said as Capello laughed, the excitment in his eye's like that of a childs come Christmas morning. Soon though Matt was shaking Platini's hand and recieving his winners medal which was instantly out of the case and around his neck before joining the rest of the players on the small stage behind the trophy with the excitement building. They all watched on as Capello recieved his medal and a few words of congratulations before he waved over John Terry, the noise building as they both grasped onto the trophy before thrusting it into the air to a chorus of cheers, fireworks and music in the form of Queen's 'We Are The Champions' playing out. Confetti rained down on them like a blizzard as the fireworks display lit up the darkening Ukrainian sky above. They must have taken at least three laps of honour, each player getting the chance to hoist the trophy up for a few moments until it changed hands once more before they all lined up for one big team photo that would grace the mornings papers around the world. Not long after though they were back in the changing rooms and while Matt knew he'd have an insane amount of messages on his phone the first one that popped up on the screen was from Redknapp which simply read "Not a bad first day back as a full Leeds United player....." Matt could only smile as more champagne came his way.
  17. Lloris dug his feet in and pushed his body to the left, arms reaching as far as they could.... Matt now could just watch as the keeper stretched as far as his muscles, joints and tendons would let him.... Sakho and Evra, too late to make a challenge also just watched. Their fate now out of their hands... Lloris reached and reached, his finger tips almost there as he felt it.... Contact.... In a split second though it was gone, his eye's searching for the ball before the realisation came that he'd managed to only feel the air move as the ball flashed past.... The net buldged. The sound was like nothing he'd ever heard as his eye's finally locked onto the ball resting in the goal, spinning away against the still slightly damp turf. "YEEEEEEESSSSSSSS" He screamed before turning and running towards the England fan's that were on their feet to his right as Evra and Sakho both fell to their knees. He rose from the ground in a leap before punching the air, no sooner had his feet touched the ground that he was mobbed by his team mates. On the sidelines Blanc and his players slumped into their seats, their dreams dashed while Capello, the coaching team, the subs and those who couldn't play all poured into the techinical area in celebration. Matt, after finally freeing himself from the dog pile he was at the bottom of just lingered on his knee's with tears flowing freely from his eye's as the absence of his dad seemed to finally strike him harder than ever. It took a moment but eventually he stood, both arms strethed out pointing to the sky, eye's almost searching for the face of his dad in the clouds as he whispered to himself "That was for you old man..." Try as he might to wipe the tears away more emerged as he jogged back to the centre circle. No sooner had he worked his tired legs back to the centre circle did France kick off, the referee instantly responding with the final whistle to an explosion of sound from the English contingent in attendance... ( )France 1 (Nasri 87) England 2 (Downing 61; Warner 90+2) MoM: Matt Warner (England) Att: 63,467
  18. Matt wandered back out onto the pitch, taking one last big gulp from the water bottle he was handed before tossing it along the floor to the physio in the technical area. Young was already waiting in the centre circle with the ball as Matt approached, ready to get the game back underway. After a quick fist bump and a few words of encouragement to the players stood waiting behind them the referee blew the whistle, Matt rolling the ball to his strike partner to get the game going. The early going fell into the same dull pattern of play until it was given a spark of inspriation from France. Martin ran down the left wing, holding off Lampard before crossing at the byline with the effort almost catching Hart out as it crashed off the near post with Richards clearing moments later. Once more the game became boring viewing for both fan and neutral alike until an incident in the middle of the park yielded action more familar to fans of WWE than football. Barry picked up the ball before sliding left to Downing but as the ball left his foot Sissoko came steaming in before going down over Barry's outstretched leg in a theactrical dive which saw Barry take massive offence, attempting to drag him to his feet. That was what kicked off the mini royal rumble as players from both sides poured in, some to add their two cents while some went in to calm their team mates down. The end result was bookings for Barry, Evra and Sakho as incident subsided, football soon becoming the main focus once again as the deadlock was at last.... Broken. The clock clicked past the hour mark as Baines', on a subsitute for Gerrard just a minute before, whipped in a corner which was punched clear by Lloris, the ball being picked up by Matt on the right side. After a cheeky flick saw him leave Remy for dead, he burst into the space before cutting the ball back inside for Downing. The Liverpool winger then shrugged off the challenge of Evra before setting himself for a left footed shot towards the near post, Lloris looking flat footed as the shot zipped past him and into the back of the net. The English half of the crowd were on their feet, scenes of utter joy in the stands as Downing was mobbed by his team mates in celebrating his first goal for England. They were now on the verge, forty-six years of pain and disappointment close to being erased with just half an hour of play left on the clock. France though weren't about to roll over, almost instantly in the minutes that followed the goal they almost got on level terms as Benzema collected a clearance from an England free kick. He passed wide to Briand who managed to nick the ball away from Cole leaving nothing but space and Hart in his way but as he got to inside the area his effort lacked only placement as it flared horribly over the bar. Moments later France went close again, this time a nice passing move which ended with Cabaye threading a ball through for Remy who broke the offside trap and shot first time, the shot again heading over the bar with the England fan's behind the goal once more breathing a sigh of relief. France continued to dominate the chances and posession, Nasri whipping in a ball for Benzema who found himself unmarked, the effort lacking the power needed to challenge the keeper as Hart plucked it out of the air with ease. With the game sneaking into the final 10 minutes the pressure intensified despite England's best efforts to hold the ball and grind out a result. Once more France flooded forward with a pass to Benzema in the middle with his back to goal, he turned and again layed a pass to Briand who zipped past a tired looking Cole before entering the area and shooting low across Hart who tipped it back out through a crowd of players. Benzema got to the ball and turned, hitting it goalwards with Hart again getting down well to push it away before it dropped at the feet of his domestic team mate Nasri to hit, Hart this time unable to stop it as it hit the back of the net. Players, fans and staff alike all sighed, the clock reading 87 minutes as Nasri ran off in celebration with his team mates. Matt shook his head, England now back to square one as once again facing the prospect of extra time and maybe even penalties if they were to erase a trophyless 46 year stretch. The game restarted, the fourth official holding up the board to signal 3 minutes of time to be added on as France once more continued their possession of the ball, England again fighting tooth and nail to keep the wolves from the door so to speak, Richards dealing with two very inviting crosses as the clock approached the 92nd minute of time. Hart placed the ball down before hoofing it forward towards Matt, Sakho beating him in the air to head it away as hearts were racing everywhere, be it in the stands, dug out or at the clubs, pubs, bars and homes all over England and France. The loose ball was collected by Richards before he laid it forward to Downing who had been deployed on the right of the midfield, the whistle due in the next few seconds as the managers on the sidelines began to plan their moves for extra time. Downing looked inside for Young who'd dropped into space and with time to look up he saw and heard Matt screaming for the pass before looping one into the gap between both Sakho and Evra. Matt watched the ball intently as it fell into his path, the first touch near enough perfect as he began to stretch his legs with one last burst of pace towards the penalty area. Lloris, Evra and Sakho all closed in as he broke into the penalty area, the space around him disappearing quickly as he bore down on goal. Everything was almost happening in slow motion now as he looked up, eye's finding the spot he wanted to go for before opening his body. Both Sakho and Evra looked to make one last ditch challenge, Lloris making himself as big as possible before Matt swung his right foot at it....
  19. 2012 European Championship Final 01/07/2012 France vs England Formation: 4-4-2 GK: Joe Hart RB: Micah Richards LB: Ashley Cole CB: Phil Jagielka CB: Rio Ferdinand © CM: Steven Gerrard CM: Frank Lampard RM: Aaron Lennon LM: Stuart Downing ST: Ashley Young ST: Matt Warner SUBS: GK: Robert Green CB: Chris Smalling LB: Leighton Baines CM: Gareth Barry CM: Owen Hargreaves RB: Glen Johnson GK: Fraser Forster MC: James Milner The volume jumped up a few notches as Martin and Benzema got the game started, the sun out but faint as the day started to draw to a close and in the early going the was almost a goal in under a miniute as after a good build up of passing from france Benzema managed to turn with his back to goal after a pass from Diarra. Ferdinand struggled to keep up as the Madrid striker fired across goal, the fingers of Hart being called on early to send it out for a corner. Even though the resulting kick was poor it set the stage for the early tempo of the game with France in control, Martin and Benzema linking up before the former set Sissoko through on goal with only Hart to beat but his tame effort aimed at the bottom corner trickled just wide of the post to hand England another early let off. At the other end England managed to calve out their first chance of the game, Richards and gerrard exhanged passes on the right before playing the ball forward to Lennon who in turn picked out the run of Lampard. The shot was good but Lloris got behind it well and palmed it clear, Rami removing the danger moments later. England began to get into their stride from that point, Downing also going close after latching onto Gerrard's through ball, Lloris once more getting a strong hand to it. The game was becoming a very even affair with both sides showing they had what it takes to get at the other as the half hour mark was reached, Downing and Martin both going close for their nations with the rain now making it's first apperence in the final as dark clouds started to loom over head. As the turf began to gain a bit of zip with the light summer rain falling the game started to quieten down, France holding more of the possession without ever really troubling England. After a very dull final 10 minutes of the half the referee blew the whistle and the sides trotted off, both looking pleased with their first half displays. Matt took a seat in the dressing room as water bottles and sports drinks were handed out, the manager being the last person to walk into the changing rooms, "Ok.... It was a good first eeehhh half but we need to.... Be tighter. They move and pull you... All over and make big holes. We ahhhh need to make their pass.... harder to make! Up top we... ok, but need to take chance when comes. Keep going.... It will ahhh, come.... Have faith in your ehhh team mates and the win will come!" There was one change however as Pearce gave Lennon the nod to get changed with Barry already stripped, ready to come on for the second half as the players poured out the door.
  20. For a third time in nearly as many weeks the England team coach arrived the the NSC Olympiyskiy, the players sat in silence as the lights from the police escort in front of them lit up each of their faces. Capello led them off the coach, each player stopping and signing an autograph or two for the fans that had lined the entrance hoping to catch a glimpse of their heroes as they entered the stadium. Many listened to music, some sat deep in thought while others just passed the time chatting with their team mates. Regardless of what players say though, all of them had that knott in their stomach, that little ball of tension and fear when something big was on the horizon. The team meeting a few hours earlier had revealed that the formation would not change though as of yet the squad had been kept waiting anxiously for the team to be announced. With an hour left the players were gathered, a hush filled the air as Pearce was once more given the honors, "Ok boys... Joey in goal, Micah, Phil, Rio and Ash across the back line..... Aaron starts on the right, Stuart on the left.... Stevie and Frankie in the middle with Matty and Youngy up top." The warm up followed once more as the ground began to fill to the brim. The noise from the English and French ends of the pitch already enough to induce headaches as the teams went through their warm up drills and programmes but, as if at the blink of a eye, the teams were sat recieving their final instructions. ".... We have come far. This... Our time to make... ehhh victory for fans. Ahhhh.... Must stay strong and.... focus. You know eehhhh... what to do." Capello said, giving what would be his last pre-game team talk. The players sat in silence for a moment before the bell rang, all of them in unison rising to their feet with a deafening war cry as they poured out the door and into the tunnel where the referee was waiting. Rio and his opposite number Sakho shook hands for a moment as they waited, the noise building as the fans waited eagerly for the teams come strolling out and after a multilingual introduction over the stadiums speaker system the sides walked out to a flurry of camera flashes from every corner of the stadium. Each side walked past it, the European Championship trophy, each player glanced at it for a moment before focusing their eye's on the player in front of them as they lined up for the national anthems and pre-match handshakes. After winning the coin toss Sakho opted for kick off, the noise building and building with each second that passed until the referee pulled the small silver whistle to his mouth and gave the players the signal....
  21. The nation rejoyced, the hurt of forty-six years close to vanishing in the space of a few hours. The parties back in England went on well into the night as many companies and business' braced themselves for a mulitude people calling in sick. The press went wild, front pages around the nation dominated by the breaking of the penalty hoo-doo that had plagued them for many years against the likes of Portugal, Germany and Argentina. Text's and calls flooded in from friends and family with wishes of congratulations and requests for tickets, Matt managing to get his hands on a few for Joe, Pancho, James, his brothers, nephew and mother to all come over. Once the dust had settled focus turned to the final, the same papers praising the win now asking who would start. The aftermath of the match had seen confirmation from Uefa that Terry, Huddlestone and Rooney would join Carroll on the sidelines for the final handing England a very big problem. While the defence and midfield had more than enough in terms of back up, Capello's choice to only bring three recognised strikers now looking like a massive error in judgement. Many had questioned the choice during the selection of the final squad and now were left wondering if Capello would stick with 4-4-2 or change the formation to accomodate the personnel they had available. Some had wagered that they would go for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Gerrard behind Matt while Young and Lennon took to the left and right wings. Matt though was happy just to be playing as, after failing to come on against Spain, his chances of even appearing again in the competiton were getting slim until the sending off of Carroll and Rooney's winning goal against the reigning world and european champions. Now however it seemed that England's hopes of coming away with something laid quite heavily on him as the only players left in the team to have scored in the competition were himself and Glen Johnson, the other's coming from the now suspended pair of Rooney and Carroll. The day of the final arrived, the team spending the Saturday travelling to Kiev to spend the night closer to the stadium where they would meet their destiny for better or worse. After breakfast and the team meeting the players were allowed a couple of hours with their families. "So... Ya nervous?" Allen asked as Matt got his face pulled and gently slapped by his laughing nephew. "A little... It's hard not to be." "Well it's like you told me.... You got this. Yeah Wayne and Andy ain't playing but that means the stage is set. You can eat the back line alive with your pace." Chris added. "So where's mum?" "Oh she's back at the hotel, she's a little tired from the trip." Chris replied, taking his nephew. "How's she doing?" "Coping as best she can but happy that she's here to see the game." Matt nodded. "You'll see her after the match... She said to wish you luck and so on.... And to go show everyone why dad was so proud.." Matt nodded again, thoughts now turning to his dad and how much he would give to have him here badgering him with advice...
  22. 1996. The last time England won a penalty shoot out. The likes of Shearer, Sheringham and Pearce sending Wembley of old wild. Twice in the last eight years England have fallen to Portugal, twice due to penalty shoot outs. Many of the players on show today, Rooney, Ferdinand, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry were all there the last time they came up against the dread of spot kicks. Pearce and Capello had been in deep talks a good ten minutes before the end of extra time deciding who would take the spot kicks should it go that far and now, it had. "Ok first up... Wayne, next Matty your up, then Ash you'll take number three, Stevie will take the fourth and then Leighton, you got the last one ok?" Pearce said in an authoritaive tone. The players nodded as stand in captain Ferdinand met with Bruno Alves and the officials for the coin toss. The large silver coin flicked into the air, the flood lights making it sparkle as it span over and over before hitting the turf, heads the winning side meaning Portugal were given the choice. Alves thought for a moment before opting for Portugal to take the first spot kick and after a brief word with his team mates Joao Moutinho stepped forward with Hart following suit. Soon they were both in position, the referee gave them both a nod before blowing his whistle. Moutinho strode up and struck it to his right, low and placed to the bottom right hand corner to put Portugal in front giving Hart little chance. There were a few fist pumps before Rooney passed him on route the penalty spot. The keepers made their swap and once more they were set to go again, Patricio doing his best to put off the Man Utd forward as he waited, hands on hips, for the signal to strike. The whistle blew once more and Rooney lept forward straight away, striking it low to the keepers right and leveling the scores to a roar from the crowd. Matt and the rest of the England squad watching from the half way line celebrating as Rooney trotted back with a slight smile. Next came the turn of Miguel Veloso, taking a moment to set the ball before turning away to prepare his run up. Hart gave the thumbs up to the referee before getting a nod from Veloso, the whistle following a moment later, Veloso giving a glance to the right hand side before striking viciously, the ball going up and over the bar to the delight of the England fans to the right of the penalty area. Matt recieved a few pats on the back as he took a deep breath and headed for the penalty spot. The walk there seemed to last for 30 minutes rather than 30 seconds, his heart pounding against his chest, partly from nerves and partly from 120 minutes of football. Patricio took his time in getting set while Matt stood, eye's locked on the ball as he waited and before long the whistle sounded. With a quick look to the dark sky and a thought of his dad he made his run up, striking the ball with venom into the keepers left hand corner to put England 2-1 up. In scenes that reminded many of Pearce's 1996 effort Matt punched the air, screaming "COOOME OOOON!!!!" as he pointed to the England fan's dancing in the stands to his right. Soon though they began to settle with Meireles making his way to the area, Portugese fans silently saying prayers for the next kick to find the mark. The fan's behind the goal held their breath as Meireles turned and began his run up following the signal from the referee. The chorus of boo's suddenly turned into cheers from the England contingent as the ball blazed once more over the bar to put England on the brink of their first final in nearly fifty years. Cole receieved the same support as he made the walk, passing his dejected looking Chelsea team mate, he knowing all too well the diappointment of missing a spot kick in past fixtures between the sides. With the England fan's in full voice, dancing in the stands as Cole got ready for the go ahead from the referee. Again the whistle sounded, again the run up began and again the ball nestled in the back of the net, Cole going to the keepers left and leaving him standing as the Chelsea fullback indulged in a brief moment of celebration. Almeida was next, a nations hopes squarely on his shoulders as Hart got himself set on the goal line. Once more worried faces in the stands behind the goal looked on as the forward got himself ready, setting himself for an effort on his left foot. He made his run up, hit it low to Hart's left who guessed correctly but the pace saw it sneak away from him and into the bottom corner to give Portugal a glimmer of hope at 3-2. The England players and staff all stood, arms around each other watching as Gerrard strolled forward knowing that if he scored England were going to the Olympiskyi Stadium once more to face France. Gerrard, one of those to miss in 2006, set the ball with a deep focus, Patricio choosing once more to dance on the line in an attempt to draw his attention from the task at hand. Some closed their eye's, some prayed for one last kick to find it's target, even Matt could barely watch as the whistle became one of the few sounds in the stadium. Gerrard made his run.... Hitting it low to Patricio's right.... England hearts again stopped as the ball met the post.... .... Before hitting the back of the net and sending the fans to his right into dreamland. Matt and the entire England squad let loose with a collective "YEEEESSSSSSSS!!!" before taking off running towards a joyful looking Steven Gerrard. The hoo-doo broken, the final drought ended, their hopes..... Alive and Well. ( )England 0 (pens: O-O-O-O) Portugal 0 (pens: O-X-X-O) England Penalties: 4 (Rooney, Warner, Cole, Gerrard) Portgal Penalties: 2 (Moutinho, Almeida) MoM: Pepe (Portugal) Att: 51,504
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