git2thachoppa

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    Iran - FM 2007 (see my story thread)

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  1. BREAKING NEWS: Moses prophethood revoked only 24 hours into Ramadan
  2. 2013/14 Review Part 2 - International Football South Africa 2014 African Cup of Nations Ivory Coast won their third trophy out of the last four African Cups, beating underdogs Mali after extra time. The hosts South Africa lost after extra time themselves, against Mali in the semis. Two legends for their national teams lost their jobs after 6 years, as Abedi Pelé and Hany Ramzy failed to get Ghana and Egypt out the group stage to go with their failure to qualify for this year's World Cup. American Samoa 2014 OFC Nations Cup New Zealand didn't slip up this year against surprise finalists New Caledonia. Hosts American Samoa had the drive to qualify for their own tournament (their qualifiers being hosted by Vanuatu), for their first ever OFC Nations finals, even reaching 3rd place overall and beating the usual #2 team Solomon Islands 4-1. Spain 2014 World Cup News Logo and Mascot Unveiled Of course, can't have a World Cup without an obnoxious logo and dodgy mascot, and Spain have chosen a bull to be the theme, as long as we ignore Spain's horrific relationship with bulls. The logo Berto The Bull will no doubt inspire Spain to brutally slaughter their opponents slowly and painfully. Or run away from them. Berto the Bull Match of the Day's intro unveiled The BBC have released a video of their Match of the Day intro to be used for the World Cup in Spain. "We wanted to reflect the party atmosphere and coming together of all nations during a World Cup, as well as showcasing the incredible stadia that would be the setting for this unique showcase" said the BBC's Gushing Inoffensive Quote Giver 3000 robot. The custom made 2014 Match of the Day intro Group Draw The groups have been drawn: Group A Brazil New Zealand Iraq Israel Group B Argentina Netherlands Canada Algeria Group C France Scotland Iran Peru Group D Ukraine Mexico Wales Democratic Republic of Congo Group E Turkey Australia Senegal Greece Group F Germany Republic of Ireland China Guinea Group G England Italy Chile Jamaica Group H Colombia Spain Finland Nigeria The Israel Situation Butts clenched in FIFA and the Middle East when Israel finally qualified, and their fears have been realised as Iraq and Israel were drawn together. For those that don't know: Israel is not a recognised country to most of the Middle East, particularly Arab countries and Iran, to the extent where athletes have pulled out of getting gold in the Olympics, either of their own volition or being forced to. So far in football it has only really led to certain players falling 'ill' when their club has gone to Israel or had to face an Israeli opponent. The reality is that this is a government stance, and the citizens mostly don't care, and of course Israel has its fair share of Arab, Iranian etc. immigrants. So while pulling out the World Cup seemed a possibility, football is very popular in these parts and doing so could not only possibly cause rioting, but sow the seeds for revolution. After much posturing and arguing, it has been decided that Iraq will play Israel. Pandora's Box has been opened, and analysts expect this will lead to other countries accepting the need to play Israel in official competition and a relaxing of their unwritten rules so that at least players and staff can play other teams with an Israeli in them. One less thing for me to worry about in future. Also of note in that group is that at least one of Iraq, Israel and New Zealand will reach the knockout stage, and a (slight) chance that Iran and Israel will meet in the quarter-finals. Or, Allah forbid, the World Cup final.
  3. 2013/14 Review Part 2 - International Football South Africa 2014 African Cup of Nations Ivory Coast won their third trophy out of the last four African Cups, beating underdogs Mali after extra time. The hosts South Africa lost after extra time themselves, against Mali in the semis. Two legends for their national teams lost their jobs after 6 years, as Abedi Pelé and Hany Ramzy failed to get Ghana and Egypt out the group stage to go with their failure to qualify for this year's World Cup. American Samoa 2014 OFC Nations Cup New Zealand didn't slip up this year against surprise finalists New Caledonia. Hosts American Samoa had the drive to qualify for their own tournament (their qualifiers being hosted by Vanuatu), for their first ever OFC Nations finals, even reaching 3rd place overall and beating the usual #2 team Solomon Islands 4-1. Spain 2014 World Cup News Logo and Mascot Unveiled Of course, can't have a World Cup without an obnoxious logo and dodgy mascot, and Spain have chosen a bull to be the theme, as long as we ignore Spain's horrific relationship with bulls. Berto The Bull will no doubt inspire Spain to brutally slaughter their opponents slowly and painfully. Or run away from them. Match of the Day's intro unveiled The BBC have released a video of their Match of the Day intro to be used for the World Cup in Spain. "We wanted to reflect the party atmosphere and coming together of all nations during a World Cup, as well as showcasing the incredible stadia that would be the setting for this unique showcase" said the BBC's Gushing Inoffensive Quote Giver 3000 robot. Group Draw The groups have been drawn: Group A Brazil New Zealand Iraq Israel Group B Argentina Netherlands Canada Algeria Group C France Scotland Iran Peru Group D Ukraine Mexico Wales Democratic Republic of Congo Group E Turkey Australia Senegal Greece Group F Germany Republic of Ireland China Guinea Group G England Italy Chile Jamaica Group H Colombia Spain Finland Nigeria The Israel Situation Butts clenched in FIFA and the Middle East when Israel finally qualified, and their fears have been realised as Iraq and Israel were drawn together. For those that don't know: Israel is not a recognised country to most of the Middle East, particularly Arab countries and Iran, to the extent where athletes have pulled out of getting gold in the Olympics, either of their own volition or being forced to. So far in football it has only really led to certain players falling 'ill' when their club has gone to Israel or had to face an Israeli opponent. The reality is that this is a government stance, and the citizens mostly don't care, and of course Israel has its fair share of Arab, Iranian etc. immigrants. So while pulling out the World Cup seemed a possibility, football is very popular in these parts and doing so could not only possibly cause rioting, but sow the seeds for revolution. After much posturing and arguing, it has been decided that Iraq will play Israel. Pandora's Box has been opened, and analysts expect this will lead to other countries accepting the need to play Israel in official competition and a relaxing of their unwritten rules so that at least players and staff can play other teams with an Israeli in them. One less thing for me to worry about in future. Also of note in that group is that at least one of Iraq, Israel and New Zealand will reach the knockout stage, and a (slight) chance that Iran and Israel will meet in the quarter-finals. Or, Allah forbid, the World Cup final.
  4. I derped because of rewrites, I meant to say they won it in 1980 (I did put that it's been 24 years instead of 34 years) which goes with the 1980 theme in the rest of the entry. >_> Wayne Rooney suffered a horrific car accident. In reality I think what happened was he was injured during the World Cup, then was played while slightly injured in a later game, which caused him to be forever waiting for treatment of the injury. The same thing will happen to Sneijder at the 2014 World Cup...
  5. 2013/14 Review Part 1 - Club Football Selected Summer Transfers John Atkinson (21, English, ST/AMR/AML) - Blackburn Rovers to Inter Milan - £39m Petre Petrovici (22, Romanian, DM/MC) - Valencia to AC Milan - £35m Georginio Wijnaldum - Werder Bremen to Juventus - £28m Nani - Tottenham Hotspur to Valencia - £27m Eid Youssef (24, Egyptian, ST) - Borussia Dortmund to Blackburn Rovers - £24m Sergio Ramos - Chelsea to AC Milan - £23m Wayne Jones (20, English, AMR/ST) - Chelsea to Tottenham - £21m Romeo La Cava (21, Italian, SW/DR/DC) - PSV to Real Madrid - £21m Rafinha - Liverpool to Newcastle United - £19m Bruno Mezenga - Sporting CP to Barcelona - £19m Selected Winter Transfers Leszek Szuta (23, Polish, MC) - Fiorentina to Chelsea - £35m Nuri Sahin - Chelsea to Inter Milan - £28.5m Daren Collins (21, English, ST) - Preston to Tottenham - £14.5m 2013 Awards Aston Villa's Luke Moore made history, becoming the first ever English player to be named FIFA World Player of the Year (Michael Owen did once win the other award). No one quite knows why he won, though he did finish top scorer in the Premier League this season, and his legendary last-second goal took England from elimination to qualifying for the World Cup automatically. Lyon's Fred and Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres were 2nd and 3rd. Carlos Vela won the Ballon d'Or European Footballer of the Year despite having a poor second half of the year, ultimately not even scoring double figures in the league this season. Torres and Blackburn Rovers/Inter Milan's sensational English striker John Atkinson were 2nd and 3rd. European Cups Inter Milan won their second Champions League in 3 years, beating surprise underdogs Feyenoord 2-0. But the big news was Blackburn Rovers' run to the semi-finals in their debut campaign. Despite losing their star striker in the transfer window and only qualifying on away goals, they topped their group, overcame a 4-1 loss to beat German champions Hamburg on away goals, and beat European champions Arsenal in 9 rounds of penalties after conceding a stoppage time equaliser. They eventually lost 2-1 on aggregate to Feyenoord. Valencia failed to even reach the group stage, losing to FC Brussels. Benfica overcame Bayern Munich 2-1 to win the UEFA Cup. England Premier League With Wenger retiring as a god, all but Arsenal fans were excited at the likelihood that Arsenal's 6-title winning streak would finally come to an end. Not only did it come to an end, but brand new Premier League champions were crowned to sit alongside Arsenal, Manchester United, Blackburn and Chelsea. At first it was a battle between Manchester United and Liverpool, but Man Utd somewhat fell away, eventually finishing 4 points behind in 3rd. Newcastle United rallied after an early blip and, with nerves jangling, important victories gained, and points thrown away, they and Liverpool were both on equal points on the final day. Steve McClaren's Newcastle failed and lost at Wigan 1-0, meaning Liverpool and manager Peter Nielsen, secured with a 3-1 win at New Anfield over Chelsea, were able to lift the trophy and finally end the 24-year wait. Incidentally they won it in 1980... Aston Villa finished in the coveted 4th spot and a Champions League place. Arsenal's new era started 1 point behind Villa in 5th. Failure for the defending champions to even qualify for the Champions League meant the sack after one season for David Moy... Javier Aguirre. Non-Arsenal fans are finding this hilarious, maybe a bit too much. He was replaced by Michael Laudrup, who was sacked a few months ago after 5 years at Werder Bremen, doing a decent job but not improving them any further. Wayne Rooney finally gave up after years of trying to get fit and retired at the age of 28 after suffering his career ending game bug I mean injury. F.A. Cup Chelsea added yet another trophy, beating Arsenal 1-0 in the F.A. Cup final. Championship Bolton Wanderers were the underdogs this year, reaching the semis. League Cup West Ham United lifted their first cup since 1980 after beating Aston Villa on penalties. Football League and Non-League Charlton Athletic finished bottom of the Championship, relegated to the third tier for the first time since... yes, 1980. MK Dons were relegated from the Football League for the first time in their short history, on goal difference. Belgium All eyes were on the most exciting league in Europe, after the last two seasons ended with the top 3 on the same points. Despite only 9 wins in their last 25 league games, Charleroi were the next team to break the top 3 dominance by winning the league. In fact Genk, the #3 in the top 3, finished bottom and were relegated automatically. This cements Glenn Hoddle's legacy as being one of the worst managers in history, as 3 of his last 4 jobs have resulted in his clubs being relegated in his first half-season. Only because the other one (Monaco) already got relegated the season before, but he was still 2 points from relegating them again! Westerlo won their third Belgian Cup in a row. Germany David Moyes took Bayern Munich back to the top of the league with relative ease. Their neighbours, TSV 1860 Munich, won their third German Cup in four years, but were also relegated for the second season in a row, back to the third tier for the first time in over two decades. Italy Inter Milan cemented their status as the team of the last decade, with their 7th straight title to go with their Champions League win, all while selling two players to Arsenal as well, almost as a mocking insult. Despite taking AC Milan to 2nd, 3rd and 3rd and a Champions League semi-final, Frank Rijkaard was sacked after a 7th-place finish and elimination at the group stage of the Champions League. Jose Mourinho was also sacked after just 2 years at Juventus and a drop to 6th. My old club Varese suddenly achieved two promotions in a row and will be in Serie B next season. France Paris Saint-Germain were relegated for the first time since the 1970s, leaving Ligue 1 without a Parisian team. Spain Real Madrid edged out Real Betis by two points to win La Liga. Frank Rijkaard's replacement, Hristo Stoichkov, still has a job 4 years on despite Barcelona dropping every season. This season they finished 6th and 26 points behind Real.
  6. Thanks for the comments. 2013/14 Review Part 1 - Club Football Selected Summer Transfers John Atkinson (21, English, ST/AMR/AML) - Blackburn Rovers to Inter Milan - £39m Petre Petrovici (22, Romanian, DM/MC) - Valencia to AC Milan - £35m Georginio Wijnaldum - Werder Bremen to Juventus - £28m Nani - Tottenham Hotspur to Valencia - £27m Eid Youssef (24, Egyptian, ST) - Borussia Dortmund to Blackburn Rovers - £24m Sergio Ramos - Chelsea to AC Milan - £23m Wayne Jones (20, English, AMR/ST) - Chelsea to Tottenham - £21m Romeo La Cava (21, Italian, SW/DR/DC) - PSV to Real Madrid - £21m Rafinha - Liverpool to Newcastle United - £19m Bruno Mezenga - Sporting CP to Barcelona - £19m Selected Winter Transfers Leszek Szuta (23, Polish, MC) - Fiorentina to Chelsea - £35m Nuri Sahin - Chelsea to Inter Milan - £28.5m Daren Collins (21, English, ST) - Preston to Tottenham - £14.5m 2013 Awards Aston Villa's Luke Moore made history, becoming the first ever English player to be named FIFA World Player of the Year (Michael Owen did once win the other award). No one quite knows why he won, though he did finish top scorer in the Premier League this season, and his legendary last-second goal took England from elimination to qualifying for the World Cup automatically. Lyon's Fred and Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres were 2nd and 3rd. Carlos Vela won the Ballon d'Or European Footballer of the Year despite having a poor second half of the year, ultimately not even scoring double figures in the league this season. Torres and Blackburn Rovers/Inter Milan's sensational English striker John Atkinson were 2nd and 3rd. European Cups Inter Milan won their second Champions League in 3 years, beating surprise underdogs Feyenoord 2-0. But the big news was Blackburn Rovers' run to the semi-finals in their debut campaign. Despite losing their star striker in the transfer window and only qualifying on away goals, they topped their group, overcame a 4-1 loss to beat German champions Hamburg on away goals, and beat European champions Arsenal in 9 rounds of penalties after conceding a stoppage time equaliser. They eventually lost 2-1 on aggregate to Feyenoord. Valencia failed to even reach the group stage, losing to FC Brussels. Benfica overcame Bayern Munich 2-1 to win the UEFA Cup. England Premier League With Wenger retiring as a god, all but Arsenal fans were excited at the likelihood that Arsenal's 6-title winning streak would finally come to an end. Not only did it come to an end, but brand new Premier League champions were crowned to sit alongside Arsenal, Manchester United, Blackburn and Chelsea. At first it was a battle between Manchester United and Liverpool, but Man Utd somewhat fell away, eventually finishing 4 points behind in 3rd. Newcastle United rallied after an early blip and, with nerves jangling, important victories gained, and points thrown away, they and Liverpool were both on equal points on the final day. Steve McClaren's Newcastle failed and lost at Wigan 1-0, meaning Liverpool and manager Peter Nielsen, secured with a 3-1 win at New Anfield over Chelsea, were able to lift the trophy and finally end the 24-year wait. Incidentally they won it in 1980... Aston Villa finished in the coveted 4th spot and a Champions League place. Arsenal's new era started 1 point behind Villa in 5th. Failure for the defending champions to even qualify for the Champions League meant the sack after one season for David Moy... Javier Aguirre. Non-Arsenal fans are finding this hilarious, maybe a bit too much. He was replaced by Michael Laudrup, who was sacked a few months ago after 5 years at Werder Bremen, doing a decent job but not improving them any further. Wayne Rooney finally gave up after years of trying to get fit and retired at the age of 28 after suffering his career ending game bug I mean injury. F.A. Cup Chelsea added yet another trophy, beating Arsenal 1-0 in the F.A. Cup final. Championship Bolton Wanderers were the underdogs this year, reaching the semis. League Cup West Ham United lifted their first cup since 1980 after beating Aston Villa on penalties. Football League and Non-League Charlton Athletic finished bottom of the Championship, relegated to the third tier for the first time since... yes, 1980. MK Dons were relegated from the Football League for the first time in their short history, on goal difference. Belgium All eyes were on the most exciting league in Europe, after the last two seasons ended with the top 3 on the same points. Despite only 9 wins in their last 25 league games, Charleroi were the next team to break the top 3 dominance by winning the league. In fact Genk, the #3 in the top 3, finished bottom and were relegated automatically. This cements Glenn Hoddle's legacy as being one of the worst managers in history, as 3 of his last 4 jobs have resulted in his clubs being relegated in his first half-season. Only because the other one (Monaco) already got relegated the season before, but he was still 2 points from relegating them again! Westerlo won their third Belgian Cup in a row. Germany David Moyes took Bayern Munich back to the top of the league with relative ease. Their neighbours, TSV 1860 Munich, won their third German Cup in four years, but were also relegated for the second season in a row, back to the third tier for the first time in over two decades. Italy Inter Milan cemented their status as the team of the last decade, with their 7th straight title to go with their Champions League win, all while selling two players to Arsenal as well, almost as a mocking insult. Despite taking AC Milan to 2nd, 3rd and 3rd and a Champions League semi-final, Frank Rijkaard was sacked after a 7th-place finish and elimination at the group stage of the Champions League. Jose Mourinho was also sacked after just 2 years at Juventus and a drop to 6th. My old club Varese suddenly achieved two promotions in a row and will be in Serie B next season. France Paris Saint-Germain were relegated for the first time since the 1970s, leaving Ligue 1 without a Parisian team. Spain Real Madrid edged out Real Betis by two points to win La Liga. Frank Rijkaard's replacement, Hristo Stoichkov, still has a job 4 years on despite Barcelona dropping every season. This season they finished 6th and 26 points behind Real.
  7. Could do an international-only game, where you load the smallest league and then every player from every country and then go from there, it was surprisingly fun playing as Netherlands Antilles back when the game didn't have the minor international competitions so it was just friendlies. Or load some leagues you like, don't add yourself and see what vacancies comes up and insert yourself in ones that look interesting. It helps massively to keep an eye on what's going on in the game world around you, you'll never even have to start a new game, there's loads of different challenges and stories out there if you're following the history and context and dramas they've gone through. Otherwise all the clubs just kind of look the same - a bunch of teams in a league with random players who you want to get wins with.
  8. Remember when after about 10 games everyone was saying Man City had the title wrapped up. Same people will be making these same early 'bold' predictions every season, like teams never overcome a point deficit or come from two goals behind.
  9. I seem to have the 'playing a 10 year old game' niche covered. If anyone else does go for a full FM 2007 career, I would recommend just adding the leagues you want to play (so you can probably leave out Singapore or whatever) and no extra players. That seems to result in a more realistic game, rather than the sudden great rise of the underdogs in mine.
  10. Not at all, I'm speaking as a Man Utd fan. I would want Arsene at Arsenal forever. Arsenal won plenty of matches against Utd, but then kindly dropped points to those big bully midtable clubs for us to steam ahead. Him at Arsenal, Benitez at Liverpool, Mourinho at Chelsea playing a narrow formation against Giggs and Ronaldo, those were the days.
  11. The look on Wenger's face, some mix of confusion and deer-in-the-headlights, like "we've not won the Top 4 trophy?... This must be a lucid dream... is there meaning to life any more?" It's like he sort of did the minimum to challenge for top every season, assuming he'll get top 4 in a worst case scenario anyway, then it all came crumbling down finally and he still never saw it coming. If Wenger leaves, whether Arsenal improve or drop will depend on those higher up now. Man Utd messed up panic-sacking Moyes rather than giving him another year, at which point if he still sucked they probably could've got Klopp anyway. I hope for excitement for Arsenal fans, whichever end of the table, it's better than being stale. Even constantly winning at the top gets a bit boring. But as a non-Arsenal fan, I hope Wenger stays in charge forever. You're always in with a very strong chance of points against Wenger's Arsenal, and even if they get the win you can rely on them dropping points to teams you roll over anyway so you make it up.
  12. Spain 2014 World Cup Qualifiers UEFA Group 1 Wales - 29 Netherlands - 26* Norway - 26* Slovenia - 14 Kazakhstan - 10 Lithuania - 6** San Marino - 6** *Netherlands beat Norway 2-1 head-to-head **Lithuania beat San Marino 2-1 head-to-head In a group featuring the Netherlands and 2010 World Cup runner-up Norway, it was Wales who topped the group and qualified for their second ever World Cup, their only other appearance being in 1958. Netherlands and Norway finished level on points but, despite being the only team to lose to San Marino, Netherlands got runner-up due to the better head-to-head record and qualified automatically as best runner-up. Group 2 Turkey - 28 Finland - 22 Portugal - 21 Georgia - 19* Montenegro 19* Luxembourg - 14 Moldova - 0 *Georgia 7 - 4 Montengro Turkey easily won a weak group. Portugal again failed to qualify for a tournament, losing out on a playoff place to Finland, who they had also lost 5-0 to. Georgia continued their steady improvement and were one big win from reaching the playoffs. Luxembourg weren't left far behind and finished with 14 points, including 3 against Portugal, and were second-from-bottom above Moldova. Group 3 Germany - 27 Denmark - 25 Austria - 20 Belgium - 18 Northern Ireland - 17 Estonia - 11 Andorra - 0 Group 4 Scotland - 30 France - 25 Romania - 19 Croatia - 15 Iceland - 12 Armenia - 8 Azerbaijan - 4 Scotland stormed to the top of their group unbeaten. Will their 18-year wait for a win in a tournament finally end? Group 5 England - 20 Albania - 18* Switzerland - 18* Serbia - 13 Slovakia - 9 Faroe Islands - 4 *Albania 3 - 0 Switzerland Substitute Luke Moore scored his first England goal, after 16 caps, to save Peter Beardsley from the sack with a last-second goal that took England from elimination in third to top of the group. Switzerland, the team England beat, were thus knocked down from top to third, and Albania suddenly in the playoffs. Group 6 Republic of Ireland - 21 Italy - 20 Russia - 19 Hungary - 14 Bosnia - 11 Malta - 1 Republic of Ireland jumped to 1st after Italy's final day draw at home to Bosnia forced the Italians to go through the playoffs. Group 7 Greece - 25 Israel - 23 FYR Macedonia - 15 Poland - 11 Czech Republic - 8 Liechtenstein - 1 Israel were one of the two best runner-ups, so qualify automatically from The Group of Dearth for their and Greece's second ever World Cup. Group 8 Ukraine - 22 Belarus - 20 Bulgaria - 15 Cyprus - 10 Sweden - 9 Latvia - 7 European Championship runner-ups Ukraine qualified on the final day. Playoffs (aggregate) Albania 3 - 7 France Belarus 0 - 2 Finland Denmark 0 - 2 Italy Finland will make their World Cup debut! CONMEBOL Brazil - 41 Chile - 35 Colombia - 34 Peru - 32 Argentina - 31 Uruguay - 18 Ecuador - 17 Paraguay - 13 Bolivia - 12 (-16 GD) Venezuela - 12 (-20 GD) There was a clear top 5 competing for the 4.5 spots. On the final day, Argentina and Peru were chasing the final automatic spot, and it was Peru who took it, forcing Argentina into the CONMEBOL - CONCACAF playoff. CONCACAF Second Phase On the same day that San Marino and Luxembourg were beating the Netherlands and Portugal, the unthinkable happened in North America. A loss away to Nicaragua, followed later by a loss in Canada, meant USA went into the final group game needing a home win to qualify. Who stood in their way? The already qualified Canadians, who were ready to put the icing on the cake. America failed to break through for most of a tense game, until, in the final minutes, the USA were awarded a penalty. Young Freddy Adu, with so much pressure, had his penalty saved. Canadian fans celebrated like they'd just won the group all over again, America were out, and Nicaragua joined Canada in the Hexagonal instead. Hexagonal Mexico and Canada were by far the top two with only one loss between them, meaning Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica and surprise package Nicaragua were all battling it out for the final automatic place and one playoff place. After a few minutes, Nicaragua were beating Jamaica, and the others were losing. But poor Nicaraguan defending meant Jamaica inevitably equalised and qualified automatically, while Costa Rica's draw with Mexico meant Guatemala got the playoff place despite losing heavily to Canada. CONMEBOL - CONCACAF Playoff (aggregate) Guatemala 1 - 5 Argentina CAF Second Round All the big teams were bunched up in two of the five groups, so joining the more familiar names of Algeria, Nigeria and Senegal at the World Cup will be Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Benin, Mali, Togo, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana and best-4th-placed Egypt got the consolation of joining those teams and hosts South Africa in the 2014 African Cup of Nations. AFC Second Round It was all change in Asia. 3 of the Big 5 of Australia, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea failed to make the final round, the first time the big 5 weren't all in the last qualifying stage for 24 years. In fact, on top of that, none of non-Big-5 teams that made the final round of 2010 qualifying made it this time either. With the winner of each group going to the next round, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and fellow 2010 World Cup qualifiers Qatar finished 3rd in their weak groups, not even second-best, usurped by Malaysia(!), Syria(!!) and Bahrain(?) respectively. So, at last, Japan have company in utter unprecedented failure, though they also failed to qualify by finishing 2nd, far behind Lebanon. China were the only team to win all their games (though they only had to contend with Jordan, Macau and Thailand). Third Round Australia and Iran unsurprisingly topped their groups. China and Iraq join them as group runner-ups and will be going to only their second ever World Cup finals. Lebanon and Malaysia enter a playoff to decide who faces an Oceania team. Playoff (aggregate) Lebanon 5 - 2 Malaysia OFC New Zealand easily beat Solomon Islands 8-1 on aggregate to reach the AFC-OFC playoff. No upset this time. AFC-OFC Playoff (aggregate) Lebanon 4 - 5 New Zealand Lebanon looked in control at the start of the second leg, but New Zealand ended up qualifying for their second ever World Cup quite comfortably.
  13. Spain 2014 World Cup Qualifiers UEFA Group 1 Wales - 29 Netherlands - 26* Norway - 26* Slovenia - 14 Kazakhstan - 10 Lithuania - 6** San Marino - 6** *Netherlands beat Norway 2-1 head-to-head **Lithuania beat San Marino 2-1 head-to-head In a group featuring the Netherlands and 2010 World Cup runner-up Norway, it was Wales who topped the group and qualified for their second ever World Cup, their only other appearance being in 1958. Netherlands and Norway finished level on points but, despite being the only team to lose to San Marino, Netherlands got runner-up due to the better head-to-head record and qualified automatically as best runner-up. Group 2 Turkey - 28 Finland - 22 Portugal - 21 Georgia - 19* Montenegro 19* Luxembourg - 14 Moldova - 0 *Georgia 7 - 4 Montengro Turkey easily won a weak group. Portugal again failed to qualify for a tournament, losing out on a playoff place to Finland, who they had also lost 5-0 to. Georgia continued their steady improvement and were one big win from reaching the playoffs. Luxembourg weren't left far behind and finished with 14 points, including 3 against Portugal, and were second-from-bottom above Moldova. Group 3 Germany - 27 Denmark - 25 Austria - 20 Belgium - 18 Northern Ireland - 17 Estonia - 11 Andorra - 0 Group 4 Scotland - 30 France - 25 Romania - 19 Croatia - 15 Iceland - 12 Armenia - 8 Azerbaijan - 4 Scotland stormed to the top of their group unbeaten. Will their 18-year wait for a win in a tournament finally end? Group 5 England - 20 Albania - 18* Switzerland - 18* Serbia - 13 Slovakia - 9 Faroe Islands - 4 *Albania 3 - 0 Switzerland Substitute Luke Moore scored his first England goal, after 16 caps, to save Peter Beardsley from the sack with a last-second goal that took England from elimination in third to top of the group. Switzerland, the team England beat, were thus knocked down from top to third, and Albania suddenly in the playoffs. Group 6 Republic of Ireland - 21 Italy - 20 Russia - 19 Hungary - 14 Bosnia - 11 Malta - 1 Republic of Ireland jumped to 1st after Italy's final day draw at home to Bosnia forced the Italians to go through the playoffs. Group 7 Greece - 25 Israel - 23 FYR Macedonia - 15 Poland - 11 Czech Republic - 8 Liechtenstein - 1 Israel were one of the two best runner-ups, so qualify automatically from The Group of Dearth for their and Greece's second ever World Cup. Group 8 Ukraine - 22 Belarus - 20 Bulgaria - 15 Cyprus - 10 Sweden - 9 Latvia - 7 European Championship runner-ups Ukraine qualified on the final day. Playoffs (aggregate) Albania 3 - 7 France Belarus 0 - 2 Finland Denmark 0 - 2 Italy Finland will make their World Cup debut! CONMEBOL Brazil - 41 Chile - 35 Colombia - 34 Peru - 32 Argentina - 31 Uruguay - 18 Ecuador - 17 Paraguay - 13 Bolivia - 12 (-16 GD) Venezuela - 12 (-20 GD) There was a clear top 5 competing for the 4.5 spots. On the final day, Argentina and Peru were chasing the final automatic spot, and it was Peru who took it, forcing Argentina into the CONMEBOL - CONCACAF playoff. CONCACAF Second Phase On the same day that San Marino and Luxembourg were beating the Netherlands and Portugal, the unthinkable happened in North America. A loss away to Nicaragua, followed later by a loss in Canada, meant USA went into the final group game needing a home win to qualify. Who stood in their way? The already qualified Canadians, who were ready to put the icing on the cake. America failed to break through for most of a tense game, until, in the final minutes, the USA were awarded a penalty. Young Freddy Adu, with so much pressure, had his penalty saved. Canadian fans celebrated like they'd just won the group all over again, America were out, and Nicaragua joined Canada in the Hexagonal instead. Hexagonal Mexico and Canada were by far the top two with only one loss between them, meaning Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica and surprise package Nicaragua were all battling it out for the final automatic place and one playoff place. After a few minutes, Nicaragua were beating Jamaica, and the others were losing. But poor Nicaraguan defending meant Jamaica inevitably equalised and qualified automatically, while Costa Rica's draw with Mexico meant Guatemala got the playoff place despite losing heavily to Canada. CONMEBOL - CONCACAF Playoff (aggregate) Guatemala 1 - 5 Argentina CAF Second Round All the big teams were bunched up in two of the five groups, so joining the more familiar names of Algeria, Nigeria and Senegal at the World Cup will be Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Benin, Mali, Togo, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana and best-4th-placed Egypt got the consolation of joining those teams and hosts South Africa in the 2014 African Cup of Nations. AFC Second Round It was all change in Asia. 3 of the Big 5 of Australia, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea failed to make the final round, the first time the big 5 weren't all in the last qualifying stage for 24 years. In fact, on top of that, none of non-Big-5 teams that made the final round of 2010 qualifying made it this time either. With the winner of each group going to the next round, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and fellow 2010 World Cup qualifiers Qatar finished 3rd in their weak groups, not even second-best, usurped by Malaysia(!), Syria(!!) and Bahrain(?) respectively. So, at last, Japan have company in utter unprecedented failure, though they also failed to qualify by finishing 2nd, far behind Lebanon. China were the only team to win all their games (though they only had to contend with Jordan, Macau and Thailand). Third Round Australia and Iran unsurprisingly topped their groups. China and Iraq join them as group runner-ups and will be going to only their second ever World Cup finals. Lebanon and Malaysia enter a playoff to decide who faces an Oceania team. Playoff (aggregate) Lebanon 5 - 2 Malaysia OFC New Zealand easily beat Solomon Islands 8-1 on aggregate to reach the AFC-OFC playoff. No upset this time. AFC-OFC Playoff (aggregate) Lebanon 4 - 5 New Zealand Lebanon looked in control at the start of the second leg, but New Zealand ended up qualifying for their second ever World Cup quite comfortably.
  14. Yah but it was a choice between the real life official 2014 World Cup song La La La which is at least IN Spanish, or Stevie Wonder which is samba but is way better.
  15. With the 2014 Spanish World Cup approaching in my story thread, I have created a Match of the Day intro to go with it: I was gonna go with Shakira, but Stevie Wonder is just too good, who cares if it isn't strictly Spanish?