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    Leeds Utd, Portsmouth

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  1. Alessandro Lucarelli - Tre Penne/San Marino OCTOBER 2019 Alright - so a couple of months in, a few things to report. Firstly, despite some heavy defeats, it's going well! We have already ticked off the first achievement with a win in the Sammarinese Super Cup on penalties over Tre Fiori, which despite the late equaliser to even get ourselves into a shootout, was probably deserved on the balance of play. I won't get into too much detail on transfers, since as an amateur club they're all over the place - coming and going on free transfers all the time. However, we've managed to keep hold of some of our best and build up the squad with decent prospects at the same time. We did tremendously well in Europe, winning two tight games to qualify from the preliminaries. We were then pumped in the first qualifying round of the Champions League, before beating Valletta over two legs in the Europa League, with the second leg performance being particularly fantastic, despite only winning by a goal to nil. Our work in the league starts in earnest now, and I will bring you a mid-season summary of results when we get to that point. Meanwhile, a quick screencap of our first international game below - managing to earn a point! It's not a win yet, so not overly notable, but what a start. Granted, we have lost every game since (and again, I'll round these up at the end of 2019 when international football is over for the year), but it's a promising sign for the young and up and coming San Marino national team.
  2. Alessandro Lucarelli - Tre Penne/San Marino AUGUST 2019 Alright - its been a while since I've been on these forums or even played an FM game, but I've just bought FM20 and have a weekend to myself so fancied getting stuck into a save. I've had a lot of fun with both San Marino and Tre Penne in the past, so thought this would be a great way to reignite my love of the game. Enter former Sammarinese international footballer Alessandro Lucarelli who takes charge of both Tre Penne in the Campionato Sammarinese and his national side, San Marino.
  3. 2019 FIXTURES (JANUARY TO JUNE) Qualifying begins for the 2020 European Championships, as well as the playoff stages of the inaugural European Nations League. EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING Belgium 2 - 1 Kosovo Hazard (30), De Bruyne (76) | Muriqi (72) This was supposed to be the easiest game of the qualifiers; at home to the bottom ranked team in the group. But Belgium made hard work of it, especially after Radja Nainggolan saw red after 64 minutes. Kosovo have a slightly false ranking due to their very recent emergence as an officially recognised team, but were unable to make the most of their man advantage. EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING Northern Ireland 1- 4 Belgium Boyce (49) | De Bruyne (9), Lukaku (11, 13, 20) This was a far better performance; Belgium blowing Northern Ireland away within the 20 minutes. Romelu Lukaku's hattrick sees him become Belgium's all-time record goalscorer. NATIONS LEAGUE SEMI FINAL Italy 2 - 4 Belgium Gagliardini (4), Zaza (37) | Bailey (18), Lukaku (47), De Bruyne (74), Hazard (87) What a game this was in Bari! Italy looked good in patches, but Belgium's superb attacking football was just too much for them to handle. The front three all chipped in with goals, as well as the world's best player De Bruyne, who has now scored in each of his last four matches for Belgium. The opponents in the final will be Germany, after a 2-1 victory in France. NATIONS LEAGUE FINAL Germany 1 - 0 Belgium Kleitsch (90+3) Belgium again fail to win their first piece of silverware under Deivids Vādiītajs, in their second final. This is not as big as the World Cup obviously, but it would have still felt very satisfying to have lifted the trophy. It was a very even, cagey game, with no real chances of note until the goal. Belgium will be hoping it's third time lucky as far as tournaments go, when the European Championships come around next summer. FRIENDLY Belgium 0 - 0 Netherlands A marquee summer friendly at home to neighbours and rivals the Netherlands saw a dominant Belgium side unable to break the Dutch down, and ended goalless.
  4. JANUARY 2019 Every New Year's Day in this thread, I'll post a little update tracking the top 10 in the FIFA rankings, as well as the highest ranked team from each continental confederation, to see how (and indeed if) the landscape changes. Will we see many African or North American nations make it over the years? Will any Asian or Oceanian nations ever make it close? There are few surprises this year, though Poland (after a great World Cup) and Serbia are in at the expense of the likes of Portugal and England. 1 - BRAZIL (South America) 2 - ITALY (Europe) 3 - FRANCE (Europe) 4 - GERMANY (Europe) 5 - BELGIUM (Europe) 6 - ARGENTINA (South America) 7 - POLAND (Europe) 8 - URUGUAY (South America) 9 - SERBIA (Europe) 10 - SPAIN (Europe) 17 - COSTA RICA (North America) 20 - GHANA (Africa) 55 - JAPAN (Asia) 95 - NEW ZEALAND (Oceania) Kevin De Bruyne was named Footballer of the Year too, which is nice. Hazard, Lukaku and Courtois were also on the shortlist for the award. Deivids Vādiītajs voted for Messi.
  5. 2018 POST-WORLD CUP FIXTURES To finish the year, Belgium have the reverse fixtures against Spain and Iceland to enjoy, sandwiched by friendlies against Bulgaria and Colombia. FRIENDLY Belgium 0 - 1 Bulgaria Meunier (og 15) Koen Casteels makes his debut in goal, replacing Thibault Courtois, who needs another day or two to fully recover from a recent injury. He conceded after just 15 minutes through no fault of his own, with Thomas Meunier's attempted clearance beating the keeper at his near post. The match was very pedestrian throughout, and neither side looked like scoring again after that. NATIONS LEAGUE DIVISION A Belgium 4 - 0 Iceland Hazard (7), Lukaku (30), Engels (34), De Bruyne (44) The Bulgaria defeat has been well and truly banished from the Belgian players' minds here, with a huge win over Iceland. The forward players cut though the Icelandic defence with ease time and again, and 4-0 didn't flatter them in the slightest. Belgium held Spain away from home previously to this game, so Belgium need only a point to qualify for the semi final, and cannot now be relegated. NATIONS LEAGUE DIVISION A Spain 2 - 1 Belgium Costa (29) , Morata (80)| Bailey (77) A very good match; both teams approaching 20 shots, with plenty of free-flowing, attacking football. Belgium thought they'd earned a point towards the end with Leon Bailey's equaliser, but Spain retook the initiative just a couple of minutes later through Morata's header from a corner. Belgium have an aggregate score of 3-2 in their favour against Spain now in the tournament, as well as a three point lead with Spain having one more game to play, which means that Belgium have secured qualification to the final four. FRIENDLY Belgium 4 - 2 Colombia Verlinden (21) , Musonda (60), De Bruyne (71, 89)| Cardona (55), Martínez (63) Belgium complete a memorable 2018 with a victory over Colombia after a very entertaining match. Teenager Thibaud Verlinden marked his full international debut with a goal, while Kevin De Bruyne came off the bench with half an hour to go to bag a brace. A satisfying year for Belgium.
  6. 2018 POST-WORLD CUP FIXTURES After they finished licking their wounds following the defeat to Brazil, Belgium had to prepare for their first ever games in the European Nations League. They were drawn in Group 4 of Division A, along with Spain and Iceland. Vādiītajs is not targeting this tournament in the same way as he's targeting the World Cup, but a good run would be nice. Certainly, relegation to Division B would be an embarrassment he and the Belgian players will be seeking to avoid. NATIONS LEAGUE DIVISION A Belgium 2 - 0 Spain Bailey (52), Mertens (82) Two wins over Spain, exactly two months apart. Just what the doctor ordered after the heartache of losing in the World Cup final. Belgium looked at their clinical best today; despite Spain having most of the ball and a few more chances, Belgium were clinical on the counter, and Bailey and Mertens took their chances with aplomb. NATIONS LEAGUE DIVISION A Iceland 0 - 0 Belgium A bit of an odd game; Belgium, expecting Iceland to sit back, opted for an attacking style of play. However, Iceland also threw far more caution to the wind than expected, which resulted in a very end-to-end game. Despite that, due in part to poor finishing and good goalkeeping, the match finished goalless. Belgium will be relatively satisfied with their start in the Nations League though, sitting top after two games.
  7. 2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA I'll be doing a tally of World Cup performances, with points allocated based on final positions in the tournament. That way, we can chart the best performing nations on the world stage, as well as all those countries who play at a World Cup over the course of the save.
  8. 2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA Brazil move up to first place in the World Rankings following their triumph in Russia, while Belgium move up to fifth.
  9. 2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA They fell just short, but plaudits galore for Vādiītajs' side, and rightly so. Romelu Lukaku came second in the Golden Boot stakes by virtue of making fewer assists than Firmino, and came third in the Golden Ball award. It was Leon Bailey though for whom the strongest praise was reserved. The 20 year old winger was just sensational in Russia, and wins both the Golden Ball and the Best Young Player awards, as well as finding himself in the Dream Team along with the Lukaku brothers.
  10. 2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA 15 JULY 2018, 1500, LUZHNIKI (HT) Belgium 1 - 2 Brazil 46' - Brazil nearly double their lead within a minute of the restart! Neymar's pass sees Willian unmarked on the edge of the six yard area with the goal at his mercy, but Courtois is down to him so quickly, and tips the ball away. What an important save that might prove to be. 72' - Substitute Eden Hazard has the ball wide on the left, and Dani Alves dives in recklessly - he's already on a yellow! RED CARD for Dani Alves! Now, can Belgium make the most of their man advantage? They look like they're going more attacking. 90+2' - Could be the last chance here as Lukaku sprints away from his challengers, and has half a chance to find a team mate in the box, but he takes on the shot... Well over the bar! What a waste, and that could be curtains for Belgium's chances of winning this World Cup. 90+4' - Time for another chance as Leon Bailey takes a quick throw in to Hazard - he has some space in the box to curl one... Ooooh, it's a whisker wide! How agonising for Belgium! FULL TIME: That was a very brave effort by Belgium, but in the end they just didn't have enough to beat Brazil. Some superb performances by some of their players in this World Cup, and Deivids Vādiītajs can rightly be very proud of his charges. Just not to be today, but expect them to be challengers in Qatar in four years' time.
  11. 2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA 15 JULY 2018, 1500, LUZHNIKI (HT) Belgium 1 - 2 Brazil 3' - It's a combination that's been working wonders all tournament, and Belgium hit Brazil with it as they start brilliantly again! Romelu Lukaku plays in Leon Bailey, and the winger is just so sharp. He slips it past Ederson as Belgium take the lead in this final already! GOAL! 1-0 Belgium 35' - Brilliant incisive football! Douglas Costa has the ball on the edge of the Belgium box, and exchanges quick passes with Firmino and then Willian, who smashes the ball past a hopeless Courtois for the equaliser. GOAL! 1-1 38' - Wonderful football again from Brazil, as Kompany's clearance is only as far as Alex Sandro, who plays it up to Neymar. Neymar powers into the box with the ball, and drills it low across goal to leave Douglas Costa with a tap in, which he takes gleefully! GOAL! 2-1 Brazil 45+1' - Neymar's corner is cleared, but only as far as Douglas Costa, but his shot is wild and well over the bar! HALF TIME: We've been really spoilt at this World Cup - that was another belter of a half. Belgium started quickly as usual, but Brazil have hit back with two really well worked goals. There'll certainly be more goals in the second half, but you'd think Belgium will need to score quickly or the relentless pressure Brazil exert could finish them off.
  12. 2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA 15 JULY 2018, 1500, LUZHNIKI Belgium - Brazil Brazil are the opponents for Belgium in their first ever World Cup Final, after the Brazilians beat Italy in the semi final. Italy then beat Poland to finish third, but this is the match that everyone has been waiting for. Vādiītajs has made some big decisions for this match, with the biggest being the dropping of Eden Hazard. The forward just hasn't really shown up at this tournament, and with the form of Mertens, Lukaku and Bailey, the front three didn't have space for Hazard. Vertonghen and Alderweireld both have knocks, so Vincent Kompany comes into central defence alongside the impressive Jason Denayer. Brazil boast an embarrassment of riches with Roberto Firmino, joint top scorer in the tournament with Lukaku, Lewandowski, and Czech Republic's Schlick, playing as the focal point of a powerful front four. History beckons...
  13. 2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA 10 JULY 2018, 1900, MOSCOW (FT) Belgium 3 - 2 Poland 63' - Rybus has a freekick on the edge of the Belgium box, but tries to be too clever in his lay off to Jakub Blaszczykowski and the ball is taken from him by Dembélé. Dembélé looks up and sees the run of Romelu Lukaku, who's away down the left. He's into the box and as Szczesny rushes it, he pulls it across to leave fellow sub Leon Bailey with an empty net. Bailey somehow hits the post with his first shot, but it cannons back out to him, and he's not going to miss a second time! GOAL! 2-1 Belgium 65' - We saw it when Mexico played them in the last 16; Poland have visibly lost all concentration and their heads are down since Belgium completed the turn around, and they get caught napping again, albeit by a sensational ball. Jason Denayer is wide on the left, about 30 yards from the touchline, but plays a delicious diagonal ball that bounces in between the defence, and leaves a tap in for the running Lukaku at the far past, with the keeper stranded. GOAL! 3-1 Belgium 71' - Poland are not done yet! Zyro has the ball on the left, and puts in a hopeful ball into the middle. Lukasz Teodorczyk leaps brilliantly to beat the Belgian defenders to the ball, and his header loops over Courtois and into the net! GOAL 3-2 Belgium 87' - Poland pushing desperately for the equaliser as we enter the final stages, and Belgium break! They have numbers going forward, and Hazard has Lukaku and Bailey running either side of him; a pass to either and they're in. However, he goes it alone, and puts his shot agonisingly wide. He should have passed... FULL TIME: In the end, Hazard's miss doesn't matter - Belgium win, and are through to the final! They were the better team, and deservedly reach the Moscow showpiece, having won every game in the tournament so far.
  14. 2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA 10 JULY 2018, 1900, MOSCOW (HT) Belgium 1 - 1 Poland 2' - A typically quick start from Belgium sees Mertens with a yard or two of space on the edge of the Polish box, and tries one - hits the corner of bar and post and rebounds into the grateful Szczesny's arms! That was close. 15' - Grzegorz Krychowiak has plenty of time to pick a delightful ball over the top which finds Lewandowski in behind the Belgium defence! The Bayern man sees his first shot saved well by Courtois, but the keeper isn't able to get up in time for the rebound! GOAL! 1-0 Poland 27' - Zyro puts in a cross from deep to the left and its cleared out toward Robert Gumny. Hazard nips it off his toes, and suddenly he's accelerating away from the Polish defenders, deep into their half. He has options left and right, and slips in Mertens with just the keeper to beat. And he scores! GOAL! 1-1 HALF TIME: That's it for the first half; it's been pretty even and pretty cagey. You'd expect that from two teams striving to reach their first ever World Cup final, but hopefully the second half should be a bit more open. Certainly, the firepower on either side is enough to blow down the respective defences!
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