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Dave.

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About Dave.

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    Portsmouth

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    Leeds Utd, Portsmouth

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  1. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  2. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    There's always next time!
  3. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  4. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  5. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  6. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  7. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  8. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  9. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  10. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  11. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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...
  12. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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.
  13. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    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!
  14. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA 10 JULY 2018, 1900, MOSCOW Belgium - Poland Poland beat Costa Rica, and so will be Belgium's opponents for this semi final. Brazil and Italy play in the other semi final tomorrow, and so the World Cup Final will have one team who have never won it, against a nation who have won it several times. Vādiītajs rotates his squad for the match against Poland, and Belgium will look to attack from the off and blow Poland away. That'll be easier said than done, though, as no team who reaches the final four of a World Cup could be pushovers.
  15. Dave.

    [FM18] Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    2018 WORLD CUP FINALS, RUSSIA 6 JULY 2018, 1900, LUZHNIKI (FT) Belgium 3 - 2 Spain 48' - Paco Alcacér is on for Pedro as Spain look to move to two up top. They need goals, remember! The first chance of the half comes Belgium's way though, as Jordan Lukaku combines well with Eden Hazard before swinging in a cross to his brother Romelu - on a hattrick remember - who's header is tipped over the bar well by David De Gea. De Bruyne delivered a fantastic corner in the first half for Denayer to score, and puts it in towards the centre half again, but this time his header is over. 51' - Mousa Dembélé knocks a hopeful ball over the top, and there seems to be confusion among the Spanish defence (missing Sergio Ramos today) as to who's ball it is. Leon Bailey gets there first in the confusion, and tries catching De Gea out with the early shot, but the ball sails two yards wide. 57' - Alcacér has the ball down the Spanish right as Spain look to break down the Belgian defence, and puts in a decent cross to the near post, but the angle was always a little tight for Morata as he goes for a little too much and heads well over. 64' - The ball is again with Spain down the right, and this time Daniel Carvajal. The full back puts his cross into the far post, and it's Alcacér this time on the end of it... Into the side netting. 74' - De Bruyne has a free kick on the left hand side of the penalty area. Not a position you'd shoot from, but dangerous nonetheless. He puts a nice ball in towards the penalty spot, but turned away. The clearance only goes as far as Dembélé, who smashes the ball just wide! 90+2 - Belgium have been coasting the last 20 minutes or so, and look under absolutely no pressure, but switch off as Spain break! Suddenly, Morata is clear of the defence, and spots the onrushing Courtois. He tries to lob the goalkeeper to level the scores, and oh no! He's absolutely ballooned that into the stands! What a glorious chance missed by Morata, and with it, he may just have thrown Spain's last chance to stay in this World Cup away. HALF TIME: And that was indeed Spain's final chance of the match - Belgium win and are through to a first World Cup semi final since 1986, where they will play either Poland or Costa Rica, and will certainly fancy their chances. After the first ten minutes, which went comprehensively Spain's way, Kevin De Bruyne absolutely bossed the midfield. He, along with superb performances by Leon Bailey and Romelu Lukaku, saw Belgium come back magnificently to beat Spain to the final four in Russia.
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