abulezz

Bromley FC (...And the Rest of the World)

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Interesting couple of shocks.
Lol at Group G, almost exactly the same as real life, except Lille are in it not Benfica.

I cant wait to be competing in the Champions Cup - still a loooong way away though!

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Champions Cup 2013/2014 - Second Round

championscupsecondround.jpg

Manchester United vs. Lyonnais (4-3)

First Leg – Old Trafford: Both teams were beaten Semi-Finalists in 2013, and both were looking to improve on that. An even match was not reflected by the score, with Manchester United coming out 3-1 winners over the French Champions thanks to a sensational hat-trick by Mexican striker Javier Hernandez. For Lyonnais, the goalscorer was Lisandro Lopez, the club’s Player of the Year.

Second Leg – Stade de Lumieres: The French champions made a great start to the game, scoring two goals in the first half through Antonio Candreva and Guida Fofana, but they also were hit with an injury that ruled defender Jan Vertonghen out of the game in the 30th minute. Wayne Rooney’s 4th goal of the tournament in the second half, however, would be enough to send Manchester United to their fourth straight Quarter-Finals, as Lyonnais defeated them 2-1 but fell on the aggregate score.

Marseille vs. Benfica (3-2)

First Leg – Stade Veldrome: The Portuguese continued their fine form in Europe, recording a 2-1 away victory against the French side thanks to some deadly counter-attacks that did Marseille in. Ezequel Garay, Benfica’s Argentinean defender, won the MotM, and Oscar Cardozo and loanee Frederico Macheda scoring Benfica’s 2 goals before Oscar Gaucho responded for Marseille.

Second Leg – Estadio de Luz: This was a huge turn for the French team, who hammered Benfica in Lisbon 2-0 thanks to an outstanding brace by 22 year old rising Ghanaian star Jordan Ayew. But it would not be Ayew who would win the MotM; that honor would go to his Cameroonian teammate, Nikolas Nkoulou, who delivered such an impressive display that he was given an 9.4 AR.

Porto vs. Barcelona (2-6)

First Leg – Estadio de Dragao: It was a strange match, with Porto being the better team throughout the game against the three time defending European champions, but in typical fashion, Barcelona stole away a 2-1 victory away from home. Cesc Fabregas scored and was followed by a Lionel Messi goal before Porto’s 22 year old Italian striker Fabio Borini got one back from the home side. It was Messi who ended up taking the MotM.

Second Leg – Nou Camp: The Spanish side showed their class, upstaging the Portuguese champions 4-1 in a dominant victory as they moved one step closer to their quest of becoming just the second team in history to win the competition four times a row. David Villa hit a brace, and won the MotM, and Fabregas scored a brace as well, making it 3 goals in the competition. Freddy Guarin was Porto’s only goalscorer.

Trabzonspor vs.Arsenal (0-3)

First Leg – Husayin Avni Aker: A drab affair marked more by the injuries sustained than by its entertainment. The match ended in a 0-0 stalemate –the Turks’ leading scorer Burak Yilmaz sustained a broken collarbone that would rule him out for 2 months, while Andrey Arshavin pulled his groin muscle and ruled himself out for 2 weeks. The MotM was Turkish international defender Kemal Tokak.

Second Leg – Emirates Stadium: After the less than entertaining affair in Turkey, Arsenal turned up the style and beat Trabzonspor convincingly in London 3-0. Marouane Chamakh scored the first, Theo Walcott hit the second, and it was Marouane Fellaini who sealed the result for the English club. The latter also won the MotM after a scintillating performance in the midfield.

AC Milan vs. Dynamo Kiev (4-2)

First Leg – San Siro: AC Milan, who had lost to Ajax at this same stage in 2013, were looking at this tie favorably, by the Ukrainian champions held their own despite a 41st minute sending off of Goran Popov, their most important midfielder. The Italians ended up winning the match 2-1 thanks to a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, also MotM, but Kiev would leave with that important away goal thanks to 21 Brazilian midfielder Negueba, on loan from Real Madrid.

Second Leg – Valeriy Lobanovs’kyi Stadium: Simply put, the Ukrainians were no match for Milan, who won the match 2-1 thanks to goals by Nacer Chadli and Ibrahimovic. Negueba again scored for Kiev, but they were simply overmatched. The MotM was Milan’s defender Matias Silvestre.

Shalke vs. Chelsea (1-3)

First Leg – VELTINS-Arena: The German champions took the lead through Klaas Jan-Huntelaar, but it was the English team that came away with a strong 2-1 away victory in Germany. Chelsea, who had been edged out by Barcelona the past two years, scored through Fernando Torres and Romano Lukaku, while Brazilian Hulk captured the MotM playing in the midfield.

Second Leg – Stamford Bridge: Chelsea came into the match against the German champions with an advantage, and exited 1-0 winners at home. The scoreline, however, did not reflect how dominant they were – 61% possession and 14 shots compared to Shalke’s measly 3 shots. Romano Lukaku’s 9th minute goal was the only one of the game, but John Terry’s defensive brilliance won him the MotM.

Manchester City vs. Wolfsburg (2-0)

First Leg – City of Manchester Stadium: The English club did well against a German team that was impressive in the Group Stages, defeating them 2-0 at home in a match which they controlled. The goals came from Yuri Zhirkov and the Premier League Top Goalscorer in 2012, Emanuel Adebayor. It was midfielder Samir Nasri who captured the MotM.

Second Leg – Volkswagen Arena: A thoroughly defensive affair ended 0-0, sealing the advancement from Manchester City against the faltering German side. The MotM was Danish defender Simon Kjaer.

Roma vs. Real Madrid (1-5)

First Leg – Olimpico: In the most anticipated tie of the Second Round, the two giants battled it out to a 1-1 draw in Rome, a result which surely satisfied Madrid more than the hosts. It was an even match, and it was Cristiano Ronaldo who opened up the scoring, before Maroc Boriello equalized by way of a penalty shot in the 84th minute. The MotM was Madrid’s Brazilian left back Marcelo.

Second Leg – Santiago Bernabeu: What was a mouth-watering tie ended up being as anti-climactic as can be, with the home side running away with 4-0. Roma just rolled over and played dead as Madrid stormed their defense, dominating the match with 60% possession and 14 shots compared to Roma’s 5 shots. Gonzalo Higuan opened up the scoring, and he was followed by the 16.25 million man Kwadwo Asamoah. A brace by Cristiano Ronaldo, making 8 goals in the competition, sealed the deal, but once again it was Marcelo who won the MotM.

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This was one of the most random signings I've ever made. Just one day before the Free Transfer deadline, Ben Amos' agent circulates that he wants to find him a club. Now this guy is way too talented for League Two, but I made an offer - he wanted 1k per week, my maximum, so I offered it. He accepted on the spot, and voila! I have myself a GK that, in my opinion, is good enough to last me into the Premier League! (If I make it that far)

benamosmarch2014.jpg

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Heartbreaking loss - ironically, my new star signing, GK Ben Amos, shipped in 4 goals and had the worst AR of all the players in the match!

spainttrophyfinal2014.jpg

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Champions Cup Quarter-Finals

Arsenal vs. AC Milan (3-3, AC Milan wins on away goals)

First Leg – Emirates Stadium: This was an even match from the beginnings, and it ended as such, in a 2-2 draw that was surely more pleasing for AC Milan than the hosts. In a thrilling end to the match, all the goals were scored in the last fifteen minutes, with Antonio Nocerino hitting the first. Laurent Koscielny followed suit just 8 minutes later, but it took Pato just 3 minutes to give Milan the lead back when he scored in the 86th minute. The match seemed lost for Arsenal until Johan Djourou nailed the equalizer in the dying seconds of the match, rounding up one of the most frantic endings to a match this season. Nocerino would win the MotM for his contributions in the midfield.

Second Leg – San Siro: Like the first matchup, this was a closely fought affair that ended in a 1-1 draw, sending AC Milan into the Semi-Finals on the away goal rule. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored first,and Thomas Vermaelen equalized, but Arsenal could not muster up the winning goal away from home to send them through, leaving AC Milan as Italy’s representatives in the Semi-Finals. The MotM was Vermaelen.

Manchester City vs. Barcelona (1-6)

First Leg – City of Manchester Stadium: The hosts were in unfamiliar territory, advancing to the Quarter-Finals, and their opponents were, perhaps, the greatest club team ever assembled. It was an exciting and even match, with 31 shots between the two teams, and true to its form, the match ended in a fair 1-1 draw. Edin Dzeko scored very early in the game, and Alexis Sanchez equaled it very late, but in between, it was as even as it could get. The MotM was Dzeko.

Second Leg – Nou Camp: If there was any doubting the sheer class of the three time defending champions, there could not have been after they completely destroyed Manchester City at home, winning 5-0. It was simply a performance to remember – a hat-trick from the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, and a brace from the man who led them to their title last year, Alexis Sanchez. Simply put, there was no containing them, and Manchester City were given a rude reception and awakening before they were sent packing.

Chelsea vs. Real Madrid (5-7)

First Leg – Stamford Bridge: One of the most exciting matches this season took place in London, as the two giants batted it out to an entertaining 3-3 draw. Sergio Aguero struck the first goal, with Fenando Torres and David Luiz being the other Chelsea goalscorers. For Real Madrid, it was the Cristiano Ronaldo show, as he hit a brace and won the MotM. Gonzalo Higuan was the other Real goalscorer.

Second Leg – Santiago Bernabeu: It was another highly entertaining affair in Madrid, but this time, there was no doubting who the better team was, as the Madrid came away 4-2 winners at home. Another brace by Cristiano Ronaldo, the tournament’s best player thus far, brought his total up to 12 goals, with his eyes set on Lionel Messi’s record of 16 goals. Mesut Ozil scored Madrid’s third, and an own goal by David Luiz gave them their fourth. For Chelsea, Hulk and Sergio Aguero got the goals, but for the first time in what seems like eternity, Real Madrid were headed to the Semi-Finals of the most prestigious club competition in the world.

Marseille vs. Manchester United (1-6)

First Leg – Stade Velodrome: Marseille had done well to reach the Quarter-Finals, but the dream turned into a nightmare as Manchester United ran out 3-0 winners in France. Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez scored for the English, with an own goal also contributing to the scoreline. The MotM was Man United captain, Wayne Rooney.

Second Leg – Old Trafford: Manchester United proved their class, once again, by advancing to the Semi-Finals of the Champions Cup for the 4th time in a row, defeating Marseille 3-1 at home. Wayne Rooney again was the star, scoring a wonderful brace and grabbing the MotM – his performances in the tournament this season were spectacular, bringing his total up to 7 goals. Milan Badelj scored the third for Man United, while Jose Sosa grabbed the consolation for the visitors.

championscupquarterfina.jpg

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Man Utd -Barca again!

Yep! Although this time its the Semi-Finals - Can Man Utd finally do it? Does Wayne Rooney have enough in him to outstage Messi and Sanchez?

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Champions Cup Semi-Finals

Mancester United vs. Barcelona (4-2)

Preview: In a rematch of the Finals in 2011 and 2012, Manchester United will be attempting to avoid a repeat of history and defeat the three time defending champions, Barcelona. They had to get through two French teams in Lyonnais and Marseille, but they are now in their fourth Semi-Finals in a row. Last year they fell in a shocking result to CSKA Moscow, and Sir Alex Ferguson subsequently retired during the 2013 summer. Now under Martin Jol, the defending Premier League champions are being led by Wayne Rooney (9 Aps, 7 Gls) and Javier Hernandez (10 Aps, 9 Gls), their stars for the past few years. However, they also have new signings Eden Hazard (10 Aps, 6 Asts) and Miln Badelj (10 Aps, 3 Gls) supporting them. For the defending champions, they are also under new leadership, after former manager and club legend Pep Guardiola left to manage the Spanish national side. Roberto Mancini defeated his former club Man City in the Quarter-Finals to advance to this stage, and last year’s Champions Cup Player of the Year Alexis Sanchez (12 Aps, 7 Gls, 5 Asts) has been at it again. However, last year, Barcelona were without their star Lionel Messi (9 Aps, 10 Gls, 8.19) – this year, he has been running through opponents again. In 2012, he broke the record for most goals scored in a season, hitting 16 goals. Another notable performer this season for Barcelona has been Cesc Fabregas (12 Aps, 3 Gls).

First Leg – Old Trafford: Years of frustration playing second fiddle to Barcelona was finally let loose, with Manchester United storming their opponents in a sensational 4-0 victory. A Carlos Puyol own goal got things rolling, and then Antonio Valencia (7 Aps, 3 Gls, 4 Asts), who had been relatively quiet this tournament hit a brace. Things were finalized with Hernandez scoring his 10th goal of the tournament, but it was clear who the MotM was: Valencia.

Second Leg – Nou Camp: Barcelona tried to claw back the huge difference from the first leg, but they could only get halfway, winning the match 2-0 but losing the matchup. For the first time in four years, Barcelona would not advance to the Finals, and Manchester United would take its revenge of years of torture at the hands of the Catalans. Pedro and Rafinha scored, and Barcelona did play better than their opponents, but it simply was not enough. Europe was to see a new champion.

AC Milan vs. Real Madrid (2-3)

Preview: Real Madrid’s path to the Semi-Finals has not been easy, having been drawn with Roma and Chelsea, but they managed to overcome both opponents convincingly, including a 4-0 rout of the Italians. Cristiano Ronaldo (9 Aps, 12 Gls) has been nothing short of spectacular, while Marcelo (10 Aps, 2 Asts, 5.57 TpG, 7.55) has been especially impressive in the knockout stages. AC Milan had to get through Dynamo Kiev and Arsenal, and while they have not had any standout performers, the team has been resilient and consistent throughout the competition. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9 Aps, 5 Gls) leads their goalscoring charts, but their most reliable performer has been Thiago Silva (9 Aps, 3.27 TpG, 7.40).

First Leg – San Siro: From the beginning of the match till the end, AC Milan outhustled and outclassed their Spanish opponents, so it would have been only fair for them to gain a comfortable victory. Alas, life is not always fair, and despite having 24 shots compared to Real’s 9 shots, and owning 60% of the possession, the end result was a disappointing 2-2 draw. Ibrahimovic scored a brace late in the first half to give Milan the lead, but the second half so counter goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Sami Khedira. Milan’s goalscoring captain won the MotM for his brace.

Second Leg – Bernabeu: While AC Milan were clearly the better team in the first leg, the opposite was true in Madrid, but like the match in Milan, the score did not reflect that. Real Madrid, however, did just enough to win the match 1-0 thanks to a goal from Gonzalo Higuan, despite having 60% of the possession, and for the first time in 12 years, Real Madrid would return to the Finals of the Champions Cup against Manchester United.

championscupsemifinals2.jpg

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Champions Cup 2014 Finals - Amsterdam Arena

Manchester United vs. Real Madrid

Preview: After falling in the Finals twice in 2011 and 2012, Manchester United is ready to put the past behind them under their new manager Martin Jol and recapture the Champions for the 4th time and for the first time since 2008. Real Madrid, on the other hand, have underachieved in a big way since last capturing the title in 2002, but showed solid form throughout the tournament before arriving to their first Finals in 12 years. If Real Madrid manage to win this one, it will be a record 10th Champions Cup title.

Match: It took Cristiano Ronaldo just 3 minutes to open up the scoring with his 12th goal of the campaign, giving Real Madrid an early 1-0 lead against the English and his former team. Just 10 minutes after that, Manchester’s 24 year old South African midfielder Andile Jali conceded a penalty, and it was Ronaldo again who converted the spot kick for the second goal of the game. However, despite dominating the first 35 minutes of the match, Madrid conceded a goal to Darren Fletcher in the 37th minute, and Manchester United suddenly did not seem as lost as they had been. The goal would be the last of a highly entertaining first half that saw Madrid attack their opponents for most of the first 45 minutes, although Manchester returned the favor in the last 10 minutes. The second half was a very tense affair that was marked with 7 yellow cards between the two teams, with Manchester United continuing their pressure of Madrid’s goal, but they could not break through. Iker Casillas was a rock between the posts for Madrid, and they held out for the next 45 minutes to end the match 2-1, winning their 10th Champions Cup title, breaking a record they had set. Cristiano Ronaldo was named MotM for his brace, and there was no better player throughout the tournament than the Portuguese winger, who finally got one over his personal rival Lionel Messi. Manchester United continued their losing streak in the Finals, much to the dismay of their new boss.

championscupfinals.jpg

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WORLD CUP 2014 – BRAZIL

Group Stages

worldcup2014groupstages.jpg

GROUP A: Brazil, Ireland, South Korea, New Zealand

Brazil: 2 (Neymar, Pato) – Lucas Leiva (M)

South Korea: 0

Ireland: (Long (2), Coleman, McCarthy, Doyle) – James McCarthy (M)

New Zealand: 0

Brazil: 2 (Vagner Love (2) ) – Hulk (F)

Ireland: 0

New Zealand: 2 (Keat, McElhannan) – Paul McElhannan

South Korea: 1 (Dong-Won)

Brazil: 5 (Thiago Silva, Alves, Love, Hulk, Moura) – Hulk (F)

New Zealand: 1 (Keat)

Ireland: 2 (Long (2) ) – Shane Long (F)

South Korea: 0

Overview: Ireland got off to the best possible start, defeating New Zealand 5-0, while the hosts got the job down against a plucky South Korean team. They had no such luck against Brazil, however, as a Vagner Love brace did them in, giving Brazil 6 points from the first 2 matches. New Zealand made up for their heavy defeat by turning things around and beating South Korea, putting it on even points with Ireland going into its match with Brazil. It would be Ireland who would qualify alongside the hosts, however, as Brazil decimated New Zealand 5-1, and Ireland won 2-0 thanks to a Shane Long brace. Hulk won another MotM for the Brazilians, capping off a wonderful series of performances in the Group Stages, but Pato succumbed to sprained ankle that would rule him out of the rest of the World Cup. Shane Long had scored an impressive 4 goals in the tournament thanks to a couple of braces, while the South Koreans exited having failed to record a single point and only 1 goal.

GROUP B: Holland, Portugal, USA, Cameroon

Portugal: 0 – Rolando

Cameroon: 0

Holland: 0 – Gregory van der Wiel (D)

USA: 0

Cameroon: 1 (Boumal) – Oliver Boumal (M)

Holland: 1 (Huntelaar)

USA: 2 (Donovan, Soares)

Portugal: 3 (Oliveira, Rolando, Ronaldo) – Cristiano Ronaldo (F)

Cameroon: 0

USA: 1 (Donovan) – Timothy Chandler (D)

Portugal: 2 (Cristiano Ronaldo (2) ) – Cristiano Ronaldo (F)

Holland: 0

Overview: The first matchday was an uneventful one in Group B, with both matches ending in mediocre goalless draws. Matchday Two, however, proved to be better; the Portuguese defeated the USA in an exciting match, while the Dutch were held to another draw against Cameroon. Going into the final Matchday in the group stages, all 4 teams were still in contention. With the group going down to the wire, every team was looking for a victory on Matchday Three, but the Portuguese were the only team that could ensure qualification with only a draw. They would get more than, however, as the newly crowned European Player of the Year and Champions Cup Best Player Cristiano Ronaldo hit a brace to defeat the 2010 Finalists, knocking them out in the Group Stages. After strong displays against Portugal and Holland, most had favored Cameroon to defeat the USA, but it was the Americans who would steal the victory and edge in the Second Round at the expense of the Africans. Landon Donovan had led the way, scoring 2 goals and generally playing some good football.

GROUP C: Spain, Australia, Macedonia, Egypt

Macedonia: 0 – Filip Madzovski (GK)

Spain: 0

Egypt: 1 (Stefanutto o.g.)

Australia: 1 (Spiranovic) – Matthew Spiranovic (D)

Macedonia: 1 (Bresciano o.g.)

Australia: 1 (Stefanutto) – Shane Stefanutto (D)

Spain: 4 (Mata (3), Pedro) – Juan Mata (M)

Egypt: 0

Australia: 0 – Matthew Spiranovic (D)

Spain: 0

Egypt: 1 (Hosny) – Hosny (F)

Macedonia: 1 (Fathi o.g.)

Overview: Macedonia, who had surprised the world by making the World Cup, held the defending champions to a goalless draw thanks to the heroics of their GK, Filip Madzovski, while Egypt, in the World Cup for the first time since 1990, fought out a 1-1 draw against the Australians. They were not so lucky against Spain, however, who defeated them 4-0 on the back of a Mata hat-trick. Meanwhile, Macedonia earned another well-deserved draw against the Australians, and both were sitting on 2 points. Like Group C before, all teams were looking for a victory, with only leaders Spain needed a draw to ensure qualification. They would earn that draw against the Australians, capping off a less than impressive start to the World Cup, as Macedonia also drew with Egypt. It was enough for the small European nation, however, as they just edged by Australia for 2nd place and a spot in the Second Round. Matthew Spiranovic, the Australian defender, was one of the finest players in the Group Stages, while Spain’s Juan Mata led the champions in goals scored with 3, thanks to his hat-trick against Egypt.

GROUP D: France, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela

France: 2 (Sakho, Ramirez o.g.) – Marvin Martin (M)

Venezuela: 0

Montenegro: 2 (Jovetic (2) ) – Stefan Jovetic (F)

Saudi Arabia: 1 (Al-Harthi)

Venezuela: 1 (Ramirez) – Luis Ramirez

Saudi Arabia: 0

Montenegro: 0

France: 3 (Benzema, Nasri, Sissoko) – Aly Cissokho (D)

Venezuela: 3 (S.Rondon, Ramirez, M.Rondon) – Salomon Rondon (F)

Montenegro: 2 (Savic, Jovetic)

France: 2 (Nasri, Briand) – Jimmy Briand (M)

Saudi Arabia: 0

Overview: France got off on the right foot after the disappointment of 2010, defeating newcomers Venezuela convincingly, while first timers Montenegro showed they meant business, especially their star player Jovetic, defeating Saudi Arabia 2-1. It was 19 year old Ramirez who would give Venezuela the 1-0 victory over a poor Saudi side, while France took another 3 points against Montenegro. Venezuela would face Montenegro on the final Matchday of the group stages to decide who would advance alongside the French, with both teams having recorded 3 points. In a very entertaining match, it was the South Americans who would defeat Montenegro 3-2, qualifying in 2nd place to France, who ended their Group Stages campaign with a perfect 3 victories and 0 goals conceded. Montenegro’s Stefan Jovetic scored 3 goals and played extremely well, while Venezuela’s 19 year old rising star Luis Ramirez and France’s Samir Nasri each had 2 goals.

GROUP E: Mali, Germany, Jamaica, Bosnia

Jamaica: 2 (Shelton, Palmer) – Lance Laing (D)

Bosnia: 2 (Dzeko, Zec)

Mali: 5 (Maiga (3), Soukouna, A.Traore) – Modibo Maiga (F)

Germany: 4 (Keibling (2), Schweinsteiger, Ozil)

Mali: 2 (Maiga) – Modibo Maiga (F)

Bosnia: 0

Germany: 2 (Kiebling, Badstuber) – Hans Badstuber (D)

Jamaica: 0

Mali: 1 (A.Traore) – Abdou Traore (M)

Jamaica: 0

Bosnia: 1 (Delic)

Germany: 3 (Kiebling (2), Muller) – Stefan Kiebling (F)

Overview: In the first upset of the World Cup 2014, Mali won against Germany in a hugely entertaining match thanks to a hat-trick from its striker, Modibo Maiga. Jamaica and Bosnia also played out an entertaining match, drawing 2-2. Maiga hit a brace against Bosnia, bringing his total to 5 goals in the tournament, as Mali became the most surprising team of in the World Cup thus far. The Germans righted their ship somewhat against Jamaica, earning 3 points with a 2-0 victory, but they would still need a victory against Bosnia to ensure qualification. They would get the result needed, thanks to Stefan Kiebling’s brace, which brought his total to 5 goals scored in the tournament. Mali were the Group Stages most surprising team, gaining all 9 points, with Modibou Maiga also scoring 5 goals.

GROUP F: South Africa, Chile, Mexico, Belgium

Belgium: 1 (Nainngolan)

Mexico: 1 (dos Santos) – Giovani dos Santos (F)

South Africa: 1 (Xulu)

Chile: 1 (Isla) – Mauricio Isla (D)

Belgium: 2 (Kompany, Witsel) – Vincent Kompany (D)

South Africa: 0

Chile: 3 (Isla, Fernandez, Sanchez) – Alexis Sanchez (F)

Mexico: 1 (Hernandez)

Belgium: 0

Chile: 0 – Carlos Carmona (M)

South Africa: 2 (Jali (2) ) – Andile Jali (M)

Mexico: 2 (dos Santos, Hernandez)

Overview: In an evenly contested match, Belgium and Mexico drew 1-1, the same result as South Africa and Chile. Matchday Two saw both Belgium and Chile defeating their opponents, leaving them basically qualified going into the last day of matches in the Group Stages. Neither team showed much initiative in Matchday Three, drawing 1-1 and ensuring both teams qualified, but it did not matter, as South Africa and Mexico could not be separated, drawing 2-2. Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez played well, but disappointingly, no one else from the Mexican team did much else. Mauricio Isla and Alexis Sanchez led the Chilean team to the top spot in the group.

GROUP G: Argentina, Italy, Ukraine, Japan

Italy: 1 (Osvaldo) – Davide Astori (D)

Ukraine: 0

Argentina: 5 (Aguero (4), Messi) – Sergio Aguero (F)

Japan: 2 (Matsui, Okazaki)

Italy: 2 (Parolo, Osvaldo) – Ignazio Abate (D)

Argentina: 1 (Astori o.g.)

Japan: 0 – Eiji Kawashima (GK)

Ukraine: 1 (Vitsenets)

Argentina: 1 (Messi)

Ukraine: 2 (Stepanenko, Yarmolenko) – Taras Stepanenko (M)

Japan: 2 (Okazaki, Inui)

Italy: 3 (Rossi, Osvaldo, Candreva) – Giuseppe Rossi

Overview: Pre-tournament favorites Argentina lived up to their billing, defeating the Japanese 5-2 in a game where Sergio Aguero hit a sensational 4 goals. Italy got the job done against Euro 2012 Quarter-Finalists Ukraine 1-0. In possibly the biggest tie of the Group Stages, Italy defeated Argentina in convincing fashion 2-1, as Osvaldo took his tally to 2 goals in the tournament, and ensured qualification into the next round. Ukraine scored a victory against Japan, effectively knocking the Asian nation out of the tournament, setting up a winner takes all matchup with Argentina on Matchday Three. What no one expected was for the Ukraine to knock out the favorites, defeating them 2-1 and depriving the world of witnessing Messi, Aguero, and company in action in the knockout stages. Italy finished off Japan, gaining the maximum 9 points, as Osvaldo scored his 3rd goal of the tournament.

GROUP H: Slovenia, Paraguay, Ivory Coast, UAE

Slovenia: 2 (Mihelic, Matavz) – Rene Mihelic (M)

UAE: 1 (Mal Allah)

Paraguay: 0

Ivory Coast: 5 (Doumbia (2), Bamba, Keita, Santana o.g.) – Seydou Doumbia (F)

Slovenia: 0 – Handanovic (GK)

Ivory CoastL 0

UAE: 1 (Al-Kamali) – Hamdan Al-Kamali (D)

Paraguay: 0

Ivory Coast: 2 (Gervinho, Doumbia) – Gervinho (M)

UAE: 1 (Khalil)

Paraguay: 0

Slovenia: 2 (Kirm, Ilicic) – Andraz Kirm (M)

Overview: Although Ivory Coast came into the tournament considered as potential darkhorses, no one expected the 5-0 thrashing they delivered on Paraguay on Matchday One. Slovenia won the UAE 2-1 in the other game, but the UAE came back and defeated Paraguay in Matchday Two. In the other match, Ivory Coast and Slovenia held each other to a goalless draw. Both Ivory Coast and Slovenia needed only a draw to ensure qualification, while UAE needed a victory. Paraguay had been one of the least impressive teams in the competition and were already out by Matchday Three. There were no surprises, as Ivory Coast overcame the UAE, with Seydou Doumbia scoring his 3rd goal of the tournament, and Slovenia easily defeating Paraguay.

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WORLD CUP 2014 – BRAZIL

SECOND ROUND

Brazil vs. USA

Brazil won all 3 of their matches in Group A, scoring 9 goals and conceding only 1 goal, while the USA barely qualified through Group B. The difference in class showed as the hosts dismantled the North Americans 5-0, with Vagner Love and Sandro both hitting braces, and the 5th being added by Neymar. This brought Love’s goal tally to 5 for the tournament. Hulk, operating out of the midfield, delivered 3 assist in this match alone, making it a remarkable 8 assists in the World Cup thus far. Simply put, the Brazilian team looked unstoppable and capable of winning the entire thing on home soil.

Brazil: 5 (Love (2), Sandro (2), Neymar) – Sandro (M)

USA: 0

Portugal vs. Ireland

Ireland had done well in the Group Stages, and Portugal topped Group B thanks to strong performances by their superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo. In what ended up being a very even match, it took penalties to separate the two teams, before Joao Moutinho converted his penalty kick and knocked the Irish out in heartbreaking fashion. Before that, Portugal had taken a 2-0 lead, with Ronaldo scoring in the first half and Edgar Silva seemingly putting the match beyond any doubt in the 85th minute. However, the Irish fighting spirit won through, and Shane Long scored in the 88th minute, before a controversial penalty was given the dying seconds of the match, which Robbie Keane converted successfully to even the match. It was not to be for the Irish, however, as Portugal finally prevailed, advancing to the Quarter-Finals.

Portugal: 2 (Ronaldo, Silva) – Andre Santos (M)

Ireland: 2 (Long, Keane)

France vs. Macedonia

By all accounts, Macedonia had done well to reach the Second Round, but it was no surprise that they got beat by France 4-0. The French dominated the match, allowing only 3 Macedonian shots compared to their 24, and had 63% of the possession as well. Loic Remy, fresh off of his move to Arsenal, contributed a brace, before Samir Nasri added the 3rd of the tournament for himself. It was not all good news, however, as Remy tore his hamstring in the second half and was effectively ruled out of the rest of the World Cup. Marvin Martin again put in a strong performance, delivering 2 assists to make it 6 total in the tournament.

France: 4 (Trajkov o.g., Remy (2), Nasri) – Samir Nasri (M)

Macedonia: 0

Spain vs. Venezuela

The defending champions had a less than impressive round in the Group Stages, but there was to be no mistakes here, defeating Venezuela 2-0 in convincing fashion. Goals from Bojan and Raul Albiol put them through, with an especially strong performance from the former. Venezuela 19 year old breakout star Luis Ramirez finished the tournament with 2 goals.

Spain: 2 (Bojan, Albiol) – Raul Albiol (D)

Venezuela: 0

Chile vs. Germany

The Germans might have qualified with 6 points out of an easy group, but they still lost 5-4 to an underdog Malian team in an embarrassing game. Despite the talent at the nation’s disposal, it was also not able to put way another underdog, Chile, who defeated them on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Mesut Ozil scored early in the second half, but an Andreas Beck own goal even the score up, and it remained that way until the end of the second extra-time. Toni Kroos missed his penalty, and that was the end of the Germans’ disappointing World Cup campaign as a joyful Chile advanced to the Quarter-Finals. Ozil, who had 2 goals and 4 assists, and Stefan Kiebling, who scored 5 goals, were the only Germans who gave impressive performances, while Chile’s Mauricio Isla and Alexis Sanchez continued their World Cup quest.

Chile: 1 (Beck o.g.) – Alexis Sanchez (F)

Germany: (Ozil)

Belgium vs. Mali

Mali had stunned the world with their Group Stages performances, defeating Germany 5-4 and collecting all 9 points, but they met their match against Belgium, who came away 2-0 winners. Kevin Mirallas and Romano Lukaku scored either side of halftime, and Mali never looked like they were going to come back and win it. Dennis Odoi, Anderlecht’s right back, played a great game down the right flank, and Mali finally ran out of steam. Modibo Maiga finished the tournament off with 5 goals, and impressed a great many people with his performances.

Belgium: 2 (Mirallas, Lukaku) – Dennis Odoi (D)

Mali: 0

Ivory Coast vs. Ukraine

What set out to be a match between two teams with plenty to prove ended up being a game that had fans heading to the exits before the final whistle. There was little excitement, and save for a Salomon Kalou goal in the 20th minute, no action around the posts. Ivory Coast would be Africa’s only representative in the Quarter-Finals, but they did not advance in convincing fashion. Ukraine were even more dreadful on the day, with little creativity and even less ambition going forward.

Ivory Coast: 1 (Kalou) – Salomon Kalou

Ukraine: 0

Italy vs. Slovenia

After taking the maximum of 9 points in the Group Stages and defeating Argentina, Italy did not expect to face much problems defeating the Slovenians, but their opponents had other plans. After a first half in which Slovenia withstood a barrage of Italian attack but held its ground, Andrea Ranocchia finally got one for the Italians in the 70th minute. In the 90th minute, however, Zlatan Ljubijankic equalized for the Slovenians in dramatic fashion, taking this match all the way to penalties. The Italians kept their nerves, and finally put them away when Osvaldo connected on the 5th penalty, sending the Italians into the Quarter-Finals after a nail-biting affair.

Italy: 1 (Ranocchia) – Andrea Ranocchia

Slovenia: 1 (Ljubijankic)

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Great progress for some smaller nations.

Yep! Although I suspect the usual giants to be in the Finals - Brazil vs. Spain?

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WORLD CUP 2014 – BRAZIL

Quarter-Finals

Brazil vs. France

France had quietly gone about its business, scoring 11 goals and conceded none in its build-up to the Quarter-Finals matchup with the hosts, Brazil. Their opponents, however, had mesmerized the world with its brand of attacking football and flair, reminding it of the Brazil of old. Their last two matches had been won by a total of 10 goals, bringing the amount in the World Cup to 14 goals, while conceding only 1 goal.

What these two giants of football delivered was a simply outstanding match, filled with attractive football and drama to boot – this will go down as one of the best football matches the World Cup had seen in recent history. Hulk (5 Aps, 2 Gls, 9 Asts, 8.72) kicked things off just a few minutes before the end of the first half, giving Brazil the lead going into halftime and sending the crowd into a joyous rapture. Just 2 minutes into the second half, Lucas Moura (5 Aps,2 Gls, 2 Asts) doubled the hosts’ lead, and France were seemingly falling without a trace. The second goal, however, seemed to be their wake up call; in the 63rd minute, Jimmy Briand (5 Aps, 2 Gls) delivered their first goal, and it was followed by Yann M’Vila’s (Man of the Match) equalizer 11 minutes later. The stadium went deathly silent when Moussa Sissoko (5 Aps, 2 Gls) gave France the lead in the 78th minute, finishing up a stunning comeback that looked set to see them off to the Semi-Finals. Thiago Silva (5 Aps, 2 Gls), however, had other plans, equalizing for the Brazilians in the 84th minute, captivating the world and bringing the match into an epic climax. It was in extra-time that Dani Alves (5 Aps, 2 Gls, 2 Asts) finally put away the French, who ran out of steam and could not find it in them to claw back a second time. Brazil would win in an epic match, and France put on a show worthy of the finest adversary, defeated by with their head held up high.

Brazil: 4 (Hulk, Moura, Thiago Silva, Alves)

France: 3 (Briand, M’Vila, Sissoko) – Yann M’Vila (M)

Portugal vs. Spain

In the rematch of the Euro 2012 Semi-Finals matchup, where Spain defeated its neighbors on penalties before going on to claim the title against England in the Finals, both teams were looking to improve on the performances they had displayed thus far in the tournament. The defending champions had not conceded any goals, but had only won 2 of their 4 matches, scoring a total of 6 goals against mediocre opponents. The Portuguese had faired a little better, winning 3 of their 4 matches, but they had conceded 4 goals in the process while scoring 7 goals.

Cristiano Ronaldo (5 Aps, 5 Gls, 2 Asts) scored in the 16th minute to give Portugal the lead, and the scoreline would hold until the second half, when David Villa (4 Aps, 1 Goal) would equalize for the defending champions. In terms of excitement, that matched lack a little bit of it, and save for the odd counter-attack, a lot of the possession was in the midfield. The deadlock as broken in the 87th minute when Fernando Torres (4 Aps, 1 Goal) scored his first of the tournament, breaking Portuguese hearts all over the world and sending the defending champions into the Semi-Finals. Unfortunately for them, Villa was injured in the 80th minute with a torn hamstring – he had not been in form, but his presence was going to be missed.

Spain: 2 (Villa, Torres) – Sergio Ramos (D)

Portugal: 1 (Ronaldo)

Chile vs. Italy

Chile were surprising Quarter-Finalists, defeating Germany in the Second Round on penalties after advancing top of Group F. They had scored 5 goals and conceded 3 goals in their 4 games, and had relied on the brilliance of two players, Mauricio Isla and Alexis Sanchez to get them through to this stage. Italy had conceded an uncharacteristic 4 goals, but had won all their matches, including a victory over Argentina, and had scored 7 goals in the process. Of the remaining teams, Italy was one of the favorites to go on and win the tournament.

This match did not pick up until the second half, when Giuseppe Rossi (5 Aps, 2 Gls, 2 Asts) opened up the scoring in the 56th minute. It was a back and forth game between the two sides, but it would be Italy who would score again in the 81st minute through Daniel Osvaldo (5 Aps, 4 Gls), giving the Europeans a seemingly comfortable lead. Chile would not give up, though, and in typical fashion, Alexis Sanchez (5 Aps, 2 Gls, 7.50) halved the lead. Italy would win through in the end, however, defeating Chile 2-1 and advancing to the Semi-Finals.

Italy: 2 (Rossi, Osvaldo) – Giuseppe Rossi (F)

Chile: 1 (Sanchez)

Belgium vs. Ivory Coast

Africa’s hopes rested on the West African nation of Ivory Coast, who had impressed so far in the World Cup, winning 3 of their 4 matches, scoring 8 goals and conceding only 1 goal. Belgium had also conceded only 1 goal, but had been less impressive, scoring 5 goals and winning only 2 of their matches, although they had not lost any either. They had defeated the only other African team in the Second Round, Mali, and were looking to repeat that, while the Ivory Coast had a golden opportunity to become the first African team to make it into the Semi-Finals of a World Cup ever.

Despite the scoreline suggesting otherwise, this was an exciting match that had drama from start to finish. The first half saw plenty of opportunities but neither team could convert – it was not until the second half that the game saw its first goal, through Gervinho (3 Aps, 2 Gls, 3 Asts, 7.67) in the 57th minute. Ivory Coast thought they had become the first African team to ever advance past the Quarter-Finals, but in the dying seconds of the match, Radja Nainngolan (5 Aps, 2 Gls) equalized for the Belgians, demoralizing the Ivory Coast and breaking their hearts. The match would head off into penalties, and Africa feared the worst, remembering the Ghana-Uruguay debacle of 2010 in South Africa. It would not be repeated, however, as the West Africans kept their nerves and converted every penalty, setting up a Semi-Finals matchup with Spain as the continent celebrated.

Ivory Coast: 1 (Gervinho) – Gervinho (M)

Belgium: 1 (Nainngolen)

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WORLD CUP 2014 – BRAZIL

SEMI-FINALS

Brazil vs. Italy

Filled with superstars that had set the world on fire, such as Hulk, Sandro, and Vanger Love, the Brazilians were going up against an Italian team that had reached this point on consistency and team play, with Daniel Osvaldo and Giuseppe Rossi leading their frontline. Both teams had won all their games so far in the competition, and going further into details, they had won 9 World Cup titles between them.

It did not take long for Brazil to make their mark on the game, with defender David Luiz (3 Aps, 1 Goal) scoring in the 4th minute to give the hosts an 1-0 lead. It did not get any better for the Italians early in the first half, and Sandro (6 Aps, 3 Gls, 2 Asts, 7.31 TpG, 8.30) scored Brazil’s 2nd goal of the game in the 23rd minute. At this point, Italy had barely sniffed the Brazilian goal, with almost all the game being spent in the Italian half of the field. In the second half, the game calmed down a bit as Brazil eased off the pressure, but Julio Cesar’s goal was never threatened. The Italians had done well to reach the Semi-Finals, but they offered the hosts no challenge, and it was Brazil who was off to the Finals in front of their home fans.

Brazil: 2 (Luiz, Sandro) – Dani Alves (D)

Italy: 0

Spain vs. Ivory Coast

It was the defending World Cup champions against the first African team to ever make the Semi-Finals of the competition. Truth be told, Spain had not been the most impressive team in the tournament, but they had held their back line with fortitude and had gotten the results that matters – a mark of a true champion. The Ivory Coast team, on the other hand, had been one of the most fun teams in the competition, and although they had not faced any of the so-called “elite” on their way to the Semi-Finals, the accomplishment alone deserved all the praise they were receiving.

Spain started the game off attacking the Ivorian goal with purpose, and it did not take them long to break through, with Fernando Torres (5 Aps, 3 Gls) scoring in the 16th minute to give them the lead. It did not get any better for the Africans, as Modibou Diakite collected his second yellow card of the match in the 43rd minute, leaving them with one man down for the second half. Early in the second half, Benjamin Angoua brought down Torres, and gifted Spain a penalty. The player recorded his 2nd goal of the game from the spot kick, seemingly putting the game beyond any doubt for the Iberians. Although they continued to put pressure on the Ivorian goal, they could not find any more openings, but they did not need it. Spain advanced to their second straight Finals, and the defending champions were looking to be the first back to back champions since 1962, when Brazil did it.

Spain: 2 (Torres) – Fernando Torres (F)

Ivory Coast: 0

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WORLD CUP 2014 – BRAZIL

FINALS

Brazil vs. Spain

It was to be the defending champions against the hosts and the most successful nation in football’s history – a matchup to make mouths water. Brazil had made the Finals in the most captivating fashion, playing with phenomenal flair and attacking football that had pleased fans worldwide. Spain, like Italy before them, had done with teamwork and consistency, producing solid but unspectacular results. The hosts were looking for their 6th title in the history of the competition, and it was safe to say that neutrals all over the world wanted to see them do it. The tournament, like the hosts, had been entertaining, dramatic, and with no lack of goals. Brazil head coach Mario Manezes was going up against the most successful manager of the last 10 years, Josep Guardiola.

It was all Brazil from the start. In front of their home fans, the Brazilians were not about to disappoint, and they did not. Lucas Moura (7 Aps, 3 Gls, 3 Asts), one of Brazil’s top performers in the tournament, scored their first goal in the 5th minute. In the 11th minute Vagner Love (7 Aps, 8 Gls, 8.40) scored the first of his 3 goals, scoring again in the 27th minute and in the dying seconds of the game. Spain did not have a chance against the Brazilian onslaught on its goal, although Spain’s best player in the tournament, Sergio Ramos, did deliver a goal in the 32nd minute. Lucas Leiva contributed 2 assists, and Hulk (7 Aps, 2 Gls, 9 Asts, 8.36) was another of their fantastic performers. Brazil won the World Cup for a record 6th time in their home country, and the defeated ex-champions conceded their title to the better team. Simply put, Brazil had put together a World Cup campaign worthy of their great teams of the past, going down in history as one of the best ever.

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Congrats on the promotions! Amazing!

Thanks! The season review will be coming soon, Ive been busy with the World Cup - what a great World Cup!

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WORLD CUP 2014 – BRAZIL

OVERVIEW AND AWARDS

Overview:

It was a successful tournament by all means, filled with drama and entertaining matches. The best team won it all at the end, and in convincing fashion, dismantling the former champion and leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind who the best team in the world was. It had its share of epic matches (France vs. Brazil and Mali vs. Germany), and it was filled with nail-biters. There were some managerial casualties, namely for Argentina and Germany, both whom underachieved significantly, especially the former. Argentina were expected to be competitors for the title with a team stacked with offensive talent, but they could not even make it out of the Group Stages. The champions, Brazil, were one of the most impressive teams to ever feature in the tournament, living up to the standard set by the great Brazilian teams of the 1970s. In the end, they won a record 6th title, and once again, Brazil were crowned the best footballing nation on the planet.

BEST PLAYER: Hulk (7 Aps, 2 Gls, 9 Asts, 8.36), Brazil – While it could have went to the Runner-Up, Vagner Love, for his performance in the Finals, over the span of the tournament, there was no finer player than the Chelsea attacking midfielder. He set the record for most assists, and was simply outstanding playing on the flanks of the Brazilian attack. Without him, Vagner Love would not have received the service that allowed him to score 8 goals, and without him, it is very doubtful the famed Brazilian offense would have flowed the way it did.

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LEADING GOALSCORER: Vagner Love (7 Aps, 8 Gls), Brazil – A hat-trick in the Finals was the perfect ending to the CSKA Moscow striker’s tournament, finishing with 8 goals and proving, without a shadow of a doubt, that he was the finest striker in the world, at least over the course of the World Cup.

BEST YOUNG PLAYER: Lucas Moura (7 Aps, 3 Gls, 3 Asts), Brazil – The rock in the Brazilian midfield, the 21 year old Sao Paolo player was simply outstanding throughout the tournament, scoring goals when needed and delivering assists on a constant basis.

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2013/2014 Season Review

npower League Two: 3rd Place (Automatic Promotion)

Johnstone Paint Cup: Finals, lost to Barnsley 4-3

FA Cup: Lost to Sheffied United in the First Round

Season Review

I did not think the team had enough talent guide us to automatic promotion, but that they did, despite the sale of my hottest prospect David Corrigan. AC Milan made an offer for 575k, which my board apparently thought was too good to turn down, although I disagree completely with that judgment. He was worth at least a couple of million, but alas, what was done, was done.

I fear a little for our spot on in League after the sale (we were 1st at the time), but though we did not win it, we still won ourselves an automatic performance – again, thanks to the brilliance of Elliot Law. I upgraded the midfield, bringing in Libyan Ahmed Benali, and just before the Free Transfer deadline, I managed to snag Ben Amos, something which I think was quite the coup. Both played big parts in our drive to the npower league One promotion.

In the cups, we had a heart wrenching loss to Burnley in the Johstone Paint Final, losing 4-3 when we had been up 3-2. Unfortunately, you cannot win them all, and a Finals appearance was quite a pleasant surprise. The FA Cup, however, was forgettable – we lost in our first match to Sheffield United, in the First Round.

Overall, I’m excited to be in the npower league One, but for the first time since I started my career, I am not confident of my team’s chances. In both Blue Square leagues, I would have been disappointed with anything less than promotion, and even in the npower league Two, I thought I had enough in my team to at least see us through to the Play-Offs. This time, however, I’m not so sure: I might be safe in the GK department, but I will have to make some quality signings in every other aspect of the field to be able to safely guide the team through its first year in the npower league One. The only disappointing thing is that three years after starting my career, there are no youth prospects, either through my signings or through the Bromley youth system, that really look like they could turn into quality players for the team.

Key Players:

Elliot Law - Stats: Despite missing 3 months with a broken ankle, and the last 3 weeks of the season with torn ankle ligaments, Elliot Law still managed 36 appearances in the league, and was again named the Bromley Player of the Season (2012, 2014). After the sale of David Corrigan, he shouldered the load up front and once again, he failed to disappoint. His attributes might not be heads and shoulders above his competition anymore, but he still finds ways to make us win, and his contribution towards our promotion was second to none.

Scot ThompsonStats: The right back’s last season with the club was true to form – played in nearly every match, high tackle ratings, and general consistency throughout. Unfortunately, his wage demands could not be met, so he left in the summer, but his contributions in leading us to the nleague One were vital. My first true captain, he will always have a special place in the heart of the fans.

Ahmed BenaliStats: Formerly with Manchester City, this young Libyan midfielder was our best player in the middle of the parked. He was picked up on free transfer, and immediately began improving as a player – my coach said at the end of the season that he had improved remarkably as a footballer. He even earned himself his first cap for Libya this season, going on to notch a few more.

Marnick Vermijl Stats: Another free transfer signing, the Belgian became our starting left back and never looked back. Like Thompson, he was a picture of consistency, and even displayed some attacking threat every now and then, averaging nearly 1 DpG. He’s young and he’s very fast – the npower League Two standard was more than met, and I don’t have any doubts he can be a solid left back at the next stage, as well.

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Notable Youths:

Glen Baker: One of the two youth signings I had made in the summer 2013, he actually appeared in 33 games total for the team, mostly at the left wing position, but also as a striker. Showed the usual marks of a youngster – namely, inconsistency and fatigue, but he did manage of a few positive results that have kept me optimistic for the future. He scored 5 goals in the league, as well.

Development: August 2013July 2014

Transfers

Nearly all the players brought in contributed meaningfully to the team – Ben Amos immediately became our starting GK, and Richard Ofrany took over the left wing position as I shifted Glen Baker up front to play with Law after the Corrigan sale. The club’s board decided to have Charlton as a parent club, and they loaned us John Herron, who ended up being quite useful in the midfield. The rest of the signings played their part, although I cannot say they contributed anything spectacular. On the other end, the David Corrigan transfer certainly filled up the club’s coffers, though they are being stingy about spending it. A lot of aging deadweight was let go, and the 24k for defender Lee Ashcroft, who did not have a future at the club despite being my signing the previous season, was a nice bonus.

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Emphatic home triumph for Brazil.

Yes it was, and they did it with so much style as well :) They fully deserved it - they were much beyond any other team in the tournament, in a league of their own.

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Premier League Review 2013/2014

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Manchester United, under new manager Martin Jol, conceded the title to Chelsea and Tony Pulis, and it was the fantastic play of Sergio Aguero and the golden oldie Frank Lampard who made it happen. A rejuvenated Fernando Torres (33 Aps, 18 Gls, 7.42) and the continued stellar midfield play of John Obi Mikel (30 Aps, 8 Asts, 7.56) also contributed in the a big way to the bring the title back to Stamford Bridge.

Louis Van Gaal, in his second and final season with Arsenal, almost led them to the Premier League title, falling short by only one point. No one could complain, however, as the team rode the form of Marek Hamsik, who was outstanding in his second season with the club. The back four, led by Leighton Baines (25 Aps, 7.32) and Bakary Sagna (35 Aps, 4.11, 7.55), were also one of the main reasons the club was able to achieve its position in the league.

Under Alan Shearer, Manchester City improved to 3rd place, and much to the delight of its fans, finished above Manchester United in the league. Carlos Tevez (35 Aps, 20 Gls), who had been shut out by Roberto Mancini, was called back into action by Shearer, and his response was immense. His partner up front, Bosnian Edin Dzeko (34 Aps, 17 Gls) also delivered his finest season in a Man City shirt. Samir Nasri (31 Aps, 9 Gls, 9 Asts, 7.41) and Vincent Kompany (35 Aps, 5.41 TpG, 7.41) also played a big part in the season's success. Their big summer signing, the 27 million pound Wesley Sneijder (26 Aps, 11 Asts, 7.58) also played well and lived up to his fee.

A transitional season for the 2013 champions did not go as played, with Sir Alex Ferguson retiring and Martin Jol hired in his place, and the 4th place finish was 3 spots too low. The 34 million pounds spent on Eden Hazard (22 Aps, 8 Gls, 10 Asts, 7.91) were well spent, as the 22 year old was one of the Premier League's outstanding performers before a torn harmstring knocked him out for 3 months. Up front, Javier Hernandez (33 Aps, 17 Gls) and Wayne Rooney (24 Aps, 17 Gls, 7.68) had their typical impressive seasons, but like the years past, their was not enough consistency in the back and the midfield. Milan Badelj (30 Aps, 7 Gls, 6 Asts, 7.46) was the exception to that, however, and the 25 year old Croatian cemented himself as the leader of Man Utd's midfield.

Kenny Dalglish could not lead Liverpool back into the Champions Cup in his final season before retiring, finishing in 5th place, but he did lead them to their second straight Euro Cup title. Luis Suarez (35 Aps, 19 Gls, 7.44) was again their star, and it was Drik Kuyt (32 Aps, 8 Gls, 10 Asts, 7.51) who supported him. Lucas Leiva (34 Aps, 7 Asts), who was part of Brazil's World Cup winning squad, also had a good season in the midfield.

The 2012 Premier League champions, Tottenham, were playing their first season under manager Manuel Pellegrini, after Harry Redknapp, the man who led them to their title, retired. They finished in the same position as they did in Redknapp's last season, in a disappointing 6th place. Edison Cavani (28 Aps, 17 Gls, 7.79), the 2012/2013 Premier League Top Goalscorer with 25 goals, had another spectacular season, and Gareth Bale (26 Aps, 7 Gls, 10 Asts) made some progress in retaining the form that made him the 2012 Premier League Player of the Year. Their big signing, Salomon Rondon (21 Aps, 8 Gls), was nagged by injuries throughout the season, so the jury is still out on whether he deserves the 17.25 million spent to get him.

Mick McCarthy led Everton to 7th place in his first season in charge of the club, with Jack Rodwell (36 Aps, 5 Asts) being their best player. The most surprising club in the 2013/14 season, Swansea, finished an incredible 8th place under Bard Wiggen, with Sierra Leonian striker Mohamed Bangura (32 Aps, 18 Gls) doing a fantastic job for them upfront. Paul Lambert led Stoke to another 9th place finish, their second consecutive season where they finish in that spot, as Peter Crouch (32 Aps, 10 Gls), who had scored 19 and 18 goals in the 2 previous seasons, began to show his age. Fulham dropped to 10th place from 7th place the previous season, despite a good season from Rasmus Elm (35 Aps, 8 Asts), while at the other end of the table, Newcastle, Wolves, and Blackburn were relegated. It was especially frustrating for Wolves striker Steven Fletcher (34 Aps, 17 Gls), whose performances in the Premier League showed that he more than belonged. Norwich (17th place), barely made it thanks in part to Jay Rodriguez (35 Aps, 18 Gls), who scored enough goals to keep them up. West Brom finished a respectable 11th, thanks to their World Cup Irish hero Shane Long (35 Aps, 17 Gls).

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EUROPEAN U19 CHAMPIONSHIP 2014 – GREECE

Last year’s champions, Spain, were not in the tournament, nor were traditional powers Italy, Germany, France, and England. Holland were the biggest name in the Euro U19 in Greece, and they made it out of Group A in 1st place, despite a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of the host in the final Matchday. The Romanians qualified alongside the Dutch, knocking out Greece and the Ukraine. The hosts featured Michalis Gofas of Braga, who scored 2 goals and was one of most impressive players at the tournament. In Group B, Slovakia topped the group, followed by the Czech Republic, with Scotland and Norway knocked out. The latter featured Ketil Tajet*, an 18 year old central defender who shone for his nation during their 3 games.

In the Semi-Finals, the Dutch beat the Czech Republic convincingly 4-1, with a brace from MotM Hans van den Broek, FC Groningen’s 18 year old striker, while Romania ran out 2-0 against the Slovakians. Jozef Hrcka was perhaps the best player of the tournament, and led the Slovakian team in Average Rating. The Finals pitted the Dutch against the Romanians, and surprisingly, it was the latter who won 1-0 in a tightly contested match. Adrian Badoi, Romania’s star striker, was the goalscorer, finishing tied with van den Broek for the top goal scorer in the tournament with 4 goals.

(I offered Ketil Tajet a contract since he was not signed to any club – I felt he could have the potential to contribute to the team.)

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Great job on promotion! :)

Thanks! I'll have the 2014/15 Preview update soon - it does not look like its going to be an easy job!

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Well done on taking Bromley to League One. Back-to-back-to-back promotions is a fantastic achievement :thup:

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Well done on taking Bromley to League One. Back-to-back-to-back promotions is a fantastic achievement :thup:

In FM11, I was actually able to get first place in the BSS, BSP, nleague Two, nleague One - and in the Championship qualified through playoffs, all in the span of 5 years! I had bought some Kuwaiti players (Musaed Nada, Hussein Fadel, and a couple of others) when I advanced to the League Two, and they were superb for me. No such luck this time - but here's hoping I can atleast get to the Premiership in 6 seasons!

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BROMLEY PRE-SEASON 2014/15

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After the success of the last three years, I believe this is the year our rapid progression through the leagues catches up to us. No, I do not expect us to get relegated nor do I believe we will be in a relegation battle, but a fourth straight promotion might be a step too high, at least this season. We just do not have the talent at hand, even with the additions I made in the pre-season.

The media, of course, has us finishing dead last, again – but they’ve been completely wrong the past three year and they will be wrong again. The board were very kind with the transfer budget, giving us close to 1 million pounds to spend and a wage budget of 22k. We should have no problems selling out our stadium, with its 5,000 capacity (2,500 seated), but even if we do, with the increases in the wages, we might have problem profiting from our attendance. On one hand, I’ve gotten rid a lot of deadweight, but on the other, I’ve added a lot more than what I’ve given up.

I was sad to see Scot Thompson leave, but he was getting up there on age, and his wages he wanted were just not workable. He was my first captain, and it will be Elliot Law who replaces him as captain of the team. Nikon El Maestro, who I brought in on free transfer, was sold for 100k – he was my biggest sale this season, and my second biggest ever.

Our pre-season friendlies went off without a hitch, and they included hosting both Manchester City and AC Milan, thanks to some clauses in transfers. They both had high attendances, so the financial benefits were nice to start the season off with.

MAJOR TRANSFERS

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Porvaldur Magnusson: I spent half my transfer budget on him (525k), but I believe he is well worth it. He can play as a central defender and in the midfield equally well, and honestly, I think he has the potential to be my best player as soon as this year.

Aaron Mooy: The fans immediately called him a waste of money, and I don’t why! I spent 275k to get him, and he fills a much needed role on the right wing, as my current one Laste Dombaxe just does not have the ability to do it in the npower League One, I believe.

Steven Saunders : The right back cost me 90k from Bradford, and he will replace my ex-captain Scot Thompson in the starting eleven. He didn’t have a great year for his former team in 2013/14, but he seems to have enough ability to play a solid role for us this year.

Lucas Correa: He is not young (30 years old), but he came rather cheap (70k) for his ability. Other than Magnusson, he is the best central midfielder I have. I will have him rotating with him and Ahmad Benali in the middle of the park – he’s also my first choice for free kicks.

2013/2014 PLAYERS ROUNDUP

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Top Goalscorer: Elliot Law, 24 Goals

Most Assists: David Corrigan, 14 Assists

Player of the Year: Elliot Law (40 Ap, 24 Gls, 2 Asts, 6 MotM, 7.16)

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BROMLEY DECEMBER UPDATE 2014/15

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It's been a little frustrating because we had a great start to the season, even seeing First Place a couple of times. Now we're out of the play-off positions - our defense has been porous, and the past few games, so has our offense. There will have to be some signings in the January window, especially on the defensive end. It has not been all bad, though - we're still exceeding all expectations, and the board continues to be delighted by the job I'm doing. Im especially happy with Polvadur Magnusson and the form he is showing - he's going to be one for now and the future. As the year draws to a close, hopefully we'll be able to recapture some of the form we had earlier in the season.

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Could still easily grab a playoff promotion

Yeah, we're not far off, but I dont think it will possible without reinforcements. The problem is, Ive already exceeded my wage budget and transfer budget is currently at 0, so its going to be tough to sign quality in the January window.

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2014 PLAYER AWARDS

WORLD GOLDEN BALL

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Cristiano RonaldoStats

The 29 year old Real Madrid player was crowned the best player in the world for the 2nd time in his career, fully deserving the award. Despite giving up the La Liga title to Barcelona after winning in 2012/2013, Ronaldo led the club to their first Champions Cup title since 2002 and a record 10th time. His performances for Portugal in the World Cup 2014 in Brazil were also notable, scoring 5 goals in 5 appearances for this nation before they bowed out to Spain in the Quarter-Finals. Now in the prime of his career, Ronaldo is the first player to win the award since Lionel Messi won in 2009 and went on to capture the award 5 years in a row until this year.

Cesc FabregasStats

With midfield legends Xavi and Andre Iniesta aging, it was the 27 year old Cesc Fabregas who filled the void in the middle for Barcelona, recapturing the La Liga title from Real Madrid in 2013/2014. He was arguably their most important player, delivering 20 assists in the league along with 11 goals, winning the La Liga Player of the Year in the process. He was part of the World Cup team that reached the Finals before falling to Brazil, and so far this season, he has been superb for his club.

HulkStats

The Chelsea midfielder/striker did not win the votes for his club play, even though Chelsea captured the Premier League title in 2014, but for his, quite frankly, out of this world performance in the World Cup. In 7 appearances, he delivered 2 goals and a record 9 assists for his nation, and was the key figure in leading them to the World Cup title for a record 6th time in front of their home fans. He did have a decent season for his club, scoring 10 goals and passing out 8 assists, but his display in the World Cup was one of the finest individual performance over the course of the tournament in World Cup history.

WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR

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WORLD TEAM OF THE YEAR

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2014/2015 MAJOR SIGNINGS (JULY-AUGUST)

June 15th 2014: After another disappointing campaign in which they finished 6th under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, Tottenham signed Swedish left back Martin Olsson (29 Aps, 1 Goal) from Blackburn for 14.25 million. Olsson, who had spent 8 years at Blackburn, was signed after the club got relegated from the Premier League. His last few seasons with Blackburn had been inconsistent at best.

June 15th 2014: Arsenal, who finished 3rd in the Premier League in 2013/14, signed Antoine Greizmann (35 Aps, 10 Gls) for 21 million pounds. The 23 year old left winger was bought from Real Sociedad, just a few days after earning his first cap for France. Greizmann was Real Sociedad’s Player of the Year in 2012/13.

June 16th 2014: Alex Teixeira (22 Aps, 10 Gls) was signed by Marseille from Shakhtar for 12.75 million pounds. The 24 year old Brazilian midfielder won 3 Ukrainian League titles while at his old club.

June 28th 2014: Arsenal signed Loic Remy (26 Aps, 10 Gls) for 17.75 million pounds, and subject to conditions, eventually 21.5 million, from Marseille. The 27 year old French striker, part of France’s World Cup 2014 team is the club’s second big signing of the summer. Remy won 2 Ligue One titles while at Lyonnais, and also won the 2011 French Player of the Year. Last season, Marseille finished 2nd place in the French league.

June 29th 2014: Liverpool signed Christian Eriksen (19 Aps, 6 Asts) from Ajax for 11.75 million pounds. The 22 year old midfielder, who has represented Denmark 34 times, sat out nearly 2 months at the beginning of the 2013/14 season due to a fractured wrist. He won the Eridivisie 3 times with Ajax (2011, 2013, 2014).

July 8th 2014: Manchester City made their first signing of the season, bringing in 29 year old Ezequiel Lavezzi (35 Aps, 9 Gls) from Napoli. The attacking midfielder was named to the 2013 Serie A Team of the Year, and the club finished 9th place last year. The transaction cost Manchester City 13.75 million pounds.

July 10th 2014: Real Madrid signed Simon Kjaer (26 Aps, 2 Gls, 5.91 TpG, 7.28) from Wolfsburg for 11.5 million pounds. The 25 year old Danish defender was named the 2013/14 Bundesliga Defender of the Year and was also named in the 2014 Bundesliga Team of the Year.

July 25th 2014: Marseille signed Moussa Sissoko (33 Aps, 7 Gls, 7.35) from Toulouse for 23.5 million pounds. The 24 year old midfielder was a big part of the French national team that advanced to the Quarter-Finals of the World Cup 2014. He was Toulouse’s Player of the Year in 2013 and 2014, and was named the French League 1 Team of the Year in 2014, as well.

August 6th 2014: In a 16.5 million pound move, Younes Belhanda (33 Aps, 7 Gls, 12 Asts) moved from Montpelier to Marseille. The Moroccan midfielder had the 2nd most assists in the French Ligue 1 in 2013/14, and was named the 2014 Player of the Year for his former club.

August 9th 2014: Colombian defender Cristian Zapata (33 Aps, 5.05 TpG) was bought by Tottenham from Villareal for 15.75 million, 3 years after he had joined them for 6 million from Udinese. He had been inconsistent in Spain, but the 27 year old still came highly rated to England.

August 13th 2014: After 2 successful seasons at Arsenal, Joao Moutinho (17 Aps, 2 Gls, 7.27) made the move back to Portugal when Benfica bought him for 12.75 million. He was initially bought from Porto for 4.9 million.

August 19th 2014: Marseille continued spending big this summer, bringing in Brazilian midfielder Fernando (36 Aps, 3 Asts, 5.56 TpG, 7.26) from Real Sociedad for 16.5 million. The 27 year old won the Confederations Cup 2013 with his national side, but did not feature in the Brazilian World Cup 2014 side. He was named Real Sociedad’s Player of the Year for 2013/14, with the club finishing in 9th place.

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What happened to Messi to knock him out of the top three for the Ballon d'Or? Major injury?

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What happened to Messi to knock him out of the top three for the Ballon d'Or? Major injury?

It was a few factors, actually - broken jaw in March and a broken toe in September kept him out of action for 3 months - he also had a poor World Cup (Argentina were knocked out in the Group Stages and he only scored 1 goal). The biggest reason, though, is that the players that were voted for just had better overall seasons, especially Ronaldo and Fabregas.

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Good thread, I always enjoy seeing what happens in other people's game worlds. A Spain Vs Brazil final at the 2014 WC would certainly be a spectacle!

Great work with Bromley aswell!

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Good thread, I always enjoy seeing what happens in other people's game worlds. A Spain Vs Brazil final at the 2014 WC would certainly be a spectacle!

Great work with Bromley aswell!

I really get immersed in the entire world of my save, and not only my team :)

Thanks for the compliments on Bromley! If there is any info/screenshot from my save which you would like, let me know, I have nearly every League as playable :)

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Kerching! £££ :)

Looks like another good season at Bromley then.

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Kerching! £££ :)

Looks like another good season at Bromley then.

I cant tell you how much I need this! The 5,000 we get for home matches is simply not enough to deal with the increase in wages, and our stadium is always filled to maximum capacity. This will be a fantastic boost - Im sure I'll earn something from the attendance at Old Trafford as well :)

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Probably a fair bit

I lost the match 1-0, but I reaped nearly 800k - a fair trade, if you ask me :)

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