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[FM 18] If You're Not First, You're Last (Re-Redux) - Redemption for the "Nearly Men" of Europe

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Thankfully, that oily **** Cristiano cannot take over, as he just went to Chelsea to replace Pep.

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Ok, quick look around Europe...

Nagelsmann continues his hot streak, with a Premier League title at Leicester. Deschamp's Schalke hold on in the Bundesliga, stopping Gladbach's run at 4.  Tayfun Korkut's Real Madrid won their 8th straight La Liga title by the thinnest of margins, as they won the head-to-head against Barcelona after finishing level on points (goal difference was not taken into account, but that, too, was equal).  PSG continued their reign of terror under the Midget Beast.  Partizan went undefeated for another year, stretching that streak to an impressive 115 matches...albeit still 200 shy of their prior record.  Divock Origi's Club Brugge won their 4th straight Jupiler League title.  Valeriy Luchkevych's Shakhtar won their first title in 3 years.  Alex Dyer's Helsingborgs came out of nowhere to claim the 2036 Allsvenskan.  And in Greece, 1 point separated 3 teams...each of whom drew on the final matchday, meaning that Loukas Karadimos' PAOK stumbled to their first title in 6 years.

Finally, Gennaro Gattuso's Manchester City won the Europa League, 3-0 after extra time, over Nicolas Benezet's Monaco.

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Where no paths exist, a man strays only when he misses his destination.

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Portugal -- June 2037

England?  Annihilated.  France?  Beaten, in a classic display of counterattacking brilliance.  Sure, the Nations League doesn't mean much of anything, but it's 2 wins over quality opponents.

World Cup qualifying was very straightforward...much to Ireland's credit, they gave us a better game than the English did.

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Do your opponents know how to shoot into goal because it doesn't seem that way with no goals conceded after four games of qualifying.

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12 minutes ago, HawkAussie said:

Do your opponents know how to shoot into goal because it doesn't seem that way with no goals conceded after four games of qualifying.

In all fairness, it was Estonia, Liechtenstein, Belarus and Ireland...and this Portugal side is insane...but, yeah.  It has been a breeze thus far.

Edited by ManUtd1

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It looks like no one can stand against Portugal there..:thup:Leicester did the miracle again..:applause:

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Suffice to say that qualification remains very much on track. 

I'm still waiting for the right club position to open up and have a handful of preferred destinations...sadly, Reims did not promote back into Ligue 1.  I did, however, reject approaches from Partizan, Arsenal and Leverkusen.

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38 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

It looks like no one can stand against Portugal there..:thup:Leicester did the miracle again..:applause:

Agreed on both counts -- Portugal are far and away the best international side I've managed on FM in years.  

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We went off the boil at the end of qualifying, but always managed to pull out the win.  Thankfully, it is almost time for the firing season to commence...I'm ready to get back into club management.

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In the end, it isn't a terrible draw.  We should progress through to the knockout rounds pretty easily -- although we'll have a potentially touch 2nd round match.  Playing Croatia 3rd means we'll be able to rotate more easily.

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The interview is in the books.  I'm certain I nailed it.  Drake and Zlatan played their respective roles to perfection.  They're out of their minds if they say no...sure, it's not what anyone would expect, but it's an opportunity to build upon what we've already accomplished.  In a new country.  A new challenge.  A new...everything.

The phone is ringing. 

It's them. 

It's official.

It's happening.

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The world needs bad men. We keep other bad men from the door.

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Leeds United / Portugal -- February 2038

When the entire world is watching, waiting for your next move...  You have to do something no one expects.

Our managerial trio going to Yorkshire in February?!  Definitely not on anyone's radar.

The Board want -- nay, demand -- one thing.  Just one simple thing.  To make Elland Road the undisputed home of sexy football.

Yes, yes. Yorkshire fits my mood like a glove.

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Edited by ManUtd1

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You've read that correctly.  The @Dave. Rule has been invoked.

Time to tweak tactics.  Sexy times in Yorkshire ahead.  The question being...do I go Bielsa, stay strikerless, maybe try to mix them together?!  What about a libero?!  So many decisions to make...

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Get Your Sexy On...

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Leeds United / Portugal -- February 2038, Tactical Musings

As noted in the opening post, the @Dave. Rule requires that I prioritize Leeds.  But that's just the black-letter interpretation of the Rule.  The spirit of the Rule requires that Leeds play insane hipster football. 

In the FM17 version of the save, this saw Hakan Telleus tinker with tiki-taka before settling on a very fluid, strikerless tactic with IWBs and a libero...which of course started the in-game tactical revolution immortalized in Telleus' Tactical Teachings: Tomorrow's Football Today.

This time around, we're going to #BringSexyBack to Leeds with a little help from Emilia (as well as @noikeee and @BoxToBox, who offered some helpful suggestions).

We're going to tweak the 343 I've been playing, meld it with the strikerless/winger tactics employed by Stalin at Zulte Waregem (based on @Guimy's brilliant 3-carat diamond tactic, which were tweaked over time)...tweak them a bit more...and then see what happens...

The initial setup is PM Drakens Blod, an homage to Hakan's insane Swedish naming conventions ("Grapefruit Blood of the Dragon") and Emilia.  I've started to put together a counterattacking version, as well, named PM Sovande Draug ("Grapefruit Sleeping Draugr")...because reasons.

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Edited by ManUtd1
Fixed screenshot -- primary tactic should be 'mixed' passing

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*eagerly awaiting the "CrouchingTigerHidingGrapefruit" variant.

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1 hora atrás, ManUtd1 disse:

with a little help from Emilia (as well as @noikeee and @BoxToBox, who offered some helpful suggestions).

Mate I've no idea why you tagged me, unless you're counting Emilia as a helpful suggestion.. which... I guess it is?!

That tactic is just hot.

I'm ****ed cause I have 10 pages to read though, but you better treat the Glorious Nation of Portugal well. Not sure what was the fuss in this screenshot above,

4 horas atrás, ManUtd1 disse:

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... though I guess Boazinha is a funny surname

... cause Boazinha means "good woman" (I'm actually not making this **** up :lol: ).

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1 hour ago, noikeee said:

Mate I've no idea why you tagged me, unless you're counting Emilia as a helpful suggestion.. which... I guess it is?!

That tactic is just hot.

Beyond Emilia, one of your initial comments made be think more about where goals are going to come from, and going back to using a shadow striker at the top of the formation :brock:

1 hour ago, noikeee said:

Not sure what was the fuss in this screenshot above,

... though I guess Boazinha is a funny surname

... cause Boazinha means "good woman" (I'm actually not making this **** up :lol: ).

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Since we have 6 days until our penultimate league match, Febri decided to invite everyone out for some team building. Just some local culture, he said. To celebrate our win over City.

We should have taken the cue when the rest of the squad promptly made excuses and left.

But, no... Two hours later, we found ourselves at a local theater, several blocks off the high street... Maybe 5 or 6 dozen people in attendance. Lots of turtlenecks, some hipster beards, lots of decorative masks. Febri is in a dark cloak, wearing a Venetian plague mask of all things. 

Not our scene, but "when in Rome..." We're even wearing borrowed masks of our own. Febri's trunk was full of them.

And then the show began.

Febri was practically quivering with anticipation, sitting between Drake and Zlatan in the front row.

The music began softly, the stage dark. As the music grew louder, Febri began to hum, quietly at first... As the music rose to a crescendo, he, too, rose. Arms raised in a V, cloak billowing out behind him, stepping into the stage.

We realized that this is Febri's show... Just a few moments too late.

Febri dropped the cloak to reveal a spectacular, albeit fake, bare chest... Pamela Anderson-esque...

Naked to the waist, yet still wearing his plague mask, Febri wandered amongst the audience, breast-feeding the attendees one-by-one, while they hummed "God Save The Queen."

When Febri-Pamela approached Drake, our poor Irish friend was speechless and -- seeing no obvious route of escape -- reluctantly latched on.  Zlatan just stared Febri down... And he thankfully moved on without approaching me.

At the end of the "show," Febri removed his plague mask to thundering applause, revealing a Winston Churchill mask underneath.

If anything, the clapping only grew louder.

After the audience cleared out, Febri insisted on taking us for a pint at The Old Peacock, across from Elland Road. 

Little was said by the three of us. What could we say?!  I couldn't look Febri in the eye. Drake looked  like he's seen a ghost, and couldn't stop looking at where Febri's glorious fake breasts once were, licking his lips and shaking his head. Poor guy's head is broken.

All the while, Febri just kept explaining how his art is a commentary on social inequality in Yorkshire, a cautionary tale about the people of the imminent war between the classes.

We just nod and smile, silently swearing to never again find ourselves alone with Febri.

The next morning at training, several of the players give us knowing looks.

"Not a word, lads. Not one ****ing word."

Edited by ManUtd1

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You know, someone once told me time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.

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Leeds United / Portugal -- 2037/38 Season Review

Finishing 11th is not the worst possible outcome for this season.  We finished strong, even if Zlatan, Drake and I bear the psychological scars associated with our night out in Yorkshire with Febri...the good news being that he and a number of other players are out of contract in the summer, and will not be renewed.  A purge is coming.  With any luck, our new players will be able to actually play football, unlike the current lot we're stuck with.

Goals for 2038/39: Rebuild the squad at Leeds, finish in the top half of the table.  Win Canada 2038.

Squad|League Overview|Finances Overview|Income Detail|Expenditures Detail|Transfers

Premier League Fixtures (1)|Premier League Fixtures (2)|FA Cup Fixtures|League Cup Fixtures

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Champions League Review

Luis Enrique's Sampdoria prove that last year's success was no fluke, and return to the final to face Giovanni van Bronckhurst's Liverpool.  Unfortunately, Liverpool prevail in extra time, but it was good to see SampDoritos make a run, and to see Nantes also reach the semifinals.  Bordeaux and Sevilla also popped up in the knockout rounds, which was great to see.

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Challenge Overview

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Ok, time for the annual review of what else happened in Europe...and what a year it was.

Unai Emery's Gladbach claimed the Bundesliga title on goal difference.  For the 2nd straight year, Tayfun Korkut's Real Madrid claimed the title in La Liga, based on head-to-head results with Barcelona...their 9th straight title.  Messi's PSG did more PSG things.  Sampdoria won their 2nd straight title.  Nuno Espírito Santo's Partizan did their usual thing, but did not go undefeated...and then their manager left to replace Pep the Bald, who was sacked by Manchester United.  Vincent Thill's Genk won their first title in a decade.  Valeriy Luchkevych's Shakhtar were dominant.  Roberth Björknesjö's Malmo won the 2037 title on goal difference.  Mijat Gacinovic's Olympiacos ended their 4-year dry spell.

And in the Europa League, Julia Nagelsmann's Leicester claimed their 3rd Europa League title in 8 years.

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Portugal Squad Review, June 2038

Ok, we've been here before.  I've said it time and time again.  This Portugal squad is insanely good.  So much speed, so much talent... We are ranked #1 by FIFA for a reason.  Time to show why.

Algeria and Costa Rica should not be a problem, the real questions seems to be whether we'll finish 1st or 2nd, and who we'll face in the 2nd round.

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Goalkeepers

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Ludovina gets the nod in goal, backed up by Tinoco and Santos.  Any of the three could play without me being concerned.

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Defenders

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In the back, our starting CBs are Campino, Matos and Martins, with Monteiro and Sacramento on the flanks.  The backups are Xavier, Radchenko, and Mendes, with Carlos Ferreira and Luis Carvalho out wide.

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Central Midfielders

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So.  Much.  Skill.  Nascimiento and Ivo Micael are still the starting mezzalla and carrilero, respectively, with Mancio and Melo as the backups.  Insanely good.

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Attacking Midfielders

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Up top, we've got Diogo Rafael in the deep-lying targetman role, flanked by Nuno Ferreira and Pinto.  In the 2nd XI, Martins will be flanked by Gonzaga and Magalhaes.

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Final Thoughts

This squad is immense. Anything short of winning it all will be a massive failure.

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29 minutes ago, HawkAussie said:

*cough* Not highlighting the runner-up for Sampodria.

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1 minute ago, HawkAussie said:

Just stating the truth as there is not a runner-up tag.

Understood -- with all the updating I do at the end of each season, it is easy to miss something.  Wasn't quite my point, but no worries :brock:

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Canada 2038; World Cup -- Group Stage

We're firing on all cylinders.  The first XI were rampant against Algeria and Costa Rica, and the 2nd XI were ruthless in the match against Croatia.  This is our moment.  We'll face the Dutch in the Second Round, hoping to avoid an upset...there's something in the water up here, big nations are falling right, left and center.  We need to stay focused.

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15 minutes ago, kidthekid said:

finally caught up. Great stuff as always

Thanks, man!  About to play the 2nd Round match against the Dutch...

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Canada 2038; World Cup -- Second Round

The first half against the Dutch was the best 45 of the tournament, by far.  Non-stop attacking from both sides, with the slugfest interrupted when Jaap saw his 2nd yellow in the 40th minute.  What a match.

There was even a "ween" sighting in the 2nd half, as the Riechedly Bazoer's men looked for an equalizer.  Truly, Africa's influence on the game is growing, even if few give that Mumbu character any real credence in public.

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And look at that quarterfinal stage!!!  Japan v. Sweden...Uruguay v. Portugal...Turkey v. Denmark... and Cote d'Ivoire v. Colombia?!?!

#Canada2038Forevah

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Smells like a new world cup winner to me

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17 minutes ago, rodesire said:

Smells like a new world cup winner to me

9 minutes ago, Fer Fuchs Ake said:

And maybe a new eligible team

Exactly...unless Uruguay ruin it for everyone by reaching the final and losing...

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5 minutes ago, ManUtd1 said:

Exactly...unless Uruguay ruin it for everyone by reaching the final and losing...

That wouldn't be a bad outcome if Jaws of Life was still around.

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Canada 2038; World Cup -- Quarterfinals

We certainly made it harder on ourselves than need be, especially after Uruguay saw red in the 10th minute.  3-1.  It was our 2nd XI, but even then it should have been more.  We'll face Sweden in the semifinals.

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Very disappointed that Cote d'Ivoire lost, but this is still brilliant on so many levels.  Semifinal in an hour or so.

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Canada 2038; World Cup -- Semifinals

So many familiar faces on the opposite side...Nilsson, Jawad, Valtersson, Al-Basha, Gunnerud, Salomonsson, Hussein...  As for Andersson, I just binned him from Leeds.  Perhaps poetic, in that Sweden sacked me 10 years ago, almost to the day.

We're favored.  As we should be.  We'll attack from the start.  We're in complete control in the early stages, and take the lead through Pinto.  Now, we have Sweden right where we want them...and we hit them again in the 28th, Sacramento finding Rafael.  2-nil.  If we can find a 3rd, we'll be through to the final.

And Sweden have lost the plot entirely.  We come within inches of a 3rd twice, before frustration gets the better of Martin Nilsson, as he lunges in.  His second yellow.  Sweden are down to 10 men, and we're all but through, now.  The match is buried in the 53rd, as Sacramento finds Pinto darting to the near post.

3-nil.  Sweden are done for.  The 4th, mere minutes later, seems a cruelty.  Zlatan is crying on the sidelines, overwhelmed by both sadness and joy.  Substitutions are on, the lads instructed to conserve their energy.  We've got a final to play, after all.

Al-Basha seeing his 2nd yellow of the day in 76th merely compounds the cruelty.  Sweden, reduced to 9 men.

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We will face Denmark. 

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(I cannot live blog it tonight, so Jamie-Lad and Gar-Bear will be spared the humiliation.)

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Canada 2038; World Cup -- Final

Once again, we're favored.  And if we take care of business, this isn't a side we should fear.

We start out aggressively, looking to take the game to the Danes.  Pinto goes down injured before 15 minutes have passed.  Gonzaga will replace him...and immediately makes an impact, as he meets a driven cross from Sacramento at the near post, flicking it into the back of the net.  It is practically his first touch of the match.

Denmark are maintaining possession, but nowhere near our goal...until the 44th minute, where an incisive counter-attack nearly exposes us, a fine save from Ludovina keeping it 1-nil.

Pinto emerges with the lads at halftime on crutches, standing in the technical area with Zlatan, Drake and I, urging the lads forward.  At 25, he has at least one more World Cup in him, but he was 1 goal behind Denmark's Pedersen for the Golden Boot, and has arguably been the best player in Canada.

An hour gone and we're sitting comfortably with our one-goal lead...but no matter how comfortable things feel, it is a thin margin, one that we can easily lose with the slightest mistake.  We need a second.  Monteiro and Sacramento are replaced in the 65th...they've had a good run, and we need legs on the flanks.

In the 82, it comes.  Carvalho dispossessing Pedersen deep in our territory, looking forward to find Rafael hitting the channel...he beats 1, 2 men...and cuts it back to find Nascimiento, our talismanic mezzalla, breaking free.  That's 2.  Pinto dances on the sideline, his pain forgotten...a latter-day vision of Cristiano himself. 

There's not enough time for Denmark to recover, is there?!  Even cheating, with three up top...surely they cannot find 2 goals now...

They cannot.  Champions of the world.

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So, Denmark are now eligible...  And the Dutch FA sacked Bazoer... 

Updated trackers are below.

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