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Harris384

[FM20] A Year in International Football

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Posted (edited)

This story was heavily inspired by @CFuller's Heart of Asia and Jeux Sans Frontières stories, both simulating international tournaments to see what happens. I'm taking that one step further. I'm using the default database, with fifty-three leagues from thirty-two nations loaded. I'm starting in June, which means I won't do any match reports on games from March. The usual teams (Germany, Japan etc.) are filled with greys, and my computer is going to be exploding after this. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get to the introduction.

This virus is annoying, isn't it? Sure, our infrastructure is ruined, the economy is tanking and we're all stuck in our houses, but the worst part of it all is that we have no international tournaments over the summer! Yes, we could have been going to Wembley and, er, Azerbaijan and following our countries attempts at glory and, most often, glorious failure, but that has to wait a year. Not in this world it doesn't.

 

Now, I was initially considering only doing Euro 2020 and it's qualifying stages, but hey, while we're here I may as well cover the rest of the world! Europe, Asia, South America, North America, Oceania, Africa, Antarctica, they're all same, right? Is it going to be easy for me to do? No. But, in the words of Coldplay, nobody said it was easy. So, let's see what we have in store...

 

Okay, so obviously we have the race and battle for Euro 2020, that most diverse of tournaments in terms of stadiums, and of course that's going to be a fairly interesting tournament. But we have more than that! We also have plenty of youth football, for example, such as the qualifying for the 2021 UEFA U21 European Championship, the U20 Elite League, and the U19 Euros, with it's qualifying stages. That's already a fairly meaty schedule, but that's only Europe!

 

In South America, we have the qualifying for the ominous 2022 World Cup getting underway in October, as well as yet another Copa America in Chile in the summer of 2020, as well as some neat Olympics qualifying. 

 

Asia, meanwhile, also has World Cup Qualifying on offer. There's almost too much in Asia to be honest - there's the brilliant AFF Championship (consisting of South-eastern countries), WAFF Championship (Western countries), East Asian Cup (with Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea), AFC Solidarity Cup (basically a tournament consisting of teams who rarely get to play friendlies) and a smattering of youth team tournaments.

 

Next up, Africa have World Cup and African Cup of Nations qualifying, the African Championship of Nations, and the U23 version of the AFCON, among others.

 

North America has the new CONCACAF Nations League (more on which when we get to it), and... uh... that's it thankfully. Should be enough for them to duel it out. It's not exactly a downside for me to have less tournaments in a region to cover, let's face it.

 

And Oceania has the Olympics qualifying once more (which of course is still on to happen in this universe), as well as the frankly pointless Oceania Nations Cup, which I will still have to try and make a point out of against common sense and the will of God Almighty.

 

Sadly, the Antarctician World Championship Final between Penguin FC and Penguin Rovers, due to be played in April, was called off due to 'bad weather', apparently a spontaneously blizzard. Who would've thought, eh?

 

Plus, there's always the reliable international friendly schedule that can throw up some new prospects, surprising results and (mostly) brief but pointless enjoyment. If anything, at least England can play in Southampton or Leeds or wherever. Maybe. 

 

So then, a year of top-class and not-so-top-class football is to come, and all eyes will be on Euro 2020. Will England finally bring football home. Wird Deutschland alle anderen effizient fegen? La France va-t-elle puer le tournoi? Will San Marino score a goal? Let's find out.

Edited by Harris384

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Posted (edited)

UEFA EURO 2020 QUALIFYING - HOW DOES IT WORK?

I assume you're all relatively familiar with how the qualifying process for a European Championship works, but because of the Nations League and all that I feel like I should go over it for anyone confused...

 

Okay, so 55 teams enter the UEFA European Championship Qualifying process in the group stages, split collectively into 10 groups - 5 of them containing 5 teams, and the other 5 containing 6 teams. The reason we've gone up to 55 since the last European Championship Qualifiers is that we're joined by a team new to the process - Instagram favourites Kosovo, who in this world may actually qualify! Who knows, but I personally hope they do, if only so England don't.

 

That's simple enough, are you still following? Good, because the top two teams in each group automatically go through to the tournament. Again, easy enough, yeah?

 

Here's where it gets complicated. 20 teams have already gone through, but another 4 have to go through the Nations League Playoffs. These are determined by the teams' performances in the UEFA Nations League, not in the group stages. There are four teams from each Nations League division (A, B, C and D) who will compete in these, adding to a grand total of 16 teams competing in the playoffs. If they want to go to Euro 2020, instead of the previous two-legged format, they will have to play against two different teams, in a semi-final and final. And yes, that does mean a Division D team will go through. But we're getting slightly ahead of ourselves there. 

 

So, now you know how it works, we can get on with the qualifying itself.

Edited by Harris384

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Posted (edited)

21 MARCH 2019

Okay. So later on in the year, I will be doing match reports to go along with the results in the qualifiers, but since the game has already simulated the first batch of matches, I'll just be listing them to set the scene. Quite simple this, no build up, no analysis, just a proportionate amount of statistics that you can choose to ignore if you want. Here we go.

 

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group C

Belarus - 0

Estonia - 0

 

Germany - 1

Netherlands - 0

 

GROUP C                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Germany                 1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3
2.      Belarus                 1          0          1          0          0          0           0           1
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Estonia                 1          0          1          0          0          0           0           1 
4.      Northern Ireland        0          0          0          0          0          0           0           0
5.      Netherlands             1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0

 

Group F

Faroe Islands - 1

Malta - 0

 

Norway - 1

Sweden - 0

 

Romania - 0

Spain - 3

 

GROUP F                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Spain                   1          1          0          0          3          0           3           3
2.      Faroe Islands           1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Norway                  1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3 
4.      Sweden                  1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0
5.      Malta                   1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0
6.      Romania                 1          0          0          1          0          3           -3          0

 

Group H

Albania - 4

Andorra - 0

 

France - 3

Turkey - 0

 

Iceland - 1

Moldova - 0

 

GROUP C                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Albania                 1          1          0          0          4          0           4           3
2.      France                  1          1          0          0          3          0           3           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Iceland                 1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3 
4.      Moldova                 1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0
5.      Turkey                  1          0          0          1          0          3           -3          0
6.      Andorra                 1          0          0          1          0          4           -4          0

 

Edited by Harris384

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22 MARCH 2019

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group A

Bulgaria - 2

Czech Republic - 1

 

England - 4

Kosovo - 0

 

GROUP A                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      England                 1          1          0          0          4          0           4           3
2.      Bulgaria                1          1          0          0          2          1           1           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.      Montenegro              0          0          0          0          0          0           0           0
5.      Czech Republic          1          0          0          0          1          2           -1          0 
6.      Kosovo                  1          0          0          1          0          4           -4          0

 

Group D

Georgia - 0

Denmark - 1

 

Switzerland - 1

Republic of Ireland - 0

 

GROUP A                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Denmark                 1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3
2.      Switzerland             1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Gibraltar               0          0          0          0          0          0           0           0
4.      Republic of Ireland     1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0
5.      Georgia                 1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0

 

Group G

Israel - 2

Austria - 0

 

Poland - 3

North Macedonia - 0

 

Slovenia - 1

Latvia - 0

 

GROUP A                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Poland                  1          1          0          0          3          0           3           3
2.      Israel                  1          1          0          0          2          0           2           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Slovenia                1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3
4.      Latvia                  1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0
5.      Austria                 1          0          0          0          0          2           -2          0 
6.      North Macedonia         1          0          0          1          0          3           -3          0

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Posted (edited)

23 MARCH 2019

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group B

Luxembourg - 0

Lithuania - 1

 

Ukraine - 0

Portugal - 2

 

GROUP B                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Portugal                1          1          0          0          2          0           2           3
2.      Lithuania               1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Serbia                  0          0          0          0          0          0           0           0
4.      Luxembourg              1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0
5.      Ukraine                 1          0          0          1          0          2           -2          0

 

Group E

Azerbaijan - 0

Croatia - 5

 

Hungary - 2

Slovakia - 0

 

GROUP E                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Croatia                 1          1          0          0          5          0           5           3
2.      Hungary                 1          1          0          0          2          0           2           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Wales                   0          0          0          0          0          0           0           0
4.      Slovakia                1          0          0          1          0          2           -2          0
5.      Azerbaijan              1          0          0          1          0          5           -5          0

 

Group I

Belgium - 5

Kazakhstan - 0

 

San Marino - 0

Russia - 5

 

Scotland - 2

Cyprus - 1

 

GROUP I                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Belgium                 1          1          0          0          5          0           5           3
2.      Russia                  1          1          0          0          5          0           5           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Scotland                0          1          0          0          2          1           1           3
4.      Cyprus                  1          0          0          1          1          2           -1          0
5.      San Marino              1          0          0          1          0          5           -5          0
6.      Kazakhstan              1          0          0          1          0          5           -5          0

 

Group J

Armenia - 0

Bosnia & Herzegovina - 0

 

Finland - 4

Liechtenstein - 0

 

Greece - 0

Italy - 1

 

GROUP J                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Finland                 1          1          0          0          4          0           4           3
2.      Italy                   1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Armenia                 1          0          1          0          0          0           0           1
4.      Bosnia & Herzegovina    1          0          1          0          0          0           0           1
5.      Greece                  1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0
6.      Liechtenstein           1          0          0          1          0          4           -4          0
Edited by Harris384

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24 MARCH 2019

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group C

Estonia - 0

Northern Ireland - 1

 

Netherlands - 5

Belarus - 0

 

GROUP C                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Netherlands             2          1          0          1          5          1           4           3
2.      Germany                 1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Northern Ireland        1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3 
4.      Estonia                 2          0          1          1          0          1           -1          1
5.      Belarus                 2          0          1          1          0          5           -5          1

 

Group F

Malta - 1

Norway - 2

 

Spain - 4

Faroe Islands - 0

 

Sweden - 1

Romania - 1

 

GROUP F                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Spain                   2          2          0          0          7          0           7           6
2.      Norway                  2          2          0          0          3          1           2           6
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Faroe Islands           2          1          0          1          1          4           -3          3 
4.      Sweden                  2          0          1          1          1          2           -1          1
5.      Romania                 2          0          1          1          1          4           -3          1
6.      Malta                   2          0          0          2          1          3           -2          0

 

Group H

Andorra - 0

France - 6

 

Moldova - 1

Albania - 2

 

Turkey - 0

Iceland - 1

 

GROUP H                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      France                  2          2          0          0          9          0           9           6                           
2.      Albania                 2          2          0          0          6          1           5           6
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Iceland                 2          2          0          0          2          0           2           6
4.      Moldova                 2          0          0          2          1          3           -2          3
5.      Turkey                  2          0          0          2          0          4           -4          0
6.      Andorra                 2          0          0          2          0          10          -10         0

 

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25 MARCH 2019

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group A

Czech Republic - 2

Montenegro - 0

 

Kosovo - 1

Bulgaria - 2

 

GROUP A                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Bulgaria                2          2          0          0          4          2           2           6                           
2.      England                 1          1          0          0          4          0           4           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Czech Republic          2          1          0          1          3          2           1           3
4.      Montenegro              1          0          0          1          0          2           -2          0
5.      Kosovo                  2          0          0          2          1          6           -5          0

 

Group D

Denmark - 1

Switzerland - 2

 

Gibraltar - 0

Georgia - 2

 

GROUP D                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Switzerland             2          2          0          0          3          1           2           6                           
2.      Georgia                 2          1          0          1          2          1           1           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Denmark                 2          1          0          1          2          2           0           3
4.      Republic of Ireland     1          0          0          1          0          1           -1          0
5.      Gibraltar               1          0          0          1          0          2           -2          0

 

Group G

Austria - 1

Poland - 1

 

Latvia - 0

Israel - 1

 

North Macedonia - 0

Slovenia - 0

 

GROUP G                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Israel                  2          2          0          0          3          0           3           6                           
2.      Poland                  2          1          1          0          4          1           3           4
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Slovenia                2          1          1          0          1          0           1           4
4.      Austria                 2          0          1          1          1          3           -2          1
5.      North Macedonia         2          0          1          1          0          3           -3          1
6.      Latvia                  2          0          0          2          0          2           -2          0

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26 MARCH 2019

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group B

Lithuania - 0

Ukraine - 1

 

Serbia - 3

Luxembourg - 0

 

GROUP B                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Serbia                  1          1          0          0          3          0           3           3         
2.      Portugal                1          1          0          0          2          0           2           3                 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Lithuania               2          1          0          1          1          1           0           3
4.      Ukraine                 2          1          0          1          1          2           -1          3
5.      Luxembourg              2          0          0          2          0          4           -4          0

 

Group E

Croatia - 0

Wales - 1

 

Slovakia - 2

Azerbaijan - 0

 

GROUP E                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Croatia                 2          1          0          1          5          1           4           3                       
2.      Hungary                 1          1          0          0          2          0           2           3                             
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Wales                   1          1          0          0          1          0           1           3             
4.      Slovakia                2          1          0          1          2          2           0           3        
5.      Azerbaijan              2          0          0          2          0          7           -7          0    

 

Group I

Cyprus - 0

Belgium - 0

 

Kazakhstan - 2

San Marino - 0

 

Russia - 2

Scotland - 1

 

GROUP I                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Russia                  2          2          0          0          7          1           6           6
2.      Belgium                 2          1          1          0          5          0           5           6      
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Scotland                2          1          0          1          3          3           0           3
4.      Kazakhstan              2          1          0          1          2          5           -3          3
5.      Cyprus                  2          0          1          1          1          2           -1          1
6.      San Marino              2          0          0          2          0          7           -7          0

 

Group J

Bosnia & Herzegovina - 0

Finland - 0

 

Italy - 2

Armenia - 0

 

Liechtenstein - 0

Greece - 3

 

GROUP J                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Italy                   2          2          0          0          3          0           3           6         
2.      Finland                 2          1          1          0          4          0           4           4                 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Greece                  2          1          0          1          3          1           2           3
4.      Bosnia & Herzegovina    2          0          2          0          0          0           0           2
5.      Armenia                 2          0          1          1          0          2           -2          1
6.      Liechtenstein           2          0          0          2          0          7           -7          0

 

Right, there's the stage set.

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Posted (edited)

6 JUNE 2019

Right, so now that boring admin stuff is out of the way, we can get on with the first match reports of this experiment. The European Qualifiers so far, as you can see, have sprung up a few surprises - now I'm all for Wales doing well as the next Welshman, but beating World Cup semi-finalists Croatia away? Come on, Football Manager...

 

Incidentally, the UEFA Champions League Final happened 5 days ago, the Women's World Cup hasn't even happened yet, there is no sign of anything ruining Earth, and Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber are at number one with 'I Don't Care'. It's a long time ago, basically.

 

Anyway, our first night of action sees three groups, two home nations, plenty of chances for upsets, and a partridge in a pear tree. We'll start off with Group A - England's group. They, of course, got the most obviously biased (;)) group, so instead of getting Croatia, Slovakia and Hungary (all of whom went to Euro 2016) all in the same group, they get a Czech Republic side that haven't been even mildly threatening since at least 2012, a Montenegro team who haven't done anything of note since 2012, Bulgaria, and bloody Kosovo. Seriously, if they can't qualify in-game one of you can buy my house for free. There is genuinely no way they'll mess this up (which they said in 1950and 2016).

 

But enough of the England-bashing, tonight they're away to Bulgaria, who I'm told can be a bit naughty at times. For my money, the better game will be in glamorous Podgorica, where Montenegro and Kosovo battle for what could be a head start over those Czechs.

 

The other home nation is the one and only Republic of Ireland, who tonight will host a Denmark side that they know quite well. Bare in mind that Ireland will be very much off the pace if they lose, and in only their second game they need as many points as possible. Meanwhile, over at the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf (stop laughing), Switzerland will have a real heavyweight to fight in the mighty nation of Gibraltar. The Gibraltans' were already found out by Georgia in their aeroplane hangar very cramped Victoria Stadium, which by the end of the month will have hosted several early European Qualifiers on the club circuit. They'll have to make a fair fist of it if they want to end up less embarrassed than the Spanish prime minister whenever he asks for a piece of it.

 

The final group (Group G) has the potential for more shocks than AC/DC could ever think of. Austria have been less Spielberg, more Michael Bay so far. They lost their opening game to an admittedly rising Israeli side, but after a dire draw against Poland, anything less than a win in Latvia tonight could mean, not for the first time, Vienna has massively underperformed. Poland don't have it much easier, as they have to travel to Slovakia's ginger-haired step-child, Slovenia, in a match that could see, well, anything happen. And although Israel have won both their opening games, you can't rule out North Macedonia, who travel to the alarmingly American sounding Turner Stadium in Be'er-Sheva with one whole point(!) in the bag after drawing at home to Slovakia, I mean Slovenia.

 

But hold on a moment, what's this? The AFC, in their infinite wisdom, have decided that this is the time to start Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. From Afghanistan to Yemen (but not the island of Northern Mariana, maybe they killed the AFC president's dog I don't know), here we see Asia's finest and most war-torn battle it out to make it to another Asian country, Qatar, who are still hosting it I'm afraid. To get there, here is what happens:

 

Round 1

12 teams are put into a two-legged tie in June, ranked from 35th to 46th, and the winners progress to the Second Round. Very simple.

 

Round 2

Okay, so the other 34 teams join in to form a total of 40, who are then divided into 8 groups of 5 and then made to play home-and-away (unless your Syria presumably), and the winners get to go through to the next round alongside the four best-placed runners up, and qualify for the 2023 Asian Cup as a bonus. If Qatar are first or second, the fifth-best placed team in second will go through. So what's the point of having Qatar then? 

 

Round 3

The 12 who go through are split into two groups, the winners and runners-up of which will go to the World Cup. The third-placed teams get to play another round, which is...

 

Round 4

A direct two-legger between those teams, the winner of which will go on to the inter-confederation playoffs.

 

So, what do we have in store in this round? Well, if you love cricket (like 10cc) you can follow Pakistan and Sri Lanka to see if they hit the opposition for six, or the thrilling likes of Macau, Bhutan and Guam. Let's be honest, it's not going to have any bearing on who qualifies, and it would be a tough ask for Sky Sports to big this up, so we shall see who prevails.

 

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group A

Bulgaria - 1 (I Popov 7')

England - 2 (R Sterling 44', H Kane pen 72')

Only just! Gareth Southgate must have been a bit worried when the, in this universe, non-racist Bulgaria took the lead after 7 minutes after Ivelin Popov headed past Jordan Pickford from a free-kick, but after squandering more than a few chances in the first half, Raheem 'the Dream' Sterling scored a, uh, sterling volley that he walloped past poor Plamen Iliev on the stroke of half-time. The Three Lions didn't really get going in the second half, but they took their chance when Stefan Velkov of Dutch side FC Den Bosch pulled Declan Rice in the penalty area, and Kane hammered it straight past the goalie. Oddly enough, that now means the two are level on points.

 

Montenegro - 2 (F Beciraj 14' 65')

Kosovo - 1 (D Avdijaj 63')

Ooh, Instagram isn't gonna like that one! To be fair, Kosovo pretty much had themselves to blame for this one, especially when the defence on Maccabi Netanya starlet Beciraj's goal was about as static as an elastic band. Although they did level with what was described as the 'Trequartista' Donis Avdijaj, another header sent Montenegro on their merry way to a first win of their campaign. At least Kosovo have that Nations League spot, eh?

 

GROUP A                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      England                 2          2          0          0          6          1           5           6                           
2.      Bulgaria                3          2          0          1          5          4           1           6
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Czech Republic          2          1          0          1          3          2           1           3
4.      Montenegro              2          1          0          1          2          3           -1          3
5.      Kosovo                  3          0          0          3          2          8           -6          0

 

Group D

Ireland - 3 (S Coleman 24', S Long 72', A Keogh 26')

Denmark - 0 (V Fischer 60')

That's payback for the playoff defeat! On a day where Ireland didn't need luck, just pure precision, Everton's captain rose highest to a corner in the middle of the first half to send the Aviva Stadium into rapture, and the Danes required the typically brilliant Kasper Schmeichel to keep out a barrage of attacks from the Republic. What they didn't need was Viktor Fischer going off for a second-yellow card on the hour mark, and from that point on Ireland never looked back, with Shane and Andy sealing a potentially important three points in the long run.

 

Switzerland - 4 (A Ajeti 1', B Embolo 40, F Schär pen 56', H Seferovic 70')

Gibraltar - 1 (R Styche 11', R Chipolina 58', S Wiseman 90+2')

Let's face it, when your captain is at Lincoln Red Imps, you don't have much of a chance short of San Marino or a bunch of schoolchildren. But, despite going behind after 56 seconds, they ACTUALLY SCORED A GOAL, thanks to Hereford's Reece Styche. He was a hero for most of the first-half, but when Embolo (of The Lion Sleeps Tonight fame) put Switzerland back in front, Gibraltar were soon turned to cheese by the Swiss and promptly fell apart after half-time. Not only did free agent Christian Galliano trip Ajeti for a penalty that was promptly converted, but two minutes later Chipolina found himself down the tunnel for a second-yellow, and by the time Salford's Scott Wiseman received his marching orders, my namesake made sure of three wins from three.

 

GROUP D                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Switzerland             3          3          0          0          7          2           5           9                           
2.      Republic of Ireland     2          1          0          1          3          1           2           3
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Georgia                 2          1          0          2          2          1           1           3
4.      Denmark                 2          1          0          1          2          5           -3          3
5.      Gibraltar               2          0          0          2          1          6           -5          0

 

Group G

Israel - 2 (L Rafaelov 84' 86')

North Macedonia - 1 (E Elmas 83')

A game that was more entertaining throughout than the goal times suggest, with Israel hitting the post twice and Macedonia once. But when Napoli's Elmas met a low ball by the length of my fingernails to put the visitors a goal up, all bets were off. That was until a minute later, when Rafaelov scored a quite ridiculous solo goal, cutting through the Macedonian back line like a demented CR7, and slotting brilliantly past Rayo Vallecano's number one. The second, two minutes later, wasn't a seventh as glorious, basically deflecting in off his arse. Still, the beers were flowing in Be'er, and Israel nailed down first spot in the group.

 

Latvia - 2 (R Uldrikis 43', V Sabala 89')

Austria - 1 (G Burgstaller 50')

The hills are alive with the sound of booing! This may be the finest moment in Latvian football since Euro 2004, and the opposite for Austria - VAR had it's first use after just four minutes, when Arnie thought he legally scored, only for the dodgy technology to give a similarly dodgy decision. That didn't mean Austria deserved even a draw though - 21 year-old Roberts (not Robert, Roberts) Uldrikis gave the Sarkanbaltsarkanie (try saying that after a few) the lead, only for Burgstaller to, well, stall Latvia's momentum. But then, after a fairly boring half that was starting to peter out, Valerijs Sabala of Polish second-tier outfit Miedź Legnica gave the 2002 Eurovision winners another moment of glory.

 

Slovenia - 0

Poland - 0

Poland put in quite possibly their worst performance in years, achieving approximately 0 shots on target compared to Slovenia's 9, and yet somehow still snagged a point. I don't know if this result shows how bad Slovenia, or how good Poland's defence are. Judging by the fact that Wojciech Szczesny made three saves of those on target strikes, I think it's safe to say it's safe to say it's the latter. The biggest chance was a save though - Slovakia, I mean Slovenia's Jaka Bijol (of CSKA Moscow) missing from about 3 yards away from goal, and pinging it straight to Szczesny instead of in the goalmouth. With performances like these, I don't hold out much hope for Slovakia, I mean Slovenia.

 

GROUP G                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Israel                  3          3          0          0          5          1           4           9                        
2.      Poland                  2          1          2          0          4          1           3           5
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Slovenia                3          1          2          0          1          0           1           5
4.      Latvia                  3          1          0          2          2          3           -1          3
5.      Austria                 3          0          1          2          2          5           -3          1
6.      North Macedonia         3          0          1          2          1          5           -4          1

 

AFC WORLD CUP QUALIFYING FIRST ROUND

Bangladesh - 2 (A Rahman Sufil 67', M Rana 68')

Brunei - 2 (M Othman pen 4' 74')

To all the fans of these two out there, this was actually an entertaining game. In a battle of two grey teams (+ Leicester's Faiq Bolkiah), it was the cricketers who opened the day's innings conceding a penalty, which was put away despite a retake by Othman. Bangladesh needed no retakes in their two minute blitz however, with Sufil heading his in and Rana sweeping it past Khairul Muhamad, whoever he is. Unfortunately, Othman was back for revenge, and there is no clear advantage for the second leg.

 

East Timor - 0

Bhutan - 0

A game so lacking in quality that I won't waste Timor talking about it...

 

Macau - 0

Laos - 0

Not even Bordeaux's David Cardoso could help Macau in the end, as they had to rely on goalie Fong Ka Wai to keep out 5 of the Laos attacks, on a day where none of the 1,408 people who turned up at the Centro Desportivo Olimpico were convinced of their will to live. My money has to be on Laos for the second leg, if only because barely anyone has ever heard of Macau, let alone seen them play.

 

Malaysia - 4 (M Zainal 29' 38', M Mahmood 72', R Rohd Ali 77')

Guam - 1 (K Ogo 5')

Any chances of a USA team going through have taken a very small hit indeed, if only because Guam aren't very good. Yes, Kevin Ogo scored a free-kick to put them in front after 5 minutes, but from that point they realised how outmatched they were by a Malaysia side who were essentially assured of qualification before the tie even began. A double from Muhd Faiz Zainal himself, plus goals from Italy's Eurovision runner-up and some man called Razif basically eased them through with little fuss.

 

Mongolia - 2 (T Banzragch 66', O Shar 72')

Pakistan - 1 (S Hussain 51')

First of all Bangladesh flattered to deceive, now their cricket-loving counterparts have done the same. The Blue Wolves did fall behind following left-back Shahid Hussain's goal from a corner (not to be confused with Guiseley midfielder Tabish Hussain, who was also on the teamsheet), but the greys won out thanks to two tap-ins. They will now need to batter Mongolia in the second leg to go through (give me that one)

 

Singapore - 2 (S Khanolkar 79' 84')

Sri Lanka - 0

Pretty bad day for cricket enthusiasts then. Singapore slung their way in front following a cheeky backheel by Surajit Khanolkar, who apparently is linked with a move to Barwell of the Southern Premier Division Central, whose scouts must have felt the pants tighten after he scored a second, if slightly simpler goal in the bottom corner. If the second leg is anything like the Grand Prix, it should be wet, wild, and ultimately impossible for anything interesting to happen.

Edited by Harris384

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I've been away from the forums for a couple of months now, but I still lurked around FMS from time to time... and then I stumbled across this.

I'm honoured that you have been inspired by my previous stories, Harris. This looks quite fun, and it's great to see you've continued the old Fuller traditions of bad puns and musical references. :D

Seriously, mate. Keep this up. We need more new blood on FMS. :thup:

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34 minutes ago, CFuller said:

I've been away from the forums for a couple of months now, but I still lurked around FMS from time to time... and then I stumbled across this.

I'm honoured that you have been inspired by my previous stories, Harris. This looks quite fun, and it's great to see you've continued the old Fuller traditions of bad puns and musical references. :D

Seriously, mate. Keep this up. We need more new blood on FMS. :thup:

Cheers mate :thup: 

And don't worry, there's much more bad puns and musical references on the way :D

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I read this last night, and then I read it again this morning. It's a superb start. I love an International story, and if you're going to take influence from them, then you've picked the right ones. I'll most certainly be following along.

The writing style is oh so familiar, as are the puns, links and Eurovision references. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but in a time in history when everyone seems to have one, could it be.......... ;-) 

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I read this last night, and then I read it again this morning. It's a superb start. I love an International story, and if you're going to take influence from them, then you've picked the right ones. I'll most certainly be following along.

The writing style is oh so familiar, as are the puns, links and Eurovision references. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but in a time in history when everyone seems to have one, could it be.......... ;-) 

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Posted (edited)

7 JUNE 2019

Howay, it's day two! Just a quick update on some of the club dealings - Mainz 05 of the Bundesliga have appointed Michael Laudrup as manager, who unfortunately missed a chance for me to make a half-arsed Euro pun, while Leyton Orient fans, you have the slightly less glamorous Paul Trollope in charge. I'm sorry. Oh, and you know Roberto Di Matteo, Champions League winner, one of the Italian greats of the 90s? He's at Hearts, whose fans co-incidentally will have had a heart attack at the news.

 

Anyway, Group B sees four out of five teams on three points already, with Luxembourg letting the side down. Serbia may be top now, but by the end of the night it will likely be Portugal, the holders of course, as Ronaldo has the chance to score even more goals against Lithuania. The Serbians, meanwhile, will travel to Kiev to face Ukraine - let's hope they don't chicken out of attacking.

 

Our first Home Nation of the night is in Group E, and it's my country, Cymru. As I've said, we've already beaten Croatia away from home, so Slovakia, I mean... wait... no, it IS Slovakia, at home should be theoretically easier. Then again, this is Wales - we could be 8-0 over 11 dead cats and we'd still draw and call it a good result. Hungary, meanwhile, will be hungry for goals as they travel to that stadium for the short 2204 mile trip to Baku to face an Azerbaijan side who can be easily used as torpedo material for other teams - including Hungary?

 

Group I sees our other Home Nation try to pull off a major shock as underdogs Scotland go up against big boys San Marino at Hampden. If Steve Clarke can pull off a huge result here, the Scottish media will go into a tailspin. There's also the small matter of, let's face it, the two teams who will probably go through, Belgium and Russia, and do bear in mind that Belgium have already somehow drawn to Cyprus, who are hosting Kazakhstan tonight, so they are pretty rusty. But will their performance tonight be sweet like chocolate?

 

In Group J, we have our first 5pm kick-off at the catchily-named Vazgen Sargsyan Hanrapetakan Stadium, where Armenia try to serve Finland their first defeat of the campaign, in a game that you could sum up as 'Mkhitaryan v Pukki', but Pukki hasn't even played in the Premier League yet, calm down. Greece and Bosnia & Herzegovina sounds like a good match at first, but neither side looks particularly convincing - Bosnia couldn't even beat Armenia, and Greece were basically handed a free win against Liechtenstein. Speaking of which - 7/1 on Italy scoring 10 tonight at the Artemio Franchi. Good odds.

 

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group B

Portugal - 3 (B Silva 31', C Ronaldo pen 33' 55')

Lithuania - 0

Very standard day at the office for the Seleção das Quinas in Lisbon - not a vintage display, but ultimately good enough. Bernardo Silva opened the scoring just a minute after the half-hour mark (that will give you OCD) with a low volley from João Moutinho's cross, and two minutes later Ronny got his chance after Benfica's Rafa was pulled down by Gediminas Jankauskas, and he duly converted the penalty for his 89th international goal. The 90th came in the second half, after B Silva's cross was met with a simple strike. Lithuania weren't bad, but they also weren't good, and unsurprisingly the 16 shots on target Portugal managed were largely saved by shot-stopper Ernestas Setkus of Hapoel Be'er Sheva, and ultimately it probably could've been 16-0.

 

Ukraine - 0

Serbia - 2 (A Katai 44' 89')

And Ukraine are already in very big trouble. The race to join Portugal takes a very early turn for the worse for Shevchenko's men, as Serbia ran out comfortable winners at the NSC Olympiyskyi. That was largely thanks to Aleksandar Katai, of, er, Chicago Fire, and he really was on fire tonight. Nemanja Matic's pass led to Katai firing home a fierce shot just on the edge of half-time, which clearly rumbled the Ukrainians, as they were much better in the second half - Ruslan Malinovskyi hit the woodwork. But the last ten minutes were absolutely terrible - not only was Eugene Konoplyanka injured, but Katai scored the inverse of his first-half goal with a header. Ukraine also had four yellow cards in the final 10 - clearly they застряг в, but not into a victory. 

 

GROUP B                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Portugal                2          2          0          0          5          0           5           6         
2.      Serbia                  2          2          0          0          5          0           5           6                 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Lithuania               3          1          0          2          1          4           -3          3
4.      Ukraine                 3          1          0          2          1          4           -3          3
5.      Luxembourg              2          0          0          2          0          4           -4          0

 

Group E

Azerbaijan - 0

Hungary - 2 (Á Gyurcsó 1', W Orban 90+4')

A match where Hungary's main opposition was themselves. 36 seconds in they were in front -  Ádám Gyurcsó of Puskas Akademia (who are Hungarian but not very good) scored one of the easiest headers you will ever see from practically inside the net. And for the rest of the game, the not-so-Mighty-Magyars sat back, let Azerbaijan have a full 1 shot on target (Dimitrij Nazarov for those wondering, and it was about an inch from being classed as off-target) until the 94th minute, when they realised 'Oh crap, we're only 1-0 up'. So they allowed RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban score a volley. Not that any of the fans could see it.

 

Wales - 3 (D James  11', G Bale 33' 74')

Slovakia - 0

If you were born in Wales, you must have heard the tales, of Valley boys and what they'll do to you! Slovakia, yes SLOVAKIA found out the hard way that Wales are pretty good, after just 11 minutes Daniel James did what he does best - a mazy run into a finesse shot. Even he was outdone by Super Gary Bale in the second half - a brace of headers kept up the momentum, only for Bale to do his knee in 5 minutes from the end and end up injured for a week - they'll have to beat Hungary without him unfortunately, but we're Wales, we can do anything!

 

GROUP E                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Hungary                 2          2          0          0          4          0           4           6                       
2.      Wales                   2          2          0          0          4          0           4           6                             
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Croatia                 2          1          0     	 1          5          1           4           3 
4.      Slovakia                3          1          0          2          2          5           -3          3        
5.      Azerbaijan              3          0          0          3          0          9           -9          0    

 

Group I

Belgium - 1 (D Mertens 80')

Russia - 1 (A Dzyuba 48')

Belgium probably deserved to win this game, as for the entire first half they were on Russia like mosquitos on tourists, but they failed to take advantage. And that turned out to be fatal, as Artem Dzyuba of Zenit headed (so many headers) Russia in front just after half-time. Although Dries Mertens rode (sorry I had to link a S*n headline) his luck to save Belgium 10 minutes from time, there is very much a feeling that Belgium have thrown another game they could've won away. It helps the rest of the group though.

 

Cyprus - 1 (I Vorogovskii og 45+2')

Kazakhstan - 1 (I Vorogovskii 30')

Ian Vorogovskii (what a bizarre mash-up of names) must be tossing and turning in his sleep over this one. Kazakhstan weren't expected to score one goal this game, let alone two, albeit in the wrong net. The now prolific Beerschot midfielder stunned the Cypriots after half an hour with a thumping header from outside the box. Unfortunately, he also scored a header down the other end of the pitch, meaning Kazakhstan missed the chance for a famous win against a Cyprus team who have now drawn to both Belgium and Kazakhstan in the space of three matches.

 

Scotland - 3 (L Griffiths 43' 88', R Fraser 80')

San Marino - 0

Christ, San Marino, how bad must you be? Not one, not two, but three goals conceded to Scotland! The three away fans who showed up must be furious! In all seriousness though, Scotland had 15 shots on target, and one of them was saved - how bad must their finishing have been? Leigh Griffiths did banish his mental health demons for now, as he scored a double two minutes away from each respective end of half, with a goal by 'Wee man' Ryan Fraser sandwiched in between to make Scotland look bad, rather than downright terrible on the scoreline.

 

GROUP I                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Russia                  3          2          1          0          8          2           6           7
2.      Scotland                3          2          0          1          6          3           3           6      
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Belgium                 3          1          2          0          6          1           5           5
4.      Kazakhstan              3          1          1          1          3          6           -3          4
5.      Cyprus                  3          0          2          1          2          3           -1          2
6.      San Marino              3          0          0          3          0          10          -10         0

 

Group J

Armenia - 0

Finland - 2 (J Toivio pen 17', R Lod 60')

No Pukki, not even a hint of Joel Pohjanpalo on the scoresheet, but Finland still powered through early on in the day. Artak Aleksanyan had a tug of Roman Eremenko's shirt to give the defender (because in Finland, they don't care who takes a penalty) Joona Toivio his fourth goal for his country, and after that pointed Armenia were well and truly Finn-ished off by Robin Lod of Minnesota United, meaning Finland walked out of the pink city tickled pink.

 

Greece - 0

Bosnia & Herzegovina - 1 (L Menalo 29')

When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, interesting things happen. When a stoppable force meets a movable object, as it turns out, the results are a lot more disappointing. Greece were probably better in truth, but ultimately a volley from Zagreb midfielder Luka Menalo meant that the Greek Gods became mere peasants once more. Not even Zeus could help Greece today, as Greece eventually ran out of time to eradicate the deficit and ensured that they would end the day a distant fourth, and unless they pay off their debts I don't think this qualifying campaign is gonna lead anywhere for them I'm afraid.

 

Italy - 4 (F Bernardeschi 10', Emerson 28', L Insigne 30', C Immobile pen 50')

Liechtenstein - 0

Turns out the odds were in fact wrong. Italy did win, of course, but if they didn't wrap the game up within half an hour, they probably would've tried for more goals. Federico Bernardeschi did get them off to a great start with a sumptuous free-kick in the top corner, and an error from Liechtenstein's Benjamin Büchel meant Italy were clear for take off, but after Lorenzo had made it three, Italy stopped particularly trying, waking up in time for 'King Ciro' to slice home a penalty in the second-half, and then fall asleep again. If Liechtenstein weren't, well, Liechtenstein, they possibly could've taken advantage. Unfortunately, they are Liechtenstein.

 

GROUP J                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Italy                   3          3          0          0          7          0           7           9         
2.      Finland                 3          2          1          0          6          0           6           7                 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Bosnia & Herzegovina    3          1          2          0          1          0           1           5
4.      Greece                  3          1          0          2          3          2           1           3
5.      Armenia                 3          0          1          2          0          4           -4          1
6.      Liechtenstein           3          0          0          3          0          11          -11         0

 

Edited by Harris384

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Posted (edited)

8 JUNE 2019

Third night, more managerial shifts. Luciano Spalletti has gone to KRC Genk, and Massimiliano Allegri has ended up at the Allianz Arena, which I'm not sure was his preferred destination if I'm honest. It's still one of the best teams in the world he's at, though.

 

Anyway, the final Home Nation plays tonight, and so far we have had four out of four record victories - ranging from the glorious (Ireland and Wales) to the narrow (England) to the frankly desperate (Scotland). But when the Netherlands are travelling to Windsor Park, coming off a 5-0 win over Belarus, and with one of the best teams in years, Northern Ireland probably have the right to be bloody scared. The Green and White Army will have to make a fair fist of the best thing to come into the country since the Good Friday agreement, and if they lose - well, no one will care. Germany's greys, meanwhile, have a slightly easier task away to Belarus, who already have lost 5-0 to the Oranje and would do well to keep it to 4 tonight. 

 

Group F, on the other hand, sees a big early match between Spain and Sweden, which is being played in Oviedo of all places, and it's a game that a Sweden side still only on one point will need to at least draw, otherwise they are already behind everyone else with a severe points deficit. But hey, at least they can get a tan while they're there. Romania will host Malta in a real turn out for the books, and Norway probably should beat the Faroe Islands, but stranger things have happened. This group is already looking intriguing after a matter of games.

 

Group H could also be interesting as well. France, of course, lead the way tonight, but they face a trip to a very hostile Albania and could possibly face a challenge for the first time this campaign. Iceland, on the other hand, should clap up Andorra, while Turkey should chainsaw Moldova in Chișinău.

 

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group C

Belarus - 0

Germany - 7 (M Amecke 5', H Rama-Bitterfeld 19' 56' 85', D Bausch 26' 69', S Fix pen 45')

Germany's real team failed to show up in Minsk tonight, but that didn't stop the mysterious 11 from making Minsk-meat of their opposition. Mario Amecke, who is a striker, scored a good header from just inside the six-yard box early on, and from that point the Germans lived up to their billing and were massively efficient. Holger Rama-Bitterfield doubled the lead with a crashing volley, and would end up with another two for a hat-trick - Daniel Bausch scored a brace, including one in the 69th minute (haha), and a penalty on the edge of half-time meant Germany were the Magnificent Seven (with notably less guns, swearing and violence)

 

Northern Ireland - 0

Netherlands - 3 (M Depay 26', M de Ligt 71', G Wijnaldum 76')

Well, four out of five ain't bad. Northern Ireland made a huge mistake by not starting Will Grigg, and promptly it turned out that the Netherlands were on fire instead. They grabbed a slice of Depay a quarter-of-an-hour in, thanks to Memphis's volley (he ended up on an 8.8 match rating), which was basically the only action of the first half. Norn Iron had a dreadful second period though, with Stuart Dallas going off injured in the 54th minute (it was a bruised ankle), and the Dutch had already gone double by the end. They've already got ground to make up later on, but Germany away on the 11th doesn't sound like too much fun for them.

 

GROUP C                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Germany                 2          2          0          0          8          0           8           6
2.      Netherlands             3          2          0          1          8          1           7           6
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Northern Ireland        2          1          0          1          1          3           -2          3 
4.      Estonia                 2          0          1          1          0          1           -1          1
5.      Belarus                 3          0          1          2          0          12          -12         1

 

Group F

Faroe Islands - 1 (H Hansson 90')

Norway - 1 (M Ødegaard 8')

I told you the Faroes could potentially cause an uproar here. In fairness to Norway, they did deserve to win this match - Martin Ødegaard, the only person to have gone through an entire career in five years, struck a flyer into the top corner, and it looked like Oslo would be receiving another 3 points off the jury. But there was Norway that was happening if the managerless Faroes had anything to say about it, and Hallur Hansson of AC Horsens gave them a noteworthy point, and Norway a bit of a headache.

 

 Romania - 5 (A Toșca 15', C Ganea 18', A Mitrita 41' 45+2', A Maxim 53')

Malta - 0

There was only gonna be one outcome here, with Malta not having a Cluj what to do and Romania Timișoaring away early in the first half. Toșca opened the scoring after quarter-of-an-hour with a header, but after Cristian Ganea's crisp volley the goals dried up about as much as the engine oil of a Dacia after 5 minutes, but Alexandru Mitrita of NYCFC bagged his first and second goals for his nation, and the Mainz attacking midfielder adding a fifth to spruce up the scoreline a bit.

 

Spain - 1 (I Williams 37')

Sweden - 0

Even if this performance showed that Sweden could play decent football, they're still desperately lagging behind the rest in 5th at the moment. I say the Swedes could play decent football - they were very good today, but they did only have one shot on target and less possession, although Spain could only work their advantage into a goal by Bilbao's Iñaki Williams, who is now basquing his moment in the sunshine to say the least. Still, when Emil Forsberg went off with a bruised ankle (popular injury that one) following a challenge on Williams just after half-time, the jig was up for the Swedes, who now have an entirely different kind of Stockholm Syndrome.

 

GROUP F                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Spain                   3          3          0          0          8          0           8           9
2.      Norway                  3          2          1          0          4          2           2           7
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Romania                 3          1          1          1          6          4           2           4 
4.      Faroe Islands           3          1          1          1          2          5           -3          4
5.      Sweden                  3          0          1          2          1          3           -2          1
6.      Malta                   3          0          0          3          1          8           -7          0

 

Group H

Albania - 1 (B Djimsiti 49')

France - 2 (Pogba pen 81' 87')

 In a parallel of the battle of these two at Euro 2016, France left it late to win against Albania. It looked as though the Kuq e Zinjtë were going to sang a surprise victory for most of the second half, after Berat Djimsiti gave them the lead just after half time, but France had to go and ruin it all by scoring twice. Paul Pogba may be hideously overrated in this game, as he proved in the last 10 minutes by first converting a clumsily given away penalty by Sion's Ermir Lenjani, and then by scoring a tap-in where the defence were more spread out than your mum. In all honesty, Albania will be disappointed they couldn't beat Les Bleus today, and that could be the first time anyone has ever said that sentence.

 

Iceland - 5 (G Sigurðsson pen 7', B Sigurðsson 30' 68' 90+3', V Jónsson 71')

Andorra - 0 (Martínez 72')

I really want Iceland to go to Euro 2020. They are such a likeable team, especially compared to someone like Turkey (sorry Turkey fans!), and the clap is universally loved (ooh matron) by all. And here they layed down their credentials, albeit against an Andorran side about as good as the American Inbetweeners. Andorra helped themselves to a Gylfi pleasure after a matter of minutes, Joan Cervós committing a near two-footed challenge that he didn't even get a yellow, and the Everton midfielder duly smashed it home. But it was another Sigurðsson who stole the spotlight - Björn Bergmann grabbing a quite sensational hat-trick of left-footed volley, right-footed volley, and header over the course of the two halves, with good friend Vidar bagging the fourth and Álex Martínez of Gerard Pique's FC Andorra adding the poisonous cherry on top of Andorra's display.

 

Moldova - 0

Turkey - 2 (M Demiral 18', C Tosun 23')

Boring, tiresome, unimpressive. No, I'm not talking about my skills in bed, but Turkey's style of play. Although they got the job done against a Moldova side who probably could've put these two up front and done better, they not only parked the bus, but spent the entire 90 minutes constantly trying to get it perfectly straight in the white lines. Merih Demiral went to Zebre Juventus for £15.5 million over the summer, and he showed his promise with a first senior goal for his country early on - followed by another simple goal another Everton favourite, Cenk Tosun, but seeing as the two sides were going to sit back for the rest of the game (well, I think Moldova just sucked), the contest was basically null and void after that point.

 

GROUP H                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      France                  3          3          0          0         11          1          10           9                           
2.      Iceland                 3          3          0          0          7          0           7           9
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Albania                 3          2          0          1          7          3           4           6
4.      Turkey                  3          1          0          2          2          4           -2          3
5.      Moldova                 3          0          0          3          1          5           -4          0
6.      Andorra                 3          0          0          3          0          15          -15         0
Edited by Harris384

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This could actually be @CFuller, and that's a huge compliment. This is a superb start, and I'm looking forward to reading your reports on the forgotten matches of the global game - especially if they're as pun-laden as the European ones!

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It's definitely not me, honest. :D I've drawn from some VERY obscure references to long-forgotten Soccer AM in-jokes and decade-old Mitsubishi adverts, but even I didn't know that the Liechtenstein goalkeeper shares his name with an airbase!

Where do you find out all these things, Harris?

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, CFuller said:

It's definitely not me, honest. :D I've drawn from some VERY obscure references to long-forgotten Soccer AM in-jokes and decade-old Mitsubishi adverts, but even I didn't know that the Liechtenstein goalkeeper shares his name with an airbase!

Where do you find out all these things, Harris?

You learn on the job, I suppose ;)

Incidentally, I am planning some version of this with club teams, but obviously it would be a lot more difficult to do that than a more stripped-down international version?

Does anyone want a club version anyway?

Edited by Harris384

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Posted (edited)

9 JUNE 2019

The last time England played Montenegro, they ran out 4-1 winners thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and even Andros Townsend. That shows how much has changed since these two have met. No longer do the Three Lions have to rely on Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka in defence, and no longer does anyone expect Montenegro to give it to them. These two have only played twice so far - England winning both, Montenegro Czeching themselves after they wrecked themselves against the Republic, and to predict anything other than a comfortable victory at Wembley would be a brave move. Kosovo, meanwhile, need to start winning matches - they've lost three out of three so far, and they will have to put in a Pristina performance tonight against the Czech Republic, otherwise the Nations League spot could be the only thing to get them excited this qualifying campaign.

 

Republic of Ireland, meanwhile, face a fruitful trip to the Gibraltan airport, where the hosts will be missing their two best players, which admittedly doesn't make any sort of difference to the scoreline. Likewise, Switzerland should be winning in Georgia, but facing a single girl could be a challenge even for the Swiss. 

 

Austria have been the worst they have in some time, and tonight shouldn't be easier against a Slovakia, I mean Slovenia side who managed to keep Poland at arms length the other day, albeit by possibly doing an Arsenal-on-Spurs sort of thing. The Poles, meanwhile, face their toughest opposition yet, which is somehow in the form of Israel, and North Macedonia and Latvia take on each other for the purpose of making the Sky Sports Red Button streams look more impressive.

 

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group A

England - 2 (H Kane 2', B Chilwell 5')

Montenegro - 0

England didn't look too convincing here, and anyone who missed the first 5 minutes must feel short-changed. Of course, it wouldn't be an England game without Harry Kane scoring a jammy goal, and so it proved fairly early on. Even Ben Chilwell managed to score, heading in a corner, and other than Raheem Sterling getting an injury that he so painfully, PAINFULLY deserves, England were on the front foot for the first 45. They weren't for the second, however, and if Standard Liege's Aleksandar Boljevic hadn't had his goal ruled out for offside, well who knows what could've happened. It's matches like these that make ITV wish they would just offload the qualifiers to Sky.

 

Kosovo - 0

Czech Republic - 1 (D Pavelka pen 79')

You know when you hate a specific team for no reason, but feel like they are your rivals because you've committed to it? That's how I feel with the Czechs. It's a shame Kosovo couldn't knock one over the awful little country, who I've always thought of as undeserving compared to the likes of Finland and Scotland - they're just another Eastern country for God's sake, although they have given us some great players over the years. Still, Kosovo had 6 shots on target, Czech Republic had 4, but a moment of madness for Milot Rashica saw him drag down Michael Krmencik, and David Pavelka of Kasımpaşa made sure that all Czechs positively bounced by the end of the day.

 

GROUP A                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      England                 3          3          0          0          8          1           7           9                           
2.      Czech Republic          3          2          0          1          4          2           2           6
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Bulgaria                3          2          0          1          5          4           1           6
4.      Montenegro              3          1          0          2          2          5           -3          3
5.      Kosovo                  4          0          0          4          2          9           -7          0

 

Group D

Georgia - 2 (Jano 30', L Zarandia 82')

Switzerland - 1 (D Zakaria 70')

Remember the name, Luka Zarandia. With 8 minutes remaining in Tbilisi, it looked as though we were heading for a pretty fair draw. Jano (which translates to thirsty in Finnish, fact fans) gave the Georgians a surprise lead on the half-hour thanks to a bullet header, and for the majority of the game the two sides pinged shots back at each other for the respective goalies to save. That was until Denis Zakaria of a German team levelled with a volley, and it looked like the Swiss had cheesed their way to a draw. As it turns out, however, Georgia weren't going to settle for a draw, and the 23-year-old of Zulte Waregem thundered home a volley to stun the visitors and give Georgia a famous win.

 

Gibraltar - 0

Republic of Ireland - 4 (J McCarthy 47',  J Hendrick 54', A Keogh pen 60', R Brady 69')

This, on the other hand, leaves me with less to talk about. I was starting to get a bit worried after half-time, when Ireland were very mediocre for the entirety of the first 45, but the second was a very different story. James McCarthy hadn't scored a single goal amongst his 42 caps before the game, but one finesse shot later and that was put to bed, and then Ireland really started twisting the scian on the minnows. Jeff Hendrick's tap-in was followed by a glaring error from substitute Paul Hewitt bringing down The Lord our Saviour Shane Long, and before long Ireland had hit four thanks to the not-so-toothless Robbie Brady

 

GROUP D                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Switzerland             4          3          0          1          8          4           4           9                           
2.      Republic of Ireland     3          1          0          1          7          1           6           6
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Georgia                 3          2          0          1          4          2           2           6
4.      Denmark                 3          1          0          1          2          5           -3          3
5.      Gibraltar               3          0          0          3          1          10          -9          0

 

Austria - 3 (M Arnautovic 42' 45+3', F Grillitsch 78')

Slovenia - 4 (B Verbic 55', J Ilicic 59' 89', R Beric 90+5')

Someone needs to wake Austria up and tell them it isn't an awful dream anymore. This is now a crisis. In a game where Austria surely, surely were bound to win, a double from Arnie (both fairly terrible) terminated Slovakian, I mean Slovenian hopes on the stroke of half-time. Then it looked like the impossible would happen, as first Benjamin Verbic pulled one back from a close-range volley, and then Josep Ilicic powered an equaliser. But when Florian Grillitsch scored a wonderful daisy-cutter with just over 10 minutes to go, Franco Foda's men looked like they were finally going to win a match. And then the impossible really did happen - Ilicic scored again from a header to level it, and then thanks to the bizarrely high amount of injury time added on, Robert Beric volleyed one in to send the Slovakia, I mean Slovenia fans into ecstasy. There was still time for yet ANOTHER VAR decision against Austria, but replays showed Konrad Laimer's goal was in fact narrowly offside, and Foda's job is about as secure as the wifi in Wales

 

North Macedonia - 1 (A Ademi 15')

Latvia - 0

There's only one Macedonia! The Crveni Lavovi got off on the right foot almost immediately from kickoff, with Enis Bardhi hitting the post after just 49 seconds, but 15 minutes in they got the only chance they needed, as Arijan Ademi headed home the only goal of the day. Latvia, in truth, were poor and deserved to lose roundly, and not even VAR could help them out, with a correctly-ruled offside summing up the day of a Latvian side who, in a group as competitive as this, will need to make up ground Skonto.

 

Poland - 3 (D Kadzior 22', M Rybus 63', G Krychowiak 86')

Israel - 3 (E Zahavi 12', T Hemed 31', M Dabbur 59')

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN GROUP G!? IS THIS GROUP SOMEONE'S IMAGINATION? Christ Almighty, Israel almost walked out of Poland with all three points. It was very much a case of the Three Musketeers for Israel, first up Eran Zahavi capitalising on an error of professional Alphabetti Spaghetti salesman Pawel Jaroszynski, but then after Damian Kadzior scored what was described as 'a good header', Tomer Hemed (not, as I used to call him, Homer Nedved) stuck it top bins, and Sevilla's striker made it 3-1 with yet another header. Only for the Poles to score two goals that are easy to wax lyrical about - firstly, the out of position Rybus scored a magnificently weighted volley, and then the one and only Grzegorz Krychowiak, who lets not forget wasn't good enough for Tony Pulis' West Brom, scored an audacious bicy (or bicycle kick if you must) to save some skin, albeit not a lot of it. 

 

GROUP G                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Israel                  4          3          1          0          8          4           4          10                        
2.      Slovenia                4          2          2          0          5          3           2           8
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Poland                  4          1          3          0          7          4           3           6
4.      North Macedonia         4          1          1          2          2          5           -3          4
5.      Latvia                  4          1          0          3          2          4           -2          3
6.      Austria                 4          0          1          3          5          9           -4          1

 

Edited by Harris384

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Posted (edited)

10 JUNE 2019

When Wales are beating the likes of Croatia and Slovakia (tell me something I don't know), you know they're a serious threat. Ryan Giggs has worked wonders at a Welsh side who came so close to going to Russia last year, and they've already started like Will Grigg's house on fire. Tonight they travel to Budapest hungry for yet another win against, er, Hungary. If Wales do win tonight, both Croatia and Slovakia can take advantage in a battle of two countries who definitely exist.

 

Scotland, on the other hand, face Kazakhstan tonight. If they can beat San Marino, surely they can beat Kazakhstan. Well... Russia will be hosting a relatively capable Cyprus side, whilst Belgium will be facing a not-so capable San Marino team, as usual with the butcher, baker, but no candlestick makers.

 

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo + 10 face Luxembourg, who I honestly only know from this. If he doesn't score at least two, riots will be taking place in Madeira, Braga and Vitoria tonight. A win would keep their trajectory up, whilst a win for Serbia in Lithuania could leave Ukraine firmly eating 20 metric tons of dirt.

 

Italy haven't conceded yet, but tonight in Bosnia (and wherever Herzegovina is) they probably will. Greece, likely for the only time, could bail themselves out tonight in Finland, while the glamorous surroundings of Vaduz host a stonker between Liechtenstein, a country who will always get you a Pointless answer, and Armenia, who might get one or two.

 

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group B

Lithuania - 2 (F Cernych pen 11', J Lasickas 66')

Serbia - 2 (D Tadic 48', A Prijovic 67' 75')

Lithuania are like that annoying cousin you have who you have to look after, and who throws tantrums and rides his bike down the stairs and cries and cries and just when you think you're safe, he bursts out into tears, until you genuinely want to die. Where was I... ah yes, Serbia cucking themselves in Vilnius. Captain Fedor Cernych smashed his penalty, given away by the still-alive Branislav Ivanovic, and things looked even gloomier after half-time when Dusan Tadic lunged in two-footed and promptly received his marching orders. Justas Lasickas, who plays for Vozdovac, which sounds like a brand of spot treatment, but a double from Aleksandar Prijovic, in his finest hour, made sure Belgrade would receive un point from the jury.

 

Portugal - 3 (C Ronaldo 21', pen 32', 88')

Luxembourg - 0

Do I have to talk about this match? Really? Oh fine... another day, another Ronaldo hattrick, and not even a good one. The first goal was partly due to an error from... *deep breath*… Lars Christian Krogh Gerson, whose name is longer than my average session in bed, allowing our good fiend Ronny to header in past Anthony Moris, who sounds like he's from Workington. The second was the result of a pull-down by Dirk Carlson, who may or may not be related to Carl from The Simpsons, and the third was way too late for anyone other than him to care, and was almost a routine effort. Still, CR7 is still undoubtedly good. 

 

GROUP B                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Portugal                3          3          0          0          8          0           8           9         
2.      Serbia                  3          2          1          0          7          2           5           7                 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Lithuania               4          1          1          2          3          6           -3          4
4.      Ukraine                 3          1          0          2          1          4           -3          3
5.      Luxembourg              3          0          0          3          0          7           -7          0

 

Group E

Hungary - 1 (B Vécsei 17')

Wales - 2 (B Woodburn 33' 81')

Us Valley Boys are acing this! You may remember Ben Woodburn from his brief stint as a promising player - youngest Liverpool goalscorer, winning the Dragons the game against Austria two years ago, and generally just looking very good indeed. He's going to Oxford on loan this year, but he's looking like his old self again at the moment! Hungary did give us a massive scare here, and to be honest when Bálint Vécsei volleyed home early on in the first half, I wasn't expecting us to come back. Step forward Ben, and he levelled from a free-kick that was side footed to him by Dan James. For the majority of the second half, there was no telling if either side would be able to get through the game with three points, but then 10 minutes before the end, Super Ben stood up again and not only reignited his Welsh career, but gave us a priceless three points away from home. It's looking good lads!

 

Slovakia - 1 (R Mak 90')

Croatia - 1 (L Modric 78')

A dull game between two Eastern friends was lightened up by an absolute Screamadelica of a volley from Luka Modric, who is only Movin on Up following his Ballon d'Or success of last year. It looked like Croatia were going to triumph in this derby where neither side wanted to Come Together, but Robert Mak's volley hit the post and agonisingly crossed the line, leaving Croatia's players Damaged, despite their Loaded team, and their hearts were now heavier than Rocks. It's a good thing this match is now over, as if I make any more Primal Scream jokes I will have to punch myself in the throat.

 

GROUP E                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Wales                   3          3          0          0          6          1           5           9                       
2.      Hungary                 3          2          0          1          5          2           3           6                             
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Croatia                 3          1          1     	 1          6          2           4           4 
4.      Slovakia                4          1          1          2          3          6           -3          4        
5.      Azerbaijan              3          0          0          3          0          9           -9          0

 

Group I

Kazakhstan - 0

Scotland - 1 (L Griffiths 82')

The only consolation here for Scotland is that they didn't do what they did in real life. Scotland put in a pitiful performance in Astana, no Nur-Sultan, summed up by Kilmarnock stalwart Stuart Findlay going off injured before half-time. The Scots were actually outnumbered in terms of shots on target, but they did at least score 1 of their 2 shots - Leigh Griffiths, who is solely keeping Scotland alive at the moment, crashed in a relatively simple tap-in, and Kazakhstan can feel dismayed they couldn't even secure a point against this lot of part-time plumbers and Scott McTominay.

 

Russia - 4 (A Golovin 9', A Miranchuk 17', O Shatov 35', D Kombarov pen 45+4')

Cyprus - 0

Russia's hosting duties at the 2018 World Cup have propelled them into the big time very quickly, and their potential skills against big teams were glimpsed as they demolished a stubborn Cyprus side in 45 minutes. It all started when the match was still in single-figure minutes, as Aleksandr Golovin (incorrectly spelled in-game as Alexandr Golovin) popped one in from 21 metres out, and then they ran rampant soon enough. Alexey Miranchuk (not to be confused with Anton Miranchuk, who is his twin) slammed the second home, followed by the funnily-named Oleg Shatov (haha), and when Chabos Kyriakou fouled both Golovin and himself in front of his country, the game was over. The second half was about as pointless as San Marino still are. Speaking of which...

 

San Marino - 0 (S Bollini 68')

Belgium - 4 (Y Tielemans 14', E Hazard pen 22', M Vitaioli og 36', R Lukaku 45+1')

Yeah, it's not getting better for the part-timers. Same dealio as the Russian game - the game was over by the first 45 minutes. Tielemans opened the scoring with a curler, Hazard's penalty was given away by Alessandro Volpinari (not that one), the hapless Michele (yes) Vitaoli headed in the net, just the wrong one, and Lukaku put the sheen on the Roi Baudouin dream.

 

GROUP I                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Russia                  4          3          1          0          12         2          10           10
2.      Scotland                4          3          0          1          7          3           4           9      
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Belgium                 4          2          2          0          10         1           9           8
4.      Kazakhstan              4          1          1          2          3          7           -4          4
5.      Cyprus                  4          0          2          2          2          7           -5          2
6.      San Marino              4          0          0          4          0          14          -14         0

 

Group J

Bosnia & Herzegovina - 1 (L Menalo 57')

Italy - 2 (F Bernardeschi 23', M Lazzari 81')

I said they would concede. But they do still win. The Azzuri kicked off attacking and got the opener through that man Bernardeschi again, and by half-time Italy were totally in control. However, they didn't count on Luka Menalo scoring his second goal in as many games, and it looked as priceless as the one that beat Greece. However, Italy don't do defeats, and Lazio's Manuel Lazzari headed home from a corner to keep Italy's 100% record going into the Autumn.

 

Finland - 0 (R Eremenko 54')

Greece - 1 (T Bakasetas 68')

Well, what do I know? Days after I said Greece didn't have a cat-in-hell's chance of going through, they bring the Flying Finns crashing back down to Earth in Helsinki. This was largely thanks to a fantastic midfield performance by midfield maestro Andreas Bouchalakis, who they've only just discovered at 26 years of age that he's very good. He had many chances in the first half, and he played a lovely through ball to be crossed in to Tasos Bakasetas, who headed Greece's winner unfortunately not in the 69th minute. By that point, Roman Eremenko had very harshly received a second yellow card for a tackle on Giorgos Masouras where he actually won the ball, but today obviously Zeus did show up to Greece's advantage.

 

Liechtenstein - 0

Armenia - 1 (A Papikyan 26')

I'm starting to think neither of these teams are going to go through, as a turgid game was decided by a fluke goal from Aghwan Papikyan, meaning Armenia had won the battle of absolute crap. Liechtenstein can at least console themselves in the fact that they had a full shot on target, but Armenia can't even celebrate because Henrikh Mkhitaryan (so basically the entire team) went off injured in the 90th minute, because of... you guessed it, a BRUISED ANKLE! He's out for a day, but Armenia could be out for 5 months.

 

GROUP J                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Italy                   4          4          0          0          9          1           8           12         
2.      Finland                 4          2          1          1          6          1           5           7                 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Greece                  4          2          0          2          4          2           2           6
4.      Bosnia & Herzegovina    4          1          2          1          2          2           0           5
5.      Armenia                 4          1          1          2          1          4           -3          4
6.      Liechtenstein           4          0          0          4          0          12          -12         0

 

Edited by Harris384

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Posted (edited)

11 JUNE 2019

Michael O'Neill must be absolutely terrified tonight. Three days after they were comprehensively beaten by the Netherlands at home, Northern Ireland now not only have to travel away from home, but it's also against a little side called Germany. The Olympiastadion, where they actually play in this universe, is surely not gonna be kind to the Iron (there will be creases in their defence), and considering this is a Germany team who won 7-0 the other day, I wouldn't be betting against Die Mannschaft tonight. The Netherlands, meanwhile, have a slightly easier challenge as they take on the nation of Estonia, and it's going to be a truly Tallinn order for them tonight (er, I've had better puns).

 

In Sevilla, there is a sort of crunch match between Spain and Norway, 1st and 2nd respectively, and this should be an unusually competitive match, considering the teams involved and their supposed gulfs in quality. Both Romania and the Faroe Islands can theoretically leapfrog Norway tonight, and there is a very likely chance that the hosts will be in second by the end of tonight, whilst Sweden will have to forfeit at home to Malta in order to not get their first win of the campaign.

 

France have got a jolly to attend to tonight, if you can call Chișinău a jolly, and Moldova should be swept aside by Les Bleus. Meanwhile, Iceland could be in a very good position if they are able to beat Albania at home - they'll sit six points clear of both the Albanians and Turkey if they win, assuming Turkey beat Andorra, and if they don't - well, Turkey will be 9 points clear - but there is about as much of a chance of that happening as me shaving my hair off, chucking my possessions in a great big fire, and going off to live in a rock.

 

It's also the second leg of the Asian World Cup qualifiers tonight. WOO! For those who want to see Guam, Laos and Bhutan bun-fight, this is your perfect opportunity! Get on a dodgy betting service stream not intended for you and watch in glorious 144p, go on, do it now I say!

 

EURO 2020 QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE

Group C

Germany - 1 (H Zimmer 18')

Northern Ireland - 1 (W Grigg 48')

 Will Grigg's on fire, your defence is terrified! Michael O'Neill worked an absolute masterclass in Berlin to hold Germany to a surprising draw - and it could've been very different. After just two minutes, the greys hit the post twice - first Stefan Fix (in what looked like a fix) crashed an amazing shot off the bar, before Holger Rama-Bitterfeld hit the inside of the post from roughly 3 metres out. But they did find the breakthrough before long - Hermann (no, not Hans sadly) Zimmer powered home, and they were forward for practically the entire first half. They obviously forgot Northern Ireland possessed one of the best players known to man on the pitch - forget Messi, forget Ronaldo, it was WILL GRIGG at it again when he curled home to leave the hosts stumped. And despite a whirlwind second half from both sides at times, the GAWA held on for a notable point.

 

Netherlands - 2 (L de Jong 26', M Depay 39')

Estonia - 1 (H Anier 71')

I'm not going to lie, the Netherlands aren't convincing me they're ready for an international tournament. The hosts had a full 19 (NINETEEN!!) shots on target and managed to convert a grand total of two of them - Estonia had three and converted one. Luuk de Jong may be heading to Sevilla next season, but with performances like these he won't be playing on Thursday nights for too long (incidentally, I'm really upset that BT have completely ruined this joke forever). de Jong's 8.5 rating was partly attributed to his close ranger header around the half-hour mark, as well as setting up everyone's favourite United flop Memphis Depay to crash in a volley, the unlucky number amount of minutes later. Depay did un-redeem himself, however, after an error allowed Henri Anier, of Suwon FC of all places, to score Estonia's first goal since March (because they haven't played since March). Not that it particularly helped. 

 

GROUP C                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Netherlands             4          2          0          1          10         2           8           9
2.      Germany                 3          2          1          0          9          1           8           7
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Northern Ireland        3          1          1          1          2          4           -2          4 
4.      Estonia                 3          0          1          2          1          3           -2          1
5.      Belarus                 3          0          1          2          0          12          -12         1

 

Group F

Romania - 3 (I Cristea 5', A Mitrita 78', C Ganea 90+1')

Faroe Islands - 0

Well they would wouldn't they. Yes, Romania sweep the Faroes and win comfortably, and yes you must have been mad to watch this on the Sky red button service. They were always gonna win - Iulian Cristea (Romania doesn't like the letter J) of Steaua gave them a lead, and from that point on the Faroes were essentially ancient history (pharaohs, get it). The game ebbed and flowed a bit until Alexandru Mitrita and Cristian Ganea respectively bagged more goals for the hosts and, well, I Bucharest my case (come on, it's a Bran new day...)

 

Spain - 3 (Saúl 39', A Morata 74', Vitolo 75')

Norway - 0 (J King 21')

As much as I wanted the visitors to win this, Norway's hopes of remaining second were resolutely wiped when Josh King was harshly sent off early on. Because Spain can't let anyone have any fun, they had to pin Norway to the wall and violate them in a resolutely unkind manner, and Saúl put them in front close to half-time. Norway may have been decent in the second half, but they didn't count on a two-minute blast by the hosts, both tap-ins, and Spain had confirmed their reputation as joyless, soulless, dead-eyed reptilians.

 

Sweden - 5 (K Olsson 13', D Kulusevski 20', P Jansson 66', O Hiljemark 81', M Berg 90+1')

Malta - 0 (S Magri 60', D Camilleri 88')

A match that left Pikachu's mouth definitively open. I wish I could say this was an interesting match, but it really wasn't. As soon as Kristoffer Olsson opened the scoring, Malta were mashed into swede. Atalanta's Dejan Kuluevski bagged his first Sweden goal after just two appearances, and Pontus Jansson would also do so, but from that point on it was business as usual. By the time Marcus Berg made it 5, Malta were playing with 9 men, thanks to two second-yellows.

 

GROUP F                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      Spain                   4          4          0          0          11         0          11           12
2.      Romania                 4          2          1          1          9          4           5           7
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Norway                  4          2          1          1          4          5           -1          4 
4.      Sweden                  4          1          1          2          6          3           3           4
5.      Faroe Islands           4          1          1          2          2          8           -6          4
6.      Malta                   4          0          0          4          1          13          -12         0

 

Group H

Iceland - 2 (V Jónsson 9', J Guðmundsson 11')

Albania - 0

Very good result for Iceland, as they move well clear ahead of the visitors. Talk about wrapping it up early on, it took literally two minutes for them to do all they needed to do. Jónsson and Guðmundsson , two players who couldn't have normal surnames for me to put in, scored two headers within a quarter-of-an-hour, and Albania look far off Euro 2016 form. As for Iceland, well they were formed 50 years ago in Deeside, Wales and are currently owned by Sir Malcolm Walker, and are fine purveyors of Wotsits potato shapes and Bailey's gateau's...

 

Moldova - 0

France - 3 (C Tolisso 17', N Kante 39', P Pogba 90+3')

Well they've been Moldova for 3 here, Jeff. Corentin Tolisso had never scored for his national team before tonight, but one minute later and a crashing volley changed all of that. Ngolo Kante, who treated this game as his hourly run, doubled the lead, and it was very much 11 men back for the hosts throughout the rest of the game. I think they gave up towards the end, with our favourite player to bung in transfer stories bagged a late and pointless third. They think it's Moldova... it is now.

 

Turkey - 3 (E Ünal 7', E O Belözoğlu pen 64', O Yokuslu 66')

Andorra - 0

The only Turkey bigger than Austria in their current form, the real thing were absolutely positively fine against the B-tek San Marino. Enes Ünal was another one to get his first goal for his country, scoring at close range, and the game lulled until a two-minute period where, not only did Joan Cervós bring down Ünal in the box for Belözoğlu to sweep home, but he then gave the ball away for the hosts' third. Now he's the real Turkey here.

 

GROUP H                         P          W          D          L          F          A          GD          PTS 
1.      France                  4          4          0          0         14          1          13           12                           
2.      Iceland                 4          4          0          0          9          0           9           12
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.      Albania                 4          2          0          2          7          5           2           6
4.      Turkey                  4          2          0          2          5          4           1           6
5.      Moldova                 4          0          0          4          1          8           -7          0
6.      Andorra                 4          0          0          4          0          18          -18         0

 

AFC WORLD CUP QUALIFYING FIRST ROUND

Bhutan - 1 (Y Zangmo 22')

East Timor - 3 (A Piqnedoly Soares pen 20', N Gonçalves Amorin 23', J da Silva 26')

[East Timor win 3-1 on aggregate]

Now there wasn't much Timor between these goals. It is now my knowledge that East Timorians (is that right?) pick these names just to make me look foolish. Although Timor had three real players - two of which are in the bowels of Australian football, the other in the Danske Bank Premiership - it was the greys who helped keep the dream alive. Sonam Palmo brought down Januari (he's not even named after a good month) Da Silva, for, uh, that guy to convert. Despite the leveller two minutes later, Nidio Ricardo Gonçalves Amorin struck well a minute later, and da Silva then volleyed home what turned out to be the winner.

 

Brunei - 1 (M Yusof 20')

Bangladesh - 3 (M Ghosh 4', S Hossain 37', R Hossain 60')

[Bangladesh win 3-1 on aggregate]

If only they called up The Box... Yes, to all you Brunei fans, I'm sorry to bring you this news. Mohammed Ghosh scored a very early daisy-cutter, before running to the camera and screaming "HOWZAT", and despite Muhd Syazwan Yusof bringing hope to the Wasps, Sujon Hossain, as well as his brother Russel, wrapped up another day's innings for the visitors, and left Brunei pining for a 1 Overall player up front.

 

Guam - 0

Malaysia - 1 (M Ali 66')

[Malaysia win 5-1 on aggregate]

And there goes Guam's one moment of joy all year. Most of the players are probably just fishermen, but even if they are they did quite well against arguably the best team in this round. It took over an hour for the Matao to be penetrated, but ultimately they were penetrated by Mohd Tamyes Ali's curler, and there was no way back from that point. 

 

Laos - 3 (N Siphonexay 23', K Khamphithoun 27', 30')

Macau - 2 (Hao Yat Ming 87', Cheang Vai Va 90+2')

[Laos win 3-2 on aggregate]

Macau's dreams were crushed in a seven minute spell in the second half, the highlight of which was Kolasouk Khamphithoun's second, fantastically weighted header. When you have to scrounge around for the players not even good enough for China, you have a very limited pool indeed, and so perhaps it's not a surprise that they're already out. They did question Laos later on, but too late for any difference to be made. David Cardoso is going to be gutted when he returns to France.

 

Pakistan - 0

Mongolia - 3 (S Duurenbayar 66', O Tserendamba 72', E Enhtuvshin 82')

[Mongolia win 5-1 on aggregate]

As it turns out, it doesn't matter if you like cricket (or love it), especially if your football team is utter crap. Mongolia made light work of the Pak Shaheens, well eventually they did, at the Punjab Stadium, and I'm not even going to try and spell the players again, so I'll describe the goals - header, tap-in, left-footer, in that order. I guess you could say they were too Islamabad to advance any further.

 

Sri Lanka - 1 (B Shiyas 48')

Singapore - 3 (M Ahmad 14', S Khanolkar 18', M Faizal 62')

[Singapore win 5-1 on aggregate]

Again, liking/loving cricket makes no difference. It was a dull game, full of headers, so I'll just say the name of the Sri Lankan goalscorer - Bogahapitiya Arachchilage Shiyas. He obviously isn't that good at Countdown...

Edited by Harris384

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On 18/05/2020 at 11:51, Sniffer77 said:

Really enjoying this thread so far! Keep up the good work mate.

Thanks mate :thup:

Been very busy recently with other things so I haven't had time to add anything to here, but I will be soon.

Edited by Harris384

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