AHFA 2020 World Cup

Goalkeeper Matthew Ryan was replaced by Alexander Rose, while Mark Posner, Mark Daly and James Killy are supplanted by James Sheridan, Tristan Schuster, and Callum Vradick. Surprisingly, the Tibetans have opted not to change their players for this second half; it appears they still have energy in them.

You can only substitute thrice in a match (and a fourth time in knock-out stage extra time), so you have too many substitutions there. Also, did the match end 1-1 (as is stated in the top row) or 2-1?
 
3: Caribbean 2-Ragusa 0
EL NORTE
Caribbean magic beats a relentless Ragusan defense
The Brigadiers earn their first three points of the tournament

Mérida, Yucatán. The opening match of Group B pitted current North American champion, the Federation of Caribbean Socialist Republics, against the Ragusan Republic, a team that managed to qualify to the World Cup for the second time after beating Bohemia in the European playoff during the last day of qualifiers. In what was close to be a one-sided affair, the Caribbean Federation beat the Ragusan Republic 2-0.

The Caribbean team felt just at home at the San Ildefonso Arena in Mérida, as thousands of fans made their way across the Yucatán Channel to support their team and painted the stands white, blue and red. The few Ragusan fans in the stadium cheered their team until the last whistle blow, always hopeful that the Gospari would manage to make a comeback.

Ragusan coach Stulli decided to forgo the offensive stance that characterised the team throughout the qualifiers in favor of a more defensive lineup, recognizing the danger posed by the deadly Caribbean forwards, benching creative brain Vachetti and Vukan Stojanović, who is coming from a very strong performance in the Macedonian league last season, where he scored 20 goals.

On the other side of the pitch, Jorge Moreno deployed his whole arsenal, led by the Sterling-Colas-Bailey trident, with the clear intention of getting 3 points against one of the two weakest teams in the group before facing Asian powerhouse Iran and group favorite Leon-Castille.

Just as sports commentators and pundits predicted beforehand, the match started with a marked Caribbean dominance of early actions, taking the ball and driving the Ragusans mad. At one point, during the first 10 minutes, possession came to be close to 90-10. It was during this time that the first opportunity presented to the Caribbean side: after a tackle by Mariappa near the midfield, Léger took the ball, opening wide to the left towards Bailey, who proceeded to make a terrific run along the line, dribbling three Ragusan players and crossing towards Sterling, whose header Mikalja barely managed to send over the crossbar.

Despite the insistence of the Brigadiers attacks, the Ragusans didn’t break formation and managed to keep their goal safe from any danger. It wasn’t until minute 26 when a flash of brilliance brought the first goal home for FCSR side. In what seemed like a choreographed danced, Colas headed the ball after a goal kick by Phillipe towards Sterling, who, with a simple 180° turn left Fabris seeing ghosts, made a quick pass to Bailey who simply touched the ball forward in a diagonal, breaking the Ragusan defense so that Sterling, now alone against the goalkeeper only had to push the ball over Mikalja and celebrate the first goal of his team in the tournament.

After this heartbreaking moment, the Ragusans didn’t change much their tactics, forming a solid block behind midfield with some shy attempts at counterattacks, but never risking too much, as Sterling at co. kept marauding around, looking for just one chance to sentence the match.

With the first half over and Caribbean attacks decreasing in intensity, Stulli decided to take a risk by taking out Pozza, a more defense-oriented midfielder and putting Vachetti in his place, hoping that some magic would come up out of his boots and give his team the tie. At first, the change seemed to work, as Vachetti quickly took control of the action in midfield, pulling the strings of the Gospari all across the pitch. However, Sorgo was outnumbered and never managed to have a clean shot towards Phillipe’s goal.

In order to counter Stulli’s move, Moreno took out Beauvais and sent Etienne, who was tasked with nullifying Vachetti and disrupt the Ragusan ball flow, which he did masterfully, as proved by Ragusa’s next change: Stojanović for Abramović at 75’, in an attempt to put more men in attacking positions.

Nonetheless, things didn’t go as planned, as the first corner kick of Ragusa in the game spelled doom: with most players of the small Adriatic Republic up trying to send the ball to the back of the net, a timely header by Arcus turned into Sterling running like the devil for more than 60 meters, getting Bunić and Mikalja out of the way and simply pushing the ball for the second goal in his personal count at 82’.

After the Caribbean’s second goal, Stulli decided to take a more careful approach, trying to avoid any more goals and sent Gondola instead of Fabris. Moreno, with the game very much under control, took Sterling out at 86’, to the mad applause of the fans in the stadium, with Molina taking his place.

Later today León-Castille will face Iran at the Olympic Stadium in Veracruz, while Rhodesia won't see action until match day 2 next Wednesday, when they will play the Caribbean Federation at San Felipe Stadium in León, who will be looking to earn their second victory, while Ragusa will face León-Castile in Mexico City earlier that same day and Iran will have the day off.

Lineups:
Caribbean Federation:
Phillipe, Arcus, De la Côte, Mariappa, Léger, Beauvais (Etienne 60’) Rubalcalba, Romero, Sterling (Molina 86’), Colas, Bailey
Ragusa: Mikalja, Palmotić, Bunić, Saraka, Džamanjić, Ghetaldi, Fabris (Gondola 85’), Abramović (Stojanović, 75’), Pozza (Vachetti, 46’), Ranjina, Sorgo

Goals:
1-0 Raheem Sterling, 26'
2-0 Raheem Sterling, 82'

Yellow cards:
Caribbean Federation:
None
Ragusa: Abramović, 64’

Red cards:
None
 
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I added some flavor information about both teams, as I love to make both the tournament and the alternate world it is set in come alive, but if any of the team creators have any objection or would like to change something, please let me know and I will gladly do it (same goes for any reference I make about the Mexican Empire, Aztekk).
 
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Group G Preview: Great Lakes Republic

Who they are
Captain:
John Brooks
Manager: Robert Bradley
Nickname: The North Coasters
FIFA rank (as of June 1st, 2020): 31

Biggest strength

The GLR's squad is anchored at the back by a dynamic backline: Reggie Cannon, Tim Ream, John Brooks, and Eric Lichaj, 3 of whom have extensive experience playing in top leagues overseas, including in European Competition, while the relative youngster Cannon shows potential to join them there soon. With much of the rest of the squad relatively young, much pressure will be placed on these four both to defend stubbornly while the Lichaj and Cannon will also be expected to streak down the flanks to distribute the ball, make runs, and put pressure on their opposite numbers. The veterans of the group will be expected to shoulder the burden of leadership on the field. It is clear that Bradley will rely on this unit as a key linchpin in his strategy to be able to withstand the prolonged periods of sustained pressure that are sure to come against the tournament's favorites.
Biggest Question Mark
The midfield is talented but young. The odd man out is Caleb Stanko, whose technical skills are limited. Along with the younger Mauricio Pineda, he will be expected to sit in front of and protect the back four, occupying space and taking away the ability of opposing attackers to roam freely. Pineda meanwhile has been used at Chicago Fire as both a center-back and defensive midfielder, and there is some debate about which is his better role. With both Ream and Brooks ahead of him, however, he has made his way onto the field as a defensive mid. Weston McKennie at Schalke has been moved all over the field, and Bradley similarly has tried him in several different roles, but seems to have settled on using him as a hybrid right midfielder/winger. He will be expected to go box-to-box and contribute on both sides of the ball. Djorde Mihailovic, just 21 years, will have substantial creative duties and will need to both be able to recover the ball in the midfield and progress the ball into the attacking third and find his teammates in advantageous positions. There is some concern that this might be too much for the young player, who has yet to truly break through for his club, but many believe his ceiling to be very high. Thankfully for Mihailovic, he will be helped by Christian Pulisic, who has already proven to be proficient in that role. Pulisic, although listed as a forward, often tends to drop back further into a false nine type role and link up with Josh Sargent.
 
4: Leon-Castille 2-Iran 0
Iran vs. Leon-Castille

CUÉLLAR: --- And Aspas is leaving the field. It looks like he is being substituted out for the second half... Kamoto is nodding... that's Yoshi Kamoto in blue, standing in for Domhnall O'Brien as referee this afternoon. Here comes David Villa off the bench for León and Castile. Eduardo, what do you make of this?

KUÍPER: I'm not sure I agree with this choice. Aspas has been pretty hemmed in by the Lions--that's the Iranian Lions, not the Leonese--so far, so while he's been underperforming he hasn't really had to travel over too much of the field. If Aspas can get some more support from midfield in this second half, I think we'll see him making some big plays.

CUÉLLAR: But we won't, because he's back on the bench.

KUÍPER: That's right.

SALGADO: There's the kickoff, Iran taking possession. Shojaei has kicked it to Gholizadeh, who's taking it forward up the right half of the field.

CUÉLLAR: We haven't seen too much of this today, Iran having the ball. Mostly the Shiran have been on the defensive against the Lions.

KUÍPER: That's the Lions of León you're talking about there. They were pretty heavy favorites heading into this game. It's to the Iranian Lions' credit that they've been able to hold the score to 0-0 so far.

SALGADO: That's Kaveh Rostami with the ball now, driving toward the center, but José Fonte's right in front of him, and Diogo Jota--he's number 7, in black-- is coming in from the wing. Shojaei looks open.

CUÉLLAR: Of course, the greatest part of that credit has to go to Payam Niazmand. The rest of the defense totally crumbled there in the 35th minute.

SALGADO: But Rostami doesn't seem to see Shojaei. He's passed it back to Mehregan.

KUÍPER: For once, I agree with you. Nine times out of ten, that would have been João Félix's first international goal. But Niazmand came in for the save right where he needed to.

CUÉLLAR: In front of the goal.

SALGADO: Omid Jamshidi passing it forward to... it looks like Adrakash-- I mean Adarkhurshid, but it's intercepted by Rodríguez. Ricardo Rodríguez deflected it to Thiago, no, Mehregan is there somehow, and he reclaims it for the Iranians. Shojaei has the ball.

CUÉLLAR: How was there no offense there? Mehregan had to hit Thiago hard there to make that happen.

KUÍPER: I think you have to pay attention to the right-of-way there. With that in mind, that was legal contact ---

...

SALGADO: --- fifty-third minute at the Olympic Field of Veracruz. The score remains 0-0. Bruno Fernandes has the ball for León. Jamshidi's getting close... he passes it back to Diogo Jota. Jota back to Fernandes.

CUÉLLAR: A lovely bit of misdirection there.

KUÍPER: But not enough. The Lions are still covering Villa.

SALGADO: Passing back to Jota again--no, to Félix!

CUÉLLAR: João Félix has the ball! Zartoshti's in front of him--he dodges--he shoots!

KUÍPER: Up into the top of the goal! Niazmand can't reach!

CUÉLLAR: Lions score!

SALGADO: That's a goal for León and Castille in the fifty-fourth minute, against Iran. The score is now 1-0.

CUÉLLAR: A stunning goal for the young ---

...

KUÍPER: --- surprisingly clean game so far.

CUÉLLAR: Really, it's that the referees have been more lenient than you'd expect.

KUÍPER: I have not seen a single judgment I disagree with.

SALGADO: Zartoshti throws the ball back into play. Gholizadeh takes it. He's heading up the field carefully. Suárez approaching. Gholizadeh passes back to Mehregan.

CUÉLLAR: What is Suárez doing there?

KUÍPER: He's putting pressure on the attackers.

CUÉLLAR: Oh, now I see. He's just a little ahead of the formation.

SALGADO: Shojaei passing it to Rostami. Fernandes is in a bit of an aggressive position there. Rostami falls back.

CUÉLLAR: The Iranians are handling this possession gracefully, but they're down by a goal. They have to take a shot sometime.

KUÍPER: I think that shot is coming soon. See how Azmoun and Adarkhushid are moving forward to support each other?

CUÉLLAR: They'd better be careful, or they might end up offside.

SALGADO: Shojaei dribbling forward. Passes it to Adara-- Adrash-- number 10 in red. And Rostami is almost in front of the goal. He gets a pass and shoots!

KUÍPER: And the goalkeeper blocks it!

SALGADO: Right. Rubén Blanco had his hands up, but the ball actually bounced off his head, then scraped the right goalpost on its way out of bounds.

CUÉLLAR: Guerreiro was almost in position to block that last pass. If it had gone in I'd definitely be wishing I were a little bit faster if I were him.

KUÍPER: There's still a chance that Iran scores here. They're setting up for a corner kick.

CUÉLLAR: Let's see how that goes.

SALGADO: Mehran Shojaei taking the corner kick himself. There he goes... straight to Jamshidi, who kicks it to Azmoun, right at the box. Sardar Azmoun shoots and the ball goes over the goal. León will regain possession.

CUÉLLAR: He had to take that shot. Any later and the Lions would have reformed an effective defense. It was just a little too high.

KUÍPER: Now ---

...

SALGADO: --- straight to Suárez, who takes it upfield.

CUÉLLAR: Did you know Blanco and Suárez are teammates in the Leonese national league?

KUÍPER: Yes, but even if I didn't I could tell by their chemistry together.

CUÉLLAR: Really, the whole Leonese side is showing great chemistry this match.

KUÍPER: For those of you just joining us, we're in Veracruz for the AHFA World Cup. Olympic Field is hosting an excellent match this afternoon pitting León and Castile against the Iranian Lions.

CUÉLLAR: The Lions, playing in black, currently lead Iran one goal to zero, but the Shiran have put up a great fight, especially on defense. Their goalkeeper, Payam Niazmand, has already made two incredible saves, one in the thirty-fifth minute and one in the sixty-eighth.

KUÍPER: He'd better be able to pull off another one. Look at Félix go!

SALGADO: That's João Félix with the ball, already amongst the Iranian defenders. He passes it to Lucas Vázquez.

CUÉLLAR: That pass went right between Mehrani's legs!

SALGADO: Vázquez to Fernandes. Fernandes shoots.

KUÍPER: Fernandes has been struggling to shoot on target today but not right now! Fernandes scores!

SALGADO: It's the seventy-sixth minute. Bruno Fernandes has just scored for Leon and Castile, bringing the score to 2-0 over Iran.

CUÉLLAR: Honestly, I don't see Iran coming back from this. All the Leonese have to do is play it safe ---

...

FINAL SCORE:
León and Castile 2 (54' Félix, 76' Fernandes) - Iran 0
 
5: Freedonia 1-Venice 1
Match Day: Freedonia vs Venice
Libertadores Stadium, Acapulco
Attendance: 48,598

Rosters:
Freedonia:
Beauvoir
W.Mahoi (White 65')
Soro
Tubman
Davis (Harris 74')
J.Mahoi
B.Hamilton (McDonald 84')
St.Clair
Lahai
Coleman
Docteur


Venice:
Vianello
Scarpa
Kapodistrias
71'
Rizzo
Tiozzo
34' (Rossi 49')
Ballarin
Liveralis (Moustaki 77')
Tiepolo
Budinic
Marulic (Lorenzon 77')
Dal Corso


Summary

0' And here we go with the start of Group C in Acapulco ! Freedonia and Venice duke it out in this first game.

5' No team manages to get a hold on the ball in each other's 25 meter line. Both teams are battling for control of the midfield

7' Coleman delivers a ball to Lahai but his attempt goes wide

12' Big chance for Freedonia ! Venice have been on the back foot and a good run by Ben Hamilton in the Venetian defense leaves Scarpa seeing stars ! Thankfully Vianello is on the trajectory and stops the ball from going into the net.

20' GOAL ! Venice have been completely routed ! A foul by Ballarin 22m from goal gives Freedonia a free kick. St.Clair steps up to take it and sends the ball into the top right corner of the net where Vianello cannot stop it ! 1-0 Freedonia.


28' First sign of life from Venice, Tiepolo hangs onto the ball but his strike is deviated by Soro. The corner gives nothing.

34' First booking of the day and its for Sebastiano Tiozzo, with a nasty tackle onto Ben Hamilton, totally warranted.

37' More worrying shots for Venice. St.Clair finds Docteur alone in the box, but the striker cannot find goal or even a shot on target for that matter. The ball goes wide and Venice breathe a sigh of relief.

42' Another sign of life from Venice. Dal Corso plays with the Freedonian defense, and is brought down. The free kick is well kicked by Tiepolo but gives no results.

45' Half-Time, Venice have some control of the ball but cannot transform it into any clear occasions. Freedonia hold firm and lead 1-0.

49' First substitution of the game, Domenico Rossi takes Sebastiano Tiozzo's spot on the field for Venice

53' Venice have started to play the game. Ben Hamilton hasn't touched a ball yet.

65' First substitution for Freedonia, Washington Mahoi comes off, Rodney White comes on

69' Free kick for Freedonia, but St.Clairs attempt goes into the sky

71' Frustration for Venice starts to show, and stupid mistakes are made. Kapodistrias tugs on the shirt of Lahai and is booked for it.

74' Another change for Freedonia. William Davis comes off while Ptolemy Harris is on

76' Ben Hamilton is brought down in the box, but upon VAR review, the no penalty is given as he was offside in the first place.

77' Corner kick for Venice, who takes this opportunity to make their last two substitutions. Francesco Liveralis and Giovanni Marulic are off, while Ludovico Moustaki and Pietro Lorenzon are on.

78' GOAL for Venice ! Great coaching by Brunetti ! The corner kick is taken by Dal Corso who delivers the ball perfectly into the box where Lorenzon makes a defiant header that leaves Beauvoir unable to do anything ! 1-1 !

84' Last substitution for Freedonia, captain Ben Hamilton is off, replaced by Bob McDonald.

90+1' Big chance for Freedonia ! A corner kick is well taken by St.Clair who delivers to Soro. The young defender misses the target and instead sends the ball to Henry Clay Lahai, who attempts a huge strike which hits the post !

90+3' Venice attempt their own last minute strike but Dal Corso loses the ball as he tries dribbling White.

90+5' End of the match ! Both teams leave on a draw in a rather action-lacking match. Venice will be disappointed with their performance today, more was expected of them.

Freedonia 1 - 1 Venice
St.Clair 20'​
Lorenzon 78'​


Stats:
Shots on Target: 3 - 1
Possession: 50 - 50
Yellow Cards: 0 - 2
Red Cards: 0 - 0
Man of the Match: Judah Soro (Freedonia)
 
8: Antarctique 1-Celtic Union 0
Celtica (Free Celtic Republic)
Squad (23 members) - Normal Starting 11 in bold and Club
Goalkeeper:
01 Lachlann MacGilleBhrath (Mirin Naofa) St Mirren
12 Oisean MacCearnaigh (Cumann Peile Boitheamaigh) Bohemians
23 Padraig Boid (Cheilteach) Celtic
Defenders:
02 Iosaph MacUilleim (Cheilteach) Celtic
03 Anndra MacRaibeirt (Liverpool)
05 Fearghas Moireasdan (Beal Feirste) Belfast FC
06 Domhnall MacIomhair (An t-Sron Reamhar) Stranraer
14 Gordan MacIosaig (Baile Glaschu) Glasgow City
15 Seamus O’Ceallaigh (Peile Chathair Chorcai) Cork City
16 Uisdean Caidh (Inbhir Lochaidh) Inverlochy (otl Fort William)
Midfielders:
04 Murchadh O’Donnagain (Cumann Peile Boitheamaigh) Bohemians
07 Connor MacGeidigh (Liverpool)
08 Tearlach MacDomhnullach (Baile Dun Eideann) Edinburgh City
10 Tomaidh MacMheinn (Cheilteach) Celtic
17 Eirdsidh MacPhaildein (Beal Feirste) Belfast FC
18 Cian MacIomaire (Inbhir Aora) Inverary
19 Ruairidh MacCeitinn (Mirin Naofa) St Mirren
20 Aaron Sutharlainn (Obar Dheathain) Aberdenn
Forwards:
09 Daibhidh MacPhoil (Mirin Naofa) St Mirren
11 Dughlas Fearghasdan (Cumman Peile Boitheamaigh) Bohemians
21 Manus MacGilleBhrath (Inbhir Nis) Inverness
22 Pol Dughlasach (Peile Ruagairi na Seamroige) Shamrock Rovers
23 Ailig MacSual (Sruighlea) Stirling
Starting 11:
Goalkeeper: Lachlann MacGilleBhrath (01)
Defenders: Iosaph MacUilleim (02), Anndra MacRaibeirt (03), Fearghas Moireasdan (05) and Domhnall Maclomhair (06)
Midfielders: Murchadh O'Donnagain (04), Connor MacGeidigh (07), Tearlach MacDomhnullach (08) and Tomaidh MacMheinn (10)
Forwards: Daibhidh MacPhoil (09) and Dughlas Fearghasdan (11)
Antarctique:
Goalkeepers:
1. Alcide Becker (27, Liverpool)
16. Fernand Muselier (33, Galatasaray)
23. Serge Romeyer (33, Manchester United)
Defenders:
2. Gabriel Marchand (RB, 33, Al-Rayyan)
3. Jacques Laxalt (LB, 27, AC Milan)
4. Jacques Godin (C) (CB, 34, Internazionale)
5. Joseph Simon (CB, 25, Atlético Madrid)
12. Nicolas Autemande (CB, 32, Manchester City)
13. Alexandre Tellès (LB, 27, Porto)
14. Gaulthier Kannemann (CB, 29, Guilde de Port Alègre)
15. Emmanuel Maman (CB, 24, Zenit)
Midfielders:
6. Léandre Pariède (CM, 25, Paris Saint-Germain)
7. Mathias Vexin (CM, 28, Internazionale)
16. Rodéric Bétancourt (CM, 22, Juventus)
17. Lucas Thorez (CM, 24, Arsenal)
18. Jean Le Cel (CM, 23, Tottenham)
Forwards:
8. Ange De Marie (RW, 32, Paris Saint-Germain)
9. Edouard Chavanne (ST, 33, Paris Saint-Germain)
10. Lionel Messie (LW, 32, FC Barcelona)
11. Louis Souaret (ST, 33, FC Barcelona)
19. Maurice Picard (ST, 27, Paris Saint-Germain)
20. Serge Aguerre (ST, 31, Manchester City)
21. Paul Dybala (ST, 26, Juventus)
22. Douglas Lacoste (LW, 29, Juventus)
Starting 11:
Goalkeepers:
1. Alcide Becker (27, Liverpool)
Defenders:
2. Gabriel Marchand (RB, 33, Al-Rayyan)
3. Jacques Laxalt (LB, 27, AC Milan)
4. Jacques Godin (C) (CB, 34, Internazionale)
5. Joseph Simon (CB, 25, Atlético Madrid)
Midfielders:
6. Léandre Pariède (CM, 25, Paris Saint-Germain)
7. Mathias Vexin (CM, 28, Internazionale)
Forwards:
8. Ange De Marie (RW, 32, Paris Saint-Germain)
9. Edouard Chavanne (ST, 33, Paris Saint-Germain)
10. Lionel Messie (LW, 32, FC Barcelona)
11. Louis Souaret (ST, 33, FC Barcelona)

Celtic Union lose to Antarctique after an 60th minute goal

FIRST HALF
4' An foul sees Joseph Simon booked after fouling Dughlas Feargashdan.
9' Louis Souaret takes a shot but Lachlann MacGilleBhrath saves it wonderfully
26' Louis Souaret takes a good shot but Lachlann MacGilleBhrath saves it.... again!
(The referee signals a 3 minute added time)
45+2' Joseph Simon is now sent off after a very bad tackle on Dughlas Fearghasdan.
HALF TIME
SECOND HALF
47' A substitution is made with Jacques Loxalt going off for Gabriel Marchand who comes on.
60' Lionel Messie scores! A overhead kick is just an wonderful and very good achievement! It went for the net in the top left corner and Lachlann MacGilleBhrath fails to make the third save!
CELTIC UNION 0-1 ANTARCTIQUE
76' Lionel Messie makes a shot and is saved for the third time by Lachlann MacGilleBhrath…. Will we see a second goal by him?
The Referee makes up a mind of having 4 minutes added time, but the time is to come!
90+3' Ange De Marie fails to have the side as he makes an fail which goes over the bar....
 
7: New England 2-CSA 0
Hello, and welcome everyone to this interactive live report on thatsfootball.com !
Today takes place, in the Monterrey Grand Stadium, a high stake match between two rival nations of Northern America : the Commonwealth of New England and the Confederate States of America. We know there’s been a lot of history between these two nations, but the time of the Civil War is well over, and the two nations are even cooperating in some fields, with for example the joint North American Spatial Agency.

Let’s get back to football, we expect to see a very disputed match, between two teams that know each other very well as they battled several times in the Qualifiers. It’s gonna be nice. Or not. At least, something will happen!

The Monterrey Grand Stadium is full today, with more than 85.000 fans that seem to be equally shared between the two nations. Amazing!

For the squads, Rick Osbourne, the coach of New England opted for a classic 4-4-2 with Matthew Daniels instead of Placido Santos on the right wing, and an attacking duo Donny Lamon-Leandro Berne. Curtis Gray is sick, and Chester McGill still didn’t recover fully from his ankle twist.
Starting XI :

O’Gorman

McDonald-Girard-Neville-Mendes

Gladwyn-Gardener-Passerini-Daniels

Lamon-Berne


On the other side, Pierre-Gustave Toulant keeps the same starting squad as during the Qualifiers, organized in a 3-4-3 :

Martinez

Stuart V-Joad-James

Samuelson-Hayward-Gracie-Lee

Lee-Johnson Jr-Gracie


The fans of the Yankees brought a sign saying “Gray>Gracie”. Well for sure it’s not “Gray>traveler's dysentery”.

The artists make their entrance in the Stadium, John Samuelson too.

1’ – And it’s OOOOOOOON !!!!

2’ – Gladwyn already rolls on the ground. Get up, boy!

3’ – The CSA fans are singing loud. Not beautifully, but it’s loud.

5’ – Tom McDonald still hasn’t failed any backward passing…

7’ – Gladwyn again on the ground. If you don’t wanna play, just say it! He hurt his shoulder all by himself while rolling on the ground…

10’ – Could they please succeed more than 2 passes?

11’ – It seems the Yankees have decided to keep the possession of the ball today.

13’ - @MaximusVargas Yes I was thinking the same. They talk a lot.

14’ – Regarding the atmosphere, it’s comparable with a 3rd League match. Regarding the level displayed on the field too.

15’ – Jean-Claude Girard is locking down Thomas Gracie. Why? Because he is proactively defending, whispers me my colleague Andrea Domi.

16’ – Yellow card for Thomas Gracie, who lost the ball to Passerini and didn’t like it.

17’ – First corner kick for New England. But Gladwyn screwed it.

18’ – Let’s play: who will be the first scorer ? I bet on Jean-Claude Girard. You?

19’ – And the first shot of the match is for Charles Lee… who missed his volley. First warning for New England on the Rebs’ counter-attack.

21’ – Amazing tackle from Girard against Thomas Gracie, at the last moment before his attempt!

23’ – Ok, there’s not much, but just for the sake of the dribble, it deserved at least a free kick.

24’ – WHAT A SAVE FROM SHAUN MARTINEZ! Nice shot from Leandro Berne!

25’ – New England fans seems to have awaken from their nap with that shot from Berne.

28’ – The match started to be a bit more interesting, give me some action!

30’ – You gotta start defending Gladwyn.

31’ – Free kick for New England. Matthew Daniels sends the ball in the box, but the Confederate defense is sovereign.

32’ – I want to see a free kick like the one of Khazri against the Mexicans!

34’ - GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL

GLADWYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYN

1-0 !!

Perfect corner kick from Matthew Daniels, reaching Mark Gladwyn completely alone in the middle of the box after having escaped the marking from JEB Stuart!

35’ – Gladwyn celebrates and hugs with all his teammates, then sits on the ground, and mimic a kind of Zen Buddhist attitude.

39’ – I hope they’re not gonna just try to defend this 1-0 now…

40’ - @futcheballover : I let you Google Mexico-Provence Khazri. You won’t regret it.

41’ – Interesting free kick for the CSA. Charles Lee will shoot it.

42’ – Nice shoot under the bar, but it’s in the hands of Conan O’Gorman! Charles Lee seems ready for this match.

43’ – New attempt from Charles Lee, but it’s again saved by O’Gorman.

44’ – Chester McGill shouting consigns to his teammates from his seating. Is he the one who told the Yankees to sit back?

45’ - Gladwyn seems to actually be still hurting from the shoulder. Well, he did the job already, he can rest now.

45+1’ - OH! Thomas Gracie slapped Chris Neville! That should be yellow! Ok, well, Neville is dramatizing.

45+2’ - Referee blows the half-time!

1-0 for New England against CSA, but we know New England is not the best at keeping the score, so anything’s possible. Looking forward for the reaction of CSA! I’ll go stretch my legs and we’ll be back in 15 minutes for an exciting second half (hopefully).

46’ - AND IT’S BACK!

47’ – No substitutions on both sides during the break.

48’ – We didn’t see Hayward during the whole match… I just remembered he was on the field.

50’ – François Arnaud is warming up.

52’ – I’m amazed by Girard’s level today!

54’ – WHAT A SHOOT! Matthew Daniels kicked a direct free-kick, but it’s saved by Shaun Martinez!

57’ - @Bobthefire I have no idea what you mean! Ahah!

60’ – Yellow card for Tom Joad who retains Leandro Berne as he was making his way alone to the goal! He was last defender! But it was 60 meters away from the goal also.

61’ – For my CSA followers who still use outdated units of measurement, 60 meters equals 65 yards.

63’ – Finally a good match from Alex Gardener in 2020.

65’ – Substitution for New England: François Arnaud in, Donny Lamon out. He did the job, but nothing more. 6/10.

66’ – Arnaud is entering mainly to better exploit counter-attacks for New England. His speed can make the difference if he can enjoy lots of space. But it’s also more dangerous for the Yankees as he defends less than Lamon.

67’ – And well, I’ve never seen Gladwyn defending so much.

68’ – Yellow card for Tom McDonald, after a too rough tackle.

69’ - Substitution for the CSA : Samuel Lee out, Peter Mayhew in. Samuel Lee has been invisible today. 2/10

71’ – Second substitution for CSA: John Carter IV enters in place of Peter Hayward. Another ghost leaves the field. 1/10

73’ – OH! Nice shot from Peter Mayhew for his first ball, a few centimeters away from the post.

74’ – New England is now in all-defense mode.

77’ – Another nice shot of Peter Mayhew! This times it was touched by Chris Neville and a corner kick will follow.

78’ – Pierre-Gustave Toulant must regret that he didn’t choose Peter Mayhew to start the match. Corner kick saved by the defense of New England.

79’ – Matthew Daniels falls on the ground. He suffers from cramps.

80’ – Second substitution for New England: Placido Santos enters, Matthew Daniels leaves with the medical staff. He delivered an assist today, and was quite dangerous especially on free kicks. 8/10.

80’ – Good entrance from Arnaud, who failed absolutely everything he tried.

83’ – You wonder why Gladwyn and Santos are not permutating? Cause just imagining Santos on his right foot gives me nightmares…

86’ – GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL

TOM MACDONAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALD

2-0!!!

Nice collective action of New England, François Arnaud crosses right in the middle of the box, and Tom McDonald only lightly touches the ball, but it’s enough to end in the goal!

86’ : Third substitution for CSA : Midfielder John Samuelson leaves and is replaced by Robert Ross who is a forward. CSA plays all-in offensive now!

87’ – Just looking at Leandro Berne running all across the field to press against the Rebs give me cramps!

88’ – OH THE FIGHT!!!! It’s very confuse to say who did what!

89’ – Yellow card for Robert Gracie who pushed Mark Gladwyn.

89’ – Yellow card for Mark Gladwyn who pushed Robert Gracie. Yeah, it’s 50-50 here.

89’ – Yellow card for Chris Neville who pushed everyone.

90’ – It seems Matthew Daniels also was booked a yellow card, while he’s on the bench!

90’ – Referee gives 5 minutes extra time.

91’ – Third substitution for New England: Colin Tracey replaces Kane Passerini, who bullied the CSA midfield into submission. 7/10

93’ – Yellow card for François Arnaud, who kicked the ball away to gain time.

95’ – AND IT’S OVER !!!!
New England win their first match in this World Cup against CSA! CSA tried their best coming back into the game after the opening goal of New England, but their forwards were not successful, and New England’s defense was admirable, especially center-back Jean-Claude Girard. CSA needs to find a solution quick, because they will face the two top teams of the group in their next matches. We can only wonder why Peter Mayhew was not part of the starting XI. Probably some football nerds are imagining how an alternate match with him starting would have looked!
As for New England, they can confidently look forward to their next match where they are expected to gather victory points against Madagascar, and be in a favorable position when come the time of the match against the Celtic Union.


New England 2-0 CSA
(Gladwyn 34’, McDonald 86’)
 
10: Transylvania 3-Canada 2
from pilkarski.mm
Canada

Coach: Augustus O'Malley

Lineup:

John Tremblay

Terry Tremel
John O'Rourke
Peter O'Malley
James McKenzie

Peter Disney (60' Walt Connack)
Thomas Moore

Peter Roger
Howard Riel
Thomas Riel
John Merris (76' Edward Random)

Transylvania

Coach:
Cosmin Contra

Lineup:

Miklós Kapolcs

Fülöp Péter
Imre Simon
Florentin Kogalniceaunu
Zsolt Apród

György Halász
(77' Antonio Torje) Kerekes Dezső
Emmerich Landau
Arsenie Bârladeanu

(88. Walther Nostitz) Rajmund Gulyás
(65' Cretu Horasiu) István Kende

Canada 2 - 3 Transylvania

Goals:
0-1 Deszȫ Kerekes (30')
1-1 Thomas Moore (44')
1-2 György Halász (54')
1-3 Emmerich Landau (76')
2-3 Edward Random (86')


Referee: Qasim Kimsanov (Turkestan) - Grade E:
Only VAR intervention led to the 1-3 for Transylvania being allowed (no offside position by Dezsȫ Kerekes) and to the penalty being revoked (diving by Gulyás, 59'). Booking O'Rourke was exaggerated (15'), though O'Rouke should have been shown a second yellow card (53', foul against Bārladeanu) later on.

Both Canada and Transylvania fielded most of their best starting elevens. However, instead of the usual 4-5-1, Transylvania's coach Cosmin Contra fielded a second striker with young István Kende (third appearance for the national team).
Most of the fans here in Mazatlán are Canada supporters, however many neutral Mexican supporters lean towards Transylvania. This is the infamous Mexico-Canada rivalry showing again...

At first, it took some sussing out for both teams and few dangerous situations arose. A first moderately dangerous situation was created - to the delight of the crowd of Canadian supporters - by their own team, however, the shot from the centre by Howard Riel was no problem for Miklós Kapolcs (14'). And Transylvania began to press earlier now. Dezsȫ Kerekes on the left wing suddenly outpaced Terry Tremel, however, the cross into the penalty area, where István Kende would have been free, for now was stopped by O'Rourke's fair tackle. But the referee blew the whistl, awarded a free kick to Transyvania and booked O'Rourke.
The resultant free kick however proved harmless - Kerekes just hit the wall of Canadian players and O'Malley managed to keep the ball in play.

But Transylvania got the upper hand more and more. It was only a question of time until they scored a goal or at least fired off a very dangerous shot. John Tremblay had to intervene for the first time when, in midfield, Deszȫ Kerekes switched sides to the free Emmerich Landau. He went down the right wing and dribbled into the centre - Tremblay barely managed to deflect the shot (26') and saved! Just three minutes later, it was the other way round. Emmerich Landau, under pressure by James McKenzie, passed across the whole field. Bārladeanu let the ball go through to Kerekes, who easily outpaced Terry Tremel. On his way to the centre, O'Rourke was left to tackle into empty space, and Kerekes shot nine metres in front of the goal! The ball easily found the back of the net! 0-1 Deszȫ Kerekes (30')!

Transylvania kept their offence up, and the Canadian defence had to clear several situations up: McKenzie successfully tackled Landau (35'), Tremblay saved an attempt by Gulyás (39') and picked up the ball just before Kende could head it into the back of the net (41'). Canada was mostly reduced to counterattacks - but they were to recieve "help". Tremel and McKenzie, supported by Moore, ran forward. McKenzie ran with the ball more than 50 metres, evading Fülȫp and outpacing Kogalniceaunu who tried to help out.
And this was to prove costly: McKenzie's shot might have been harmless, but Miklós Kapolcs only managed to deflect the shot instead of picking the ball up. And he deflected it towards the centre. Normally, the Transylvanian defence would have cleared it, however, defenders were lacking as Koganiceaunu and Fülȫp had not repositioned towards the centre. And so it was Thomas Moore who got to the ball fastest. He finished with a fast volley into the upper left corner of the goal! Clearly, the goalkeeper takes the blame here! 1-1 Thomas Moore (44')!

The referee blew the half-time whistle without any team having come even close to scoring.
But after play was restarted, Transylvania quickly assumed control again as they had done before half-time. Shots by Kende (47') and a header by Kogalniceaunu after Deszȫ Kerekes had brought in a corner (48') were saved by Tremblay, while Bārladeanu's attempt was luckilly deflected by McKenzie. Actually, Bărdaleanu had been fouled by O'Rourke who thus should have been sent off. The attempt thus went wide of the goal.
Another corner was the consequence. And while the first corner proved harmless as Tremblay deflected the ball for another corner, and the same applied to the second corner, the third successive corner was brought in perfectly by Kerekes - onto the head of György Halász. Halász perfectly headed the ball into the back of the net, not even outjumping anyone as Disney nearly remained static! 1-2 György Halász (54')!

Not much happened beyond midfield for the next quarter of an hour, with Transylvania still being more active in search of the third goal and Canda resorting to counterattacks. Cosmin Contra also showed his intent to "administer" the result with substituting defensive midfielder Cretu Horasiu for striker István Kende. But just as Canada was becoming more dangerous and offence-minded (Howard Riel's shot in the 71st minute was comfortably saved by Kapolcs), Transylvania exploited their weaknesses - and they mostly concerned speed and pace. Cretu Horasiu took the ball of Thomas Moore, passing to Zsolt Apród. He played a throughball up his own wing to Emmerich Landau. And Landau played one-two with Rajmund Gulyás. From a difficult angle, it was Emmerich Landau who put the ball into the right corner! Possibly, Tremblay could have saved the shot...! 1-3 Emmerich Landau (76')!

Now, Transylvania looked like the sure winner of this match. Canada's morale had been broken, but they did not give up at least attempting counterattacks. And Augustus O'Malley had brought on another forward in Edward Random and a more offence-minded midfielder in Walt Connack.
Transylvania put no more effort than necessary, however, this made them somewhat vulnerable to counterattacks, especially so as the fast Kerekes was substituted out for Antonio Torje. And indeed, it was Torje who got outrun by Thomas Riel. Riel crossed into the box, onto Random's foot, and Edward Random easily scored! 2-3 Edward Random (88')!

This goal, however, came too late to change anything, despite another dangerous shot by Random - Kapolcs saved it for a corner, which proved harmless (90+3').
Transylvania got off with all three points and, together with Sao Paulo, can soon gain a possibly decisive advantage already in their match against Novorossiya, while Canada will not intervene again until matchday 3 - and then, the Maple Leaves could already be under enormous pressure to win to have any chance of advancing into the knockout stage...
 
13: Milan 1-Nova Holandia 0
I'm posting this ahead of the preceding game because it's my bedtime now. Enjoy a rather parochial take on the game from my ATL homeland.

From blepnu.gl - Food for Talk

Five Reasons You Should Watch the Milan-Nova Holanda Game, if You Haven't Already



The AHFA World Cup is in full swing, but the GLR isn't playing until this weekend. The national team's first opponent will be Milan, which saw its debut this morning against Nova Holanda. And since that game was right in the middle of the day on a Tuesday, hardly anybody with a job had a chance to see it. Right?

Look, it's okay if you couldn't take some time out of your working hours to watch the live broadcast of a couple of foreign countries kicking a ball around. But if that's the case, you missed out, and you should definitely take some time to pull up the video tonight, or at the very least before Saturday.

Why? Here are some of the biggest reasons.

5. Prince William's face.



William XIV, Prince of Orange (that's William the Fourteenth, folks) comes from a long line of very noble men. And since the XIIth (twelfth) century, an awful lot of them have been named William. Somehow, he still has a sense of humor.

Just look at him here, after Simon Cruijf tripped over the ball and almost passed it to Mattia Caldara (who's on, by the way, the other team):



Here's the Prince's happy dance after Marcel da Silva blocked Manolo Gabbiadini's shot in the forty-fifth minute:



And here he's very disappointed in Patrick Firmino, whose attempt at earning a penalty kick at Gabbiadini's expense ended up giving him a yellow card instead:



We've added a caption to that last picture for your convenience:



To be fair, Prince William had a lot to be disappointed about this afternoon.

4. It matters.



Well, it doesn't really matter. But as far as soccer games go, this one matters a lot for us. The Great Lakes Republic is drawn into Group G, along with Milan, Nova Holanda, Turkestan, and the friendly-sounding United Neutral Team.



What is this United Neutral Team, you might ask? Well, it's Germany.

North Germany? That's not so bad.

No, it's Germany. All of Germany.



Bavaria alone has fielded a top-notch team in recent years, but at this Cup they're united with the cream of the crop from all over the German states in a supersquad. And here's the kicker: only two teams from the group move on to the next round. If the Germans take one of those spots, then the GLR is competing with Milan, Nova Holanda, and Turkestan all over just one more. And with their victory today, even though it's just by one goal, Milan has earned 3 points in the rankings, out of a maximum of 12.

Our team has to meet or exceed that Milanese performance to beat them in the standings.

3. You can see Milan's defense working like it's supposed to.



If there's one thing the Novaholandese failed to accomplish today, it's pressuring the Vipers' defense. In their thirty-nine minutes of possession, the Orange Canaries attempted three shots, but not one of them had the penetration and accuracy to make it even close to the goal. In contrast, Milan pulled off four on-target shots (one blocked each by Marcel, Isac Quaresma da Silva, and Hans van Dijk). The Milanese managed to keep their defensive formation intact for the entire game, working like a well-tuned machine.



Watch the game film, and you can see how the Vipers move together and separately, putting up an effective barrier in front of the goal. If the GLR team can break those patterns in Puebla on Saturday, they'll be in a position to compete.

2. You can see Milan's offense working like it's supposed to.



The four-minute possession starting from Andrea Consigli's goal kick at 70 minutes in is one of the most beautiful in the history of football.



At no point in the steady Milanese advance did they let themselves be constrained to a single path of approach. Apart from goalkeeper Consigli, every one of Milan's players on the field was a threat, and there were always two or three viable options for the next player to take the ball.

It didn't have to be Andrea Belotti who took the shot: Gagliardini feinted toward Cutrone, after all, and if the Canaries hadn't shifted to cover him the attack would have been even more auspicious from his position. But it was Belotti who took the pass, and Belotti who fired the ball into the upper right corner of the net for the only goal of the match, without even having his other foot on the ground.



This is what the North Coasters are up against on Saturday. Without consistent disruption to Milan's attack, a play like the above could crystallize again. You'll want to be ready for it.

1. It's simply a good game.



Seriously. We've covered the highlights here, but you should see them in context. It's well worth your time.

See also: 3 ways to watch the World Cup for free

See also: Domhnall O'Brien narrates his "Battle with Beans"


Overall results
Milan 1 (Belotti, 74') - Nova Holanda 0
Cautions: Firmino (Nova Holanda) 82'
 
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