Hello, you join us on cup final day in the 2018 World Cup. The competition has been a success for Russia. The media turned up on their droves to broadcast the biggest football competition in the world. Below are a few screenshots showing how the competition has faired for the teams competing. If you have not read the other blogs in this series stop right now and flick through the series, you’re only spoiling it for yourself otherwise! (Here is a link back to the beginning – This is England) Follow it from there and you won’t go wrong.
For those of you who have passed the immigration control inspectors in Moscow and still have their money and dignity. Carry on!
I must say at this point before I play the final I have this song going round in my head.
3rd Place Playoff
Have I said it is cup final day? I am as giddy as a goat! Steve Holland has been trying to calm me down with tales from his past when he was a coach at Crewe. I’ve told him to stop as I already know them all and I already know that Barry’s in Alsager does a cracking stuffed Oatcake.
Anyway. We have a final to play. Moscow sets the stage for the World Cup Final for 2018. The two sides have already battle for group supremacy back in the second week of the tournament. England arrive with a full squad, but with a fair few of them now feeling jaded after a hard domestic season and a tough World Cup campaign. With many of the players, media and spectators not expecting England to have reached this far. Spain arrive with a depleted squad. Four players injured and Sergio Busquets is out suspended.
Spain continue with the 4-3-3 formation that has seen the play very will so far. Due to the loss of five players Koke is played as the defensive midfielder, Denis Suarez starts on the left wing and Gerard starts up front.
England make changes from the Semi final with Portugal. With Stones moved to centre back and Maguire in for Eric Dier. Both Wing backs are swapped once again due to the physical demand put on the position. Henderson comes in for Alli, Alli is shattered from the last game hence the change. Kane starts instead of Reg and I think we swapped the two wingers too.
After the national anthems, Spain kick off. They immediately start by playing some keep ball between their defence and midfield trying to draw the boys out of position to create space. We (England) just sit back and wait for this first opportunity to intercept. Kyle Walker blocks a dribble attempt from Denis Suarez. And we finally get the ball under control at our feet. Walker draws the first foul from the Spanish. The game is played to the left with Danny Rose throwing the ball back in play to the cool and collected Harry Winks. Winks turns on a sixpence! (Shouldn’t that be a 5p in todays money?) And dribbles centrally until he is dispossessed. Spain then counter on their left. Denis picking up the ball and with a driving dribble get past two defenders. He passes inside to Thiago who plays a dinky little through ball to either Gerard or Isco. Both cause confusion to the English defence. Walker pushes Gerard in the box. Gerard goes down like he has been shot. The Referee falls for the simulation and gives the penalty.
With barely 10 minutes on the clock Isco scores from the spot. Placing his shot effortlessly in the top right corner of the goal.
The lads look around and give each other a gee up. Five minutes later we get a freekick to the left of the 18 yard box. Leon Bailey crosses a looped ball into the centre of the area. Maguire is outmuscled by Sergio Ramos. Who clears the ball as far as Bailey on the outside of the area. Bailey crosses on the by-line and the ball meets Oxlade Chamberlain’s head. The Ox is in the 6 yard box but finds his header flash wide when it may have been easier to score.
The twenty minute mark passes. Rose throws the ball back in to play for Winks. Winks attempts his turn and run thing that he has been developing. This time it works but he passes backwards to Stones. The ball is passed to a central Walker who draws in his defender. Then passes the ball into the space for Ox. Ox mis-controls the ball but manages to dig out a cross into the box. Leon Bailey leaps at the ball and heads back to Kane. Kane is in space but with a cool head strikes the ball first time at goal. Beating De Gea. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!!!!!!
The game is now all square once more.
Midway through the first half. Harry Kane pulls up after jumping for a high ball. The boy is screaming with pain. We take him off and replace him with the wonder whippet that is Jamie “Reg” Vardy.
The final action of the first half sees Ox take a corner from the right. Picking out Jordan Henderson on the penalty spot. Hendo heads the ball goalward using the pace of the cross. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Jordan Henderson’s header goes past a hapless David De Gea for England to take the lead just before the stroke of half-time.
The changing room is buzzing at halftime. The boys are feeling confident. Jordan Henderson has a cheeky grin on his face. The whole squad take on their fluids, then just before they are due to leave for the pitch. I deliver my message. Short and sweet, I tell the boys (assertively) that the job is not done. That we need to keep focus until the final whistle. And to go out there a do what they have been doing.
We start the second half, passing short balls and keeping possession. Looking to create spaces to attack in. The Spanish press just on the 60 minute mark passing the ball from left to centre trying to draw out our defence. The ball is worked out wide on the right for Carvajal to cross a ball to Gerard in the box. The whistle is blown. Jamaal Lascelles is deemed to have held on to Gerard. The Spanish are awarded their second penalty!
Isco steps up and this time strikes it to the left-hand side of the goal. Pickford reads the change of direction from the first penalty and gets a firm hand to the ball. The ball is pushed out for a corner. Get in!!!! Save from Pickford.
The resulting corner is eventually cleared by the tiring Walker.
The Spanish continue to press for the equaliser. Suso shoots from distance to see his shot blaze over the bar on the 80th minute.
On the 86th minute Henderson picks out the Ox in acres of space. The through ball is straight to his feet. The Ox take one touch to get the ball out of his feet but his shot is pulled wide to the left of the goal. An agonising miss considering he was unmarked.
The 93rd minute and final minute of added time sees Spain attack once more. This time the ball is worked right by Asensio to Nacho. Nacho then strikes a shot at goal for it to be too close to Pickford. Pickford gathers the ball and hoofs the ball upfield, for the referee to blow the final whistle.
We won!!!! We Won the World Cup!!! It was 2-1 who gives a flipperdy gibbert? We won!!!!
-Disclaimer – I must say I played the game with OBS and youtube running a stream to record the video of the match. The match was saved on you tube but then somehow the video has not quite save how it should. So I am excited in one hand I have won the World Cup, but in the other I am frustrated with not having that video to share. (Something I need to learn more about for FM19 perhaps).
Right, I am off to have a glass of bubbly to celebrate. Then I will look to see what I should do next.
Thank you for reading. I hope this gets you in the hopeful spirit who ever you support for the World Cup in RL.