Craitman wrote: *Played 26th July*
Senya vs. CraitlandWatch this match in full here!
Natopia vs. JingdaoSenya wrote: Natopia came into this game knowing that any result besides a win would eliminate them, despite having a fantastic campaign which had seen them taking points off Senya and score twice in a thriller against Craitland. Jingdao, meanwhile, had followed up their 2-1 win over Nova England by taking a hiding against Senya, and were eager to win to wrap up a play-off place themselves, knowing a tricky fixture against Craitland is all they'll have left to play in this group after this match on the final day.
As you might have expected, both sides started fairly conservatively, with both seemingly not wanting to go behind, as both sides opted for a fairly cautious approach to proceedings. The first real chance for either side came from a free kick, in Jingdao's favour, which saw Yao Tsutang force Gaillard Concorde into a sprawling save. Natopia eventually opened up to play the expansive attacking football which had helped them gain a point against Senya, but Jingdao seemed well set up to deal with them, with strikers George Valéry Saint-François Xavier and Ilyas Chowdhury cutting frustrated and often isolated figures up top for the side from Tapfer. However, it wasn't much better for Jingdao either, as they struggled to get the ball to Li Dongzhua up top, with the Natopian defence doing a good job of closing him out of the game. Strike partner Cyprianus Julius had a bit more luck, but he could only hit the bar with his best effort, after nutmegging Roger Azin before unleashing the trigger.
The half time break seemed to be a chance for both managers to instil some urgency to their respective teams, as both sides came out playing more attacking. First, Qing Husan beat his man before crossing in for Julius, whose header clipped the bar on its way over, before Elijah Karoly's shot from distance hit the bar and bounced down and out, having completely beaten Noel Zidikit in the Jingdao goal. But the breakthrough came with just under twenty minutes to go, when Natopia won a corner, which was floated in by Cedric Alexander, missed by both defender and attacker at the near post, allowing Ilyas Chowdhury to come in a divert the ball into the bottom left corner by stabbing his outstretched boot at the ball and deflecting it into the back of the net. All of a sudden, Jingdao had to come up with an equaliser, but Natopia were doing an excellent job of denying them. Having put it great attacking performances against Senya and Craitland, they were showing a good defencive display as Jingdao attacked. Li Dongzhua had perhaps the best opportunity with five minutes to go, spurring a one-on-one by hitting it over the bar, but their balls into the box were continually headed clear by the Natopian defenders. In the end, the Jingdaoese couldn't find their way through, and Natopia, with their final group game, may have just nicked a play-off place. Jingdao will now face off against Craitland, needing a win to stand a chance of the play-offs, whilst Natopia need both Jingdao to fail to win and Nova England to lose to Senya on the final day of Group C to advance.
Group standings can be found here!
Moderator: (Craitland) King of Craitland
Craitman wrote: *Played 27th July*
Mercury vs. Freeland
Krasnarus vs. New VaduzSenya wrote: Krasnarus went into their game knowing that a win would secure them a place in the knock-out rounds, whilst New Vaduz knew that defeat would be fatal to their already slim chances of progressions.
New Vaduz started well defensively, but were struggling to get the ball up top, as Krasnarus seemed to be focused on keeping New Vaduz's front three quiet. Krasnarus were able to get the ball forward, but both Merku Durmel and David Gulley were struggling to make inroads through the New Vaduz defence, with both Johan Meier and Stefan Michael putting in several important challenges early on. Krasnarus did manage to make some efforts on goal too, Gulley first beat Michael before hitting a low shot that needed Tom Wise to tip round the post, before a Srbijo Radmanović cross found Durmel unmarked in the box, but the Merku Kuregred forward's header was plucked from out of the top corner expertly by Wise. New Vaduz were also unlucky not to grab a goal themselves, with Bastian Großler and Claus Vogel combining on the edge of the box, but Vogel's eventual effort on goal was tame and allowed Kung Bobing to make a simple save.
In the second half, Krasnarus stepped up their game, throwing on substitute Babek Babovič, and within ten minutes, it seemingly worked. Rislen Sumutuv played a long ball over the top which allowed Durmel to chase, and he cut back when one-on-one to Babovič, who coolly slotted home to put his side in the lead. The goal meant that New Vaduz were now 35 minutes from being eliminated, and the Keltians now had to try and attack. Vogel managed to test Bobing just after the hour mark with another header, before Florian Groffenheimer smashed a dipping volley against the post and an Imre Lichsteiner free-kick grazed the top of the crossbar, but New Vaduz couldn't keep up their momentum. With the result now seemingly safe, Krasnarus had just enough time to wrap up all three points by adding a second, with Merku Drustinuv laying off Srbijo Radmanović on the flank, whose first time cross-cum-shot from the corner of the penalty area dipped awkwardly late, outfoxing Tom Wise and ending up in the top corner, securing the victory for the Apollonians.
The result now guarantees Krasnarus' place in the knock-outs, whilst New Vaduz's journey in Birgeshir comes to an official end in their final group game as they are officially eliminated.
Group standings can be found here!
Craitman wrote: *Played 28th July*
Florian Republic vs. BirgeshirSenya wrote: The Florian Republic and Birgeshir faced off on the final day in Group A in the deciding match, the winner of whom would win the Group and receive a bye to the quarter-finals, whilst the loser would have to contend with playing in the play-off round, having both won two and drawn one in their three games so far. A draw would also be enough for the Florians, though they had some extra incentive for beating the hosts; claiming the Unofficial Micras World Championship title.
The Florians had yet to concede a goal going into this match, but Birgeshir threatened to change that early on, with Sarapou Lahar getting in behind the Florian defence early on, but he squared the ball back to Amam Karadeniz when the shot was on, with Karadeniz putting his shot straight into the hands of Florian keeper Tom Ward. The Florians though were themselves creating good opportunities, with a notable chance falling the way Cristiano Ramirez, but the Northcliff United forward struggled keep his half-volley down as he shot from an awkward angle, passing up the opportunity to play in Llewelyn Wyn-Jones, who had half the goal to aim at. Despite neither side being able to work a real opportunity, both teams were playing enjoyable attacking football, but the goalkeepers seemed to be having good days, claiming virtually every ball whipped into the box and pulling off strings of good saved, to ensure that going into the break, the scores were level.
That all changed moments into the second half, when Andrew Lycett's cross was over hit and caught easily by Iu-Senb Ercanojk, who kicked the ball downfield quickly to launch a counter attack, with Bebi Bælhara playing in Amam Karadeniz who slotted coolly past Ward to put the host nation in front within just three minutes of the re-start, finally ending the Florian Republic's clean sheet record. The Florian fans were shocked, but luckily for them their team took this as motivation to try and get level. First, Ramirez worked himself a shooting opportunity which forced Ercanojk to tip the ball round his post, before Dave Wheeler hit an effort from 30 yards which again required intervention from the Otaq Röyal stopper to keep his side ahead, with defender Tom Wight heading just over the crossbar from the resulting corner. Despite their best efforts though, Birgeshir looked assured in defence, and started to wrestle control away from the Florians, hitting them on the counter and also occasionally slowing the ball down and playing possession football. The big moment, however, came with twelve minutes to play, when Har-Im-Hotep Aktöjk's searching punt upfield found Çengiz Tahir, who slid the ball across the six-yard box, where Sarapou Lahar slid in to double his side's advantage and almost certainly confirm the Florians' defeat. The Florians were starting to cramp up and find the energy to make one last comeback, and with Birgeshir looking at their dazzling best, a bad day for Floria got worse just before the end when Derek Campos accidently played substitute Ton-En-Amen Türgutojk onside, having misjudged the Vanya Suvan man's run, allowing Tahir's through ball to find him without difficulty, with Türgutojk rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home into an empty net to add polish to the scoreline.
A remarkable scoreline sees hosts Birgeshir head into the quarter-finals, whilst a poor second half consigns Floria to the play-off round, where they'll face Shireroth. The Apollonian side will need to recover from their record defeat if they wish to progress in this tournament, whilst Birgeshir will feel that they may be able to make the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time in their history.
Talenore vs. Lamantia
Group standings can be found here!
Craitman wrote: *Played 29th July*
Tellia vs. PassasSenya wrote: With Shireroth already confirmed as the group's third placed team, and with Coria on course to win the group, Tellia and Passas faced off for the final knock-out spot in the group, which would set up a play-off round tie against Talenore. Passas would be through with a win or a draw, but the Tellians knew that if they could bounce back from their thrashing at the hands of Shireroth, they would make it to the knock-out phase for the 7th straight World Cup.
However, when the game kicked off, it still looked as if the Tellians had not gotten over their 6-2 defeat to Shireroth. Despite the absence of Tom Arans through suspension, his replacement in midfield, Jesse Lee, seemed more than up to the task of handling the Benacians. Passas had the first real chance of the game, with Sa Pazi finding Danijel Đorđević, who spun past Pasquale di Montezemolo to play in Łukasz Dąbrowski, but the Eĵars Town striker, put his shot wide. Moments later Dąbrowski was in again one-on-one, but this time Thibault Guillermety thwarted his effort on goal. It had taken the Tellians a while to get going in the match, but eventually they found their mojo. Armando Uggè forced Adam Shawnessy into a great save from a head that came from a Marko Zajc cross, before Zajc himself cut inside and beat Ron Michelson, but again found Shawnessy in great from to deny him.
In the second half, Tellia really began to apply the pressure, but they found Shwanessy to be in inspired form, tipping over from a long distance Gianluca Salmoiraghi effort, but pulling off an acrobatic save to deny Uggè again. This time it was Passas's turn to grow into the half, but they were looking solid defensively. They eventually mustered up a chance of their own, with Alex Danelon scooping the ball over a defender before squaring to Sa Pazi, but the Dragonmoor midfielder put his guilt edge chance the wrong side of the post from 10 yards out. But with time running out and Tellia looking frustrated, Passas were just able to see the game out calmly. Tellia's long balls into the box were being cleared away by the defence every time, much to the frustration of the Tellian fans.
Eventually the full time whilst blew and called time on Tellia's World Cup title defence, as they bow out in the group stage. Meanwhile, the draw ensures Passas will march on to the next round, where they will face Talenore.
North Antarctica vs. Kingdom of Coria
Group standings can be found here!
Craitman wrote: *Played 30th July*
Jingdao vs. Craitland
Nova England vs. SenyaSenya wrote: Both Nova England and Senya came into their final group game of this World Cup both needing a result. For Senya, a win would confirm them as group champions, seeing them finish ahead of Craitland and book a spot in the quarter-finals, whilst Nova England would need a draw to finish ahead of Natopia, whilst needing to equal Jingdao's result to advance to the play-off round in third place.
Nova England started rather defencively, seemingly going in with the game plan of trying to keep the Senyans at bay, with centre-back pair John Mattel and Jackson Richards seemingly tasked with trying to keep Senyan strikers Kiket Volinsk and Alesandrœ Danetskë from finding space to work a shot. Employing a stringent defensive line, they camped outside their box, but the Senyans also seemed content with just working the ball around, trying to pick spaces in the Nova English defence. The negative tactics were working, but Senyan wingers Barnaby Hands and Ƨinkœ Zvet were still finding space to put in crosses, but Nova England seemingly early on were able to deal with them. Just before the half-hour mark, Hands won a corner, which Minyorletsken delivered, the ball pin-balling around the box before being stabbed home by Alesandrœ Danetskë, for what the crowd thought was only his second goal of the tournament, until they saw the flag was raised by the linesman, signalling offside. Despite it not counting, Nova England realised that they had to come out of their shell, but could only muster one real noteworthy chance before half time, when Graham Savoy gambled on a loose ball, but did enough to put Savoy off, dragging his shot wide of the upright.
The second half though just brought a resumption to the Senyan dominance, and it took the Apollonians just ten minutes to finally find the opening goal. Barnaby Hands delivered a low cross towards the back post, which Mattel cleared only as far as Markœ Minyorletsken, who shimmied past one defender into the box before smashing his effort low into the bottom right corner to give Senya the lead. Again, Nova England had to rally together, and once again tried to make something up front, but Aleks Mëa was seemingly continuing his great game against Craitland by shutting everything down once again, with Harë Ëgermarč also helping things by getting on the ends of most crosses into the Senyan box. Nova England still hadn't really created a clear cut threat on goal by the time that Alesandrœ Danetskë collected the ball 30-yards from goal, played a one-two with substitute Jack Smith to get into the box, where he calmly slotted beyond Nicholas Harfield to double Senya's lead. Nova England were beaten, and Senya were perhaps unlucky not to add a third, when Smith headed just over the bar after finding himself with a free header from 10 yards out.
But in the end, it didn't matter, as the result saw Senya through to the quarter-finals, whilst the defeat eliminated Nova England. Senya will now play the winner of the play-off round tie between the Florian Republic and Shireroth for a place in the semi-finals.
Group standings can be found here!
Craitman wrote: *Played 31st July*
New Vaduz vs. Freeland
Zandarijn vs. MercurySenya wrote: Mercury went into their final match having already secured first place in their group, whilst Zandarijn needed both a win and results elsewhere to go their way.
Mercury though started brighter, and almost got off to the perfect start, with Addey Hanbury racing in behind the Zandt defence, but Robert Demel did enough to turn his shot behind. The resulting corner saw Samson Yatesby rise highest, but he couldn't keep his header down. Despite Mercury's fast start, it all seemed to slow down a bit, perhaps the Mercurians not really needing the win, which allowed Zandarijn to grow into the game. The first warning shot came from talisman Dieter Maritzburg, when his shot from the edge of the box forced into a sprawling save. Jón Dannehl headed over from the resulting corner, but it was clear that Mercury were rocked, and having not learned their lessons, a harmless throw in midway inside the Mercurian pass began a move which ended in Bastiaan van Meijner crossing in, with the ball going just ahead of a number of bodies in the box before being poked home at the back post by Tom de Zyla. Mercury couldn't seem to get a foothold of the ball, as Zandarijn looked in no rush to double their lead.
At half time though, Mercury came out a different team. Looking like their coach had said his bit at the break, Mercury were level within two minutes of the restart, with Wilmont Fizeau-Blake threading the ball through for Addey Hanbury to slot between the keeper's legs and draw the game level. Mercury were now in the ascendancy, but Zandarijn were now throwing bodies back to try and keep them out. However, that didn't stop both Joe Foxon and Fizeau-Blake thumping shots against the post and Stephen Rydberg from smashing an effort against the crossbar as Mercury continued to take shots on the Zandarijn goal. And with their 100% record to hold on to, with fifteen minutes to go they found the winner, with Fizeau-Blake turning from provider to finisher as Joe Foxon squared the ball back to him in the box to put his side in the lead. And within ten minutes, they'd doubled their advantage, with Zandarijn being hit on the counter with substitute Matt Fitzgerald finishing off a fast paced attack at the back post after Joe Foxon again squared back, this time after rounding the goalkeeper only to find himself on the goalline wide of the upright.
In the end, Mercury romped their way to a fourth consecutive win, whilst Zandarijn are out, exiting the competition with only one win to their name.
Group standings can be found here!
Craitman wrote: Following the completion of the group stage, the following teams have advanced to the knock-out stages and will play the following fixtures over the next two rounds:
PO1: Florian Republic v Shireroth
PO2: Passas v Talenore*
PO3: Craitland v Freeland
PO4: Krasnarus v Natopia*
QF1: Birgeshir v Winner Play-off 3*
QF2: Kingdom of Coria v Winner Play-off 4
QF3: Senya v Winner Play-off 1*
QF4: Mercury v Winner Play-off 2
Asterisked matches will tentatively be broadcast in full.
Craitman wrote: *Played 3rd August*
Florian Republic vs. ShirerothSenya wrote: Having suffered a final 3-0 defeat following three clean sheets to finish second in their group, the Florian Republic faced off against Shireroth in this year's first World Cup play-off round match, with the Benacians having pulled out a third placed finish in their group after having lost their opening two games of the tournament.
The Florians began the game brightly, with Ryan Clark making a dangerous run down the right wing, but his cross was overhit which ended up in goalkeeper Alejian du Nigrad's hands. The Florians were seemingly eager to bounce back from their thumping at the hands of the host nation, but Shireroth were proving to be a stern test, with both Lloyd Venson and Fjalar Stefánsson putting in strong performances in defence. The Florians knew however that despite being frustrated, they just need to take the chance when it eventually fell to them, which they did in the twenty-fifth minute, when Clark threaded a ball through to Cristiano Ramirez, who flicked the ball to the inside of the defender, before smashing his effort into the top right corner just before an onrushing du Nigrad could get to him to block the shot. The goal sent the Florian fans into raptures, as they began to completely dominate. Moments after the goal, Andrew Lycett's pot shot forced du Nigrad into a save, before Sam Butcher hit the crossbar and Ramirez headed wide.
Despite the Florians' first half dominance, they were only one-nil up, and Shireroth regrouped at half time to come out all guns blazing looking for an equaliser. Jalal Akwá almost got it within five minutes of the restart, latching on to Kurt Lamberti's through ball, but saw his shot saved by Tom Ward, who also held the rebound. But Shireroth weren't to be kept out for long, and equalised through midfielder Sori Thiation, who was able to tap home the rebound after Ward had split a close range effort from Akwá straight into the path of the Vankarha Phyyta Raikoth man. The Florians were finding themselves increasingly frustrated, which was demonstrated by both Derek Campos and Dave Wheeler going into the book for late challenges, the latter being ruled out of any potential quarter-final through yellow card accumulation as a result. Shireroth also had Talsin Llwrran cautioned for a mistimed challenge, but they almost took advantage of the Florians' frustration, but Kurt Lamberti was judged to be offside after being played in by Akwá and slotting the ball past Ward. But with the game heading to extra time, neither side could manage a winner, with the referees whistle calling to a halt a well matched 90 minutes.
In extra time, the Florians again found themselves looking most likely to score, but substitute Llewelyn Wyn-Jones could only head over after Lycett crossed in, with the former Calbion striker bending his neck to try and get on the end of it, Shireroth had a chance of their own, but Akwá's legs looked like they'd gone as he failed to reach a through ball from Jóhann Viðarsson. The second half of extra time seemed to fall victim to tiredness as well, with both sides looking relatively happy to go to penalties.
Shireroth elected to take first, and Jalal Akwá made no mistake with the first kick of the shootout, hammering it into the bottom left corner and sending Ward the wrong way. Cristiano Ramirez then equalised, executing a panenka straight down the middle of the goal. Lamberti took next, again hammering his penalty into a corner, this time the top left, giving Ward no chance once again. Wyn-Jones then fired his penalty into the bottom left, dragging it along the grass, but the keeper had guessed wrong, pulling the Florians level again. Jóhann Viðarsson then smashed his in top the top right, hitting the ball against the bar on its way in. Sam Butcher then stepped up, aiming right, but du Nigrad pulled off the save, giving Shireroth the advantage. Talsin Llwrran then stepped up to double Shireroth's advantage, and he hammed the ball into the top right corner to make it 4-2. Ryan Clark knew that he had to score, but he showed no signs of any nerves as he calmly slotted into the bottom right, again the keeper guessing incorrectly. But all that did was just ensure that if Rranr Kikksta scored his penalty, Shireroth would be through. But to the surprise of almost everyone in the ground, he blazed his penalty over, giving the Florians a major lifeline. Substitute Rhys Chase still knew that if he missed Shireroth would win, but he hit his penalty to the right, the keeper guessed wrong, and all of a sudden the Florians were level once more. Another susbtitute, this time Jonas Overstag, came up to the mark, but this time Tom Ward guessed right, touching the ball round his left post to deny the FC Apollo man and turn the shoot-out on its head. Up stepped Andrew Lycett of Ostville Wednesday, knowing that scoring meant that Floria would win the shoot-out and set up a quarter-final with Senya. Lycett stayed cool, and slammed the penalty into the bottom right, sending them through in the début World Cup campaign.
A tough way for Shireroth to go out, but the Benacians can be satisfied with their overall performance in this tournament, whilst the Florian Republic have now set up a quarter-final against Senya, in a mouthwatering match up.
Passas vs. Talenore
Craitman wrote: *Played 4th August*
Craitland vs. FreelandSenya wrote: Craitland and Freeland squared off against each other in the play-off round, in what was the first ever meeting between the two nations on the football pitch. With a quarter-final against the hosts the reward for winning, both sides lined-up in Koridor knowing that defeat would spell elimination from the tournament.
Craitland started off on the front foot, with Juan and Alexis Pellegrino causing havoc down each flanks early on, asking questions of the Freelandic defence. Cyryl Wieczorek had to pull off an important save early on to deny Will Zóma from close range after meeting a Juan Pellegrino cross on the volley from six yards out. Strike partner Lydveldt Jonmikeltsen was also causing problems for Freeland, hitting a shot against the post from outside the box, before working himself room to shoot just inside it, with his effort being deflected behind by Jakub Baran. Freeland though couldn't hold out all game, and Craitland took a deserved lead when Adám Perryman threaded a through-ball to Zóma, who squared the ball across the six year box for Jonmikeltsen to tap home at the back post. After taking the lead, Craitland showed no signs of slowing down, as Zóma hit the crossbar before Perryman missed a golden header to make it two-nil, but the four-time champions had to make do with just a one goal advantage at half-time.
After half-time Craitland continued to dominate, and doubled their advantage within ten minutes of the restart, with Ĵulian Ólsen playing the ball to Hänä Zensen, who had time and space to take a touch and leather home a fantastic strike from the edge of the 'D' into the top right corner to give Craitland their second goal of the game. Freeland were really struggling to keep pace, with Jonmikeltsen almost scoring his second of the day after a sweet strike from the egde of the box was cleared off the line by Andrzej Szpak. But in this game of complete domination, the Craits would find a third goal, with Alexis Pellegrino playing a one-two with Will Zóma, allowing him to cut inside, before playing his cross along the ground to Jonmikeltsen in the box, who tapped the ball into the bottom left corner ahead of the onrushing goalkeeper to make it three-nil. Freeland had been all over the place, but almost pulled back a consolation goal when Adam Brzeziński's cross had to be punched by Francis Hjansen, but Tomasz Kaźmierczak's lobbed rebound just sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
In the end, Craitland were just too much for their Apollonian opponents, who despite their loss, can be proud of their performance at this, their début World Cup, whilst Craitland keep up their record of reaching every World Cup's quarter-final phase, where they will face host nation Birgeshir.
Krasnarus vs. Natopia
Craitman wrote: Quarter-finals
QF1: Birgeshir v Craitland*
QF2: Kingdom of Coria v Krasnarus
QF3: Senya v Florian Republic*
QF4: Mercury v Talenore
Asterisked matches will tentatively be broadcast in full.
Craitman wrote: *Played 8th August*
Birgeshir vs. Craitland
Kingdom of Coria vs. KrasnarusSenya wrote: The Kingdom of Coria and Krasnarus faced off in an all-Krasnocorian quarter-final, with both sides perhaps having exceeded expectations by just getting to this phase alone, despite both playing in their very first World Cup. As a result, the fans of both teams were starting to dream of a potential semi-final.
Coria started the better team, with Nemanja Ahčev perhaps unlucky not to give his side the lead early on, when he found some space inside the box, but his low shot deflected off of the heel of Miralem Remoranski and onto the post, before Jen Merfil hacked it clear. Krasnarus were also threatening, with Rislen Sumutuv hitting a curling effort from outside the box just wide, before Merku Durmel couldn't quite keep the ball under control as he entered the opposition's box, spurning a good opportunity where Krasnarus had managed to get several players into the box.
By half time neither side had really managed to test the goalkeeper, but that changed in the second half, with Aleksandar Mileusnić's low shot needing Kung Bobing to tip it round the post, before Bobing had to pull off an acrobatic save to deny Martin Ćorluka from scoring. Krasnarus also had their chances, with Merku Drustinuv's header requiring Sašo Fornezi to fumble it over the bar. But the deadlock was to be broken halfway through the second period, when Niko Jeglič's through ball found Aleksandar Mileusnić, who rounded the keeper and stuck the shot coolly into the back of the net. Krasnarus were shocked into a response, but Srbijo Radmanović's dipping effort hit the crossbar, before David Gulley spurned a massive chance at the back post, stretching into to try and tap in at the unguarded back post, but he couldn't quite make enough contact on the ball to level the score. And with the game entering its dying moments, Coria rounded off the win, with Mileusnić this time turning provider, sliding the ball back across goal for Martin Ćorluka to slam home into the unguarded side of the net, to give Coria passage to the semi-finals, in what has been an extraordinary campaign.
Craitman wrote: *Played 9th August*
Senya vs. Florian Republic
Mercury vs. TalenoreSenya wrote: Mercury, who had comfortably run out as Group D winners, and were the only team left with a 100% record in both qualifying and the finals tournament, faced a Talenore team that they had beaten twice in qualifying, 3-1 at home and 1-0 away, who had subsequently advanced from Group A before dispatching Passas 2-1 in the play-off round.
The Mercurians came into the game as favourites and began positively, with Joe Foxon forcing Taki Tolâso into an early save, before a corner found the head of Addey Hanbury, but he couldn't quite keep his header down. Talenore though were holding firm, and even conjured up opportunities of their own, with Peder Xvarts coming closest as his low driven shot from the edge of the box skimmed the upright on its way wide. Mercury though were perhaps unlucky not to be awarded a penalty, when Foxon appeared to be caught by Petro Gjanocca, but the referee viewed that no contact had taken place, even though replays showed that it had.
Talenore had held out to the break, but started to get a foothold in the second half, playing some tidy short passes and keeping the ball well in the midfield. They had a chance to take the lead when Kali Kalani found himself free in the box, but whilst his shot beat the keeper, Chris Deacon was on hand to clear the ball of the line to keep Mercury level. Mercury were able to eventually gain a period of control in the second half, but could only really create one chance of note, with William Fresnel slipping in Stephen Rydberg, but the May Wanderers midfielder snatched at his shot and ended up being a simple save for Tolâso to deal with. But just as fans began feeling that the game would go to extra time, up stepped Mercury with the goods to send themselves to the semis. With under five minutes to go, Wilmont Fizeau-Blake found space on the edge of the box and dinked a ball through to Joe Foxon, who side footed it first time between the legs of the onrushing Tolâso to send the Mercurian fans wild. Talenore were unlucky to lose, but Mercury were able to find the moment of magic to break the deadlock and send them through to the final four.
Craitman wrote: Semi-finals
SF1: Birgeshir v Mercury*
SF2: Kingdom of Coria v Senya*
Asterisked matches will tentatively be broadcast in full.
Craitman wrote: *Played 13th August*
Birgeshir vs. Mercury
Craitman wrote: *Played 14th August*
Kingdom of Coria vs. Senya
Craitman wrote: Third-place play-off
Birgeshir vs. Kingdom of Coria
Mercury vs. Senya*
Asterisked matches will tentatively be broadcast in full.
Craitman wrote: *Played 17th August*
Birgeshir vs. Kingdom of CoriaSenya wrote: Birgeshir and the Kingdom of Coria walked out in Otaq for the game that nobody really wants to be in, the third place play-off. But with a bronze medal on the line, there was still something to play for; with Birgeshir wanting to round off a successful home World Cup with a medal, whilst the Corians were looking to bounce back from their thrashing at the hands of Senya that they endured in the semi-final.
Birgeshir started on the front foot and looked to attack straight from the off, with Çengiz Tahir cutting back on the edge of the box and chipping the ball into Amam Karadeniz, who could only poke his effort onto the crossbar, before Tahir headed the rebound over the crossbar. Coria though never looked rattled, and played some nice passes in midfield, demonstrating a cool possession style in an attempt to nullify the Birgesh midfield. The Apollonians did struggle to create oppurtunities, but Nemanja Ahčev came close to scoring when he let fly from 25-yards out, requiring Iu-Senb Ercanojk to make an impressive sprawling save to keep the game goalless.
Despite a first half that had not produce much in the way of chances, the deadlock was broken just 14 seconds into the second half. Coria kicked off, played the ball to Aleksandar Mileusnić, who picked up the ball just inside the opponent's half, dribbled past two players, cut inside, and let fly, with his effort hitting the top-right corner with amazing accuracy and power, leaving the keeper with absolutely no chance. This sprung Birgeshir into life, and they hit back almost immediately, with Sarapou Lahar playing the ball through the legs of Danijel Despotović to find Amam Karadeniz, who slotted the ball calmly between the legs of the goalkeeper to put Birgeshir back on level terms within two and a half minutes of falling behind. Despite the frantic start to the second half, neither side could really find much else in the next twenty five minutes to get the crowd excited, but that all changed when Bebi Bælhara's cross was handled by substitute Milan Matić in the penalty area, with the referee making no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Çengiz Tahir thumped the penalty into the top left corner, giving Birgeshir the lead. And with that goal, there was seemingly no coming back for Coria. Birgeshir wasted no time in killing the game off, with Sarapou Lahar firing home from the edge of the box into the bottom right corner just four minutes later to double their advantage. Or did they? As with just five minutes left on the clock, Andraž Kim whipped a free-kick into the box, that Martin Ćorluka got enough purchase on to divert past the goalkeeper to bring Coria right back into the game. But unfortunately for the Corians, it was a case of too little, too late, as Birgeshir withstood their final five minutes of fight to claim a bronze medal in this World Cup, representing their best ever performance in this competition.
Craitman wrote: *Played 18th August*
Mercury vs. Senya
Craitman wrote: Senya dominate team of the tournament after victory
Five Senyan players have been included in the 2019 World Cup's all-star XI, including Aleks Mëa who takes the coveted "golden ball" award for the best individual, after the team won its first ever Micras title yesterday.
Left-back Mëa, the first defender to be named the World Cup's best player since the competition began in 2006, is joined by his defensive teammate on the opposite flank Karl Rœč, both left- and right-wingers Barnaby Hands and Ƨinkœ Zvet, and striker Kiket Volinsk, whose goalscoring exploits this summer have been noted as a key factor in turning Senya into champions.
The remainder of the team comprises three silver-medallist Mercurians; striker and overall tournament top scorer with seven goals Joe Foxon, who makes a third appearance in a tournament team, centre-back Stephen Charlton, and midfielder Stephen Rydberg, with the remaining three coming from the two losing semi-finalists. Hosts Birgeshir see goalkeeper Iu-Senb Ercanojk and central midfielder Ken-Amen Ercænojk included, while Corian forward Aleksandar Mileusnić's five goals put him in to complete a front three.