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Thread: [STORY] What Lus Olivera did next a short story

  1. #51
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    There's no easy games at this level.

    If you are up against Italy, they must have come second in their group, which shows that they are beatable. Who was it that beat them ?
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  3. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Who was it that beat them ?
    They beat Austria and Portugal (who beat us in qualifying) and lost to Spain (who else?)

    That's a tough group - they did well to get out of it...

  4. #53
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    Another tough fixture ahead.

    It'll be a tight one.

    Piatek to the rescue again?

  5. #54
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    England finishing bottom of the group with 0 points, seriously... that's just England all over

    Italy is going to be a tough one, but then any game was going to be tough this far into the tournament anyway. Good luck with it!

    The question on my mind though, is when will Luis Olivera take over the England job and finally give us the success we want?

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  7. #55
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    Italy - tough game! But then so was Germany...

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  9. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebfatz View Post
    Another tough fixture ahead.
    Quote Originally Posted by kuy View Post
    Italy - tough game! But then so was Germany...
    Quote Originally Posted by Malovaan View Post
    Italy is going to be a tough one, but then any game was going to be tough this far into the tournament anyway. Good luck with it!
    Yep, not going to be easy... players all seem to be getting knackered too (lots of 87%ers for match-day)... will post an update on Tue... cheers for following the story so far...

  10. #57
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    This tournament looks winnable!

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  12. #58
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    In the group stages Italy had lost to Spain, but won against Austria and Portugal. They were hard to beat – in the best tradition of Italian teams – defending as a unit and frequently keeping their opponents to nil. Simone Scuffet, now 35, remained their keeper and was known to Olivera from their time together at Madrid. Scuffet had been his first choice between the sticks from day one at Real, but eventually forced a move through to Man City in November 2027. Olivera had no hard feelings about it and knew his strike force would have a tough task to beat the veteran stopper. At the other end of the pitch Mirco Volpe and Moreno Antonioli were both talented attackers and would keep the Polish defence on its toes.

    Olivera’s toughest decision was who to put in goal. Gaca had not especially impressed from the bench in the Germany game, so he went with Boguslaw Matusiak. It was a close call and the manager felt nervous about it. It added to his nerves that many people were picking the Poles to win – painting them as the faster, more energetic team.

    Those predictions already looked daft after a tight first half ended 0-0. Poland had come closest to scoring but the Italians had monopolised the ball and, during the break, Olivera could see that all the chasing his players were doing was having an impact. They were wilting. It wasn’t long into the second half before he had to substitute captain Sidorczuk, who could barely run any more. The Italians were so patient – moving the ball around carefully, probing the Polish defence, passing it back, passing it sideways. It was infuriating to watch. It took 79 minutes for one of their star strikers to find enough space for a real attempt on goal. And sure enough, when presented with a chance, Mirco Volpe volleyed the ball into the net beyond the diving Matusiak. Polish hearts were broken.

    They tried to strike back. Olivera brought on a second forward and urged his players on. They created one final chance, but Wojcik – so impressive in the tournament to date – shot over. At the whistle, his players – exhausted – made for the dressing room. Olivera had to turn them around to pay tribute to the fans, who’d (as always) been in superb voice throughout. Everyone was disappointed; nobody was angry. They’d been well beaten… but they had overachieved in getting so far.


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  14. #59
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    Late goal! That really hurts! But as you say, even getting to this point is marvellous. I wonder what the match stats were?
    Did the Italians do what they are good at? Defend and score from one of the few chances they get?

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  16. #60
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    Yes, yes, yes...but what about the Danes?

  17. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by trunky View Post
    Yes, yes, yes...but what about the Danes?
    Sulking on the plane home I'm afraid. Or maybe a coach - they're only travelling from Norway... but definitely sulking.

  18. #62
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    Good effort. These tight games do depend on who gets the luck on the day. What next for Luis Olivera ? A long time till the next tournament if this is a short story
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  20. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    What next for Luis Olivera ? A long time till the next tournament if this is a short story
    Thanks Kingsley. Think we'll see this one through until the World Cup. International saves go by quite quickly, so it'll still be short!

  21. #64
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    The Italians did what the Italians do.

    A decent tournament though and now two years to find a couple more decent Poles to bolster the squad.

    Any looking like they won't be around come 2034?

  22. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by samsami View Post
    Did the Italians do what they are good at? Defend and score from one of the few chances they get?
    It was classic Italian stuff. Hardly any shots on or off target for either team. One of those games where you get no commentary for about 30 mins as literally nothing is happening!

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  24. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebfatz View Post
    Any looking like they won't be around come 2034?
    Midfield could be an issue. Wolski, Wojcik and Sidorczuk could all possibly be retired by then. And the kids don't look great. But sometimes the end of season data update delivers a present or two, so we'll see.

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    Lying awake a few weeks later, Olivera wondered why he didn’t feel more pain. After all, they’d been close to making it through to the semi finals – only a single goal dividing the teams. After the euphoria of the Germany game, the defeat should have sent them crashing back to earth.

    The tournament had carried on without the Poles of course. There was more heartbreak in the last quarter final as the hosts went out to Holland, who were then beaten themselves by Italy after extra time in the semis. In the second semi, Spain thumped Russia 4-0. And it was the Spanish who were victorious again in the final, Borja Saizar scoring a hat-trick to win it 3-0. The Italians, so defensively competent against everyone else, fell apart against Pep’s tika-taka. It was their second successive European Championship. Never before had an international side been quite so dominant.

    Olivera watched it all with interest rather than envy. And, in an unusually reflective mood, he questioned why that was. He wondered whether it had something to do with the fact that he’d already been as low as football could take you. He no longer feared it…

    20 May 2026 was a date that was indelibly inked in his mind. It had been, hands down, the worst night of his career.

    He was well into his spell at Real Madrid, his team having just secured their second successive La Liga title. They had been favourites for the Champions League from the off and were rarely troubled all the way to the final. Awaiting them in the showpiece, held in Moscow that year, were Barcelona. The Catalans hadn’t been great that season – capable of exhilarating performances but wildly inconsistent. Most experts expected Madrid to have too much for them – too much power, too much quality, too much organisation.

    But from the first minute the game was completely out of their control. Barca were swarming all over Madrid, winning the ball and launching lightning-fast attacks with alarming frequency. Olivera desperately made tactical adjustments, throwing on another midfielder early to try and gain a foothold. But they were already 2-0 down by then and everything he did just seemed to make matters worse. After the fourth goal he retreated from his technical area and slumped into his chair. He had no more instructions for his players. He had no way of doing anything except watching the nightmare unfold.

    After that, he barely remembered anything – other than the unique feeling of being utterly humiliated by his biggest rivals on the most public stage possible. That feeling stayed with him for months. In some ways, it had never left. He’d won the Champions League the very next year, overcoming his old team Real Sociedad in the final. But even that hadn’t wiped clean the memory of the worst night. That was what he called it now: ‘the worst night’.



    So a quarter final exit with Poland in the European Championship? He could handle that. And now there was the 2034 World Cup in England to work towards…
    Last edited by Fourfourtwo; 23-05-16 at 09:15 AM. Reason: typos corrected

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  27. #68
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    Ouch. That final was a tough one to handle. I'm not surprised that it left scars.

    Onwards and upwards though and World Cup qualifying to negotiate. Just so as I know to set the expectations for the rest of my life, have Scotland qualified for any finals ever ?
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

  28. #69
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    Yeah. That is a pasting.
    And as you say, after all the hard work of getting there.

    And least you won it the year after. Imagine if you'd never won it again!!

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  30. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingsley View Post
    Just so as I know to set the expectations for the rest of my life, have Scotland qualified for any finals ever ?
    In 2015 they lost a European Championship playoff to Austria on away goals. Since then? Not a sausage. Sorry mate!

  31. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fourfourtwo View Post
    In 2015 they lost a European Championship playoff to Austria on away goals. Since then? Not a sausage. Sorry mate!
    Surprising. Champ doesn't usually reflect real life so accurately
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  33. #72
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    When, just over two months later in September, it came time for Olivera to name his squad for the first three World Cup qualifiers, he didn’t make wholesale changes. Left-winger Robert Grzelack was out of favour at Lech Poznan and had been put up for loan, so he was dropped. Right-back Rafal Ziolowski was injured and Mariusz Kaczorowski had been the most disappointing Pole at the Euros, so they both missed out. The right of defence would comprise Radoslaw Nowak and Mateusz Murdza – otherwise the first eleven was the same one that started against Italy.

    One player who came back full of confidence was the defensive midfielder Slawomir Pajak, who had secured a high profile 9 million move to Seville in July. Pajak had been a slow starter, but was now regarded as one of the stars of the Poland team – a clinical tackler and accurate passer. He was rising with his nation.

    The first qualifier was away in Sweden, who had missed out on the Euros after a play-off loss to Denmark. The Swedes started well and it took a desperate last gasp tackle from Sidorczuk to prevent an early goal. But the game turned immediately as the captain went up the other end and scored with a searing shot from outside the area. When their keeper was sent off for bringing down Piatek on 16 minutes the white flag was waved. Sidorczuk got his second with the penalty, Kulawik scored a third and Piatek kept his goals-to-games ratio up with the fourth. It was a mightily impressive performance by the Poles, including a strong debut from Murdza.



    Four days later, they were at home to a Latvia side spearheaded by striker Dmitrijs Ksenzovs, who had recently been signed by Real Betis for 8.5 million. He barely got a touch, as Wojcik scored a hat-trick to win the game 3-0. Sitting in the hole just behind Piatek, the attacker had been a real star at the Euros and was maintaining that form. Now 32 years old, Olivera was keeping his fingers crossed the player would still be on the pitch by the time the World Cup rolled around.

    If Poland’s form was impressive, it went without saying that Spain’s was too. They added to their collection of trophies at the Olympics, demonstrating there was no shortage of young talent to follow their current world-beaters. The bar was set high and Olivera had work to do.

    Poland had one more qualifier to play before a long break from competitive action. It was a visit to Northern Ireland, who had already lost 3-1 to Latvia. It had ‘easy’ written all over it. Olivera made a change at left-back with Krystian Malecki coming in for the out-of-sorts Kowalski. They kept to their habit of scoring early goals, with Piatek putting in the first on three minutes and Wojcik adding a second soon after. Wolski and Wojciech Budka, on up front for Piatek having had a great start to the season for Legia Warsaw, added the final touches. The win was only spoiled by the concession of a late penalty – the first goal they’d shipped in the campaign. Qualification already looked a probability.



    There was one final game to go before the end of the year – a friendly at home to Scotland. With Piatek injured, Olivera tried out 19 year-old Mariusz Machaj up front as part of an experimental line-up. The kid impressed, having a goal disallowed early on and scoring twice in the second half. He was one to watch without a doubt. There were also strong debuts for Mariusz Lech in goal and left-winger Veselin Bajic from the bench. The squad was at last looking like it had some depth.

    With the win over Scotland, Poland closed out 2032 having played 10 games: 8W, 1D, 1L. They were building.
    Last edited by Fourfourtwo; 24-05-16 at 11:36 AM.

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  35. #73
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    Kingsley - just to add, the final score against Scotland was 2-0. But if it helps, England aren't much better...

  36. #74
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    I could go off this story !

    What is Poland's world ranking like now ? Must be in the top 10.
    The artist formally known as The Eejit

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  38. #75
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    Very solid start.

    You had me worried when you said that there weren't many coming through ready for the next tournament.

    Looks at the moment that you will be just fine. Getting there at least.

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