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PCM.daily » PCM Stories & Story Games » PCM 18: Stories
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Diamonds in the Rough (Vuelta P2)
Mresuperstar
i.imgur.com/btNYSbm.jpg

World Cup 2022 Review (Part 1)

The sights. The sounds. The excitement. This is the biggest event in the world.

We could hear the opening ceremony of the tournament while preparing in the locker room. The Guangdong Olympic Stadium packed to brim with 80,000 screaming fans. What a scene to behold. All eyes on us against the hosts.

Walking out of the tunnel was magical. The national anthems played. Flags waved.
A sea of red and green, and here I was in the middle of it all. This was better than anything I could have possibly dreamed. Don't wake me up. The whistle blew.

World Cup, Group Stage #1 vs. China
June 10, 2022
Can we keep our emotions under control? Fly Eagles Fly!

Spoiler
i.imgur.com/rItO6Gj.jpg

KICKOFF from the Guangdong Olympic Stadium

Summary: Welcome to Guangzhou, China, for the opening game of the 2022 World Cup against the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the hosts China. There is some light rain in the area trying to dampen the mood, but it should all clear out by halftime. We are excited to have you here for what should be an exciting affair.

These two teams have never played each other, let alone come up against each other in the World Cup before. Scouting and preparation had to be difficult for such a match.

For Nigeria, its World Cup prep friendlies included a 2-0 win over Ethiopia and a 3-1 loss to Brazil. Head coach Jay-Jay Okocha wasn't too concerned about the lost to the high-powered Brazilians, stating: "We only got outshot 11-10, 6-5 on target, and narrowly lost the possession battle. We just have to finish our chances. And make sure superstar players like Neymar and Roberto Firmino don't beat us."

For China, they picked up a 3-1 win over New Caledonia and a 90th minute winner from Meng Zezhou to knock off Krygzstan 4-3.

Not surprising odds makers have Nigeria, 36th in the world rankings, as a heavy favourite to win today over China, 103rd in the world rankings. But, how much does having the home crowd behind you in a World Cup opener make a difference?

Speaking of fans, the traveling Nigeria supporters are sensing an early chance for the Super Eagles here in the seventh minute. Building up from the defense, Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi has found Kelechi Iheanancho cutting behind China's defense!

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GOAL! K. Iheanacho | Assist: A. Iwobi | Nigeria 1-0

Flying start for Nigeria! Play those drums. The African nation is vibing.

China is appealing for an offsides call. Will we go to VAR here?

No. The assistant official is adamant that Iheanacho stayed on. Our cameras barely confirm the same thing. Well done by that lad to not mess up the first goal of the tournament. That can't be said about the Chinese goalkeeper Yan Junling.

It wasn't a well-placed shot, but every goal counts in the World Cup.

Iheanacho's first World Cup goal couldn't have come at a better time.

And now, here in the 24th minute, Iheanacho is sprung free again!

That is a perfect through ball by Marcus Diamond. Iheanacho is one-on-one with the keeper! Surely he can't bottle this chance...

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GOAL! K. Iheanacho (2) | Assist: M. Diamond | Nigeria 2-0

Soar Eagles Soar. Iheanancho sidesteps the goalie for his second of the game. The 25-year-old is putting his name into the conversation for the Golden Boot less than half an hour into the tournament.

Also, the composure by 22-year-old Marcus Diamond to pick out that pass was sublime. That's his first assist in a Nigeria kit. I'd love to go more in-depth about his story, but Nigeria is on the attack again.

Oh, no. China.

Alex Iwobi is dragged down in the box and the referee had no choice but to point to the penalty spot here in the 28th minute. Who is going to step up and take it?

Of course, it has to be Iheanacho.

If he converts this, it will be the second-fastest hat trick to start a game in World Cup history. Erich Probst scored three for Austria in the first 24 minutes of a 1954 World Cup match.

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GOAL! K. Iheanacho (3) | Penalty Kick | Nigeria 3-0

I don't believe my own eyes. This is absurd what Nigeria has done here on enemy territory. The Guangdong Olympic Stadium has been stunned into silence, except for the corner of Nigeria fans that Iheanacho runs to after lashing in a penalty kick for a historic hat trick.

Who could have predicted this?

Stop this madness... Nigeria is on the attack again in the 35th minute. Thank goodness, that shot sails wide from Oghenekaro Etebo. Wait, they are saying Yan Junling got his fingertips to it for no real reason. Nigeria will certainly take the free corner.

Diamond crosses the ball in to the edge of the box for Iwobi.

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GOAL! A. Iwobi | Assist: M. Diamond (2) | Nigeria 4-0

It's an absolute world-class strike from Iwobi. Goal of the tournament?

Nigeria is going to run out of celebratory dances at this rate, and I'm going to lose my voice before halftime. 4-0! Complete domination.

The Super Eagles can do no wrong. Oops, spoke too soon.

Yellow Card | Wilfred Ndidi | 38th Minute

The Nigeria captain with a careless tackle to get his name in the book. With two accumulated yellow cards needed to get a one-match suspension, Ndidi is now playing on thin ice.

Nigeria does well to clear the danger of the ensuing free kick and is counter attack the other way. A ball just out of the reach of Diamond, however, has China going back the other way in a hurry.

A cross into the box, and huh...

What is Nigeria goalkeeper Joseph Sunday doing?

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GOAL! L. Yuanhao | Assist: M. Zezhou | Nigeria 4-1

That's a monumental blunder from Sunday there. Just pick the ball up. I guess that's the nerves of the World Cup working against you. China's first goal of the tournament comes in the 39th minute.

Liao Yuanhao, one of the youngest players in the tournament at 20 years old, opens his goal scoring account at the World Cup. His third international goal.

That should bring us to halftime... Nope. Diamond is standing over another Nigeria corner here in the 42nd minute. Surely, not.

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GOAL! J. Torunarigha | Assist: M. Diamond (3) | Nigeria 5-1

Are we playing FIFA right now? Center back Jordan Torunarigha gets a deflection off the defender guarding the post and that goes in. It's five. Marcus Diamond with his third, yes third, assist of the first half. That has to be a World Cup record.

Somebody put China out of its misery. There it is. The halftime whistle.

I'm supposed to do a halftime report, but just let me catch my breath.

Second Half KICKOFF

The ball is rolling again and it looks like some of the Chinese supporters have left at halftime. Let me reiterate, this is a World Cup game. China hasn't played at a World Cup since 2002 and the fans have already seen enough.

Meanwhile, it's a non-stop party in the green corner of the stadium.

On the field, another yellow piece of paper has been pulled out. Another poor challenge from the Nigeria midfield in the 53rd minute.

Yellow Card | Ogenyi Onazi | 53rd Minute

Being up by four goals, Nigeria can afford to back off a little. But, it doesn't look like they are going to. They want more blood.

Here they come again.

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GOAL! W. Ndidi | Assist: M. Diamond (4) | Nigeria 6-1

I don't even know what to say at this point. Diamond with his fourth assist of the game. Given our data, we are 99% sure that's a World Cup record for most assists in a single game.

Not to put any added pressure on the young kid, but he is nearly halfway to Pelé's all-time record of 10 World Cup assists. And this is his first World Cup game. We have ourselves a breakout star here. This isn't even his full-time job, he is also a cyclist for the SEG Racing Academy in the Netherlands. What can't this kid do?

Apparently stay out of trouble.

Yellow Card | Marcus Diamond | 68th Minute

This foul is going to hurt twice.

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GOAL! T. Hongliang | Assist: W. Lei | Nigeria 6-2

We are starting to close in on the most goals ever scored in a World Cup tournament game. The record currently sits at 12 combined goals when Austria beat Switzerland 7-5 in the 1954 World Cup.

Before I can finish that thought. Another card for Nigeria.

Yellow Card | Alex Iwobi | 72nd Minute

These are key players that are getting in danger for upcoming games. Why head coach Jay-Jay Okocha is allowing this is beyond me. And yes, it looks like he has signaled to call off the dogs at this point. The yellow card to Iwobi was the last straw.

China is pushing to give the fans that stayed one last hurrah.

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GOAL! W. Lei | Assist: M. Zezhou (2) | Nigeria 6-3

Great header there from Lei. But it's only going to be a small footnote in the story of Nigeria's incredible start to the 2022 World Cup.

The final whistle goes. The stats fresh off the printer.

i.imgur.com/fWlxei5.jpg

The Locker Room

Rating: 8.9 - I've never seen this many cameras or done this many interviews in my entire life. The worst part is I think I sound like an idiot in all of them because I don't know what to say. What do you say? Help.

Player of Game: Kelechi Iheanacho, Nigeria (9.5)

Making Headlines

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Around The World Cup

Group Tables

i.imgur.com/KWs80vK.jpg

Tournament Leaders

i.imgur.com/LHb4xJ6.jpg

Afterthoughts

I'm still trying to put into perspective what happened. I just played my best game of my career on the biggest stage imaginable. My name, Marcus Diamond, gets etched in the history books as the most assists ever in a World Cup game. That's crazy.

Even more so, Costa Rica somehow knocked off Belgium 1-0. Looking elsewhere across the groups, I can't help but laugh at England losing 2-1 to Mexico. Sweden upset Germany 1-0. Senegal won a bizarre game against South Korea, 5-4. Australia also scored five goals.

Next up, Belgium.

Stay Tuned For World Cup 2022 Review (Part 2)

Edited by Mresuperstar on 26-11-2020 12:45
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https://twitter.com/Mresuperstar
jandal7
What a way to open the World Cup, one of the great opening day showcases Grin And what a brilliant brilliant day for Marcus, eclipsing almost all of our goal involvement predictions in a game, he should be so proud of himself, but no time for partying yet with the group very interestingly poised now Costa Rica have beaten Belgium. A point or three in the next game is crucial, let's do it!

With Ndidi and Iheanacho both just 25 and Marcus only 22, there is a very strong leading trio for Nigeria for the next decade!

Very happy to see the new Wikipedia football section "The Rising Star" now, hopefully this World Cup form continues for a real breakthrough for Marcus. Love that post btw and you keeping it updated, really cool Grin
24/02/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don't drink famous people."
22/07/21 - quadsas said "I admire you [jandal] so much as a manager, squad builder and a person"
15/08/22 - SotD said "Your [jandal's] humour is overrated"

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [PCT] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing

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4x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x4
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Mresuperstar
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World Cup 2022 Review (Part 2)

After a statement win in the opener against China, the real test is now directly in front of us. Big bad Belgium. After their shocking 1-0 loss to Costa Rica, can we exploit Belgium's vulnerabilities or will we be exposed to its wrath of fury?

Memories, good or bad, will be made here tonight. I'm ready.

World Cup, Group Stage #2 vs. Belgium
June 15, 2022
Costa Rica and China play tomorrow, so all focus stays on this contest.

Spoiler
i.imgur.com/uasbAXS.jpg

KICKOFF from the Hohhot City Stadium

Summary: Welcome to the second game of the group stage. Group A has been full of surprises and entertaining so far. We shall see if we can keep that going tonight between No. 11 nationally-ranked Belgium against No. 36-ranked Nigeria.

We have to start our broadcast by talking about Belgium's letdown against 10-man Costa Rica in its opening match. A crossed in volley by David Ramirez in the 13th minute was the only goal of the game. Four minutes later, Sadier Camacho was shown a red card.

Belgium peppered goalkeeper Keylor Navas with 14 out 34 shots hitting the target. Navas stopped every one. Late in the match, Belgium's Arthur Maes was also shown a red card and isn't available for today's match.

As for Nigeria, I don't think I have to say much. They drew all the national headlines with a 6-3 win over hosts China in the first game of the tournament. Kelechi Iheanacho scored a hat trick in less than 30 minutes and breakout star Marcus Diamond dished out a World Cup record four assists.

Did Nigeria use up all its firepower too soon? The defense was questionable as well by allowing three goals. Give up three goals to Belgium and good luck just trying to salvage a point, let alone a win.

The Nigeria defense is already under some heavy pressure in the early going. And Belgium is on the move again. Leon Bailey uses his speed on the wing to create an opening to whip in a cross.

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GOAL! R. Lukaku | Assist: L. Bailey | Belgium 1-0

Belgium has finally scored its first goal of the World Cup and its the veteran Manchester United star doing the damage. Romelu Lukaku uses his big frame to carve out shape in the box and finishes. Well played.

Nigeria has to mark that, or prevent Bailey from getting in that cross.

This was exactly the start Belgium needed to resurrect its chances in this World Cup. Wipe away the Costa Rica loss and push forward. When Spain won the 2010 World Cup, they lost to open up the tournament, 1-0.

But, Spain certainly didn't do this...

Red Card | Boli Bolingoli | 30th Minute

That might be the dumbest challenge I have ever seen. A two-legged slide into the back of Alex Iwobi. Referee Mendes Costa had no hesitation going to his back pocket and pulling out a red card. A straight red.

Iwobi walks off the jarring challenge and stays in the game. Nigeria has been given a lifeline to slay Belgium. Can they capitalize?

Playing a man-up for 60 minutes doesn't guarantee a goal.

At this rate, it might not be a full 60 minutes.

Yellow Card | Victor Moses | 37th Minute

Nigeria's second-most capped player on the field should know better than to drop a shoulder to gain an advantage. It certainly looked worse than it actually was, but that doesn't stop Belgium from complaining that Moses should be sent off to even the playing field.

To no avail, and we carry on with halftime fast approaching.

Belgium earns a free kick in a dangerous spot a minute into stoppage time. Bailey tries to find Lukaku again, but it's cleared out of harm's way. Iheanacho starts the counter attack and gets the ball over to Oghenekaro Etebo, who hits Iwobi out on the wing.

Iwobi cuts the ball back into Diamond. He has a shooting lane if he wants to take a crack at it. The equalizer is on the cards.

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GOAL! K. Iheanacho (4) | Assist: M. Diamond (5) | Tied 1-1

We should have know Diamond was going to make the extra pass. The Super Eagles assistor comes through clutch again by finding Iheanacho out of the corner of his eye. It's a sensational team goal.

Iheanacho increases his lead in the Golden Boot hunt and Diamond is just on another level with five assists. The most assists in a single World Cup is seven by Pelé.

Any time you are mentioned in the same sentence as Pelé, you must be doing something extraordinary.

That late goal, two minutes into stoppage time, by Iheanacho will take us into halftime tied up at 1-1. Safe to say 10-man Belgium could be in some trouble here. Also, will be interesting to see if Nigeria plays for the draw or goes for the win. Decisions.

Second Half KICKOFF

Back underway and Belgium is quick to make a tactic change in the 51st minute. Bailey is coming off for Axel Witsel in the midfield. This is already Belgium's second change after bringing on a replacement defender, 20-year-old Briek Buyse, when Bolingoli was sent off.

A little over 10 minutes later, Belgium decides to make its final sub. Nany Dimata for Lukaku. A very interesting choice to get fresh legs up front. Dimata is in the game less than minute before he gets fouled.

Card coming too.

Yellow Card | Ogenyi Onazi | 63rd Minute

That is Onazi's second yellow of the tournament, so he is going to miss Nigeria's third and final group stage game against Costa Rica in a couple of days. Not ideal, but there is a possibility that Nigeria could lock up a Round of 16 berth before that game even kicks off. A win here and a win by Costa Rica over China tomorrow would secure that.

But, that's thinking way too far ahead. Stay in the present. Where Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld has gone down on the pitch holding his left leg. The medical staff has been called out to take a look here in the 81st minute.

I don't think Alderwiereld would be the type of guy to fake this one to shave some time off the clock. He looks like he is in true pain. But, as I say that, he wants to stay in the game. Interesting. Belgium can't really afford a draw though.

Now, Nigeria with its final sub to solidify its defense with wingback Kingsley Madu replacing Jordan Torunarigha, who was limping around. Nigeria also replaced both its defensive midfielders Onazi and captain Wilfred Ndidi in the 70th minute with Uche Agbo and Azubuike Okey.

Speaking of Okey. Belgium might want to put a defender on him...

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GOAL! A. Okey | Assist: M. Diamond (6) | Nigeria 2-1

Pandemonium at Hohhot City Stadium. Azubuike Okey has sent Nigeria into a state of hysteria in the 89th minute with a marvelous one-time strike from outside of the box. And, of course, it's Marcus Diamond who found him unmarked for assist No. 6.

You honestly can't write a script any better than this for Nigeria.

Astonishing. Remarkable. Unbelievable.

And that will do it. The final whistle goes. Nigeria stuns Belgium, 2-1.

The Super Eagles probably would have happily taken a draw at the start of the game, and here they are stealing three points at the death.

Fantastic stuff.

The final stats have been reported.

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The Locker Room

Rating: 8.0 - Pelé, who?

Player of Game: Azubuike Okey, Nigeria (8.0)

Making Headlines

i.imgur.com/yGtlUKI.jpg

Around The World Cup

Group Tables

i.imgur.com/b56RMX3.jpg

Tournament Leaders

i.imgur.com/2lM30ON.jpg

Afterthoughts

Costa Rica takes care of China, 3-0, and we have secured a spot in the Round of 16! It's the fourth time in club history that we have reached that far — the most for any African nation.

Now, it's about seeding. Win or draw we top Group A. A loss and we finish second and will have to face the winners of Group B in the next round. Group B is still quite a mess with the possibility of France, Portugal or Colombia all escaping.

Elsewhere, defending champions Croatia have gone through as well as Mexico, Sweden and Holland. England recovered after its opening-round loss with a 2-1 win over Russia to return to good shape.

Good news is Group B will play before us, so we will know who our opponent will be in the next round if we win the group or finish second. Could make things interesting in trying to avoid a team like France.

Four teams still haven't scored a goal: Serbia, Togo, Tunisia and Iran. While seven teams haven't managed to get a point: Belgium, China, Japan, Togo, United States, South Korea and Uruguay. Some pretty big names there.

Next up, Costa Rica.

Stay Tuned For World Cup 2022 Review (Part 3)

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https://twitter.com/Mresuperstar
jandal7
The greatest twist of any PCM story: make them believe for two years they're looking after and supporting some young prospect named Marcus Diamond who isn't even a top-division footballer yet, then pull the rug out and reveal he's literally Pele! :lol: Absolutely nuts, this is amazing. Come on the Eagles BananaBanana
24/02/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don't drink famous people."
22/07/21 - quadsas said "I admire you [jandal] so much as a manager, squad builder and a person"
15/08/22 - SotD said "Your [jandal's] humour is overrated"

[ICL] Santos-Euskadi | The Life And Times | [PCT] i.imgur.com/c85NSl6.png Xero Racing

i.imgur.com/PdCbs9I.png
i.imgur.com/RPIlJYr.png
4x i.imgur.com/wM6Wok5.png x4
i.imgur.com/olRsxdu.pngpcmdaily.com/images/mg/Awards2021/funniest21.png
 
Mresuperstar
jandal7 wrote:
The greatest twist of any PCM story: make them believe for two years they're looking after and supporting some young prospect named Marcus Diamond who isn't even a top-division footballer yet, then pull the rug out and reveal he's literally Pele! :lol: Absolutely nuts, this is amazing. Come on the Eagles BananaBanana

I wish I could take credit for the that, but I'm just along for the crazy ride like everybody else. Even more so with the football updates because I can't control his in-game movements. It's been amazing to watch and report on. All the hard work of building up his attributes is finally starting to pay off. Go Super Eagles!
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https://twitter.com/Mresuperstar
jaxika
Wow. I was a Littke bit pessimistic in my orediction, I thought that he even didn't play as a starter. But he played amd with what a fashion. Just Great.
 
jaxika
Wow. I was a Littke bit pessimistic in my orediction, I thought that he even didn't play as a starter. But he played amd with what a fashion. Just Great.
 
Ripley
From zero to stardom on the international stage in just one match, and even following it up with another fine performance. Congratulaions! Nice to see my local lad Torunarigha score.
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Mresuperstar
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World Cup 2022 Review (Part 3)

Grace had the biggest smile I had ever seen when I picked her up from the airport. After finishing her racing commitments with the SEG Racing Academy, my girlfriend was finally able to come to China to watch me play and hang out.

Once we were done having a good laugh over dinner — eating noodles with chopsticks isn't easy — I got a call from head coach Jay-Jay Okocha.

"Hey Marcus, I just wanted to give you a forewarning that you won't be starting tomorrow. Nothing personal, you have been playing amazing. I'm giving a handful of guys a rest in preparation for our knockout game. That said, come prepared. You never know if we will need a spark off the bench to secure points."

Not the conversation I wanted to have, but I have full trust in what Okocha's vision is for us. The hard part, however, was telling a smiling and joyful Grace that she was going to have to look for me on the sidelines.

World Cup, Group Stage #3 vs. Costa Rica
June 21, 2022
Found a comfy seat on the bench and settled in.

Spoiler
i.imgur.com/ylLM4LK.jpg

KICKOFF from the Jiangxi Olympic Sports Center

Summary: Welcome back for some more World Cup coverage. We are in Nanchang, China, for the only Group A game that actually matters today between the red-hot Nigeria and Central American stunners Costa Rica.

Both teams disposed of European giant Belgium and hosts China to find themselves on six points going into the final group stage game. Winner tops the group, which means avoiding France.

Group B played earlier today with France and Portugal both winning to finish on seven points. Goal difference gave France the group and Portugal second.

Should Nigeria and Costa Rica draw, the Super Eagles would win the group on goal difference and get a Round of 16 date with Portugal.

Both awaiting opponents — France and Portugal — are ranked inside FIFA's top 10 world rankings, so a challenge ahead either way. As such, Nigeria head coach Jay-Jay Okocha has taken some precautionary measures heading into this match.

The World Cup leader in the Golden Boot race, Kelechi Iheanacho, and breakout assist star, Marcus Diamond, are not in the Starting XI today. Also missing up front is winger Oghenekaro Etebo (replaced by Kalu). Isaac Success steps in and takes Iheanacho's place and Moses Simon will fill in for Diamond.

Nigeria's defensive midfield pair of captain Wilfred Ndidi and Ogenyi Onazi are also on the bench. Onazi is serving a one-game suspension for two yellow cards and Ndidi has passed the captain armband off to Uche Agbo. Azubuike Okey, after his late game winner against Belgium has earned a starting spot in Onazi's absence.

The backline also features one more chance with Kingsley Ehizibue starting in place of Victor Moses, who can't afford another yellow card.

Costa Rica has also made a few minor changes, but it looks like I won't have time to get into that as we have our first real chance of the game here in the 8th minute. With rain coming down, Kalu brings the ball down in the box for Simon, who slips a pass over to Alex Iwobi.

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GOAL! A. Iwobi (2) | Assist: M. Simon | Nigeria 1-0

Nigeria is off and running. There was some pre-game talk about why Jay-Jay Okocha decided to keep Iwobi in the lineup with a yellow card already to his name, and I guess that's why. The Arsenal winger strikes again.

And again, it's that lethal CAM spot in Nigeria's lineup that produces another assist. This time it wasn't Marcus Diamond, but Moses Simon.

The pressure is now on Costa Rica to fight back.

Nigeria's physicality is keeping Costa Rica from the goal, but it's also going to get them into some trouble. Another early booking.

Yellow Card | Kingsley Ehizibue | 29th Minute

We haven't even reached halftime and it's apparent frustrations are already starting to boil over for Costa Rica. A retaliation foul is punished.

Yellow Card | Yeltsin Tejeda | 38th Minute

Nigeria continues to pass the ball around and keep possession. They have controlled this game from the opening kickoff and are hovering around 60% for the game.

As the halftime time whistle blows, Costa Rica has yet to get a shot on target. It's still only a 1-0 game. But there has to be some doubts that Costa Rica can score two goals in this game when they have only taken two shots in the first half.

Nigeria is in a perfect position to nurse this lead and possible save some minutes for the star-studded players they have resting on the bench.

Second Half KICKOFF

No halftime substitutions. Both teams want to see how the first 15-20 minutes of this second half plays out. I got to say, it's much of the same. Nigeria is pinning Costa Rica in with a high possession type of game.

But, at the same time, the Super Eagles still has it's backline and two defensive midfielders staying back to cover any possible counter attacks. Costa Rica is in trouble, especially if the team can't keep their cool.

Yellow Card | Celso Borges | 63rd Minute

Nigeria will make the first subs three minutes later. It's a double switch to get fresher legs on defense. Victor Moses for the previous carded Kingsley Ehizibue and Kingsley Madu for Kevin Akpoguma.

Costa Rica follows suit and a replaces a defender and a striker two minutes later. Then, a midfielder in the 73rd minute.

Time is starting to run out.

Time wasting tactics by Okey will see another card.

Yellow Card | Azubuike Okey | 79th Minute

Nigeria makes its final swap in the 81st minutes as Victor Osimhen replaces an extremely tired Iwobi.

So, no Iheanacho or Diamond this game.

Did Okocha make the right decision?

Well, if he brought Osimhen on to be a nuisance, the answer is yes. More time wasting from Nigeria draws another card.

Yellow Card | Victor Osimhen | 87th Minute

Regardless of ethics, Osimhen is making an immediate impact.

Now, in the 89th minute, Osimhen brings down a cross and finds Uche Agbo wide-open in the middle of the box.

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GOAL! U. Agbo | Assist: V. Osimhen | Nigeria 2-0

That will seal it. Nigeria is going to win and go undefeated in the group stage for the first time in club history. Let the dancing begin.

But, wait, we aren't quite finished here. Tejeda has lost his temper.

Yellow Card | Yeltsin Tejeda | 90th Minute

That is the second yellow of the game for the Costa Rica midfielder.

Red Card | Yeltsin Tejeda | 90th Minute

That's a costly loss for Costa Rica heading into it's match against France.

And, yes, it will be France because the final whistle goes.

Nigeria prevents Costa Rica from even getting a shot on target. The final stats show that the Super Eagles very much deserved this result.

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The Locker Room

Rating: N/A - Didn't play.

Player of Game: Moses Simon, Nigeria (9.0)

Making Headlines

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Around The World Cup

Group Tables

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Knockout Bracket

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Tournament Leaders

i.imgur.com/P9hY9qt.jpg

Afterthoughts

Moving on in style. Spain and us are the only two teams to win all three games. Only Italy has scored more goal that us with 11. We could see them in the quarterfinals if they beat defending champions Croatia.

On the other side of the bracket, the United States escapes Group E after losing its first two games. England goes through, but can't top Mexico. So, some very interesting Round of 16 matches: Spain v. England and Mexico v. USA.

Group G provides the biggest shock with Senegal beating Germany, 5-2, to knock out the 2014 champions in the group stage. To cap off a wild tournament so far, 2018 runner-up Uruguay finishes last in Group H.

Next up, Portugal.

Stay Tuned For World Cup 2022 Review (Part 4)

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jandal7
Top of the group! Banana And whilst showcasing squad depth going into the knockouts. Bring on Portugal Grin
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World Cup 2022 Review (Part 4)

Head down and listening to the roar of the crowd in the tunnel, I noticed my boots were untied. How embarrassing. I bent over and laced them up tight. That's when it truly hit me, as one of the legends of the sport looked over and chuckled at me.

I grew up admiring that ironic smirk from afar. Now, I was going up against it. For the first time, I no longer felt like a nobody from Canvey Island. I had made it.

I smiled back and took my opportunity, "Jersey swap after the game?"

"For sure kid, my pleasure," said a stoic Cristiano Ronaldo.

World Cup, Round of 16 vs. Portugal
June 25, 2022
Fans always root for the underdog, unless you are against Ronaldo.

Spoiler
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KICKOFF from the National Olympic Stadium
aka the "The Bird's Nest"

Summary: Only 16 teams remain and we have two of them going at each other tonight here in Beijing, China, for a spot in the quarterfinals.

The storylines for No. 8-ranked Portugal has been the play of aging legend Cristiano Ronaldo. The 37-year-old Real Madrid star in his final World Cup was been held to one assist and a 6.63 rating through the group stage. He remains in the Starting XI for tonight's game.

Picking up the slack has been everyone else. Five different players have scored Portugal's six World Cup goals this campaign. Doubling up is Goncalo Guedes. The backline, directed by 34-year-old goalkeeper Rui Patricio, has only given up two goals.

Looking to send Portugal packing is No. 36-ranked Nigeria. The Super Eagles soared through the group stage impressively with three straight wins, including a 2-1 win over Belgium.

They had the chance to rest some players in their last game against Costa Rica and are looking rather fresh.

Although, Jay-Jay Okocha has decided elite winger Alex Iwobi isn't at the fitness level required to start this evening. That's a dangerous weapon to have on the bench.

That's enough rambling. Let's get into the action.

Surprisingly, Nigeria trying to dictate the possession early on. Portugal is content to counter attack, and here they go. William Troost-Ekong isn't have that and puts in a crunching tackle in the center circle.

It didn't look great, but surely it's too early to be handing... Nevermind.

Yellow Card | William Troost-Ekong | 3rd Minute

Not the start Nigeria wanted, but it at least stopped what could have been a dangerous attack. And here comes another one. A ball over the top has released striker Andre Silva. He gets the ball around Nigeria goalkeeper Joseph Sunday.

An empty net staring him in the face, and Silva clanks the right post.

The Nigeria supporters take a sigh of relief here in the 7th minute.

Bad news keeps coming for Nigeria. Another card for a poor challenge.

Yellow Card | Ogenyi Onazi | 9th Minute

Portugal is keeping the pressure on — a corner in the 17th minute.

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GOAL! A. Silva | Assist: R. Vezo | Portugal 1-0

Portugal gets a goal on the board before Nigeria can get a shot off.

And there is Nigeria's first shot. A cross comes in from Oghenekaro Etebo and Victor Osimhen gets it down for Marcus Diamond in the box. Shoot kid! No, the assist machine decides to make that extra pass again and this time it will backfire as Rui Patricio smothers Osimhen's attempt.

Probably should be 1-1.

And here comes a third yellow card of the first half to Nigeria.

Yellow Card | Wilfred Ndidi | 29th Minute

Passing the ball around and we have a Ronaldo sighting for Portugal.

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GOAL! C. Ronaldo | Assist: R. Sanches | Portugal 2-0

Not wanting this to be his last World Cup game, Ronaldo — the oldest player in this tournament — has scored his first goal of this World Cup in the 30th minute of the Round of 16. The fans are going ballistic.

Nigeria, not so much.

Have the Super Eagles crash landed in the Round of 16 again?

It appears so because Ronaldo is unmarked again in the 43rd minute.

media.giphy.com/media/j6qLUbvhnoBgU9rVzM/giphy.gif

GOAL! C. Ronaldo (2) | Assist: B. Silva (2) | Portugal 3-0

Ronaldo has come to life. Everything Nigeria did in the group stage has come undone in one half. Quite a shame.

Free kick coming up for Portugal, and the ball is put into the mixer and Ronaldo gets a leg on it. GOAL! It's a hat trick...

No. The flag goes up for offsides.

The whistle for halftime follows. Nigeria walks off in disbelief. Down 3-0.

Second Half KICKOFF

Jay-Jay Okocha had to change something. So, Alex Iwobi replaces Etebo on the wing. But, it's probably a little too late.

Portugal is control the game in all aspects. Nigeria is struggling to even touch the ball here in the second half. Time keeps ticking away. Frustrations setting in.

Yellow Card | Victor Osimhen | 76th Minute

Nigeria, and Okocha, is visible upset about the lack of no cards given to Portugal for the "professional" fouls they have taken.

Meanwhile, touch Ronaldo once and...

Yellow Card | Victor Moses | 82nd Minute

And another one. This is getting ugly.

Yellow Card | Kingsley Madu | 87th Minute

Three minutes of stoppage time is a slap in the face. Just end this now.

Yep, the referees have made a massive mistake.

Nigeria just doesn't care any more. The captain Wilfred Ndidi has had enough and just body checks Francisco Gerardles right before the referee can blow the full time whistle. Tempers are flaring.

Yellow Card | Wilfred Ndidi | 94th Minute

That's his second yellow card of the game.

Red Card | Wilfred Ndidi | 94th Minute

Portugal doesn't even have to take the free kick. The final whistle goes.

A brace from Ronaldo and Portugal advances to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006. Nigeria's hopes of getting that far for the first time in the club's history are crushed with a plethora of cards and hardly any quality scoring chances in this decisive affair.

The final stats show complete domination by Portugal.

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The Locker Room

Rating: 6.5 - At least I didn't get a card? And Ronaldo was gracious enough to honor our jersey swap after the game. That was a cool moment for an otherwise terrible game.

Player of Game: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (9.3)

Around The World Cup

Knockout Bracket

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Tournament Leaders

i.imgur.com/1QLzY8n.jpg

Afterthoughts

We sucked and got what we deserved. That's hard to admit, but it's true.

The group stage was a blast. I'll never forget those memories, and this loss is going to stick with me for a while. But, mark my words. I'll be back here someday and I will get Nigeria to the quarterfinals and beyond.

This is only the beginning. More is still to come.

I'm ready to take that next step into stardom.

And, to Pelé, I'm coming for that all-time World Cup assists record.

Stay Tuned For World Cup 2022 Review (Part 5)

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jandal7
A real shame to go out like that but not unexpected either against a top 10 side with an all-time great who showed up. Still as Marcus said an unforgettable run in the group stage, and their top players might all be even better in 2026 as the likes of Ndidi and Iheanacho reach their peaks.

Also, go Senegal Grin
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15/08/22 - SotD said "Your [jandal's] humour is overrated"

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Monthly Review

The silver lining to being knocked out of the World Cup before the quarterfinals is a trip back home to Great Britain for the cycling national championships. I'm feeling a little under the weather — caught a cold or something while in China — but I've been cleared to race alongside teammate sisters Lucy and Grace.

Only the time trial this month, with the road race to kick off next month.

Race Day #26 at Great Britain ITT Championship
June 28, 2022
Best result of my career in this event is 15th back in 2018.

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Spoiler
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Summary: Riding through fields around Stanfordham could be classified as extremely boring. Hardly any spectators decided to make the trip out here this evening to see the best time trialist Great Britain has to offer.

In the end, not much to see either. Larry Gooden, at 23 years old, has already become the premier TT specialist in the country. He beat out Matthew Gibson (+16") and Alex Dowsett (+17") who had a close battle for second place. The gap from Gooden to last place was eight minutes.

Gooden is now a two-time champion, defending his crown from last year.

Result: 33rd - Even on a good day I don't think I crack the top 25. I finished +4'39" behind Gooden. Hey, don't laugh. Lucy came in over seven minutes behind in 51st place. Which also makes me wonder if Grace is adopted (or stole all of her sisters abilities to race against the clock) because she had a phenomenal day.

Grace finished +1'50" behind Gooden, good for ninth place.

1Larry GoodenBahrain - Merida50'44
2Matthew GibsonJLT Condor+ 16
3Alex DowsettWB Aqua Protect Veranclassic+ 17
4Chris FroomeThe Guardian+ 1'03
5James McLaughlinTeam Wiggins+ 1'19

Calendar

Spoiler
DateRaceWinner
2-JunHeistse PijlJens Keukeleire
3-JunGran Premio CittĂ  di LuganoJan Polanc
3-JunCritérium du DauphinéPierre-Roger Latour
4-JunMemorial Philippe van ConingslooChristophe Noppe
7-JunGP du Canton d'ArgovieEsteban Chaves
8-JunOberösterreichrundfahrtJhojan Garcia
9-JunTour de SuisseGiulio Ciccone
9-JunTour of MalopolskaJaka Primozic
10-JunRonde van LimburgMatteo Trentin
10-JunRund um KölnMikel Aristi
13-JunSter ZLM TourTiesj Benoot
13-JunTour de BeauceDmitri Gerasin
13-JunTour of SloveniaLucas Hamilton
14-JunRoute d'OccitanieThibaut Pinot
15-JunDwars door het Hageland - AarschotAlan Banaszek
16-JunFyen RundtMatteo Trentin
17-JunElfstedenrondeMordon Cynthia
17-JunGP Horsens PostenEdward Ravasi
19-JunHalle - IngooigemAmanda Spratt
20-JunAdriatica Ionica RaceStephane Beeckman
27-JunI.W.T. Jong Maar MoedigTim Merlier
28-JunBelgian Championships (ITT)Stephane Beeckman
28-JunDanish Championships (ITT)Jakob Fuglsang
28-JunPortuguese Championships (ITT)Nelson Oliveira
28-JunPolish Championships (ITT)Filip Maciejuk
28-JunDutch Championships (ITT)Annemiek van Vleuten
28-JunFrench Championships (ITT)Alexis Gougeard
28-JunGerman Championships (ITT)Emanuel Buchmann
28-JunAustrian Championships (ITT)Georg Preidler
28-JunSlovenian Championships (ITT)PrimoĹľ RogliÄŤ
28-JunNorwegian Championships (ITT)Andreas Leknessund
28-JunKazakh Championships (ITT)Maxim Shirshov
28-JunIrish Championships (ITT)Ryan Mullen
28-JunCanadian Championships (ITT)Adam Roberge
28-JunUSA Championships (ITT)Chad Haga
28-JunItalian Championships (ITT)Filippo Ganna
28-JunRussian Championships (ITT)Pavel Sivakov
28-JunSwiss Championships (ITT)Gino Mäder
28-JunGreat Britain Championships (ITT)Larry Gooden
28-JunUkrainian Championships (ITT)Mark Padun
28-JunSpanish Championships (ITT)Lucas Arauco
28-JunSlovak Championships (ITT)Tomas Hyravy
28-JunCzech Championships (ITT)Roman Lehky
1-JulDanish Championships
1-JulSwiss Championships
1-JulKazakh Championships
1-JulCanadian Championships
1-JulNorwegian Championships
1-JulUSA Championships
1-JulRussian Championships
1-JulPortuguese Championships
1-JulPolish Championships
1-JulCzech Championships
1-JulUkrainian Championships
1-JulGreat Britain ChampionshipsMarcus Diamond In
1-JulIrish Championships
1-JulSlovenian Championships
1-JulItalian Championships
1-JulSlovak Championships
1-JulFrench Championships
1-JulAustrian Championships
1-JulSpanish Championships
1-JulBelgian Championships
1-JulCCdS et des Champions Olympiques
1-JulGerman Championships
1-JulDutch Championships
4-JulSibiu Cycling Tour
6-JulGP Int. Torres Vedras
7-JulTour de France
7-JulInt. Ă–sterreich Rundfahrt
8-JulWhite Spot / Delta Road Race
15-JulTour of Qinghai Lake
25-JulGrand Prix CeramiMarcus Diamond In
25-JulPrueba Villafranca-Ordiziako Klasika
26-JulLa Tour Alsace
27-JulVOO-Tour de WallonieMarcus Diamond In
29-JulGP Kranj
31-JulCircuito de Getxo Memorial Ricardo Otxoa
31-JulPrudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic

Evaluation

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Training Ride
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Reveal or Hidden (Resolved): After much dilberation, Grace and I decided it was best for us to come clean with the SEG Racing Academy management staff and let them know we were violating team rules by being in a relationship. My heart was pounding when we walked into Michiel Elijzen's office. Grace forced me to do the talking.

After I explained the situation the best that I could, we both waited for Elijzen to scold us. But, he let out a laugh instead.

"You two honestly think I didn't know that already? You aren't that sly trying to keep a secret. Hand holding is an obvious giveaway. Oh, and so is sneaking in a quick kiss before a stage, and after for that matter."

I felt my face getting red with embarrassment. Grace grabbed onto my hand for reassurance. Elijzen, the sporting director for SEG, continued.

"Look, I'm all for young love and I appreciate the two of you coming forward and let us know. That's very responsible. So, I'm willing to let the rules slide on this one, but under one condition. If this relationship starts to negatively affect our team, then we will have no choice but to either release you or simply not renew your contracts with us for next season."

Grace and I shared a sigh of relief. I responded.

"Yes, sir. Fair enough."

As we started to turn around and leave, Elijzen interrupted.

"Marcus, can you stay behind for one more moment?"

Change of Plans?: Grace walked out and I didn't know what to expect.

"OK, I'll get right to the point. We have just been informed our wildcard application for the Vuelta a Espana has been accepted. We are in the process of putting together our roster and would like to grant you a spot if you want it. I know that it will probably overlap with the start of your football season, but we at least wanted to give you that choice. We believe you have earned the right to represent us in this grand tour."

I wasn't expect that at all.

"Wow, thank you. I'm honored. How would that affect my race schedule?"

"We would replace the Tour of Britain. A straight swap with 13 more race days, but I also know the Tour of Britain means a lot to you as well."

One more question popped up in my mind.

"What about Grace? Is she getting a spot?"

"Like I said, we are still in the process of figuring out the roster. You are the first person we have told about this. I can't guarantee Grace will be on the roster. I can tell you she is in the consideration. We want to get our leaders sorted out before filling the rest of the lineup. So, have a chat with Feyenoord and get back to me by the end of the week."

(Option A) Accept the invite and go to the Vuelta a Espana. As a result, Diamond will miss the Tour of Britain and either three games with Feyenoord if he makes the senior team roster or only one game if he starts off with the reserve side.

(Option B) Decline the invite and don't go to the Vuelta a Espana.


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jandal7
"You two honestly think I didn't know that already? You aren't that sly trying to keep a secret. Hand holding is an obvious giveaway. Oh, and so is sneaking in a quick kiss before a stage, and after for that matter."

Yeah I said last time that they were really obvious :lol:

As much as I think it would be cool to see Marcus with a real shot at the home tour win, I'm not saying no to him making a GT debut! Option A. Really cool new for the team either way Smile Hopefully we can maybe unlock MO by then too (British champion?) Grin

+1 HI for the month ahead
+2 REC for hopefully La Vuelta Grin
24/02/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don't drink famous people."
22/07/21 - quadsas said "I admire you [jandal] so much as a manager, squad builder and a person"
15/08/22 - SotD said "Your [jandal's] humour is overrated"

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Fabianski
A GT stage win would be great - at, least, he should try. So Option A for me, too.

+2 SPR
+1 HI

And did the team manager actually have a choice? The sponsors would probably not be happy if he fired Marcus, and firing Grace would definitely highly impact Marcus' motivation. So he chose the obvious way: Wait and see Smile
 
jaxika
+3 REs
Option B : at this point in hes carreer its a betrer move.
 
sammyt93
Option B,

Marcus is riding a wave of momentum in the footballing world after a breakout performance at the world cup. I could see accepting the Vuelta invite to be looked at negatively by Feyenoord and could be the difference between making the first team or reserves squad.

Also I don't really see how Marcus would end up in a leaders role, he can't climb very well so wouldn't target GC, and both Lizzie and Jhonathan are likely both better options in terms of going for Hill stages or KOM jersey. And with Lizzie announcing at the start of the year that she will retire at the end of it then I think it makes sense to let her lead, still plenty of time for Marcus to get his shot.

Maybe sprints but then Lucy and Bram are both better leaders with Alex better for helping on the flat roads than Marcus. Unless I'm missing something I don't think there are any cobbles on that route Marcus could go for a stage win on or help protect a GC threat through.

+1.5 STA
+1.5 ACC
Maybe these are the improvements he needs to take that next step up.
 
Mresuperstar
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World Cup 2022 Review (Part 5)

Watching the World Cup quarterfinals on a hotel television back in Great Britain with my girlfriend after racing in the national championships road race earlier in the day (sorry, no spoilers), I must have had a distraught look on my face because it didn't take Grace long to read my mood. She tugged my arm.

"Hey, you don't have to watch. We could go for a ride or something."

"No. I'm tired," I hastily answered back.

Sure, I didn't have to watch. But, I still felt like I had an obligation to myself to analyze why these two teams were playing right now and not us, Nigeria. But that was only making me more agitated, and really kind of sad.

I glanced down at Grace resting her head on my chest. She could tell I was struggling, and was doing her best to stay supportive. But, at the same time, my negative energy was dragging her down as well. She got up and left the room.

Did I do something wrong? Before I came to the realization that I should probably get up and chase after her to apologize for my combative behavior. Grace came back into the room and tossed my bike helmet onto the bed I was laying on.

"Come on, shut off the TV. We are going for ride."

Fair enough. I listened and we took a casual pedal through Newcastle. Taking away the fact my legs were still burning, it was quite peaceful. Our journey ended by watching the sunset over the North Sea. We shared an intimate moment.

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After the couple ride, I didn't watch another World Cup game. It wasn't worth it for my health, or the strain that frustration put on my relationship. I needed to move on and Grace certainly helped me do that. Grateful to have her by my side.

I'll get off my romantic soapbox now and track down what you all came here to see. I can't provide much insight because, again, I stopped watching.

Regardless, the rest of the results from the 2022 World Cup in China:

Final Results — Completed Bracket

Spoiler
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MEXICO WORLD CHAMPIONS
Defeats France 3-3 (3-2) in Penalties
Hector Herrera scores the final penalty to carry Mexico and North America to its first-ever World Cup title.

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Tournament Awards

FirstSecondThird
Best Player: H. Lozano S. Perica D. De Gea
Golden Boot: K. Balde (5) S. Perica (5) P. Rangel (4)
Most Assists: M. Diamond (6) O. Dembele (5) E. Santos (3)
Golden Glove: David De Gea
Best Youth: Pedro Rangel

Dream Team

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Evaluation

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Training Ground
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Feyenoord Training Facilities Boost: +1.5 Points Per Member

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World Cup Spotlight: After collecting the most assists at the World Cup, Marcus Diamond has seen his hidden attribute for "Important Games" raised once again and has seen a significant boost in his world reputation.

World Cup Prediction (Resolved): No one correctly predicted six combined goals and assists, so no future perks there. But two fan club supporters — jandal7 and Fabianski — correctly predicted a Round of 16 departure for the Super Eagles. Both of them can each unlock one football stat whenever they want. You can use it now or save for later.

Vuelta or not to Vuelta?: After going back and forth with his decision to accept SEG Racing Academy's invite to race in the Vuelta a Espana, Marcus Diamond is still undecided. So he decided to have a chat with Feyenoord head coach Ivo de Bruijn about his status within the squad and future scheduling conflicts.

"It's a two-way street Marcus. Let's try to be flexible both ways."

Diamond was also told, for the time being, he was going to fluctuate between the first team and the reserve side. Despite, his iconic showing at the World Cup, Feyenoord has too many midfielders they are comfortable with playing ahead of Diamond.

However, the team is giving Diamond the green light to start in the season-opening Johan Cruyff Shield (Dutch Super Cup) match against FC Utrecht on July 30. That means he will miss the Tour de Wallonie cycling stage race. That's nonnegotiable (So much for being flexible, coach).

In return, Diamond can chose to go to the Vuelta a Espana without any backlash from Feyenoord. His abilities and play on the field will determine his role on the team, not if he decides to put cycling ahead of football.

So, here we are again.

(Option A) Go to the Vuelta a Espana.

(Option B) Don't go to the Vuelta a Espana.

If a tiebreaker is needed, then a random generator will be used.

Edited by Mresuperstar on 29-04-2020 15:00
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jandal7
Mexico! That's awesome Grin I'll wait on my unlock Smile And very cool that Marcus ended up top assist giver Smile

Sad (but very normal and understandable) to see Marcus upset watching the World Cup, but awesome to see him getting over it with the help of Grace - it seems like they're really good together <3

Really nice to see Feyenoord being flexible, not only are they a great step in his footballing career but also, it seems (and hopefully de Bruijn sticks around!), in his dual-path career. Also loving the training boost they have given him Grin Definitely going to stick with my decision if it won't affect Feyenoord (Option A), and cool to hear he's starting already in the Dutch Super Cup - let's bring home some silverware on debut!

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24/02/21 - kandesbunzler said “I don't drink famous people."
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sammyt93
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Eh, missing Wallonie doesn't hurt too much when you realise it's the Belgian organisers again Wink

I still don't think he'd get as much out of the Vuelta as he would from leading in Britain so will continue to vote Option B.

It would be nice to ride his first GT, but I think he'd score more points to help the team try and promote if he went to Britain, and that there are riders with better chances to score points, be it a stage win or KOM jersey at la Vuelta than Marcus.
 
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