National heroes - A lasting legacy

carloshcfc

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Hello there and welcome to our thread, where me and my good friend Dave (AngusBurger9000) will attempt to take our chosen countries from relative obscurity to tournament-winning greatness. I shall be manager of Poland and Dave will manage his native Scotland.

Before we begin, Dave used the editor to tweak a couple of things in the editor before we started, he changed the Youth level of each country to 170 (they were at about 95 each I think) thus improving the regens we produced, he also slightly improved facilities at a couple of clubs in Poland and Scotland.

I hope you're prepared for names you can't spell or pronounce.

Tournament History:
2014 WC

Poland DNQ
Scotland DNQ
Final, Japan 1-3 Brazil

Euro 2016
Poland: Group Stage
Scotland: Group Stage
Final, England 1-0 France

2018 WC
Poland: QF
Scotland: 2nd Round
Final, Russia 0-1 Spain

Euro 2020
Poland: 2nd Round
Scotland: 2nd Round
Final, Czech Republic 3-2 Spain

Hall of Fame:
 
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carloshcfc

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Pre-start overview
A quick look through the teams we have inherited, first, my Poland.

View attachment 446696

Not in awful shape, Poland sit 54th in the world, with potential to improve, but they're quite a way off the pace of the big boys.

At first glance, the team doesn't look amazing, a few key players and some solid internationals but not much else, a quick look at some key players:

Woijech Szczeszny (GK)
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A quality 'keeper, especially given his age, can be a great servant for years to come in a Poland side lacking exciting prospects.

Lukasz Piszczek (RB)
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The first of a trio of Dortmund players who will surely be key to any Polish successes, a quality right-back who has a fantastic set of attributes.


Jakub Blaszczykowski (AMR)
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Quality attacking players turn a good team into a great team, and Blaszczykowski is certainly a player who can make things happen, it's a shame I instantly despise him for having a name I have to look up every time I type.

Robert Lewandowski (ST)
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Probably the reason I chose Poland in the first place, Lewandowski is a player I admire greatly and he can't half score, he's proven himself at a high level for Dortmund and will surely be a great player for Poland.
 
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next up, the Tartan Army, ranked slightly higher at 49th we're at a similar starting point to Poland, just without the splattering of superstars, youth and hard work will be needed to reach our first finals since 1998
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Some key players:

Allan McGregor
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Nothing spectacular but a good solid international keeper if already a little old.

Darren Fletcher
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Scotland's Captain and my one really world class player;
will be central to any success I have.

James Forrest
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Much as I hate to admit it Forrest has all the makings of a great winger
he'll hopefully grow into a key International in his peak years.

Jordan Rhodes
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Like Forrest will hopefully be a big player in the future,
has the potential to be prolific which would be invaluable to this Scotland side.​
 

carloshcfc

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World Cup 2014 qualifying (Poland)

So our adventure begins, first off let me say that much of our game was played with one or both of us rather drunk, also at time of writing our game is in year 2020 so much of our early posts will be from memory alone and regrettably sparse, anyway, let's get started!
New Faces
It's early so unfortunately only one regen found their way into the side, but after making an instant impact, scoring on his Poland debut against Montenegro at the age of 16, it is clear that he will be a big part of any future success we have.
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Results
Montenegro 2-2 Poland
Poland 1-1 Moldova
Poland 2-2 Ukraine
Poland 0-1 England
San Marino 3-6 Poland
Poland 4-1 Montenegro
Moldova 3-2 Poland
Poland 4-1 San Marino
Ukraine 3-0 Poland
England 3-1 Poland
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3rd isn't terrible, but a way off the top two isn't ideal, and means I won't go to this world cup :(

Highlights


View attachment 446015
Okay, so not much of a highlight, but a result which truly shows the nature of this campaign, we never really got running and this loss against a vastly inferior foe really doomed us to watch the world cup from at home rather than going to Brazil. In the game, we disappointingly fell behind early on, we clawed it back and took a 2-1 lead but after Borysiuk's red card we never looked like a winning team, and we went home with our tail between our collective legs, a morale-crushing loss meant that our only points we would take after this were at home to San Marino.

Key players

Robert Lewandowski- showed his ability here, scoring an impressive seven goals during qualifying but lacking in a strike partnership and only aided by the wingers meant that he couldn't help us take second and a potentially a place in Brazil.
Ludovic Obraniak & Jakub Blaszczykowski- a joint award, as they did very similar things just on different wings, 11 assists between them they provided plenty for Lewandowski.

so, an incredibly humbling start to my Poland career shows me that this will require hard work if I'm going to get anywhere near where I want to be, but climbing inside the top 50 shows signs of progress, however slow.
 
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carloshcfc

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2014 World Cup qualification (Scotland)
NOTE: this is being posted on my account as we are having technical difficulties with Dave's.
World Cup Qualifying group 1
Belgium
Croatia
Macedonia
Serbia
Scotland
Wales
Went into this with very little to go on having only played one friendly and knowing that it was always going to be a struggle to qualify just like in real life.
Regens
Two regens made appearances for me in qualifying.
Zander Thomson
View attachment 446002
And Dale Mailley
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Neither have many appearances and neither have scored yet but having already broken in and with good potential I?m hoping they?ll be significant in the future

Fixtures
Scotland 1-1 Croatia
Belgium 3-1 Scotland
Scotland 1-0 Serbia
Macedonia 1-1 Scotland
Scotland 1-1 Wales
Croatia 1-1 Scotland
Scotland 0-0 Belgium
Serbia 0-1 Scotland
Scotland 0-0 Macedonia
Wales 2-0 Scotland
Highlights
The two key games for me were the away draw in Croatia and the home draw against Macedonia
in Croatia we had half their shots and 39% of possession but still held out to gain a point against a far superior side. A great result and shows the resilience of the side I've inherited.
The Macedonia game however showcased our flaws. Admittedly having Steven Naismith red carded in the 2nd minute didn't help but we still had roughly equal possession 16-7 shots and 6-2 shots on target. Not beating the minows was a very poor show and cost us both third place and those all-important co-efficient points.
Key Players
Darren Fletcher-Both highs and lows. Received 2 red cards in key matches but in every other game he was a rock in midfield, breaking up play brilliantly.

Charlie Mulgrew-A very solid display, with Fletcher the two players I think kept my goals against column so low

Gary Mackay-Stephen-Goals were at a premium for me in this campaign, only getting 6 but MS got 2 of them and assisted a third, an impressive start to his Scotland career.
Table
A very mediocre start, only earning 1 point more than had been achieved in real life and throwing away 3rd in the last game to finsh behind Wales. The second tightest defense in the group but also the bluntest attack. Clearly some readjustment was needed. Only losing once against the top 2 was a positive as was my undefeated home record but failing to record a win against Macedonia and only scoring once clearly wasn't good enough. However, moving up to 35th is clearly a good starting point and should aid further growth by improving my seeding for future tournaments.
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WC 2014
Just a quick sidenote, the world cup in Brazil was rather unextraordinary with a winner anyone could've guessed, but it was an incredible tournament for Japan, emerging from an easy group, but then eliminating England, Holland and Italy before losing in the Final to Brazil.
 
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carloshcfc

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Euro 2016 qualification
Euro 2016 gave me, and Dave, a fantastic chance to qualify for a major tournament since the qualifying has a larger number of teams going through to the main event, I was drawn alongside Bosnia & Herzegovina, England, Israel, Liechtenstein and San Marino.
New Faces
Two regens make debuts in this time, a centre-back (Jerzy Trzetzelewski) and a right-back (Tomasz Wegrzyn)
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Results
Poland 3-2 Bosnia
England 5-2 Poland
Poland 7-1 Liechtenstein
Israel 2-1 Poland
San Marino 1-2 Poland
Bosnia 2-2 Poland
Poland 0-2 England
Poland 3-1 Israel
Liechtenstein 0-3 Poland
Poland 5-0 San Marino
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Qualification! A wonderful campaign but a horribly tense finish.

Highlights
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The big difference between this showing, and the showing in the world cup qualifiers, was our results against our rivals, we picked up 12 points from the two minnows but more important were the fantastic results against Bosnia & Herzegovina, taking four points here was absolutely vital especially as the two of us and Israel all ended on 19 points.

Key Players
Again, Lewandowski and the wingers deserve commendation for a string of performances, but the players that really made a difference:​
Dariusz Bartoszewicz - Still very young at this point, Bartoszewicz proved an extremely capable strike partner for Lewandowski, and was unlucky to end on five goals as he missed the last two games due to injury, bagged the winning goal in the Bosnia game and saved us from embarrasment away to San Marino with a 92nd minute winner.
Wojciech Szczesny- Probably unlucky not to be mentioned in the last set of qualifiers and he proves a valuable asset to this side, sometimes winning games single-handedly, the away game in Bosnia comes to mind as they bombarded Szczesny's goal but we came away with a magnificent point.
Adam Danch- Didn't really do anything notable defensively, in here purely as he's the only centre-back I've ever seen score a hat-trick. No joke.

Time for my first major tournament, would Dave and Scotland join me? Probably not, Scotland are rubbish.
 
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carloshcfc

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Euro 2016 qualification
Group 4
Cyprus
Estonia
Lithuania
Portugal
Scotland
Went into this group in good form having W3 D1 L0 since the failed WC qualifying campaign. This draw gave me every chance of taking Scotland to their first finals in 18 years…
Regens
No further regens broke into the side but Thomson and Mailley both scored their first international goals
Fixtures
Portugal 3-1 Scotland
Scotland 3-0 Estonia
Lithuania 2-2 Scotland
Scotland 1-0 Cyprus
Scotland 0-0 Portugal
Estonia 1-3 Scotland
Lithuania 0-3 Scotland
Cyprus 0-1 Scotland
Highlights
Although first and second seemed to pick themselves at the start the group still needed to be beaten. The three key games for me were at home to Portugal and the two Cyprus games. Between the three games we showed all the hallmarks of a top side, Cyprus home we won despite playing poorly. The Portugal game was very even, we even kept Ronaldo quiet and the final Cyprus game that I needed something from to guarantee progression we came out, utterly overran them and although the scores were close the game couldn’t have been more 1 sided and we got the points we needed to progress.
Key players
Alan McGregor
A brilliant tournament from the keeper only conceding in 2 of his 6 games.
Darren Fletcher
The captain still at his imperious best, consistently one of the best performers.
Jordan Rhodes
The big striker was on fire in this campaign scoring 5 goals in 8 appearances.
Table
View attachment 445992
It was an easy group and with two guaranteed qualifiers anything less than success would have been disastrous but that said, it’s still a big step on the road to success.
 
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carloshcfc

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Euro 2016
Finally! A chance for our squads to prove themselves on a grander stage.


The Draw
Poland were given a horrible draw with Italy, England and Iceland. Scotland will have a group with Portugal, Wales and Denmark. Two tough groups means that this tournament may well be over very quickly.

Preparation
the pre tourney friendlies gave our squads some last-minute preparation for the main event.

Poland 1-1 Cameroon
Poland 3-1 Latvia

Scotland 2-2 Switzerland
Scotland 4-1 Jordan

some reasonable results, but more is required if we are to qualify from our groups.


Game 1:
Both teams will have a baptism of fire facing tough opposition in their first game, Scotland face Portugal (without Ronaldo) and Poland face England

Poland 0-1 England

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A strong performance against a very good England side, but after Polanski's second half red card holding on to the point was always a bit too much to ask and we go down to a late Tom Huddlestone goal.

Scotland 0-5 Portugal
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An absolutely baffling game, Scotland seemed to match Portugal throughout the match but were undone time and time again, the loss to a stronger foe was near inevitable, but the margin can only be attributed to bad luck.

Game 2:
Poland have no respite, now facing Italy, but Scotland have a thoroughly winnable game against Wales if they can pick themselves up from a crushing defeat to Portugal

Poland 1-4 Italy
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If Scotland's loss to Portugal can be attributed to misfortune, this one goes down to lack of discipline, another red card with Polanski already missing due to suspension, after Destro's quick opener and Borysiuk's sending off it seemed like we'd see a cricket score and a Balotelli hat-trick sealed our fate and sent us crashing out, barring a miracle.

Scotland 2-1 Wales
View attachment 445985
A visibly shaken Scotland took on a Wales side who took a point from a strong Denmark and it showed as after 54 minutes Wales found themselves 1-0 up with a penalty, Eardley missed and two goals in the 87th and 93rd minutes from wonderkid Zander Thomson gave Scotland hope of qualifying in the most dramatic way possible.

Game 3:
With Poland needing a miracle to qualify (England to beat Italy and a big goal swing in their favour) hope was all but lost, but Scotland's dramatic win over Wales meant a win against Denmark would guarantee qualification, and a draw would probably get them a best 3rd place finish.

Poland 5-2 Iceland
View attachment 445984
It wouldn't be a Poland game without a red card and this game was no different, a red in the 18th minute for Iceland meant the all-important goal difference could be made up, and Poland completed a rout with Augustyn, Danch, Obraniak and Lewandowski all scoring (the latter with a brace) but it would prove too little too late as Italy beat England, securing second place, and Poland a point shy of taking a 'lucky loser' spot)

Scotland 1-1 Denmark
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Scotland went into this game knowing that a win would see them go through, but Denmark took their third draw of the campaign mainly thanks to Scott Brown's 48th minute red card with Scotland already trailing, Scotland pulled level but couldn't deliver the knockout punch and finish the group in 3rd place due to Wales beating Portugal and having a superior goal difference, this made all the more crushing as Scotland fail to take a 'lucky loser' spot due to their shocking goal difference.

Final:
England 1-0 France
England take the crown as the best team in Europe, with Scotland and Poland left to bemoan bad luck, oh well, there's always the World Cup.

Key Players:
there were plenty of standout moments in this tournament, with three red cards in the group stage games for our teams.

For Poland, Robert Lewandowski had a great tournament, however short, bagging three goals in three games, but the best player was Adam Danch, no hat-tricks for the centre-back this time, but a wonderful performance by him kept eventual winners England to just one goal, which came after being reduced to ten men, doomed again against Italy and a strong performance against Iceland in which he bagged the goal he deserved means that without him, the end result could've been far worse.

As for Scotland, Zander Thomson's six minutes of fame against Wales could've easily won him the award, but this award can only go to Darren Fletcher, a solid performance in every game, even the 5-0 defeat to Portugal and holding firm after going down to ten men against Denmark, he showed how an experienced head can turn a side's fortunes, especially in a major tournament.


The Verdict:
Plenty of positives can be taken from our first taste of a major tournament, but we were let down by inexperience and bad discipline, but plenty of evidence that we can improve upon these performances at the World cup in Russia.
 
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carloshcfc

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World Cup 2018 qualifiers
After Euro 2016 I was starting to think anything is possible with this Poland side, but World Cup qualifying is tough, and to get there we'd need to overcome Azerbaijan, Croatia, Moldova, Switzerland and Wales. A tricky draw.

New faces
Only one regen, Jakub Kowal found his way into the side in this time, but after years of trying, I also managed to convince Poznan-born Bartosz Salamon to give up Italy to play for Poland, also, apologies about the screenshots, but we have no saves before 2021.
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Results

Moldova 1-2 Poland
Poland 1-2 Switzerland
Azerbaijan 0-0 Poland
Poland 3-1 Croatia
Poland 3-0 Moldova
Wales 1-1 Poland
Switzerland 0-2 Poland
Poland 3-0 Azerbaijan
Poland 1-0 Wales
Croatia 3-2 Poland
View attachment 445740


Highlights
View attachment 445742
It was always going to be a good game, I only needed a draw to top the group but playing away to Croatia is a difficult game, If I lost I would almost certainly go out finishing 3rd as Switzerland would only need to beat Wales to overtake me. Batoszewicz gave me an early lead but an inspired Croatian fightback saw them take a commanding 3-1 lead and Bartoszewicz's last minute strike proved only a consolation, meanwhile Wales held on for a draw in Switzerland, meaning I'd be in the playoffs, with a chance of qualification!

The Playoff
So my fate was to be decided over two legs against Sweden, a tough draw even if this is after Ibrahimovic's retirement.
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So there you have it, a fantastic display of clinic-ism in the first leg to give us a lead going away to Sweden, and our defence withstood the Swedish attack in the second leg, earning us a place in the World Cup in Russia!

Key Players
Wojciech Szczesny- Such a good goalkeeper on his day, and he had plenty of fantastic performances only conceding 8 goals in 10 very tough games.
Ariel Borysiuk- Not a player I've mentioned much but he proved to be one of Poland's biggest stars in this qualifying campaign, never had a bad game, and without Borysiuk, Poland didn't win a single game.


So Russia awaits for my Polish heroes as I prepare for my first World Cup!​
 
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carloshcfc

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World Cup 2018 qualification (Scotland)
Group 6
Belarus
Georgia
Lithuania
Malta
Portugal
Scotland

Portugal again! Three draws in a row and yet to win against them with that horrible defeat knocking me out of the Euros; this looks like another race for second place, I'd like to compete with Portugal but should surely be easily clear of the rest and into the lottery of the playoffs.

Regens (Screenshots 2015)
Due to the advancing years of a lot of my key players and the relative easiness of the group this year saw a large number of competitive debuts:

Arran Fox
Not an especially spectacular keeper. A necessity due to the ages of Marshall and McGregor but hoping for a competent replacement soon
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Craig Dair

Mr utility, capable of playing in either fullback position, making his first few appearances as cover
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Connor Still
The second regen to really excite me, looks like he's going to be very good, started games against lower sides and put in good performances
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Kyle Booth
This man is a monster, 6ft 6in, strong and good in the air, only appeared in the last game against Malta but looking like being a big player in the future
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Paddy Dunlop
I don't need any more strikers but Dunlop's versatility and ability to play on the wings is starting to earn him caps, long may it continue
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Fixtures
Scotland 2-0 Belarus
Lithuania 1-5 Scotland
Scotland 1-0 Georgia
Malta 0-3 Scotland
Portugal 2-1 Scotland
Belarus 3-1 Scotland
Scotland 3-1 Lithuania
Scotland 1-1 Portugal
Georgia 1-3 Scotland
Scotland 4-0 Malta
View attachment 445727

Key Matches

The two big games from this were playing in Portugal and Belarus, those games almost lost me the playoffs, firstly Portugal struck again, utterly annihilating us and could have been more, then the injuries and suspensions from that carried over into the next game are no excuse but left Belarus far too close and if my form hadn't picked up when it did I wouldn't have made it to the playoffs.
Key Players
Oh my goodness Jordan Rhodes 12 goals and in 8 matches, an amazing return, this guy is exceeding all expectations in this game.


Darren Fletcher was again a key man, absolutely vital at the heart of my midfield, man of the match in the draw with Portugal and going to be central to anything I might hope to in the near future.
Table
Play-offs
First leg
Scotland 0-1 Iceland
The importance of an early goal, Iceland go 1-0 up after 9 minutes and then defend for the next 81, despite our complete superiority their only shot on target seperates the two teams ahead of the trip to Iceland. A win still enough to go through but Iceland won't be an easy place to visit.

Second leg
Iceland 0-2 Scotland
Could not believe my eyes Jordan Rhodes (5,10) two nil up away from home in the first 10 minutes, could not have asked for more, the rest of the game is relatively uneventful, Iceland fail to break us down and we head to the world cup with Rhodes on 14 from 10.
 
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carloshcfc

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World Cup 2018 - Russia
So in the short time of six years our nations have gone from being ranked in the 50's to competing on international football's main event

The Draw
Poland were in pot 2, with Scotland in pot 3, with the prospect of meeting each other in the group stages! But it wasn't to be.

Group B
Chile, Mozambique, Iran, Poland

Group C
Jamaica, Spain, Uruguay, Scotland
So an unbelievably tough draw for Scotland means that they'll need a miracle to qualify from that group

Preparation
Poland 4-0 Nigeria
Poland 2-2 Uruguay

Scotland 4-1 Costa Rica
Scotland 4-0 New Zealand

Both teams put in strong performances in friendlies to set us up for a thrilling World Cup.

Game 1:
Poland 3-2 Mozambique
View attachment 445704
Poland, almost expecting a win against minnows Mozambique were nearly caught out. Mozambique took the lead twice but Artur Sobiech's 92nd minute winner spares Poland's blushes in a game won not nearly as comfortably as I'd have liked.
Scotland 2-1 Uruguay
View attachment 445702
Scotland went into this game knowing they couldn't lose if they wanted to keep their hopes of qualification intact, and, unbelievably they got an incredible result against Uruguay. Dunlop gave them an early lead with Suarez pulling level with time running out, but in the dying minutes Scotland get a penalty and the man who can's stop scoring, Jordan Rhodes, puts it away for a memorable victory.
Game 2
Poland 0-2 Chile
View attachment 445701
The less said about this game the better.
Scotland 4-1 Jamaica
View attachment 445700
After an impressive win against Uruguay, Scotland could take a massive step towards qualification by beating Jamaica, a seemingly easy task carried out with ease as Rhodes cashed in on some lacklustre Jamaican defending to grab himself a thoroughly deserved hat-trick.

Game 3
Poland 2-0 Iran
View attachment 445699
Poland complete an unconvincing group stage with an unconvincing win against Iran, qualifying in second place they face Group A winners Croatia, who saw off hosts Russia to top their group. A chance for revenge after Croatia sent us to the playoffs?

Scotland 2-1 Spain
View attachment 445698
Scotland finish off their group by turning more than a few heads with this result, falling behind in the first half to the pre-tournament favourites, they fought back; goals from wonderkid Zander Thomson and the ever-reliable Jordan Rhodes were enough to win the game, no less than Scotland deserved, this sets them up for a second round clash with Belgium, kept off the top of Group D by Argentina.
View attachment 445697

Second Round
Poland 2-0 Croatia
View attachment 445696
After Poland's crushing loss in Croatia cost them the group less than a year earlier, this result came sweeter than most, and goals from two regens (Bartoszewics and Trzetrzelewski) show signs that Polish football has a bright future, Corluka's 89th minute red card only a minute after the second goal sealed the deal and sent Poland cruising into the Quarter-finals!

Scotland 3-4 Belgium (AET)
View attachment 445695
Scotland were unlucky to meet such strong opposition after winning what was certainly the group of death, and they provided the match of the tournament in doing so. two early goals from, Romelu Lukaku including a 3rd minute penalty looked to have doomed Scotland, but another piece of tactical genius pulled Scotland back into the game, removing the two full backs and changing to a risky 3-4-3, two goals in two minutes from Phillips and Thomson pulled Scotland level, and Thomson doubled his tally with just over ten minutes to go to give Scotland the lead. Just four minutes later Lukaku completed his hat-trick, forcing the game into extra time. Moussa Dembele spared Belgium the uncertainty of penalties, and left Scotland heartbroken as he slotted home a 108th minute winner to book a place in the quarter-finals.

Quarter-Final
Poland 1-2 Spain

View attachment 445687
Poland's reward for beating Croatia is a game against the mighty Spain, fresh from beating Argentina 4-1 they had their sights firmly set on another scalp here. Poland stood firm for the first half with Trzetrzelewski and Salamon performing admirably, but a brace from Lamela all but sent Poland out, a Sergio Ramos red card gave a glimmer of hope but Artur Sobiech's 89th minute strike proved only a consolation.

The Final
Spain, after a loss to Scotland in the group stage and knocking out Poland in the quarter finals went on to meet hosts Russia in the final and just the solitary goal separated the sides as Spain won their second world cup.
Spain 1-0 Russia

Key players
For Poland, this really was the competition where the next generation showed what they were capable of, Dariusz Bartoszewicz showed flashes of brilliance, though mainly in his hat-trick against Nigeria, but the Player of the tournament, without a doubt, was Jerzy Trzetrzelewski, performing admirably in clean sheets against Iran and Croatia and a superb first-half display against Spain showed why he was in the first-team.

Player of the tournament could have gone to half of that team. The Regens really shone in this, Kyle Booth was brilliant in the group stages, a rock at the heart of my defence and a thoroughly deserved man of the match against Uruguay, struggled against Lukaku but still performed admirably overall. Paddy Dunlop and the great Darren Fletcher were both brilliant in the groups, Dunlop topping my assist charts and Fletcher his usual imperious self in midfield, I will always wonder what if as they were both suspended against Belgium but when they played they played well.


A special mention has to go to my wonderkid Zander Thomson, 3 goals and 3 assists an amazing return and his link up play with Rhodes was brilliant throughout but my player of the tournament has to go to the man himself, Jordan Rhodes, 5 goals and in 4 games is a fabulous return by anyone's reckoning, 4 brilliant performances and this goal machine marches on.

The Verdict
For the first time, this tournament we've pitted ourselves against the very best and showed the world that we're good enough to compete, signs enough here that success isn't a million miles away.


 
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carloshcfc

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Euro 2020 Qualification (Poland)
After an impressive showing in the World Cup, attention turned to qualifying for Euro 2020 in Turkey, we were drawn along side Georgia, Moldova, Norway and Switzerland.

New Faces
Starting to see lots of young players breaking through to the first-team to replace the ageing core of my side, Andrzej Pawlak (LB) made his debut at the world cup, Robert Kolakowski (ST) and Wojciech Cieciura (AMR) made debuts in qualifying, I also managed to persuade Robson (RB) and Paulo Dybala (ST) to give up Brazil and Argentina respectively, to play for Poland.
View attachment 444865View attachment 444864View attachment 444863View attachment 444862View attachment 444861

Results:
Poland 0-0 Norway
Switzerland 2-3 Poland
Poland 3-1 Georgia
Moldova 0-4 Poland
Norway 1-2 Poland
Poland 4-0 Switzerland
Georgia 2-2 Poland
Poland 2-0 Moldova
View attachment 444859
A solid campaign sees us top the group with a comfortable margin, next up, the Euros in Turkey!

Highlights
Two fantastic results against our biggest rivals Switzerland were absolutely vital to our qualification, and the big game was definitely the away match, after failing to beat or even score home to Norway we had to get our campaign up and running and going behind after three minutes didn't help but goals from Bartoszewicz (10), Blaszczykowski (36) and Lewandowski (37) gave us our first victory in what would be an unbeaten campaign.
View attachment 444858

Best Players
Dominik Furman- After Borysiuk nailed down a first team place a few years ago, the second CM position had been contested, but Furman was given a chance and took it, didn't have a poor game all tournament and rounded it off with a brace in the final match against Moldova, one of which a beautiful 35-yard shot placed into the top corner.





 

carloshcfc

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Euro 2020 Qualifying (Scotland)

Finally a group without Portugal, Ukraine are a good side but in this group first place is a possibility and with the other slots being filled by Macedonia, Finland and an Irish side I'd recently beaten comfortably in the Four Nations Cup failure to qualify looks unlikely but then again, as Belarus almost proved; anything is possible in football.
A few more regens trickled into the squad during qualifying, right back Iain Frail starts providing competition for Dair, a versatile midfielder Graeme Chalmers makes an appearance and my weak LM position sees Garry Kane, and Stephen Black roll through with minimal success

View attachment 444852View attachment 444851View attachment 444850View attachment 444849

Scotland 3-1 Ireland
Ukraine 3-1 Scotland
Scotland 6-1 Finland
Macedonia 1-1 Scotland
Ireland 1-3 Scotland
Scotland 1-0 Ukraine
Finland 2-3 Scotland
Macedonia 2-4 Scotland

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nothing spectacular other than failing to break down Macedonia denying me a level footing with Ukraine, the real talking point from this run of games was when I took a detour via Turkey on my way from Finland to Macedonia.

Turkey vs Scotland
Things could not have started any worse for my Scotland side, Muhammet and Aykut Demir scoring with Turkey's first two shots in the 5[SUP]th[/SUP] and 10[SUP]th[/SUP] minutes with Muhammet then adding his second in the 33[SUP]rd[/SUP] minute. 3-0 down at half-time and a lost cause.

My fullbacks had both been awful so were pulled off and replaced by a centreback and a striker as 4-2-2-2 became 3-4-3. The effect was immediate Rhodes tripped in the box, rubbing himself down and slotting home the penalty. Thomson profited from a defensive mix up to pull up a second back after 67 minutes to get Turkey back in sight. 4 minutes after that we were level, Thomson turning provider crossing for Rhodes to slot home his second. A clearance in the 89[SUP]th[/SUP] minute found it's way to Phillips who threaded the ball through to Rhodes who steered home from 6 yards to complete the biggest comeback I've ever seen in Football Manager. A good omen for the tournament they're hosting this summer??

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carloshcfc

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Jan 15, 2012
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Euro 2020 - Turkey
After an unchallenging qualification, our teams prepared for a European Championship to be played in less than ideal conditions.

The Draw

Group A
Holland
Bulgaria
Czech Republic
Poland

Group D
Bosnia + Herzegovina
Germany
Serbia
Scotland

So very winnable groups for both sides, with 3rd place normally holding a qualifying spot reaching the knockout stages shouldn't be a problem
Preparation:
Scotland 4-0 Algeria
Turkey 0-1 Poland

Scotland 0-1 Czech Republic
Silvrispor 0-5 Poland

So Poland go into the tournament with two wins in Turkey, Scotland will take heart from their win against Algeria, but a loss at home to Czech Republic highlights areas of concern.

Game 1:
Poland 4-3 Holland
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A quite extraordinary match which kept us guessing all the way to the final whistle. Holland took the lead after only two minutes, before being pegged back by a Bartoszewicz equaliser ten minutes later. A two-minute burst before half-time gave Poland a 3-1 lead going into the break. Poland had seemingly held on until in the 77th minute their defence was undone, and with just eight minutes left, Holland levelled the game again. Straight from that kick-off, Bartoszewicz scored his second of the game to give Poland the decisive lead in a quite magnificent match.
Scotland 2-1 Serbia
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A fantastic victory for Scotland which puts them well on their way to qualifying from the group. Dunlop opened the scoring with a magnificent effort from 25 yards, Serbia found a second half equaliser but Jordan Rhodes' late goal won all three points in a game that could've gone either way.

Game 2:
Poland 0-1 Czech Republic
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Poland tried to build on their dramatic win against Holland with an equally positive result against a strong Czech Republic, unfortunately it was not to be as the Polish strikers could not take their chances, just the solitary goal from Vaclav Kadlec could separate the sides in the end, leaving Poland requiring at least a point to advance to the next stage.

Scotland 1-1 Bosnia + Herzegovina
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A game that can only be seen as two points lost by Scotland, Zander Thomson's strike gave them the lead but that lasted only seven minutes and for the rest of the game Scotland couldn't find a way through the Bosnian back line, nonetheless a result that almost certainly sees them advance to the second round.

Game 3:
Poland 0-0 Bulgaria
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A bore draw sees Poland go through to the next round, a game dominated by two centre-backs (Dyakov for Bulgaria and Kowal for Poland), and it showed with the scoreline.
Scotland 2-3 Germany
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A fantastic potential upset ruined by some poor goalkeeping, Scotland worked tirelessly to go into the break at 2-2, but Fox will be disappointed that he couldn't make a save for Scotland in this game, conceding goals to all three of Germany's shots on target.

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Second Round:
England 1-0 Poland
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So Poland go crashing out of the competition in the second round to a very good England team, Poland held on for 70 minutes until they were finally broken down and couldn't find an equaliser in the remaining twenty minutes, but plenty to please Poland fans here.

Spain 1-0 Scotland
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Scotland never really looked like causing an upset here as Spain dominated much of the game. A David Mancisidor penalty is all that separated the sides in the end but it could have been a much larger margin of victory.

The Final
Czech Republic managed to find their way into the final, facing off against Spain, and then managed to win that game 3-2, taking the crown of best team in Europe.

Key Players
Firstly, a mention to Robert Lewandowski who retired after this tournament, leaving his record tally at 62 goals from 124 matches, his last in the victory over Holland, but the player of the tournament without a doubt, was Bartosz Salamon, a fantastic central defender who did a good job filling in for Furman in the centre of midfield, then when Tzertzerlewski picked up an injury in the second game, he slotted into the defence and played a pivotal role in our only clean sheet of the tournament.

Honorary mentions have to go to Dunlop and Rhodes for earning third and first in goal of the tournament. Dunlop for a 25 yard pile-driver and Rhodes for an incredible 30 yard chip.
But the clear player of the tournament was Kyle Booth. Imperious performances even in the defeats. A disappointing tournament could have been far worse without him. A definite future captain.

The Verdict

Each tournament up to this one has shown signs of progress, taking big steps forward, but this time around seems like nothing was learnt from previous tournaments and both teams could, and probably should, have done much better than they did.
 

carloshcfc

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Jan 15, 2012
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So, our first key players resign and become our first hall of fame inductees

National Legend

One of the greats of Scottish football hanging up his boots is a massive blow, Darren Fletcher has retired at the age of 36 has been a central part of every team ever since I started and although this had been coming, he retired the armband after the Euros and had announced his retirement in March, that doesn?t make it easier to replace such a great player with 110 caps and my player of the tournament 2016. A salute to the first Scotland captain at a finals for 18 years, here?s hoping I have a lot more.
This is not the last I?ll see of this great man however, he has just signed on as the U21s Manager and I hope his international experience will help inspire then next generation.

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DISASTER
I knew I was losing Fletcher but nothing could prepare me for this double blow: Jordan Rhodes after 77 appearances scoring an incredible 66 goals; an utterly amazing strike rate has announced his international retirement despite only being 30 in order to focus on his club football. A painful loss of an amazing player. The remaining strikers have a lot to live up to, my player of the tournament in 2018 and goal of the tournament winner in 2020. This goal machine will take some beating.

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Record Breaker
Robert Lewandowski's retirement at 31 showed the loss of the old guard, Piszczek having already retired and Blaszczykowski showing signs he's not the player he once was. Hopefully my next generation can step up, Dariusz Bartoszewicz has already showed signs of quality and hopefully we can find someone to take over from Lewandowski.
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carloshcfc

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Jan 15, 2012
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World Cup 2022 qualifying (Poland)
So after the disappointment of Euro 2020, I had the unenviable task of replacing Lewandowski and making a side that can challenge the big boys

New Faces
The team used in the Euros was already pretty young and didn't need much changing, the big inclusion was Kacper Lugowski, a then-Besiktas striker who could allow Bartoszewicz to play a more attacking role.
Results:
Poland 4-1 Faroe Islands
Finland 1-1 Poland
Poland 4-1 Ireland
Croatia 3-5 Poland
Switzerland 3-2 Poland
Faroe Islands 2-3 Poland
Poland 6-1 Finland
Poland 3-0 Croatia
Ireland 2-4 Poland
Poland 5-3 Switzerland
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An immense display of goalscoring sends us through as group winners, but not a perfect campaign, only one clean sheet could be a problem when facing stronger sides.

Highlights
plenty of remarkable matches in this campaign, but the 4-2 win in Ireland was the best of all. At the time sat in second, we had to avoid defeat in this game to stand a chance of clinching top spot. After 30 minutes Ireland find themselves 2-0 up, a goal from Bartoszewicz just before half time, a Furman penalty on the hour and late goals from Dybala and Kupisz ensure our fate is in our hands as we go on to win the group.
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Best Players
Easy. After Lewandowski's retirement we needed someone to step up, and Darius Bartoszewicz did just that. Scoring 19 of the team's 37 goals including four hat-tricks is an incredible feat and shows he could potentially be a very useful player for the future.
 
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Dec 9, 2013
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World Cup 2022 Qualifiers

As soon as the draw was made I knew I'd made it to the world cup. The likes of Northern Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Iceland and Kazakhstan were never going to seriously force me into the playoffs, this was a great opportunity to give game-time to regens without any real risk. The only question was if I could have a perfect campaign and accumulate 30 points?
Scotland 1-0 Greece
Kazakhstan 0-4 Scotland
Scotland 3-0 Cyprus
Scotland 4-0 Iceland
N Ireland 1-5 Scotland
Greece 0-1 Scotland
Scotland 5-1 Kazakhstan
Cyprus 0-4 Scotland
Iceland 0-2 Scotland
Scotland 5-2 N Ireland
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so a perfect campaign and qualification with 2 games to spare. No real points of interest so a chance to overview my best 11 (with a few extras)

My goalkeeper is really my Achilles heel. No-one of any real quality has come through to replace the ageing McGregor and Marshall and Arran Fox is the best of a bad bunch. I'd have hoped this campaign would help him but the 4 he did concede were about the only shots my opponents had; a real worry for the world cup
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I'm very happy across the back 4 however.
My usual 4 of Craig Dair, Kyle Booth, Connor Small and Lee Wallace have looked solid through out an admittedly easy campaign. My only concern is the lack of a decent regen to replace Wallace who looks certain to be entering his last tournament.
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My midfield is my other area for concern, Graeme Chalmers is the only regen of note and Lewis MacLeod is about the only other player good enough to play at this level. A real area of concern and if I lose either of them I'm in trouble.
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By contrast my wings and strikers couldn't look much stronger. Dunlop and Black are my first choices on the wings with cover coming from Ryan Gauld, Gary Kane, Matt Phillips and James Forrest.
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My preferred partnership of Thomson and Mailley with Tony Watt as my first choice replacement have all been excellent with 9, 10 and 6 goals respectively. Hopefully this embarrassment of riches going forwards will compensate for my weaknesses elsewhere on the pitch and we can score 1 more than whoever we face...
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Grapho

Member
Nov 26, 2013
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I'm absolutely loving this, please do not stop this series. The biggest of lucks with your squad!
 
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