The Belgian next talent. Can feminine intuition work?

Death Ball

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May 17, 2009
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Ballands!





Frustrating season with Toulouse. Like in the days at Huesca, the system worked, but the players couldn't go their part. Shoting off target, to the defenders, losing concentration when being up... They failed to get the results needed and they've ended costing me the job after the narrow loss against PSG. Now it's time to concentrate on Belgium, maybe look for top level jobs.

And indeed, a good vacancy opened up and offered a contract to Schmied. Who? It will soon be revealed.

In the national team, an easy match sealed qualification for the next European Championship and a couple of friendlies followed where Belgium made a great example of counter attacking football.




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Three games had to be replayed because of crashes, one draw turned into a win, another draw into a defeat and a big defeat into a smaller one. In the end meaningless for the end result.
 

Death Ball

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Yes, redheads are crazy or something

So, Aurora had found a very nice team to sign for: Porto. Sitting in a disappointing fifth place in the league, with a fairly strong squad, which only problem was Moutinho unwilling to renew his contract.






The start has not been good, eliminated in the Ta?a do Portugal group phase with only one victory, a group labelled as easy. Then one big win and one big loss in the league to drop more from the top.





And... she resigned. Why?. Because before Porto, she was approached by Newcastle United. She rejected it, because in the eight matches following were the English four big teams, which would set things harder than she wished for the start. But now the vacant of another Premier side had opened: Norwich. And though there is a three tough matches in a row (ManU, Chelsea and Spurs) they're away enough as to get some decent amount of points up to that point to then get through that patch.

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I made a test applying to all bottom league teams. When I was employed, they refused because of the compensation money. When I resigned, I received offers from the majority, with a few still refusing for undisclosed reasons. I would place my bet in a matter of a)expected wages b)favourite formation or something like that and not for being a woman. So the conclusion for this is there's no machism in the game.
 

Death Ball

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2020 Half of season. The club. Norwich

At arrival, Norwich had a decent squad that according to the reports should be performing much better in the league than being fourteenth. The bad part was more the economical side, with several million debt.





Not much that Schmied would do with that account status, but she did bring two new faces to the midfield, that was short for the three midfielder formation she was going to introduce to the team.






None would be to be used in the first team, but the youth academy only brought two decent young players to the side, though the youth development director would eventually sign most of them.



Norwich Morning Diary said:
- So what would you say about what has gone in Norwich?

- It's been frustrating. Just like my time at Huesca, but with much better players. Systems have been working. Chances have been created for shots in the box by players in at least some space, but they've missed them; defence has kept rivals marked, but lapses in concentration or lack of focus have led to concede goals. We've played very well against big teams, we beat Arsenal, drew against Liverpool and Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City had to work hard their wins, and on top we could have defeated them if only our forwards had taken the chances they got. Only against Wolves and Tottenham we were clearly beaten, the rest should have gone our way if things went as good as the work of my systems

- Do you regret leaving Porto, now that you finished 15th and they went to a second place?

- I must admit at times it feels I should have stayed, but if I had known I would have still moved. I am in a team of the top league, with a squad that has worked in a way that can hopefully do better next season. Porto is a great team, but the league is not one of the top four. Granted, possibly "easy" wins in that league might build up a way to a big team in a big league, but I prefer a big top league team than a dominating side in a not so big league. Right now, I would not move to any team that wasn't playing at one of the top four leagues.



League prize money has provided a first help to the financial situation, to which a few sales will add in July. Van Rijn for the money that can be had and because a wingerless 5-3-2 system is planned to become the main system, plus the sales of Mavrias (not used enough), Cathcart (performed poorly when called upon) shall give the team a solid position, reinforced by new sponsorship deals.








Signings will be decided as expectations are fixed and all players out are out. The initial budget proposed shall be enough to work with and the needs are basically already set. Four new players would be required: a striker who can convert the chances he's given, a solid right fullback, a centreback to give more solidity to the back three or four and a goalkeeper that inspires more trust than Ruddy.

The preseason will be seven weeks long to work on the team work.



 

Death Ball

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In the way to the European Championship 2020

Going into the Euro'20 things seem better than ever for Belgium: easily qualified in top of their group, though it was easy, they are drawn in a group that has no big names and which gives them a chance to pass to the next round. Also they arrive being at the highest rank they've ever been. However, the bookies don't rate their chances very high.






The initial squad is made of one more goalkeeper and two field players over the limit, chosen merely by their form.Defourny will be the goalkeeper discarded. Things weren't to be set in stone until a friendly allowed those in doubt to show their worth in the friendly against Ireland. But the limit to chose the final squad came before that. So Capon for age and Witsel for weak marking were the three men to go out. The assistant wanted to leave out Coremans and Benteke instead, but Schmied chose not to because she wanted Coremans as a natural AMC option and Benteke for his aerial ability.

In her mind, the first choice will be a 4-3-3 (4-5-1 kind) with a 4-1-2-1-2 and a yet undecided formation that could be a 4-2-3-1 with two defensive minded midfielders.

 

Death Ball

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European Championship 2020

It wasn't Witsel that was dropped for poor marking but Defour for being too simillar to Nainggolan and Fellaini in having the same strength and recommended role.

A comfortable win against Ireland gave some morale going into the competition. During it Belgium fielded the 4-5-1 that's more like a 4-3-3 with good effect to qualify as first of the group. However, in the first match Nainggolan got a straight red card for violent conduct, in the second Fellaini did the same, in the third it was Cuvelier who got inured, making the team be down to ten men. Lukaku, first striker choice and Mirallas, first for the right winger, got injuries that wouldn't heal for the next match, like Cuvelier's, but would last all the competition.

Second round set Belgium against Sweden and was a success. The quarter finals, third in a row in a European Championship, was to set Belgium against Portugal. The first half was Portuguese and saw them go one up. Tactical changes, going to 4-1-2-1-2, allowed Belgium to come back soon after half time and have a couple good chances, one of which should have been a goal. But it was going to be Portugal who managed to score the second goal in the 83rd minute.




 

Death Ball

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Start of preseason '20-'21

Before the official end of the season there were some news worth a note.

Cahill, one of our centerbacks, who was average, announced his retirement. The club broke the transfer income record and Shelvey, named player of the year, had a new record average rating. The best XI was announced as well. A very nice item of news is the improved position in the clubs' rankings.








The international matches did bring some bad news with them, as Abel Hern?ndez picked a two month injury which will make him miss most of the preseason, though he will reach, barely, to the start of the season



The record transfer income allowed the team to make some deals in the transfer market, perhaps not as good as the scouts promised, according to the coaches. But the economical status has seen a drastic improvement, with the projected balance at the end of the new season still to grow considerably, along some very nice TV rights to be received. The transfers would see mostly an influx of several young prospects. Then a couple of centebacks able to play at the sides and a fullback to strengthen the back four, plus a back up for Shelvey and a couple strikers to solve the problems in front of goal. And a new goalkeeper that shall start many games, though still needing some tutoring to increase his mental strength to face important matches.
















Considering performances and the signings to cover the issues already taken, Schmied is of the idea the mid table expectations is realistic and can be achieved without big trouble, though there's not much hopes of overachieving. The start of the season is tough, with Manchester City and Arsenal as the first opponents.




There is not much I can comment on the two friendlies played. I was in the European Championship still and my assistant had to take them. Getting two goals against Genk, who play Europe is not bad, but conceding three isn't too good. We'll see in the rest of the long preseason what's the state of the team.
 

Death Ball

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Preseason '20-'21

Four players more have been brought to the first team, two centerbacks to fill the needed quota of players for a three men defense system, a back up young central midfielder and a young striker that will be mostly in the reserve team but will have some first team time. Prince was sold as there was one too many players for the twenty five over 21 player registration and he never showed his quality the past season.







The preseason fixtures weren't very encouraging, not being able to win any of the challenging games and losing one that should have been somewhat easy. Not good to begin the season against past campaign's champion, it may be a tough season ahead. ((Except it's always been for me a good preseason for a bad season and a bad preseason for a good season)). The title odds say Schmied's team can at best to hope for a top half finish, with chances to be involved in the relegation battle.




With the national team there's one friendly against Arabia Saudi, nothing really to note.



_________________________________

And during preseason, against Fuli, the match with the highest average rating for my team I've ever had.


 

Death Ball

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(With the FM14 database complete and after some games to get in grips with the new tactics system, I am starting to plan on retaking this along the main FM14 save. But there's one doubt that arises as to where to take it from.

There is one decission I regret and wouldn't have been taken normally, but that I took for the reason of incoming FM14 and possibility it would end being abandoning this save: leaving Porto before being sacked or winning trophies with which to get to some prestigious teams so as to reach the goal of managing a team in the top level of one of the big four leagues. You know, to show that one more of the set goals had been taken. But I think it doesn't really make sense to abandon a team that's the biggest of Portugal, with which one can expect to win titles, to move to a bottom half team of Premier League like Norwich. So, the question is: Do I do a retcon and load the save I still have from right before leaving Porto for Norwich, which is what would have been natural, or do I eat up the wrong decission?)
 

Death Ball

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Well, finally decided it doesn't matter if things had been decided for OOC reasons so kept with Norwich and from the point I left. Been playing this slowly, as still after the database was finished I wanted to keep familiarising myself with the new GUI. Still not decided and swaying one way and the other in cycles. However kept playing this, a match from time to time.


Start of the 20-21 season sees yet another change and an objective

Shaky start was had with Norwich, losing heavily the first league match against Manchester City, who later was defeated with a defensively 4-4-2 in the League Cup. Maybe not the worst start but bad enough to be in the lower half of the table.





After the poor performance against Everton, reminiscent of Huesca games where tactics looked good but then the players failed to get the final job done, Schmied resigned.





And then applied for some jobs and the final objective was achieved: she has been signed by Spanish giants Atlético de Madrid!. They are qualified for Europa League and have guaranteed passage out of the group stage.









A quick look at the individual stats of the team show there's not yet a single scoring leader but there's scoring talent upfront. Some good crossers, not so great passers. Their defence has not worked in the way I like it and there's been few mistakes.



So, at this point goals for the career:

- Reach a top division. Check (Tolousse was the first).

- Play for a big league team. Check. (Norwich, Premier).

- Play for a big team. Check. (Atlético de Madrid).

- Be Belgium's NT manager. Check.

What would be left from this point is see if I get her some silverware; but that was a bonus goal.
 
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