I came to the world cup having been asked to reach the second round. As I said earlier, that shouldn't be too hard.
First game was Paraguay. My GK scored an own goal to get them up 1-0, well it was a deflected free kick really. My young striker Vincent Péricard scored 2 on his debut to keep the 3 points with us. Good performance all around, but the defense looked a little bit unreliable, really.
Second was Guinea, who were beaten 3-0 by Holland in the first match. The only highlight in this match was an excellent free kick by Achille Emana from the edge of the 16 yard box, a little left from the center of the opponents goal. Oh, and a fierce tackle from behind by Samuel Eto'o, injuring an opponent and earning him a yellow.
Holland had drawn against Paraguay, so I had qualified from the group stage already, needing a draw against Holland in the 3rd match to win the group.
Then Holland. This was always going to be a hard one. When my right back, Jean-Noël Perrier-NDoumbé, fouled Makaay in the box after 6 minutes, earning him a yellow which would have concequences later on, the lead was easily obtained by Holland. The match played out rather even, to my surprise, and my DMC Valéry Mezague was able to draw us level just after half-time.
Then there was my right back again. He complained about an offside call once too many, and he was sent off. Crap. Luckily I had Rigobert Song on the bench, so I brought him on for Samuel Eto'o. Which annihilated my chances of winning, but I was quite sure we were not going to lose. And we didn't.
Real opposition again in the quarters, facing the generic side of the U.S.A.. Thank you SI and MLS for your conflict. The match was completely theirs to be taken, especially in the first half, if only they had scored some. When Geremi scored a lucky long range effort, a couple of minutes before half-time, their side looked like it was demoralized. They couldn't get a good attack afoot in the second half, and my team didn't do anything at all. Only Eto'o, who earned himself his second yellow of the tournament, meaning he was suspended for the semi final. Later in the match my other striker, Péricard, got injured, resulting him to be out for a month.
I was to face Mexico in the semi final. They had gotten some ok results against South Korea and Germany, but we should have been able to beat them. If we had any real strikers left. My backup strikers were my starting MR, Emana, and ML, Thomas Job, who are excellent on their favoured position, but not as good as strikers. I had rated them better than this when I selected my squad. My two backup wingers, Eric Djemba-Djemba on the right and Pierre Wome on the left, did an excellent job replacing them though. This led to a game that saw many many small chances for my two "strikers", and 2 for Mexico. They played very professional counter attacks, and we lost fair and square.
The last match then, the 3rd place playoff. I faced France in this one. They had an almost completely fit squad, and it was very good to beat them. The only one to be a bit doubtful was Vieira who started with a fitness value of 61.
They started the match off in a high pace, but my ML, Job, proved that he did know how to finish a good long run off. Vieira was bravely tracking him the whole way from the center of the pitch to the left edge of the 16 yard box. There Job left him standing and passed my Cannes player Phillipe Mexès like he wasn't there. No really, he ran straight through him. The finish against Barthez was an easy one. Vieira soon had to leave the pitch, when he received a push from Geremi, who collected his 2nd yellow of the tournament there, and will be suspended the next time I touch that game. The game then became more even. Until Pires' red in the second half, for kicking at my right center back, Lucien Mettomo, ended their resistance. We got two more goals after that, but they didn't really do anything anymore.