We re-join Jack as he ponders his final selections for France 98. Jamaica don’t have the biggest talent pool but the aim remains to get out of the group stage. Catch up with part 1 here.
I have to call-up a minimum of 22 players for my World Cup squad. I decide to call up all 23 and I take some encouragement from the fact that Barry Hayles has had a big money move to the Premier League.
The World Cup
We bid adieu to the Caribbean/Coventry and arrive in France to take part in what nobody is calling the group of death. The first game is the only one we’ll be favourites for, so I play my preferred attacking formation – 4-2-3-1. Don’t be fooled by passing style, that was changed to direct immediately after I took the screenshot.
We’re off to a dream start, smashing ten-man Japan. Captain Frank Sinclair picks up an injury, but we’ve already scored more goals than Jamaica did in the whole tournament in real life, so I’m definitely happy overall. And we’re top of the group!
It looks like Sinclair will miss the last two group games. I can’t replace him because it’s too late and also there are only 23 Jamaicans on the planet.
Next we grind out a 0-0 against Colombia, with Linvoy Primus coming in for Sinclair and keeping Faustino Aprilla quiet.
Russia have six points from two games, but we rise to the occasion again, with David Johnson (who comes in for the injured Jason Eull) grabbing a second-half equaliser. We finish the group stage unbeaten.
It’s Italy in round two and I think back to 5-0 drubbing at the Stadio Olimpico in March. That’s what you get for finishing second in the group. There will be no easy route to victory.
As it turns out, there will be no victory at all. The fact we even score one past Maldini and Costacurta shows how far we’ve come. We go out in the second round to the eventual winners; Italy beating Scotland in the semi-final and Holland in the final. I have to say that I’m satisfied with our World Cup campaign, and so are my bosses.
Terry Angus retires and I think I will too. There are no World Cup qualifiers outside of Europe, so whether Jamaica make it to Japan 2002 is in the hands of the gods. I don’t fancy sticking around for 4 years to see if it’s us or Trinidad & Tobago, especially if I’m just dealing with the same set of mediocre players and their regens.
I’ve got a taste for international management, but perhaps next time I’ll take charge of a different team in yellow. The one with Ronaldo. I’ve uploaded the database files here [https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yN00VSfMc_hASIAeMtKDCkFsKZaLOuvA/view?usp=sharing], if anyone else wants to see if they can outdo me (and René Simões).
Thanks to Jack for an entertaining little series, hopefully he’ll be back with another blog in the future.