Welcome back again to the Wonderkids International as we continue our attempt to take a rag tag bunch of unknown minus men together on a heart-warming international journey. If you missed our qualification for Euro 2000, you can catch up here. A reminder of the wretched hand we’ve been dealt:
We warm-up in the only style we know:
A bucket load of cheeky goals, some fisticuffs and red cards and an injury to our captain. Sounds pretty accurate for a lad’s holiday to Turkey yeah? The dream is over before its begun of Paiva:
He was a trusted deputy to Tiago and Delfim and also Pinto at right-back.
We’re finally a 1st seed, but Yugoslavia is still a challenge in the qualification stakes for World Cup 2002.
Preparation goes well…
…but we’ve Bin Fu this before…
We give a debut to one of our younger minus men who is developing nicely.
“Neca on” was the cry from the gantry, leaving everyone confused and embarrassed.
We proceed to lose 2-0 to the USA and 5-0 to Denmark. Then this happens to our squad just before the Italy game.
Talk about unlucky. We are forced into a random tactical alteration:
And it pays off. It could have been more. Ricky is way off form.
Hastag, restricted. This might become a new normal 3-2-1-2-2 narrow. Next up England who struggled past Belarus 1-0, just to help us a bit more Hugo Leal picks up an injury to miss the crucial game.
Ramirez steps in. And how…
England playing with more width than Italy cause us problems, but we survive a late pummelling.
We close the group at Belarus as a super ‘keeper performance stops us making hay. De La Sagra’s Euro’s are over. One more down.
Ricky now has 30 hits to his name, he’ll be up for a platinum record soon. The group looks excellent.
And the quarter-final draw is kind.
The Scottish boys crumble like glass.
The yellow cards are not helping our cause. The man from the spare room and Fabio will miss the semi-final. Again??? Howay man.
Leal’s tournament is also now over, as is Fabio’s, even if we make the final. I SAID NO TRAINING!!!!
We cobble together a side. My finger nails have gone.
WE’VE DONE IT!!! WE’VE BLOODY WELL DONE IT!!! Come on!!! Suspicious, feels too good to be true.
Almeida will miss the final. Thankfully Loja is back from his ban. Taxi takes the captaincy.
They never stood a chance those turnips. The new formation is a keeper indeed!
And there we have it, one down, one to go! And a formation discovery forced by injury. Otherwise we’d probably have drowned looking back on the USA and Denmark friendlies!
This guy is doing bits all over the place.
Bearing in mind we went two games without scoring, that is some return!
So, we’ve achieved one goal, we’ve blooded new talent in Neco and Ramirez and players should be returning from long-term injuries in time for the World Cup qualifiers. I would love to see Martins pass 50 goals in the next season. Can we make our way safely to the 2002 World Cup? The dream is alive!
You can follow Andrew on twitter: @KingOfTheRooks