A Belgian Story – The Road to World Cup 2006: Part 23 | @verbist_philip

Happy Saturday! Philip is still basking in that glorious win over Ajax. How do you improve on perfection?

Hallo allemaal!

Unfortunately we cannot go yet for some Saturday Night Fever, but luckily we have our weekly Saturday Morning Fever with the Beveren Boys!

Last week we took yet again a good start in the league and are we co-leading with Standard, who else. In the Champions League we were put in the Group of Death with Inter, Real Madrid and Ajax, but we showed we are not to be underestimated!

From the Amsterdam Arena to Het Kuipje a few days later, that only happens in the world of cm9798. The lads are able to keep their focus and we start today’s blog with a 0-2 victory at Westerlo.

Whenever I play the “23122-direct” formation, the ratings of the wing backs are usually among the lowest in the team. It is still early in the season and for sure it’ll come down as the season progresses, but what Van Acker (Staelens) is doing, impresses me. In the database I am using for the blog (still haven’t figured out where I got that one) he’s a DM R, while in the original one he is a DM RC. Anyhow, he is the real deal on the right wing back!

Last week Waregem wiped the floor with Standard, and today they commit the perfect hold-up. We have difficulties cracking their ultra-defensive line-up and when we do break through, our shots are mainly off target. On the other hand they convert all their shots on goal and the end result is one of our biggest home defeats ever.

Can we redeem ourselves? Easier said then done when you play at San Siro next. We could have, if we would have been a bit more efficient. But if you don’t convert your chances, you return home empty handed, especially with an Italian opponent.

There is not a lot of improvement in our next match against Germinal. We play a mediocre match. The only thing there is to say is that we score a goal, and they don’t.

Time now for the international break where Belgium travels to Ukraine. I warn the lads to be careful and they pick up the message. In a dominant game we grab 3 very important points.

Back to domestic level where our mediocrity continues. This time we don’t even manage to score a goal.

Our form is dipping and that’s a bad timing when Real Madrid is next. On top of that we miss both our wings back and Nasden (Lemoine). Let’s look at it from the bright side: we only concede 1 goal.

Losing against Real Madrid is no shame, but the pattern is clear. In our last 5 matches, we scored just one goal. I cannot put all the blame on Goor (Van Kets), but somehow he got out of form and I replace him with Bistrussu (Verschelde). When you go to war, who do you take with you? We have several good players to chose from, but there is only answer to this question and that is Marien (Wilmots). Wilmots was known for his relentlessness, and his regen inherited that spirit.

It seems our dip in form was only a short one. Against Cercle Brugge everything is back to normal.

We end this year’s Champions League campaign with a home match against Ajax. Our losses against Inter & Real eliminated us from qualifying, but 9 points against these opponents is a good result after all.

We put on the cruise control against Beerschot so that we can fully prepare ourselves for …

… the Belgian Cup! We play Waregem in the first round and revenge is the only word in our minds! You won’t do that a second time to us!

The season is now halfway and we have a small advantage over Standard and Club Brugge. Getting Bistrussu (Verschelde) back into the line-up helped to overcome our small dip. But there was nothing brave about that. What would happen if we drop Coenegrachts (Oliveira) and Daelmans (Degryse) in the line-up? They’re both excellent players, but they will need time to develop. This could cost us the title, but is that a reason not to do so? With three titles in a row, we have proven that domestic success is possible when you only sign Belgian regens. If we can qualify Belgium for the 2006 WC, the more we can mature them both, the more beneficial this could be for Belgium. Allright, the decision has been taken, as of now these are starting XI (despite injuries/suspensions).

The irony is that the game engine gives us for now only 16 minutes in this line-up. It was the last match before the winter break, so we can pick it up again after our annual ski trip to the Swiss mountains.

Standard decide they need some help in their title race and with Wooter they manage to sign a world-class player.

We resume the action with the Second Round of the Belgian Cup. We travel to second league team Genk. Our “new” line-up completes the match this time and we advance to the Quarter Final.

As we try to develop our new top regens, Club Brugge follows the example of Standard and add a big name to their squad.

I am curious how Coenegrachts (Oliveira) will perform on the 9. I typically take a striker for this position and not a F LC… He has the ability to prove me wrong and he gets his first goal in our next match against Charleroi.

Next we welcome Standard to the Freethiel. They take an early lead, but we are not impressed. We equalise just before half time and it should have been a lead. Abeels (Nilis) however decides they should play more football in heaven and balloons a penalty. We push them with their backs against the wall in the second half, but their Scottish goalkeeper Hogarth must have gotten some kind of divine intervention and keeps the score at 1-1.

Against Mechelen we play an uninspired first half. We are better in the second half, but the first goal of Daelmans (Degryse) is not enough to prevent the loss.

No worries, that’s part of the learning curve. Our last one for today is against Lierse. The lads put up a strong performance and Daelmans (Degryse) strikes again.

Despite the changes in line-up, we are still in the lead and in pole position for the last part of the season!

We didn’t have too much attention for Belgium this week, but there was only 1 qualification match to play. Next week will be different though! There is a friendly first, but after there are 3 qualification matches. Will we still be in 2nd position then? We’ll find out next week!

Tot volgende week!

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