A Belgian Story – The Road to World Cup 2006: Part 24 | @verbist_philip

Hallo allemaal!

Saturday! For me the best day in the week by a mile. How will the Belgium boys finish Season 8? Yes, you have read that right, it’s no typo. We’ll save the most important part of today’s update to the very end, when Belgium will play 3 important qualification matches for the 2006 WC. A good result will no doubt pave the way to England, that will be hosting the world cup.

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Last week we didn’t survive the Group of Death, but there is still a to play for. We start the last part of the season in pole position, and we’re also still in the Belgian Cup. Dreaming of the double is perhaps a bit too bold. Last week we made some changes in the line-up in an attempt to mature our new top regens Coenegrachts (Oliveira) and Daelmans (Degryse) as much as we can. How far will we get?

We start today’s update in the quarter finals of the Belgian Cup against Germinal. We get ahead early on, but they equalise almost immediately after. They are a tough squad and we need an unexpected rifle shot from Abeels (Nilis) to advance to the Semis, where we will host Lierse.

In the league we have a tough start with first a visit to Anderlecht and hosting Club Brugge after. A bit similar to real life, Anderlecht is no longer the dominant team they were at the beginning of the blog. Their 35-year old striker Dennis De Nooijer makes sure the lads have to stay concentrated for the whole match, but all in all it’s an easy win.

Club Brugge is next and they are different kind of cookie. Van Meir (Preud’homme) plays a sublime match and keeps us in the game. A few minutes before the final whistle Coenegrachts (Oliviera) gives us a rather flattered victory.

Next we cross the river Scheldt for our match against Antwerp. Once again Coenegrachts (Oliveira) scores a goal within the final minutes of the game. No victory goal this time, but we didn’t deserve more than a point anyway.

Before we start with the qualification matches we have a friendly against Norway. In my rush I forgot to add Coenegrachts (Oliveira) and Daelmans (Degryse) to the Belgian squad, and Bistrussu (Verschelde) takes full advantage with 3 goals. We finish the match with a superb 4-0 win, but it comes with a price: Van Acker (Staelens) is out for the remainder of the season!

Next is our match against Diest, where it is goals aplenty.

When you draw 1 each in a match where you should have gone home with 3 points, it’s important not too lose your head. Let that be a wise lesson Massaux (Albert). The last feat of the match is his red card, without doubt the stupidest sending off I have ever seen on the blog.

That’s exactly the type of football I love to see lads. Dominant, lots of chances, several goals and no goal against.

Next up is Waregem. They had a fantastic season start with back-to-back victories against Standard and ourselves. Lately they have been a bit out of touch and dropped back to 10th position. They rely heavily on Rougier, who is the regen of Marcus Gayle. I believe I never had him on my squad during any of my previous saves, but I imagine he can be absolutely lethal. Of course against us he finds his touch back and the game ends in a draw. We’re lucky Standard loses their match and with 5 matches remaining we are still in the title race.

Cup time again! Excellent performance lads, well done! In the other semi final, Cercle Brugge upsets Standard and will go to their very first Cup Final in the cm9798 world. Thank you dear God for putting us as the away team in the Final! Will we win our third Cup?

Reaching the Cup Final stimulates the lads to a good performance against Germinal.

The first of our 3 qualification matches is a home match against Macedonia. This time I do add Coenegrachts (Oliveira) and Daelmans (Degryse) to the squad and I let them start as well. The youngest player ever to score a goal for the Belgian Red Devils was a guy called Fernand Nisot. In 1912 he was not even 17 when he scored his first goal in friendly match against France. But what do you think about this one? Our top regen Coenegrachts (Oliveira) is already 17, but scores twice in his international debut. Let’s put the jokes aside now, straight after the match Cannaerts (Emmers) picks up an injury and he is also out for the remainder of the season. Luckily Portugal draws against Hungary and halfway we move to first position.

Back to league now where Aalst upsets us in our own Freethiel stadium. An abysmal loss and it comes at a very bad time. With 3 matches remaining, I realise that there are not 2 but still 4 candidates for the title!

It’s the season finale. Our engine should be accelerating but instead it is sputtering. That’s 0/6 against 2 teams in the second half of the league table. Have we become that dependent on Cannaerts (Emmers)? We stay second but Standard can almost smell the title.

In a prequel of the Cup Final we batter Cercle Brugge 4-0. They’re reduced to 9 players after 16 minutes, so that wasn’t too difficult after all. Standard remains flawless and wins the title!

Last match of the regular season is against Beerschot. We were able to hide it against Cercle Brugge, but our form keeps on deteriorating and we even give away the 2nd position and the connected Champions League ticket. We rely heavily on Emmers (Cannaerts), that’s absolutely clear to me now.

A few days later it is the Cup Final. Unlike previous years, it’s not exactly a walk-over, but a win is all that matters. It feels a bit as a consolation price, but nonetheless it’s party time after winning our 3rd Belgian Cup!!

Did we save the best for last? We sure did! We finish the blog with 2 qualification matches for Belgium. Hungary is absolutely no game and we thrash them 5-0.

Next up is Portugal. It’s a stalemate, but they make one mistake. Coenegrachts (Oliveira) converts the resulting penalty and we manage to hold them off for the remainder of the match. That are 3 golden points and they put us in a fantastic position. There are 2 qualifying matches left, and only Ukraine has a small chance to keep us from winning the group.

That’s it for today! It wasn’t our most successful season with Beveren, but we are on the verge of going to the 2006 World Cup and that’s our ultimate goal! Next week we start our 9th and final season, so stay tuned and enjoy your weekends!

Tot volgende week!

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