FC Irlande 2nds

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After a good win last weekend against one of the top teams in the league it was time for the the Cup. It took place at home on a nice sunny Saturday afternoon but unfortunately it didn’t turn on our side.
The task was pretty hard, playing against a first division team. We entered quickly in the game and we kept the ball possession for the first 5 minutes. But we could easily feel that game will be complicated to manage. The opponents were really fast on counter attack and they took advantage of any mistake we made in the first 20 minutes.

After loosing the ball in our half of the pitch and being a bit late on the tackle, we gave them a good opportunity on the right side of the surface. First occasion and it was already 0-1. Few minutes later, after loosing another ball we conceded a corner and once again they scored. 0-2 after 15 min. At the moment, we knew that it was going to be even harder.

We still kept fighting and we were able to get a couple of opportunities. Sean Gibson had a chance to reduce the score but Higgins goalkeeper tackled Sean outside the box. A bad fault, that would probably have deserved more than just a yellow card. Anyway good free kick to play, and Lorenz was in charge of it. Unfortunately his attempt finished right above the crossbar. We didn’t give up and had other opportunities but everytime Higgins had the ball they were really fast and dangerous.
2-0 at half time.

We started the 2nd with the aim of scoring the next goal quickly to be back in the game. After a good movement Sean Gibson had an other opportunity but this time the keeper did the save in a more regularly way. We were still in the game and believing that we could come back. Our beliefs didn’t stay for long, 5 minutes later they scored a third one. 0-3 and still 30 min to play. At this time they started to totally own the game and we weren’t fighting as strong as we were doing in the first half. After another long ball, their striker beat our defense with his speed and dribbled our keeper. 0-4 – the game was basically over.

But we really wanted to finish the game in a good way. We kept trying and battling with the rest of energy we had. And finally, in the last minute, Ben scored after a nice combination between Sean and Nick. Sean received the ball 40 meters from the goal, passed the ball behind their defense to Nick who crossed into the box. Ben coming from the opposite side didn’t miss his chance and capitalize on our best opportunity. 1-4 final score.

The team did his best but the level was too high on this Saturday.
Good luck to Higgins for the rest of the Cup.

Goal : Ben Panknin
Assist : Nick
Man of the match : David

This Saturday the 2nds were travelling to their usual training pitch to face the third in the league , Ambiance Auderghem. For the performance to come on a hard hockey pitch, the captains decided to go with a very original 4-2-3-1. Without any regular centre back, Nate and Ryan (thanks for the help!) were designated to hold the fort, assisted by Hadri on the right side and Clément on the left. In midfield, Mathias and Neil in the middle, with Gabe on the left and Kevin on the right. Lorenz and Sean were our two strikers for the day – also very original.

The game started with a very high press from Auderghem who monopolized the ball. Despite a shy beginning from Ireland, on a trivial ball kicked forward, Lorenz sprinted from our side and got the ball which just flew over the defense. Alone in front of the keeper he selfishly played it cool (Kevin was still seen very angry in the shower for not getting that ball), passed him on his left and scored in the empty goal. After that goal, Auderghem started again its possession game and showed itself dangerous, creating some good chances. The equalizer came from a beautiful volley out of the box on which Antonio couldn’t do anything.

Keeping our heads up, we continued to defend seriously and counter attack when we could. Around the 25th minute, Neil brought the ball forward on the left side to Gabe who immediately sent a ball through the defense for Sean who could also get his goal after facing the keeper. Considering the chances on both sides, we were lucky to win 2-1 at that point.

Unfortunately we lost Neil soon after, who had to be replaced by Alex who took the left wing and Kevin came in the midfield to assist Mathias. Auderghem was well organized with their full backs always as high as their wingers, obliging our wingers to play low. This high pressure was too much for Lorenz who totally lost it : he started to dribble guys in the middle of the pitch towards our own goal and delivered a fantastic assist to the opponent’s striker who left no chance to Antonio. This made it 2-2 after 35 minutes.

At half time, Mathias came out, replaced by Benjamin who took the right wing. Hadri switched to midfield and Gabe played as right back. And what a entrance for Ben ! 20 seconds after the beginning of the second half, Lorenz sprinted on the left side and attempted to shoot. This failure became a wonderful assist for Ben, at the second post, who scored on his first touch of the game.

The advice of the captains at half time were well followed and we kept our position, the defense remained solid, Kevin and Hadri were the masters of the midfield as they didn’t leave their direct opponent breathe one minute. Nate and Ryan didn’t leave anything to the strikers, until the moment Nate decided to make it a bit more challenging and fouled clearly an opponent player – probably in our box. The referee didn’t hesitate one second and granted Auderghem with a… free-kick on the line. Antonio didn’t have to force his talent as the ball flew over the goal.

Some minutes later, on a well organized counter attack on the right side, Sean inherited the ball around 20 meters from the goal, between two players he decided to take his chance and sent the ball directly in the opposite corner. A wonderful goal to make it 4-2. Auderghem seemed powerless against such an efficiency and couldn’t make themselves dangerous anymore. This left some space in their midfield and defense and led to another chance for Lorenz who was sent by Kevin to face the keeper. It wouldn’t be humanely possible to explain how he passed the keeper, but the most important is that the ball ended up in the net for the 5th time.

The referee ended the game 5 minutes earlier than planned and sent us to the shower with a wonderful victory in mind.

Lessons of the day :

  • we have been able to beat the 3 best teams of the league
  • we adapt ourselves very well to any team and can resist in an orderly manner to high pressure
  • we finally know how Lorenz can score goals ; he needs to be at least 15 meters clear from any defender

MOTM : Sean with 13 votes !

Saturday. 16th of March. Game day.
The opponent: Grez AJ 1, standing strong in 4th place, just ahead of the Greatest Guys in Green, FC Irlande 2.
The day started with a windy kickoff, followed by some strong play on the side of Grez. Barely 28 seconds into the match, Mathias VanderNeelen pulled up with a nagging injury sustained previously. Thankfully Bouba “Kevin” Beziau was able to fill in. FCI didn’t seem to have their head on the game, giving quality passes to Grez players and generously giving the ball away.

As the first half progressed, Grez took a corner, which bumbled around, before finally being crossed in to be headed home by Grez’s center back; 0-1 opposition.
Just before the end of the first half, Alessandro “Galloping Stallion” Arditi, Aka Capitano Fantastico, went to head a ball away from the box. At the same moment, a Grez striker came flying in, causing a head-to-head collision and copious amounts of blood. Both players got a ride to the hospital in the ambulance, and stitches to close the gashes, but turned out ok.
Half time.

Once the play resumed in the second half, FCI was playing against the wind. The long halftime caused by the collision have the Green Machine time to rethink strategy. Some personnel changes were made to compensate the injury (Mr Valembois to center back, Thomas Otuszewski to right back).
FCI played valiantly, mounting strong counters and defensive prowess in spite of the wind. Through the run of play, a wonderful ball was played to Lolo Blanco, who cracked a shot off of the opposing keeper’s bear claws. Thankfully “Kevin” Beziau was able to follow it up, planting the ball solidly in the back of the net; 1-1.

Play continued after the restart, and Grez managed some dangerous chances, taking advantage of the wind at their backs. After FCI once again took advantage of Grez’s high defensive line, throwing some chances toward the net, the final whistle blew, leaving a final scoreline of 1-1.

Man of the match: Nate “Man of the Match” Banas, a lion among… other, equally capable lions.

On a windy derby after being safe from relegation, the 2nds continued to try to play a better football. Six opportunities and great saves from Antonio (MOTM) for the Brits against two serious ones for FCI gave a nice 0-0. Still in for the 4th place.

This Saturday, the 2nds had a really tough home game against La Lorraine. We had to take revenge after the 5-0 loss at the beginning of the season. For this, Gaston from the 1st and Nick from the 4th were there to provide additional support.

The game started in a way none of us was expecting. After less than 5 minutes, Clement made a beautiful cross towards … we still not know. Anyway, Sean BARELY TOUCHED the ball, which went outside the box. But Mathias Vanderneelsterooy was on the look-out and scored the first goal of the game (yes, we scored more than one goal this time, impressive, no ?). It was also his first goal for FC Irlande. All the team was celebrating like “Come on guys, take the time to celebrate, maybe it will be the only goal we will score in that game”. We were only 20-25 minutes in the game that Gaston was subbed off for Nick because of an injury. Gaston said he heard a big CRAC.

But then, Mathias Neelen provoked a penalty for the opponent. What was the reason ?

A) The game was too easy

B) He didn’t want to pay for beers again

C) He still wanted to treat his teammates as losers

The answer is … all of the above ! Tonio touched the ball on the penalty, but it went in. Also La Lorraine had two dangerous free kicks near the box. So the 2nds decided to put all the big guys in the wall : Clement, Dastan and Kevin. The post saved us. 1-1 at half time.

In the second half, the intensity we showed began to make La Lorraine doubting. But there is a guy whose mind was not completely on the pitch. Because of the absence of his dear love Mathias Gineste, Ale kicked the ball away three times in a row like he was playing paddle.

The 2nds had more and more occasions. Ben fought for the ball, won his duel and crossed it to Sean like he was 7 feet. Too high … After a few minutes, FC Irlande had a corner and Mathias Neelen decided to take it. Then, someone on the side said “It’s dangerous that Mathias takes the corner in case of a counter attack”. And because that person brings bad luck in his everyday life, La Lorraine scored the 1-2 on the counter attack !

Now, let’s pay attention to what is gonna happen for the rest of the game. This is something we will all remember, something that we still can’t believe in. We lost 1-7. What did you expect ? Just joking.

So, Hadri gets the ball back near the box. Sorry, i’m starting again. Zinédine Hadri took the ball, made a roulette de Marseille, gave it to Dastandinho who backheeled it to Damien Lérisson (more like Damien TheTiger in this case) who banged it with his right foot. 2-2 ! Damien scored his first goal for the club as well. What a day to be alive. Football is so easy sometimes ! Hum.

Lorenz, who was asking himself some questions about his future in the team because of the very good performance of his teammates, just had the time to take note of the second goal, that VDN took a long free kick, then the goalkeeper of La Lorraine didn’t manage to do the basics, that means to keep the ball in his hands, which fell just in front of the line. At that time, Nick, Sean and Dastan put their 9 legs towards the ball, but the goal was attributed to Nick. 3-2 !

Few minutes after the goal, Damien was still feeling crazy about that reversal of the situation that he came to the bench to drink water with his nose. In the last moments of the match, ToniOblak took revenge of the “nearly saved” penalty and pulled a magical save. Nick definitely ended the game with a powerful left foot banger into the net. 4-2. It was done. Also note that Sean was booked and didn’t say anything and that Mathias put “What a bunch of winners” in the What’s app group. He didn’t say who but we’ll take anything positive from the wise man. It was literally the opposite day !

But there was still a very well hided loser in this team. Even a double loser (Porto 1-2 Benfica). That guy was holding his phone during all the game and didn’t even manage to film one of the 3 beauties we scored. Anyway, very proud of you guys ! If i’m sure we always play like this, i would get a red every week !

Come on Irlande !!!!

Last weekend, FCI 2nds voluntarily (with generous assistance from the match official) attempted to engage in the athletic re-enactment of the Battle of Thermopylae, famously where 300 Spartans stood against the vast armies of Xerxes the Great. By systematically reducing their numbers on the battlefield, King Damianidis of Sparta had hoped to lure the forces of Brussels LTC down a narrow corridor of doom and arrest their seemingly irrepressible conquest of the Hellenic pastures.

History tells us that no glorious defeat is complete without its share of sacrifice; and in this Greek tragedy, the duty of oblation fell on the wretched shoulders (or mouths) of Hadrianos Testikles and Alexander Penisopolous. Through their acts of selfless courage and bravery, they summarily parted from the battlefield so that King Damianidis’ strategy could be set in motion.

Unfortunately, it backfired spectacularly. There were to be no tales of splendour and valour. No consecration of hallowed ground. No celebration of triumph against adversity. No St Crispin’s Day speech. Instead, their efforts were in vain and the farewell to the Philosopher of Dilemmas, Voice Boy, Rainman: Damien Lerisson was to be a listless affair with none of the pomp and ceremony his magnificent presence in this Band of Brothers had merited.

This week, however, FC Irlande 2nds opted for a different approach as they faced relegation-threatened Pharma. Well, not entirely different…

Having abdicated their duties as captains in the previous week, Sensei Mathias Gineste and Sensei Alessandro Arditi were keen to stamp their authority among the squad by adopting a radically contrasting game plan, “Lads, last week, we tried to win the game by getting two men sent off. This week, we will try something very different: only one person will abruptly be exiled to the proverbial stands!”

The locker room fell silent. Stunned in disbelief. They simply could not fathom how such a magnificent, elegant yet devastating plan could have eluded them all season. Why didn’t anyone think of it before? Einstein once said that the “definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple”, but in the contemplative silence, as if in slow-motion, a single droplet of a tear was heard gently dropping on the ground. Who would be the lamb?

As the boys exited the locker room, they started guessing as to who it might be who would be sacrificed upon the altar. “It must be Sean Gibson, he’s been going soft lately, he’s bottled up too much anger”, said Dastan. “No way. It’ll be Antonio, he’s on edge from the move. Lack of sleep”, responded Gabi. “I bet it’ll be someone surprising like Benji or Clement”, quipped Fede.

As the proceedings took hold and the game drew on (literally), the most unexpected source withdrew his Samurai sword, incised himself in the abdomen and performed Hara-kiri. Lolenzo Blancosuzuki San was no more.

Surprisingly, the tactics did not work. When asked about it after the game, Mathias and Ale responded “We really thought it was fool proof. But we have figured it out now: if last week we got two red cards and lost, this week we got one red card and drew, next week we will get zero red cards and win!”

The attentive reader might now justifiably ask, “wait a minute, I’ve just been reading half a page of this nonsensical drivel and there is no mention of any football?” Well, there isn’t a great deal to report. A lacklustre performance, that lacked control, energy, ideas and spirit saw FC Irlande 2nds share the spoils with second-to-bottom Pharma with a relatively drab 1-1. A terrific goal from Gabi after a great cross-field pass from Lorenz was cancelled out by a 30 yard strike from Pharma after a collective lapse of concentration.

After ABBSA received several anonymous phone calls from what Brussels police labelled “a mysterious voice that sounded a lot like a Frenchman doing an impersonation of someone from Manchester”, threatening them to “barely f***** touch him!”, if they didn’t schedule games for the 2nd of March. On the upside, this means that Damien will be able to play one last game for us.

Hoorah for that.

Facing top of the league team, today was meant to be a tough game. FCI started well the game, with good level of aggressiveness : but the referee didn’t agree with that. He kept on giving Brussels LTC free kicks, this for the entire game and the greens couldn’t keep their mouth shut about it. Even down to 9, FCI fought well but couldn’t keep the net unviolated forever. Two goals well built by the opponent.

Union Schaerbeek are really lovely lads, so nice actually that even the referee was looking to help them out a bit. Not because he was scared, of course not, but just because he’s like that. He’s a really lovely guy, a giver, a fair level headed guy. It’s really nice to see that some people are continuing the Christmas spirit.
Not sure he remembered to put us on his Christmas gift list.

Thank freaking whoever that we can actually play a bit of football (when we want to). Saturday was not the prime example of this but we took what we set out to get and that was in this case the 3 points and a few bruises.
What more do you want on your weekend off than to run out in the mud, have a wee fight, have the officials against you and still win a football game?

Antonio having failed to park his car in an adequate spot had to pull out at the last minute and this meant Capitano Ale had to reshape his team a little bit.
Van der Neleen had to at the last moment spring in and put on his magic winners latex gloves. Well that was the official story anyway!

In a dramatic twist of events, I am now able to disclose what really happened between Friday night and Saturday morning.
(Disclaimer: Some of you may find the following quite shocking)
Mathias Neelen wanting to retake his spot in goals had a finely tuned plan, well he actually had two. He set his alarm clock for 2.48 AM. He combed his hair and made sure his hairwave was to the left as to not be recognised.

At 2.56 AM he set out and headed towards Anderlecht.

CCTV footage confirmed his whereabouts at 3.04 AM Aarschotstraat (he must have gotten lost on the way), 3.15 AM Chaussée de Mons and 3.17 AM at Aumale.
Once again he used his intelligence to go unnoticed in this dark Brussels night and wore his FCI hoodie.
He finally found Antonio’s car at 3.28 AM (we know this because we found a selfie on his Instagram with his cabbage and the car in the background, it received 49 likes and was re-shared twice).

Plan A was not looking good, he started getting flemish fingers (a tasty variant to the fish ones). To make things worse, his magic wand (or walking stick as he prefers to call it) was frozen so he figured that his initial plan, let’s call it plan A was going to have to be dumped. It went as follows:

Puncture the cars tires, drink some tea and leave a crema Catalana on the windscreen. This would clearly not help him to warm up speedily.

So he switched to plan B:

Steal the car, drink some tea, recite a poem, warm up, drive a bit, park it where you are not allowed to and call the cops.

He executed plan B to perfection. Antonio woke up the next morning thinking he was still the seconds number one goalkeeper. He eat a pain au chocolat, had a strong coffee and his usual morning pint of Sol y Sombra whilst watching Saturday kitchen on BBC1. Good times!

The rest of the line up was as follows:

BMX (RB) – Mafia and,T-Lion (CB) – Maine (LB)

3mins and Guy with a camera (DM)

007 (RW) – Lolo (10) – CR9 wannabe (LW)


Kevin for Dastan (40th)

Thomas for Benjamin (45th)


After the Antonio car gate was resolved and we had all arrived It was time to concentrate on the task ahead, playing some soccerball.

It was now beautiful in Nosseghem but the night had been very cold (just ask Mathias) and the pitch was a mix of mud and Mr. Freeze. The sun was shining too which made for visually difficult conditions, but we’re used to a bit of blinding. This meant that the football was not the most beautiful (to say the least) but it was a scrap and you know what? We love a good old scrap.

We set up in a seconds traditional 4-2-3-1 line-up which definitely suits us better than the outdated 4-4-2 which failed to deliver last week. The match itself was quite closed with not many chances created for either side in the first half.

Just after half time Kevin-Prince-Boa-Thing came on for Dastan who had just assisted Benjamin with our first goal. It was a bit of a scrap but Dastan put clear Benji, the keeper kind of missed it (ssshh) but all credit to both of them who did not give up on the play. One nil to the boys in green.

It was time for Thomas O to slide in instead of Benjamin who had run a lot but not received much of the ball. Gabriel was also on the bench but we did not want to risk him aggravating his injury so he stayed in the dugout (thanks for coming out and also for coming to watch us).

The pitch by now was breaking up and with the referee giving the opposition everything it was time to close shop. Union came close a couple of times from free kicks clipping the bar but we just about held on. We could have gotten a second but the keeper saved from close range Sean’s attempt. When the final whistle was blown I’m not sure if we were happy because we had won or because this meant  we could head to the showers and play I dropped the soap again.

It looks like we’ll only need a couple of more wins to secure 2nd division football next year. Let’s aim higher though and challenge ourselves to finish as high as we possibly can in this league.

Memorable moments of the day include:

  • Ale threatening to kill a whole family (lovely guy).
  • Sean not getting a card (@#weird)
  • Neil playing in his natural position 🙂

Special thanks to Gabriel who week in week out comes to support us even though he’s currently out of action.

After a few weeks not obtaining the results desired we went to Boitsfort with great numbers prepared to take the three points home against a team we beat 5-1 on the first leg, but football is not always what one wants. For this game coaches Mat and Ale decided to play a 4-4-2 (Antonio; Mat N, Ale, Fede, Clement; Alex, Mat G, Neil, Damien; Sean, Lorenz).

For a season where we are not making a lot of goals this team was ready to prove the stats wrong. Before the start we reminded Mat G that here is were we conceded a goal in the first 30 seconds last year so he decided to start the game, as an American football fan would like, punt and run. During the first quarter of the game FCI control the game playing the game on the feet, but soon the rivals noticed that we were lacking speed in the movements and that high pressure was placing us into trouble. In one of these high-pressure defense Ettekijs got the ball, and with a smart pass back inside the box, they set the scoreboard to 1-0. Again, this year, time to suffer.

The rest of the first half is a repetition of the same events, we tried to play, they pressure high, we kick long ball, and we do no create occasions. During the break some tips and tricks on how to fix it and back to the pitch while our bench players warm up to bring the extra bit of fresh legs when they are most needed. There is not a lot to say for the second half that it has not being said, FCI controls the game, but there is no danger.

Unfortunately, when it seemed that Ettekijs was not going to hurt us, we decided to shoot ourselves in the foot. Long ball, easy for Antonio or Ale, what can go wrong? Everything. Antonio goes in the trajectory of the ball, Ale too, Ale headed back to Antonio, but he is not there. Ettekijs 2 – 0 FCI. We kept pushing to reduce the distance, we made all four changes (Benji, Peppe, Dastan and Nate) but when the ref disallowed our goal, it resembled as if we were not going to be able to come back in the game, and we did not. Special thanks for J-S, Luis and Gabi that came to support even though they cannot play. We are still sixth on the table, 21 points, 8 points ahead from relegation, time to work hard and get back to winning path.

The FCI 2nd was back to business after the holiday period. The team hosted British Utd. The weather was rainy and cold and that made the pitch difficult to play. The 2nd started well but lost a goal after 5 min (0-1). British’ striker stole a ball from a back pass of our defence and lobbed our poor Mathias N. But the guys from the 2nd kept their heads up and equalized almost immediately. After an unsuccessful shooting attempt from Mathias G., Sean scored (1-1) – with a strange touch above the GK that only him holds the secret.

After that, the team continued to put pressure on the other team and had great ideas and initiatives but didn’t find the solution to go through the defence. Some misunderstanding in the positioning and passes didn’t help out. Additionally to this, British was constantly slowing down the game by doing faults not sanctioned by the referee (especially on Thomas O. and Mathias G.). After 20min, the 2nd unfortunately let in a 2nd goal (1-2). One of the players of British was forgotten at the entrance of the box and took a shoot on a nice lateral pass from the right side and scored. Half-time: 1-2.

The 2nd didn’t give up and started the 2nd half even more energised. The team improved movements and passes. After 10 min, the team was bit reshuffled. Ale got replaced by Nate as central back and Mathias G. by Giuseppe on the left wing. The game was tough and the 2nd kept going. The middle and strikers were combining better but didn’t manage to find a way to score. Hadri got a yellow card for mentioning the “P…” word after a referee’s decision. Then Alex took his chance on a nice long curling ball from Lorenz on the left side but the ball was difficult to handle and his shoot passed a few centimeters away from the goal. The 2nd finally equalized at the end of the game with a beautiful curling ball from the corner from Lorenz that the goalkeeper unluckily touched in his goal. At the end of the game, Nate did a beautiful tackle and saved the 2nd from a potential 3rd goal. Final result: 2-2. One important point for the 2nd against a direct opponent.

Man of the match: Fede.

Defeat at the hands of Brussels British no Christmas dampener
On the surface of it, the way last season panned out appears to be repeating itself this year for the 2nds: off to a flying start, followed by an extended (and drunk) absence of the captains, followed by a rut of poor results. If history were to repeat itself, we’ll have a few more unwelcome results to look forward to next year. Thankfully we’re not historians then. Even though the last game of the calendar year yielded no points for us, we hold on to fifth spot on the table with reason enough for optimism to claw our way back into the top four.
In what was a hard fought game, the difference on the scoreboard came down to two Irish defensive lapses, delivered gift wrapped to the opposition. The first was conceded 25 mins or so into the first half: having dispossessed us while we were pushing out from the back, the Brits were able to find their striker with an unduly generous amount of time and space high up the pitch who did well not to squander the resulting one-on-one. Merry Christmas to you sir. The second came about mid way through the second half from a well delivered diagonal ball in. Their striker was again afforded too much space, beating our keeper on the edge of 18 yard box in an aerial duel that left us helplessly watch the ball bobble into the goal off his noggin.
The opening exchanges of the match were understandably edgy, each team finding their feet on a frozen and pot-holed Nossegem pitch while learning to suppress any form of communication with the ref. Sean was surprisingly exemplary in this regard: the big northern English- (and Irish-) man respecting his gagging orders but stuck to his guns by picking up his yellow card for gently and accidentally bumping into a defender in his trademark I didn’t fook’n touch ‘im style. But no blame can be averted to the ref for today’s result, who even tried to shoe horn us back into the match in the dying minutes with some very magnanimous decisions to the displeasure of the opposition, to no Irish avail.
In what now may be our defining trait, we did manage patches of some decent football, particularly in the first half, by working the ball well down the flanks. Ben fox-trotted around their right-back while Lorenz on the other wing twisted his way through, and both delivered some dangerous balls into the box and were able to find Sean on occasion.  Mathias Gineste came close with a long range effort from a first time half volley. The midfielders worked tirelessly, and distributed well.  At the other end, François managed a couple of important saves to keep us in it.  But once the stalemate was broken, our chances dried up, and their keeper spent some of the match trying to play further up the field in an apparent effort to avoid frost bite.
In the second half, we stormed forward, playing much higher up the pitch, but their defence was up to the task and held us out.  This half was much scrappier, albeit with some nice passages of play and individual moves, but nothing to write home about.  This was clearly not one of our best footballing performances, where ultimately our decision making, confidence on the ball, and final touch left a little to be desired. No surprises either that our shape was shot trying to get a goal towards the end.
What’s worth a little column space is that even when their second goal trickled in, we really did show some of that great Irish fight and pushed on to the bitter end. If we can keep that up and find our mojo again when we have the ball and with a bit more concentration at the back, we’ve shown that we can compete in this league. So good time for a recharge over Christmas, and looking forward to getting stuck in next year, with plenty of points still up for grabs.  Heads up lads, and Seasons greetings.
MOTM: Mathias Neelen.
Squad: François (thank you), Mathias N., Ale (Fede), Tom, Hadri, Ben (Alex), Damien, Niel, Mathias G. (Nate), Sean, Lolo.

FC Irlande 5-0 Chiefs – Match report

by Sean Gibson

The Battle of Cannae in 216 BC famously witnessed a brilliant tactical victory for an outnumbered Carthaginian army pitted against the Romans, ‘away from home’ on the Italian peninsula. But this Saturday, FC Irlande Seconds were thankfully playing the Chiefs, not the Carthaginians. With no Hannibal Barca listed on the tablet for the visitors, they were in for a tough afternoon.

For where Hannibal had managed to keep his army mostly intact on their march through the Pyranees and the Alps prior to his triumphs over Rome, the Chiefs this weekend evidently struggled to navigate a Brussels in thrall to a mighty force of gilets jaunes. They would begin the game with only 10 men.

Irlande were not particularly disposed to clemency, having been beaten 5-1 by the Chiefs on the shores of Lake Trasimene earlier in the season – but that may have been more to do with the fact that none of the Seconds had noticed they were playing a weakened side.

Ignorantly braced for a full-on assault, then, from the league’s bottom side, Irlande began well. Maintaining shape and playing out from the back amid a howling gale, the lads pressed patiently forward, beginning to create chances and stretch the Chiefs’ defences.

Irlande had much joy down the left flank. A cross from Ben, flicked on by Sean at the front post, found Neil bursting through the middle to shoot first-time and score the opening goal – a gladius through Chiefs’ hearts.

Not long after, Irlande’s centre-back commander Ale orchestrated a second, slinging a long ball over the top to Ben after good work from the midfield to regain possession. Ben beat the goalkeeper in the race to the ball and chipped it artfully into the unguarded goal: 2-0 to Irlande.

Taking similar inspiration to this writer, the referee at half time saw fit to decimate the Chiefs’ legion. Graciously foregoing the usual stoning or clubbing, our match official eventually opted for just a red card – leaving Chiefs to play the second half with only nine men.

With this incident came the dawning realisation of the real number of the opposition; perhaps this was the cause of the subsequent second-half descent into scrappiness. With the Chiefs stricken and desperate, Irlande appeared to have misplaced that gladius from earlier, fumbling around for something else with which they could administer a killer blow.

After several missed chances and fluffed lines up front, Ben eventually obliged again with another smart finish beyond the goalkeeper, putting the more nervous Irlande hearts at ease. Facing defeat, the Chiefs nevertheless fought to the end, keeping the damage to 5-0 as first Lorenz and then Sean nabbed further goals from inside the box.

A solid and energetic win for the Seconds, who showed periods of promising play to end a run of three consecutive defeats against an admittedly weak opponent. No against-the-odds tactical masterstroke was at hand to save the Chiefs; Irlande can now look to more difficult conquests.

Goals: Neil, Ben (x2), Lorenz, Sean

Assists: Sean, Ale, Lorenz, Neil, Hadr

MOTM  Neil

The second kept up their dismal away form on Saturday, losing 7-0 to a decent Union JP side. In a rather disjointed performance, several defensive mistakes gave a load of chances the opposition who never needed a second invitation to score, putting the opportunities away with clinical accuracy. A difficult day, but the mighty seconds will pick themselves up and get their act together for next week’s game.

Unlike some of my more illustrious colleagues, I will trade quality of content for efficiency and thus, henceforth those were my last big words.

On a grey day in Nossegem against Ambiance Auderghem the weather unfortunately wasn’t the only  dampener on the spirits of the 2nd team..on a slippery pitch the quality of football was hard to come by and in a very scrappy first half with chances far and few between both Sean and Luis, on as a first half substitue for Gabe who unfortunately started a horrible hat trick of injuries for the team, came closest..at the back a couple frights were well kept at bay by our accomplished and incredibly versatile utility player aka señor Van der Neelens..
The second half started in the same vein until a horrendous injury to the gradually more influential Luis rocked FC Irlande to their core. The incident clearly rattled the boys and soon after an innocuous ball over the top through the middle was not dealt with and an Auderghem player was on hand to cling on to the loose ball and coolly make his way around Mathias in goal..
As Irlande went in search of an equaliser Neil came closest with a well worked chance on the right side of the pitch but well placed in the box he skied his attempt woefully over the bar. Soon after they were rocked once again as the hat trick of injuries was completed when John also went down with a horrendous one. With no subs left irlande pushed as much as they could with 10 men but ended up coming short and losing 0-1 on the greyest of afternoons
Mathias Neelen filling in ably in goals was awarded the MOTM award for another outstanding showing but the lose of the match pales in comparison to the lose to injury of three fantastic players for the foreseeable future and we wish them the best with their recovery and hope to see them on the pitch again very soon!
lineup: Mat N, Hadri, Danny, Ale, John, Gabe (Luis,Thomas O), Mat G (Neil), Kevin, Ben, Alex, Sean

On this chilly Saturday afternoon the 2nds travelled to Grez Doiceau, a place unknown to any person who doesn’t live in this little part of Belgium. The team went on this journey in the middle of the country side without many of its key players, including the 6 first players in line for the captaincy. The captain of the day, Mathias van der Neelen was anyway left with a good squad but had to adapt and sacrifice himself to play as a striker, a position he hasn’t played for the last 16 years. He had the strong task to lead the former losers to a second victory in row.

After a short warm-up and a fully respected minute of silence in memory of Sergiu’s baby, the match could start. The team began well and the game was quickly very open with space and semi-chances on both sides. After 5 minutes Gabriel got the occasion in front of the keeper but put the ball on the left of the goal. Grez also started well, with a very well prepared and effective strategy: long balls from the keeper on one of their strikers who would deviate the ball to one of their other strikers who systematically took the advantage on our defense. Very basic move that made us suffer and offered to Grez two good chances to score. Mathias had a good free-kick which was stopped by the keeper. In the first half, another free-kick gave the opportunity to their goal-keeper to shine with a beautiful save. After half hour, the referee took the questionable decision to give a free kick to the opponent, around 30 meters from our goal. This decision was the perfect occasion for Grez to take the lead with a wondeful kick hitting the post before entering the goal and leaving Jack (goal-keeper of the day, replacing our soon to be married Antonio who went for some adventure in Kiev for his stag party, well accompanied by Dastan, Hadrien, John and Pierre) powerless.

This first goal might have been a turning point of the game, and just prepared the ground for the shambles to come, as after this the team lost composure and started to lose some decisive duels. Some minutes later, Grez striker came up with a beautiful move to come around our central defense and crucify Jack with a half-volley.

At half time the team seem a bit stunned but came back with good intentions. Thor came in to replace T-Lion and brought some dynamism in the midfield. Mathias got a good chance on the right side of the box but put the ball way above the goal. Unfortunately, the team progressvely faded, with a lack of concentration and commitment in 50-50s that led to some very dangerous situations. On a foul next to the midfield line, Grez played quickly to bring the ball in our box and scored a third goal. Some minutes later on a corner, a Grez’ player helped himself to seize a floating ball and scored a fourth goal. At that point the team looked at the very bottom of mediocricy but it somehow hit the 2nds players’ pride that decided to finally fight on the ball and give everything despite the score.

In the meantime, Giuseppe came in to replace the injured Clément, bringing Mathias back to the right back position. As we were playing with more agressivity and willingness to win the ball, we managed to put pressure on their goal, or at least approach their box. The many crosses from the sides were unfortunately not precise enough to bring any real chance to score. Alex got the best occasion on a beautful free-kick from 25 meters away that went directly on the crossbar. Later, on a counter attack, a ball to Jake became dangerous and led to an anecdotal fifth goal. Giuseppe had the occasion to avoid the 0 for us but his one to one with the keeper saw the latter taking the advantage and deviate the ball in corner.

This fifth goal was afterall not so anecdotal as it confirmed a strong tradition of the 2nds: when travelling far away, make sure to concede 5 goals. The team has a lot to prove in its next match, finally playing again at home after three consecutive games abroad during which we were only able to gather 4 points out of 9.

After the loss against Pharma last season, the seconds returned this year with new spirits under the lead of comrade Dastan, who arrived ready with a tactical plan that could have brought Italy or the Netherlands to the World Cup.

After a detailed tactical explanation, which felt more like someone speaking in Mandarin for at least half of the team, and after an endless warm up due to the referee being late, this sunset match could begin.

According to supporters feedback, the first half lacked some energy of every player in every aspect, resulting in a 1-0 score after Pharma dominated the first 5 minutes. Even two almost 100% scoring opportunities didn’t end up in a goal this first half, as Lorenz missed a header from good position and John a 1 on 1 breakaway against the Pharma keeper.

The second half started with a different team spirit and a couple of subs, Benji and Nate for Alex and van der Neelen, which made a difference straight away. Lads in green and white were finally showing the real Irish spirit, fighting for every ball and keeping the pressure on Pharma very high, leading to some great opportunities and making it very nice to watch (according to part two of the trustable feedback). Pharma didn’t manage to get dangerous anymore or create any chances, also because of good work from the guys in the back (special mention to Danny, man of the match), which gave Antonio the opportunity for a nice and quiet siesta.

Moving on to the opportunities; the 1-1 began with John going after a long ball that seemed lost and taken by Pharma defenders, however he managed to steal it, opening space and passing it to Gabe, who then returned it to him, only leaving the tap in. A little bit after, Benji got the ball and went for a run along the line, he then saw a chance and with the touch of an angel he went for a high lob on the goal, only slightly missing it. After a wonderful cross by Nate, which seemed more like the perfect gift on a Christmas morning, Hadri headed it in, gratefully unwrapping the present. Towards the end of the game, Gabe tried to steal the MOTM award from Danny by shooting an acrobatic laser, which unfortunately was just a touch to high and hit the post.

Solid win and strong team performance, showed by turning this match around. Definitely room for improvement, so keep it up! And remember, only 8 points away from being safe 😉 Even though we must always aim for the maximum! Forza Irlande

After a great team performance last Saturday, the Seconds played a challenging game against British United.
After a long car trip, we arrived at the parking of a beautiful complex in Mechelen. After a 10 minute walk, we finally found a very bad pitch.
For this game, the team was modified a bit due to the absence of captains/coaches currently on a scouting trip in Asia (presumably, in trip to find new sponsoring for the club and new players/girl).
Nothing much to tell from an uneventful match. The final result was 0-0 and not a bad performance on the surface.
The only two things were; a big fault on Lorenz  just sanctioned of yellow card and the good organisation of new captains (finding a perfect table for the MOTM).
MOTM : Thomas ‘T-Lion’ Earl

After an embarrasing performance last week away at  La Lorraine the pressure was high on captains Gineste and Arditi. The press wrote ‘we have not seen FCI 2nds ever perform as weak as they did today. As a team and individualy the 2nd half was a true nightmare. A team of 70 year old women would have done better’. There were even rumours of Gineste and Arditi cancelling their return tickets from Asia and stay there to look for a new life. So needless to say the team was out for a revenge against the unbeaten Brussels LTC (the author of this piece could not find out what LTC stands for but it must be something inappropriate. Too bad Damien was not with us).

The best of the losers from last week (Gabe) was also not there with us today. But even with him and Damien away a good squad was formed. 14 guys all eager to proof they are not the losers some Flemish guy told them they are. Before warm-up there were speeches by Neil, Ale and Mathias G. Which gave me the perfect opportunity for a quick power nap before warm-up.

Antonio (still with some neck pain from turning around 5 times last week) took his spot in the goal.  Fede, described in the press last week as ‘not even a shadow of the man he was last year’, was focused on proving his girlfriend that he do was a real man, a better one than last year even. Ale Arditi, last saturday described as ‘too old to be on the pitch’, also wanted to show that a real Italian is never too old to defend as a master. A good old Italian central defence, a must if you want to keep the zero. On the full back position FCI opted for Belgian talents Mathias N. and Hadri. The later wanting to prove he was not ‘a big liability’ as the press wrote of him a week ago after a game in which, let’s admit it, he sucked. In midfield there was a nice triangle formed by Mathias G (described by journalists last week as ‘a walking hospitalbed’), Thomas (on loan from the first) and Dastan (last week described by the press as ‘just as much an embarrassement as the rest of the players on the pitch). Our wings were made up by Benjamin (not there last week, so he escaped press attention) and Clement (LDH described him as ‘completely invisible’ during the last game). Up front we had Lorenz, also eager to prove he knows how to play football. The press did put this in doubt last week as he went down with the rest of the team. With Nate (not training this week because of ‘pain in the foot’, but just too down and crying after being a loserguy last week) and Kevin (also on loan) on the bench and Neil (another epic loser from last week) as a coach, everyone could be hopeful. The wise and calm Alex made it all complete as a delegué.

FCI started the game in full focus and with the right attitude. From the first minute there was this feeling  that the visitors would not take any points with them. Nossegem will from now on be an untakable fortress. This feeling rose when Benjamin send a nice cross to the right side where Clement decided to start one of his runs. Inside the 18-yard box he was tackled, no foul the ref said so Clem (as trained by the special forces) kept on going, the ball ended (via an opponent) up in Dastans feet and without a doubt our comrad launched a soviet rocket against the back of the net. A shock for the opponent and an extra boost for FCI. During the first 20 minutes of the first half the LTC guys tried to break through our defence but the 4 guys in the back held it tight, with full support of the midfield. The last 10 minutes of the first half some gaps were falling but the back 4 survived and Antonio had to deal with 0 shots on goal.

At halftime the ref send everyone inside, this was not a bad thing because it gave Neil the time to give the team feedback. No powernap this time though. Since we needed to keep focus. The second half was not the most beautiful thing to watch as the opponent kept trying to throw long balls but Fede and Ale won every header. And we mostly jut kicked the ball up the field too. For nice football you did not need to be in Nossegem today. But fuck it, winning was what we wanted and needed. Every now and then LTC tried it through the wings but we all know that Mathias is eager to defend everything that is left wing (professional deformation) and Hadri is pretty hard to pass on the right wing for a French speaker. Even with Mat G substituted at half time the formation survived. If before the game there were any doubts on playing the high line, during this game and with this fighting spirit everyone knew the 0 would last. Everyone ran and ran, so eventually exhaustion was finding a home in all of us. But unlike last week we kept giving it all. Antonio ended the game with 0 shots towards him. A first this season (let’s not forget we won the 1st game thanks to his miracle works that day!). Thanks to a diving Ale when he was in a one-on-one duel against their striker, the only time they might have become dangerous. Besides that they had no danger to bring. Our counters lacked efficiency, it would have been nice to have some extra air! So forwards, let’s try to get a second one next time! But it all ended well. A hard fought game, a very fair one (only one YC to both teams) with a happy ending for all FCI-players (this includes what happened in the shower).

I want to end this positive report with some down to earth fact calling. In the end these are just 3 points and it doesn’t make up for losing against a La Lorraine that drew this week (so yes, they were a fucking mediocre team). Let’s prove next week that this week was not a one time thing. But for today: let’s celebrate, break some furniture and fucking enjoy this amazing victory! The league is open!

On a very sunny Saturday, the 2nds had to play one of the biggest if not the biggest game since the beginning of the season. On paper, we had the weapons to win that battle. But it was completely different on the pitch. After 10 minutes of very good intensity, FC Irlande conceded the first goal. It was sadly only the beginning… Our team didn’t give up and continued to put lot of pressure on the opponent. But La Lorraine was very agressive on the man (in a good sense), like this tackle on Lorenz which was disg… he dived.
Our team didn’t take the time to keep the ball on the feet, looking for a well positioned mate. No. We wanted to give the pass quickly and lost it straight after. We tried everything : free kicks, long shots (who ended into the space. Some people say that the ball became a new planet), etc. The ball didn’t want to go in. 1-0 at half time. We motivated ourselves at half time. We knew it was possible. Dastan and Nate came in to give some fresh air to the team.
But the nightmare began in second half. After too much wasted occasions, Irlande conceded the second goal. From this moment, there was no more organization and there were holes everywhere, especially if your defender can’t stay on his feet (some people say that Ale is still slipping). Goals just continued to rain until the fifth one. There is nothing to add at this point. We took a football lesson. We have to wake up because next week the 2nds are playing against a team which only conceded one goal. Forza FC Irlande !


Playing most likely on one of the last sunny Saturday afternoons this year, the 2nds were determined to continue it’s brilliant row of strong games. Surprised by the toughness and good organisation of the opponent, our team struggled with heat and counter strikes. Up to the conceded goal, both sides could have scored but the opponent maintained dominance in ball control.
Dastan, with a prime ministerial speech and T- lion roaring and waking the team up, gave the team impetus.Starting like into a new game, F.C Irelande was pressuring effectively and appeared to combine with less panic.The opponent was getting seemingly vulnerable and Hadrien scored a remarkable long shooter into the net…siiii
Our team was keeping the pressure and a great combination in the midfield finalised by a pass by Clem and a goal by Gabriel gave Ireland the lead. Unfortunately, our team didn’t leverage this advantage up to the end of the game and conceded a goal initiated by an impressive long pass of the opponent.Overall, a long and impressive fight of both sides which rightly ended in a draw: 2-2

Let’s forget about hibernation or grizzly bears, that thing doesn’t apply anymore as we are already at the 4th game of the season. And if you’re looking for a m******* deserved victory, well, it wasn’t the cleanest game of our record.

First things first, good old dilemma as you like them:  what would you choose between a loss where we played some good and clean football, which could indicate some real good potential for next games, and one of these messy matches that we end up winning only because we literally gave some bodies to bring the 3 points back home, which definitely tells the entire world that we probably won’t win the Champions League this year but we have what it takes to aim for top of the ABSSA 2A league.

Full of confidence with the 5-1 win from previous game, the guys in green were more than envious to show to the rest of the league that what happened the 2 weeks before was just an accident and that they were back on track, facing that newcomer team Union Schaerbeek.

As professionals, the team initially conducted a thorough investigation of the pitch and agreed to qualify it as ‘gigantic’, which was actually an euphemism: as a wise guy said when he was in the X-ray scanner under 5g of morphine (we’ll get back to that in a moment): standing on the goal line one could notice the curvature of the Earth (this is controversial but facts are facts) as only the opponent goalie’s head was visible. The squad consisted of only 12 players, +1 Lorenz all dressed up as manager and +1 Ale who still suffers from his injury but could sub in in case of emergency, like actual emergency.

The game plan was simple: since we expected the opposing team to play mostly technical but without a real physical commitment, we needed to make the ball do the work, simple passes, simple touches, into simple passes, no need to run like Clément all the time. And it worked quite well for the first 10 minutes of the game, even though it was sterile. Danger was created on the wings by Dastan and Clément but conversion to a shot didn’t happen. During this time frame Union Schaerbeek didn’t show anything.

Then, Schaerbeek started to enter into the game and put some pressure and presence in the mid field. Irlande realized that some effort was required in the positioning to be able to get the ball back. But even when the ball was in our possession, the progression to the front line was often rushed and sketchy. The first time we ball was kept on the ground, transferred from Nate to Neil to Damien to Dastan (who was absolutely not offside, right?) into our striker Thomas Peeters who sniped a lovely ball straight to first post. The keeper didn’t even bother to move, he knew: 0-1 Irlande.

The possession game went clearly in their advantage from that moment on, couple of dangerous actions and shots that the defensive line and Jack put away efficiently. On one of the corners we conceded, the second ball ended up around the penalty spot near an opponent, Gabe didn’t want to risk a fault with a ferocious tackle therefore he decided to put his head first and successfully hit the ball, together with the guy’s crampons. After a couple of minutes crying on the floor, he stood up to fiercely exhibit his soon-to-be gang scars and heroically came back on the battlefield. Fede (who, as we all know, is used to draw the attention on himself, considered that he wasn’t going to let Gabe have all the warrior fame) decided to step in and head-butted one of the Union Schaerbeek opponents to clear out another corner.

Minutes after, another corner that ended up bouncing 1m from our goal line, Dastan threw himself towards the ball and also took a generous kick on the leg which allowed our net to keep its virginity.

All that made us aware of the situation we were in, with the frustration of not being able to have 2-3 decent passes in a row to our teammates and the fact that we had to compensate our mistakes by running after the ball. Half-time whistle.

Ale’s speech was fast and clear: they are down one goal and they didn’t run during the first half : we are going to need some third lungs to withstand their pressure for the next 35 minutes.

Weird 5 minutes where the 2 teams were ready to get it over with, waiting for the referee to show up.

Second half starts and Schaerbeek shows open cards: their game plan is full attack, 4-5 or even 6  offensive guys not coming back for defense duties. FCI of course takes advantage of this situation on counter attacks, Clément being alone on the right wing most of the time when we get the ball back mid field. 2-3 huge opportunities where he manages to bring the ball in front of the goal but somehow doesn’t find the right final pass or shot. Unlucky.

Luke subs in for Neil and goes for right back position, Gabe switches side and takes the left wing and Dastan holds the number 10 role.

Equalizer comes in logically given the physiognomy the match has taken. The pressure is still tense from Union Schaerbeek , the ref feels that we are now playing with our guts and gives a surprisingly high number of free kicks for objectively minor challenges. They get one very close to the box corner on the right side and kick it just under the bar out of Jack’s reach. 1-1.

FCI actually needed to stop their momentum not to risk a bad loss against that team that was honestly playing OK but that we should have crushed by playing our standard football. That took some time.

Huge opportunity for them, from a nicely timed through ball their number 9 gets 1v1 with Jack, the latter fearlessly manages to reach the ball just before a massive collision with the striker. Incredible save for FC Irlande from the Gaelic football goalkeeper. The two players are laying down on the ground in pain, medical assistance is asked to perform first aid. Ref gives a 6m goal kick in spite of the hundreds of Union Schaerbeek guys surrounding him pointing at the penalty spot swearing in a dialect only Dastan or Nair could understand, probably. Jack struggles but eventually gets back on his feet.

The real battle was initiated there. All enemy through balls were imperially intercepted by Thomas Earl and Fede, theirs wingers were strongly challenged by Luke and Nate. Everyone one the pitch could hear Mathias Kanté Gineste running all around the pitch dropping his characteristic noises (“tschhhh tschhhh tschhhh”) to ubiquitously intimidate his prey. The two teams were split in two distinct halves, with a no man’s land of approximately 80 meters (remember the objective giganticness of pitch).

And finally, FCI finds a way to take advantage of that, long ball to Clément who gets to the box, casually dribbles as usual couple of guys and gives a golden caviar to Thomas Peeters who shoves the ball into the net. 1-2 Irlande. Holy shit we made it.

At this point the aim of Irlande’s tactics was to somehow throw the ball to the offensive line and, quote from Dastan, “target their corner and keep the ball over there”. That awful plan seemed to stand though, but Jack couldn’t. The hit he took was looking serious, and thanks to the marvelous cold spray from Ale he got back for couple of minutes but couldn’t even walk on his own eventually.

A new keeper is needed; one can hear the crowd shouting “Van der Neelen” but unfortunately our famous keeper (cheers Antonio) wasn’t among us. Pretty surprisingly many volunteered to replace Jack Daniel who passed out: Clément, Nate, Fede. Nevertheless, the ambient panic on the battle field made everyone forget that we actually had a super sub for that extreme very case: Ale puts the yellow shirt on and all his teammates are as confident as you can imagine they can be if an injured guy who hasn’t stopped any ball at training when he plays as goalie comes in as goalie for one of the most tense games ever.

Of course, Ale takes his role very seriously and even steals some precious seconds on the floor pretending to have received a bad hit by the opponent striker. Everyone tells him to kick the ball FAR FAR FAR, he executes a good 50m-long shot which lands roughly to our 18m line (remember the objectives giganticness of the pitch, seriously).

Their long through balls from their half of the pitch continued for couple of minutes, our defense always in position, we kept the score unchanged, and after a 45 minutes long second half (Ale’s watch as reference) FCI got that bloody win, definitely more with the head than with the feet #Gabe.

And indeed, if you were still wondering what choice to make on that dilemma : we showed today that we can f*** a team in the a*** even if we are not in our best day, and that’s what makes the difference between a good team and a great team. Awesome work lads, unprecedented mentality.

PS: Jack is fine, Ale gently took care of him, gave him paracetamol the hospital wouldn’t give him, nothing broken says the X-ray. Thanks a lot for the game man !

Disclaimer: Below there is no tell of hibernation or grizzly bear but rather of a m****f****ing deserved victory…

Once upon a time…In a Galaxy (not so) far far away, the mighty Republic of Nosseghem, the home of the brave 2nds was under attack from the black Ettekijs…

Having been defeated in another battle las week, the 2nds – led by Captain Master Jedi Euan for his last appearance on the Jedi team before retirement in a land where sun (and tax evasion) awaits him- were eager to show some Jedi spirit and get these 3 points.

The battle started well with the 2nds well positioned and organized to block the enemy …After a first wave of attack where for some minutes, the Dark Sidious referee considered whistling a off-sight as the Jedi defense hold his position and the two attackers went for Antonio’s goal before actually doing so…A first warning which would then be put to good use…

The first goal came on a corner nicely shot by Neil where Gabi, in an Umtiti-style header put the ball in the net (in all fairness it is the first time I can actually enjoy the said ‘Umtiti style header)

Then pressure was kept and quickly translated into more opportunities for the Jedis with Mathias Neelen coming from the back post to provide some added pressure infiltrated the defense and went into the box where he was slain (there is no other word for it) by a laser sword and fell on the ground. Lorenz took it at heart to avenge his teammate and destroyed the goalkeeper with his penalty (2-0) while also taking care of his own stats (4 goals in 3 games).

Then, right before half time, came our opponent’s best opportunity with some confusion generated from a spinning ball put their attacker in front of Antonio. He made a first dive that the attacker anticipated and went on his left, just when everyone thought he would put the ball into the net, Antonio brought himself back from the grave and did a second dive that prevent the ball from going in…Brilliant move from our ‘Babababa’ Jedi…and an important one too

Half time saw Matthias N. going out to be replaced by John ‘la mèche’ Sparks who brought his stamina (he is after all the only guy running already BEFORE training) into play.

2nd Hal started bad with our Jedis retreating way too low allowing our opponents to be more dangerous.

Yet another confusion – and the lack of willingness to quickly put the ball away rather than playing it around cleanly – resulted in a goal…(2-1)

FCI nonetheless keep its spirit up and went ahead to regain control of the battle.

In a free kick given by Captain E., miracle (or is it just plain skills) happened: a powerful shot right into the angle put the Jedis ahead with 3-1 and left her goal keeper wondering what happened (some even saw tears in his eyes and him calling his mom)…What a way of performing in your jubilee…We will miss Euan for a lot of stuff already but that free kick is yet another…

The rest of the game went more smoothly with a substitution occurring after 10 min : Neil went out to be replaced by Benjamin who brought more speed into the game.

This resulted quickly into Clement Dilles Bolt doing one of its long run and dribble saga in his right side and sneaky John being there to put the ball into the net once the ball got pushed by their keeper …

Finally, cherry on top of the cake, a 5th and final goal came from a corner where Benjamin – completely free- made sure that our Jedis got the same reverted score (5-1) than last week…

Overall, a strong performance of the whole time, some well-placed pride to show our true spirit after last week defeat, and an amazing performance (and goal) from Captain Euan (you will be missed buddy)

Lots of good stuff to build on for the next games

May the 2nds be with you…




On a beautiful late summer Saturday afternoon, the Boys in Green took on Chiefs WSL in the second match of the season. Playing away from is always a daunting task to begin with, and this time was no different.
  As the game began, FC Irlande 2nds were really taking it to ’em, connecting passes and generally making the opposition look silly. This beautiful play finally culminated in gorgeous looping shot by Luis 2.0 (or as he’s sometimes called, “Lorenz”) over the chiefs’ keeper, who got caught in the nether region between the goal and the shooter, 1-0 good guys.
  After this, Irlande continued to dominate, with fantastic chances from Gab, T-Lion, and Neil. Although all were close, none were close enough to be called a goal, keeping the score at a tight margin of 1 goal.
  As the match progressed however, Chiefs began to come into their own, taking two back before the halftime whistle blew, making the score 2-1 favouring the opposition.
  Now, some may say that once the second half began, FC Irlande became complacent. In truth, it was the damned weather. It was just such a nice day, the team just wanted to enjoy basking in the sun, and lost track of the little white sphere moving around the pitch.
  No matter the reason, Chiefs came out strong in the 2nd half.  After a foul given in a dangerous area, some luck on the Chiefs’ part and visual hindrances on Antonio’s part led to another goal for Chiefs, making it 3-1 for the opposition.
  After this, play continued, with a surprising amount of chances from John-Simon, Benjamin, “Lorenz”, and others. Unfortunately, none of them find the back of the net, and Chiefs capitalized in a defensive mistake, going up 4-1. To to it all off, the opponents netted one more before the final whistle blew, making the total score on the day 5 goals for the Chiefs, 1 for the Green Machine.
Some reactions after the match:
“I thought you guys were going to win!” -Referee
“Damn bro that was rough.” -Nate Banas
“I don’t think I’ve been pounded that bad while playing for FC Irlande.” -Anonymous

Hibernation is characterised by a state of depressed metabolic activity developed by certain species of mammals as an evolutionary adaption to surviving extreme weather. Most people think that bears also hibernate, but this is, in fact, a common misconception. These majestic Ursine creatures instead go into what biologists call a torpor. During a torpor, the bear also enters a condition of physiological inactivity, but the prime difference is that hibernating animals cannot be awoken by sudden movements or loud noises. The bear, instead, is always on guard and easily brought out of it’s comfy slumber. So tread carefully, when you enter the Grizzly Bear’s den.

Much like the ferocious Grizzly Bear, FCI II awoke from their seasonal hiatus with the voracious appetite of an apex predator, eager to devour the first three points. Fiercely territorial, FCI II were ready to zealously defend their home against any intruders who dared think they could come to Fortress Nossegem, wake up the Grizzly Bear and not expect a mauling.

FCI II’s own torpor was certainly not uneventful. In Malaga, the team pushed the boundaries of grooming by inventing an entirely new category of personal hygiene, which can only be described as “assisted manscaping”. In Germany, things took a more metaphysical turn as the team explored the philosophical contours of the Faustian bargain. In the legend, Faust sells his soul to the devil in return for limitless knowledge. In the FCI II version, the boys were asked to sell something radically different but only for a 3 minute period…

FCI II started the game on the front foot, pressing the opposition high up the pitch and connecting well in the final third. At the back, the combined experience (ahem, age) of captain Ale, Dr Thomas Earl and Antonio, garrisoned the net expertly. On the left of defense, the ever versatile (and well hydrated) Mattias/Mathias/Matthias Neelen slotted in capably and on the right, the marauding Secret Agent Clement Dilles ran for longer than a Duracell bunny. The Frankish duo of Matthias (our other chieftain) and Damien ‘3 minutes’ Lerisson marshalled the midfield masterfully, while Gabriel ‘the Manscape Artist’ Jacqmin had a field day with the opposition full back and John-Simon ‘the white Moussa Sissoko’ Sparks pilloried his counterpart. Dastan and 38 million Euro summer signing Lorenz provided the frontal assault. Neil puppeteered the lads expertly from the sideline, providing a calming influence and wise words to the team.

After only a few minutes, the team showed their intent when the ball broke to Dastan on the left inside the opposition box, his effort, however, went off the keeper and out wide. The ensuing corner found Gabi at the far post. Gabi smacked the ball at the keeper and it somehow went over the bar. Battle lines had been drawn. A few minutes later, Lorenz headed the ball on to the post from another corner. FCI II kept prodding and probing and midway through the first half, Mat Neelen humped the ball aimlessly forward (or, one might argue, he ‘nicely diced’ the ball). It managed to evade both opposing centre halves, Lorenz snuck in between them and deftly poked the ball past the on-rushing keeper. 1-0 FC Irlande II and Lorenz had opened his account for his new team… Sean who?

Union JP, however, steadily grew into the game and began to pressure FC Irlande II. After Antonio made a good save in a one on one towards the end of the first half, they began threatening again with a quick succession of corners. One corner was whizzed in and after a pinball-esque ricochet in the box, the ball landed kindly at the feet of one of their players who thumped it into the net. 1-1.

In the second half, the captains made a series of changes and reshuffled the team. Hadri replaced captain Gineste in midfield and didn’t stop running for the entire half. Benjamin came on for Gab on the left and continued to dazzle the full backs. After recovering from a long term injury, the team was happy to see Alex G back fit. He came on for Dastan and played on the right of midfield. The final change saw Nate Dogg slot in at left back for Mat Neelen.

FCI II started the second half a bit sluggishly as Union JP took control of matters. There were warning signs early on, as they created a number of clear cut opportunities. Antonio made a heroic save from a long rage effort, clawing the ball wide when a goal seemed inevitable. Antonio continued to dominate his area and made another superb save from a cross that almost ended up in the far corner. Union JP threatened once again as Ale pulled down their striker, just on the edge of the box when it looked like he could have gone through on goal. But after a rocky start, FCI II asserted themselves once again as Ale and Dr Thomas Earl settled the teams nerves. Hadri and Damien began pulling strings in midfield and Clement kept roaming forward from full back, combining well with Alex, Lorenz and John-Simon up front. On the left, Nate and Benjamin whipped in some good crosses into the box. As the team began taking control of proceedings, the ball found its way to Benjamin on the left who quickly cut inside the full back and let rip a shot, which stung the paws of the keeper and ricocheted back in the box. Lorenz picked up the loose ball and just before he could pull the trigger, he was summarily brought down by an opposition defender. Penalty FC Irlande II. Lorenz dusted himself off, and emphatically thundered the ball into the back of the net. 2-1 FC Irlande II.

The remaining 10 minutes of the game seemed like it lasted an eternity. Union JP threatened again and again, but thanks to some heroic efforts and last ditch tackles from Ale, Nate and Dr Thomas Earl, FC Irlande II held on to the victory.

And so the inaugural home game of the new season was consecrated with victory and an important 3 points. The star striker got off to a flying start and the goalkeeper produced a man of the match performance.

But most importantly, the Grizzly Bear is wide awake and prowling the forest. Its claws are sharpened, its teeth are primed, and its ready to hunt for its next prey.


Come on Ireland!








All fixtures and results

#1 September 8, 2018 FC Irlande 2nds 2 - 1 Report Union JP 1
#2 September 15, 2018 Chiefs WSL 1 5 - 1 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#3 September 22, 2018 FC Irlande 2nds 5 - 1 Report Ettekijs 1
#4 September 29, 2018 Union Schaerbeek 1 - 2 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#5 October 6, 2018 FC Irlande 2nds 2 - 2 Report Wong A.S.
#6 October 13, 2018 Lorraine RFC 2 5 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#7 October 20, 2018 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 0 Report Brussels LTC 2
#8 October 27, 2018 British United 1 0 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#9 November 3, 2018 Pharma SC 2 1 - 2 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#10 November 17, 2018 Grez AJ 1 5 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#11 November 24, 2018 FC Irlande 2nds 0 - 1 Report Ambiance Auderghem 1
#12 December 1, 2018 Union JP 1 7 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#13 December 8, 2018 FC Irlande 2nds 5 - 0 Report Chiefs WSL 1
#14 December 15, 2018 FC Irlande 2nds 0 - 2 Report Brussels British R 2
#15 January 5, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 2 - 2 Report British United 1
#16 January 12, 2019 Ettekijs 1 2 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#17 January 19, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 0 Report Union Schaerbeek
#20 February 9, 2019 Brussels LTC 2 2 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#21 February 16, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 1 Report Pharma SC 2
#19 March 2, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 4 - 2 Report Lorraine RFC 2
#22 March 9, 2019 Brussels British R 2 0 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#23 March 16, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 1 Report Grez AJ 1
#24 March 23, 2019 Ambiance Auderghem 1 2 - 5 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#24 March 30, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 4 Report Higgins 1
#18 April 6, 2019 Wong A.S. 2 - 0 FC Irlande 2nds

Sorry, no matches were found for this team.

FC Irlande 2nds

  • Captains : Ale Arditi , Mathias Gineste

Top goals scorers

  • Lorenz Blanco 8
  • Benjamin Benjelloun 5
  • Sean Gibson 4
  • Gabriel Jacqmin 3
  • Hadrien Valembois 2
  • Thomas Peeters 2
  • John-Simon Sparks 2
  • Nick Pawley 2
  • Neil Servais 1
  • Euan MacDonald 1
  • Dastan Salehi 1
  • Damien Lérisson 1
  • Mathias Neelen 1
  • Kévin Béziau 1
  • Benedikt Panknin 1

Top goals assists

  • Dastan Salehi 5
  • Clément Dillies 4
  • Lorenz Blanco 3
  • Thomas "T-Lion" Earl 2
  • Neil Servais 2
  • Mathias Neelen 2
  • Gabriel Jacqmin 2
  • Alessandro Arditi 1
  • Nate Banas 1
  • Sean Gibson 1
  • Hadrien Valembois 1
  • Kévin Béziau 1
  • Benjamin Benjelloun 1
  • Nick Pawley 1