FC Irlande 2nds

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2nds on the winning trail again.

On a windy day without trees (deforestation?), the boys in green showed their pride to get the 3 points. A magnificent start with an imperious T-Lion with 2 goals , 2-0 at HT.

During the second half, the team lost control of the ball and suffered, as usual. Some missed chances created tension. 2-1 final. Vamos!

2nds drew 1 – 1.
A special free kick from MOTM Lolo Blanco rescued a point for the green giants in a hard-fought 1-1 draw against the Brits in VDN’s back garden. Irlande fell behind to another sloppy goal in the opening minutes, but were well worth the equaliser when it eventually came with the last kick of the game.
Forza Irlande!
The FC Irlande 2nds are back to winning ways thanks to a goal from Gabi and Amadou against Copains Réunis. The boys registered their first clean sheet in a long time and were helped to victory by a dominating MOTM performance by Alex R in the middle. Alex was duly brought back to earth and into financial strife to join the rest of the galant clubmen who have helped us out the season with the obligatory post match round of beer buying. Truth be told though, if he keeps that kind of performance up he’ll be buying the 1st team beers this coming weekend.
Despite playing into a gale in the first half, FC Irlande created the most chances. Amadou bounced off 2 or 3 clear fouls before managing to lob the keeper from outside the box only the ball to agonisingly bounce off the woodwork. Lolo and T-Lion tried their corner kick trick but were denied repeating the outcome by a diving keeper. Yours truly will no doubt be diagnosed with CTE after Copains didn’t cotton on to it and said move was executed a few more times during the match. Neil had a speculative blast from corner, Dastan and Lolo both got shots away to sting the keepers gloves. It was only Gabi who managed to drill one home into the bottom right from range to keep the scoreline honest. Meanwhile, Antonio was stood around in the cold for most of the half rarely being called into action.
The second half was much the same as the first, only the centre halves tried to get Antonio involved this time a little calamity at the back, but not even then could the opposing team get a meaningful shot away. Apparently their pre-match looseners had worn off and made them trigger shy. That, or we were quite effective at holding possession despite the conditions. Let’s go with the latter. Amadou was unlucky not to have two after stretching out to reach a deflected ball that flashed across the front of goal, only managing to get a toe to it resulting in a deft chip over the crossbar. His efforts were eventually rewarded though as he rammed one in from close range.
Mathias Neelen charged in and smacked a poorly cleared ball from outside the area, grazing the paint of the top left corner of the goal. Alex G came on and made an instant impact, accelerating away behind the lines to get a couple of one-on-ones with the keeper, but unfortunately was well blocked by their advancing keeper. Twinkle toes Benji also entered the fray and linked well with Clement on the right.  On one occasion towards the end, Clem made an overlapping arching run give or take the full length of the field before crossing the ball into the 4th’s match. Copains got away lightly here. That action somehow typified the relentless fight that the lads mustered today, if only for some better finishing.
Captain dynamite Dastan (don’t call him that in public places – his words not mine) lead the boys by example today with an authoritative and composed display. Ryan selflessly (nice pun) carried the armband from midway through the second half; no one was outrunning him today, especially not while wearing those boots. A happy John-Simon Sparks had his kit off in record time once the singing began in the post match celebrations.
Let that be the spark (another pun ?) that ignites the rest of the season lads – well fought and well won!

On a new year team event day, we had to play against Tourinnois who were 2nd in the ranking. A good opportunity for us to grab 3 points.

With a big enthusiasm we started well and were able to capitalize early on a corner, a header from T Lion on an assist from Lolo. End of the first half : 1-0 Fc Irlande. For the 2nd half Tourinnois came back with better intention. Anyway we found a way to strike again. Gabi with a big rebound scored the 2nd one.
We had the game in our hands and it’s at this moment that Mathias G decided to imitate his idol Booba with a nice pass to Tourinnois’s striker that just had to tip the ball in our net. Exactly like some other games this season we find a way to concede the equalizer couple minutes before the end of the game.

Big disappointment with the draw for FC Irlande but it doesn’t matter we’ll forget it tonight with a big party.

Nothing quite like a derby day to get your juices flowing! Unfortunately for the boys in green things did not quite go to plan..

On a rather dubious looking football pitch the game started slowly with some very sloppy passing from both sides.. Irlande were trying to keep the ball to play their football but unfortunately kept giving it away very cheaply and letting the Brits set up some very threatening counter attacks. After some more inaccurate passes the ball was kicked towards the Irlande defense, who fumbled the ball around more than a blind prostitute, leading to the ball breaking to a Brit who enjoyed the simple task of passing the ball across the 6 yard area for a tap in for his teammate

The boys struggled to get any rythme in their passing game and created sparse half chances barely testing the opposition goalkeeper whilst at the same time relying on prayer and a heroic performance from the Spanish inquisition in goal to keep the opposition at bay.

Half-time saw our Danish sea captain Dastan come on in place of the Portuguese seman Luis and also a change in dynamic of the football. With the opponent retreating into their shells Irlande finally managed to put in some pressure by getting some lovely passing moves going. The half-chances just kept coming but that elusive last pass was missing a lot of the time. Many tested the keeper but he proved to be very capable and when he wasn’t the opposition was aided by the woodwork as Mike headed against the crossbar after a “ghost” corner was awarded.

Irlande piled on the pressure but inevitably ran out of time which left the Brits feeling relieved as a few more minutes would have seen their defense breached harder than Luis’s black hole in the Maltese sea.

It was a disappointing result but the positives can be taken from the fantastic reaction in the second half and the performance of the returning Antonio who deservedly won MOTM after many fantastic saves and winning all 3 of his one-on-ones.

Fc irlande 2 off to an unfortunate start in 2020 against Vollenback.

With a great ambition to equalize and/or beat the 8-game unbeaten streak in the first half of the season, the men in green rode into combat at their home pitch in Nossegem. The opponent: Vollenback, a team that was proven, although unimpressive, stronger in the first game (I read “first” without the “r” on the first time).

Playing in front of a packed home crowd the men in green found themselves unconcentrated in the opening minutes and so saw themselves already down 1-0 on a long ball surpassing petit bonhomme Julian in the first minute. Talking about record breaking performance in the negative sense..

After this rough wake up call the men in green started putting serious pressure on the opponent, slowly but surely dominating the game on the midfield and consistently connecting with the beast Amadou who gave the opportunity to put an even higher presence. This progressive play resulted in some chances and eventually led to the well deserved 1-1 by Lolo, broken lose by an excellent through ball by Bouba (Bouba is the small animated bear, Booba is the rapper. Which one did you refer to ?).

With a hunger for more comparable to a young man hitting puberty first discovering online porn, the game continued in similar fashion with continuous dominant presence of the men in green. It only took a through ball by Vollenback where outstanding goalkeeper Mathias Neelen saw himself in a near one-to-one situation to intervene outside of the box with a handball, in an attempt to prevent the 2-1. The referee did not see another option to send off Mathias Neelen with a red car (damn that must have hurt). Right winger Gabi took the noble task upon himself to replace Mathias Neelen as goalkeeper, showing in some instances even some potential. The game was still very much alive with continuous pressure on the defense of Vollenback, it was a game where anyone could have taken away the victory.

In the end it was FC Irlande who saw themselves on the unfortunate side of the stick when birthday boy Alex took out one of the attackers of Vollenback in the box. Whether the decision of the referee was questionable, we’ll leave it to the VAR and the pundits. Fact was that Gabi could have reached star status and eternal access to C12 by stopping the penalty. It however became the anti climax and Gabi didn’t succeed to use his Jedi mind tricks to persuade Vollenback to f*ck up (the fact that i told Ale off for his swear words visibly worked). 2-1 Vollenback.

With only a handfull of minutes on the clock and desperation hitting critical levels, trainer John-Simon’s tactical mindset went for something even the greatest of trainers of all time had failed to have thought about. The blitzkrieg of football tactics. The all-or-nothing 8-1-1 type of tactic.

Unfortunately much as Germany against Russia, the blitzkrieg for FC Irlande was ineffective against Vollenback and the war was lost.. the 3-1 fell after unsuccessful clearance in the back.

Lessons learnt and off to the next game.

Saturday 14th December 2019, a date to be remembered in the future, not football-wise speaking (unluckily, very unluckily!), but for one of the best performances of the history of the Seconds in terms of partying and showing the best (the most filthy and sexy behaviors) of their selves during the legendary Christmas party of FC Irlande. Personally, I wasn’t there, but the amount of comments and pictures I received make myself proud to be part of the group of Pirates! Well done boys, outstanding as always!

But let’s comeback to what’s happened on the pitch that day. On a windy and rainy day like in the perfect Irish weather conditions the Boys in green faced the tough and well-known fighting-spirit team of Union Schaerbeek. Nossegem showed the best of itself with a heavy terrain, the wind that cuts your wrinkles and a fucking (watch your words Ale, we are not in Italy) diagonally-dropping rain (impossible to avoid for the people in the bench!), all this was the introduction for a hard day for the Schaerbeek people.

The formation was: Matteo (thanks for helping, from the Fourths), defense (from right to left): Hadri, T-Lion, Ryan and Julian; Mid with: in the center the two Pitbull’s Mat Gineste and Timmy (thanks Timmy for delighting us with your last match for FC Irlande, mucha suerte in Mexico!), on the left a pumped Benji and on the right Young Blood Lolo, Luisito as number 10 and Amadou as our striker. On the bench: Coaches Johnny and Dast, Alex G, Ale fighting against the cold and rain (even if probably Giovanni was barely using a jacket)!

The Guys in green showed all the determination they had pressing Schaerbeek already from the beginning of the match. The ball-control was in our hands (as we like it and we do it frequently!) but the opponents were always awake creating randomly dangerous situations. In the second minute a high ball deflected by the wind arrived in between T-Lion and Ryan in a dangerous position, Matteo kicked it out. On the continuing action, Amadou made a great run, but he is totally stopped by a foul in the penalty box of Union Schaerbeek, only the ref could not see it, pity for us!

Our Jordi Julian was in a great shape and saved the boys in green 2 times in two 1 vs 1 occasions on the side in which with his speed he could recover the position gained by the wing of Schaerbeek (they were long passes from the midfield), great stuff so far!

The match was quite balanced only because of singles random events of Union Schaerbeek, but if there was a Team deserving to be up that was for sure FC Irlande! (these are the possible words of Pierone Nazionale, guarding from the tribunes, or at least we wish!).

At minute 10 Luis made a great cross, unluckily Benji’s control was not perfect, but this showed that the connection between these guys was hot like when they are on a dancefloor during a wild night in Brussels. Two minutes later Julian felt on his shoulder, all the bench stood up, but the fighter from Catalunya could go on with the battle, a rock!

Around the minute 15 the moment of the match was turning Turkish, and that was the moment in which a wise man (that could have been for sure being part of a South-American football romance from Galeano) named Dastan spitted some words through the rain: ‘’Come on Guys treat the ball with some respect!”. Few seconds later, like the Team would have heard that, a brilliant cross from Benji to Luis, that thinking he is the reincarnation of Ricardo Quaresma, he made a ‘’trivela’’…ball out for a meter, fuck (Ale, if there is a third swear word in this text…).

The wall in the midfield of FC Irlande in this moment is impossible to pass, Mat G and Timmy are like two beasts thirsty of blood running here and there! All balls are for those two animals (they look familiar with this though)! This is the time in which Irlande owns the pitch and the opponents were just hanging around being victim of the football in Green. Lolo received the ball from 25 meters on the right and a defender made a crazy tackle (or at least this was what the audience got from the acting scene of Young Blood) (Quick edit : Ale, how on earth could you believe it wasn’t a fau… i overreacted). Lolo on the ground like they have shot him. Good 10 seconds later he was ready to shoot the free-kick. A literally rocket exploded from the left foot of the #10 of FC Irlande, landing directly on the cross bar on the left corner!! The keeper was not even realizing that a shooting star passed in front of him, fucking hell the Boys in green unlucky again (and there is the third swear word).

It was a clear green dominance, some actions later Benji made a snake move, dribbling 3 men of Schaerbeek. Luis suddenly cutting the midfield like a hot knife would perforate butter and seeing holes where he can only see them (I am sure Luis-Hub has quite some experience in that!), he made Benji free, who after a fantastic control missed the shooting part, football-champagne.

A minute later Timmy saw Luis free on the right side, la Bestia di Porto didn’t think twice and let a shot go which was saved by the keeper of Schaerbeek with his feet. The goal (and the Love) was in the air, everybody could smell it!

Like a symphony at minute 30 Lolo opened for Tim, who passed to Julian, the little Jordi made a triangle with Mat G, ball to Benji that finally crossed from the right, Hadri arrived like an eagle and…booooom! Ball in between the legs of the keeper and FC Irlande up 1-0 very well deserved! (The first goal is explained after 80% of the the text. 3 mores goals to go. Jesus)

Again few minutes later Hadri received a great ball wise-opened by Benji and his shot from the right side is saved by the keeper of Union. Half time whistle, the Boys 1-0 up, dominating the match and showing their skills, even if having some (natural) risks.

Right in the beginning of the second half a democratic (too much!) wind deflected a totally innocent ball on the arm of Tommo. The ref could not ignore it. Penalty, 1-1. Cruel come back.
Tough punch in the stomach for the Boys in Green, but it is in these situations that the courage of the Guys comes out. Once again in a dangerous action by Benji from the right the keeper of Union saved the goal again. Green dominant on the pitch. From a corner by Tim the ball bounced in the mess of the people, but this is the natural environment for the MoTM’s record timer in Sporteasy, Luisito tapped it in again for us, 2-1 for Irlande!

Five minutes later a ball lost in the midfield bounced on the feet of the striker of Schaerbeek, that from 25 meters he shot perfectly in the angle 2-2. Union again made it to us, showing how dangerous they were. Two minutes after scoring, Schaerbeek team hit the bar from distance, they took confidence back.

The attitude of the FC Irlande Guys was fantastic, in a difficult time of the match, Tommo made a great pass to the never-stopping Benji, Benji saw the upcoming Mat G that literally launched himself on the ball creating a shot that went out from half a meter! What a fighting spirit Boys!
Not the time to breathe and the next action produced again by Benji on the right ended on the feet of Dastan, that with a jumping shot of extreme difficulty could not finish, making eventually a lob in the hands of the keeper.

The last minutes reserved a red card for us (Julian) and one for the opponents, result of a crazy tackle that fortunately did not bring any serious damage.
2-2 in Nossegem, end of the game. MOTM Benji. MOTM in Sporteasy of course Luis.

The spirit of the Boys in Green is absolutely fantastic. There is a lot to be played in this league and we are making a great championship so far. The hard work in the trainings of John and Dastan, the ‘’team building’’ events and the commitment of these guys are an example. Let’s go on like this also in the New Year (to be celebrated on the 25th of January!!).

8-game unbeaten run ends in Anderlecht against Union JP.

On the dry and desert-like pitch of Union JP, the seconds were motivated to the teeth to show the leader of the table that the first game showed no indication of the difference in quality.

The team ready and armed for battle was one not at the ideal conditions, with right winger and wig model Gabi still out injured after an unfortunate training accident. New addition to the team Jack also decided , along with Neil to test the speed camera’s around Brussel after having forgotten his ID card. But the team saw the return of Julian after a scare injury from last week battle against Schaerbeek and Booba making his return after 5 weeks.

After having changed in a locker room which what seemed a Josef Fritzl hide-out, the eyes and minds of the men in green were aiming for the blue jerseys of Union JP.

The first 20 minutes looked promising with high pressure on the ball and opponent, destabilizing them in their offensive advances, even with the men in green creating some small changes. It didn’t take long after that for the first error to be made, Booba was still dreaming about the cheesy nickname which was given to him (pun intended) , when he passed the ball back to VDN, who was unable to recover and correct. 1-0.

From that moment onwards the men in green didn’t stop, hungrier then ever to chase down the opponent looking for the equalizer. Small changes were created with few balls successfully connecting to the mountain in front we call Amadou . (Aaaaamadou dou dou, he’s so much faster than you … ) Amadou fought bravely against the defenders and surely gave the defense a reminder that being first needs to be earned. The two teams remained equal to one another for the rest of the first half.

The second half saw the return of Jack, (who along with the help of Neil reenact the last scene in fast and the furious in the street of Brussel to get back in time) who was immediately replacing Matthieu Gineste (quick remark from the editor : was that a joke ?). The change was visible directly with some more heading power on the midfield to move the ball forward. The momentum however got lost when two quickly consecutive goals followed, one from a long free kick, objectively skilled finish with the header, and the other from a lost ball forwards, cleverly taken. 3-0, over and out for the men in green, who were supported by the big chiefs of FC Irlande and the one and only Ale and Neil, many thanks for that.

Although fought bravely and in the majority of the game equal to the others, the men in green sought comfort in Funky’s after the game, John sought comfort in some ‘no-questions-asked’ oysters and white wine. No judgement.

MOTM award split by Matthias Neelen (Mike just did a “Benji”), outstanding and solid as a rock in the goal, and Lolo.

The game was lost, but the team is hungry for more.

2nds played in Schaerbeek turf. Big stadium for an expected tough game with 3rd team ranked against the 5th. As usual coach and captain prepared us mentally to have a great fight and to stick to our 28 pages of strategy. Last year we won miraculously with Jack Daniels as keeper. This season we started with Mathias Van Sieg Neelen, even more impressive in the goal. Challenge accepted.

The game started quite easily. Huge space on the pitch and the Turkish team didn’t seem to bother defending. Their forwards are quite good but we simply destroy them with our fast recoveries and the talent of the magic trio Lolo-Benji-DJ Amadou. After making the difference pretty easily Lolo crossed for Siiiiiiii Benji who didn’t miss his header. 1-0 well deserved.

The opponents are bad and it seems they are gonna be dangerous only with corner or free kicks. After 2 or 3 good attempts for the 2nds, a dangerous but not all fault lead to the equalizer. Unfortunately our major weakness is defending during corner or free kicks and the goal came from that phase. (Let’s work on that boyyyyys). Mathias in the goal is great and didn’t deserve this shitty goal. 1-1 at half time. We are full of confidence. They look febrile and without solutions.

The second half started badly as they became more aggressive using the endless help of some of their friend carrying a whistle in the middle of the 22 players . The team started to struggle and with a “yes but no but yes” goal, 2-1 for Schaerbeek. BUT we never give up, if there is one rule, that’s the one. The boys in green head up. Luis as a great descendent of Lucho Gonzalez was everywhere. At some point he created a huge penetration with his huge motivation and assisted DJ Amadou who finished without a second guess. 2-2. The battle is not over but eventually we didn’t put a spear through their bodies.
End of the game. It was supposed to be one of the most difficult games of the year. It just confirmed that the 2nds have no intention of walking away from the spotlight.
Oh yeah baby.

Who else got the MVP award than Luis “Climax” Ramos ? How surprising ! Also a good performance from VDN who got the MVK award.

FC Irlande’s 2nds run rampant, defeating Engheim Amical 3-1 at Fort Nossegem.

The boys in Green secured 3 points this Sunday with a fine footballing display. A 2-0 half time scoreline belied the dominance of the 2nds over a decent enough mid-table Amical side, who managed a late consolation goal in the dying stages of the game to rob the greens of a clean sheet, who are enjoying a run of 7 games without defeat.

Ryan Self led from the back, trotting out to the warm up in a canter after his pre game ablutions, clearly lighter on his feet and clearer of the mind, showing great composure all game to guide the lads to victory. Luis’ selfie post match a surprisingly accurate depiction of events, but we wouldn’t expect any less from this year’s MVP.

John Simon Sparks’ pre match verbal assault on the referee had less of a positive outcome on proceedings. Retribution came in the form of some questionable and dubious advantage calls with a generous dose of punitive decisions that I’m not sure your author will ever be able to truly grapple with. Fortunately we managed to keep immune from it, keeping our eyes fixated on the prize, much like one might keep fixated on some of those NSFW messages that someone (not going to name names here) has been sending to the group, probably by mistake.

We created a number of chances in the opening 20 minutes, with Gabi, Amadou, and Lolo all coming close to breaking the deadlock. Finally it was MOTM Jack, with an emphatic header from a well delivered Benji corner who opened the accounts. It was executed with an impressive amount of air time and good hustle to get free from the defender. All those years in the GAA paying dividends now. It wasn’t too long after that CR7-Benji, who hadn’t missed an earlier opportunity to impress the boisterous crowd that had amassed there with a megs and a couple of stepovers (it’s beside the point that no opposition was within a cooee of him when it was executed), rounded the keeper and slotted it comfortably home. A standard on- and off-field performance then if the rumours are true (they are).

2-zip at halftime always seems a little ominous, but we started the half much how we finished the first and never looked in danger of conceding in the second period. Until of course Antonio had to dive expertly to his left and parry away a shot destined for the top corner. No one expected such agility from the big lad after having spent most of the game up until that point not really involved in it. The defense was helped by a tireless Gineste, who’s heat map would’ve had shown that he had just about covered every blade of grass. Good to see he’s been laying off the croissants since his return from Madagascar.

Dastan and Alex joined the fray, picking things up from where Gabi and Benji had left off. It was eventually Neelen who converted from a free kick 25 yards out by skillfully (and no doubt intentionally) deflecting a powerful shot off the wall and into the back of the net to get the trifecta. He repeated his trick to delightful but unsportsmanlike effect on the halfway line, belting the ball into the face of his fallen opponent with similar venom from dangerously short range, after having been out paced by his opposite number for most of the game. That action certainly put that dual to bed. On the other flank, Julien (our usual number 10) pestered and broke down their attack at right back. But rather than tell us directly he wasn’t happy playing there went off and injured his deltoid in a post match incident. Get well soon!

Amical eventually scored in the dying moments of the game. Fair play, the finish was tidy from outside the box, but he had all the time in the world to turn, set up, position himself, etc etc. A lesson in complacency to heed in the coming weeks and for the rest of the season; no clean sheet the distasteful result. Aside from that, everyone on the pitch put in a great shift with a lot of positives to build on and plenty to sing about.

SHA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LAAAA, F-C-IRLANDE!

After being slowed down last week, it was crucial to win this match and close the gap with top of the league and also make sure to keep our opponent behind.

The 2nds were surprised on the first free kick of the game when the opponent received the ball on the far post. A gift that he didn’t think of twice before scoring.

With 1h to go, there was no doubt that there will be many chances to come back. Gabi took his responsibilities and dribbled past his direct opponent then crossed the ball to Lolo on the right wing who kept the ball alive and crossed it in the box where Luis monopolized 2 defenders and Gabi was able to adjust his header to hit the net. 1-1, ball in the middle. Jack who replaced Brioche in the heart of the game gave a delicious forward pass to Lolo. One against one, the fans already started celebrating but the ball came to die near the post. Half time.

Still 1-1 with 20 minutes to go. Sharing the points like last week was not an option at all. This game needed a hero. What comes to your mind when you see any n°7 jersey ? Cantona ? Raul ? Shevchenko ? Well, there’s another player we can refer to as BB7 who wears it beautifully. (Well, the anonymous editor of the 2nds wants to add something to that beautiful story. Just a small detail by pointing out the fact that Amadou is still confusing the 2 Benjamin of the team after having joined the team for few months now. Brioche was the n°7 for that game and Benji was n°5. The editor had a short What’s App discussion of 25 minutes with Amadou about it. Amadou was happy the editor noticed the mistake thinking he would change it. Turns out the editor is a little c**t ! Anyway, back to the story).

As this afternoon, headers are hitting the target. Jack for his first game in the club, crossed the ball to Benji who made it 1-2. Siuuuuuuuuu….

Nate with the help of Ryan started to build a wall to protect Antonio’s goal.
The problem with walls is that they can be climbed. But the good news is that the people of forest apparently only know how to climb trees. And anytime they get closer to the wall, Antonio was here to punch out and consolidate the wall on the multiple corners and dangerous free kicks.

Special mention to the fullbacks Mathias VDN and Hadri for the offensive support besides of their defensive duties. The offensive line really appreciate.

Last counter attack of the game.
Benji to Amadou. Amadou to Julian. Julian in the six-yard box.
What happened next ? Take a guess.
Did he imagine himself playing in his backyard?
Did he want to invite the poor defenders to dance sardana and hold hands ?
Was he thinking of Luis’ question earlier on how do you call the people of Chad?
Most importantly, can he do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?
Many questions but only a few answers.
The 2 defenders were already on the floor, ready for a ménage à trois when he decided to go for the goal. Deflected shot.
After this interlude, the game could finally resume.
Amadou to Benji. Goal ! 1-3.

Men of the match: Benji and Nate.

How FCI met…only one point over the weekend…

Kids, it all started on a sunny but rather cold Saturday afternoon where the squad of the Boys in Greens met at McLarens…sorry Nossegem’s home pitch…

After 4 straight (well sometimes not so straight) victories in a row, the Boys in Greens faced their worst (their sole?) enemy: themselves… Against a bottom of the league team, the mission was to get three points…As your Uncle Marshall (Dastan) and aunt Lilly (John Sparks) stressed from the very beginning “the game will be hard  no matter where they rank”…

Things started poorly with Grand Pa Camembert (Booba) injuring his back at the warm-up, depriving the fans that came “en masse” (well one of them anyway) to cheer him up by chanting “Ici c’est Paris” and had therefore to switch the anthem for “Ici c’est l’hosto”…

The starting line-up was as follows: Antonio ‘Franco’ Garcia Cellis in the Goal, Nate ‘Build that Wall’ Tucker Banas and yours truly (replacing Ryan Brexit Self, who went to taste a pre-Brexit exile in the Americas where he was reported seeing doing Burpees on a deserted island) as Center-Backs; Mathias Adolf VDN as left Back and Ale Jr Van der Croonenberghs on the right side. The center midfield saw Julian Puidgemont Rueda and Mathias ‘SCh sch schschsch’ Gineste as defending midfielders with Mike ‘Gouda’ Scheijvens on the left and Lolo ‘I love la Louvière’ Whito on the right. In attack we had Amadou ‘Black Panther’ Boubacar as the nightmare of all Abssa defenses…

You look at the script (a bottom of the league team in our home pitch), you look at the cast (the line-up) above and you look at the Directors (Uncle Marshall and Aunt Lilly) and you would assume you are certain to get a great movie right?… Well, think again…The following looks more like one of the last M. Night Shyamalan movies than a Scorcese.

Indeed, the 2nds fell victim of their hubris by conceding (some that will not be named say “winning”) 2 points with their draw…

Starting good, the Greens quickly scored with a nice combination between Lorenz (assist) and Amadou (scorer) 1-0…

Then feeling too confident, the Boys in Greens conceded a goal to the opposition on a miscommunication between the defense and Antonio…1-1…

The greens kept their chin up and managed to score the 2-1 (Lolo with an assist of M. “ShhhShhShhhhhh” G.)…

Then the Greens were a bit too cocky wasting some clear opportunities right in front of the goal…we paid the price when No Boys scored 5min before the end…2-2…

And this, kids, is how the Seconds met only one point over the weekend…

Season 2 (Saturday against Forestois) will be coming soon…hopefully the Seconds will finally meet…victory again…

MOTM Luis (who else …well the “La Louvière” version of Luis…)

Replacements: Dastan for Luis; Mike for Gabi

After three victories in a row the 2nds were eager to extend their unbeaten run. An extra motivation was that with 3 points the boys would overtake Cobra in the standings.

The preparation was not worry free with upcoming talent Brioche injuring himself on training Monday, Ryan leaving for Argentina for few weeks to visit his German uncle that for some reason travelled there in the 40’s and stayed, ex-captain Gineste was away in France to try and refind that typical odeur he lost while being in Madagascar. But the thing that troubled the team the most was old Italian Ale returning to Asia where he is facing new charges after being released from jail there only last year. On this trip his father joined in support. We hope Ale’s name will be cleared by the  impeccable courts we all know East-Asia has to offer. Once returned we will do our best to keep him away from animals as much as we can.

The pre-game talk had a weird touch to it as John explained things in a calm manner and he said things that made sense. Very confusing for the players. The confusion rose even more when it was announced our MVP would be on the bench. Some players cried a little… But Luis calmed down everyone saying that with the help of Jesus he would make sure we would win after he would come off from the bench.

The game itself was not the prettiest the world has ever witnessed. Irlande had a hard time adapting to the pitch and called danger upon itself by not listening to John’s desperate shouting on the side line. It was halfway the first half when Nate told your reporter “look VDN, I am gonna give the ball straight to the opponent. Look at John’s face it will be funny”. And so he did, the Cobrian player crossed the ball and Arditi Junior, worrying about his dad facing jail time again, ran in the back of the opponent to give away a penalty. No chance for our goalie and 1-0.

It was not long after that Kev decided it was time for our MVP to come on. So he faked a back injury. A wise decision. The first half ended at 1-0 but the whole of Irlande knew it would all be fine the second half. Even more so because also Benji -the Ronaldo one- came in to replace Gabbie, also faking an injury.

Very early in the second half Antonio kicked the ball far out, the Cobra defence panicked seeing this huge black guy behind him and offered him a header to bring the score at 1-1.  Black is beautiful they say, we don’t know about that but Amadou’s header was! The remainder of the game can be remembered by screaming and diving by “someone”. Very annoying. Coaches should make him stop. It is embarrassing for the club. With Luis as a dominating force in the middle, with the defence acting at a high level, with our dangerous attackers it was just a matter of waiting for that second goal. Amadou, being everywhere up front, crossed a ball that first was hit by Lolo but blocked, thank Jesus one small Catalan guy jumped out from under the grass and put the ball gracefully in the back of the net. His first goal bringing home the three points. That must feel even better than being from an independent region in Spain.

All in all Irlande withstood the pressure from Cobra easily. With Alex as a last sub we came close to a third goal. But we decided to save some for next week. Special reminder for Lolo’s beautiful shot from 50m out. Made up for his ridiculous bicycle first half. Chapeau!

With 4 wins in a row John and Dastan equalize the longest winning run of old coaches Gineste and Arditi. Irlande is 5 points from the top. This must motivate the boys for next week. Go Irlande!!!

We are also happy to announce Lolo and Benji – the brioche one – have found each other after the game. They are so cute together. We wish them many happy years. Love is beautiful. Be proud boys!

MOTM was Amadou but we all want to thank Luis and Jesus for this victory. On to next week. Amen.

Men have been called to climb a mountain mankind has believed to be not climbable.

On a very sunny Saturday for the end of October, these sent men we’re tasked to climb this mountain, beating the first in the league. Facing strong wind, sore throat and a yelling sherpa, these men were concentrated and focussed from minute one.

Good combinaisons, good coverage of space and no risks taking in the midfield were key. A smart pass by Mike in a very narrow channel between Julien, Lorenz and 3 defenders enabled Lorenz to put his food just before the keeper reached him. 1-0 for FC Irlande.

The second goal was the result of a brilliant pass into the box where Mike let no chance to the keeper.
2-0 for FC Irlande.

The team went into the second half with a lead but has been pressured by FC Gecko.They were able to make some crosses and got closer to the goal.A good control in the box followed by an immediate shot made it 2-1. 10 min of struggle and resilience by FC Irlande later, our team was able to breath again with a good pass by Amadou to Benjamin who made it 3-1. A splendid dribbling of Brioche who literally passer the ball to himself, completed the job.

The 15 men climbed the highest mountain in the ABSSA land, guided by their sherpa John Sparks in an inimitable way. More mountains are yet to climb, FC Irlande shall succeed.

The match foreboded intensity for being a derby and for the importance of the 3 points at stake. However, the preface already announced rare phenomena on the horizon. The first unequivocal sign: the arrival of Antonio to the field 30 minutes before the hour scheduled.
As the usual liturgy commands, the team prepared to the rhythm of music of dubious taste until the confirmation of the line-up. Antonio “Iribar” in goal, four defenders with the Anglo-American pair Nate-Ryan and the Flemish-Walloon duo Wannes-Hadri as wing-backs, the gourmet midfield formed by Baguette-Brioche, captain Dastan as number 10, Benji and Julián on the wings and the tireless Lorenz as forward.
Before the kick-off, the referee confirmed that something strange was flying over the atmosphere when he threatened not to let our American wall play because of a supposed irregularity with his kneepad. The match started with the boys in green trying to impose their game. In fact, the team approached the opponent’s box with danger, including a header by the small Catalan that hit the post (he will soon consult a sorcerer what kind of curse he’s suffering).
Unfortunately, with the passage of time, the game became more and more erratic and the home team could not weave actions. A combination of fouls that interrupted the game more than usual, inaccuracies causing ball losses and bad positioning. That bad spiral prevailed until the end of the first half.
Faithfully assuming his role of coach, John first ticked the team off (after having shouted his head off from the bench during the whole first half) and then he gave a pep talk worthy of Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday.
In the second half the trend began to change. After a few minutes, one of the opponent’s centre-backs was sent off for running over Le Coz (second yellow card), which boosted somehow the boys in green. Despite playing well up to three quarters of the pitch, the team could not successfully finish the plays. The entrance of Gabi, Luis and Alex helped to revitalize the team. The two wingers provided dynamism and Luis created second balls acting as 9. The opponent started to show nervousness, especially his goalkeeper, a kind of potential Norman Bates.
When the match seemed to be heading for a sad draw, our Franco-German Robben drew a nice cross from the corner and the beast of Porto finished off with a categorical header. 1-0. Despite the unbridled joy, the team kept their cool in the final minutes and kept the scoreboard. A fought and deserved victory. The winning streak goes on, confidence is increasing.
MOTM: Luis “The Beast” Ramos

After 4 weeks without any victory in sight, the Seconds went to Anderlecht, somewhere between a cornfield and Ikea to face Copains Réunis (Gathered Friends? Really?) who had not yet managed to get any victory this season. For this bottom-of-the-table clash, the coaches fielded a team with no big surprises, with a defence made of Hadrien, Ryan, Nate and Mathias Van der Neelen. The midfield with Brioche and Booba (possibly now called Baguette after he proved how French he could be later that night, devouring an entire baguette on his own) behind Dastan in number 10. Gaby took the right wing and Julian the left, while Lolo took once again the striker role.

The match started with a very good state of mind on the boys in green’s side, with a high press and always first on the ball. Despite all of this, very few opportunities were created. After 15 minutes, it was too much for Brioche who decided to take things in hand, starting from the defence, getting rid off two defenders before delivering a wonderful pass to Lorenz who had time to go around his slow defender three times and tie his shoes before going to beat the goalkeeper with a low shot.
A few minutes later, Hadrien and Ryan started an argument about who would be the clumsiest, fighting each other for the ball in our right corner before delivering the ball to the opposing striker. Quite surprised by this gift, he also demonstrated his certain talent in being clumsy but managed to bring the ball close to the box and somehow put it in the nets. A beautiful moment of football that particularly pleased the 6 English fans who travelled all the way to Anderlecht to see their idol: Ryan Self.
A little stunned by this far from deserved goal, the team got back on track, continuing to press high and keeping the ball in our possession. The only opportunity for the opponent was a curled free-kick that went into Antonio’s top right corner, forcing him to make a classy save.
Shortly before half-time, Lorenz managed to cross the ball from the left side of the box. This pass, kind of precise -as usual- went through the entire defence crossed and before it got lost in the cornfield, was picked up by Gaby on the other side. He immediately crossed for Kevin who had a shot to score the team’s second goal.

The second half, which will go down in history as the record for the number of existing and non-existent offside in one game, began in the same way; a certain domination but without concretisation, despite many opportunities. After a few minutes Benjamin and Neil came in to replace respectively Dastan and Julian. The opportunities continued, with a lot of waste on our side. The referee who enjoyed very much the sound of his whistle managed to call an incredible amount of 3 fouls per minute, with any little gesture being considered a case of torture, violating several UN conventions.
Even if the opponent was not dangerous, the small short goal advantage forced us to play with a fair level of stress. The opportunities continued, as did the offside festival. About 10 minutes before the end of the game, Lorenz dribbled a few players and crossed the box from the right side to send a beautiful cross to Neil, who took the opportunity to score with what is probably the softest shot of 2019 right next to the post. Once this third goal was scored, the last few minutes were just a formality to deal with, which allowed a little bit of madness like bringing Alessandro (replacing Gaby) as a striker, with the hope that he could make one of his famous headbutts.

In a very autumnal afternoon, the Seconds returned to victory, demonstrating that they had nothing to do in the second half of the ranking. A statement to be confirmed next week!

MOTM: Benjamin the French Brioche

FCI 2nds made the long march out to the sticks of Walhain to face an in-form Tourinnois side, seeking to arrest a poor run of results and get back to winning ways having not picked up any points since the win on the opening day of the season. Skipper Dastan was again forced to ring the changes with several key absentees in the squad, but was at least boosted by the addition of highly-rated new signing, Benjamin ‘Brioche’ Le Coz, as well as the eagerly anticipated return to fitness of crocked defender, Ryan Self. Mathias VDN nobly stepped up once again for regular stopper Antonio, who had supposedly “lost his wallet” and so was unable to take up his usual place in net. Further reshuffles saw talismanic midfielder Booba filling in at right-back in yet another new-look back four, also featuring stalwart Hadri over on the left. Regular first-teamer and fan-favourite TIMMY slotted into midfield alongside Brioche, with winger Gabi leading the line as the lone Spitze. An honourable mention goes out to the kit bag, which had to be dismembered in the car park after a 127 Hours-esque incident in the boot of Lolo’s car.

The 2nds approached the game with a must-win attitude and it showed, as the game kicked off to a nervous and edgy start. Whilst looking to impose our expansive brand of liquid football through attacking-midfield maestros Julian and Neil, the pitch was narrower than the mind of a MAGA Brexiteer forcing both teams into playing more directly, with Lolo and Gabi both looking threatening early on. Unfortunately for Lolo, his game was cut short by a knee injury which we can only hope is not too serious, lest his flawless training attendance (since November 2018!) come into serious jeopardy. Also because we could do with having him for the next games… sure. Luis Ramos entered the fray as an obvious like-for-like replacement. After the even opening exchanges, Tourinnois’ left-winger latched on to a long ball over the top and whipped in a cross which was parried by VDN beyond the back post, only for their right-winger to somehow loop a slow-mo’ header back across the goal, over everybody and into the top corner. The kid will never score a goal like that again. One-nil.

Determined to get back into the game, FCI immediately searched for an equaliser with Gabi and Julian both going close; the former was denied by some excellent goalkeeping in a one-on-one situation, the latter was found alone in the box after good work down our right-hand side but was unable to steer a tricky effort beneath the crossbar. The game was lost in the next few minutes. Following a dispossession in midfield – for which the referee waved away FCI protestations for a free-kick – Tourinnois advanced and struck a speculative effort from 25 yards. Centre-back Alessandro managed to get half a block on the shot, diverting the ball up and away from VDN into the postage stamp for a hammer-blow 2-0 five minutes before half time. It’s safe to say the 2nds are not getting the rub of the green at the moment. Upon the restart, still simmering from the referee’s decision not to award a free-kick in the build up to the goal, Neil was harshly dismissed for a tackle the referee deemed to be reckless, or petulant, or a bit of both. FCI saw out the half and would have to dig deep in the second to rescue anything from the game with ten men.

The team regrouped and rallied together for the second half, showing great character and working hard to try to pull a goal back. Having recently rediscovered his ability to jump, big target man Luis was a menace for the opposing defenders, winning every header that came his way. Full-backs Hadri and Booba worked hard to get forward down the wings, whilst centre-halves Ale and Ryan built from the back, feeding balls into the industrious double-pivot to bring the ball forward. Brioche showed some sweet, milky footwork and TIMMY his tireless engine (some say he is still running). Captain, leader, legend Dastan also came in for Gabi and found some joy in the final third, setting up another great FCI chance – a header from Luis which sailed just over the bar. Soon the game became stretched and the lads started taking a few risks to find a goal.

Following a period of FCI pressure, Tourinnois were able to hit FCI on the break to make it 3-0, VDN with no chance. As the game drew to a close tempers began to flare. Ale in particular was involved in some strong challenges and heated discussions, politely informing the opposition striker where to go and inviting him to perform an act on himself etc., eventually earning a yellow card for his part in some handbags. Brioche should have come away with a late consolation goal on his debut when he spotted the keeper off his line and lobbed him from a delightful free-kick not too far from the half-way line, only for the referee to wrongly chalk the goal off for an alleged foul on the keeper. The keeper himself admitted there had been no foul. SAD! Credit to the FCI ultra, Mr and Mrs Booba, who made the trip out and drowned out the home crowd with their vociferous support.

A bad day at the office for FCI 2nds but lessons have been learned and there were many positives to take, especially from the second half. Onwards and upwards from here, chaps!

MOTM: Ryan Self

Saturday. 28 September. vs Royal Brussels British. Derby day. at Fortress Nossegem. Under a grey sky. With the BOYSSS.

The match started as any other, with John-Simon Sparks spouting zingers left and right as he announced the FCI 2 players. Once the starting XI had been announced, the Boys in Green took the field to begin what they knew would be a hard fought match against a worthy opponent, whom we had heartily trounced in a preseason friendly.

The starting whistle blew, and almost immediately FCI had a golden opportunity to take the lead, however could not convert the cross and subsequent header into a goal. Play continued to move back and forth across the pitch like a fat kid at the buffet going back for second, third, fourth, and fifth helpings. Following some play from in the FCI half of the pitch, RBB was awarded a corner kick.

Now, it’s important to note that normally, in the regular run of play, or really any time during a match, the only players allowed to use their hands are the gentleman tending the goals for each team. So as the corner was thrown into the box, Amadou, throwing caution to the wind, essentially dove for the ball to protect his goalie – the eternal VDN – from ever having to do so.

Unfortunately for Amadou and FCI, this resulted in a penalty shot for RBB. Taking literally zero chance of missing the net, the opposing player slotted the ball neatly into the direct center of the net after VDN valiantly chose a side to dive to; 1-0 Royal Brussels British.

Play recommenced, with FCI pressing the attack after Amadou’s unfortunate full-palmed handy. Minutes passed, and FCI was awarded a corner kick. The Buff Kangaroo aka Enzo Jr aka Lolo put a cross into the box, which was defended well by RBB. after a short pinball session, the ball was passed back out to Lolo, who knocked in a b-e-a-utiful ball, landing perfectly on PPoP Luis’s head/shoulder and finding the back of the net, bring the score to 1-1. After this, FCI started to show a bit of trouble playing against a formidable 4-4-2 formation, and mistakes (mostly) caused by both started to add up.

After a brief halftime pause where the boys discussed tactics and what that smell was coming from Ryan Self’s left shoe in the locker room, the two teams retook the field. Weather conditions were clearly deteriorating, and soon enough the sky opened up and let loose the fury of Poseidon himself.

After a short 2nd-half spell, the Pounder took his leave, as Hadri was moved into defensive mid and the confusingly-named Dutchman Pedro joined at right back (shoutout to Pedro for helping out the 2nds, you da real MVP).

Play continued, and FCI’s mistakes kept mounting, which eventually led to an errant pass that landed at an RBB player’s feet in our own third of the pitch. The Brits subsequently went on the attack, and a defensive miscommunication left a wide-open RBB player to a goal; 2-1 Royal Brussels British.

The rain had let up, but once again wanted to come and join the match, and soon enough players, fans, and John-Simon were soaked to the bone. It was at this moment that it fearless leader and Captain decided Danny wasn’t getting wet enough on the bench, and so it was that the Age of Dastan was replaced by the Epoch of Danny.

Nearing the final whistle, and still down a goal, FCI decided to push Wannnnnes forward to have a numerical advantage in attack, leaving three defenders in the back. This however would ultimately be true downfall, as a self-professed mistakenly untouched pass to a RBB attacker left the second RBB attacker on a breakaway.

Despite a courageous effort by the defense and incredible agility the masterful VDN, RBB was able to slide a third goal into the back of the net; 3-1.

Play resumed for a few minutes, with the Green Machine showing some promising efforts at the attacking end of the field, and in the end it was all for naught as the mighty men of FCI 2nds fell to perhaps their greatest opponents Royal Brussels British, 3-1. MOTM was the man the myth the legend VDN.

On a very sunny Saturday, the 2nds went on a one day trip to Wemmel to try defeating Vollenback. We had to get revenge from the last week unlucky loss. Tonio started in goal (unexpected decision from the coach). As we didn’t have many defenders for that game, Ryan was repositionned at right back. In central defense, we had Sean from the 1st and Da… Dan… Danny ? Wait, who’s that guy ? Ah yeah, the boy that barely shows up that we think he is a new player every year. He is also the guy whose we remember less his face than his blue spotted socks. Anyway, to complete the defense, Wannes was at left back.

Further on the pitch, Dastan-Kévin-Julian formed the most bearded FC Irlande trio #NoDebate. At left wing, we had Gabriel to bring some speed. As Luis said in the last report, Gabriel is the fastest German of the 2nds team. Yes, there is no doubt anymore, since Benji confirmed his Lusitanian roots by bringing a Portugal towel with him to the game. Mathias Neelen was starting as a right wing (we have almost never seen such a big smile on his face as when he heard he was playing at that position). To complete the strike force, we had Vincenzo Lorenz “Lolo” Blanco – as John-Simon called him for the referee check.

The 2nds started the game with an intense high pressure, without letting the opponent breathe. The problem is that we also forgot to breathe at some point. After 10 minutes, FC Vollenback started to exploit spaces and was creating more and more dangerous chances, until we conceded the first goal : Gabriel got the ball back not far from our goal. He didn’t know what to do with that ball because everyone was screaming. Gabe heard different things like “Kick the ball !”, “He is coming !”, “Down the line !”, “Snort the line !”. The opponent managed to recover the ball and passed it to the striker who banged it into the net. 1-0. After that, FC Irlande had many opportunities to equalize but we were sloppy on the last move. I know i am a sport journalist and i should describe all the goals in details but i had a deliberate black-out until half-time, when the score was already 3-0 for Vollenback.

We motivated ourselves, convinced we could come back. The second half was a bit better but still not like what we are able to achieve. Four changes were made : Ryan came out for Amadou, Gabriel for Benji, Dastan for Luis and Julian for Neil. And as if the situation wasn’t already bad, FCI conceded a 4th one despite a beautiful save from Tonio just before the opponent’s striker scored in an open goal. And as if the situation wasn’t already VERY bad, Wannes registered his first “Arditi” for FC Irlande. 5-0.

What’s an Arditi ? See below for the official Collins Dictionary definition.

Arditi : scoring an own goal that even the opponent couldn’t score in a more beautiful way. Also making sure to get a card, whatever the color is.

To Arditi someone : threaten a whole family in a language the opponent can’t understand.

Wannes didn’t Arditi someone, but we maybe should to a DNA test because the similarities are starting to get a bit suspicious.

We eventually managed to get out of the pitch with one goal scored, thanks to Amadou, who scored his first goal for the club. Final score : 5-1.

MOTM : Mathias Neelen. On his first game, VDN scored 2 goals and made one assist, but didn’t get any vote. This time against Vollenback, no goal and no assist for Mathias, but he got the most votes ! Morale of the story : you have to stay a loser to be the best.

Next week the 2nds have a big home game against Brussels British. Let’s make sure they leave the pitch with the worst memories possible.

Keep it up guys ! Forza Irlande

Following the footsteps of FC Porto, the Seconds prepared the game against Union JP with some specific and intensive physical and tactical drills. Despite the opposition being one of the top squads in our league, the team spirit remained strong as the 15 chosen ones presented themselves ready to face the challenge with the strength and virility tension that characterizes our group. However, as FC Porto last season, the Seconds learned this Saturday a lesson that all great teams are prepared to face: sometimes luck plays a big role in the final score. And this time, lady fortune was not on our side.

The game started like FC Irlande boys like, on top of the opposition, full of energy, the defense strong, the midfield compact and the attack quick. Antonio acted against his instinct and decided not to be late when attacking the ball. The Spanish lord controlled and kept calm as the ball was being distributed from back to front with quality and patience. T-Lion and Ale formed an elderly couple on steroids that dominated every ball in the air and fed strategic passes to rest of the green family. On the sides, Wannes and Hadri built their own E40 highway and decided to run the all game (regardless of the radar warnings) in order to complete both their defensive and offensive obligations. In the midfield, Captain Dastan came back to the fields to produce alongside Julian a golden partnership that began the night before and ended in the showers. The duo distributed fresh engagement on the pitch, creating creative classy ways of penetrating the Union JP’s defense line. In the front, the talented Ben, Lolo and Gabe promoted their own school manual of creating chances on goal:  from the lines, inside the box, outside the box, with the left, with the right, with the head. A delight for the fans all over the world but unfortunately, the last chapter still needs some review: getting the ball inside the goal. Finally, doing all of the three sectors of the field was the MOTM Kévin “The engine” Béziau. The French produced an complete exhibition at all levels, on time like Antonio, quick along the lines as Wannes and Hadri, recovering balls like the defensive couple, distributing the game along with Julian and Dastan, and participating in the attack with the three wonderkids.

Although the 4 most offensive players on the team had chances to score, it was Kévin who scored the first goal of the game, and the only of the home team. The play started with a spectacular slide by Dastan that placed the ball in Gabi’s feet. The fastest German on the pitch run through the right line and crossed into the box where five hungry green men attacked the ball like Luis attacks the buffet in an all inclusive hotel. The ball met Kévin that placed the ball inside the net to crown a top performance. From there, the Seconds continued to dominate the game, but unfortunately, the shots of Ben, Julian and Lolo were unable to score past a very inspired afternoon of the Union JP’s goalkeeper. The second half saw Neil coming in for Dastan, Neelen for Benjamin, Amadou for Lorenz and Luis for Julian. The game continued exciting, with several chances and clinical plays from FC Irlande finding the hands of the opposition’s goalkeeper that kept impersonating the Indian God Ganesh, deflecting the shots of Amadou, Gabe and Luis.

After 65 mins of total control, the Seconds conceded close to the end two consecutive goals in two of the three chances created by Union JP during the whole game. The boys tried to get the game back through Amadou and Gabe but the ball failed to meet the desired destination, the back of the net and our hearts. Game ended and FC Irlande lost 1-2.

The defeat remains and it is hard to digest. The friendship and the quality of football played are the anti acid pills we will use to get the three points in the next game. Fortunately, the Seconds and Porto share some identical traits: lack of luck, outstanding performance, club dedication and winner’s spirit. And that’s why in the end both clubs will celebrate, we just have to trust the process.

                               “It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish”

Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings

MOTM : Kévin

In 1787, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay penned a series of articles under the pseudonym “Publius”, which through posterity came to collectively be known as The Federalist Papers. Consisting of 84 essays, the chief objective was ostensibly to drum up public support for the recently drafted US Constitution, but have since widely been recognized as some of the most lucid and influential texts on the virtues of republicanism.

Peppered throughout the essays are golden nuggets of wisdom concerning matters of utmost relevance to FC Irlande Second Team including on the issues of good governance and, most importantly, political leadership succession.
Political succession has long been a topic at the forefront of philosophers’ minds. Great thinkers such as Machiavelli, Thomas Paine and Rousseau argued fervently against hereditary succession while Montesquieu and Jean Bodin argued in favour. More recently, modern scholars have empirically and theoretically grappled with issues of political succession in democratic and autocratic countries.
It was thus, inspired by this long tradition of philosophers that Alessandro Arditi and Mathias Gineste began to contemplate on their own futures. Should they remain in power  or oversee a peaceful transition to a new leadership? In their infinite wisdom, they opted for the latter. The new leadership of comrades John-Simon Sparks and Dastan Salehi quickly rewarded them by sending Mathias Gineste to exile in Africa and by forcing Arditi to take less time with his free kicks.
Malta
The old season closed with a proverbial bang on the island of Malta, where the Second Team descended upon the sandy beaches of the sun-kissed island full of zeal, hope, optimism and a relentless urge for carnal arousal. The highlights of the trip were, Ale having to sit on a coat hanger while him, Luis and Mathias G visited a library, Benji having tremendous success networking with other professionals, the sad realisation that a cardboard cut-out Clem was infinitely more popular than everyone else on the trip, Neil violating Luis’ aquatic sanctity, Nair attempting to get himself and Dastan thrown off the airplane, eating delicious steaks with cockroaches, excessive male nudity (with mah boooys) and getting destroyed by old men at a football tournament.
New Recruits
After last seasons “will-he-won’t-he” drama the Second Team finally accepted West Ham’s €34 million offer for star striker Sean Gibson. Sean was spotted stockpiling medicine before he left Brussels to take a job with the British government and allegedly uttered the phrase “never foo*** apologize”, when asked if he was privy to any information not known to the public.
The new team leadership wasted no time in reinvesting those funds and the €23 million PSG paid for Damien Lerisson. Left back Wannes Croonenbergh was picked up on a free transfer after his contract with Club Brugge expired and centre back Ryan Self was bought early in the transfer window for a €22 million fee after having been deemed surplus to requirements by Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds. The big summer signing, however, was the Catalan midfield maestro Julian Rueda who was signed from Barcelona for a club-record €45 million, surpassing the €38 million that was spent on Lorenz Blanco last season.
“We are still hoping to make on or two more signings”, said a hopeful FC Irlande Second Team coach, John-Simon Sparks.
Germany
The Second team concluded their preseason with their annual boot camp in Germany. The boot camp was an opportunity to empirically test some age-old mysteries, which had puzzled scientists for millennia; namely, could a man conjure and sustain his virility whilst barbecuing in the presence of 19 other men? After having tested this experiment with several subjects, a Lusitanian man (who shall remain nameless) emphatically proved that yes, it was indeed possible. A remarkable scientific breakthrough. The trip also consisted of Mathias Neelen disappearing during a cycling trip (he took a hard right turn), Neil not being hospitalized, terrible darts, and the entire Second Team successfully managing to annoy all other Spa-goers in Aachen.
The Game
And now, finally, after having wasted close to 700 words on a needless introduction, we shall now proceed to describe the events of the first game of the 2019 – 2020 ABSSA Division 2A season. FC Irlande Seconds faced a newly promoted FC Hellas Berchem, full of confidence after having dominated their division last season. Injuries to Clement, Dastan and Alex and the absences of T-Lion, Neil and Kevin meant that the Second Team had to rely on a very thin match day squad. To further complicate matters, Luis was playing his first competitive match in nine months after a severe ankle injury and Gabi had just recently come back from a hamstring injury. As if that wasn’t enough, Ryan had to pull out of the starting line-up during the warm-up due to a muscle injury.
Nevertheless, the Second Team were very motivated and had a clear game plan against their opponents. Antonio, whose objective this season is to actually show up to training, martialled the goal while Ale and Nate commandeered the heart of defence and Wannes and Hadri continually propelled themselves up and down the pitch from full back. At holding midfield, Naim (on loan from the First Team) and Luis provided a calming yet dynamic presence and the Julian provided the link between midfield and attack at number 10. Gabi occupied his usual left wing while Neelen took up his favored position (ahem) right wing. Lolo, meanwhile was a constant nuisance to the opposition back four as the lone striker.
The game started a bit edgy as there were clearly some early minute jitters that had to be laid to rest; nervousness meant that there were some sloppy passes and dangerous moments in the opening five minutes. But, soon after, the Seconds established control and dominance and began to create chances in earnest. After some good build up play, Lorenz took a wicked Quaresma-esque shot from 25 yards with the outside of his boot, which slammed off the opposite post but unfortunately landed comfortably in the keeper’s hands. A few moments later, FC Irlande again threatened when a nice combination between Lorenz, Gabi and Naim saw the ball land at Julian’s feet inside the box after great cross from the left, but unfortunately, he couldn’t connect properly and the ball sailed high above the bar.
The chances kept coming to FC Irlande with a Julian header narrowly going wide (somehow, one of the shortest guys on the pitch, kept winning all the headers), but all was not easy and Hellas Berchem only really threatened when unforced errors from FC Irlande allowed them to do so. After a mistake, their striker went clean through on goal, but kicked it just wide of Antonio’s net. Antonio was again pressed into service when he clawed away a powerful 25 yard drive which was going into the top corner (this has been disputed by witnesses, who claim that the acrobatics were mostly for the Garcia Celis highlight reel).
This provided a stern warning to the lads, but instead of allowing the pressure to get to them, they rolled up their sleeves and strengthened their resolve and retook control of proceedings. Not long after, a nice interchange of passes between Naim, Julian and Gabi saw Lolo swing in a delightful cross to the onrushing Neelen (aka Whitegar Davids) who finished a difficult ball into an empty net. 1-0 FC Irlande. The good work continued and after a sweeping move with a nice interchange of passes saw Julian in possession of the ball in the middle of the 18-yard box, his quick feet and vision released Gabi to the left who jinxed his way around two defenders and slotted the ball coolly past the goalkeeper. 2-0 FC Irlande at the half time break.
After a pedestrian first half where they were largely spectators, FC Hellas Berchem came to life in the early stages of the second half. The opposition number 13 let rip a ferocious shot from 30 yards which Ale stuck his head to and Antonio somehow managed to parry over the bar. Not long after, he again thundered the ball with a wicked volley from outside the box, which ended on the underside of our bar but did not cross the line.
But, as FC Hellas Berchem pressed forward they also left more and more space in behind them. Naim and Luis kept finding time and space on the ball and where able to distribute it masterfully. Nate produced a man of the match performance while Ale’s experience provided a calming influence on the team. Julian and Neelen always found pockets of space in between their midfield and back four and on the other wing, Benji had come on for Gabi at half time and was bedazzling his opposite full back with nifty footwork.
A long ball over the top from Ale saw one of their centre backs attempt to head it back to his goalkeeper, instead, Lolo, like a Great White Shark, smelled a blood in the ocean and anticipated that the back pass would be too short. He quickly snuck in between the keeper and the defender and deftly lobbed it over the former. 3-0 FC Irlande and the game was over.
Not long after, Mathias Neelen released Lolo with a delectable through ball. Lolo gracefully rounded the onrushing keeper, leaving him in a heap of grass and regret before slotting it into an empty net. 4-0 FC Irlande.
Towards the closing stages of the game, a nice exchange between Naim and Wannes saw Benji with the ball at the half way line. He dribbled past two opponents and slid a beautifully weighted pass into Mathias Neelen’s feet. Neelen was one-on-one with the keeper and was not about to repeat the Catalan generosity of Julian by passing the ball, instead he calmly slotted the ball into the net to make it 5-0. Game. Set. Match.
And so it came to be that on a sunny afternoon in Nossegem, FC Irlande Second Team started their season in stylish fashion with a convincing win.
In his post-match press conference, Coach John-Simon Sparks invoked his inner Shakespeare when he said “This team is a band of brothers. The lads strive to achieve the best not because we obsess over results or for glory but because they believe that our union is a cause worth fighting for. We feel it deep down, that whatever challenges we will face this season, we will always support and stand up for each other, united as a team.”
COYBIG!
Those who stand for nothing, fall for everything” – Alexander Hamilton

All fixtures and results

#1 September 7, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 5 - 0 Report FC Hellas Berchem
#2 September 14, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 2 Report Union JP 1
#3 September 21, 2019 FC Vollenback 5 - 1 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#4 September 28, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 3 Report Brussels British R 2
#5 October 5, 2019 FC Tourinnois 1 3 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#6 October 12, 2019 Copains Réunis 1 1 - 3 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#7 October 19, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 0 Report British United 1
#8 October 26, 2019 ITT-Gecko 1 - 4 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#9 November 2, 2019 Cobra Team 1 - 2 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#10 November 9, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 2 - 2 Report No Boys
#11 November 16, 2019 Forestois SC 1 1 - 3 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#12 November 23, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 3 - 1 Report Enghien Amical
#13 November 30, 2019 Union Schaerbeek 2 - 2 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#14 December 7, 2019 Union JP 1 3 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#15 December 14, 2019 FC Irlande 2nds 2 - 2 Report Union Schaerbeek
#16 January 11, 2020 FC Irlande 2nds 1 - 3 Report FC Vollenback
#17 January 18, 2020 Brussels British R 2 1 - 0 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#18 January 25, 2020 FC Irlande 2nds 2 - 2 Report FC Tourinnois 1
#19 February 1, 2020 FC Irlande 2nds 2 - 0 Report Copains Réunis 1
#20 February 8, 2020 British United 1 1 - 1 Report FC Irlande 2nds
#21 February 15, 2020 FC Irlande 2nds 2 - 1 Report Cobra Team
#22 February 22, 2020 FC Hellas Berchem - FC Irlande 2nds
#23 February 29, 2020 FC Irlande 2nds - ITT-Gecko
#24 March 7, 2020 No Boys - FC Irlande 2nds
#25 March 14, 2020 FC Irlande 2nds - Forestois SC 1
#26 March 21, 2020 Enghien Amical - FC Irlande 2nds

FC Irlande 2nds

  • Coach : John-Simon Sparks
  • Captain : Dastan Salehi

Top goals scorers

  • Lorenz Blanco 7
  • Benjamin Benjelloun 5
  • Amadou Boubacar 5
  • Gabriel Jacqmin 4
  • Mathias Neelen 3
  • Luis Ramos 3
  • Kévin Béziau 2
  • Jack Corscadden 1
  • Thomas Earl 1
  • Benjamin Le Coz 1
  • Julian Rueda 1
  • Mike Scheijvens 1
  • Neil Servais 1
  • Hadrien Valembois 1

Top goals assists

  • Lorenz Blanco 7
  • Gabriel Jacqmin 4
  • Amadou Boubacar 3
  • Benjamin Benjelloun 2
  • Mathias Gineste 2
  • Luis Ramos 2
  • Julian Rueda 2
  • Mike Scheijvens 2
  • Kévin Béziau 1
  • Jack Corscadden 1
  • Benjamin Le Coz 1
  • Mathias Neelen 1
  • Dastan Salehi 1
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