FC Irlande Men 3
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Today did not go our way. From the warm-up we lost 2 with injuries and another was needed to referee (big thanks to Matt for taking on this thankless task, for which he got 2 MOTM votes!). So from a squad of 15 we were down to 12 by kick off. Nevertheless FCI 3 were the better team in the first half and went 1-0 up through Gavin. There were a couple of other opportunities that might have strengthened our lead but didn’t find the net. Second half was not all bad but Bouks got the equaliser quickly enough, then a second and in our efforts to get one back by putting more men forward in the last ten minutes, they exploited the space left behind and closed it out with a third goal in the last few minutes. 1-3 loss in a game we probably should have got something out of.
Despite a few covid cases or close contact scares within the squad, the 3rds mustered 13 brave souls to take on Patjes who are 2nd in the league. The lineup included Patryk covering in goal, Tibo making a rare appearance and Mario driving up from Luxembourg to help out. Patjes took an early lead but we didn’t hang around before we equalized through Gavin, hitting a rebound into the corner after Fatih’s free kick hit the wall. Although very evenly matched, Patjes got a second before half time to go 2-1 up. FCI started the second half with a great intensity and caught Patjes napping, stealing two quick goals through Gavin and Tibo. Patjes came back strong though and got their equaliser before long, leading to a tense finish with FCI soaking up a lot of pressure but holding out for a 3-3 draw. A good point away to one of the top teams and good effort put in by all players. Well done lads!
3rds started well and had a goal disallowed within a couple of minutes but made it 1-0 shortly after through Gavin. We didn’t manage to capitalize on that start further though and went in at half time to regroup. Came out strong again but through a series of unfortunate events went a man down ten minutes into the second half and, despite holding out well under the circumstances we conceded in the last minutes, with a bit of luck on their side but a goal is a goal. Ended 1-1 and with an all too familiar feeling of points lost rather than won today. May the new year bring new energy to this squad that has showed so much potential but too much inconsistency. Vamos lads, enjoy the break!
3rds arrived at the league leaders pitch determined off the back of a woeful performance last week. Sometimes that’s what it takes to push a squad to another level, and we found our level today with probably our best performance of the season. The first half could’ve gone either way, both scored nice goals that were ruled offside and we held our own throughout, but went in at half time 0-0. The second half was very much the same, we were always in the mix and created a couple of great chances, one just over and another diverted by a fingertip save. The only difference being that of the couple chances they created, one was well hit and found its way into the net. Final score 1-0 loss, but plenty to be proud about in very difficult conditions and against a very solid team. Keep this spirit and we’ll surely start getting the results that have been within our reach. VAMOOOOOOS!!
We could have kept this to one line as we lost 6-0, which says it all really. But we need to reflect on this match and consider where things went wrong:
To win a football game you have to show intensity, tactical discipline, technical skills, physicality, create movement. Needless to say we showed none of that today. Of course, we won’t have bad games like this every Saturday but it’s important to take a look at what we did wrong through some of these aspects mentioned above. We did start with some intent, using the speed of Shane and Brendan up front to create danger. Progressively though, we started losing ground and conceding a series of corner kicks. We conceded the first goal on one such corner as we were unable to clear the ball convincingly when we had the chance. Ster’s kept the momentum and got a second goal, again from a quick corner that led to a penalty. Overall their players were first on the ball and their 3rd goal was a consequence of that – despite a bad kick out from Ster’s keeper that deflected high in the air by our interception, the falling ball was easily won by a Ster’s player who then launched a lethal counter attack… and so it went on.
Intensity depends a lot on attitude we bring to the pitch, you have to be ready to fight for the ball, close the gaps, find an extra gear when needed. If you don’t fight for the ball, you can’t use it. You can’t use it, it means the opponent has it and has the possibility to create danger. We have to fight for every ball, individually and collectively, to get the better of our opponent. This applies to every match.
Tactical discipline was also lacking today. Discipline in a football game is not only about behaving properly on a football pitch it is also about being concentrated on what you are doing on the pitch and what your opponents are doing on the pitch. When out of possession our positioning was poor and left wide spaces for Ster’s to play through us with ease. Maybe we didn’t go through the tactics well enough beforehand and players were not aware of their positioning and duties in a slightly new (but very well known) 4-4-2 formation. On set pieces there are differing opinions on zonal and man marking which leads to a bit of a mix, but so far that hasn’t worked too well for us as a lot of teams have created chances from corners and free kicks. The first goal was exactly that. For the second goal we weren’t sharp enough to pick up on the quick corner and that allowed them to get in a dangerous position to dribble and won the penalty. This needs more work and better leadership from all – don’t rely on a captain to shout, take responsibility.
Meanwhile, when in possession, our movement off the ball was non-existent for the most part and we weren’t providing options for a good pass to our teammates. Movement from those off the ball is the most important thing when you are in possession and allows you to create a platform to attack. To do this we have to do much better in making ourselves available for the pass and, crucially, asking for it, shouting for it, tell them where you want it, tell them you’re in space. You don’t make the call, you’ll never receive the ball. And if you just wait for the ball, chances are high the opponent will get the ball first if he anticipates the pass. This happened far too often when we were caught passing around defence and put under pressure, because there was no outlet available to get the ball moving forward. Small movements are sometimes all that are necessary to completely lose your marker and make yourself available, and often gives you the time then to pick the next pass.
As a defender, I always say it’s easy to defend against someone who stays in the same zone. It’s easy to read. For the moment we’re too easy to read. We combine on rare occasions but most of the time we have to resort to long balls since the opposition midfield and forwards are reading the options for a pass and cutting them out, putting us under pressure and forcing mistakes. In the midfield we need to ask the ball and if it means going close to defenders to receive the ball so be it, but we have to give options, as many options as possible, otherwise we cannot just criticise defenders for playing it long. The problem is not only the defenders it’s the whole team. We need to repeat and encourage each other to make those movements and find the space over and over.
I don’t have more things to say but only one: I believe in the quality of this group – what we need is to keep working together and stay humble. We are still a new group playing against solid teams with more experience as a collective unit.
To be continued…
3rds started with intent and took an early lead against New Inn 2, after good pressure up front made the keeper fluff his clearance straight to Wilf, who gladly slotted it home. Unfortunately our lead didn’t last long and they came back quickly to score an equaliser. Chances came thick and fast either side of the pitch in an end to end first half, but it stayed 1-1 until the break. They came out stronger in the second half and took a 2 goal lead, at least one of which was somewhat fortunate to be called onside and the other almost pushed wide with a finger tip save by Valentin, only to see it go in off the inside of the post. Despite a spirited comeback, we could only claw one goal back: an incisive break down the left wing and good link up play ended in Rodrigo putting Tim through 1-on-1 to slot past the onrushing keeper. Final score 3-2 in a close game where we could well have got a point but go home (to the Funky) with none. Consistency of performances is getting better so these close games will hopefully start going our way soon, keep it up lads!
3rds drew 2-2 today on overall good performance. We put the ball on the ground and passed it well around. They scored first with a 40 meters beautiful long shot from their best player that caught our defence and keeper by surprise. We fought back creating first a very clear chance one on one with the keeper. Nicolas gave a perfect through ball for our striker for the day (Rodrigo). He controlled and shoted to the far post but keeper was agile enough to deflect the ball with the tip of his fingers. Then came a corner, where the ball found her way to Sergiu at the entrance of the area that hitted a nice and precise shot to the lower left corner of the box. Their keeper this time couldn’t do anything to stop it. 1-1. Foot Josaphat scored a second before HT again through their NR 5, who dribbled past our defence. On 2nd half, we kept the possession of the ball and put pressure on them seeking the equaliser. Max with a pulled hamstring had to be replaced by Javi. Faith also entered the game replacing Denis. Same scenario as first half.
After a clear chance that their keeper saved again, came a corner nicely served in a silver plateau to Wilf that volleyed nicely to the near post. Unstoppable and 2-2. We kept the momentum but couldn’t get the 3rd goal that would have allows us to win. In the last minute of the match 3rds captain Sergiu got injured badly. We hope for the best for Sergiu and cross fingers his right leg’s external ligaments are ok. 2-2 final score. That makes 2 wins and a draw in a row.
3rds had an easy against Hellas Berchem, last team on the table. Our opponent started the game with only 7 players so we scored a first goal thanks to Thomas. Progressively Hellas was reinforced with 3 other players but still was in numerical inferiority. We made the difference on 2nd half adding 4 other goals (Tim, Francois, Fatih, Ignasi). Motm Tim for his 1st game with us.
FCI 3rd team faced good opponents today. We started very well, very intense and with a good impact in challenging for the ball and using it well when in possession. After some good passes through the middle, Jaime made the decisive pass to Shane, who used his speed to outrun the defence and scored. Second half was ours, we kept the ball and tried to create more opportunities but they defended well and stayed in contention. Final score 0-1. We showed a lot of character today which is exactly what was needed after last week’s disappointing result – keep this attitude and we’ll certainly start moving up the table.
The FC Ireland 3rd team had to travel to Braine l’Alleud, 20 km away from Brussels, for their away match this Saturday. In countryside Wallonia, the players were greeted as soon as they left the highway by a huge Lions statue (Butte du Lion), commemorating the mythical battle fought here in neighbouring Waterloo some 200 years ago.
The sunny afternoon was spoiled when Ireland conceded the first goal after only a few minutes. We had the opportunity to speak to one of the players after the final whistle and he described the first few minutes of the game as follows: “Despite it being mid afternoon we were still half asleep and they scored their first goal in a matter of minutes. Our defence was little bit too high and they exploited that with a well placed through ball. Before we knew it they had scored 3 more goals in the first 25 minutes and we found ourselves 4-0 down. When we finally woke up at the end of the first half and scored 2 goals to give us some encouragement at half time.”
It went into the half-time break with a 4-2. Clear words must have been spoken there, because the FC Ireland players came out of the break full of energy and pushed for more goals. One player described the development of the game in these words: “Second half we tried to come back, we tried to keep the ball more and we scored again on a fast counter attack. We made a few opportunities to score the 4th goal and complete the comeback and grab a point, but in our best chance the referee called it offside (marginal but admittedly VAR would probably have backed him up).”
The referee indeed had a strange day. For example, the left full-back of Ireland was yellow-carded for a slight tackle, while his Opponent was not even given a verbal warning by the referee for a hard tackle that Wellington and Napoleon would have been proud of. Instead, the yellow card deserved here was given a few minutes later to a player who had already been substituted for smoking a cigarette on the sidelines. A curious scene.
Final score remained 4-3 in the end. What conclusion can be drawn from this match?, we aked one of the Players after the match: “We need to show Spirit from the start and begin our games with more intensity, that will be key to getting some more points on the board. Vamos!!!” Next Saturday will be another chance to record their third win of the season. The Midi AS players will have been celebrating the home win they just managed to salvage. It is not known whether the famous song by ABBA „Waterloo“ was sung at a later hour this evening. What is certain is that there will be a rematch in the second half of the season.
3rds faced a top 3 team with a few more new faces and got off to the best start with a nice move down the left wing resulting in a corner, Sergiu cross headed in by Luis (on loan from the 2nds). They equalized soon enough but new kid Brendan made it 2-1 on his debut after a fluffed clearance from their “keeper”, soon followed by another again from Brendan. Denis and Jaime then made it 5-1 by half time. Second half was less eventful, with a penalty awarded against us and another gave the opposition some hope, but Luis finished them off with a screamer (that any half decent keeper would’ve saved…) 😉
6-3 final score and a much needed win for the 3rds!
3rds lost 4-0 against a good Saint Georges 2. With an improvised defense, they outplayed us with 3 early goals in first half (2 arguably offside). We talked at half time and adjusted a few things in defense (playing deeper) and midfield. Things were better in 2nd half having more ball possession. We will keep on going and training hard at training to get positive results soon.
The lads arrived at the pitch early Saturday morning to prepare for their match against Requins. With their kits on, they get a short run in before breaking into pre-match warm up drills. A few minutes before the match was slated to start, it became apparent that the referee had slept through his alarm. As a result, coach Daniel – who was preparing as a substitute midfielder – had to don the orange jersey and get the match started as an official.
Things got off to a rocky start when Irlande conceded a handball penalty kick in the first 5 minutes. By a stroke of sheer luck the Requins striker put the ball past Victor to open the scoring 0-1. After a back-and-forth for the remaining 30 minutes (and a referee substitution at some point), the match paused for halftime with the score the same.
In an attempt to get freshen things up, Irlande made two substitutions at half time. Javi went in at LB and Matt went in at RW. Things got chippy between the two teams, trading hard challenges, while the score stayed the same. Aside from the early penalty kick, the teams seemed evenly matched. More reinforcements came on with Fatih and Timothe also coming on from the bench to look for a more attacking approach. As the end of the match neared, Irlande started to turn up the heat. Shane put a half-volley past the keeper, narrowly wide left of the net. Rodri rattled the crossbar with a stinger of a shot. Pierre-Antoine nearly found Matt free at the back post with a cross into the box. But ultimately it was Requins who capitalized on a lucky counterattack, putting one final shot on target which found the back netting just as time expired. The match ended 0-2.
Sicula – need we say any more? Not worth the effort to be honest.
In short, Thirds drew 2-2. After an initial comeback from 1-0 down to lead 1-2, some handbags in between in which Nassime was hit in the face in full view of the ref and Shane was thrown to the ground behind the ref’s back, in the last few minutes their winger laughably threw himself to the ground after backing into our player and the ref awarded the peno. Of the few minutes of actual football that were played, we were certainly the better team.
Good day for the 3rds with our first points of the season. Went 1-0 up in the first half, Paddy’s corner headed in by Max, and made it 2-0 in the second half after good pressing up front won us the ball and Jaime quickly put it on a plate across the box for Shane to finish. A few late chances escaped us and it stayed 2-0. Great team effort, solid at the back and middle. MOTM second week in a row was Max, Shane a close second, and a number of team votes with everyone putting in the effort for a good win.
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FC Irlande Men 3
- Captain : Sergiu Ciocea
- Vice-Captain : Rodrigo Perez Grandi
- Coach : Daniel Lissoni
Top goals scorers
- Shane 3
- Gavin 4
- Jaime 3
- Sergiu 2
- Francois 2
- Ignasi 2
- Tim B 2
- Wilf 2
- Brendan 2
- Luis 2
- Denis 2
- Faz 1
- Matt 1
- Max 1
- Thomas 1
- Fatih 1
Top goals assists
- Jaime 4
- Sergiu 3
- Rodrigo 3
- Wilf 2
- Timothé 2
- Denis 2
- Paddy 1
- Shane 1
- Patryk 1
- Tim B 1
- Nassime 1
- Luis 1