Godfather Of Champions 925 Qualified For The Next Round In Advance
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However, Twain has an issue on his hands. He has trouble coming up with the list of players that he should call up for international duty.
Only three matches have been played in the Premier League so far, but there were already quite a few players who have picked up an injury. Wayne Rooney injured his thigh and has to rest for a week. Michael Carrick twisted his ankle and needs to rest for two weeks at the bare minimum. Bentley pulled his ligament yet again after recovering from his previous injury and would be out for at least a month. Stewart Downing strained his calf during the match against Wales on 24th August and would be unable to play for two weeks. Additionally, John Terry also picked up a red card in that same match against Wales, and has been suspended for two matches.
All the players who picked up an injury have to be subst.i.tuted. Twain has to find suitable players to fill in their roles.
Thus, Chris Cohen received his very first call from the national team. They told him to pack his bags and make his way over to London to meet up with the national team before they set off for Macedonia.
Cohen might be a regular first team player for Nottingham Forest when they won the Treble, but he has never been selected for the England national team before since the position that he plays in is typically occupied by Stewart Downing and James Milner, who are much better players than he is. Cohen is much more average across all aspects of his game, and his only strength is that he is very eager to track back to defend.
Twain showed favoritism towards Forest once again by selecting yet another Forest player. This time however, the criticisms directed at him were significantly lesser, because his team has been winning all the matches that they played in so far. As long as the England national team continues to win, who cares if he swapped the entire national team for Nottingham Forest?
Cohen felt flattered after receiving the call from the Football a.s.sociation. He was then certain that it had not been a dream or a prank done on him by some reality show when he received a subsequent call from Twain.
"Chris. I was the one who promoted you from the reserves to the first team back then. Now, I am also going to be the one to bring you over to the national team from Forest. Honestly, I am under a lot of pressure. If you don't perform well, I would receive a lot of flak from others. I don't care about getting scolded, but if you guys don't perform well, it'd definitely lead to discord in the England national team…"
Cohen understood what Twain was getting at. He replied, "Rest a.s.sured, boss. I will definitely not embarra.s.s you!"
Cohen was brought into the national team as a potential replacement to the injured Downing. Twain could not guarantee him the chance to play in the match, because compet.i.tion for the position that he plays in is fierce.
Adriano Moke was envious of Cohen for being selected for the national team. He has never received a call from Twain at all so far despite becoming a regular player for Forest recently. Twain also chose to play Walcott instead of him when Bentley picked up an injury previously.
Manchester City's Micah Richards is the player selected to replace John Terry. Richards is a gifted player and there are many people who wish to see him play for the national team, but Twain refused to bring him into the team because his performances have been inconsistent recently. Twain would rather anger half of the Mancunians than to take a risk with Richards.
Richards rose to fame when he was still a youth player and he is well-known in the Premier League as well as the European footballing scene. He stood out among other players of his same age, and as a result, he was frequently selected for the national team when Capello was in charge.
However, his experiences since young have caused him to become proud and arrogant, and that has affected his performances on the pitch as he often loses his focus when he is playing. Thus, Twain refused to pick Richards for the national team even though there were many people who wanted to see him get picked. He did not want the vice-captain of Manchester City to get too ahead of himself.
Ever since Twain took over, Richards did not even get picked once for the England national team, and that has led to speculation among the Manchester media outlets that there could be a possible conflict between Richards and Twain.
Twain never admitted that there was any conflict between them, and Richards would only complain here and there about not getting picked for the national team.
Now that Terry is absent however, Richards has finally gotten his ticket into the national team for the very first time.
When there is a first, there would also usually be a second. Richards just needs to know how to make full use of the opportunity that he is given.
Michael Carrick was unable to partic.i.p.ate in the international compet.i.tion due to an injury, and Tottenham Hotspur's Fabian Delph was the reinforcement that Twain brought into the team to replace him. The player who replaced Wayne Rooney was Everton's top striker James Vaughan, and the player who replaced Bentley was Blackburn Rover's Matt Derbys.h.i.+re.
Twain then set off for Macedonia's capital Skopje with a team comprising of all the aforementioned players.
Macedonia would not be able to threaten England in any way despite having the home advantage. That was how the England fans thought prior to the start of the match.
The England players thought the same way as well. England was able to achieve nine wins and one draw in the ten qualifiers that they played in thus far. Qualifying for the next round in advance was not an issue at all. None of the players cared about their other opponents in the group stage anymore.
After the match against Macedonia started, it looked like England was en route to their tenth win. Nothing seemed to suggest anything of the contrary.
It had only been seven minutes into the game when Walcott made his way into the penalty box and then crossed the ball into the middle. Mitch.e.l.l then jumped into the air and comfortably headed the ball into the back of the net.
England led Macedonia by 1:0.
The England players began to relax after they went into the lead early in the game. They lost their focus and began playing with their heads in the clouds.
Twain was extremely upset with what he saw. He paced about the side of the pitch and kept gesturing and yelling for his players to continue to attack.
Macedonia performed much better than they did when they played against England previously in an away game, and they threatened England's goalpost numerous times.
England was only able to score their second goal on the 72nd minute of the match. Richards headed the ball that had been sent in from the corner into the net, and England ended the match with a score of 2:0.
Richards was thrilled after scoring the goal. He ran in front of the cameras and yelled at the top of his lungs. He was happy that he has finally proven his worth after being treated coldly by Twain for an entire year.
Twain did not commend the team's performance after the match ended. Instead, he mercilessly derided the players in the locker room.
"There was a total of 16 shots in the entire match, but only three were on target!" Twain definitely had reason to be angry based on the statistics. "Should I be happy about how we are so efficient because we are able to score two goals with just three shots on target? Or should I feel regret at how you have missed nine of those shots? There were also 4 shots that had been blocked… These are your statistics for the match, gentlemen! Look at how you guys played against a small and weak Macedonia team! Do you all think that you have what it takes to face bigger and stronger opponents?"
None of the players dared to breathe a word. They knew that what their boss was true, and that they had put in a mediocre performance for the match. They just could not pump themselves up for the game when they know that they are up against a weak team like Macedonia.
Twain looked at the players before him. He knew very well that his words would only fall on deaf ears whenever the team faces a very weak team. The players all have minds of their own, and they would not listen to everything that he says. They would inevitably look down on opponents that they deem to be weak, and they would then play according to their own judgement.
After all, they are human beings with a life. They are not puppets on a string.
"I don't ever want to see a match like this one ever again."
Twain said those words and left the locker room.
The players looked at each other incredulously after Twain left. They could not understand why their boss would be so angry. They might have looked down on their opponents, but they still won the match anyway.
They did not know that what Twain valued the most was spirit and willpower. Twain did not mind if the team lost a match, but the players must never lose the fight and determination in them.
Looking down on one's opponents is not terrible. Having a lax att.i.tude towards any match is. If the players continued to behave and think in such a way, it could gradually become a habit that is hard to break, and it could then end up delivering a fatal blow to the team.
Only the Forest players understood why their boss was so upset, because those were the same exact demands that he made on the Forest players when he was the manager.
England won against Macedonia. It was a good result, even if Twain was not very pleased with the way the match had played out.
England now has a total of 25 points and they are first in the group. Denmark was only able to end up with 20 points because they drew with fifth-placed Ireland 1:1 in the latest match. There was now a five point gap between the first placed team and the second placed team.
England's next match was against Denmark away. The winner of the match would get six points, and thus, if England manages to beat Denmark, they would be able to qualify for the next round of the compet.i.tion with two games left to play.
To the England press, the ticket to Spain is already firmly in the grasp of the England national team, because defeating Denmark away would not be an issue at all. England had played against Denmark previously during the qualifiers, and the press was certain that neither Denmark nor any of the other teams in the group would cause any problems for Tony Twain and his team.
Denmark and Serbia might have been regarded as strong teams in the past, but now, both teams seemed weak and vulnerable against the strong and powerful England.
The clamorous England press started calling the current England national team as the strongest team in the country's history, and they bragged about how the team would dominate the whole of Europe. Neither Serbia nor Denmark would be able to stop the team in their tracks, and Tony Twain's unbeaten record would only persist.
Twain was sick of hearing comments like that.
The press being overly positive would definitely affect the team's emotions. Look at what happened in Skopje. They were lucky that they were only up against Macedonia. What if they had been up against Denmark instead? The team known as the 'Northern European Pirates' would certainly not miss out on a golden opportunity to defeat England.
Twain could not help but feel a twinge of nervousness over England's next match. What worried him even more was that the press's arrogance and pride would lead to disastrous outcomes during the Euro Cup.
The players noticed that their boss was not smiling as much as he did in the past ever since the day he criticized their performance in Skopje.
He was also much more cautious during his interviews when he discussed about Denmark. He kept emphasizing that Denmark was a strong team and that he respected the team.
No one could believe that an arrogant manager like him would suddenly become so humble.
His behavior set the players' tongues wagging.
"The boss is behaving oddly…"
"What's odd about that? He's just putting on a show before us!"
"Putting on a show?"
"He doesn't want us to underestimate our opponents."
"But Denmark isn't a team that we would underestimate."
"Not everyone might think that way. After all, our team has been on a winning streak. Even I don't think we'd have a problem winning against Denmark…"
"Yeah, that's right! We are definitely going to qualify for the next round in advance. I don't know what the boss is worried about…"
"They are a team that we can win against comfortably! I really can't get myself pumped up for the game."
"Look at you! You just underestimated our opponents!"
Discussions like that occurred frequently among the players.
The day before the match, Twain gathered the entire team over for a tactical meeting at the hotel that they were staying in. However, when the meeting started, Twain did not discuss his tactics.
The first few words that came out of his mouth startled the players.
"I wonder if we should lose to Denmark on purpose."
Twain rubbed his chin as he said those words and he did not look like he was joking. All the players and staff members were shocked and they stared at him with their eyes bulged and their mouths agape. They did not know why their boss would say that.
"We are definitely going to qualify for the next round anyway. It doesn't matter if we lose a match. I don't really care about my unbeaten record either. It's meaningless to me. I'd rather dampen the press's mood a little by losing the match... But, are you guys willing to do that?"
Twain stared at the players as he asked the question.
As the captain, Wood stood up and replied to Twain, "I don't like doing that, boss."
"And your reason is?"
"I don't like to lose. And I especially don't like losing on purpose."
Several players concurred with Wood and they echoed his words.
"Boss, actually…" Mitch.e.l.l stood up to speak as well. "I don't think you need to worry about us being affected by the press's words. We are not kids who don't know anything."
Mitch.e.l.l's words was met with approval by several players once again.
Twain threw out his hands before him. "Do you think I'm worrying for nothing? I can already see from some of your faces that you guys are underestimating Denmark. Some of you must be thinking that Denmark is a team that we can win comfortably against, right?"
A few players scrunched up their necks and lowered their heads.
"I'd have to make some changes to the starting line-up, since all of you do not wish to lose the game…"
Thereafter, Twain included all the Nottingham Forest players into the starting line-up.
Joe Mattock, Chris Cohen, Mitch.e.l.l, Agbonlahor and the captain, George Wood were all named as the starting players.
Twain then faced his team that was comprised mainly of Nottingham Forest players.
"You all know what I want!" he bellowed.
Denmark tried their best to put up some form of resistance against England's attacks, and that is also how they managed to score a goal.
Still, England proved too strong and powerful for them. England was just like a raging storm, and the Danes could not even lift their heads amidst the pouring rain.
The final score for the match was 2:1. England beat Denmark away and their victory has allowed them to qualify for the next round of the compet.i.tion in advance with two games left to play.
When the referee blew on the whistle to signal the end of the match, the England players ran onto the pitch to hug their team mates who had played for 90 minutes. They knew that they were guaranteed of a spot in the Euro Cup that would be held in Spain, and nothing was going to change that.
Twain heaved a long sigh of relief before standing to his feet. He then balled his fists and waved them in the air. His colleagues soon had him in their embrace.
The very first goal that was stated in the contract had been accomplished.
From now on, all he had to think about was the Euro Cup.
Shaun Harvey, the chief executive of the England Football a.s.sociation, stood up to applaud Twain and his team at the stands. He then smiled proudly at the person next to him before going on to brag about how he has a discerning eye.
"If I hadn't been the one to give him that call back then, would we even be seeing these sights today?"
"They say that Tony Twain is a recalcitrant man. But, I can't tell that at all now that he is working under Mr. Harvey."
Twain has become rather submissive and obedient for the past year after becoming the manager of the national team. There were quite a few people who believed that his change in behavior would not have been possible if not for Shaun Harvey's charisma.
The news of England's qualification into the next round of the compet.i.tion became a form of motivation for some of the other teams who were hoping to qualify just like them.
One of the matches that took place the next day was between Wales and Serbia. In the end, Wales defeated Serbia 2:1 away after a grueling match. Since Denmark lost to England earlier, Wales was able to move up from fourth place to second place in the group and they led Denmark by two points.
Wales now had a good chance of qualifying for the next round by coming in at second place in their group.
One point worth mentioning is that both of Wales' goals in that match had come from the same person.
Gareth Bale scored two goals from free kicks, and he single-handedly sent Wales into the second place in the group.
His goals also sent the whole of Wales into an uproar, because their football team finally has a chance to partic.i.p.ate in an international compet.i.tion. Bale's fame skyrocketed, and the entire country extolled his performances. However, none of those things mattered to Bale. The only thing that was on his mind was the promise that he made with Twain by the side of the pitch.
I have to go to Spain!
Godfather Of Champions 925 Qualified For The Next Round In Advance
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Godfather Of Champions 925 Qualified For The Next Round In Advance summary
You're reading Godfather Of Champions 925 Qualified For The Next Round In Advance. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Lin Hai Ting Tao, 林海听涛 already has 115 views.
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