Sports Simulation Board Games
PLAAY-Dot-CON 2018: SOCCER BLAST World Cup Knockout Tournament
Fever Pitch: First-round action of the SOCCER BLAST World Cup Knockout Tourney saw some of the world's top teams take the pitch, with PLAAY Gamers at the helm.
This was our first full-fledged SOCCER BLAST tournament, and it was great fun. We used the 2018 World Cup Projection set cards, with each participant choosing a team at the beginning of the event. We held a dice roll-off for "draft order," with the following results: 1. Pete Stevens, Brazil; 2. Sean Culnan, France; 3. Chris Day, England; 4. Jason Retallack, Mexico; 5. Michael Owens, Spain; 6. Mark Russell, Germany; 7. Keith Nemes, Belgium; 8. David Kaufman, Portugal.
We used standard game rules for this tournament, including late game sub chip rules. Strategy card usage was allowed, if both coaches agreed to it. Because of time constraints, we stipulated that if the game was tied at the end of regulation, we'd go immediately to penalty kicks—no overtime.
First Round Results
- England 3, Mexico 1: Alli put England on the board in the 20th minute with a direct free kick that found the net! Kane's goal in the 33rd minute increased England's lead. Walker's header in the 56th minute essentially put the game out of reach. Lozano scored for Mexico in the 63rd minute, but was shown a yellow card less than ten minutes later. England wound the game down with a series of clock-killing maneuvers late.
- Belgium 0, Portugal 0: A tense match that had plenty of scoring chances but none that could get past either goalie. Courtois (Belgium, 13th minute) and Patricio (Portugal, 72nd minute) each made SPECTACULAR SAVES to keep the game scoreless. So the game went to penalty kicks, with Belgium advancing 7-6.
- Germany 3, Spain 0: Mueller's goal in the 17th minute gave Germany the early lead, but the two teams played even through most of the rest of the game. However, things unraveled for Spain after the 70th minute. In the 75th minute, Drexler scored off a pass from Ozil; then, after a quick turnover, Muller scored his second goal, extinguishing all hope for the Spaniards.
- Brazil 2, France 0: Pauli's 5th-minute boot put Brazil ahead quickly, Luis added insurance after halftime, with a goal in the 55th minute. France was unable to get much past Brazil's stiff defense, with fewer than a half-dozen real scoring chances.
Second Round Reesults
- England 2, Belgium 0: Belgium came out aggressively, generating several early attacks but none that had much strength. England seized the lead with Sterling's 18th minute goal, but the glow was dimmed when Alli was shown a yellow card a minute later. An inopportune offsides call took away a Belgian scoring chance in the 35th minute. De Bruyne was shown a yellow in the 40th minute, and then Kane blasted one in just before halftime to put England up by two goals. SPECTACULAR SAVES in the 72nd and 80th minutes and another offsides call (83rd minute) preserved Hart's clean sheet.
- Brazil 2, Germany 0: These teams played to a standstill for most of the first half, until Willian scored for Brazil (35th minute). A hostile referee kept Germany from evening the score, with a late offside call. The Germans opened the second half with five attacks in the first eight minutes; the Brazilian defense stopped four of them, Allisson (goalkeeper) stopped the other. Germany kept the faith thru regulation, but in the first minute of extra time, Brazil's Jesus put one past Neuer for the clincher.
Championship Game Result
- England 0, Brazil 0: Both teams seemingly played to avoid mistakes and pull off a late win with a single goal, but no goal was scored. Best chances came in the 25th minute for England (offsides), 27th minute (corner kick, saved) for Brazil. In the penalty kick sequence, Hart's final save of an Alves shot gave England a 4-3 advantage in penalty kicks and earned Chris Day the SOCCER BLAST World Cup Championship!
We also had a couple of "friendly" matches as tournament play was continuing, just for fun...
- Belgium 4, Iran 0: Belgium's coach Keith Nemes was chagrined at his team's failure to score in two knockout games, so Jason Retallack was recruited to manage the Iran squad in a "friendly" match after the Belgians were eliminated by England. Sure enough, the goals came early and often for Belgium in this one, starting with a De Bruyne goal in the second minute of play! A hostile ref reduced Iran's small chances even further, and Benteke made it 2-0 just before halftime. Both De Bruyne (79th minute) and Benteke (81st minute) scored again late to complete the rout.
- Germany 3, USA 1: I wanted to get the USA team onto the table during the convention, so Mark Russell agreed to play the Germans against me after they were eliminated by Brazil. The first half, it was total German domination: nine attacks for Germany, one for the USA. Muller's goal in the 14th minute was followed three minutes later by another goal, from Wagner. Just before the intermission, Kroos made a sensational kick that put the Germans up by three. "Oh, the humanity!" Fortunately for the Americans, the second half was much quieter. As the game wore on, my mission became simply to somehow score a goal against the German juggernaut. 45 minutes passed without much of an opportunity. But in the first minute of extra time, with the help of a well-placed sub chip, the USA managed to scrape together an on-target attack, and Johnson sent the kick into the net! It almost felt like a win! (Well, the USA *did* win the second half, 1-0! So, a moral victory.)
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