Official Game Statements:

Games 299 through 303 (WZ'99 Vexillium Cup), 01-26-300:

Game 299: Westria - Albion-Merité:
The Technical Information:

Final score: WESTRIA 5 - 0 ALBION MERITE.
Played in: Hawke Bitter Stadium, Gough, Whitlam,
Attendance: 120,000
Referee:  Lenni Besecki (Lexicon Islands)
Goals: Zeschgl (WES, 19), Salamanta (WES, 27), Vraseydenhout (WES, 35),
Creighton (WES, 61) Vraseydenhout (WES, 63)
Yellow cards: Hall (ALB, 43), Marginot (WES, 69)
Red cards: None
Substitutions: Hall for Voultz (ALB, 46), Risould for Sproul (ALB, 46),
Spock for Theunissen (WES, 65), Nyddenva for Yoghurt (WES, 80).


Today the Imperial Eagles bowed out of the competition, going down to
the Westrian Diamonds. In a game that ran entirely to script, the
Albionish semi-professionals proved no match for the battle-hardened

The Westrians have basically been playing to expectation in this
tournament, and this game was no different, getting the lead after
wearing the opposition down, and cruising along, taking the chances when
they came. They proved to be the more polished and professional oufit,
perhaps best illustrated by their first goal, a half volley from Zeschgl
that he sprinted around 2 players to get to, before they even had time
to turn around.

Salamanta got the second Westrian goal, a great diving header from the
near post, after a cross from Zimroe on the left, impressing the
capacity crowd with the precise way he slotted the goal home as he was
going down.

The Albionish team had plenty of heart, but not too many chances, only
getting 2 attempts on goal in the first half, the Westrian midfield
dominating its opponent. With both teams playing 3-4-3, the Westrians
ended up being at the advantage, having more experience playing the
formation, and neutralising any advantage the Albionish may have
recieved. A tight man to man marking system cut off the Albionish
passing game, basically writing their chances off before half time.

This was confirmed with a Vraseydenhout goal, that was chipped over the
Albionish goalie, passing just below the bar and into the net, in the
35th minute. The Albionish used both substitutes at half time, obviously
showing their exhaustion, but this was understandable, considering they
have only played a handful of matches.

Creighton began to put the nails in the coffin midway through the second
half, his head catching a free kick taken by Schilla, deflecting it past
the 'keeper, much to Creighton's delight at poaching the goal from his
defender. The two ran back over half way, pretending to jostle each
other, much to the delight of the crowd, who hadn't seem much to laugh
about in the game that was rapidly becoming a shooting gallery.

Vraseydenhout was the one to close the book on the Albionish, scoring
against the exhausted Albionish defenders, who hadn't been helped by the
defensive efforts of their midfielders all day. While their midfielders
looked all right with the ball, when it came to dropping back quickly to
shut the opposition off, they failed badly, Vraseydenhout's goal a great
individual effort, breaking free of the attentions of Jennings and
Kiltchenstein, to easily round von Trapp, and push the ball in.

The Westrians move on to face the home team, Whitlam, in the next round,
in what could be the game of the tournament. Both teams are at top form
at the moment, playing good professional football.

Game 300: Brolecia - Bowdani:

The Technical Information:

Final score: BROLECIA 1 - 3 BOWDANI
Played in: King Bruno Stadium, Imperial City, Eastern Zartania.
Attendance: 110,000
Referee: Greg Stoneley (Whitlam)
Goals: Killehal (BOW, 31), Smyth (BRO, 33), Killehal (BOW, 83), Hund
(BOW, 90pen).
Yellow cards: Dandoon (BOW, 23), Dupont (BRO, 56), Ozi (BRO, 87).
Red cards: Smyth (BRO, 90)
Substitutions: Carr for Moran (BOW, 56), Manchoni for Killehal (BOW, 90)


The Barons went down today, in a not completely suprising loss to
Bowdani, in Imperial City, Eastern Zartania. Peter Smyth was the hero
turned villain today for Brolecia, scoring a brilliant goal, but then
finding himself frustrated at every turn by Bowdanian forward Killehal,
resulting in a late penalty in injury time that put paid to any slight
chances Brolecia may have had of a comeback.

The game started off with Brolecia dictating terms, and getting right
over the top of their opposition, the fine goalkeeping of Andy Hawk one
of the only saviours for Bowdani early in the game, as it has always
been. One of the top 5 goalkeepers in the Western Hemisphere, Hawk used
all his talent and experience in keeping Brolecia off the scoresheet
early in the first half. The first goal to Bowdani came against the run
of play, after a strong counter attack. Counter attacking was about the
only offensive play that Bowdani had going for them in the early part of
the game, as Brolecia completely dominated procedings. The ball was
rapidly sent upfield, and found its way to Killehal, who decided to take
on the Brolecian defense, running directly for Peter Smyth, the
controversial Brolecian defender. Smyth seemed to be a little reluctant
to challenge Killehal for the ball, and it seemed as though Killehal
could sense this, pushing the ball between Smyth's feet as he floundered
in an attempted tackle. In a copybook play, Killehal regathered, passed
the 'keeper, and slotted the ball into the back of the net, much to
Smyth's visible dismay.

However, Smyth was soon to get his own back, swapping to left wing, in
quite a visible move. The Brolecians kicked off again, in something that
resembled a set play, pushing hard onto the Bowdanian defense. Martinez
crossed the ball into the box, with Smyth steaming onto it, a man on a
mission. He got a boot to the ball, letting a rocket of a volley find
its way into the back of the net, neatly evading Hawk. Smyth seemed
pacified, and glad that his error had been rectified, bringing the teams
level, and leaving them there until deep in the second half.

However, play was again marked through the entire half with Smyth and
Killehal in a battle to get over the top of each other, Smyth looking
more comfortable every time he got involved, though he was visibly
supported by Dupont, backing him up in case of mishaps. However,
Killehal's speed seemed to be his greatest weapon, using it to get
around his marker wherever possible, using it to greatest effect in the
83rd minute, using his off the mark speed to gather a ball thrown in for
him to run on to, leaving Smyth asleep as he stood where Killehal had
once been. This rapid move suprised all of the Bowdanian defense, as
Killehall came to the edge of the box, shooting high, just passing the
diving Davidson, who lay on the ground in a crumpled heap for about 30
seconds, himself in shock at the sudden, and very fortunate goal. Smyth
on the other hand again became agitated, thumping the post as his team
regrouped. However, he did cool down after mumbling to himself for a
moment, seemingly chanting.

He regained his composure, and moved again to the wing, attempting a
carbon copy of the first maneuver which netted him his goal. However,
the Bowdanians were awake to the possibilty, shutting the play down
before the cross could even be organised by Martinez. Brolecia began to
move back to keeping the ball in the Bowdanian half, but were unable to
either break the defense, who forced throw-ins wherever possible, or by
Andy Hawk, who by rights probably should have recieved man of the match,
but was overshadowed by Killehal. The Bowdanians had all men back,
playing their counter attack again, and their midfield did a good job of
hosing down any attacking chances.

However, the biggest moment was yet to come. In another trademark
movement down the wing, Killehal again approached Smyth in injury time,
on a break down the pitch. Running again at his man, but angling away
from him, he managed to turn and enter the box, again using his speed.
Smyth, visibly frustrated, hacked angrily at Killehal, bringing him down
quite severly, given the head of speed he'd built up in getting the ball
around his marker. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot in
what was a blatant foul, marching Smyth for his trouble. Smyth's team
mates quickly surrounded him, escorting him off, but it seemed as though
he had accepted the carding, again chanting as he left the pitch.
Killehal was replaced, basically as a precaution, because he had come
down quite heavily, with the spot kick taken by Hund. As the ball went
into the back of the net, the whistle went, Bowdanian hands went up, and
Brolecian heads down, both teams shaking hands before leaving the
playing surface.

Killehal will be fine, suffering only a minor sprain, and it is
understood that Smyth has been forgiven by his team mates and coaching
staff, but at this moment, his future is unclear. There is speculation
that he will return to the bench for a while, and will continue his
meditations, as he calms down. Such a talented and robust defender is an
asset to any team, but he will have to sort out his anger problems.

Bowdani move through to the next round, facing Eastern Delgamia, in what
should be another good match-up.

Game 301: Eastern Zartania - Namuria:

The Technical Information:

Final score: EASTERN ZARTANIA 3 - NAMURIA 3, in overtime (Namuria wins Penalty
Shootout 5-4)
Played in: SF Memorial Stadium, Cazniev, Eastern Zartania
Attendance: 76,000
Referee: Johnny Whistler (Christiana)
Goals: Salasarien (NAM, 22.), Faulkner (KTZ, 31.), Nurytch (KTZ, 40.), Salasarien
(NAM, 63.), Nurytch (KTZ, 79.), Muthras (NAM, 85.)
Yellow cards: Ayress (KTZ, 11.), Nokh NAM, 50.) , Cross (KTZ, 55.), Mapallar (NAM,
Substitutions: Muthras for Vabasta (NAM, 80.), Gnassergar for Mapallar (NAM, 94.),
Henrickson for Nurytch (KTZ, 94.), Rohal for Duvall (KTZ, 114.)

Home team exits Cup in most dramatic fashion!

After the elimination of Brolecia, the Vexillium Cup WZ'99 now has its second top
favorite team exit the stage in none other than the highly favored co-hosts of the
tourney, Eastern Zartania!!  And they did so in most dramatic fashion, going all
the way to a penalty shoot-out after a grueling 120-minute marathon could not
separate the two teams.

The build-up to this match was tremandous.  KTZ, of course playing at home with
great expectations, with a totally crammed stadium, and many members of the Royal
Family in attendance, had all the pressure in the world on their shoulders.
However, if there is one nation that can match this sort of pressure on their
team, regardless of where they play, it must be Namuria.  Football is religion in
Namuria, and their fans staged a huge prayer meeting outside the stadium before
the match.  Even during the match, thousands of supporters who did not have
tickets were seen praying outside the stadium.  Of course, they were still
outnumbered by their also ticketless Zartanian counterparts.  For the most, events
inside and outside the stadium were amicable beteween the two supporting groups,
with a few fringe incidents only.

The much-talked-about issue of females playing in the VexCup became a non-issue,
since Eastern Zartania decided not to play their female member... until the end,
that is!

Both teams set a quick pace from the get-go, both clearly determined to set the
early accents in the match.  The home fans were in for their first shock of the
day, when Namurian captain Salasarien scored first in the 22. minute, putting the
guests up 1-0, which was not exactly what the Zartanians had in mind.  Salasarien
in general was brilliant today, and was later voted MVP of the match for obvious

However, things seemed to "normalise" for the home crowds, as the hosts evened out
9 minutes later with a single burst from KTZ top scorer Faulkner that took the
defense by surprise.  The home crowds recovered from their 22. minute shock, and
the stadium was a virtual cauldron of emotions.  When Nurytch managed a clever lob
shot that bounced into the goal from the crossbar, right over the Namurian
goalies' head, the celebrations in the stadium were immense.  Flags and banner
could be seen everywhere, there was not a single person sitting down, including
the Royals!

Namuria now seemed in trouble.  They had lost their lead, and trailed themselves.
No one knows what happened in the locker room, but the thousands of Namurian fans
gathered inside and out the stadium, rushed together for another prayer session of
gigantic proportions - down by one, against one of the best teams of all, playing
in front of a fanatic crowd supporting their opponents, they were going to need
all the collection they could get!

Apparently the soccer gods must have heard Namurians' prayers around the world,
because it was again Salasarien who did the deed in the 63. minute.  With Vabasta
having a lackluster day, the captain was taking over a more and more offensive
role, and his second score of the day came after a poorly struck cross from Ebropa
somehow made it through the Zartanian legs nevertheless, leaving the captain an
open shot past Jennings.

Nurytch it was once again to reassert the fans, and KTZ went up through his
deflected free kick after a yellow foul on McBride, 3-2.  The hosts now just had
to keep their lead to the end, to come away the victors of this most difficult
match.  They began to play les offensively, making it even harder for the Eagles
to break through, despite their now desperate attempts.  A key moment came when
the lackluster Vabasta was replaced by the fresh legs of Muthras.  With their
offense now significantly strengthened, Namuria summoned all their skill and
stamina, and subbed-in Muthras delivered in most spectacular fashion with a super
bomb shot that left no one a chance, and sliced barely into the top right corner
of the goal, to tie the game with just minutes to go!!

Both teams then obviously pulled back, unwilling to take any chances, and betting
on the upcoming overtime to settle things.  Substitutes were brought in on both
sides, both strikers, to bring fresh legs for the grueling overtime.  However, in
both halfs of the overtime, neither team seemed too willing to take any risks...
they were too afraid of sticking their heads out, and instead waited for mistakes
on the other side.  But there were none that resulted in any goals.  Now, fatigue
became a major factor.  To counter that, and perhaps to unsettle the Namurian
team, the KTZ coach brought in Rohal in the 114. minute!

However, since the overtime was almost over by then, the substitution had little
effect either way.  The extra time ended, still 3-3.  It had come to the most
dramatic of finishes: a penalty shootout was going to decide this most important
of matches, with two nations biting their nails down to the flesh!

First up, for the home team, was stalwart striker Faulkner.  He converted easily!
First up for the Namurians, Jaar.  Same story.  An easy conversion.

Second up for KTZ, McBride.  Although goalie Maharai guessed the corner, it was
too well struck to catch.  2-1
Second for Namuria, Muthras.  The still fresh striker fooled Jennings into the
wrong corner, and evened out the score for the second time today.

Third up for the host team, Nurytch.  He left Maharai standing still with an
impossible shot to hold.
Third up for Namuria, Druvolan.  Jennings guessed the corner and lept towards the
ball, actually deflecting it, but it still barely went into the goal, coming off
the side post! 3-3.

Fouth up for the home team, fresh legs in Rohal!  Rohal lined up, kicked, and
MISSED!!  The ball went OVER the goal, despite the Namurian keeper being beaten on
the ground on the wrong side...  a HUGE miss, albeit only inches above the
crossbar!  3-3 still.  The stadium had fallen eerily silent.  The crowds were
shocked.  Not even the Namurians were makingmuch noise, perhaps saying a prayer of
Now it was up to Namuria's fourth, Ebropa.  He picked an impossible corner, and
made the risky shot close to the right post, way out of reach for the goalie.
Namuria was up for the first time, 3-4.  This time, the guest fans WERE heard!

For Eastern Zartania, it was now make or break time.  If Fouberg was to miss this
shot, the match would be over in any event.  If he made it, they could only hope
for Namuria to miss their next one.  He made it, but eh stadium remained scarily

All eyes were now on Salasarien.  For Namuria, what better man to score the
decider!  He took a deep breath, and left little doubts, converting the penalty,
and finalizing a HUGE win for Namuria over the favored hosts in the most dramatic

While the Namurian players broke into an incredible frenzy, the Zartanian players
and fans were distraught to a high degree.  The atmosphere in the stadium was
funeral-like, people were seen crying in their seats and outside the stadium.  The
Royals vanished silently.  Meanwhile, the Namurians were in a state of total
elation.  The home team reluctantly shook hands with the jubilant eagles, and
walked off the pitch, stunned by their defeat, which so many said was impossible
playing at home.  Well, at least they lost it by the smallest possible margin
against a first-class team.  Still, it is a shock to most all of us to see the
home team exit.  But what a match!!

Game 302: Eastern Delgamia - Draconia:

The Technical Information:

Played in: Zartlam Oil Stadium, Guwimith City, Guwimith
Attendance: 57,000
Referee: Wei-Chun Benzhin (Westermarc)
Goals: Abeiradela (EDE, 4th), Abeiradela (EDE, 55th), Offram (DRA, 67th)
Yellow cards: Idoinhe (EDE, 38th)
Substitutions: Constituisshunhe for Boubem (EDE, 45th), Offram for Mirren (DRA, 56th), Previnsky for Querensky (DRA, 56th), Oitienta for Curassunhe (EDE, 81st)

Eastern Delgamia Makes Pirates Walk Plank!

Eastern Delgamia silenced their critics today by holding well against the Draconian Pirates today, and clearly showing that they were the better team out of the two.

Eastern Delgamia's last match before the VexCup was their bronze medal match when they beat Westria in Grand City, and nobody knew how they would fare in the VexCup, six months later. In their game against Begral they were hardly convincing as well.

While Draconia showed that they were playing well in Pool 3 by beating Afrazure Altlandique and Ordland with few problems.

But from the whistle, Eastern Delgamia dominated the pirates, and took the lead early with a goal from Balhaihe Abeiradela, a very nice half-volley into the bottom corner, past Anthony Recife, and that was the way it was for the half, the Draconians not seeming to be able to get past the defenders and goalkeeper-captain Aioro Pensodeque.

After Coach Jounhe Olibeireinha making a midfield substitution, the pattern continued in the second half, and ten minutes in Balhaihe Abeiradela scored his second of the match, and his fifth of the tournament, putting him fourth outright in the standings for top goal-scorers. By that time, Draconia's fervour had diminished, but Barry Haze kept his head. His forwards were under-achieving, so he brought off two of them to be replaced by two from the bench, James Offram for Ralph Mirren and Carlos Previnsky for Saul Querensky. That worked fairly well, because eleven minutes later, James Offram clawed half way up the mountain of deficit to put the Pirates 2-1 behind. But it was too little, too late.

The scoreline stayed the same for the remainder of the game, and Eastern Delgamia progress to the next round, where they will meet either Brolecia or Bowdani, depending of the result of tonight's game.

Game 303: Whitlam - Djeriga:

The Technical Information:

Final score: WHITLAM 4 - DJERIGA 2
Played in: The Gazelle Ground, Fisher, Whitlam
Attendance: 80,000
Referee: Vaghel Faltuunhe (Eastern Delgamia)
Goals: Walford (FRW, 31st), Nafudd (DJR, 35th), Shirazhoud (DJR, 38th), Blacklock (FRW, 59th), Blacklock (FRW, 68th), Walford (FRW, 90th)
Yellow cards: Rayner (FRW, 26th), Storry (FRW, 39th), Kikbath (DJR, 49th)
Substitutions: Balhajjran for Kaveer (DJR, 45th), Westwood for Rayner (FRW, 62nd), Al-Dhabi for Wolff (FRW, 62nd)

Seagull Resurfaces, But For Whitlam!

Quite a few bizarre incidents surrounded this game, making it humourous to the Dragon Army who had come out in numbers in Fisher.

Nathan Blacklock can count his lucky stars that his ancestors had that particular surname, for one thing. And Hussein Al-Dhabi was perpetually unmarked.

For the first thirty minutes of the first half, Ricky Walford and Nathan Blacklock were trying desperately to penetrate Muthannak at goal, but it wasn't working, but for different reasons. Walford wasn't having a good half for that half, he wasn't playing as well as he usually would, but it seemed only temporary. But Blacklock was a different story. Whenever he tried to shoot from a distance, away from the keeper, Muthannak would save it without trouble. However when he tried to beat the keeper one on one, Muthannak always managed to strip the ball from Blacklock's feet. Why? It is complicated.

The name 'Blacklock' is quite similar to the Djerigan word 'balakhalok'. And the Inglish translation of 'balakhalok' is, of all words, seagull! Those of you who have been following the VexCup will know about the infamous seagull by now, who a week and a half ago in Djeriga's game against Dascunya, was hit by a free-kick shot, and the ball was deflected away from the keeper, to score the controversial winning goal for Djeriga, to win 3-2. So whenever Nathan Blacklock ever came close to Muthannak, he would bow down and worship him because of his name. And he was very persistent in getting as close to Blacklock as possible, therefore he always managed to smother the ball, denying Blacklock access to it, but certainly not intending to!

The monotony was finally broken in the thirty-first minute when captain Ricky Walford put the home side one-nil up, to the delight of the fans. But only four minutes later, Djeriga struck back.

Nafudd scored a very nice headed goal from a lob done by Zairul from the wing, to bring the visitors on to an equal footing. And only three minutes later, Shirazhoud repeated the trick for Djeriga, putting the Disciples one goal ahead going into the half time break.

The Whitlam fans had certainly not expected this to happen. Djeriga was a third-rate team who pulled a has-been team and an unknown team in their pool, and were lucky to qualify, and Whitlam was going to pulverise them, etc, etc. That wasn't exactly the case. Djeriga made a midfield swap for a boost of energy. And it worked well.

In fact Djeriga maintained their lead for fifteen minutes in the second half, until Blacklock, he of the revered name, scored a brilliant shot that beat Muthannak without him realising it, a curving 20 yard shot into the corner, similar to William McCombe's last minute goal in Brolecia's game against Caboteniasa half a week ago. And Whitlam were suddenly back in business. Directly after that goal John Gray, the coach of the hometown team, the Fisher Falcons, as well as the national team, took off two of his players, and brought on two substitutes: Craig Westwood for Eddie Rayner in defence, and Hussein Al-Dhabi for Richard Wolff.

Nine minutes afterwards Nathan Blacklock got his fourth goal of the tournament, and put Whitlam ahead for the first time in over thirty minutes of play. The fans knew that all they had to do was _not_ screw up, and they would win it and progress. But the way Blacklock got the goal was interesting. Normally, a midfielder would be marked so he can't supply the ball to the forwards. But Hussein Al-Dhabi wasn't marked, so he was able to pass away to Blacklock. Why weren't the Djerigans marking Al-Dhabi? Because his middle name was Khaled, and 'khaled' in Djerigan means 'demon' in Inglish. A similar case happened with the Maurétanie team in Copa VexaNova in Ordland last April. Abdul Khaled scored a hatrick against the Djerigans because the Djerigans refused to go near him. Strange things do happen.

The rest of the game went goal-less, Whitlam preserving their lead well, and taking out the match, but just before the end of injury time, Captain Ricky Walford scored his second goal of the game, and his eighth of the tournament, overtaking Kilos Raxxon, the wonder-boy super-striker from the Lexicon Islands, who has seven, a four-trick and a hat-trick in the Vikings' two pool games, although nothing against San Patricio.

Whitlam goes through to the quarter-finals, where they will meet either Westria or Albion-Merité.