So, after a 3 week marathon in the end the Friendly World Cup had one last surprise to spring. With James-Fitz AWOL and JK needing a 15 point hit, it was the duo of Menly and Catmac, representing Chile, who stormed to a stunning win to take the title. The difference between the 2 teams ended up being the aforementioned 15 points that JK dropped. Had James_Fitz been present, that gap at the start may have been bigger, but the Swiss would have had more men in play. But Chile can deservedly claim the title, having beaten the 2 favourites, Brazil and Switzerland in the final 2 rounds. Credit is also due to USA duo of Gargamel and Goldstonemr who despite predictions that they wouldn’t get out of the group, stormed to the semis and looked on course for an upset until Ozil’s late intervention saved the Swiss (and put pay to Brazil). A great time was had by all and I’m sure all those involved will join me in thanking the council (I had nothing to do with this particular tournament) for their efforts. But what would a tournament be without some awards.
So without further ado, here are the Friendly World Cup awards.
Best Punt Award (sponsored by Doosra)
3rd – James_Fitz (Switzerland) – Ahead of the quarter-finals as everyone else opted for the recovered ball reliability of Sergio Busquets or the explosive potential of Andres Iniesta, James_Fitz took a different route and went with the set-piece man, Xabi Alonso. His reward was a brace against France that yielded a captain’s haul of 28 points, the highest individual captain score of the tournament (alongside Dzagoev in GW1). It also proved decisive in helping Switzerland past Mexico and into the semi-finals.
2nd – Messimerized (Serbia) – In GW3 as everyone gravitated towards the European heavyweights, one hardy soul chose a different route. Messimerized kept faith in the Swedish set-piece monster that is Seb Larsson. His reward was 11 points from a goal and an assist. Alas it was not enough top help Serbia out of the groups, but it is worthy of recognition nevertheless.
1st – JKisthe1 (Switzerland) – OK I may biased, but come on I had to win it didn’t I? Back in GW1 as many gravitated towards the assets of the Dutch one hardy soul took a chance, it turned out be perhaps the greatest punt ever taken. JK’s decision to pick the low owned and even lesser known Danish midfielder Michael Krohn-Delhi. His reward was an astonishing 8 points as he bagged the only goal of the game and started a new bandwagon. Alas JK came to regret the decision to part with his star punt after GW1 as Krohn-Delhi proved to be the gift that just kept giving as he bagged a further goal and an assist as Denmark narrowly missed out on the quarter finals.
Honourable mention – JK and Optimus (Turkey) – As all around them plumped for the Italian talents of Balotelli, Cassano or Di Natale in GW2, these 2 brave souls instead selected the out-of-form, soon to be tournament top scorer, Fernando Torres. Their reward was 2 goals and a 10 point haul, giving Optimus 18 from his strikers, and JK a mammoth 38.
Worst Punt Award (sponsored by ENR)
3rd – Mull (Ivory Coast) Whilst others opted for the gifts of Pirlo or the long-range abilities of Marchisio my old friend Mull opted instead for Tiago Motta in GW2. His reward 2 points. (In fairness this is not that bad of a punt but there have not been many worse)
2nd – A number of managers here (Gargamel, Messimerzied Sleep Talk, Emperikal) who all took a chance on Marco Reus for the semi-final and were rewarded with 1 point.
1st – Emperikal (Uruguay) – In GW2 Emperikal’s late call to swap Pilar to Fortounis proved costly as the OOP midfielder could only muster 2 points.
Best Bandwagon Award (sponsored by Childish Gambino)
3rd – Theodore Gebre Selaisse – The Czech right-back proved one of the revelations of the tournament. His raids down the right yielded an assist and 6 points in GW2, with 7 for a CS and 9 rbs following in GW3. At just 1.5 million, Werder Bremen have a acquired themselves a bargain, as did those managers who picked him up for 4.5 in GW2.
2nd – Vaclav Pilar – At just 5 million this diminutive Czech winger announced himself with a goal in GW1 v Russia. With that game out of the way many managers hopped on board and were rewarded with a further goal against Greece in GW2 and a CS and 6 rbs in GW3.
1st – Jordi Alba – The top scoring player in the game, the defender grew to high ownership proportions as the game wore on. But at the start he was unknown to many outside of FFS. 6.5 million for a defender with 5 CS, 1 assist and a goal, plus 44 rbs. If ever there was a sucessful bandwagon, this was it.
Honourable Mention – Yevgeni Konoplyanka. The differential Ukrainian winger scored his owners 5 points in GW1 after assisting Shevchenko’s 2nd.
Worst Bandwagons (sponsored by Evs)
3rd – Alexander Kerzhakov – Whilst many opted for Dzagoev and/or Shirokov a hardy few plumped for Russia’s striker. Their reward for an 8 million outlay. 14 shots with 0 on target and 3 games worth of frustration.
2nd – Wojciech Szczseny – 1st choice for a host nation, 1st choice for the team that finished 3rd in the Premier League, the Polish keeper seemed like a safe bet at least for the first GW. He promptly rewarded his owners with -2 for a red card and an inability to sub him out.
1st – Alvaro Negredo – A surprise pick up front for Spain ahead of the semi-final. With less that 1% ownership and priced at under 7.5, many a manager hopped on board this train. They were soon begging to get off it again as Negredo turned out to be 7 different shades of shit and will likely never be seen again.
Honourable Mentions – Ashley Young, Ibrahim Affelay. 2 highly touted players who offered their owners virtually no reward.
The Greece award for Worst GD to get out of the groups (sponsored by 4Vets) -Snowy and Sleep Talk (Mexico) who made it to the quarter-finals despite a GD of -2, due to their defeat by Brazil
The Russia award for Best GD not to get out of the groups (sponsored by JKisthe1) – Aatish and Kostja (Slovenia) who were the only side with a + GD not to qualify for the quarter-finals.
The Del Bosque Award for best Decision (sponsored by Forca Inter)
3rd – JKisthe1 -1 spot left to bring a defender off the bench in GW2, JK chose Rami who scored 7 points over Lescott who scored 1.
2nd – JKisthe1, Forca Inter (Brazil) and Eoin (Ghana) – In GW2 these hardy souls went against the consensus and opted for Mario Gomez. They compounded this by handing him the armband, and were rewarded with 20 points.
1st – James_Fitz and Forca Inter – These 2 chose to move their armband to Mario Mandzukic in GW1 and were rewarded with 26 points
The Graham Taylor award for worst decsion (sponsored by James-Fitz)
3rd – JK and Forca – For not following their instincts in GW3 and switching Gomez out for Ronaldo
2nd 4Vets – AKA Captain Alba, the forgetful fool left Alba and his 10 points firmly rooted to the bench.
1st – James_Fitz – AKA Captain Shirokov. The inspiration for this award, the fool left the 8 points of Shirokov on his bench in GW1
The RvP award for “I Want A New Team-Mate (sponsored by the Giggs Boson)
3rd – Eoin – A tough call for 3rd spot, but in a week where Eoin had great success his team-mate’s failure to match him in all but that week led Ghana to tumble from the group stages.
2nd – Evs – Let down by his team-mate BonZ, Evs outscored his co-manager every GW in the groups whilst only in GW2 did BonZ reach the 50 point mark. This is a major reason South Korea flopped in the FWC.
1st – The Giggs Boson – The could only be one winner. Whilst Mull pulled his usual trick of allowing a good European campaign to up the swanny by failing to register a 50 in the groups (and twice he barely scraped 40) the Giggs Boson was left to carry the load alone, a fear even he could not accomplish. Once free on the noose that was Mull, Giggs Boson went on to triumph in the Red, White and Blue H2H league as evidence of what he could do given the right team-mate.
Best Match of the Tournament
a tie between the 2 semi-finals, both of which were only settled by Ozil’s late penalty
Best Individual Manager – 2nd in BUG league, st in FFS Uefa, top 100 overall, 2nd in Croatia, a round of applause please for Mr. Forca Inter.