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- 1250 GSY
- “…with hope in your hearts and you’ll never walk alone…”
- The greatest event of all time, witnessed by billions upon billions of people from all over the Erviadus Galaxy.
- “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
- The cheers were deafening. The atmosphere was palpable. Little did they know that it was the event that would define Asia and change it forever. It was the symbol of a new Asian decade. The World Cup Final had begun.
- The Asian National Team had never before been in a World Cup final, the best they had ever achieved was a fourth place finish. For the nation, tasting the glory of a World Cup final was enough. Defeat would be bittersweet, but a win would rocket the nation into euphoria. In contrast, they were up against the record four time winners of the World Cup, the all-conquering Nyrmark. A Nyrian presence in the World Cup final was not something that was expected of from Die Mannschaft, but it was something that was demanded from them. Anything short of winning the World Cup would be seen as a failure.
- The group stages were a tale of two teams. Asia had been drawn into a group filled with footballing obscurities, with the likes of the Teno Achaion, Fharia and Krivicha. It was a group no one paid much of attention to. Whoever got out of this group would surely be easy prey during the knockout stages of the World Cup. Asia were favourites to win the group, but stumbled with a defeat in their first game, a draw in their second a must-win final game was achieved due to a last-minute goal from Jie Lade, the Asian captain. Asia had finished second in their group, but they survived the group stages and just barely scraped to the knockout stages. In contrast, Nyrmark had won all of their group stage matches, slaying Apocrypha, thumping the Soviets and easing past the Huns. Asia had a shaky knockout stage, their performance deteriorated after a convincing 3-0 win against Kedor, with the Asian needing extra-time to beat Vossland 2-1 in the quarter-finals and a hotly contested match against the Ka’lu’umil which ended 1-0, once again needing 120 minutes via extra-time to beat the Lygians. Nyrmark smashed Aterius 8-2 in the round of 16; with many pundits even praising the fact that Aterius managed to score 2 goals past Nyrmark. A politically-charged match which saw them beat Skotabann 2 goals to nil meant Die Mannschaft eased into the quarter-finals to meet Ariilyth what became a World Cup classic. The match finished 4-3 and ensured victory against Ariilyth in the semi-finals booked Nyrmark their appearance for their fifth World Cup final.
- Nyrmark had a few tricks up their sleeves to keep the World Cup away from Asia. They tempted her with sublime skills, destructive finishing and a fairytale script, courtesy of their legendary captain, Rudi Klopp. At half-time, the Nyrians had blitzed Asia with a score line of 3 goals to nil. Rudi Klopp was not just holding the trophy at half-time, he was already planning his acceptance speech for Nyrmark’s fifth World Cup triumph.
- The only reason Asia weren't fatally wounded by a first half blitz is the fortunate fact immortals can't be destroyed. The Asians had rewritten football “possibilities” in this World Cup campaign. Their heroic efforts in the final group stage game, along with extra-time victories against Vossland and the Ka’lu’umil were rendered insignificant compared to this.
- At half-time, the Asian supporters sang their national anthem once again, You’ll Never Walk Alone. It was not one out of passion, but rather one out of poignancy. For the Asian supporters, a dream in the making since the beginning of the World Cup, had died in a mere 45 minutes. When the Asian National Team jogged back into the pitch, their drained souls were somehow met with astonishing ovation. The anthem was an orchestra of inspiration, and what followed next was something that shouldn’t have happened. It defied logic.
- Five minutes had literally changed the match, and perhaps the entire footballing galaxy. Asia had scored the three goals necessary to turn the match into a stalemate inside five ridiculous minutes. A header from the Asian captain, a fabulous strike from outside the box and a penalty had turned the tables against the Nyrians. 90 minutes could not separate these two sides. It was the fact that immortals cannot be destroyed. Extra time ensued. Asia’s third successive match in this World Cup and Nyrmark’s first match to be contested for 120 minutes. Perhaps it was the fact that playing 360 minutes in the span of a week had sapped the Asian players of their energy, but Nyrmark had dominated the extra-time portion of the match. Asia defended with their lives, and Nyrmark should have won their fifth World Cup and it would be a deserved retention of their title as Weltmeister, but a double save from the Asian keeper kept out Nyrmark’ star striker, Sebastian Baumann, from putting the ball into the net from under five meters. The referee then blew his whistle. Rumour had it that the engraver then started with an “A” on the famous trophy.
- The dreaded penalty shoot-outs were reserved in football for when 120 minutes failed to produce a winner. It was testament that both teams had fought tooth and nail and all that was left was a game of perseverance. Perhaps ominously, Nyrmark had won their fourth World Cup due to winning a penalty shoot-out. It was Sebastian Baumann’s penalty that led to Nyrmark’s triumph four years ago, but it was, cruelly, his miss that cost them the trophy this time. Asia had scored all of their penalties, with the final kick of the game from Jie Lade, Sang Kapten, Asia’s captain. The very person that inspired their monumental comeback. And as all penalty shootouts followed a best out of five format, the Asians won 5-3.
- All that remained was for Jie Lade to grab his prize in behalf of all of Asia. The World Cup seemed to have radiated a smile which beamed wide across the captain’s face. It was a smile that was matched by all Asians. Whether they are the Chairman or your everyday citizen. Whether they be in the stadium or watching in the comfort of their homes. The dreams of the captain, the manager, the squad, and all of Asia was realized in a way no fantasist or idealist could’ve ever imagined. Finally, a generation of Asians knew what it was like to be in greatness. Finally, the World Cup was coming to Asia.
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