I cannot realize that one week is passed and there are still 51 long weeks ahead to be all
together again. To think about it is a torture.
Why to not organize a holiday all together, in the meanwhile?
Before to start, I would like to say THANKS to everyone of you who attended this world cup.
Thanks because you care about this group. Thanks also to those who would have loved to be part of
the party but they couldn’t. it was sad you weren’t there. We felt you with us though!
Thanks to the real warrior who fought in this week end, I don’t mean only those who made things
very hard for me, or better still, the ones who played for (or to avoid) the shoots of shame.
So I dedicate the Holy Shield to the shoots of shame’s warriors. Without guys like you, the KOA
wouldn’t be…. STILL HERE!
I made my trip without my usual parents and friends as, for the reason who you already know, they
couldn’t make it.
So my wingmen was the Two Lorenzos. I laughed from the first moment I joined them in Stazione
Centrale till the moment we said goodbye on Monday afternoon. I started to know better them the
last year in Duessendolf, I understood that they had my same sense of humour and the same love for
kick off in the last year our friendship grew up.
Flybe was our Flight company, probably the airplanes aren’t the most modern, but nothing to envy
to Ryanair or Easyjet. We arrived in Birmingham perfectly on time.
We reached the hotel by Taxi, (thanks Steve to arrange this! Much much appreciated!). Just the
time to see the room, and I was in the bar near the tournament room already chatting with friends!
I’m so happy all the times, even more glad to see new families with kids!! I was pleased to see also
few UK faces I didn’t see for long time, like Sid, Wayne, Simon and James bros.
I think that if Hydn is the KOA George Clooney, no less Sid is our George Michael!
Then of course I’ve been pleased to meet again all the old friends who I shared many week ends in
the last years, it is the 5th time I meet Robert in the last 14 months, 4 times with Frank and Thorsten
the 3rd time with I meet Alkis, Ektoras, George, Cornelius, Klaus. Guys, it is my Eighth world cup,
I’m getting older! In a couple of year I will get the double digit too!
There is something magic. I don’t know if you feel the same, but it is like the clock is stopped. I
mean, it is like we have been all together in the last 12 months. The confidence is the same.
This year I had the pleasure to know better the living legend Steve S. I didn’t know him so well, last
year we didn’t chat much, but this year I understood that he is a very fun guy, a natural born KOA.
Also Cameron is a nice guy too, hope to see him in the fight too next year!
I finally met Andy, I already saw him few years ago but our friendship grew online in the last year,
it has been a pleasure to know him in the flesh, he is even more funny!
After the draw we had 10 minutes for the meeting in the reception, before to go to the pub.
As usual I was the last one and the group was gone already, but Garry Rodolfo and Jorn was still
standing in the reception. Garry decide to go in foot and Rodolfo and Jorn offered to me a place on
the taxi (it was a 30 minutes walk) my painful back and the heavy rain suggested me that it was a
very good idea.
Mary looking at the pictures at the pub, watching Steve, Robert, Lorenzo and other said: “what was
that? Everybody with grease?” I answered: no, rain!
I think I was lucky: in the last years I went in UK many times, but this is the first one I see to rain.
The meal was really good, perhaps the music was a little high but I didn’t mind so much. At the and
Rodolfo and Jorn offered me the Taxi twice, unluckily I didn’t have chance to return the favour.
After that I went to sleep, really tired and really happy.
The breakfast was awesome, like the meals I had in hotel in the bar near our tournament room.
I think that the location was the best solution ever, in a mix of tournament room, bar, rooms. It was
everything perfect. Organizers didn’t left anything to the case, they provided also special prices at
the bar and in the end of Saturday night we had also a free drink!
I’d like to spend also a couple of words for the tournament room.
15 Amiga. Neither in Cologne we had so many amigas. Big screen, very comfortable chairs. Lot
desks empty to use for extra things.
Steve, Simon and Garry made a perfect job. I think that everyone there felt himself at home. Even
In the morning I played few friendlies with Darth Lorenzo, Andy and Steve S. Steve in particular
trained me a lot, I played my first friendly with him ever, and I had the pleasure to get few goals
from him, I remember clearly a diagonal shot near the first post. ace!
The opening day ceremony was fantastic, the video was amazing (also the way the draw has been
presented was really nice, with such music and audio effects!
) Also the presentation of the
nations was a very great idea!
Now let the games BEGIN!
In day one I faced Peter K, who is a very nice fellow, he has something that he makes appear to me
as a old friend, probably he has got the KOA gene in his DNA, that’s probably means that we will
see him for long time!
With someone of my group mate I played directly twice, with other I played the two legs in 2
I played Lorenzo then. Since he likes a lot Hollywood movies, I present him a Blue Ray version of
Ocean’s Eleven, then as he liked so much the series with George Clooney and Giulia Roberts, I
thought to give him great pleasure with Oceans’ Twelve. He enjoyed every minute of that.
I felt myself much religious so I tried to make some proselytism speaking about the Ten
Commandments, all my group mate seemed interested to save their Soul, but Sid who preferred to
not read entirely the Tables of the Law.
Being serious, I knew that in my group there were dangerous players, I knew Steve improved a lot.
Being a noPBD players, I knew I could have problems to stop him in some fast PB dribbling, as
there are differences to defend a PBD action and a noPBD action and all my usual opponents are
PBD players so I couldn’t train my defensive skills for that. Besides this one I didn’t know how
much solid kick off routine and goal kick routines he had so, I was curios and interested to play
with him. George beat me 5-7 in Athens just few months ago.
Also Lorenzo could be a threat as he played a lot with me this year and in many games he made me
suffer a lot.
So I knew everyone should not be underrated as opponents and I play at my best.
I played a solid kick off and I was really confident with my joystick.
In the firsts matches I conceded just one goal per game, the only one who performed better was Sid
who pushed to 3 in the while we had a nice chat, he is a very nice fellow. Welcome back mate!
In the meanwhile, Simon was doing very well.
I remember well the George’s lesson in Athens so I didn’t give him the room for his diagonal lob
and neither his diagonal chip and header goal, preventing his kick off routines vertical shallow lob
(a typical Greek Kick Off Routine) so my defence worked well this time. Also my attack didn’t
seem so bad, so he kept him behind in the score.
Playing Steve I had troubles as he played very well. He surprised me with a great ball control and
with a couple of kick off routines very difficult to prevent. also his path on the goal kick routines
were remarkable, my problems came due to his great finishing style, very accurate and much
different to my usual opponents, compared to the usual PBD approach to the box. With PBD, as the
ball runs slower in the box, you have a little more time to place your defenders and besides this one,
you can even steal the ball from behind the player who has the ball possession. With noPBD you
can’t steal the ball from behind because the ball is always in front of the player who is in
possession, never under or just behind the player, like happens to PBD players. As I’m used to say,
if Spyros plays and Gianluca played in NOPBD, it isn’t because they are masochist. Steve (but also
Garry) demonstrated that noPBD is still a very good and performing alternative.
It is nice to compare the two way to approach the box.
Steve in the box is very deadly, I remember very few mistakes. A solid attacker with a good
I think he deserved more than a draw in our 6-6 game. He played very well and he forced me to
make many fouls.
In the return game I played slightly better in attack, I found the Ten Commandments at the very last
second, just above the final whistle.
I played Simon after the lunch. We had a couple of fun game, he was different from the player I met
in Reading and I think he deserved much the 3rd place in our group. BTW his presentation for
Robert was the best ever.
Thorsten played with me without to show a particular passion. He was saving his batteries for more
approachable opponents. We chatted a lot then. Anyway I’m sure that the best Thorsten can do
great things. He beat Darth Lorenzo in Milan, just few months ago, this year had a great
achievement being 24th topping on Fredric and Lorenzo “the other one”. As said by John, I could
bet he will get the top 16, because a great love for something it is always rewarded.
But what happened in our group was just a part of the fun. In the other groups there was fantastic
challenges for all the tastes. So even if I had my laptop to start to write this tail, I actually used it
just few time to skype my parents and Mary: there were too many exciting matches to watch even 2
or 3 at the same time! I think it is the best part of the competition. To watch trilling games among
players. Matches which could decide the forth position, Matches that could decide the access to the
quarter finals, matches which gave a name for the Shoots of Shame, like the amazing match
between Thomas and Cornelius. BTW, I have got a great video about that, I think there is the whole
KOA spirit that I like so much. Basically it was a big screen game, a real challenge and a lot of
people was watching there supporting one or the other one. The real fight is every where, you can
After the group one, we had the first (and surely not the last) second draw for day two,
Being honest the things put in this way gave a day 1 situation in which your aim is just to get the
top 4, no matter the position, as there will be a complete random draw for day two. so day one draw
wasn’t so exciting. Of course things went different on the draw for day two.
I told to someone that if both Lorenzo and Andy would have been selected in the same group, it
would have been an hell for every one and some big names could risk a lot, starting from the first
seeds. Of course shit happens (hell! It happens always!!!) and they both were in a hell of group with
Alkis, Ektoras, Steve E, Oliver and George. Basically The Camberman was already starting the fire
for barbecue. That group was really an hell even to get the fourth was free climbing with a elephant
on your shoulders.
We went to play bowling then. The last time I played was Duesseldorf and I enjoyed a lot. This year
the group was really big, so much we had to split and we got even many lanes! I was pleased to
throw at least a strike and we discovered that there were many good players! I will post the
complete results soon, as I got the sheets of the games. The place was really nice and I was pleased
to stay with many of you BTW, sorry Alkis, I disappeared but the fear of cheese was too much!. I
was right with Helmut, Klaus, Thorsten, Frank Garry and Michael when we had the great news (we
had a TV near us) that finally Berlusconi left the chair. We all jumped for joy!
More to come!