KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

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KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby durban » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:46 pm

Ok well here we go with the full, unadulterated, topic for posting all you want to say about this years World Cup.

I will start, take a seat, grab a drink, I may be a while.....

Friday
Having made the 'great' decision to stay local to Gatwick airport on Thursday I arrived to the airport fresh and in plenty of time for my flight. Starting (as I do with all my trips) in Costa with a Flat White and an almond Croissant, the only downside so far was being searched for illegal 'ovaltine' at security which took a while...but hey I had time.

After a couple of hours of watching old KO2 videos on my Iphone, in between deleting 'spam' accounts on the KOA I finally got a call from Andy and met up with his wife Yun in Frankie and Bennies (obviously they are a little more upmarket than me in the breakfast stakes!)

The flight was far too quick for me (only managed about 103 levels of Angry Birds starwars!) compared to my usual 14 hours trawls to Durban, so before we knew it we were in Milano, dodging the expensive taxi for something a little more reasonable.

We got to the hotel around 3, Andy and Yun went to explore and I found my room was already taken by a very very sleepy Viking.....Rather than waking him and feeling the wrath of Denmark I decided to wait down in the bar....and low and behold another Viking arrived with a very runty tash! A few beers later and the rest of the KOA returned from their sightseeing trip and the usual emotional hello's began - ending with the biggest hello of the day when the late great (perhaps not late) Dino Dini arrived, and was completely different to the person I am sure we all presumed he would be (which is a compliment).

Fast Forward >>>>> The draw and evening meal went pretty much as you would expect, apart from me being put in a group of Gianni the World Champ, Oliver ST the German Champ and goalscoring hero, Lorenzo #1 and Lorenzo #'2 my nemesis from the KO2 world and a few other worthy players such as Mario and George Ka....seriously WTF how am I supposed to get ANY points from that! Absolute FIX! Everyone else in the KOA got piss easy draws blatantly!

So its about midnight and we decide to hit some bars, which basically ends up with us all having Guinness in an Italian Cafe Bar til about 1.30am talking about the usual stuff which was nice and relaxed.

the only downside at this point was that we couldn't practice any KO2 until at least 10am the next morning.....


Saturday
Woke for breakfast at 7 which must be a first (are we all getting this old). Dagh was finally awake I think, hard to tell as he is the sleepiest person I have ever met ;)
Had a strange breakfast, not sure if it was great or not....coffee was nice for sure.
Got into the tournament room around 9.30 and finally we started playing friendlies...I was absolutely pants - but nothing new there. Decided I needed more coffee and that seemed to work a little....so on with the games....


Oliver St 7 - 6 Mark W :
was really worried about this match as Oliver just scores goals whilst sleeping. However things didn't go as the German Champion planned, I kept taking the fricking lead for a start....was 6-4 up at one point but then his class shone thru and he took its 7-6 with me missing an absolute sitter at the end when Barber refused to put in a Narrow Angle goal after rounding fisher and having the whole goal to his mercy......I just hope he felt I worked him hard for that victory, it was certainly a good effort from me against a quality opponent.
The return match Oliver won comfortable 6-4 but even so I felt I gave a good account and didn't let the match slip away to easily.

Massimo 1 - 3 Mark W :
I think we were 1-1 going into the last few minutes and then I just got a couple of quick 'stock' goals to take the match, but was certainly closer than the 2 goal gap would have you believe. Good effort from our new player for sure, could have gone either way with a few minutes remaining and I just got the lucky breaks. Our second match ended 7-0 but again this was quite tight for most of the first half and then a few chances came my way and went in, He was very unlucky not to score a few with the post being my saviour.

Peter S 3 - 6 Mark W :
I always have tought matches with Peter and these were no different. I think he got me to 3-3 with a few minutes left (which seems to be an ongoing story) and again I got a few lucky breaks and took the game 6-3 although I was never comfortable until I scored the 6th Goal. Again not really a fair reflection of the play, was a lot closer than the score would say.
Return match was 6-2 and I was very pleased with this, again not quite a fair reflection but even so scoring 6 twice against Peter is a great achievement for me as he has beaten me in the past quite comfortably!

Denny M 0 - 6 Mark W :
Another match where I wasn't actually that much better just seemed to be able to put my chances away. The scoreline again was weighted towards the last 3 mins, it was only 2-0 with about 3mins left to play and Denny still in it. The return match was a lot tighter with two late goals giving me a 3-0 win!

Mark W 7 - 7 Mario F
After Mario Battered me in our first match 4-1 I was not expecting to have a chance in this game....and at half time I was 5-1 down....I think he actually got the score to 6-2 before my team bothered turning up with 4 mins left....somehow I managed to equalise with moments to spare, some great goals, some very lucky, but they all count and although I felt it was really unfair as Mario had outplayed me for around 95% of the match, I still felt amazed both because of the comeback from so far behind but also just to draw against such a great great player! was probably my favourite result of the whole WC!

Mark W 2 - 4 George Ka :
I have met George many times in previous KOA but never realised what a fooking top notch guy he is, he is just a great bloke! I know this is about the games, but feck that we chatted about alsorts, he is an absolute gentleman (telling me when he is going to KO Lob and also telling me when he isn't!). Hes a great original player (although that BLC shit has to stop haha!) and our games were lots of fun, he had me in both quite easily, even tho I managed a 2-2 draw in one which was undeserved, and which is why I was a little shocked that by Sunday I would be knocking him out of the silver cup somehow (magic perhaps). Anyway I played well in our games, he played better and won..simple as that ;)

Mark W 0 - 3 Lorenzo L
Lorenzo took me apart twice on day 1, and both times he was clearly the winner on the pitch and in the scoreline. They were actually pretty rubbish games to watch, mainly because we play each other quite often and we cancel each other out...normally our friendly games are some of the most amazing games to be part of. He beat me 3-2 in the return game, should have been 3-0 again probably but he let me have 2 easy goals

Mark W 3 - 5 Lorenzo C
Before the WC started I had truly believes Lorenzo (Tommaso) would be a semi finalist. The guy is quite simply the most improved player in KOA history...and he was good to begin with. I managed to scrape a 3-5 defeat (which should have been more in Lorenzo's favour) and the return game was a pretty straight forward win for the Italian 3-6 although I did score a screamer to be proud of...

Mark W 11 - 1 Gianni T
For some mad reason I thought I could have the champ....I was wrong. Game 1 was absolutely terrible for me, I missed a few chances but lets be honest they were consolation goals from the first minute, he was on fire. 11 - 1 in game 1 and I am sure he let me score my 1 to say thanks for hosting the WC registration page or something haha :)
Game 2 was a little better, but I still got battered, although I was quite proud that Gianni decided to record one of my goals as the 'best' he had seen all day!


Overall I finished 7th in our league, I was gutted with my position but happy that I had actually finished with a good number of Goals for once (still negative goaldifference but only just) but I also didn't lose points to players who are ranked lower than me for the first time, and so overall I was happy (although in my dreams I was hoping I could overtake maybe 1 or 2 more players....maybe next year!) Not bad for a guy ranked 82 (and only 2 players lower ranked in the whole tournament - newbies aside!)

I was absolutely indebted to Jorn the viking when he took the microphone and demanded we play 5 a side football on Sat night (the only reason I turned up lets be honest!) and so we played in the hottest indoor pitch I have ever been in. Somehow I managed not to collapse and die during the game and with Alkis in goal it was never in doubt...I think I scored both our teams goals (the second was a barrett-esque fluke but they all count) and we somehow won overall - that night me and Jorn went for the now infamous 'get the f*ck out' Inventapizza after walking to Rome to find somewhere worth our money....and then we went to meet the others at the steakhouse for a glass or home made brewski and then bed by 1am!



Sunday
Well what a great day, My Silver league group was very tough, I was hoping I could finish in the top 4 and make the playoffs, but wasn't overly confident.....I was quite wrong it seemed. I managed to win all my games apart from my 2 hardest which I drew and lost appropriately.

Mark W 1 - 0 Dino D
Shame of a game, Dino played well and kept me out no danger at all until that fateful moment about 3 mins into the second half at 0-0. I won a corner and managed to guff it up to, giving it to Dino's defender...he immediately Cleared and obviously wanted to add some 'Dino Dini Gameplay' to his pass in the form of After touch, but something was a little off with his timing and instead he turned from just outside his own box and blasted the ball into the bottom corner of his own net leaving Fisher with NO chance...it was a goal worthy of winning the KOA World Cup had it been the other end...I felt quite bad for winning in that manner, then realised I had played the Great Dino Dini and won the game without having to score...so in reality he can't have hated me that much ;)

Flavio 2 - 4 Mark W
Another tough match from the KOA Photographer. He has played and beaten me before but this time around I seeemed to control my strikers a little better and they paid me back with 2 good goals late on to ensure I kept my unbeaten run on track....not sure what sort of track however.

Michele 2 - 3 Mark W
I don't know how I managed to hold on in this game, I think I was 3-0 up at one point but Michele came back strongly, luckily my old defensive instints from Previous world cups kicked in with a few moments to go and I managed to soak up a lot of pressure and keep my win even tho he had most of the possession.

Mark W - Helmut H
Another opponent who seems to beat me in WC, but this time his evil plan came unstuck....I think I lead by 2 goals and again relied on defence to hold on...which I managed to do just...I never said I was playing pretty ko2!

Mark W 4 - 2 Rodolfo M
My first competetive game vs Rodolfo and I was worried, I had been told how good he was at KO2 and seriously thought I couldn't handle his play. As it turned out maybe he was having a bad 10 minutes, as I played quite well and seemed to unlock his defence enough to squeeze a 4-2 win. I was absolutely indebted to Lorenzo for point out out to me the ref was Screech as Lorenzo knows how I love to slide my defenders around at the back....I doubt I would have had 7 players on the pitch had he not mentioned this to us. I felt very proud to win this game, Rodolfo is a friend and a very very good player, but I felt I played well enough for him to appreciate my style in this game which is enough for me, even if the result was a bit lucky :)

Klaus L - Mark W
This was my second to last match, I think its was about 4pm and I am sure Klaus was still having breakfast at this point :)
I knew I just had to draw to finish at least second in the league, I think I managed to get to 4-1 up when all hell broke loose and Klaus went apeshit on my defence......I tried to hold on and managed until the last kick of the game when he equalised...I was a little bit devestated as I thought I had enough of a lead, but he deserved the draw and at the end of the day for me it was job done and a second place finish was in the bag.

Mark W 2 - 4 Lorenzo L
I play Lorenzo many many times, I cannot explain how much this guy means to me in the KO2 World (even if he didn't know who I was in relation to DURBAN until Friday haha!). Our games are epic, very close, but he knows my game inside out and has the edge....he beat me so comfortably without even trying....but I am glad he finished top of the group as he was by far the best player in it!


So I finished the Silver cup league in a hugely respectable 2nd Place...I was amazed at this as I thought I would be lucky to finish 4th with the likes of Rodolfo and Klaus in my group. I only lost 1 game, I had scored quite a few goals and was into the playoffs for the first time ever...I think...my only other similar competition was the Bronze cup in Austria, but this was a straight league with no quarter finals.

I secretly hoped I could finally see my name on the big screen, but then realised that would mean beating the likes of George and Lorenzo to name but a few...I then also realised I had to play Jorn in the quarter final which worried me because a) I can't beat him over two games and b) If I fluked a win it would be totally lucky and I would feel bad....


Silver Cup Qtr Final
Mark W 4 - 6 Jorn F
Mark W 3 - 1 Jorn F (5-1 Aet)

First game was a very cagey affair for the first half, but then Jorn just started ripping my defence apart. I managed to keep it within 2 goals which secretly I was happy with. We then went to put the result in and I went to grab my drink but when we came back the machine had been taken. We asked the rules and a few people said you have to play at the same machine...its the law...George on the other hand (and I agree) said it doesnt matter, but by this time there weren't any decent machines left...so we waited for about 30 - 40 mins and finally we had our machine for the second leg....
I managed to claw back my 2 goals in the second leg, perhaps the gap had affect Jorn more than me (to be honest it probably helped me) and so when we went to extra time the poor lad was exhausted (it was such a tiring match holding on to my 2 goal lead whilst trying to ensure I had a chance to win it). In the end I got 2 goals in the second half of Extra time, I think Jorn just gave me the goals to prevent penalities in reality....thanks mate ;)
I was a bit upset by winning, sad I know, but would have preferred Jorn to go thru as he probably deserves a silver cup more than I do...plus my bag was a big tightly packed, not sure a trophy would have fit.


Silver Cup Semi Final
Mark W 4 - 4 Goerge Ka
Mark W 6 - 4 George Ka
I was expecting a very tough game against Gentleman George and it sure was. The 4-4 draw in game one was an amazing achievement for me, he had totally dominated most of the match but I somehow held on and scored 3 pretty good goals (including a Cambergoal in honour of the great man) and so the stage was set (albeit on another machine) for the second Leg...I was worried that my first match took all my effort and I was going to be obliterated in game 2....
For some reason about 10 people decided to sit and watch us, which felt good...and seemed to inspire my team (not me, its all down to the players of course) who put on a display I was VERY proud of, with some really professional finishing and I booked my place on my first big screen game EVER...or all time...in the history of the KOA....yaaay.

Silver Cup Final
Mark W 3 - 1 Lorenzo
What a horrible horrible feeling, I could sense Lorenzo was nervous and I was bad enough. Somehow I controlled my nerves enough to score a few goals and create some good chances. But lets be honest we both played pretty badly because of the nerves and didn't give people the game we knew would could put on (and often do). I do feel that my 3 goals were all good tho, which isn't always the case when nerves get the better of you, so at least that was a positive to take out the game ;)
I won it, but I would have been as happy had Lorenzo won as he is a far more deserving champion and a very very good friend. He was very sporting and gave me big hugs and stuff later, I nearly cried...he is truly one of my favourite members of the KOA and when we play off the big screen he is my favourite player to play against and has taught me soo much, so I dedicate the win to him!

We then watch some great big screen games, in particular Gianluca v Gianni which was an Epic comeback by the 3 time World Chmp...finally Dagh showed us why he is simply the best in the KOA, and completed the haul of room 506 with a handful of trophies.

We then went out for Pizza in the middle of Milan, and lots of laughs were had particularly at Steve's Roadkill Pizza....and the fact they refused to put Banana or Pineapple on my PIzza WTF!

The rest of the weekend was a blur, I managed to wake up the sleepy viking at 4am (after managing to wake him up at 3am when my alarm went off UK time!) and then I managed to get on the plan with my trophy and home by 5pm on Monday evening......

Was a great great weekend, organise as well as the Italians can ;) but memorable for me for so many good reasons....I can't think of one negative thing to say.

Grazie Milano!!!!
No longer the only UK based Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Crewe supporter in the whole of the KOA!!!
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby manicx » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:11 pm

durban wrote:Mark W 11 - 1 Gianni T


So proud for you beating Gianni 11-1. Elite...
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KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby durban » Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:48 pm

Hahahah i know he didint stand a chance against my special typo!
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby alkis21 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:46 pm

A very well written review Mark, thank you! I noticed you left out the unfortunate incident during your awarding. :D
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby Torchiador » Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:48 pm

Nice write up, Mark! thanks!
Just for the records: Yes, in my opinion the goal that you scored would deserve the price for the best goal of the world cup. I will post it soon. BTW, if someone else recorded some other goals, please, post it!
Sure, the tension was much in the silver cup final. I know you both very well and I never seen to miss some goals in the way you both did, the pressure of the big screen strikes always. and not just you: if you watch the first semi between Andy and Dagh it is the same for them both: Dagh stammered with the ball instead to master it as he is used, collecting many unforced mistakes, while Andy was pulling so much his joystick that if you make a close watch of his stick, you will see his fingerprints engraved in the plastic.
Now it is time for you and Lorenzo to make room in the Silver Cup and enter the busy room of the top 16!
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby alkis21 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:24 pm

Friday
There are three things that I will never understand about Italians. The first one is how so many millions of them once looked at Silvio Berlusconi and thought "Yeah, that's someone worth voting for all right". The second is why all their national teams in every sport wear blue when it's not one of the colors on their flag. The third, and that's the biggest mystery, is why so many of them find it so infuriatingly easy to beat me in Kick Off 2. Hoping to receive an answer to at least one of my questions, I packed my suitcase and started for the world cup in Milan. The one held there in 2004 was the only one I hadn't attended in 12 years for health reasons, while my previous visit to an Italian world cup in 2007 in Rome was a disaster in more ways than one.

After I landed I arrived at Gianni's infamous Kick Off house, where Panayotis was waiting. A bus and subway ride later, we met with Gianni, Cornelius, Oliver, and the two Austrians Helmut & Klaus, whom I had met just three days ago when I went to Vienna. We followed Gianni for several hours around Milan, taking lots of pictures and listening to a much appreciated history lesson. At the castle, instead of appreciating the spectacular landmark we focused on three particular styrofoam letters.

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Back at the house, I was so dead tired I barely had time to greet Jorn who'd just arrived before I crashed for a much needed two hours sleep. We then went to the hotel and met more KOAers, always a great moment when you see your friends again after a year. And then Dino entered the bar; I went to him first and introduced myself before everyone took turns shaking his hand. I sat next to him during dinner and he was kind enough to answer all of our queries with a stamina Barrett himself would be jealous of. I particularly enjoyed when I ratted out Steve Camber for reverse engineering his game :lol: and also when Dino asked him his opinion on PBD.

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Steve, Panayotis and I discussed with him the vast difference between programming a game in the 80s-90s and being part of a development team nowadays, especially concerning the "too many cooks" issue and the pressure from the internet fans. I asked him how he thought Kick Off 2 would turn out to be if he'd had 50 people second guessing him every step of the way. His reply: "I'll tell you what it would turn out to be, it would have turned out exactly like Goal!".

After dinner, we witnessed a very original draw process that bore the signature of MariaChiara's gusto and charisma.

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And not just that, the entire world cup decor (the banner, the badges, the boxes that comprised the Kick Off ball etc.) proved that our Queen must have dedicated hours of hard work to make our experience more elegant. As for the draw itself, my group had Andy in it which was quite scary. I really wanted to win it as I needed to increase my chances to avoid landing in a Round 2 group with two 1st seeds. But more on that later. Group C seemed absolutely brutal with no less than 7 players having chances to qualify.

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Jorn, Panayotis and I were joined by the fourth roommate Flavio and headed home. Flavio does not speak any English, we don't speak any Italian, he knows a few French words... Communication between us during the weekend was challenging but we made it work with a combination of English, French, Italian and sign language.

Saturday

The day began with some problems with the software that we fortunately fixed eventually. Then I played a number of friendlies before we began and if memory serves right I won them all, including both Ficheras which was a good ego boost. I also played one against Dino and got him to sign my joystick!

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Time for the official matches. This year I'd brought with me some actual Amiga disks to give my opponents with slideshows I prepared depending on whether they won, drew or lost against me. I wonder how many of them will bother to load them.

Alkis P - Kostas Ka 7-1, 6-0

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This was Kostas' first official match this year, he's had zero practice before this world cup so I believe that he was satisfied after finishing in 22nd place.

Rodolfo M - Alkis P 0-12, 2-7

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My first match against Rodolfo was one of these games that no matter what you do, the ball goes in. The second one was more interesting. Funny that after all these years our only official games are on Italian ground.

Alkis P - Michael Ma 7-4, 5-2

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After the Birmingham world cup, Michael wrote in his world cup review that he did not intend to be my bitch next year! And he succeeded, as I had to work hard for those wins.

Alkis P - Michele L 10-1, 7-3

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The first thought that crossed my mind when I met Michele was that I shouldn't get him upset as he looked like he could crash me with his thumb! Lucky for me, he was very calm and polite, and the rare kind of newbie who is very enthusiastic about the KOA and clearly wants to return for more. Plus, he was very good for a newbie! He beat Jorn, Helmut, Jorg and Flavio, drew against Kostas and had very close games with Michael, Rodolfo, and Mark. His style of play reminded me a lot of Simon King, he runs the ball up and down and is very good at winning every vertical challenge but once I opened up the game on the wings things got easier. Being Italian, I predict that it won't be long before Michele beats me.

Thomas N - Alkis P 1-15, 0-11

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Right after the lunch break I played my first official matches against Thomas, and as you can guess they were more about the chat than the actual games. As most German KOAers, very fun guy!

Alkis P - Jorn F 9-1, 9-1

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My roomate and one of my best friends in the KOA, always a pleasure. We hadn't played since Athens 2008.

Alkis P - Alessandro V 5-5, 6-4

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Alessandro mysteriously remains the only good Italian Kick Off player who hasn't managed to beat me yet. I believe that this is because he is one of the few Italians who actually misses chances; with everyone else, the moment their attacker is in front of the keeper I'm simply getting ready for kick off. Cugino is more careless in that aspect. He still got a deserved draw against me and a very close second game in a group that I really didn't want to drop any points before my matchups against Andy.

Marco M - Alkis P 2-13, 0-10

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Always nice to meet a KOAer who is not 6'5'' tall.

Alkis P - Andy G 6-3, 6-6

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Over the years playing Kick Off 2, I have developed something of a sixth sense when assessing my opponents before a match. For example, I was able to conclude that Andy was very nervous before our game as he came to me and said "I am very nervous". He is now obviously a better player than I am and that is why I am proud of my results against him, which I worked very hard to achieve. During the first game he missed some chances that he should normally score, I was very concentrated and managed to win it. In the rematch (Dagh came to watch) he needed to beat me to end up first in our group, while a draw would have been enough for me. He stared very well and took a 3-0 lead (for some reason, 3-4 unanswered goals for either of us are very frequent in our games), I managed to come back but I lost my #6 to a red card. I was down 4-3 at half time and down to ten men. It didn't look good, yet somehow I managed to annihilate every one of his attacks and Andy was trailing 6-4 with just a minute to go. He scared me by equalizing shortly before the end but there was no more time for him left.

An undefeated first day was over for me, and I was delighted as only Gianni and I had managed that. Looking at the tables, what struck me first was the almost complete lack of surprises. There were a few people placed in slightly different positions that one would expect, but the 16 players who were seeded in positions 1-16 all made it to the next round, an unprecedented event for the KOA! Excellent job. As for the rest of the Greeks, although they qualified easily neither Panayotis nor Ektoras justified their second seeds although the former did shock us all by managing to beat Dagh, as the latter had done in Dusseldorf, and George was going to fight for the Silver Cup.

Saturday evening, and a familiar situation for the KOA: We were running late. Gianni came to me and asked my opinion on leaving some matches for Sunday so that we could make it to real football, but I advised against it because that could screw up our Sunday schedule and besides Kick Off always needs to be the main event. So it looked like football would need to be canceled, that is until Jorn stated the obvious: the ones who had already finished their games could go play! And so we did. Well as others have stated, I was something of a deciding factor there but I don't think I really did anything special, it was just that I was the only keeper on the pitch so each team that had me gained an unfair advantage. Still, it was a refreshing change being able to say that I beat both Gianluca and Gianni in a single evening and watching their exasperated faces every time they failed to score against me. :) I think that the players who stood out were Durban, Cornelius and Thomas but everyone gave their best and it was a lot of fun.

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Back to the hotel we went, and out to a lovely restaurant for a classic KOA dinner.

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Sunday

Somehow I had managed to end up in a group with Dagh and Gianluca even though I had topped my Round 1 group, because the 3 x champion had knuckled under the amazing Fabio. This reminded me of the 2010 world cup when I had 15 victories and one draw in the first two rounds and still had to play against Gianni in the quarter final. I believed that Gianni would win the other group as other Milanese rarely manage to beat him, so I wanted to avoid fourth place if at all possible. As I didn't think I could manage finishing above Gianluca and Dagh, that meant beating Lorenzo and Mario. Easier said than done, and even qualification looked less certain than ever to me. To be honest I'm not certain that my fate in the other group would have been better; they were easily the hardest world cup groups I'd ever seen.

Gianluca T - Alkis P 6-3

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It was great seeing Gianluca after 5 years, discussing the fine details of this great game, watching him slowly pacing up and down the tournament room trying to clear his thoughts like he always does... In our opening match, he got a comfortable win as I always find it impossible to approach his penalty box. I was also pleasantly surprised to see him use PBD!

Frank F - Alkis P 1-6

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Opening the score seemed to take forever against Frank, but once I did the goals started flowing. He always has trouble scoring against me.

Dagh N - Alkis P 7-5

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That was actually a very close game that could have gone either way. I took the lead right from the start with a beautiful 'Alkis goal' (still not always registered properly CAMBER!), and didn't let go for a very long time. I was up 4-1 at the fourth minute and 4-2 by half time. But there are only so much you can do against this man, you can win 90% of the challenges, stop 40-50 of his attack attempts but the fact remains that he only needs thirty seconds to score three goals against you. He went up 5-4 and I surprised him with a kick off lob; it was one of those that bounce off the keeper, go up forever and eventually go in. I thought at that point that lady luck was on my side, but then Dagh kick off lobbed me right back :lol: before scoring one more. At the end of the game, we both agreed that it had reminded us of our first semi-final in Athens. Lucky for me, this time there was no rematch.

Alkis P - Mario F 5-8

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In a game that I absolutely needed to win, I failed to even show up. Mario played great, I gave him my worst performance of the weekend and the half time score was 1-6. I shaped up in the second half but not enough for a comeback. So here I was then, for the first time ever I had started a Kick Off 2 World Cup day with three defeats in four matches. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Lorenzo beat Gianluca. My 10/10 quarter finals streak was coming to an end and there was nothing I could do to stop that... was there?

Alkis P - Ektoras K 7-5

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Atrocious match between two very disappointed players. If you don't believe me, ask Panayotis who was watching, promptly telling us that we suck repeatedly.

I had played more matches than anyone else in my group by that point and the lunch break was coming up, so I asked for Rodolfo to give me his room key. I went up and lied down for 15 minutes to clear my head. Not only did I need to beat Lorenzo (who had easily defeated me a year ago in Birmingham), I would probably need to do it by three goals of difference or more as at that point a tie between me, him and Gianluca looked possible.

Lorenzo C - Alkis P 2-6

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A triumph! Along with my games against his online buddy Andy, this was my best performance of the weekend against an amazing player. I even got the goal difference I wanted, although Gianluca ended up beating Mario so it wasn't needed after all.

Alkis P - Michael Ma 6-2

I needed that win to qualify so I was off to a very nervous start, Michael took the lead 1-0 and 2-1 before I shaped up. He lost all seven matches in that group of death but who can blame him? He fought well in most of them making his opponents sweat, and he gained valuable experience that will surely prove gold in a less cruel competition.

I had made it to a quarter final for the 11th time in 11 world cups, and although this may seem like a humble achievement for someone from the top seed I was happy to settle for it considering awesome players like Gianni, Spyros, Fabio, Luigi etc. have missed it in the past.

Gianni T - Alkis P 8-1, 8-3

It's not that my world cup has ended with Gianni for four consecutive years (and for the fifth time in six years) that bothers me. It's the fact that it keeps getting easier and easier for him! As his mother would surely say, he should be ashamed of himself.

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Fabio F - Alkis P 10-6, 9-6

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I played Fabio for positions 5-8, and I simply had no answer for his lethal scoring. And what can one do against someone who literally scores every time he gains a throw in? He changed formation depending on the move he wanted to do at a particular second and as a result my players were never near him. I was very impressed by his knowledge of the game. Scoring against him was not too hard but I could not defend. As a result, he became the third KOAer to score 10 goals against me after Gianluca and Dagh, although I should also add Gianni to that list who is just being kind and refuses to do so, and for the first time in the 1000+ matches of my career I had lost four consecutive games.

Alkis P - Oliver St 4-1, 5-5

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My defense only worked against Oliver in the first game. In the rematch, he totally deserved to win but I stole the draw from him on injury time. He came really close to beating Gianni and me that day but it didn't happen. Others in his place would run their joystick through the nearest wall, he just shrugged and said "my time will come". You gotta love that attitude!

7th place for me then, tied with Rome as my worst placing ever. I'd lost to five people during the weekend, Dagh plus four Italians. You see, the problem with Kick Off 2 world cups in Italy is that they are full of Italians. I enjoy world cups in England so much more.

Shame to the people who fucked off and left causing the Game of Shame to be canceled. I hope I will never see them again. See, this is exactly what I mean when I say that a newbie has to prove to me that he gives a fuck about the KOA before I go out of my way to make things more comfortable for him. I and so many others spent 12 years of our lives building this fabulous association from scratch for him to just come and enjoy the games, so I need to know that he cares before I lift another finger. That is why I will always prefer trying to think of ways to make the world cups a more enjoyable experience for the people who come every year, like Jorg and Rodolfo, than the first timers.

It was time to sit back and enjoy the big screen games. And they were a beauty indeed, especially the Gianni-Gianluca semis. I don't think we will ever have a world cup of such unbelievable difficulty ever again, but I do hope we'll see the three of them simultaneously join one at least once more even if that means that the medals are reserved.

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I screwed up the ending ceremony with my very bad performance with the microphone, but everyone is in such a good mood at that point that nobody seems to care. The extra trophies were an excellent idea and I hope that future organizers will repeat them, the only problem was we had no 'revelation of the year' or 'David Vs Goliath' victory in Milan! Thank God for that draw Helmut managed against Gianluca but Fabio's award was a little awkward after him finishing 5th which was two places below his previous attendance. I was touched to see Dino being moved when receiving his plaque. I will never forget the moment when I announced to the KOA that I would be a father. And just when I thought everything was over, Gianni took the mic from me. I stopped listening because I thought it would be the usual "thank you for coming, it was a pleasure, MariaChiara, Christmas, blahblah" speech but then he gave me an award! That was such a shocking surprise to me obviously as I thought Dino had already gotten that year's Lifetime Achievement Award. A perfect ending for me.

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As always, the conclusion of everything was a stress-free dinner and then it was arrivederci for us all.

Monday

Coffee with Gianni, Jorn, Alessandro and Flavio and then I got to spend the day with Gianni. This is the part of his apartment that I liked the most:

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I miss you already, people.
Remember, remember, the 4th and the 3rd of November
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KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby durban » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:16 pm

Great writeup of your thoughts as always Alkis, a joy to read!
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Sv: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby Freshmaker » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:41 am

amazing write-ups guys :-)
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby Rodolfo » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:59 pm

Thank you for your essays. I am working on mine.
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby LORENZO L » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:36 pm

thanks for the kind words Mark , you're the most beautiful people of koa, the victory is yours, and you deserve the Silver!
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby Torchiador » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:09 pm

It is so nice to re watch the world cup week end looking from different eyes! Thank you so much Alkis! lovely write up!
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby r.cross » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:56 pm

my little story:

Another year, another WC - and man, was I looking forward to this! Unfortunately my local sparing partners couldn't join me as initially planned, but considered that this was my 5th KO2WC I wasn't afraid of epxeriencing a lack of laughs or so. Too many friends to meet, too many tight games to be played ;-)

I had a rather long but decent trip, could share the airport taxi service with Rodolfo and my room with Thorsten and Frank making the experience an affordable one, so thanks again guys. The Draw was fun, was quite relieved I was drawn into group A and not C. I would have seeded myself right on the line between the Gold and Silver cup of my group. Considered the many, many big guns in this tourney I probably would have felt better in the Silver, but of course I was secretly hoping to exceed my 14th place from the Birmingham WC last year.

The night ended at around 1:30pm on the stage of an Italian coffee house, having beers and chats with some fellow KOAers. I considered myself lucky because of the rather high priced Milan beers, too close I was to the moment where I'm not easiliy convinced heading home ;-) I had an adequate sleep and some excellent Italian espresso made me fit for the competition in what I would consider record time. I won my 4 or so friendlies quite easily and was looking forward to the 'real' games - which were:


Me vs ...

...Alkis 2:5 / 4:7
One probably shouldn't be satisfied when clearly loosing but hey, for the first time ever our battles felt like real games instead of executions;-) I had some posession, scored some goals and, what I think surprised us both, even had some decent moments in defense. Unluckily I couldn't find the disk he generously gave away when unpacking my suitcase, so please, if anyone could upload the content to youtube I'd be very grateful!

...Michele 6:4 / 8:2
I barely had the chance to play any newbies in my not overly long KOA career and playing Michele didn't quite feel like I'd expected it to be. For sure he's a hell of a lot better than what I've shown in my first WC's, great guy who I really hope to meet again in another competition.

...Marco 6:2 / 9:2
Marco is a C64 fan, and if you consider his excellent English and mediocre Kick Off, probably a fake Italian ;-) However our games were good fun and I enjoyed the conversations about our favourite SID artists / music back in the day. Normally I barely get the chance to talk about such things without beeing looked at as if I was at least a little crazy... :-)

...Alessandro 2:4 / 7:3
I'd like to see my 1L / 1W against Alessandro as quite an achievement, I mean - he's the kings cousin, ffs!! Strange though that I was definitely much weaker in one, and then truly superior in the other game. Seems both of us suffer from similar fluctuations in the quality of our game, especially when it comes to finishing.

...Thomas 8:3 / 7:2
Always a pleasure to meet and play a member of the Osnabrück gang. Does he ever write here in the forums? He should considering the unbelieveable story on how he lost the Bronze Cup to Wolf :-)

...Andy 1:5 / 3:11
While I managed quite a decent performance in our first, I completely went under in our second game. One of my two double digit defeats that weekend, at least both vs. big screen players. Andy is definitely one of the masters in this game!

...Kostas 6:4 / 7:2
After he left out the Birmingham WC I had some serious fear not to see him again. So happy I was wrong. He's a better player than he considers himself to be, but this year I managed to keep him under control. Fortunately he doesn't seem to practise with his brother, he could be a true force if he did.

...Jorn 5:3 / 4:1
I played Jorn for the first time ever, entered the games with quite some respect and felt lucky to steal 6 points from him. A strong player, especially in defense.

...Rodolfo 5:7 / 7:6
I was quite sure that the way to the Top 16 would lead over Rodolfo, even if I wasn't sure I wanted to play there. I wanted to win these games, thats for sure, but I found out I had some serious problems defending against his 442 while not being able to exploit it's defensive gap. I had to come back from a 3:6 in our 2nd game scoring the 7:6 with a last second free kick goal, my first win ever over the Spanish champ. Probably my favourite games on day one, thanks for the tight fights!!

---

All in all that was enough to qualify for another round of TOP16 games, and in my case it meant I'd face: Frank (2 times German and 2 times Austrian champ), Ektoras (3rd in 2010 WC where he managed to beat Dagh), Mario (2nd in WC 2006), Alkis (first WChamp in history), Gianluca (3 times WChamp), Lorenzo (4th in 2011 WC, KOA's favourite bastard) and some terrible Viking who obviously came south to rob, burn and plunder... I mean, wtf? Of course I needed beer - which luckily was served in tubes at the Saturday evening meal.

---

Another adequate sleep, some espresso and a shock prayer later I started my games with Ektoras, who keeps trashing me year after year since I first met him in 2007. However, this game was weird and different. Apart from blocking some standards we kept playing pure 424, therefore had many chances and ... couldn't score. In the last minute (still 1:1) I missed 3 or so sitters just to have the Greek scoring machine 'walking of shame' my goalie after a rebounder on injury time. I don't drink before lunch but I was close on breaking my rule...

I played Lorenzo next, and lost clearly 3:7. I don't know anybody who changes tactics so permanently, dribbling with the right while switching with the left hand. I think I can challenge him when it comes to ball control and finishing but in the things that truly decide a game he is simply far superior.

As is my friend Alkis, who I lost to 2:6. I knew that this game was highly important for the Greek (because he told be before ;-) ) and managed to play the first half in some kind of hyper focused mode, leading most of the time 1:0 and then 2:1. But of course Alkis wouldn't be Alkis if he hadn't had some more killer moves up his sleeve and so, slowly but surely the game began to slip away from me. There were many fouls and despite the defeat I was proud of my performance.

Mario was waiting next and apart from having heard he was a true class player I didn't know what to expect. We had a rather high quality 424 - 424 battle that he won deservedly 4:2, but again my performance was quite good, especially in defense I think.

Something I also managed against the incredible Gianluca, loosing 'only' 2:7. He advised me to work on my finishing after the game, stating that this was the main difference between us. Which was a compliment of course, but relatively far from the truth as I barely was able to approach his box.

Another goal I barley saw was the one of Dagh, probably the most advanced player at the time. Dagh was playing on 100% trying to reach big screen form and I defended like a mad man, managing some nice saves but still many, many goals for the Danish master. He was leading 10:0 when, out of the blue, I could score my probably most beautiful goal in this WC, even Dagh seemed a little impressed - and answered with goal No. 11.

The last game in the group was the one with Frank, and he was the only one around I ever managed to steal points from in the past as we had a 4:4 draw in Birmingham. And it happened to be a true derby - fought on the very same level. I realized that my joystick refused to work to the left after some time but also Franks button didn't do the job properly so we decided to go on and deal with our technical issues like men! And just like in the game with Ektoras Frank had to wait until injury time to score his 4th goal, edging a narrow 4:3 victory. Bummer.

---

However, I wasn't overly disapointed to leave the group phase with 0 points as that was what I expected anyway, yet of course I was hoping for one freak result - but it simply didn't wan't to happen that day. There wasn't much time to mourn anyway as another unknown force was waiting in the playoffs, Luigi, definitely one of the best dressed KOAers i got to know, finalist in the WC in 2004! Now if I got the chance to choose that one game I'd manage to win on day two, of course I would have chosen this game, as it was the game that finally put me on the 12th!! A tight battle, some good defense and some spoilers on both sides and in the end the score stopped at 3:2 for me. The second game was even tighter, yet I could stop him from doing real damage most of the time, keeping the score at 4:4 in the end! Now this meant I'd finish 12th worst case - not overly deserved, but sometimes you just need some luck in the right moment :-)

I felt some adrenalin pumping through my veins and had some serious intention to anger another top gun when Panayotis asked me to play our games. Somehow I was sure I could beat him and ... was wrong. I didn't play bad, had some good moments but I don't he think he ever felt in real trouble. I lost the 1st game 4:7, did a little better in the rematch but still lost 6:7.

So Ektoras was the only one left to play and I think that we both were a little low on battery when we started our games. Again I lost both games but again I didn't do bad. 3:5 and 5:6. Maybe, with a little more luck... I'll find out next year, I hope...

---

Got myself a 660cl beer at Carrefour for the big screen games and they were just epic. In the Silver Cup final I could feel the hands of Mark and Lorenzo shaking ;-) The semis between Gianni and Gianluca reminded me of the WC finals in Voitsberg - but this time the guy who did the comeback won! And finally the final was grand of course! I was really happy I could watch it 'live'... I'm not sure if Gianni hired actors for the banquet later that evening, but seriously, if I was to cast Italian waiters for a movie (which on the other hand may be unlikely to happen...) I'd know where to look. Thorsten surprised me that night as he somehow managed to start snoring before his head touched his pillow. I didn't know that was possible?! I didn't sleep enough that night and shared the trip to Malpensa with Rodolfo and George - and even though I love George I was really happy to have Rodolfo sitting in the middle as George simply couldn't stop babbling for the whole trip. Not much more than a distant blah...blah...blah... could reach me though ;-)

Finally thanks for the WC Italians - you are just great! And your women are even more awesome. Was there ever a cooler accessoir in a WC than that huge Pixel ball? I think it was even an accurate KO2 ball, really, really brilliant!!
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Re: KO2 WC 2012 - Your Unabridged Memories and comments.....

Postby r.cross » Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:33 pm

Rodolfo wrote:I am working on mine.


It might not look like it - but there ARE people waiting for the read...so get your ass up!

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