16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Torchiador » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:03 pm

"Spyros: Dude, it's not like we brought you here to sing."
I was having lunch alone in eatery when I read it. I started laughing as an idiot and people started to stare at me and I simply could stop laughing. :lol:
I missed a lot Spyros! Really happy to see him back. Hope he's back to stay in!

Fun and lovely writes-up! Thank you very much to have dedicated your time to write and share with us!

I'm very busy as some of you know, I'm in the middle of a move of apartment so I doubt I will find the time to write the Chronicle of the Holy Shield. I will write a short version as soon as I can!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby thor » Tue Nov 22, 2016 4:50 pm

First I want say thank you to Gianni, Kick Off House and everyone involved in organizing the World Cup (Gianni listed everyone in his thank you post, so I’d rather point to that than forget someone here). I don’t think those that have not arranged a World Cup have any clue how much work it is (I certainly don’t pretend to), but the result of your hard work was absolutely fantastic. I said in my post-final speech that “this was obviously my favorite World Cup”, and regardless of the results it would have been (and that’s no slight on the 2014 and 2015 WCs, which were also great). I hope I get to play many more World Cups in Milan! It is a great city, the venue was perfect, the equipment was great, the organization was fantastic, and above all, it was so nice to see all my old and new Kick Off friends again. I wish it didn’t have to be only once a year.

When I showed up in Copenhagen in 2014 I essentially hadn’t played KO2 for 13 years. After making the quarter finals in Dublin 2015, my goal for Milan was the semi-finals, but I knew full well that with the amount of good players signed up, I could play well and not make it past round 2.

I flew to Norway the weekend before the World Cup, to visit with friends and family, and also managed to get in some friendlies with Chris.

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Chris and I left for Milan at 4am on Thursday. We took a bus from Malpensa to the central bus station, and then took a “private taxi” to the hotel. The driver was from Peru, and knew one “English” word: “Pizza”. He was quite excited about it, and pointed out all the pizzerias on the way. “Is that a good restaurant?” “PIZZA!!” “Do you recommend this one?” “PIZZA!!” We arrived at the hotel around 1230pm. I took a nap and then we took a cab to Kick Off House and met Gianni. He graciously had agreed to lend us an Amiga and monitor (this was the equipment we used for the final) so we could play friendlies in the hotel room. Chris, Dagh, Andy and I played friendlies in the hotel Thursday and Friday, and we were also joined by Mr. and Mrs. Lee, Mark, Jacob and Spyros. The friendlies are my favorite part of World Cup week. Since I live in the US, my sparring partner is the Amiga for the rest of the year, except a few weeks in the spring when my brother usually visits, so playing against real players is a rare treat for me.

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A group of us went out for a nice dinner on Thursday, and we ran into Mark on our way back. Over the weekend I learned that Mark is a Seahawks fan, like me, so we had lots to talk about. Go HAWKS! Good luck with that ironing, Mark.

By Friday, KOAers were trickling in to the reception area all day long. It was so nice to see everyone again, old faces and new. Friday night (World Cup eve) is always special, and this was no different. Got to catch up with Alkis and Camber at dinner while we were all waiting for Robert who “had broken a light-bulb in his room”. Haven’t heard that one before.

Day One

Enjoyed some nice friendlies with Fabio, Alkis, Mario and Olivier before we got started. The round one games went smoothly. I was quite pleased with my result against Spyros (who was still getting warmed up). The “group final” v Andy was exciting, ending in a tie (if I recall correctly I was down 5-2 at half-time). With the exception of Gianluca in 2014, I had not played a strong NOPBD player before this year. It’s really interesting how it affects your defending as the NOPBD attack patterns are much different, especially with Andy who is a supreme dribbler, so it felt harder to play with anticipation on defense.

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It was a lot of fun to meet and play some of the new players, hear their KO2 stories and see how excited they are to have found more KO2-lovers (I remember the feeling well from 2014). I also got to score my first two “alley oops” in an official tournament. BTW, Camber: Would it be possible to separate that from the headed lob goal/header goal in the goal recognition logic?

At dinner I was fortunate to get to sit with Sandro, Gianni and Alessandro and their families. Fun to meet the next generation of KOAers, play some peek-a-boo, and I even learned a new Italian word: “Prego!”

Day Two

As expected, the day two groups were littered with top players, and I knew I had my work cut out for me if I was going to make it through to the quarter finals. I played Oliver first, and as usual, it was a tight game. With less than a minute to go (if I recall correctly), he was up 4-3 and I put #9 through with acres of space. I score 99/100 of those, but for some reason I got lazy and mistimed trapping the ball. Alas, Oliver scored from the resulting goal kick to seal it. I was really bummed with the result and needed to go outside for a walk to re-focus.

I then played Jacob. For some reason, I end up playing Jacob more than any other player in World Cups (2x in CPH, 3x in DUB, and 2x in MIL). I got the better of our games this year, but when he is on top of his game he can beat anyone. Our games are always exciting, and this has become a nice little rivalry that I look forward to every year.

Next was Alkis. Another close game, but I was able to control a two-goal lead until the final whistle. I even missed a penalty right at the end. This was an important achievement for me; it was my first ever official win against a #1 seed. Alkis is such a great player with so many tricks up his sleeve, so I was quite pleased with the result.

In Dublin, the 3 games I played against Fabio were the only ones where I felt like I didn’t stand a chance. I knew that if I was going to have a chance in Milan, I would have to figure out how to play him, so I was pleased that my preparation proved effective. I won the game 7-2, and I even won 1-0 in the Kick Off Lob category (my only Kick Off Lob of the tournament). All that said, for whatever reason I don’t think Fabio played his best Kick Off in Milan. He was my pre-tournament bet to win, and I am sure he will be back with a vengeance next year.

Going to lunch at 3-0-1, I felt confident about my chances to proceed to the quarter finals. I then came back and promptly lost 3-1 to Lorenzo C (he drew first blood and never looked back). I usually don’t have any problems playing against lockout, but for some reason I made a lot of errors in this game and Lorenzo is a top player, so if you give him an inch, he will beat you.

I then managed to beat Sandro, leaving only my game against Dagh. Looking at the other results it became clear that I had to at least tie to go through. Not the scenario one would want, but I had managed to win some of our friendlies on Thursday and Friday, so I was confident that I had a chance. I probably put together my best game so far in the tournament and won 5-3. It felt like I had managed to beat all odds. This was probably the turning point for me – I now knew that if I played to the best of my ability, I could beat anyone.

Both quarter final games versus Andy were close. We each won a leg by one goal. In the second leg, I had a one goal aggregate lead with 5-10 seconds to go when Andy pulled out some NOPBD magic to tie it up. So close, yet so far away! We were so nervous in extra time that it was a complete shit-show and the game went to penalty kicks. We pleaded with the organizers to instead play again, but eventually had to move on. In the middle of the shootout, at 3-2 to Andy, my third penalty taker didn’t show up for his penalty. His morale stat must be zero. So we had a 5 minute stoppage to restart the game and with some help from Alkis we got it back to the same state. Not exactly what you want in that kind of a tense situation. Andy missed his fifth penalty and I had achieved my goal of making the big screen. As sweet as that was, I felt equally bad for my friend; I know Andy badly wanted to win again. I’m certain he won’t have to wait long.

The first semi-final was near perfect for me. I didn’t make a lot of unforced errors, and had a decent goal to attempt ratio. 9-4 against Dagh, you can’t do much better than that. There was an interesting sequence at about 4:00 where Dagh has an open goal but gets a bit lazy and hits a straight shot off the post. I then counter, and have #9 in acres of space only to myself be lazy and not put any lift on the killer pass from #10, and it gets intercepted by Dagh with his completely out-of-position #5. A goal either way could have made for a different outcome.

Between the semi-finals I was briefly considering whether I should play a defensive formation in the second leg. After all I had a 5 goal lead. I quickly dismissed it as Dagh can pick anything apart, and I figured the better strategy would be to continue scoring. Due to the tense situation we forgot to enter our names, I think, and once we restarted the game we got Zappa as the referee. I made a decision to be very careful with my trapping as I figured one sure way to throw away a 5 goal lead would be to have Cox sent off. While I don’t want to take anything away from Dagh’s spectacular comeback (it probably would have happened anyway), not playing aggressively on defense certainly didn’t help me there. I’m pleased that I was able to remain focused after Dagh had tied it up on aggregate and managed to score the winning goal with composure. The margins are so thin at this stage, and I did get a very lucky goal somewhere in the 2nd leg. But you need a little bit of luck to make a World Cup final.

I was very relaxed and focused going into the final. After Robert’s hilarious intro, Gianni started well and there was a critical point in the first leg where I got #2 sent off and he took a 3-goal lead seconds later. With about 3 minutes to go it could easily have gotten out of hand at that point, so I am very proud that I managed to pull the game back to a 5-5 tie. Given the situation, that comeback was probably the biggest achievement I had during the WC.

World Cup final, leg 2. First game tied 5-5. Winner takes all. It doesn’t get better than this? I remember briefly thinking before the game “I hope this doesn’t end in another penalty shootout”. Interesting moment in the game at about 0:50 left in the first half where I get sloppy trapping the ball with #10, causing Gianni’s #5 to slide when he is trying to enter trapmode just as I unintentionally pass from #10 to #9 (at least I *think* that’s what happened on his part). I in turn completely mess up what should be an easy walk-in finish. Sometimes the hardest goals in Kick Off 2 are the ones where you have an abundance of time, and in a World Cup final the joystick feels a bit more sensitive than usual. You know the rest. Everything I did turned to gold, and I really enjoyed the last 1-2 minutes when I knew I was going to win.

World Champion! This was my dream since I left Copenhagen in 2014. I knew I could do it, I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon. This year in particular looked difficult since all the bigs were there. I’m quite proud that on my path to winning, I beat all 5 attending World Champions (Alkis, Gianni, Spyros, Andy and Dagh).

Some random thoughts:

    Suzo the Arcade Turbo is now tied for the lead in World Championships with the Slik Stick (4 each). “That plastic piece of shit” as Alkis calls it, is a pretty good joystick.

    Hopefully this can provide some inspiration to the newbies. When I showed up in 2014, I got a nice 13-2 welcome from Gianni. With some practice, anything is possible!

    Regarding the equipment, I was in awe of the amount of real monitors available. Many may not think that it is a big deal, but it really is, especially in the close games. The display and sound have subtle impacts to the timing of many of the goals.

    Nice to finally meet you, Spyros. I really enjoyed our games and conversations. I hope you’ll be back again!

    Great to have Alkis back after he was not able to come to Dublin. Alkis (and his pre-game lube) are important ingredients for a successful World Cup!

    The online stream with the action camera was awesome. Nice work Sandro & Steve! I hope we can continue to do that (the action camera) every year. Fun to watch over again. If Lee makes the big screen though, we may have to implement the 10 second “Oscar delay”.

    The new Unity port looks awesome. Nice work Camber – can’t wait to try it out.

    Before the finals, Robert wanted to give me some strategy advice. “I think I’ll just try to score more”, I said. Afterwards he conceded: “Your plan was better”.

    It’s so awesome that every year, we have first time attendees. Nice to see new players from Spain and France. Hopefully we keep this going, and people keep returning. Maybe soon we’ll start averaging 50 players.

    Some of the joysticks used in 2016:

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I want to say thank you to Andy and Dagh for their support and for sharing so much of their Kick Off 2 knowledge. Amazing how we're still discovering new things, 25 years later. I hope we can meet up early again next year!

Chris: Remember what we said that day in summer 2013? We did it! It won’t be long before your name is on the Holy Shield. But you need to stop breaking bones two weeks before the World Cup.

Finally, a special thank you to Gianni. My friend: You truly put the KOA first. While you will always be the king - the final boss - I think the time, effort and care you put into preserving our precious tradition is what makes you the most special. Jawohl!

Merry Belated Christmas!

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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby alkis21 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:19 pm

A review worthy of a champion!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Freshmaker » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:03 pm

Fantastic story Thor.
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Abyss » Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:23 pm

:) A special post.

And the geeky side of me really enjoyed the joystick stats and pics!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Torchiador » Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:03 pm

This is a true Chronicle of the Holy Shield! thanks you very much, Champ!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Torchiador » Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:48 am

Although my world cup week end started more or less last January, the First KOA face 2016 winner was Thor, followed closely from Chris when they visited the Kick Off House on Christmas Eve Eve.
I was very excited at the Dinner of Christmas Eve, meeting all the old friends and the new ones that finally joined the KOA. I loved immediately the new Spanish bros Leo and Luis. Also the new French gentlemen were very nice, Oliver and Florian. I have been pleased to chat a lot with them before the Eve and I was sure they would have been very happy to join the world cup.
Among the old friends I was so happy to see Rodolfo back in action and last but not least, my arch rival and great friend Spyros.
I think that my biggest regret of this world cup was that I had so little time to spend chatting and having fun with the friends of the world cup. I think that one of the priority of the following world cup is to change the format: 2 days are too short. My proposal: no more week end world cup but a week world cup! I'm sure my employer will understand... and also your I guess!

As organiser I'm glad as the things went.
Of course there have been problems, some of them could avoided it if I would have arranged things in a better way. other instead couldn't be predicted.
No matter I already organised 2 world cups, countless international, national, domestic , kitchen tournaments, there is always something to lean in to how to organise a world cup. Glad to learn again a thing or two.
If there is a thing I'm very proud of myself, is the arrangement I found for the venue.
A perfect hotel with a perfect tournament room. just a thing I didn't like much. they never mentioned there was a tax to pay for person from outside Milan, a 5€ tax per person per day. BTW on my ID card I've got my old address that was outside Milan and I had to pay the tax too!
I checked and I realised they were of course right. as the tax to stay in a 4 stars hotel in Milan is that. Anyway they could say to me in advance, so I could say it to you too. that's it. A part this I must admit I found a professionalism unmatched. always ready to serve and solve problems, any time, anywhere. For sure I will organise there the world cup again.

About the tournament as a player, I must complain with the organiser as he should listen to my remonstrate about the time table. he promised to start before noon on Saturday. he made it. He promised to finish before 19.00 on Sunday. he fu**°°°*°**°°°°**°*°**°*°*°*°**°*°**°**°*°*°**°*° malaka failed.

So, I was able to confirm again I am the Kick Off 2 Final Boss.
Being the organiser I was thinking it was really not possible to make it for the final this year. But I made it again. And I wasn't alone in to do it. if I was able to play so well to be again in a final, is above all thank to you all to help me in every aspect of the world cup, from Friday night setting up the tournament room to Sunday late night filling up the vans, passing through everything happened along the weekend. I was very relaxed thanks to you and I played very well, I've never been so happy to organise a world cup like this year! thanks!

Now I got more Silver medals then Gold ones, like happened already a couple of times in the past. I really hope you will not mind much if I'm going to win the next two world cup then.
You know, I wouldn't like you to think "Yes I'm going to play Gianni in the final, the Holy Shield is mine already!"

I want to congratulate with Thor, not only to be our new World Champion and the amazing way he won it, lining up 5 World Champions and 2 vice world champions. Thor, you are a Worthy Guardian of the Holy Shield. You really care about it, I'm sure you engraved it already! hope you slept with her Sunday night after I knocked at your door in the hotel! Enjoy any moment with her, don't forget to bring her at Safeco and show her the Pacific coasts! Pictures please!!!

Finally, I want to say Thanks again to everyone of you for this memorable week end of fun, friendship and competitive spirit.
For me is an honour and a privilege to serve the KOA and be part of it. To organise a world cup, it is like to lay the table for the Christmas Eve dinner. Surely it is not an easy task, but once everyone is sat at the table, you immediately forget the labour and just enjoy every single moment with your family.
Long Live the KOA!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Freshmaker » Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:29 am

Fantastic Gianni!
-----------------------------
Jørn F.M.
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby alkis21 » Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:01 am

Gianni, your signature is missing a couple of medals... :D
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Torchiador » Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:03 am

alkis21 wrote:Gianni, your signature is missing a couple of medals... :D

I don't dare to ask Mary to edit it! She is so busy that she would kill me! And I'm very poor with photoshop!
I should use deluxe paint 3!
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Abyss » Mon Nov 28, 2016 8:39 am

GIMP to the King's rescue!

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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Abyss » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:04 am

Or, maybe, to align it better:
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Re: 16th KO2 WORLD CUP: The stories

Postby Abyss » Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:06 am

Oh, what the heck, if every B-list starlet can enjoy the merits of Photoshop, why can't Re?

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Last edited by Abyss on Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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