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Coupe du 70ème Anniv

Munsbach for the Cup?

With several countries
still focused on the lesser junior event in France, one of Luxembourg's leading
clubs took the opportunity of hosting a top quality one evening only
international veterans 7-a-side tournament on the hallowed Munsbach (synthetic)
turf.  Sometimes in life, a series of things come together to create the
perfect scenario. Surely this was the moment when all those Munsbach stars were
finally correctly alligned? A once in a lifetime opportunity for a legend to be
created. Oh yes. A clear Summers night. Six household name teams set to do
battle. Two of them (conveniently) from Munsbach (as in Munsbach 1 and Munsbach
2 - surely we could have been slightly more creative, chaps(?) - thus
increasing the general expectation for a home town victory. Two masterly local
referees in freshly ironed subbuteo style outfits looking slightly less nutty
after completing the first couple of joint counselling sessions. A huge and
sparkling array of cups and medals awaiting the winners (or possibly not in
truth) but never mind. A fully functioning bar and bbq in operation. An
expectant and noisy crowd. Finely tuned, muscle bound, athletes ready to parade
their mammoth range of natural skills. Even a WAG! And on top of all that,
there he was. Our truly inspirational, god like leader, Alain. No mother or
children commitments for him tonight, oh no. This was the moment where
everything seems so very perfect. Out for the full evening and ready to lead
from the front whilst feeding bread and water to the adoring masses who weren't
interested in the footy.



I could go on but I'm actually starting to believe some of this rambling
bullshit that I'm coming up with myself. So what could possibly go wrong this
time?



Let's cut to the chase. For those of you with a sensitive disposition, I have
to warn you that some of what evolved wasn't entirely pretty so brace
yourselves. Grab a hanky. Maybe even a sick bag. A series of opening games
resulted in 3 finals being played back to back in front of the bar area. Munsbach
2 were led by a solid looking backbone of Prakesh, Jean-Marie and Roby. The
lads comfortably managed to get through to 5th/6th play off final and after a
very cagey 20 minutes where neither team were able to break out of the centre
circle, the inevitable best of 3 penalty shoot out arrived. With Simon playing
in goal for Strassen in an outfit that was clearly designed for someone much
larger, Munsbach 2 had to feel confident about what was to come. However,
Strassen weren't going to give Simon his moment of glory and opted to
substitute him with a much more physically significant looking equal
opportunities replacement person. Crafty indeed. Jean-Marie was eventually left
with the task of having to miss to ensure last place and he most politely duly
shot (very) high and (horrendously) wide without any material encouragement to
send the boys from Strassen into the land of make believe for a couple of
minutes. Simon even bought some beers.



The 3rd/4th place play off between Hostert and Merl was an equally tight affair
with Hostert finally taking 3rd place (to be honest, this is a random guess
since I got stuck in a minor drinking session!) after another penalty shoot
out. Note to Munsbach 1. Every match seems to be ending with a penalty shoot.
It's surely never too late to plan or to practice, is it?



And on we went. Munsbach 1 and Mensdorf was a match up of the two pre
tournament favourites in the grand final after both having strolled comfortably
through their qualifiers. Alain's highly effective Munsbach 1 squad of Nico,
Geoff, Peter, Mark, Colin, Alfredo, Roland and Juan (the human horse) Pablo
offered a confident combination of calmness, tenacity, pace, energy and raw
talent that has rarely been seen in a veterans 7 a side team on a Monday night
final. With Alain's towering unrivalled influence at the bar never in doubt,
the abundant crowd were expectant of something memorable. So was the dedicated
WAG, Colin's proud missus. Get the tissues ready, chaps.



Clear chances were in short supply and with both teams suffering a 3 minute sin
bin punishment in quick succession (Geoff can have no complaints about that
one, sorry), defensive priorities seemed to be the order of the day and yet
again, the always cruel penalty shoot out offered the only credible way of splitting
two well matched sides. A time for heros and villains. All eyes on Nico. A
sensible betting man would certainly have put his house on the most reliable of
goalkeepers, Nico, to make at least one save, wouldn't they? Well, if they did,
they would now be thoroughly homeless. Sleeping very rough indeed in fact.
So...On and on it went. Goal after goal. Extraordinary. All the way through
each squad member without the hint of a miss in sight. Even Fatboy slotted it
in. So there we were. Everyone has taken a penalty & everyone has scored so
what next, ref? But wait...We almost overlooked him. Just one more player left
to make a contribution. The man with the WAG. Colin. The long and lonely stroll
to the penalty spot. Legs dragging. Getting heavier and heavier each cumbersome
step. Nerves jangling. The moment of truth has arrived. Destiny cannot be
argued with. Oh dear. Perhaps the moment was simply too big? He went for power
and got plenty of it. Too much. With the keeper scrambling the wrong way, the
ball flew up and hit the top of the cross bar before flying high over the other
(beer) bar. His WAG made it clear that he wouldn't get a shag later. Who
remembers those that come second? Ho hum.



If only...If only...



Merl away next week. For the lean and fit. Be ready!  
Vétérans II