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Coupe du 70ème Anniv

Munsbach for the Cup?

With several countriesstill focused on the lesser junior event in France, one of Luxembourg's leadingclubs took the opportunity of hosting a top quality one evening onlyinternational veterans 7-a-side tournament on the hallowed Munsbach (synthetic)turf.  Sometimes in life, a series of things come together to create theperfect scenario. Surely this was the moment when all those Munsbach stars werefinally correctly alligned? A once in a lifetime opportunity for a legend to becreated. Oh yes. A clear Summers night. Six household name teams set to dobattle. Two of them (conveniently) from Munsbach (as in Munsbach 1 and Munsbach2 - surely we could have been slightly more creative, chaps(?) - thusincreasing the general expectation for a home town victory. Two masterly localreferees in freshly ironed subbuteo style outfits looking slightly less nuttyafter completing the first couple of joint counselling sessions. A huge andsparkling array of cups and medals awaiting the winners (or possibly not intruth) but never mind. A fully functioning bar and bbq in operation. Anexpectant and noisy crowd. Finely tuned, muscle bound, athletes ready to paradetheir 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 orchildren commitments for him tonight, oh no. This was the moment whereeverything seems so very perfect. Out for the full evening and ready to leadfrom the front whilst feeding bread and water to the adoring masses who weren'tinterested in the footy.

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

Let's cut to the chase. For those of you with a sensitive disposition, I haveto warn you that some of what evolved wasn't entirely pretty so braceyourselves. Grab a hanky. Maybe even a sick bag. A series of opening gamesresulted in 3 finals being played back to back in front of the bar area. Munsbach2 were led by a solid looking backbone of Prakesh, Jean-Marie and Roby. Thelads comfortably managed to get through to 5th/6th play off final and after avery cagey 20 minutes where neither team were able to break out of the centrecircle, the inevitable best of 3 penalty shoot out arrived. With Simon playingin goal for Strassen in an outfit that was clearly designed for someone muchlarger, 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 tosubstitute him with a much more physically significant looking equalopportunities replacement person. Crafty indeed. Jean-Marie was eventually leftwith the task of having to miss to ensure last place and he most politely dulyshot (very) high and (horrendously) wide without any material encouragement tosend the boys from Strassen into the land of make believe for a couple ofminutes. Simon even bought some beers.

The 3rd/4th place play off between Hostert and Merl was an equally tight affairwith Hostert finally taking 3rd place (to be honest, this is a random guesssince I got stuck in a minor drinking session!) after another penalty shootout. 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 pretournament favourites in the grand final after both having strolled comfortablythrough their qualifiers. Alain's highly effective Munsbach 1 squad of Nico,Geoff, Peter, Mark, Colin, Alfredo, Roland and Juan (the human horse) Pablooffered a confident combination of calmness, tenacity, pace, energy and rawtalent that has rarely been seen in a veterans 7 a side team on a Monday nightfinal. With Alain's towering unrivalled influence at the bar never in doubt,the abundant crowd were expectant of something memorable. So was the dedicatedWAG, Colin's proud missus. Get the tissues ready, chaps.

Clear chances were in short supply and with both teams suffering a 3 minute sinbin punishment in quick succession (Geoff can have no complaints about thatone, sorry), defensive priorities seemed to be the order of the day and yetagain, the always cruel penalty shoot out offered the only credible way of splittingtwo well matched sides. A time for heros and villains. All eyes on Nico. Asensible betting man would certainly have put his house on the most reliable ofgoalkeepers, 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 througheach squad member without the hint of a miss in sight. Even Fatboy slotted itin. So there we were. Everyone has taken a penalty & everyone has scored sowhat next, ref? But wait...We almost overlooked him. Just one more player leftto make a contribution. The man with the WAG. Colin. The long and lonely strollto the penalty spot. Legs dragging. Getting heavier and heavier each cumbersomestep. Nerves jangling. The moment of truth has arrived. Destiny cannot beargued with. Oh dear. Perhaps the moment was simply too big? He went for powerand got plenty of it. Too much. With the keeper scrambling the wrong way, theball 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. Whoremembers those that come second? Ho hum.

If only...If only...

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