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A bronze medal, a secondary Cup: a legendary story.

These days it will be the first anniversary that the Emerald Cup of Tanzania (World/Cup/Cup.aspx?CupID=634) was renamed in my honor "Kombe la Gonzo" which in the native language of Tanzania, Swahili, means "Gonzo Cup". If you want to know the history of this, I invite you to know the story of an Argentinean who made history for NT Tanzania.

To tell you this story first I have to introduce myself, my name is Gonzalo and I was born 37 years ago in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But Hattrick everybody knows me simply as Gonzo (although my user name is Gonzo77). In December I will be 12 years playing this beautiful game. I have been national coach several times in NT and U20, but this story begins on September 29th 2020 (season 76) when I have the honor to be elected coach of the small country, Tanzania (164 teams and about 80 active). Unbeknownst to them, an incredible story was about to begin for the Tanzanian NT (3247) and me.

The playoffs draw determined that we will play in Group 12 (World/WorldCup/?cupId=137). We shared a group with serious medal contenders! Deutschland (2 times world champion), Lëtzebuerg (1 time world champion), USA (3 times bronze medalist), Al Urdun, Colombia and Philippines. We managed to qualify in second place with 27 points behind Deutschland (who only lost one game, yes, against us!) and the record of points obtained in qualifiers! 39 points.

The key games in this round were two games:

Vs. USA (667877741) on the 2nd matchday. We spent TS and played PIN. For many it was and is crazy to spend TS so early, but I was convinced at that time and still am that there are no definite times to spend TS, the timing will be determined by the fixture and also to surprise the opponent. This was the case. We played an aggressive 253 all 90 minutes. We won 4-2.

Vs. Deutschland (667877751): in the 4th matchday, to whom we gave the only defeat they had in all the qualifiers. We played at home and Deutschland played us PIN! We played 532 CA, and we won 2-1.

We qualified one matchday before the end of the qualifiers!

Bonus track: Tanzania got the best defense along with Cuba of all the qualifiers. Divine +8 (17365754.674) In the 14 playoff games: we played 6 PINs and, received 7 PINs and 2 MOTS (17365754.680).

Round II - Group 7: in which we came out on top. I had to face my country, Argentina, whom we beat 2-1. We also shared the group with Bangladesh (also qualified) and Czech Republic. Up to that point we had already made history: NT Tanzania had never made it to Round III.

The key game:

Vs. Argentina (669657347): playing against your country is not easy, you have a lot of "pressures" from friends and the community itself, even more being the former coach. I played 352 PIN and we won 2-1 deservedly (, and it was a good strategy that I agreed with Bangladesh. The two weakest teams joined together to face the strongest teams. In these short groups, it is vital to start with 3 points and play the intermediate match with whomever you agree. You spend TS at the beginning and at the end. We played MOTS to Czech Republic on the last game of the group, we won 4-3. The strategy was appropriate. We qualified along with Bangladesh.

Round III – Group 2: was really very difficult, even more so if you have TS 2 and TC 4: Sverige (6 world cups, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes), Nederland (2 world cups, 2 silvers and 1 bronze) and Suomi (1 world cup and 5 bronzes). Against all odds, we qualified in second place behind Sverige. History was still being written for NT Tanzania.

The key game:

Vs. Suomi (674176377): Any of the 3 games in this round could be the key games. But I choose Suomi because the reading of the opponent and the strategy we used was perfect. We played 523 CA MOTS (when there is nothing to lose, MOTS will help you win). They misread us. They put both wing midfielders into the middle for the whole 90 minutes! If they had put them on offense, as well as their midfielders I'm sure they could have had better luck. We would never have been able to get anywhere near their midfield.
We tied 3-3 and qualified in second place with 4 points, Sweden won the group with 7 points. Sverige beat us 8-2 (we didn't know it yet but we would have a rematch soon) and we beat Nederland 4-3.

Bonus track: I have a theory that the attitude of the team (PIC/PIN/MOTS) influences (beyond increasing our midfield) how the game engine "takes us into consideration" during the game. I think he will always weigh the one who is playing the game of his life (MOTS) against the one who is playing one more game (PIC or PIN) thinking about the next opponent and underestimating the current opponent). That's just my thought, of course.

Round IV – Group 1: also presented us with rivals with history, again Sverige, Iran (1 silver) and Turkey (1 bronze and 1 silver until that world cup). It was already a dream to be at this stage for Tanzania NT and for all those who were cheering us on at the conference! But on April 23, 2021, almost 5 months after I took over as national coach, we succeeded in defeating the masters of the game, Sverige, to get a beautiful and historic bronze medal.

The key games in this round were two games:

Vs. Iran (674596257): We did a very good strategy playing 523 CA and if winning moving to a 532. Facing Iran, and on top of them playing PIN was not going to be easy, but they started playing wrongly 352 and went to 253 at halftime when they were not winning... they are details, but many times they count.

Vs. Sverige (674596259): They did what they had to do and we did what we had to do. In the previous round we had lost 8 to 2 with them, we had already studied each other previously, they played 253 as we imagined and we played 532 CA but in a more defensive way than they imagined. Our defenses were spectacular! We had 2 effective counterattacks and in the 75th minute we closed defensively even more, we went to a 541 that closed the game. Eternal glory was ours. Tanzania got the pass to the semifinals, and got a historic medal.

Bonus track: We played this entire PIC round.

The effort of years of many users who coached the players, of those who guided them in their formation, of my staff and of the one who writes with emotion these lines had had an enormous reward. At the end of the game, I cried, I cried like a child who had achieved something he had dreamed of, I cried like that man who after years of playing this game really felt that he had won something and that "something" was not only for me, it was for many more people who were as happy as I was and so I expressed it in the conference.

The first medal in a world cup for the whole of Africa and clearly for Tanzania NT then!!! and it took place in the last world cup (Ireland - XXXII) of the old format!!!. On a personal level, the first World Cup medal also at senior national team level (NT) for an Argentinean user.

The pride of, together with my staff and several of us who made such an achievement possible for Tanzania will be something we will always have in our hearts and that will always remain in all those who followed the campaign of a "small" Hattrick country that made history.

Then came the semifinal (674828204) against the eventual world champion: Switzerland. Who after a vibrant match defeated us in extra time.

Finally, on April 30, 2021, the Irish World Cup XXXII ended. We were already legends.

Some statistics: in total, we played a total of 24 matches:

We won: 13
Draw: 4
We lost: 7

We beat these great teams among others: Deutschland, USA, Lëtzebuerg, Czech Republic, Nederland, Sverige and Iran. All of them medalists, many of them world champions.

We also tied with another giant like Finland and personally I had to beat my country: Argentina. And obtained a win effectiveness close to 60%; and we have added points in at least almost 77% of the games we have played.

For that historic campaign, a year ago, Tanzanian users voted that the second most important cup in their country be named "Kombe La Gonzo" in my honor (which means Gonzo Cup in their native language).

An honor that I personally share with all those who helped me to guide that unrepeatable Tanzanian NT that entered Hattrick history forever. A bronze that will always shine like gold for all of us.

So, I am the first active user to have a Cup inside Hattrick in his honor. It's not just a bronze medal or a secondary Cup: it´s a legendary story.

Thank you for reading this beautiful story!

Gonzo

2022-06-19 09:49:48, 308 views

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