This Sunday the Scandinavian Vikings were facing a well-known opponent: Japan BKK Utd. Despite the fact that our Japanese friends didn’t score any points so far this season, there was no reason to underestimate our opponent as results in recent encounters did not always end well for the Vikings. With a strong squad of 18! players, coaches Nate and Eero had the challenging task to secure the 3 points for this must-win game and staying in the race for the top 6 positions.
The coaches had clearly put some serious effort in our strategic battle plan this time. A plan for which the preparation already started several weeks ago. The first ingenuity of the plan was to, in absene of captain “redbeard” Simon who was raiding some villages in southern Europe, appoint our Japanese goalie “shield wall” Shimo as captain. The second aspect was to strategically position fellow Japanese Yakuza Viking Taka on the bench together with our master in disguise: Lobspy to look out for any verbal and non-verbal signs of changes in the opponent’s strategy. Lobspy (whose nationality remains a mystery until this day) was even sent on a secret mission to Japan before the game to infiltrate into the Japanese football culture. In order not to give away the actual reason he said he went to Japan to watch Rugby and buy some kind of magic cream for Tim. He did an amazing job not giving away his cover even before, during and after the game by watching a livestream of rugby instead of watching the game: what a dedication! The third and last pillar of the masterplan to overcome the well organized and skillful Japanese opponents was to beat them with their own weapons: discipline and focus. For that, coach Nate introduced the element of KPI’s: key performance indicators (for the less educated raiders amongst us). KPI’s are a kind of measurements, typically used in corporate emironments to evaluate whether peope and/or processes perform against their pre-defined targets. Perhaps because coach Nate forgot to share what the actual target of the KPI was and players were so confused trying to figure this out instead of focusing on playing football because absolutely nothing worthwhile mentioning happened in the first quarter of the game.
It was Victor who apparently got rid of the confusion and broke the impasse by taking on the first chance of the game after 20 minutes. Unfortunately his shot hit the crossbar after a good ran through the channel. After 30 minutes, coach Nate decided to take charge and the first subs entered the pitch. Relieved from the KPI pressure (as Nate could no longer measure the KPI’s being on the pitch), the Vikings were now getting more control of the game with better composure and more accurate passing. This resulted in the first goal just before half-time. Target man Kenny won the header just outside the box and managed to get the ball to Nate who caught the Japanese goalie by surprise with a precise shot in the lower corner: 1:0.
After a short rest and some useless pep talks, the second half started in the same way as the first half ended: with the Vikings on the upper hand. A couple of changes were created but finishing and final passing were missing accuracy. On the other side the Vikings needed to be careful for the counterattacks as our opponent had some skillful players in their midfield and forward line. Luckily our strong Japanese defense lead by Shimo and Taka could anticipate these attacks in an early stage based on their weeks of pre-study. Half way through the second half the Vikings made the well-deserved second goal. After a stunning pass from MoM Shane, it was again Kenny who delivered the ball to Victor with a cross from the right wing. Victor speeding to the first post, putting his foot to the ball before anyone else: 2:0. Being 2 goals downs, the Japanese were leaving their defensive line in an attempt to get back into the game. They put some pressure on the Viking defense but without creating any real chances. This more offensive strategy also opened up the pitch, giving away space to the fast Viking forwards for the counterattack. Several opportunities to finish the game were missed. Only with a couple of minutes to play it was our new Finnish star Abdi who scored the decisive third goal after excellent pre-work from Scholle. A well-deserved victory for the Scandinavian Vikings after a tough game (especially for the spectators). Many thanks to Japan BKK Utd for their sportsmanship and putting up a good fight! Luckily because of coaches Nate and Eero we were well prepared this time!
Some refreshing beers after the game helped to ease the pain of our sore muscles. And while Eero and Nate were doing their romantic cooling down, Tim was able to capture the image of the Vikings setting the sun on the rising sun..
P.S. actual KPI performance (after 30 minutes) was:
Won the ball 11 times
Of which 6 passes forward (4 correct, 2 incorrect)
And 5 passes backward/sideways (5 correct, 0 incorrect)