Viking Very Veteran’s (VVV’s) showed up at Harrow’s on Sunday, February 11th, 2007 with nearly 40% of the Vikings within striking range of the Golden 50’s. With a thin squad of only 8 players the Vikings started their march to the top with a game against the strong Winking Frog team. The Vikings opened the scoring with a C1 assist to the Green Frog who hopped on the ball and carefully netted the ball. The WF drew the game even but then “The Real Deal” artfully dished off to C2 who slammed the ball into the back of the net to put the Vikings on top. However, to the disappointment of the entire team, the WF drew the game even in the final minutes of the game. Vikings 2 – Winking Frog 2
The next game, with little rest in between, was against the Yingchareon Vets who ran circles around the Viking Vets who were held scoreless. Vikings 0 – Yingcharoen 2.
The Viking Vets then faced a new team – Amadeus. It was all C1 / C2 in this game which saw the lead switch hands before the C1 – C2 combo put in the third goal just before time expired. C1 with an assist hat trick and C2 with an ordinary hat trick. The 3 goals by the Vikings gave them an extra point which later proved very valuable. However, the ratio of nearly Golden 50’s dropped with the injury to Sven which left the Vikings with no substitutes and aching legs. Vikings 3 – Amadeus 2
One more group game lay ahead of the Viking Vets path to the top. The Viking Vets were almost decimated with the Green Frog hopping around on one wheel and the others nearly out of fuel. Bad going to worse the next step was up the Froggy ladder. The Vikings went out with all the effort and energy they could muster to face Le Cog and quickly executed a snap free kick that C1 rifled past the unsuspecting French team to put the Vikings up 1-0 (C2 did touch the ball so is claiming an assist). This had the Froggies crying like guppies and the Scans again capitalized on the disorganized Frogs on another C2 to C1 combination. C2 layed the ball up to C1 who sported a smile from coast to coast as he put another screamer past the Le Coq goalie. The Frogs put themselves on the scoreboard late in the game but some fine defensive effort by the American troops (Matt in goal and The Real Deal scouring the mid field) secured the victory for the Scans. Vikings 2 – Le Coq 1
With the group stages completed, the Viking Vets were able to secure 2nd spot and went on to face the tough Japanese side in the Quarter Finals. The C1 – C2 combination was at it again and C2 put another two goals on the score sheet while C1 provided the assists. The second goal was a long ball by C1 headed straight for the goal which was just skimmed by C2 (C2 claims it was deflected) over the outstretched hands of the Japanese goalie. Vikings 2 – Japanese 0
It was now into the Semi-Finals and the Vikings now completely worn out and running only on fumes met the Turkish team. It was a hard fought game with a few close calls denied by Matt in goal. A number of Viking shots hit the post and the rebounds could not be put in. The final whistle blew with a scoreless draw and on to penalties. A familiar situation for the Viking Vets but not always a successful one. Matt, after being stellar in Goal, was opted out by the Green Frog who insisted that he play goalie for the Vikings for the penalty kicks. C2 stepped up first and calmly passed the ball into the corner of the net as the goalie went the opposite way. C1 was up next and found the same form from the French game and left the goalie wondering where the ball was as C1 calmly walked away. Neal then stepped up to find the same form as C1 and netted the third penalty for the Vikings. It was into sudden death for the Vikings as Christian (one of the remaining “Almost Golden 50’s Boys”) stepped up to the line. Using all of his decades of experience, he stared into the right corner of the net as he blasted the ball into the left corner to add another to the Viking total. It was now up to the Green Frog to stop the Turks from their invasion which to date had not been successful. See the Turk step up, see the Green Frog jump up, see the ball sail over the crossbar, see the Vikings in the FINAL!
It was then time for the trophy presentation. Darkness fell as C2 and the (distant) future Viking Vets proudly accepted the 2nd place trophy and C2 Topscorer trophies to end the Veteran Tournament.
P.S. The Final was Vikings zero – Cosmos “more than zero”