Colombia, Ice Tea, Penalties: KCL Radio follows the 2018 World Cup
Sweepstakes are always great fun. Be it Eurovision, the Grand National or basically any large international competition, the luck of the draw means you get to root for a team you have no prior connections to, at least more often than not. KCL Radio entered the SRA’s 2018 World Cup sweepstakes, drawing 2014’s surprise package Colombia. Aaron Casanova followed the progress of “La Tricolor” throughout the Russian summer…
First of all, getting Colombia was a very interesting draw. As mentioned, “Los Cafeteros” (The Coffee Growers, thank you Wikipedia) touched the world’s hearts four years ago. Led by James Rodriguez – who was completely robbed of the Golden Ball that year – Colombia’s electric play and general joie de vivre meant we were all very sad when they lost to hosts Brazil in the quarter-finals. This year, they came back with a worldie of a kit, national icon Radamel Falcao making his Mundial debut at 32, and an absolutely gorgeous kit (just look at it, seriously). However, in my pre-tournament bracket, I had them on a collision course with England in the second round, so maybe don’t do too well in Russia okay lads?
Matchday 1: vs Japan, 19th June, 3pm BST
Pre-match: Okay, teams are in and there’s no James, which is a concern. Falcao gets a start though on his World Cup debut, so we should be in for a cracker in a balanced-looking group with Japan (Shock Radio), Poland (Livewire) and Senegal (CSRfm).
6’: Japan 1-0; Kagawa penalty, C. Sanchez red card – Well, f**k. Complete disaster start for our boys in yellow, conceding a penalty and having a key defender sent off before I’ve even opened up the BBC video player and sipped on my iced tea.
15’: Japan go close twice, major concerns for our boys here. Iced tea sipping status has changed from nervous to frantic. Send more.
31’: Colombia have grown into what’s become another really entertaining game at this World Cup. Lightning-fast winger Juan Cuadrado (still technically of Chelsea somehow) gets hooked early though and I’m not sure why…
39’: Colombia 1-1; Quintero – GOOOOL! Beautiful free kick under the wall by Quintero levels it for the coffee growers. Think Coutinho (i hate u, i love u) v Brighton earlier this season. Little goal-line technology delay but it stands and we’re level!
HT: Colombia 1-1 Japan
60’: Japan have come hot out of the break but here comes the brilliant James to add some magic.
73’: Japan 2-1; Osako – Japan have been electric since half-time and it shows as Osako flicks home a Honda corner.
90’: Shock Radio look like taking this one home, even with five minutes left.
FT: Colombia 1-2 Japan – I am deeply saddened for our adopted team (and their kits) but not surprised as Japan largely dominated against ten men. The substitutions were hard to fathom, though James even getting game time is a positive sign for Matchday 2 against Poland and Robert Lewandowski, who only scored an all-time record 16 goals in qualifying…
Matchday 2: vs Poland, 24/06, 7pm BST
Pre-match: James returns for this loser-goes-home clash with Los Cafeteros lining up in their blue change kits. Not quite the glorious yellow Adidas strip, but still fetch. Livewire’s talisman Lewandowski is surprisingly dropped! No, not really, he obviously starts.
10’: Both teams have started like your favourite proverbial crazy things, though no goals or red cards which has been bad news for my ice tea.
30’: Fair few chances, largely for our lads in front of a very partisan crowd. The noise is such that it’s virtually a Colombia home game. At least 20,000 of the supporters are KCL Radio fans really getting stuck into the sweepstakes, which is great to see. Still no goals, though, so local seismologists have nothing to worry about yet.
40’: Colombia 1-0; Mina – GOOOOL! Barcelona new-boy and actual giant Yerry Mina opens the scoring with a header because how else would he have scored, let’s be honest? Either way, vamos!
HT: Colombia 1-0 Poland
60’: Very impressed with the coffee growers throughout this one while “Lewy” is nowhere to be seen (cue six goals from him).
70’: Colombia 2-0; Falcao – GOOOOL! Beautiful reverse pass by Quintero sets up a lovely outside-of-the-boot finish by the talismanic Falcao. “El Tigre” finally gets a World Cup goal and, even with 20 to go, it looks like we’ve got this W over Livewire, which is really more valuable than a World Cup goal to be honest.
75’: Colombia 3-0; Juan Cuadrado – GOOOOL! Glorious, magnificent, and that’s just because they’re playing old “Indiscreet” (Fridays at 2pm) episodes on the stadium PA. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe James’ pass from the halfway by-line into Juan Cuadrado’s path which is already pass of the tournament with three weeks still to play. Seriously, go watch it somewhere, words don’t do it justice. Three-nil and KCL Radio is getting its first points of the SRA World Cup!
80’: Kamil Glik, the Lewandowski of the Polish defence, comes on and I have no idea why. They’re heading out and he’s been injured for weeks leading up to Russia. Gotta shore up that back-line, I guess…
FT: Colombia 3-0 Poland – The entire Colombia team was superb, with James the leading light. Quintero was excellent also, although it’s harsh to single out from the collective. Super stuff from our boys here and it all comes down to Matchday 3 versus Senegal.
Matchday 3: vs Senegal, 28/06, 3pm BST
Pre-match: Actual must-win game on our hands tonight, so Colombia have gone all out with Carlos Sanchez returning after his Game 1 handball and red card. CSRfm’s Senegal are captained by Sadio “The Beat” Mané.
11’: Falcao gets squashed in a Senegalese sandwich in a sentence that has my “S” key crying.
18’: Senegal have a penalty given that’s overturned by VAR! Well, that was something! Keita Baldé plays in Mané in a move that would give FIFA players PTSD. Mané goes down in the box after a Yerry Mina challenge and the referee gives it, but VAR shows Mina got the ball and it’s waved off! Fair decision – no way the ref could have seen that – and somewhat overshadows some world-class defending as the game stays goalless.
25’: Senegal starting to dominate as it appears Colombia are getting a sub ready…
30’: And it’s James who comes off in a massive blow to their/chances here. Not good.
HT: Colombia 0-0 Senegal – In football parlance, “enthralling” means “uneventful, on the verge of boring, but not a complete snoozefest”. This match has been very enthralling. Colombia have been poor at best and our sweepstake is in peril.
60’: Not much to speak of in the second half, but Poland have taken the lead against Japan so both teams are going through here!
70’: I’m aware that opinions of entertainment are subjective, but this has not been a good one. Still perilously balanced, though, if either team scores then the other goes out.
74’: Colombia 1-0, Mina – GOOOOOOOOOL! The Human Tree, Yerry Mina, does it again, rising highest from a corner! Colombia heading through at this rate as group winners!
85’: Colombia are holding firm with Senegal needing two goals to go through and knock out La Tricolor.
FT: Colombia 1-0 Senegal; Colombia advance to the last-16 – Colombia have won and advance to face the loser of Belgium v England! Farewell, CSRfm! A largely unspectacular match but that is no trouble to KCL Radio’s newest heroes (at least as long as they don’t face England, at which point we’re going to have to look into our “conflict of interest guidelines”).
Matchday 4: Round of 16, vs England, 03/07, 7pm BST
Pre-match: Right, well, this is awkward. The gods of fate have had it that our Sweepstakes team face our home team in the second round, championed by Utter Radio of Salford. Did someone say “conflict of interest”? England have reverted to the team that beat Tunisia in game one, while James misses out completely for Los Cafeteros which is good(…?).
15’: Good, fast-paced start to this one, though no clear chances yet.
30’: England are the better team here, but are still a pass away from scoring. Colombia have rarely looked threatening at all so far.
42’: The game explodes into life with a crazy few minutes in the Colombian box. Chingford’s own Harry Kane is hacked down for a well-positioned free kick. As the wall sets up, Liverpool captain (and, therefore, third in line to the throne) Jordan Henderson goes down holding his face. VAR shows a headbutt by Barrios that gets reviewed in the booth and somehow doesn’t receive a red card. Unbelievable. The free kick is eventually taken by Trippier and goes just wide.
45’: Mina and Sterling get into a shorts and shirts tangle in the Colombia box that amounts to nothing and typifies the way this game has gone so far.
HT: Colombia 0-0 England
50’: Still nothing to see here.
57’: England 1-0, Kane penalty – Goal to England. I mean, GOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL! Loads of holding (unsurprisingly) at an England corner leads to an England penalty. After three minutes – a genuine era in football, beards can grow in that time – of Colombian arguing, Sir Harry Kane clips it down the middle to put our sweepstake in peril and that’s not the worst thing that could happen.
64’: The game’s getting out of control here, Colombia racking up the fouls and yellow cards. More names in the referee’s book than [REDACTED].
70’: Foul after foul as we go beyond boiling point.
77’: Colombia really starting to turn up the pressure here, pinning the red English shirts back into their own box. Tense like a taut string.
82’: Juan Cuadrado misses a glorious chance to equalise after a sloppy give-away by the England defence. He’s on loan at Juventus from Chelsea, so it’s your discretion based on nationality as to where he actually plays.
90’: Colombia have dominated the closing moments of the game, naturally, as England struggle to get a grip.
90’+2: Jordan “Manuel Neuer” Pickford with the save of the tournament from a 35-yard Uribe volley that would have been goal of the tournament. Too tense to even make any jokes at this point.
90’+3: Colombia 1-1, Mina – gooool(!) From the ensuing corner, El Árbol Gigante scores yet another header to send this one to extra time. Heartbreaking, although English pub landlords might disagree just a touch.
FT: Colombia 1-1 England
96’: Like a good, well-sourced cup of Colombian espresso, La Tricolor are full of life in extra time, picking up where they left off at the end of regulation.
103’: Port salesman and Red Bull aficionado Jamie Vardy looks lively as ever after coming on as a substitute.
HT ET: Colombia 1-1 England
115’: Danny Rose puts one just wide, then Eric Dier blazes a free header over the bar that really should have put us out of the SRA Sweepstakes. “Tension” is the correct spelling, right?
FT ET: Colombia 1-1 England, match goes to penalties
FT: England win on penalties 4-3 – FORGET THE SWEEPSTAKE, ENGLAND HAVE WON A GAME ON PENALTIES! ARISE SIR JORDAN PICKFORD! ARISE SIR HARRY KANE! HAIL YOUR NEW GOD, GARETH SOUTHGATE! ENGLAAAAAAAAND!!!
So, our sweepstakes is in tatters as early as the second round. Colombia brought us some wonderful celebrations, glorious football, and gorgeous kits in the 2018 World Cup but all of that ultimately doesn’t matter because of one thing: it’s coming home.