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This is a repost from the updates section for the Kickstarter campaign.
We met on Monday to decide the fate of the 1st semi-final between Portugal and Wales. After ordering 2 pizzas, Picanta for me and Mesta for Marek, we flipped a coin to decide who plays which team. Actually this was pretty decisive as I have like 80% winning ratio against Marek
I got Wales. First success! Moment later the teams were out on the pitch.
Wales kick-off and I immediately lose the ball in midfield. Marek decides to start strong and moments later we have a Scoring Opportunity for Portugal! I know that all I need to do is watch for their gold you-know-who Goal Poacher. As long as I keep him away from goal, I should be fine.
„As long as I keep him away from goal” – right. Try telling that to all those defenders terrorized by Goal-naldo. I don’t even know how he managed to get into this position so easily considering the fact there are just 2 Portugal Utility Men to support him. On the left you see the power of his shot 4+4, so the most powerful hit in Hat-Trick performed from the best shooting position. Luckily, my goalkeeper dived right guessing correctly and getting 1 card more to try and save this monster of a hit. On the right you can see his lame effort: 2+1+2. Not enough. Portugal take the 1-0 lead. I am pretty much shell-shocked. The positives? My goalkeeper gets into his star side.
COMMENT: In the expansion, players will flip to the other side having used their skill. Goalkeeper is a bit different – when on his regular side, he flips to his star side whenever he guesses correctly where the ball will go. When on the star side, he flips to the regular side after each intervention. And there is one more thing – take a look.
You all probably know that right after scoring a goal you simply cannot lose your focus as the other team wants to hit back as soon as possible. So it is crucial not to let them get anywhere close our penalty area. Well, Portugal did.
To be honest, I don’t even remember how it all happened. I must have been so shocked after conceding so early that I just simply made a run, gave the ball to the Goal-naldo’s Welsh team-mate and sent a volley from 16 yards right under the bar. The goalkeeper did not see this one coming. The power of the shot 6 and in the top-left corner you can see goalkeeper’s cards. That’s right, he got 5. After 6 minutes it’s all square. Incredible!
COMMENT: In the past 2 years, some reviewers have claimed that Hat-Trick is a low-scoring game. It is not, believe me, but only after you master it. At the beginning, the goals will indeed be hard to come by, but I assure you that after a dozen of plays, you will see the difference – both in the fluency of your game and the numbers of goals scored. Oh, and don’t think that expansion did this – it does increase the goal ratio slightly, but in this particular case, we were still to use a player skill!
Wales intercepts a short pass in the middle of the pitch.
Their recently gold-dyed Box-to-box Midfielder (who, unfortunately, won’t be playing today) surges forward looking for a killer pass.
He finds a team-mate on the edge of the area...
...who plays a beautiful one-two with the Welsh wizard (and I don’t mean Giggs as there’s a new Welsh wizard in town) sending him through on goal.
He tries to lift the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper...
...but the goalkeeper guesses correctly, making a spectacular save. If only he had not anticipated where the shot would go, Wales would have taken the lead as the shot had the power of 5 and the first two goalkeeper’s cards were 1 and 3.
COMMENT: One may say that this goalkeeper’s guessing game is a pure lottery. However, I and Marek grew up together watching so many matches in the process and playing every computer manager imaginable that we pretty much know how the other one perceives football. Hence, in our matches, the ratio of these correct guesses is higher than 50%. Oh, and by the way – this Scoring Opportunity was sponsored by False 9’s gold skill. I simply love it. Take a look.
Apart from a failed dribbling atempt which would put a Welsh number 10 one on one, there were no more highlights in the first half. It finishes 1-1 which is a fair result. We finish our pizzas, which is also fair.
The first 20 minutes of the 2nd half were a drab affair. We simply cancelled each other out as I really wanted Wales to reach the final and Marek would love to lower this 80% losing ratio; especially that the whole world was going to read about it
COMMENT: One thing worth mentioning is perhaps a wonderful tackle by the Disciplined FB. Those who have played Hat-Trick more may have noticed that wingers are pretty good at initiating Scoring Opportunity – especially after leaving full-backs behind. The Disciplined FB was designed to prevent this tactics. Have a look.
Do not underestimate this guy – he can make a difference. Not only can he reposition your winger who is about to enter the final corner of the pitch with the ball and initiate the Scoring Opp., but also defend against your dribbling afterwards. Oh, and he flips to the gold side by doing this, becoming in the process even bigger nuisance. Of course, you will lose some firepower on the wings by giving up on Overlapping or Tireless FBs, but when you have a slender lead to defend, he’s your man.
Speaking of Full-backs – if you want to play modern football, it is good to invest in more offensive ones. Welsh number 9 makes an ambitious attempt to play a realy long diagonal ball to the Tireless Full-back on the other wing. This is the most expensive of all FBs. His gold skill allows him to jump into any free space in his column which makes him deadly in these situations.
Not deadly enough for Marek, though. The Hand of God intervenes and Portugal is back on the attack.
Moments later the Portugal’s Disciplined FB is again in the thick of it, this time, however, a hero turns to villain. He loses his focus – which can be unforgiving both in Hat-Trick and in real football – letting Welsh Tireless FB sneak behind his back and help his team-mates trigger a Scoring Opportunity.
Welsh Wizard is at it again, unleashing a screamer from what seems to be his favorite shooting position today. The ball once more goes underside the bar, and again the goalkeeper got this one wrong.
Power 7, he gets 3 cards.
First one (on the left) and it’s 2.
He needs 5 more.
And now the dreaded 1.
He needs 4 with his last card to make this save.
The final card: 2. It's a goal! Wales take the 2-1 lead. They are 14 minutes from reaching the historic final.
I really wanted to see this one through – just see how many Welsh players I had camped in my own half. But with adventurous Full-backs you will always be weaker on the wings. Even my strong cards could not make up for this negliegence.
So I simply focused on keeping the Goal Poacher at bay. See him at the very bottom?
And yet he managed to find enough space to send a shot. How? Beats me.
The goalkeeper makes a dramatic save, Portuguese Goal Poacher makes a dramatic face, Marek makes his losing ratio rise by another percent and I capture one final photo. Wales survive!
Thanks for reading. if you've made it this far, you're my hero!