2006 HBS World Cup Has a Champion… France

Very few people would have bet one Euro on the French soccer team after its first game in the HBS Indoor Soccer Tournament organized by Club Latinoamericano and the Soccer Club. With an 8-3 loss against Spain for their first match, just a crazy investment banker would have bought France stock.

Even after winning consecutive games against Eastern Europe, Asia, U.S.A. and Mexico and reaching the final, the chances of France winning against this same Spanish team loaded with talented players were very small.

However, from the first minutes, people who had attended both games realized the progress made by the French team. “Impossible is not French” they used to say.

Following the HBS transforming-experience model, the French built a solid defense and a great transition system between defense and attack throughout the matches. “Les Bleus” tried to compete with the Spanish team. And against all odds, the French team led 4-2 by half time, containing the two Spanish strikers Xabi Vazquez-Gil (NC) and Jon Fernandez de Barrena (NF). Moreover, with Nico “Motor” Batrel (NF) and St‚phane “The Locomotive” Heuze (NB), the team found some gun powder and a well-deserved two-goal advantage.

The second half started in a very different mode and the “toreros” were furious after the first half, so they started elevating their game play. After 10 minutes into the second half, the Spaniards had totally reversed the score with a 6-4 lead. Xabi, Jon,ÿDavid Priego (OJ), Professor Asis Martinez-Jerez and Co. were literally scoring on every possession against a French team near agony. But the French, this time, were not going to abandon and decided to start a revolution (maybe inspired by their “colleagues” back in the country).

With a re-solidified defense led by Nico Achard (NI), Arnaud Loiseau (NJ) and Raphael Geismar (OC) and with great saves by Kevin “Preud’homme” Nobels (NJ), the French team led great counterattacks and scored three times.

Spain, however, did not abandon its effort, and with a couple of minutes left in the game, the team threw all its forces into the battle. Xabi’s last shot hit the post before rebounding on the French line and being saved by the goalkeeper after a second attempt! However, “la messe ‚tait dite,” the cock killed the bull and France won the first HBSÿSoccer World Cup!

April 24, 2006
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