Disclaimer: The following article is a work of fiction meant for humour. No offense is meant towards any team or its supporters.
This past Sunday the first-ever World Tournament of Rejects pulled down its curtain in the ad hoc capital of the football world, Italy. A nail-biting final between the Argentina Rejects and Rest of the Rejects XI marked the end of the tournament, a game which ended 2-1 in favour of the former. This result made it official that Argentina had the best group of rejects among the five participating teams.
Argentina Rejects: Gerónimo Rulli, Mauro Icardi, Érik Lamela, Carlos Tevez, Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Pablo Zabaleta, Ezequiel Garay, Diego Perotti, Lautaro Martinez, Ricardo Centurion, Guido Pizarro, Leandro Paredes, Maximiliano Meza, Enzo Pérez, Pablo Pérez, Ramiro Funes Mori, Eduardo Salvio, Germán Pezzella.
France Rejects: Benoît Costil, Mathieu Debuchy, Aymeric Laporte, Kurt Zouma, Layvin Kurzawa, Kingsley Coman, Adrien Rabiot, Moussa Sissoko, Anthony Martial, Alexandre Lacazette, Karim Benzema.
Brazil Rejects: Neto, Fabinho, David Luiz, Rodrigo Caio, Alex Sandro, Arthur Melo, Allan, Anderson Talisca, Lucas Moura, Malcom, Luan.
Spain Rejects: Salvador Sanchez de Lope, Hector Bellerin, Sergi Roberto, Cesc Fàbregas, Álvaro Morata, Juan Mata, Marcos Alonso, Javi Martinez, Ander Herrera, Pedro Rodriguez, Marc Bartra, Daniel Parejo, José Callejón.
Rest of the Rejects XI: Joe Hart, Jack Wilshere, Emre Can, Radja Nainggolan, Shkodran Mustafi, Mario Götze, André Gomes, Nani, Eder, Leroy Sane, Sandro Wagner.
Argentina Rejects vs Spain Rejects
The curtain-raiser for the tournament promised plenty of action and attacking strides but somehow could not fulfil the initial expectations. The match ended in a goalless tie, with both sides playing uninspired and boring football. It was as though the match itself was a testament as to why these groups of players were snubbed for the actual World Cup. The match hardly had any incident worth mentioning apart from a 93rd minute Marcos Alonso free-kick from the edge of the opposition box which even though touched away by the goalkeeper Rulli, hit the post and came back only to bounce off the back of Rulli's head and fly over the crossbar for a corner.
Brazil Rejects vs France Rejects
Unlike the first match of the day, this encounter between two behemoths offered plenty of attacking football and box-to-box action, finishing with a 3-1 scoreline in favour of Brazil. David Luiz gave the Seleção an early lead in the very first minute of the match when he put the ball past Benoît Costil from a corner kick. But they could only hold onto the lead for seven minutes as Adrien Rabiot smashed a 30-yard golazo from a free-kick. The scoreline remained 1-1 at halftime but it was Lucas Moura who stole the show in the second half scoring two quick goals in three minutes to give Brazil a resounding win. Arthur Melo was judged the “Reject of the Match” for his two wonderful assists.
Spain Rejects vs Rest of the Rejects XI
Rest of the Rejects XI shocked the world (or at least whichever part of it was paying attention) when they snatched away a 2-0 victory over tournament favourites Spain by scoring on injury time of either halves. Emre Can and Nani got on the scoresheet for the much-ridiculed underdogs, who were presumably labelled as “reject of the rejects” before the start of the tournament.
Argentina Rejects vs France Rejects
A controversial red card for Adrien Rabiot headlined the newspapers the next day; Argentina triumphed 3 goals to nil over a 10-men France, thanks to Mauro Icardi's “perfect” hattrick. The red card caused a massive uproar among the French supporters. This led to some of them creating a petition, calling for the cancellation of the match and a replay at a neutral venue, preferably behind closed doors. Till date the petition has received around 420k signatures.
Brazil Rejects vs Rest of the Rejects XI
Rest of the Rejects XI continued their impressive run of form by registering a 0-0 draw against mighty Brazil. David Luiz criticised the opponent in his post-match conference for coming into the match with a defensive approach, calling them a team with “small mentality”. Nani fired back at these accusations by saying, “Oh, I would not take the words of a defender who was on the receiving end of a 7-1 thumping in 2014 too seriously now, would I? He knows very little about defensive compactness, no wonder he ended up in this tournament.” Ouch.
Spain Rejects vs France Rejects
Spain bounced back from their upsetting loss in the previous round with a dominant 5-1 win (Morata 2x, Pedro 2x, Callejón 1x; Martial 1x). The coach from the French side defended his decision to drop Benzema from the starting XI with the statement, “I am not Zidane. Benzema cannot expect to start in every match.”
Argentina Rejects vs Brazil Rejects
No definite winner emerged from this clash between two eternal rivals as the match ended in a 3-all draw. Paredes was sent off late for dramatically trying to score with his hand. When asked about the reason behind his actions, he joked that since this tournament had no VAR unlike the World Cup, he wanted to try out his luck.
France Rejects vs Rest of the Rejects XI
Boosted by their unbeaten run thus far, Rest of the Rejects XI mounted on the momentum to register a 1-0 victory against a lacklustre performance from the French side yet again. Reports came out post-match saying that Martial had a heated confrontation with the coach in the locker room during half-time. Tempers flared as the player threw remarks like “Even Mourinho wouldn't have benched me in this match!” at the latter.
Argentina Rejects vs Rest of the Rejects XI
A match of formality, since both the teams were already assured a place in Sunday's final. Argentina won the first round of the bout with a 2-0 win, finally putting a stop to the opposition's unbeaten run.
Spain Rejects vs Brazil Rejects
One final match before catching the flight back to their respective homelands, or Ibiza, both the teams decided to give it their best in an attempt to prove a point. The match ended 3-2; victory to Spain.
Argentina Rejects vs Rest of the Rejects XI
Post-match, Reject of the Tournament Mauro Icardi took a dig at Jorge Sampaoli, stating that ironically a group of overlooked players ended Argentina's 32-year title drought. “I may not be a good teammate, but I am a darn good footballer. And this 'Reject of the Tournament' award is proof of that,” he added after helping La Albicelestes lift the trophy with a brace in the final.
Md. Zamilur Rahman Shuvo is a self-proclaimed foodie and comic geek. So if you have enough money to treat him with kacchi and think that 'Martha' scene from 'Batman v Superman' was logical, he will be interested to hang out with you. Connect with him at your own risk at email@example.com