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The Pentagon Challenge

Around the World in Thirty Years
Started on 15 June 2014 by CarlosV96
Latest Reply on 24 June 2014 by CarlosV96
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November 10th, 2013

Hargreaves Resigns from East Bengal F.C. Post

English international resigns after back-to-back poor results

The match that was seemingly made in heaven this summer when East Bengal F.C. brought on foreign manager Owen Hargreaves has been splintered mutually by both parties this afternoon.

Despite what was a promising string of results to begin the 2013-14 Indian National Football League campaign, Hargreaves' East Bengal F.C. side saw their fortunes turn for the worse towards the end of October, and the Red and Gold Brigade haven't won a match since early October.

The run of poor form culminated yesterday evening, with Hargreaves' side losing in uninspired fashion against bottom-table Mumbai F.C., 3-1, in front of a season-low 34678 fans at their massive Salt Lake Stadium.

Hargreaves announced his resignation today at an uneasy press conference, which saw him joined and offended at the podium by club president Pranab Dasgupta.

"This is a good club, and it's unfortunate that this string of results has drawn my time here to a close on negative terms," said Hargreaves, diplomatically kicking off the presser before Dasgupta began firing away.

"We are a brilliant club, with excellent foreign players, in an excellent league! We are very happy to see the backside of Owen, because he wasn't getting the performances out of our players that we know they are capable of," the 62 year-old club president shouted before making his shock announcement. "I will be taking over as manager of East Bengal F.C., effective immediately! We hereby relieve Mr. Hargreaves of all his duties with our club, and will not deliver him his contract release fee, because we feel he did little to deserve it."

At this point of the press conference, Hargreaves spat in the general direction of Dasgupta, and all hell broke loose in Calcutta. Reporters smashing chairs on each others' backs, wives scrapping in the waiting room, team photos and memorabilia being looted by starving club attendants- an embarrassing scene all around for a club that is mired in the midst of an uninspired run.

All things considered, Hargreaves did not do a terrible job at the helm for East Bengal F.C., and leaves them in decent position to make a run at the league title, with the team only three points behind first-place Pune F.C..

World Football magazine reached Mr. Hargreaves at his condominium just outside of Calcutta, and it's needless to say he's less than thrilled:

"An excellent league? Come on, half the players aren't even paid! The club, the president, it's all one disaster after another for the Indian league! I'm on the next flight to Heathrow, this league, club, and country are an absolute joke," spouted the obviously wounded Anglo-Canadian.

While his time at East Bengal F.C. is up, it remains to be seen whether Hargreaves will continue on as manager of India's Under-21 side, who have had a very mixed bag of results since he took over this past summer.

Next Update- What Now For Hargreaves?
CarlosV96's avatar Group CarlosV96
10 yearsEdited
December 1st, 2013

Owen Hargreaves has resigned, effective immediately, from his duties with the Indian Under-21 national team.
I'll say it again and I'll say it a million times. Hargreaves = Noob.
March 8th, 2014

Hargreaves Re-enters Football Management

Former Manchester United manager Owen Hargreaves has re-entered the football world today, and quite shockingly at that. The 33 year-old Hargreaves was unveiled in Malaysia this afternoon as the new manager of Sime Darby F.C..

The club, which plays in the Malaysian second division, came within a single point of promotion last season, and will be looking to Hargreaves for leadership.

"Honestly, I haven't got a clue what he's doing," commented former teammate Rio Ferdinand to ESPN FC. "Heading off with his family into the Malaysian jungle- it's not even the first division," laughed the veteran centerback heartily.

Hargreaves could not be reached for comment in Malaysia, but seemed excited about his new opportunity during the press conference.

Sime Darby F.C. are currently sitting mid-table at roughly the halfway mark of the 2014 Malaysian Premier League season (2nd division):

The club were recently handed an early exit in the Malaysian FA Cup 2nd Round, as they were defeated 2-1 AET by Super League (1st division) relegation candidates Felda United.

Hargreaves certainly has a tough task ahead of him, as he tries to pull Sime Darby F.C. out of mid-table mediocrity and back into the promotion race in the second half of the season.

Next Update - March+April Update
March 9th, 2014

This is it. My new home. Barren, dusty, and hopeless.

This is where I've decided to relocate my family, and go all-in with my chips.

Selangor, Malaysia.

I feel a hand on my shoulder- turning, I see a bright-eyed, middle-aged Malaysian man nervously hopping from one foot to the other beside me, hand stretched.

"Um, hello," I ask, shaking the outstretched hand, somewhat afraid of the nervous little man's response.

"Hello Mr. Hargreaves, my name is Razali Imbi, and I am the assistant manager here at Sime Darby FC," he rattled off nervously before bursting with excitement, "Can I have your autograph?"

"Uh, sure," I reply, a little taken aback. THIS is my assistant manager?
"I look forward to working with you, what kinds of qualifications and licenses do you have," I inquire.

"Well, Mister Hargreaves, I have a National Youth License, and I am currently studying for my Continental B License," he beams, obviously filled with pride at his pathetic accomplishment.

"Well...that's a start," I say, realizing immediately I will probably have to fire this excitable little man sometime in the next few weeks. "Lovely meeting you, I look forward to working with you," I say with my best 'BBC Sport interview' smile.

"No, it was lovely meeting YOU, sir!" he exclaims, backing away without ever taking his eyes off me. Creep.

Suddenly, I notice a piece of paper in my hand. Thinking it's a ransom note, I open it quickly to see a list of scribbled names...of players...on my team...that are injured.

My whole bloody team is injured! My three biggest imports, my 'keeper, everything! What have I gotten myself into!!!

Next Update - March-May Review
Woah... all them injuries... :/.

March-May Recap

Solid Start in the Middle of Nowhere

Despite all of our injuries, it's been a relatively successful start for me with Sime Darby F.C.- a couple of solid wins have been balanced by some pretty awful losses, most recently a 3-0 thrashing suffered on home turf against the worst team in the league.

While it wasn't a terrible run all things considered, losses against mid-table Sarawak and bottom-table UiTM essentially killed our small hope of making a late-stage promotion bid.

We are now safely mid-table, with no chance of being dragged into a relegation battle.

Inside Owen's Head

I can't stand it here- the heat, the mosquitoes, the terrible pitches, the awful personalities. Squad morale is low and for some reason, these arseholes don't respect me- I'm Owen f***ing Hargreaves, I have caps for England, and these players are scrubs in the Malaysian Second Division! I've just about had it with bullshit Asian leagues, and I think I should move on to some place more developed in football...South America perhaps? I'll see out the campaign here, but I don't plan on staying here a minute later than I have to.

Next Update- End of Malaysian Premier League Season + Owen's Future

2014 Sime Darby F.C. Season Recap

My first match in charge was the 2-1 victory over Perlis, and under me the club posted a very respectable 6W-2D-4L. Again, I spoke of the morale issues in my last post- I couldn't motivate my players for the life of me in the final two matches.

We ended up in a respectable 7th place, and could have finished as high as fifth had we decided to actually show up for the final two matches of the season.

2014 Sime Darby F.C. Player of the Year

Ghanaian centerback William Mensah took home the SDFC Player of the Year award, as he was the only one of our three foreign-designated players that averaged a match rating over 6.50 (read "Was the only Foreign Designated Player that was not a complete disappointment). Averaged a 6.83 match rating while leading the back line, only committed five fouls all season, showcasing remarkable discipline. Incredbily, Mensah featured as a regular CB in Kwasi Appiah's Ghana squad, though averaged a poor 5.75 match rating while making four starts for the Black Stars over the course of my tenure at SDFC. The 32 year-old is rumoured to be heading back to his native Ghana to finish his career in the GPL.

Official Resignation Letter

Dear esteemed fans, players, and board members of Sime Darby F.C.,

While I have relished my brief opportunity with your wonderful club as a new experience in a foreign country, it is time for me to relinquish the reins which I have so little knowledge of how to control.

Malaysian football is not my expertise, nor do I want to pretend it is any longer. I will be returning to my native England effective tomorrow, July 9th, 2014, and will be relieving myself of all managerial duties with Sime Darby F.C..

It's been a fun ride, but quite honestly the unique challenges presented to me by a supporter base numbering just 200, and a club deep in debt, in the Malaysian Second Division, were simply too much for me.

It's been a pleasure managing your club,

Owen Hargreaves

BBC Sport World Cup Recap, with Gary Lineker, Rio Ferdinand, and Owen Hargreaves

BBC Sport Special: World Cup Recap

Gary Lineker: Welcome to BBC Sport's World Cup 2014 Recap show, we've got a full slate ahead of us as we recap each group and knockout match right up until the moment Ecuador shockingly lifted the golden trophy just a few days ago at the Estadio Maracana.

We've got a lot to do, so I'll briefly introduce my other two panelists for this afternoon's special-

On my right, we've got Rio Ferdinand, who needs no introduction. 17 competition victories, including two Champions Leagues, give Rio plenty of experience to draw from on today's recap. Currently, Rio is player-manager of Manchester United's Under-21 squad. Welcome Rio, what was the single biggest key for Ecuador in their historic win in Brazil?

Rio Ferdinand: Thanks for that wonderful introduction Gary! Honestly, this is the biggest Cinderella Story I've ever seen in international football. Ecuador were a team of misfits that bonded together throughout a trick group which saw them defeat Belgium and New Zealand, but also suffer a dominating defeat at the hands of England. Striker Joffre Guerron became the man to rise to the occassion, netting three goals in group play and four total. When it counted, it was Joao Rojas, his partner in the Ecuadorian strikeforce, who stepped up his game- an unheard-of SEVEN goals in the knockout round for the Cruz Azul man ensured he took home the Golden Boot running away!

Gary Lineker: And now, on my left, we welcome former England international midfielder Owen Hargreaves. Owen, you've been traipsing around Asia for the past year- tell us about what it was like, slinging mud in the Malaysian jungle.

Owen Hargreaves: In a word Gary, it was hell. I'm just glad to be on home soil, and I don't plan on returning to Malaysia or India anytime soon!

Gary Lineker: Right you are- I'm sure a spot of sausage will settle well in your stomach after months of curry and noodles, aye?

Owen Hargreaves: Right you are Gary, aha. I'm honestly shocked that Ecuador won the tournament- after New Zealand and Qatar, they were probably the team I least expected to make a run! I fully expected them to get pummeled by the likes of England and Belgium in Group C, but hey- they got the job done!

Gary Lineker: Alright lads, let's take it away with our group reviews!

Group A

Turkey 2W-1D-0L (7)
Brazil 1W-2D-0L (5)
Saudi Arabia 0W-2D-1L (2)
Ghana 0W-1D-2L (1)

A bumpy ride for the host Brazilians saw them draw unconvincingly against Turkey in the opening match of the tournament, and they struggled throughout, drawing Saudi Arabia and beating Ghana via three penalties. Awful disappointment for Ghana, as they finished -4 and last in a group they felt they could've advanced from. Solid account from Saudi Arabia, who competed in every match.

Group B

Argentina 3W-0D-0L (9)
Algeria 1W-1D-1L (4)
Mexico 0W-2D-1L (2)
Slovakia 0W-1D-2L (1)

Argentina pummeled everybody in a decidedly weak Group B, scoring a whopping twelve goals- five of which came from a certain Lionel Messi. Algeria bounced back from a 0-5 defeat against Argentina to beat Slovakia 2-1 in their final game and advance in character fashion. Very poor tournament defensively for Mexico, who will feel they should've advanced from this group.

Group C

England 3W-0D-0L (9)
Ecuador 2W-0D-1L (6)
Belgium 1W-0D-2L (3)
New Zealand 0W-0D-3L (0)

This group was fairly open-and-close, with England not conceding a single goal en route to a perfect debut in Brazil. The battle for the second spot in the Knockout Round came down to Ecuador's 2-nil victory at the Castelao over a poor Belgian side which fired Marc Wilmots after their early exit. New Zealand were outclassed in all three of their matches, conceding twelve goals while scoring just twice. England were...perfectly primed for a deep World Cup run...

Group D

France 2W-1D-0L (7)
Ivory Coast 2W-0D-1L (6)
Uruguay 1W-1D-1L (4)
Costa Rica 0W-0D-3L (0)

A very solid debut for France saw them cruise past everyone lest Uruguay, whom they drew 0-0. Costa Rica were poor, failing to properly play a 5-4-1 while conceding eight goals and failing to score. Disappointment for Uruguay, who were shocked 3-0 by Ivory Coast- jubilation for the Indomitable Lions, who will be ecstatic to have advanced from one of the Groups of Death.

Group E

Italy 2W-1D-0L (7)
Chile 2W-0D-1L (6)
USA 1W-1D-1L (4)
Ireland 0W-0D-3L (0)

This group went according to plan, other than a 2-2 draw between the US and Italy on opening day. Ireland nearly picked up a point in a thriller against Chile, losing 4-3 at the death on an Alexis Sanchez goal. Good outing for the US, who represented CONCACAF very well. Chile's defense looked predictably weak, but Sanchez and Vidal were buzzing throughout the group stage.

Group F

Russia 2W-1D-0L (7)
Germany 1W-2D-0L (5)
Cameroon 1W-0D-2L (3)
Australia 0W-1D-2L (1)

A thrilling group which saw Fabio Capello's Russia rise to the occassion. Germany only managed two disappointing 0-0 draws against Russia and Australia, and squeaked by Cameroon 1-0. A poor tournament for Australia, though they were not expected to do much anyways. Cameroon left an opportunity to shock people on the table, with their opening game defeat against Germany leaving them out of the knockout round.

Group G

Spain 3W-0D-0L (9)
Portugal 1W-1D-1L (4)
Paraguay 0W-2D-1L (2)
South Korea 0W-1D-2L (1)

A dominating performance throughout by Spain, who were only in one close game (a 2-1 victory over Paraguay), posting a +6 goal differential. Portugal were pushed to the brink by Paraguay, who held them to a draw. In the end, Paraguay's 1-1 draw on opening day against South Korea sunk what was otherwise a very credible performance. South Korea were very disappointing, and their manager was consequently sacked afterwards.

Group H

Switzerland 2W-1D-0L (7)
Netherlands 2W-0D-1L (6)
Qatar 0W-2D-1L (2)
Egypt 0W-1D-2L (1)

Arguably the weakest group in the entire tournament, and Netherlands still managed to cock it up. A shocking 2-1 Swiss victory over NED, powered by two Dzemaili crackers, allowed the 'Refined Reds' to claim first in the group. Neither Qatar nor Egypt were exactly inspiring, though Qatar did manage to draw Switzerland in a meaningless final match.

Gary Lineker: We'll be back after the break for the culmination of our World Cup 2014 Review. Stay tuned as currently unemployed manager Owen Hargreaves will take questions on his future after the break!

Great update. Hopefully you find a good club
CarlosV96's avatar Group CarlosV96
10 yearsEdited

BBC Sport Special: World Cup Recap

Gary Lineker: Welcome back to BBC Sport's 2014 World Cup Recap, now it's time for us to grill our good friend and guest analyst, Owen Hargreaves, about his managerial future! Owen, firstly, do you see a return to Asia on the cards for you in the near future?

OH: Well Gary, I'd certainly like to think so. There is nothing quite like the drama and passion of international football, and I would love to play a part in a country's quest for global supremacy!

GL: Well there are, by my count, five international jobs available: South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and France, who are all coming off of disappointing World Cup 2014 performances. Where do you see yourself as a good fit?

OH: Gary to be honest I would be honoured to manage any of those five nations, but I would really like to have a go at South Korea- it's the football capital of Asia, and I feel as though my Asian experiences thus far have been disastrous. It would be nice to have a third crack at Asia on a much bigger, brighter stage than the first two I was at. Plus, South Korean food is the shizz, man!

GL: Owen, you have no international experience as a manager? Not even any elite club management either! Do you feel you're really ready mate?

OH: Ever since my international career was cut short by a variety of horrific knee injuries I experienced, I've just wanted to prove that I can compete again on the global stage. My goal is to manage at the 2018 World Cup Gary...I just need someone to take a chance on me!

GL: Fair play mate! We'll wrap up our World Cup 2014 Review now with an overview of the Knockout stage!

Round of 16

Algeria 1:2 Turkey
A late Nuri Sahin free kick sent the Turks cartwheeling into the Quarters deservedly, as they outshot Algeria 18-5 and controlled 73% possesion.

Argentina 1:0 Brazil
After a Sergio Aguero 3rd minute marker, a whopping eleven yellow cards were dished out in this tense affair which saw the hosts eliminated despite outshooting Argentina 21-9.

England (P) 1:1 Ivory Coast
Despite getting dominated from start to finish, a 72nd minute Gareth Barry marker sent the match into extra time for 10-man England, who then shocked everybody by actually WINNING a penalty shootout!

Ecuador 1:0 France
Joao Rojas picked up his second goal of the tournament on a 52nd minute screamer from distance, and it was all Ecuador would need to give the French a surprise early exit.

Germany (AET) 1:0 Italy
After Miroslav Klose uncharacteristically missed a key penalty early in the 93rd minute, Mesut Ozil sent the Germans through on a second penalty attempt deep in extra time (118th).

Chile 1:2 Russia
Alexandr Bukharov's first half brace allowed the Russians to withstand an onslaught of Chilean pressure in the second half, and Nico Castillo's 89th minute marker was too late for the Chileans to mount a serious comeback.

Spain 1:0 Netherlands
In a rematch of World Cup 2010's final, Fernando Llorente buried a Sergio Ramos rebound in the 82nd minute to send La Furia Roja into the Quarters after a booking-filled match which featured a red card apiece and a combined nine yellows!

Switzerland (P) 0:0 Portugal
After being outshot 19-6 after extra time, Switzerland shocked the world by beating penalty specialists Portugal 3-1 on penalties to advance to the quarters. Diego Benaglio with a MOTM performance for the ages in between the sticks for Switzerland!


Turkey 1:2 Ecuador
Golden Boot winner Joao Rojas powered the Ecuadorians to the victory, converting a 57th minute penalty to tie the match before scoring from a corner on 67 minutes. Umut Bulut scored the only goal for the Turks, who disappointed after a very solid run of form to begin the tournament.

Argentina 0:2 England
A Danny Welbeck brace powered the Three Lions over the high-powered Argentines in what was an even game. A Javi Mascherano tackle in the second half ended Wayne Rooney's tournament.

Germany 2:1 Switzerland
The end of the Cinderella Story for Switzerland, as they were dominated from start to finish by the powerhouse Germans, who outshot the poor Swiss 17-4. A brace from Thomas Muller in the first half doomed the Swiss, who picked up their only goal in injury time. The March of Germany continued!

Russia 1:0 Spain
A 17th minute goal from Artem Dzyuba was all 'keeper Igor Akinfeev and Russia would need to advance, as they battened down the hatches and outlasted Spain to put an end to La Furia Roja's reign as world champions.


Ecuador 5:1 Russia
An unforgettable five-goal performance from Cruz Azul's Joao Rojas inscribed his name in football's history books forever. The Ecuadorian striker opened the scoring just two minutes in, and by halftime the score read Rojas 3, Russia 0. A Victor Faizulin goal in the 49th gave Russia hope, but Rojas himself answered with two more markers in the 52nd and 54th to ice the match.

England 2:1 Germany
After Mesut Ozil put the Germans up one-nil on eighteen minutes, England began attacking mercilessly. Ashley Young equalized just after halftime, and Danny Welbeck scored a memorable goal for the English in injury time to book them a spot in the finals.


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave England a historic lead in the 24th minute, firing home a Danny Welbeck rebound. The Three Lions dominated the entirety of the first half, but could only find the one goal.

Ecuador came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, with magic man and Golden Boot winner Joao Rojas leveling the match in the 50th with a bullet free kick from 32 meters.

The match sat level until Ecuador's Joffre Guerron headed home a cross in extra time (101st), bringing the South American-friendly crowd to its feet.

There was a dubious penalty call, questionable at best, just two minutes later and captain England himself, Steven Gerrard, buried a penalty.

The match went into penalties, and despite their success earlier in the tournament, England stayed true to their traditional plot, losing on penalties. Glen Johnson missed the decisive penalty for England, and Joffre Guerron buried the winning penalty kick for Ecuador, lifting a nation.

CarlosV96's avatar Group CarlosV96
10 yearsEdited
August 17th, 2014

Hargreaves Back in International Management

Liang Yu, a 22 year-old Chinese midfielder who is expected to play a big role in Hargreaves' Asian Games side.

Owen Hargreaves is at it again.

The 33 year-old former England midfielder was unveiled yesterday as the interim manager for China's Under-23 side.

"Against my better judgment, I'm back in Asia," chuckled the former Manchester United man via Skype interview last night. "This is an excellent opportunity for both myself and the players in the squad to further their international careers."

Hargreaves has been appointed with one clear goal- win the Asian Games football tournament. Hosted every four years as part of the Asian Summer Games tournament, Japan won the most recent rendition of the event in 2010. China have not medaled in the tournament since Thailand '98, and will be looking to turn things around with a very solid core of young players this fall.

"We believe we have the pieces in place to make a serious run at this tournament," explained Chinese FA President Guangdong Xu. "Owen brings international experience, and we feel it would have been unfair to judge his potential as an international manager based on four friendlies with a terrible federation's terrible youth team," fired the Beijing-based lawyer. "Expectations are clear- win, baby, as you Westerners say!"

Drawn into a relatively straight-forward group with powerhouse Japan, tricky Vietnamn, and pushovers Hong Kong, the Chinese Under-23 contingent should definitely be able to advance out of the group stage.

"It's an opportunity, and that's something nobody has given me really since I resigned from my Malaysian job," said Hargreaves, somewhat sheepishly.

The tournament kicks off just under one month from today, with China's squad opening up with a sitter against minnows Hong Kong on September 15th.

Next Update- Disaster in the Asian Games
How is a job in international management helping you progress in the Pentagon Challenge?
@Griffo It's's just a temp job because there are none available that have any remote potential.

You are reading "The Pentagon Challenge".

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