by Max Barry

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Sport: National Football Team

Barunia National Football Team

Nickname: The Suns
Association: Barunia Football Association
Founded: 2012
Manager: Joric Ruskin
Most caps: Yohan Marris (85)
Top scorer: Yohan Marris (52)
Country code: BAU
KPB ranking: 16th (Pre WC76)
Highest KPB ranking: 9th (Pre WC76)
Lowest KPB ranking: 253rd (Pre WC64 qual)

First international
Barunia 1 - 0 Slembana
(Barunia Football Cup Matchday 2)

Largest win
Barunia 5 - 1 San Jose Guayabal
(Escudo Fraternal 3, Game 2)

Barunia 5 - 1 Carasatoga
(World Cup 66 qualifying, Matchday 1)

Highest scoring game
Barunia 4 - 6 Audioslavia
(World Cup 67, Matchday 1)

Worst defeat
Valladares 6 - 1 Barunia
(World Cup 67 qualifying, Matchday 11)

World Cup Record

Appearances: 5 (67-68,71,73-74)
Overall Record: 9-4-7

Best result: Quarterfinals (68,74)

World Cup Qualifiers Record

Appearances: 11 (64-74)
Overall Record:102-28-28 Excluding play-off games
Best record: 12-2-0 (1st) (68)

Cup of Harmony Record

Appearances: 4 (56-58, 61-62, 64)
Overall Record: 19-5-9
Best result: 2nd (62)
Results updated preWC75
Page layout originally by Starblaydia

The Suns exploded on to the international scene, coming agonisingly close to qualifying for the World Cup, international football's premier tournament, on their first attempt. Since then, the Suns have climbed the international rankings, and have not missed a qualification cycle since their debut. The team has been mildly successful in the Cup of Harmony, making it to the quarterfinals twice in three appearances.
The Suns qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 67, and qualified again in World Cup 68. A rocky time followed, but the Suns came back from a poor qualification in WC70 to come agonisingly close to winning the 62nd Cup of Harmony, losing 1-0 to Turori in overtime. The next cycle, Barunia were back in the World Cup proper with a run into the quarterfinals, a feat they would repeat in 74.
The Suns also compete for the Escudo Fraternal, a two-game series between Barunia and San Jose Guayabul, which is traditionally run before the start of world cup qualifiers.

The Suns made their first appearance in international competition on home soil, with the first (and to date only) edition of the Barunia Football Cup. With ten teams entering, the competition was small, but proved a suitable test not just for the national team, but for the BFA as hosts. Barunia made it into the final, but lost 2-0 to Timfen.
The 51st Baptism of Fire saw the team scrape through their group in second place, after a decisive game against Singapuroar was decided by a Cedric St.John penalty. The Suns made it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by Nenets Autonomous Okrug, who went on to be runner-ups.

Taking a ranking of 253rd into the associated World Cup 64 qualifiers, the Suns took the world by surprise. Despite the Barunian Civil War happening at the time, they went 11-1-6 to take second in their group, cementing their place in the play-offs after winning a nailbiter 3-2 against third place Hutt River. Tilting at qualification, Barunia were pitted against West Angola in a two-leg play-off. After drawing the first leg 2-all, the Suns lost 5-2 in the second to miss out on the World Cup.
The Suns were invited to the 56th Cup of Harmony, but they were unable to recreate their success, coming away goalless after two nil-all draws and a 1-0 loss.

In the 65th World Cup Qualifiers, Barunia had a tough fight. Ranked 74th, they were drawn as fifth seed in a group that included Andossa se Mitrin Vega, then the world number 2. The Suns held the second spot for several matchdays, but a shock loss to unranked TailsPrower and subsequent poor performances dropped games near the end of qualification to finish in fourth spot, with a record of 10-3-5
Invited to the 58th Cup of Harmony, Barunia this time made it through to the quarterfinals, before being defeated by Aels, the winner of that cycle's Baptism of Fire.

The 66th World Cup saw the Suns enter as second seed in the group behind New Montreal States. With no play-off this time round and only the top team qualifying, the Suns were forced into a must win game against the States. The Suns fought hard, but were defeated 1-0 and finished second in the group, with a record of 7-2-1.

The Suns came into 67 with a new coach, and it payed off for them as they once again made it to

Barunia's World Cup 67 Banner & Sunlit Heart,
Barunia's unofficial mascot of the Cup
Banner designed and made in Kinitaria
Mascot designed and made in Starblaydia

A Polarballtm card from WC68 featuring Barunia
Polarball Card designed and made in Polar Islandstates

second in the group with an 11-2-3 record. This time play-offs were being used, and Barunia were pitted against Qazox. The 2-4 result away for the Suns gave them the advantage, before a 2-1 victory at home sent Barunia to their first ever world cup.
Starting off against Audioslavia, the world number 2, the Suns met defeat in a high scoring game before drawing The Inevitable Syndicate and winning against Boring Paradise. Four points proved to be insufficient though, and the Suns did not advance out of the group stage, finishing third in the group.

World Cup 68 saw the team sweep all before them, winning all but two games (both of which were drawn), to top the group. Due to the format, they had to go through a play-off, and despite a scare after losing to the world champions Polar Islandstates, they overcame Kazamatsuri to make it to the World Cup proper. The Suns again went unbeaten, taking the group 2-1-0, including a close 2-1 win over powerhouse Eura. Unfortunately, the team could not reproduce results against Pasarga and were eliminated in the round of sixteen.

World Cup 69 saw the Suns go in to qualifiers as top seeds for the first time, in what seemed an easy task to make it three finals in a row. However, mistakes against the group minnows such as Dawnhaven and the Blaatschapen cost the team dearly, and they plummeted to third place in the group. Earning themselves a Cup of Harmony invite, the Suns were looking to redeem themselves, especially against Estope, who had topped the Sun's group in the qualifiers before losing in the play-offs. The Suns beat them to make it through to the finals with their pride intact, having not lost a game, but were defeated by Kiryu-shi in a high scoring battle that ended 3-4.

World Cup 70 went the same way as 69, seeing the Suns drop points to finish fourth. Going into the Cup of Harmony, the Suns rallied to climb out of the group stage, scraped past Gloriax on penalties in the round of sixteen and defeated the Suns of Chiata to make their first semi-finals appearance in a major tournament. Facing off against Cosumar, Miguel Manzana earned the nickname "god" after scoring twice to launch Barunia into the final. Pitched against the might of Turori, the Suns could not penetrate the Jungle-cat's defence, losing 0-1 in overtime.

Each coach of the Suns has brought a different formation and strategy to the Suns line up, and most have made a few changes until they have found the one that best suits them. As a general rule, Barunia utilises both an attacking midfielder to support the strikers in attack, two wide midfielders, and a defensive midfield. This gives a balanced formation, but one in which the team must control the centre of the pitch; dominance in the midfield is a priority for every Barunian team.

Style of Play
Barunia's style of play could be described as energetic and intense, as the team strive always to keep the pressure on the opposition goal. It is not an all out attack that sacrifices defence however; rather Barunia seek to constantly move the ball up into the opponent's half and look for an opportunity to strike. As a rule, Barunians value fair play, and Barunian players will rarely receive sanctions for illegal or unsportsmanlike behaviour. Every player who dons the sky-blue is considered a member of an exclusive and honoured club, and is expected to behave with the reminder that membership is a privilege, not a right.

Team Song
The tradition of the team song has been with the team since the Baptism of Fire, and continues unchanged to this day. At the end of every match, regardless of the outcome, the team will gather to sing the team song in the dressing room, as a reminder of who they are and what the stand for.

"We are the Suns,
The Rising Suns,
Our glory will never die
Rise on the horizon
We're the pride of the Isle

We are the Suns,
The mighty Suns,
All will tremble at our name
Shining bright victorious
We're courageous strong and brave."

Fan Support
Football is Barunia's most popular sport, and the Suns have a large loyal following. A large number of the "Scarlet Army" (formerly the "Blue-and-Yellow Army") follow the team wherever they go and at home the team will regularly fill even +80,000 seat stadiums to capacity.
Barunian fans are most noted for their special chants whenever their favourite players are in action. Cries of "Castolo! Castolo!" or "There's only one Yohan Marris!" have echoed around stadiums across the world, as long as more regular chants such as "Here come the Suns!" Fans will usually sing along in full voice to the national anthem, and may also start signing it during a match.
The official song of the Scarlet Army is the socialist anthem Link"The Red Flag", and the fans will usually begin singing it as soon as the national anthems have finished.

Team Records NB: To date, only records for WCC-sanctioned tournaments and the Escudo Fraternal have been recorded. Records have been entered up to the conclusion of WC69.
Overall Record: 78-22-32 Games: 131

Most Capped players: Cedric St.John (79), Yohan Marris (79), Lucio David (74), Julian Millet (69), Bhara (67), Pacifique Tsebo (65), Carl Silva (63), Michelangelo Willans (58), Harry Centena (57), Horatio Montoya (57), Victor Castolo, (57), Fabrice Sagoro (51), Cesar Osario (50)

Top Goal Scorers: Victor Castolo (50), Yohan Marris (47), Fabrice Sagoro (31), Eli Estrella (25), Enrique Delgado (17), Sjors Van Der Venne (17), Pablo Zokora (15), Danil Samson (14), Jaylen North (11), Cedric St. John (8), Horatio Montoya (8)

Coaching Records
Stephen Wiggens (BoF51 to CoH 58): 69 games, 37W-12D-20L (54%W, 17%D, 29%L)
Joric Ruskin (WCQ67 to Present):41 games, 29W-6D-7L*
*as of the end of World Cup 68

Team Kits
Barunia have been long-standing clients of well-known kit makers Kirola Sportswear of Audioslavia, having commissioned the company to create kits for the national team since the Baptism of Fire. As goalkeeper kits are not provided by Kirola, all goalkeeper kits have been supplied by local company Foroni Fabrics.

The original kits for cycle 64 used the design of the national flag (actually the original national flag, not the current one), copying the idea of the red-bordered white stripe and recreating it on the shirt. The 64 away kit introduced Barunia's sporting yellow in an eye-catching fractal design.
Goalkeeper kits for the early days were simple black, with white alternative strips. In cycle 65 a red goalkeeper shirt with the coat of arms imposed upon it was introduced, but that only lasted a cycle before the current green kit was debuted in 67. Alternative kits for goalkeepers remain black.

Kirola 68 kits

Kirola 64 kits

Foroni 67 GK kits