by Max Barry

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by The Kingdom of Outer Sparta. . 60 reads.

The Beautiful Game - Part 2

Part 2 - Group Hangout

[b][center]July 24[/center][/b]
It is nine days after the World Cup. Everybody has returned to their respective home countries and have rested up. Club season starts in three weeks, so everyone plans a hangout time for the small window of time. July 25 is the day when everyone should meet.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Laver Island[/nation][/center][/b]

Laver gets ready to pack his last bags in the morning and says goodbye to his hometown. The Danish national team got a lot of applause from fans after landing in Copenhagen in July 4, one day after their elimination to South Korea. Laver gives out autographs and then the team gets a brief meeting. After that, they all are free to go until club season starts. He returned to his hometown Fredericia and got some well-needed rest before the Premier League season starts in mid-August. The local newspaper regarded him as a hero and the future of Denmark, so Laver was swarmed by eager fans wherever he goes in public. After staying at home for three weeks, he takes the train to Copenhagen and catches a flight to London, the place where everyone is scheduled to hangout. He checks in with The Savoy and waits.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]St Scarlett[/nation][/center][/b]

Scarlett left Japan on July 14 right after when the England-US game finished. She headed to Kansai International Airport in Osaka and flew straight to London with British Airways. After her arrival, she transferred onto another flight that would take her to Manchester. Scarlett arrived in Manchester at night and soon drove back to their house. “Home at last,” said Scarlett. “I’m so happy to be back in Manchester. Hopefully Laver arrives here soon so I can get together with him.” Scarlett made herself a little snack and watched some Sky Sports before going to bed at midnight. Eleven days later, she leaves her Manchester home early morning and is able to go to London with the rest of the gang. After landing, she gets a text from Laver. “I got us booked at The Savoy.”
“That sounds fantastic, just give me the address and I will be there soon.”
Scarlett takes the London Tube from Heathrow to Westminster and stays at the same hotel Laver booked. She knocks on the door. “Hello Laver? It’s me, Scarlie!” Laver opens the door. “Scarlett you have arrived! I’ve missed you and it’s been forever since I have seen you!” he says in excitement. The two share a long hug, an “I missed you” hug. “So, what shall we do this afternoon? We can go to a nice café and have lunch there,” says Laver.
“Sure thing,” replies Scarlett. “Let’s go.” The two leave their hotel room and go out to explore London.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Yahlia[/nation][/center][/b]

Yahlia left Japan along with the rest of the New Zealand team on June 28 following their group stage exit. They fly from Tokyo to Auckland on Air New Zealand; after landing, they go somewhere else for a team meeting. After the meeting and the session with the media, Yahlia stays the night in Auckland. He leaves the city in the morning and takes an Air New Zealand flight back to Nelson, his hometown. Just like Laver, he gets the World Cup star treatment with fans all swarming him in public. He returns to his home and stays there until July 17 where he packs his stuff and goes to Tabriz, his other hometown. He looks at his flight schedule which says the following:
“Nelson (NSN) to Auckland (AKL) on Air New Zealand, dep. 7:00 A.M.
Auckland (AKL) to Dubai (DXB) on Emirates, dep. 9:00 A.M.
Dubai (DXB) to Istanbul (IST) on Emirates, dep. 8:00 P.M.
Istanbul (IST) to Tabriz (TBZ) on Turkish Airlines, dep. 11:00 A.M. (July 18)”
Yahlia has a busy day ahead of him with many transfers getting to his destination. Luckily, he bought a business class ticket with Emirates for both legs, so he is able to relax in comfort and style. He leaves Nelson in the morning for Auckland and leaves Auckland in the afternoon. Yahlia loves the business class service Emirates provides. “It’s basically like everyone else’s first class!” he says. His flight takes a whopping 17 hours, so Yahlia decides to take a very deep sleep after lunch service. At 6 P.M., the flight finally arrives in Dubai. “This airport is so nice! I’m immediately heading towards the Emirates longue for dinner,” he says. He soon boards his other Emirates flight to Istanbul and arrives there at 10 P.M. He has to stay the night there so he checks in at the Airport Hotel. The next day, Yahlia checks-in at the Turkish Airlines counter for his flight to Tabriz. He leaves Istanbul at 11 P.M. and finally arrives in Tabriz at 3:00 P.M. After clearing immigration and getting his bags, Yahlia heads to his home. “Man that was a really long way. I’m still tired trying to process all this,” he says.
Eight days later, he leaves Tabriz in the morning. Yahlia had a nice stay and even hung out with some of his teammates like Reza Shekari. He looks down at his flight schedules:
“Tabriz (TBZ) to Istanbul (IST) on Turkish Airlines, dep. 6:00 A.M.
“Istanbul (IST) to London-Heathrow on Turkish Airlines, dep. 8:00 A.M.
After his two flights, Yahlia arrives in London in the afternoon. He checks into his hotel in the City of Westminster called Citadines Trafalgar Square.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Regnum Italiae[/nation][/center][/b]

Regy returns to Rome with the rest of the Italian team on July 2 after taking an Alitalia flight from Tokyo. He is serenaded by cheers at the airport by Italian fans and some of them beg for a picture. Regy obliges and soon the team all leave for their meeting and media session. After that’s all done, he takes a train back to this hometown Turin and arrives in the evening hours. For the next three weeks, Regy relaxes and hangs out with his Juventus teammates. They go out to restaurants, play a little ball, and visit nightclubs. 
The three weeks have passed and Regy packs up some of his belongings and leaves for London. He flies on British Airways from Turin to London-Gatwick and the plane touches down around the afternoon. Regy takes the Crossrail to downtown London and checks in to the Apex London Wall Hotel in the City of London.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Libertandonien[/nation][/center][/b]

After Switzerland’s loss to the Netherlands in the Round of 16, Lib and the Swiss team left Osaka on a Swiss International Airlines flight to Zurich on June 30. They arrive in Zurich at nighttime. The next day, after the team meeting, Lib was free to do his own stuff. He decided to stay in his Zurich home for the time being instead of returning to Zagreb. Lib’s stay in Zurich was mostly uneventful apart from fans wanting him to autograph their jerseys. He gets to relax after a tiring first World Cup.
The days pass and Lib leaves Zurich in the morning to catch a Swiss flight to London-Heathrow. His flight arrives in the afternoon and he rides the Tube to the City of Westminster to check in at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Bloomsbury Street in Fitzrovia.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]The Oriental Empire[/nation][/center][/b]

Orient decided to leave after France’s shocking early exit, still grieving over the loss. She leaves early-morning on June 28 and flies on Air France from Tokyo-Narita back to Paris-CDG; she will also transfer to another Air France flight that will take her to Lyon. Her flight departs at 8 and she arrives in Paris at noon. She has an hour transfer to Lyon and soon arrives in her hometown at 3 P.M. Orient is excited to be home, but she cannot bear to watch anymore World Cup games since France’s loss hit her so hard.
Almost a month has passed and Orient now leaves for London to visit her fellow football friends. She leaves Lyon in the morning and flies on British Airways to London-Heathrow. Her flight arrives in London in the midday and she takes the Tube to Central London to check in at the Amba Hotel Charing Cross.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Dizgovzy[/nation][/center][/b]

After the third-place game against England in Tokyo, Diz and the US team all leave on a United flight from Tokyo to Chicago in July 14. Their flight leaves at 6 P.M. local time. In the air, the three Americans have a conversation amongst one another and with some of the other players in business class. “Ahh, this is so relaxing,” says Diz. “I loved showing off my skills in Japan, but now we all deserve some rest.”
“You said it, Diz. All of us guys deserve it,” says Pulisic.
“So, what are all your plans after our team meeting in Chicago?” asks McKennie.
“I’m going to catch a short flight to my hometown of Grand Rapids to visit for about a week, and then I will go back to Liverpool,” Sparta replies.
“I’m heading back to my hometown as well, which is in Rochester. I’ll stay there a short time and then go to Frankfurt.”
“I’m heading back to my hometown in El Paso and staying there until the 22nd. By then, I will go to Marseille.”
“That’s all very nice,” says McKennie. “Me, Christian, and some of the other guys are just gonna hangout in Chicago for a bit. Maybe we can see you guys later in the summer. If not, then probably on the pitch in Europe.”
“Oh yeah,” replies Diz in a passive-aggressive tone. “Especially when I meet you when my Eintracht Frankfurt plays your Schalke and when my Eintracht plays Christian’s Dortmund. I’m so ready to crush you both!”
“Oh no you’re not,” says McKennie and Pulisic in unison. 
“Oh yeah. Eintracht will win the Bundesliga!” 
“This kid here, he’s a funny guy. But no, Schalke will the best!”
“You’re both wrong. It’s Dortmund that’s the best!” 
“Whoa there you three Bundesliga peeps,” Sparta replies. “We shall see soon enough this season.” All the guys soon laugh after a brief moment and dinner service soon commences.
The plane arrives in Chicago at 3:30 P.M. local time. The USMNT gets huge applause directed at them once they arrive and fans all want autographs and pictures with the players. The team soon goes to a meeting and after the media session, every player was free to go their own direction. Diz heads back to the airport to catch a United flight to his hometown of Rochester. He arrives in Rochester at 11 P.M. and heads back to his home. 
Diz stays in his hometown until July 20, leaving Rochester and flying to Frankfurt. His flight schedule show this:
“Greater Rochester (ROC) to Newark (EWR) on United Airlines, dep. 6:00 A.M.
Newark (EWR) to Frankfurt (FRA) on United Airlines, dep. 10:00 A.M.”
He wakes up early to catch his flight to Newark. On the Newark-Frankfurt leg, Diz flies on United’s flagship Polaris class. Eight hours later, the plane soon arrives in Frankfurt at 10 P.M. Diz takes a cab to his home in Frankfurt, ready to rest after a long day in the air.
July 25 soon dawns upon him and Diz takes a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to London-Heathrow, arriving in the midday and checking in at the InterContinental London Park Lane in Mayfair.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]The Champions League[/nation][/center][/b]

TCL traveled with the rest of the American team as well. After the team meeting, he stayed the night in Chicago and took a United flight to El Paso in the morning of June 15. He arrived in his hometown in the afternoon and visited his childhood home. After staying there for three days, he leaves El Paso for Marseille on July 18. He looks down at his flight schedule:
“El Paso (ELP) to Atlanta (ATL) on Delta Airlines, dep. 3:00 P.M.
“Atlanta (ATL) to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on Delta Airlines, dep. 10:30 P.M.
“Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Marseille Provence (MRS) on Air France, dep. 3:00 P.M.”
TCL has time before he leaves for the airport, so he goes out to lunch. At the restaurant, some fans watch his World Cup highlights in the bar area and he gets many requests for pictures and autographs. TCL happily obliges and even gets offers for free beer by the restaurant staff. After the restaurant scene, he gets his stuff from his house and heads to the airport in El Paso. His flight was uneventful to Atlanta. Once he gets to Atlanta, many more fans notice him, wanting autographs and causing quite a commotion. After the hectic scene, he goes to the Delta longue to rest. Although he also autographs fans in the longue, it’s a more peaceful scene overall. He soon goes to his gate and boards with the business class travelers on their way to Paris. TCL immediately takes a nap after take-off after long day dealing with many ecstatic fans. Around nine hours later, the plane touches down in Paris on July 19 and he now has to transfer with Air France to Marseille. He arrives in the late afternoon at Marseille and heads to his home. 
TCL leaves Marseille for London on July 25 and flies with British Airways to London-Heathrow, arriving in the afternoon and checking into the LONDON EDITION.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Outer Sparta[/nation][/center][/b]

After Sparta and the rest of the US national team were free to go, he booked an American flight to his hometown in Grand Rapids, which is a very short hop over Lake Michigan. The flight left at 9 P.M. and he arrived in Grand Rapids at 11 P.M. Sparta stays there until the 22nd. 
Sparta prepares to leave Grand Rapids on July 22. His flight schedule is shown as follows:
“Grand Rapids (GRR) to Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on American Airlines, dep. 7:00 P.M.
“Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to London-Heathrow (LHR) on American Airlines, dep. 10:00 P.M.
“London-Heathrow (LHR) to Liverpool (LPL) on British Airways, dep. 2:00 P.M.
Sparta’s flight to Chicago was uneventful. He spent his time in Chicago at the longue before boarding. After arriving in London at around noon, he transfers to a British Airways flight heading for Liverpool. The plane lands at 3 P.M., and Sparta arrives at his home in the late afternoon.
Sparta leaves for London in the morning of July 25 and flies to London to meet up with everyone else. He checks in at the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Alienage[/nation][/center][/b]

Alienage and the Spanish team stayed in Kobe for the night before leaving for Osaka to fly back home to Madrid on the 8th. At the arrivals, Alienage got greeted by many fans who wanted him to do autographs. After the final team meeting, he hopped on a high-speed train from Madrid to his hometown of Barcelona. His time back in Barca was mostly relaxing and he could get some time off.
The 25th of July soon came and he leaves Barcelona for London on British Airways in the morning. He lands in the afternoon and goes to check in at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Rivierenland[/nation][/center][/b]

After the Netherlands lost to England in the quarterfinals, the Dutch stayed the night in Tokyo before leaving the next day on July 7. They flew on KLM back to Amsterdam and arrived home in the afternoon. Riv sat with his buddy Maarten during the flight and the two enjoyed their company together. Once the team meeting was finished, the players were free to go. Riv didn’t travel far to his home in Amsterdam. His time back was relaxing.
18 days later, he flies on KLM Cityhopper from Amsterdam to London-City Airport. Riv arrives close to noon and he doesn’t have to travel far to check in at the DoubleTree Tower of London Hotel in the City of London.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]South St Maarten[/nation][/center][/b]

Maarten traveled with Riv on their way back to Amsterdam. Although Riv stayed in Amsterdam, Maarten traveled back to his hometown of Eindhoven. On July 25, he gets on a separate flight from Amsterdam to London and checks in at the DoubleTree Hotel London in Westminster.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Gor Kebab[/nation][/center][/b]

The English team left Tokyo on July 15 as they took the rest of the previous day off to celebrate their 3rd place victory. They flew on British Airways to London and arrived in the capital in the afternoon. Once his team meeting was finished, Gor didn’t have to travel far to his home in Fulham, which is in the heart of London. On the day when everyone arrives, he stays where he is.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]The Kingdom of Denmark[/nation][/center][/b]

The Polish team stayed on the night of July 6 after their elimination and flew home the next day on LOT to Warsaw from Tokyo. Their flight left in the afternoon and arrived in Warsaw at 2:30 P.M. After the final meeting, KoD flew to his hometown of Munich and arrived at nighttime. During his stay, he relaxed, played with some of his Bayern teammates, and enjoyed hanging out in downtown Munich. 
On the 25th, KoD left Munich for London before noon and arrived at London around noon. He checks in at St Martins Lane Hotel in Covent Garden.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Suomessa[/nation][/center][/b]

After their last group stage game, the Finnish team traveled to Tokyo to stay the night there before leaving in the afternoon of June 26. They flew on Finnair and arrived in Helsinki at around 2 P.M. The team was greeted to loud applause from fans shortly afterward, a sight to see from a team that just played its first World Cup. After the team meeting, Suo left and stayed in Helsinki for the night. The next day, he traveled to his hometown of Mikkeli to stay there for a month.
On July 25, Suo left Mikkeli in the early morning to catch his Finnair flight from Helsinki to London. He arrives in London at noon and checks in at the Strand Palace in Covent Garden. 

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Republic of Satherland[/nation][/center][/b]

Sather and the Malaysian team left on June 29, the day after their group stage elimination. The team flew on Malaysia Airlines from Tokyo and arrived in Kuala Lumpur close to 5 P.M. At the airport, the team was greeted to thunderous applause as the entire country was impressed that they made it to their first World Cup in history. Sather got the bulk of the attention and many fans surrounded him. After the team meeting, Sather went to his home in Subang and stays in the Klang Valley for almost a month. 
On July 25, Sather leaves early morning and flies on Malaysia Airlines from Kuala Lumpur to London. He stays in the air for thirteen hours until his flight eventually lands in London at 1 P.M. Sather soon checks in at the Waldorf Hilton in Covent Garden.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Apabeossie[/nation][/center][/b]

The South Korean team left Tokyo on July 7 and flew on Korean Air back to Seoul, and the team arrived home close to 10 P.M. The team had a meeting the next day and after that, Apab and his teammates were free. He decided to hangout with Son in the South Korean capital for three days until he returns to his home in London. The three days went by quickly and Apab enjoyed them very much. On July 11, he flies on Korean Air from Seoul to London and his flight leaves at 8 P.M. The plane lands in London at 10 P.M. Apab takes the Tube to Holloway Road station and has a short walk to his home.
On July 25, Apab doesn’t need to go anywhere as he is in close proximity with everyone else!

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]The Poland-Lithuania Commonwealth[/nation][/center][/b]

The Canadian team flew with Air Canada from Tokyo to Toronto on June 26. Their flight took off at 7 P.M. and landed in Toronto at 5 P.M. The Canadians received a warm welcome at the airport. Poliet went to his home in downtown Toronto after the meeting. He relaxed during his time back in Canada and enjoyed watching Blue Jays games, which isn’t a far walk since he lives in a condo.
In the evening of July 24, Poliet goes to the airport to catch his Air Canada flight that departs at 11 P.M. The plane lands in London at 11 A.M. and Poliet soon goes to downtown London to check in at Thistle Holborn in Covent Garden.

[b][center]July 25 - [nation]Feria-Alkaline[/nation] and [nation]Miharr[/nation][/center][/b]
Feria and Miharr both leave after the US-England match on July 14, departing from Tokyo-Haneda at 6 P.M. headed to Munich on a Lufthansa flight. They sit together in business class but sleep for most of the flight. The plane lands in Munich at 9:30 P.M. The girls head back to their house; since they are good teammates and friends, they are compatible with living together. They stay in Munich until the 25th where they go to London and check in at the Novotel London Tower Bridge.

[center][b]July 25 – Midafternoon[/b][/center]

The group all meet in Hyde Park to commence their first day together. “It is such a beautiful day. Things are different from the last time I saw you all,” says Scarlett.
“It is like that,” says Maarten. “I can’t believe the guys just played weeks ago with billions watching our every move.”
“I can’t believe we lost to England,” says Riv jokingly. 
“I can’t believe Alisson saved my shot,” says Sparta. “But yeah, all those experiences, good or bad, will forever be etched in our minds.” 
“Tell me about it,” says Laver. “I’m still dreading that day when South Korea knocked us out of the World Cup, breaking the hearts of Denmark after breaking the hearts of France.”
“Looks like people didn’t expect us to be that good,” says Apab. “We played our best and reached the quarterfinals, even if we do have a reputation of knocking out defending World Cup champions from the group stage.”
“Too bad Orient’s France had the Champions Curse continue,” says TCL.
“Hey now! We could have had a chance to advance if our players weren’t being dumb on the field and missing novel opportunities!” replies Orient.
“I’m glad to have the chance of playing in such a big competition,” says Sather. “It was a pleasure representing my Malaysia.”
“Same thing with Finland for me,” replies Suo. “We played some tough opponents like England and the US.”
“You guy did hang tough with us even though we eventually secured the easy victory,” says Diz.
“What about you, Regy? How was your experience?” asks Yahlia.
“It was good, even though we could have won the group against Belgium and we got overpowered by Brazil,” says Regy. “Speaking of which, how did it feel playing against your fellow teammates and club rivals when New Zealand played Iran?”
“Let me tell you it was quite a strange feeling for me. Playing against my fellow Tractor friend Reza, now that took some time to process in my mind. It was a good, physical game that Iran won and afterward, Reza and I switched jerseys,” replies Yahlia.
“How were your experiences KoD and Alienage?” asks TCL.
“I enjoyed playing with my mentor Lewandowski,” KoD replies. “We have such great chemistry and it was a good decision I made to play with Poland. We made it to the quarterfinals after upsetting Germany.”
“I wish I played under Iniesta,” says Alienage. “That would have been cool but I wasn’t old enough to play with Spain at the time. We ultimately lost to you guys, TCL. I can’t believe a team like Spain got bested by America.”
“Although Switzerland doesn’t get much attention in the World Cup, we typically do well yet slip under the radar,” says Lib. 
“We managed to get the best of you and Poliet’s Canada,” replies Alienage.
“We also could have snatched our first win against Ghana,” says Poliet. “Unfortunately, we just choked and settled for a draw. How was your experience, Gor?”
“It was interesting playing against Finland, US, Netherlands, and the US yet again. Sparta was the only one who scored against me from the US.”
“Oh wow I don’t believe it. Scoring against a top contender for the Golden Glove is quite something,” Sparta replies. “Unless if you have your penalty saved by YOUR OWN CLUB TEAMMATE IN THE SEMI-FINALS!!!” 
“Alright, alright calm down there,” says TCL. “It certainly is a great day to hangout at the park. Feria, have you and Miharr enjoyed the cup?”
“We sure did. It was a fun time rooting for Team USA, even if you men still can’t win a championship,” snarks Feria. 
“Not only seeing you guys all play, but we were at the third-place game and happened to hangout with Scarlett. Of course, she went crazy with the whole Three Lions song, but nobody can fault England fans like that,” says Miharr. The whole group enjoy their time in Hyde Park before going out to dinner nearby.

[center][b]July 25 – Late evening[/b][/center]

After a delightful dinner, everyone takes a stroll near the Thames River and experiences London at night. “I love seeing the bright lights of London,” says Scarlett.
“I love the two of us holding hands,” says Laver.
“I wonder where we should visit tomorrow,” says Yahlia.
“Hmm why not St. James’s Park? We can tour the areas near Buckingham Palace, Parliament, and the Big Ben for the day,” Gor replies.
“That sounds good.”
“I do wish Pilipinas and Pol-Kali were here,” says KoD. “Unfortunately, Pilipinas is busy in the K-League while my former Lech Poznan teammate is playing for the U20 Polish team.”
“It would be nice to have more of us,” says Sather. “It gives them a chance to share the experience.”
“I do love to go back to see how all our football careers came about,” says TCL. “Once we were just youth prospects and had sites like The Guardian write reports on our potential. Some of us were dubbed as their respective nation’s Messi.”
“Like me,” replies Yahlia. “You don’t usually see many New Zealand stars come about. I do dream about playing in the big leagues in Europe.”
“When do you think you might move abroad?” asks Poliet.
“I don’t know, maybe after the upcoming season. I might get offers from clubs like Newcastle, Everton, and Sheffield.”
“Ahh damn, Yahlia might be in our backyard!” says Sparta and Sather simultaneously.
“But yeah Poliet, a move to the Premier League might be the most likely and optimal destination. What about you, Poliet?” asks Yahlia.
“Hmm I’m not too sure about that. I do dream of playing in France sometime after my stint in the MLS, but that would mean I leave home.”
“Poliet’s going to the farmer’s league!” taunts Riv.
“Hey, watch it Riv!” snaps TCL. “Ligue 1 is much better now that PSG are no longer hoarding titles every year! And besides, the Eredivisie is more like a farmer’s league!”
“WHAT!?” shouts Riv and Maarten in unison. “Who does that guy think we are farmers?” asks Maarten. 
“Next summer will be very busy for us girls,” says Orient. “We got the Women’s World Cup coming up!” 
“Yeah, and we will totally win it!” boasts Feria. “Miharr and I will tear up the field!”
“No! It’s coming home next year!” shouts Scarlett.
“You’re both wrong! The French will win!” rebuts Orient.
“Okay okay, that’s enough,” says Sather. “As for us Asian guys, such as Apab, Pilipinas, and I, we’re going to China to participate in the Asian Cup next summer!”
“We’ll see who wins,” says Apab. “Hopefully it’s South Korea!”
“Malaysia sure has a good shot thanks to me and Luqman Hakim!” replies Sather. “Pilipinas has a good chance to put his Philippines through. Southeast Asia’s been rising in the football world!”
"I am impressed with Southeast Asia's recent accomplishments. Watch out Europe, South America, and North America! Asia's coming strong!" says Apab.
“For us North Americans, we have the Gold Cup next summer!” says Diz.
“Ahahaha yeah which is pretty much the one of the most irrelevant regional tournaments, with the OFC Nations Cup being the most irrelevant!” says Riv.
“HEY NOW!” shouts the three Americans as well as Poliet and Yahlia.
“We do have to wait until 2024, but us Europeans have our Euros coming up!” says Laver.
“Finally, a relevant tournament,” sighs Riv.
“I can’t wait to show off in the international stage again,” says Regy. 
“Me too,” says Alienage. “I love playing for my Spain.”
“I love representing Switzerland, but I could have played for Croatia,” says Lib. “I’m basically the opposite of Ivan Rakitic – born in Croatia, playing for Switzerland.”
“2024 will be my third Euro, although I was on the bench for the 2016 one,” says Gor.
“I had such a good time playing with my idol and mentor, Lewandowski, in the World Cup,” says KoD. “Pol-Kali should be with the senior team by then.”
“Suo, do you think you guys have a good shot of getting in?” asks Maarten.
“We definitely do, but we must be focused for the qualifiers. We’re basically like the new Iceland in Europe,” says Suo.
“If you guys manage to beat England then you’re really the next Iceland!” says Riv.
“HEY NOW!” shouts Gor. 
The entire group enjoy their time but they soon bid farewell for the night and return back to their hotels. “It’s definitely been a fun time for all of us, just chatting and relaxing in this beautiful night,” says Scarlett. “We’ll call it a night and do more stuff tomorrow!” 

[center][b]July 26 – Midday[/b][/center]

The group all meet in St. James Park for another day of hanging out. “Man we had a great lunch,” says Gor. “But now let’s explore more of the city!”
“This will be an exciting time,” says Yahlia. 
“Me and Laver will spend some quality time after this hangout. Especially now that we booked a spa session in our hotel tonight,” says Scarlett.
“I can’t wait for it,” replies Laver. 
“If we’re lucky we could get a glimpse of [nation]Imperium Anglorum[/nation], the owner of Chelsea,” says TCL. “Now that would be a sight to behold.”
“How do you think IA has done building up your club, Gor?” asks Sather.
“He has done quite a bit for us. His moves and acquisitions helped us win the league title earlier this year,” says Gor.
“Like signing you?” asks Sather.
“That was one of his signature moves, yes. He might not change the game as Roman Abramovich did back in 2004, but he’s a good owner nonetheless.”
“It beats having Mike Ashley or any of the Gulf States owning your club,” says Riv.
“Okay, that I can agree with,” replies TCL. 
“We should totally go to the London Eye later today,” chimes in KoD.
“That would be fun,” says Feria. “I haven’t been on the London Eye yet.”
“Oh it’s quite a sight to behold,” replies Scarlett. “It’s one of my favorite places in London to visit.”
“I haven’t got to go on it yet,” says Apab. “I just signed for Arsenal, so I’m basically still adjusting to my surroundings here.”
“You’ll definitely get accustomed to London,” replies Gor. “It’s sometimes tough to move somewhere new, but sometimes, that’s just the business of football.”
“Yeah, I had a hard time initially adjusting to life in Iran,” says Yahlia. “Eventually, I got used to living there and adopted the culture. I even learned some Farsi!”
“Thanks guys,” replies Apab. 
The group goes to see Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben for the day before heading over to the London Eye. After getting tickets, the group all go into the same capsule together.

[center][b]July 26 – Afternoon (London Eye)[/b][/center]

“Whoa this is quite a view!” says Alienage in exhilaration. “Now I can see all of London!”
“No wonder it’s quite a popular tourist spot,” says Gor.
“And it’s quite a sunny day as well!” says KoD while he takes pictures. “I’m loving the view!”
“Lol the last time I have been here it was cloudy. Ugh that marred the view,” replies Scarlett.
“I can see Miharr is having a swell time up here. She’s going giddy posting pics of herself up here on Instagram,” Diz points out.
“Oh yeah she can go crazy with this social media stuff,” replies Feria. “I have already seen the stuff she can post ranging from hair routines to footballing tricks to her pranks on me.”
“Feria! Feria!” shouts Miharr. “I want you to take a pic of me up here while I strike a flashy pose! And make sure to put the filter called Zing so I really pop out!” 
“Ugh, give me a break.” Feria takes a picture of Miharr at her request. 
“That’s relatively tame. Her Tik Toks on the other hand are the opposite of tame,” says Feria.
“Did somebody say Tik Tok?” asks Poliet.
“EWW!!!” shouts Riv and Sparta. 
“Okay then… steering away from cringe social media conversations, how’s the view for the rest of you guys?” asks Gor.
“I love it. It’s so marvelous and spectacular to see everything up there,” replies Orient.
“It’s awesome, but nothing like the views atop from the Petronas Towers,” replies Sather.
“It was a great idea to go here,” replies Maarten. “I got some amazing pics.”
“Me too,” says Regy. “I love traversing big cities like London. Turin isn’t exactly big lol.”
“The views here are amazing,” says Yahlia. “I love seeing the Thames and how the northern and southern sides all complement one another.”
“So afterward our time on the Eye, we’re all free to do our own things for the rest of the day?” asks Gor. 
“That sounds good,” replies Poliet.
“Tomorrow, I have plans for us to all dine in The Shard,” says Sparta. The rest of the group acknowledges the plans and as soon as their ride is over, everyone goes off to do their own things.

[center][b]July 26 – Evening[/b][/center]

After everyone had dinner in their separate places, they each went to do their respective plans. While most people went back to relax in their respective hotels (for Gor’s case, his home), others decided to go out. Feria and Miharr went shopping. Poliet decided to hop aboard a sightseeing cruise on the Thames. Apab went to Son’s place to hang out. Riv and Diz worked out in their respective hotel fitness centers. Laver and Scarlett has a massage session booked at their hotel spa in The Savoy. Before their session starts, they sit back and relax in their longue chairs and have a little conversation.
“This will surely be a nice touch to finish off the night,” says Laver.
“You know it. It’s such a great time to relax right before the season starts in a few weeks for the both of us,” says Scarlett.
“It feels like pure bliss, like you’re in paradise.”
“And it’s much better doing this with you!”
“That’s right, my darling!”
“Laver, how ready are you for the upcoming season?”
“Well, I definitely should be ready and we are going to win the whole thing!”
“Really? How will you get past Liverpool with Sparta and Sather, Chelsea with Gor, and Arsenal with Apab?” 
Laver stops to think for a second. “Well, we already got our pieces anyway. Rashford and Greenwood are great stars up front, and Fernandes will surely help anchor the midfield with me. I love playing under Ole and he’s going to help us reach greater heights!”
“If there’s gonna be someone that will turn Manchester red since the glory days of Sir Alex, it’s definitely going to be you, my Laver!”
“I know it. How about you, Scar? Are you ready for your women’s season?”
“I’m definitely ready to make an impact even if I play in the defense.”
“You’re a tough girl who will surely show the others who’s boss!”
“Thanks Laver!” Scarlett sips on her cocktail. “In the meantime, I also can’t wait to play in the Women’s World Cup next summer.”
“I’ll definitely be there to cheer you and England on just like you did with me and Denmark!”
“Well, I knew I had to be there for you. After that Round of 16 game against South Korea, my heart just sank seeing you on the pitch upset.”
“Aww man, but at least you were there for me! I also loved your Instagram post dedicated to me in that Senegal game we played.”
“Thanks. Despite that tough defeat and England losing in the semifinals, I had a really good time in Japan, especially watching us defeat the Americans for third place!”
“I really loved playing with my idol Eriksen. He’s a great teammate and an even greater friend and mentor.”
“What did he say to you after the Round of 16 defeat?”
“He said I should not let that moment define me and to become stronger afterwards. He also said he’ll pass the torch down to me after he retires from international competition.”
“Those are sweet words. You and Eriksen have a great relationship just like KoD and Lewandowski.”
“Yeah, only the latter plays for both their national team as well as the same club team together.”
“Well, I certainly can’t wait what holds down the road for the both of us, whether it’s for Man United or Denmark or England.”
“Amen to that!” After their conversation, Laver and Scarlett are ready for their spa session to officially begin.

[center][b]July 27 – Afternoon[/b][/center]

For the daytime hours, the group are all on their own before the big dinner at The Shard. Laver and Scarlett have afternoon tea while the others go wherever they like in the capital. Sparta spends his afternoon near the river, seeing London Bridge and Shakespeare’s Globe before returning back to the Shangri-La Hotel in The Shard, which is where everyone meets for dinner.

[center][b]July 27 – Dinner[/b][/center]
It is now the dinner hour and everyone is at The Shard. The restaurant of choice is the Aqua Shard. After everyone has ordered their meal, the group all toast one another. Everyone shouts “TO LONG AND SUCCESSFUL CAREERS!!!” After the toast, the group start a conversation. “So, how are we enjoying this beautiful night eating in a restaurant at The Shard where we can see great views of London?” asks Sparta.
“Yeah, this is such a great spot!” says TCL. “We’re all living the dream, becoming the football stars and fulfilling people’s expectations! Oh man looking back when we were teenagers, now that represents how far we have come.”
“Easy for you to say, I’m still a teenager!” says Apab. 
“Apab may be young, but he’s also got a great sense of humor!” says Lib.
“Let’s start out with you, Gor,” says TCL. “You’re the oldest out of the bunch, starting off with Shrewsbury before going to City and Chelsea. How has your career been so far?”
“So far, great!” replies Gor. “I’ve won two Premier League titles with Man City and last season, won another title playing for Chelsea. I’ve been one of the best Premier League goalies with some comparing me to club legend Petr Cech and national team legend Gordon Banks.”
“Took England long enough to find a great goalie,” says Riv.
"Yeah, Gor has provided England with the stability they were waiting for!” says TCL. “Cheers to Gor! Next up we have Scarlett. How is it playing for Man United’s women’s team and being a star for your national team?” 
“Oh it’s been great. Ever since Man United have reestablished a women’s football division, things have been great! Certainly I hope to have the women’s game be more well-known, but it’s a nice start to have a new female division in Manchester. We’ve won two titles so far and are poised for more! As for the national team, I love playing alongside fellow defender Lucy Bronze and we have a great forward in Ellen White. We couldn’t bring it home (thanks to the US) but hopefully we will in the future. Speaking of Ellen, I have to guard against her in the Manchester Derby!”
“I’m glad to hear you’re doing well in Manchester. Cheers to Scarlett! Up next is our Italian striker Regy. you've truly made your way to the top, going from Pisa to Italy's biggest club, Juventus. How's that been for you?”
“It’s been a great journey for me moving up the pecking order in Italy. I’ve really enjoyed my time with Pisa during my youth and Livorno and Fiorentina later, but my time in Juventus has been outstanding. I got the privilege of playing alongside legend Cristiano Ronaldo, and after he retired earlier this year, people are expecting me and Paulo Dybala to keep Juve rolling. On the international side of things, I hope to take Gli Azzurri back to the top!”
“Thank you Regy, and good luck to your future endeavors. Cheers to Regy! Looks like Orient is up next. You’re currently playing for Lyon, one of the top women’s football clubs and the French women’s team. Give us more insight on what’s that been like.”
“People have really seen my potential ever since my youth days in Paris FC that I would be the next best French women’s talent to come out. And with my playing in Lyon, things have gotten better since! My biggest goal is to deliver the Women’s World Cup to France sometime. I mean, you gotta have somebody stand in the way of the Americans!”
“You’re clearly underestimating us Americans,” says Feria. “And no, Scarlett’s not going to take it home either!”
“Well, you’re certainly the gal that can lead France deep into the World Cup. Cheers to Orient! Next up is Suo. Your career has gone a long way since your days in Mikkeli. I'm sure your proud of that, how do you feel?”
“I have come quite a long way, haven’t I? Although I am playing a sport that isn’t the most popular in my country (we’re crazier for hockey), it’s still been a great experience for those at home to see how far I have advanced from my youth days in Mikkeli all the way to playing for an elite European club in Ajax. People have called me Little Litmanen since I remind them of the Finnish legend.  And I get to play with Dutch star Riv, which makes it even sweeter.”
“Well you’ve certainly delighted your country at home to see an elite footballer rise through the ranks. Good luck to your future. Cheers to Suo! Next up is Laver. You're playing for your favorite club under a great manager and you have met the girl of your dreams. How do feel about that?”
“Let me put it to you this way: it’s basically my entire dreams coming true! Ever since I was little, I wanted to play for Man United. I loved Sir Alex and what he has done for the legendary club. After my time in Copenhagen, Man United saw a lot in me and Ole personally vouched for them to sign me. Another dream come true was the privilege to play for the Danish team alongside my idol, Christian Eriksen. But the biggest dream coming true was meeting this amazing girl named Scarlett who also plays for Man U, and ever since then, we have gotten closer and closer.”
“I love that your big dreams have all come true! Good luck to your club and international careers and who knows, maybe you and Scarlett will get married someday! Cheers to Laver! Next up we have Maarten. how are you doing with PSV? Do you feel better with them than with Montreal?”
“My time in the MLS was good and it helped me develop my game more, but moving to the Netherlands and joining PSV was the best decision I made. My game has developed a lot more in the Eredivisie playing against tougher strikers and craftier wingers. It’s a tough task to go up against Riv and Suo, that’s for sure!”
TCL asks Maarten another question. “How do you think your career would’ve been if you had chosen Canada or the US?”
Before Maarten could answer, Riv interjects. “Then we wouldn’t see the same guy as Canada would have messed him up and the US wouldn’t be ideal. Besides, he wouldn’t have played with me for the Netherlands and would have gotten stuck in irrelevant regional tournaments!”
“Okay Riv I’ll answer it myself,” says Maarten. “Anyway, the reason I played for the Netherlands is so I can have bigger competition and since I was born in the US but had Dutch parents, I was eligible for the Dutch side. I also somehow had dual US-Canada citizenships so that made me eligible for both of the North American sides. But the Dutch team best fit my needs and my heart was set on playing for the home country of my parents.”
“You’ve certainly got what it takes to play in tougher leagues and conferences. Cheers to Maarten! Up next is Riv, our fellow Dutch! I bet you're happy with Ajax. You've been with them since you were a child, that's truly remarkable.”
“Yeah I couldn’t have played for a better side than Ajax. They saw a lot in me when I was little all the way back in 2006, and my time in their youth system has grown my skills and talents tremendously. When I was younger, I’ve been subjected with comparisons to Dennis Bergkamp, Robin van Persie, and even the legend himself, Johan Cruyff. Despite that putting more pressure on me to succeed, I used it as motivation to become the great player I am today. I can’t wait for my future with Ajax and the Dutch team.”
“That’s really nice to hear, and Ajax did a great job with seeing and developing youth talent from the academies, that’s for sure! Cheers to Riv! Next up is Poliet. How has your time with Toronto FC in the MLS and being the best Canadian player currently shaped you?”
“I don’t know how to put this in words, but it’s exhilarating. Just like Suo, even though we both came from countries that love hockey more, it didn’t stop us from delighting everyone with our football skills. I’m enjoying my time in Toronto but I still dream of playing in Europe someday. Finally, I have something to say to Riv: Canada’s also got some talents too like Alphonso Davies and yours truly, me!”
“Alright, good luck to your future club endeavors as well as your international days with Canada. Cheers to Poliet! Next up is Sparta. How is it playing for Liverpool and being part of the golden generation for the US?”
“It’s been a great pleasure playing for Liverpool. Most of my appearances for them were on the reserve team or as a sub, but now that Klopp has recently trusted me to be in the starting lineup, I’m ready to deliver some Premier League titles and Champions League trophies! I also love my teammates and they’re a great bunch to play with. Also, it’s great to see the American golden generation developing and for us to finally get the chance to become a real team!”
“I’m glad to see that you enjoy playing for Liverpool, and good luck to your future. Cheers to Sparta! Yahlia is up next! How has it been to represent New Zealand in the international stage and how's life in Iran? Was it tough to settle there after moving from New Zealand?”
“After my time in New Zealand, first starting off for my home club Tasman United and then to Auckland FC, it was in an international tournament that other clubs had their eyes on me at the time. Since European ones weren’t interested in me at the time, I decided to head over to Iran and play in the Persian Pro League and use it as a stepping stone to Europe. While it’s been tough to adapt to life in Iran, I eventually got used to it. The locals in Tabriz love me, I have made great friends with my teammates, and I even learned some Farsi! As for being dubbed the Kiwi Messi, I have a lot of pressure put on me to impress for New Zealand, but I love representing my country.”
“It’s good that you were able to adapt to living in an unfamiliar place. Good luck for your future club endeavors. Cheers to Yahlia! Next up is Diz. How is your time with Eintracht Frankfurt going so far? And being one of the hottest American prospects, how have you dealt with such high expectations?”
“Playing for Frankfurt has been quite the opportunity for me as well as a dream come true. The Bundesliga is one of the best leagues in Europe to play in and I’ve found my second home in Germany. I get called many nickanmes, but being called the American Gerd Muller has really stuck with me considering I have German lineage. Hopefully I deliver Frankfurt some Bundesliga titles as well as one Champions League title. I also enjoy play alongside you and Sparta for the US team.”
“Thanks and good luck to your Bundesliga club career! Cheers to Diz! Next up is Lib. You play your club football in your country of birth and play internationally for Switzerland. How has your time in Dinamo Zagreb been, and where might you want to go for your future?”
“Well, I love playing in Croatia after some stints back in my home country of Switzerland, but playing for Zagreb is even more special considering it’s the city where I was born. If I do ever want to play somewhere else, I would choose the Bundesliga. In the international stage, I love representing Switzerland and even if we don’t usually generate much buzz, we play our hardest every game and show our potential.”
“That’s great, and I wish you well in your future club career. Cheers to Lib! Feria and Miharr are featured next. You two are both American stars who play for Bayern’s women’s team. How have the high expectations facing you and the USWNT affect your daily lives?”
Feria speaks first. “As American stars in the women’s game, we are expected to perform at very high levels. I have been compared with USWNT legend Abby Wambach. Sometimes it’s frustrating when you can’t always deliver, but you just have to push to improve yourself. In Germany, I have Miharr playing alongside me, so playing for the same club team helps us synergize.”
Miharr speaks next. “I have drawn many comparisons to Megan Rapinoe based on my style of play, so it puts pressure on me to do my best. However, I do have Feria alongside me and we are always here for each other.”
“You two will definitely impress for the USWNT and have great careers. Cheers to Feria and Miharr! Next up is Sather. Since you play for a Southeast Asian country in a region that isn’t known for football, how is it being one of the hottest players to come from Southeast Asia?”
“Being that Malaysia hasn’t been on the international stage for football, it’s a great feeling for me to put my country on the football map. My move to Liverpool has made shockwaves back home as I became the first Malaysian player to play in Europe, and for a big club as well! All I want is to impress my country and have my people see Malaysia represented in tournaments such as the Asian Cup and the World Cup while building up our football infrastructure.”
“Nice job, Sather. You’re certainly making your country proud! Cheers to Sather! Next up is Alienage. How have you coped with the high expectations of being Barcelona and Spain’s newest superstar?”
“It’s been tough. Many people call me Messi’s successor. They also ponder how the world would look if he played for Spain, so I get a lot of buzz as the Spanish Messi. For Barca, I had the privilege of playing with Messi himself before his retirement this year and I hope to replicate his success in Barcelona. I enjoy playing for Spain even if I was born in Bolivia. Hopefully, I win an international title sometime during my career.”
“You’ve got what it takes as long as you keep working toward your goals! Cheers to Alienage! Next up is KoD. Ever since you have moved to Bayern, you have been clicking well with Lewandowski up front. Not only that, but you and Lewy have formed a formidable Polish striker duo. How does it feel having him as a mentor, teammate, and friend?”
“The greatest moment in my life was signing for Bayern back in 2018 with Lewandowski himself vouching for my signing. It was basically like getting a special endorsement from someone famous. I would soon get loaned back to my youth club in Lech Poznan, but it helped me properly condition and I went against players more of my size until I was ready to compete in the tough Bundesliga. I especially enjoyed my time playing with Lewy, but it was doubly sweet as I also got to play alongside him while representing Poland. While others here have drawn comparisons to former superstars, I have been drawn comparisons to my idol, friend, compatriot, and mentor in Lewy and I wouldn’t trade the privilege of playing alongside him for anything else.”
“That’s great! You and Lewy are one of the best striker duos to watch in both club and international football! Cheers to KoD! Next up is Apab. You’re the only teenager in this group, but as you embark on a new journey to Arsenal, what made you move to Europe being far away from home, and how are you going to adapt in your new surroundings?” 
“I have no idea how I will perform after my stint with Pohang since the Premier League is at another level. Luckily, I have great teammates at Arsenal who have helped me smooth out the bumps in my transition to living in London. Although Son and I are rivals in the Prems, we are great teammates playing for South Korea.”
“It’s good that you have teammates out to support you during you recent move and good luck to your future! Cheers to Apab! That should be the last of everyone.”
“But wait, what about you?” asks Diz. “Shouldn’t TCL be given a toast as well?” The whole group nods and Diz questions the American defender. “How much do you enjoy playing for Marseille and the US national team as one of the top defenders in football right now?”
“For one, I love playing for Marseille and although I haven’t won a title there, I’m excited to get things going with new manager Didier Deschamps, who was sacked after France left the World Cup.  And I’m honored to be named one of the best defenders right now and I hope to play well for the US for the rest of my career.”
“Alright, that wraps things up. Cheer to TCL!” That’s also everyone else! Cheers to all!” 
The group soon get their food and spend their last hangout night up in The Shard. 

[center][b]July 28[/b][/center] 

It’s the day where everyone else goes back to their respective homes for club season to start. Everyone is excited for club season to start and has hopes on winning their respective leagues. As for regional tournaments, the Asian and Gold Cups start next summer as well as the FIFA Women’s World Cup. The Europeans have to wait till 2024 for the Euros, so they got more time to prepare.

The Kingdom of Outer Sparta