Gianni Torchio (Italy)


Gianni Torchio reads your mind. He knows your every thought, your fears, your desires. He moves his joystick with an economy of movement and accuracy as elegant as the motions of a symphony conductor with a baton, never hitting a sour tone. He sits beside you with eyes that glitter like those of an ogre discussing his favorite recipe of cooking children. Finally, his joystick rises slowly like the blade in the hands of an ax murderer as deliberate as an accountant, and then he peels you like an onion until there's nothing left of you but the smell. Gianni had won everything there is to win in the KOA but the actual world cup and the best defense trophy, and now they're his too. Can he be stopped? That remains to be seen.

Dagh Nielsen (Denmark)


Ferocious pirates, ruthless secret agents, brain-eating aliens from distant galaxies, super criminals hell-bent on ruling the world, bloodthirsty vampires, face-gnawing werewolves, savage Gestapo thugs, mad scientists, satanic cultists, insane carnival freaks, knife-worshiping thrill killers, and emotionless robot soldiers from other planets slashed, stabbed, burned, shot, gouged, torn, clubbed, crushed, stomped, hanged, bit, eviscerated, beheaded, poisoned, drowned, radiated, blew up, mangled, mutilated and tortured uncounted victims in the pulp novels that I have been reading since childhood. Yet not one scene in those hundreds of colorful tales withered a corner of my soul as did a glimpse of Dagh ruthlessly beating his opponents. And just in case you didn't know, he is a WC newbie. So yeah, he didn't win, but don't hold that against him; you know how rusty we all were when we first joined the KOA. I'm sure he will improve and next time he will do better than the puny 9.43 goals per game that gave him the top scorer trophy.

Alkis Polyrakis (Greece)


I know, I know. You're all eagerly expecting to read what I have to say for myself after yet another semi-final humiliation. What sort of similes and metaphors will my award-winning writing skills devise? After all, the possibilities are endless. "12 Gods of Olympus"... "12 angry men"... "Ocean's 12"... You name it. But I'm sorry to say, I will disappoint you. Because for the first time in many years I'm actually pleased with myself. First of all because everything went well with the organization, second because I finally got a medal again, and third because I did better than all the other Greeks therefore order is finally restored in the universe. And although there seems to be some kind of curse that prevents me from winning the world cup again until some angel blows the horn of judgment and the dead rise from their graves to glory, I know that one year the holy shield will again be mine... mine... MINE! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Panayotis Pantazis (Greece)


It was a cold day of winter in 2004. The news fell like a bomb in the Athenian suburbs. Panayotis is leaving! Leaving? Where to? To the United States! And so he was gone for many years, and without him there was no sun, no trilling from the birds, no joy. Until the day when finally, like a new Ulysses, he decided to ignore the Sirens from the new world and return to the motherland! No, not Greece, the KOA! After almost a year of hard practice, he managed a great world cup and his best position ever, mostly thanks to his offensive skills.

Spyros Paraschis (Greece)


Somebody must have whispered this year to Spyros that even Leonidas lost in the end. Nobody expected him to win the world cup again (of course, nobody expected him to do it the first time, or the second, but that's another story) but still his performance was below par. He got defeated as many times as in all three previous world cups put together (6). Nevertheless, he put up a valiant fight in the quarter finals against Alkis where he lost on extra time. He's still searching for the KOA version of Ephialtes who ratted our the secret passage to his goal.

John Hogstrom (Sweden)


Apart from Klaus Loite, the world cup quarter finals used to be as free of Scandinavians as they were untroubled by lumbering brontosaurs. Not anymore; John has become a recognized force in the KOA and he managed to gain 6th place in yet another competition, so now we have two northerners in the top 8. He is an excellent player whose shots are as straight as the kernel rows in the corn on Odin's high table. He could have even reached the semi finals if he hadn't had a total blackout in the second half of the rematch against Panayotis, during which the joystick was gripped so tightly in his right hand that had its carbon content been higher, it would have been compacted into a diamond. He had the 4th best defense of the word cup.

Oliver Stender (Germany)


Oliver had a fantastic world cup, he's a very spectacular Kick Off player who specializes in powerful crosses and deadly headers. Gone are the days when he would have been eager to use a fork to perform open heart surgery without anesthesia to Wayne during the battles for positions 25-28. This time he was much calmer and he defeated experienced players such as Panayotis and Vasilis. He was 6th in overall goal difference.

Steve Ellesmore (England)


In the pictures section of the 2007 world cup I had described Steve as "the future", and my instincts didn't fail me. Fantastic games by one of the world's best all around dribblers, Steve kept the English flag high in this world cup. I would call him a very conscientious player but by principle I never call people anything I can't spell. Mark my words, he still hasn't reached his peak.

Ektoras Kapsoulis (Greece)


If last year he surprised everyone, this year he gained respect. Granted, it's as if Ektoras and defense are composed of matter and antimatter that must either repel each other or, on contact, trigger a cataclysmic blast that would shatter the very foundation of the universe. But who needs defense when you can score 7 goals against Steve Ellesmore, 9 against Knut, 6 against Dagh (OK bad example... the score was 6-13).

Sandro Torchio (Italy)


Sandro's numbers indicate that perhaps he deserved something better in this competition. He had the 4th best attack and the 2nd best defense, but although he finished first in his Round 1 group he ended up with very hard day 2 opponents. His inability to score more against Steve Evil cost him. Nevertheless, he's a worthy representative of the Milan school of Kick Off.

Filippos Mourtzis (Greece)


Don't let his gentle smile fool you, the man is a psycho. While he's playing against you, he likes to visualize burned joysticks and smashed monitors. What the hell is he doing so high anyway? What? He beat Nikos, George and Rodolfo? Steve Camber too? For fuck's sake, the man is a psycho. I'm done typing.

Alex Brante (Germany)


Alex "too sexy for my shirt" Brante is the kind of player who likes to underperform when seeded high and overperform when seeded low just to piss me off. His defensive skills helped him sneak out of his first round group while Vasilis and Nick dropped points all over the place.

Steve Camber (England)


Although he didn't finish higher than last year, Steve played much better than he had in Rome as he managed to defeat players like Spyros, Nikos and Alessandro. Previously known mainly for his defensive skills, this time he scored plenty of goals and ended up as the 7th attacker of the world cup. The latest additions to the KO2CV were appreciated by everyone.

Nikos Andreou (Greece)


If underperformance was a disease and had an organized charity, Nikos would be their poster child. Although he was off to a good start by drawing against Spyros, he doesn't play the game as often as he used to and he scored less than ever. The defeat to Filippos cost him as he ended up in a very hard round 2 group.

Alessandro Verano (Italy)


Gianni's cousin could have done better in this competition but a catastrophic draw against Flavio lead him to a very difficult day 2 group. Alessandro, if you're reading this: Propose me!

Knut Loite (Norway)


With his brothers once again absent, Knut did his best to maintain the excellent Loite reputation by using any means he had. It is true that of all the humble tasks that men and women can transform into visual poetry by the application of athletic agility and grace, scoring a kick off lob holds the least promise of beautification. But that didn't bother Knut, and neither did the inability of his opponents to score against Lockout.

Rodolfo Martin (Spain)


Rodolfo had a terrible first day with only three wins in 9 matches. He shaped up on Sunday and managed to win his group thanks to his victory against Mark Bishop. He then played the Silver Cup final against George to once again prevail on the big screen and maintain his title.

George Kakaletris (Greece)


It was not an easy weekend for George as he had to supervise all the computers that run the excellent software he had programmed for the world cup, so Kick Off was something of an afterthought for him. Nevertheless, he came very close to winning the Silver Cup, which he lost by a single goal on extra time. He had the 5th best defense of the competition.

Vasilis Kafiris (Greece)


Having just arrived from his honeymoon in Egypt, Vasilis aparently had taken his joystick with him which got filled with sand. There is no other logical explanation for his underperformance as he lost many matches he should have logically won. That didn't stop him from having the third best defense in the world cup.

Mark Bishop (England)


Mark Bishop's Sunday performance on offense was much better than last year, as he scored 36 goals compared to the 0 he had scored during the same day in Rome. His Sunday defense was not as reliable though as he could not maintain last year's awesome 2.0 average.

Stelios Tzanakos (Greece)


As is customary in his profession, the dentist caused a lot of pain to several opponents in his first world cup appearance. He could have even made it to the world cup rounds if not for a narrow defeat to Alessandro. On Sunday, the epic 7-6 loss to Jorg cost him.

Kostas Oikonomopoulos (Greece)


A lot of people complimented Kostas on his Kick Off skills after the tournament. I won't do that because I expect greater things of him. He has the ability to get results such as victories against Wayne, Nick, Jacob and Jorn or a draw against Ektoras, but he still doesn't get the wins against players he should normally beat.

Robert Swift (England)


OK what the fuck? Somebody get the performance police and arrest that tall bloke. There should be a limit to how much a person can underperform, but much like the driving speed limit Robert has no respect for it. In fact, if what we saw in November 8-9 was an actor who impersonated Robert during those games and the 8th Kick Off 2 world cup was even the cheesiest daytime soap opera, he should be stripped of his actor's union card, fired, and possibly horsewhipped on a live television special. Bring back the real Robert NOW. I'm not kidding. NOW.

Wayne Lam (Hong Kong)


The man who puts the 'world' in 'world cup' was another underperformer, but at least he has an excuse as he barely played since Rome. His problem was mainly in offense as he scored less than last year.

Jacob Kofoed (Sweden)


Let's see, will it be possible for me to write a review on Jacob without including the words 'baby' and 'face'? Oops, I guess not. And this time he even had a baby face girlfriend with him! Several good results and narrow defeats for him in Athens.

Kostas Kakaletris (Greece)


Kostas had 8 victories in 88 matches in KOA tournaments, so it was only natural that we'd expect his world cup experience to be the equivalent of a man crossing the Niagara falls in a barrel. When I heard that he drew against Robert, I thought it was a fluke result. When I heard he beat Wayne, I was shocked. When he even beat Kostas O, the situation was rapidly passing from the realms of the merely ridiculous into those of the cosmically comic. 4 more victories later, I'm wondering: Is Kostas a much better player than we ever gave him credit for?

Jorg Panhorst (Germany)


This was Jorg's 6th consecutive world cup appearance and he's one of the people without whom we believe there can never be a world cup. Disliking him is impossible. How did he play? Who cares?

Jorn Flagtvedt (Norway)


Not a good performance for Jorn, who began the tournament with four points against Jacob and Steve Camber and three more undefeated matches but after a clean sheet loss to Alessandro things seemed to go downhill for him. He beat Robert 8-6 in the battle of the underperformers.

Marco Stoller (Italy)


Go back and read what I wrote about Alex, reverse it, and you have Marco. In the future, can everyone kindly let me know how they intend to play before the actual tournament so that I know how to seed them? Amatorial performance.

Nick Pedersen (Denmark)


Nick's performance in world cups is beginning to form a pattern: he misses the qualification to the top 16 by a point or two, gets disappointed and plays badly on Sunday. He also tends to have "black out" matches that cost him dearly; this time it was a 4-0 defeat to Alex.

Flavio Zurla (Italy)


Flavio lacks the standard goals that are necessary to people who want to do great things in world cups, so he puts everything he has on defense. That is how he got a couple of very good results: draws against Alessandro and Jorn.

Henrik Rasmussen (Denmark)


Having the second worst offense in the competition, Henrik could not hope for much in this world cup and even his presence in the top 32 should be considered a success. His best result was a 3-2 win against his compatriot and roommate, Nick.

Apostolos Terlis (Greece)


Apostolos' last world cup appearance was 6 years ago, when he had finished 16th out of 25 players. It took him a while to remember his defensive skills but when he did, it was hard for players of his caliber to score against him and that is how he ended up with the 7th best defense in the competition and the Bronze Cup.

Vagelis Daskalos (Greece)


The Greek Boris Becker did well in the Greek-German battle of the Bronze Cup group, and he could have even brought the trophy home if not for a narrow defeat to Apostolos.

Antonis Trikas (Greece)


Antonis' Kick Off skills could fit into a thimble with room left over for one of Charo's stage costumes plus the collected wisdom of the last four US presidents. But who cares? We like him the way he is. He really enjoyed watching the top Greeks being thrashed by Gianni and Dagh as they finally got a taste of their own medicine!

Thorsten Butschke (Germany)


When people wondered around Alexandra's avenue and got lost, all they had to do was follow Thorsten's screams to get back to the hotel as they could be heard 5 blocks away whether he was playing a friendly or an official match! An extremely valuable asset to KOA tournaments.

Yakos Tsimbidis (Greece)


Ah, Yakos... Yakos the brave, Yakos the noble, Yakos the just. Where was I? Oh, the world cup. He actually had better defense than 15 people in this competition, but his offense left a lot to be desired, because, you know... Yakos is Yakos.

Peter Sommer (Germany)


Peter had a win and a draw against Wolf in this world cup and I bet that was enough to make him happy. That was his 5th appearance, he and Wolf lead the KOA in WC defeats but of course they couldn't care less!

Wolf Heyer (Germany)


Who's afraid of the big bad wolf? Not many people in this world cup, but I know a lot who love him. It's a pity he and Peter had to leave so early.

Astrid Loite (Holland)


She may have changed her hairdo, she may have changed her last name, but she was still the Astrid we all adore, the one who brings a hint of estrogen to a testosterone-infested room. Thanks to the coaching of her new husband, she had improved her skills. She didn't manage to beat another man but I suspect that was because nobody wants to lose to a girl so they all played their best against her. The important thing is, that was Astrid's third world cup and once again she avoided ending up last!
Andreas Klammer (Germany)


Andreas became the first person to win the Shirt of Shame twice, as he failed to exhibit an improvement compared to last year and the 2008 Game of Shame rules did not favor his style of play. Nevertheless, he accepted his defeat with his usual sportsmanlike behavior.

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