Vephrall national football team
As of March 1780, the team's official record is 117–35–69 (107–33–55 in competitive matches), with 428 goals scored and 271 conceded. Although the team finished the group stage of the Baptism of Fire with a 5–1–0 record, this is not included in the official statistics, as the VFR does not recognize the competitions therein as being actual football matches. Vephrall is currently ranked 26th in the KPB ranking system.
In the beginning: Pasarap and Dotsmens
The Vephrall national team's first international competition was the famous unorthodox-format Baptism of Fire 23, for which all of Vephrall's matches were held in the Lowland Clans. The team was part of the nearly-unstoppable Group 7, which was so dominant that Vephrall's 5-1-0 group stage record was sufficient for only third place out of four in the group. Unluckily, they faced groupmates Candelaria And Marquez in the first knockout round, and in what is considered the first official match for the team, Vephrall endured a 0-2 loss and an early exit from the Tournament.
Nevertheless, the team's Baptism of Fire run propelled them to a very strong showing in World Cup 36 qualifying, where the team finished with a winning record and had a shot at qualification until very late in the qualifiers. Highlights of the qualifying run included a win and a draw with heavily-favored Turori and a pair of four-nil wins over the New Montreal States. The team continued into the Cup of Harmony, where they successfully exacted revenge for a pair of qualifying losses against Lovisa and proved themselves the equal of the C&M squad that knocked them out of the Baptism of Fire. However, it would be hosts and neighbors Kura-Pelland that would be the downfall of the Vephrese side, with the hosts finally recording a win in the repechage after losing to Vephrall on three previous occasions.
World Cup 37 qualifying started poorly and went down from there. The team recorded only a lone win over Kansiov in the first half of qualifying, dropping an embarrassing number of points against inferior opposition. A second loss to British Londinium on matchday eight resulted in the sacking of manager Ostalir Pasarap; his assistant, Rhoetang Dotsmens, would take over as interim manager for the remainder of qualifying. The team was officially eliminated from qualifying consideration with two matches remaining and finished the stage with only three wins total, finishing a distant sixth.
Rise to respectability: the Pentove years
With interim manager Rhoetang Dotsmens failing to impress the higher-ups at the VFR with a 2–1–3 record, it was decided that a different direction would need to be taken. Umsaasad Pentove was installed as manager just prior to Vephrall's entrance in Cup of Harmony 29. After going 2–1–1 in the group stage, Pentove proved that he knew how to win the close games by winning the first two knockout rounds in penalty shootouts over old foes Candelaria And Marquez and over the Archregimancy, to whom Vephrall had just lost their final group stage match three-nil; he then followed this up with an extra-time semifinal win over Kansiov. Unfortunately Vephrall fell just short of winning the Cup of Harmony title, losing the final one-nil to Casari.
Vephrall was selected to host World Cup 38 along with neighbors Kura-Pelland, and thus it would be Pentove who would have the opportunity to lead Vephrall on the big stage for the first time. The team didn't manage to get out of the group stage, but was able to pick up a win over Bostopia.
The team managed to win its group for the first time in World Cup 39 qualifying, winning eleven out of fourteen matches and losing just one, a performance which would not be bettered until World Cup 47. Unfortunately, the team was unable to carry that momentum into the finals, managing only a single point in the group stage.
Into the upper echelon: return of a legend
Controversy surrounded the sacking of Umsaasad Pentove following World Cup 39, with many fans understandably upset by the VFR's lack of confidence in clearly their greatest manager to date. With Pentove gone, then-assistant manager Parker Law rose into his chair. Law, a former player for the long-defunct, albeit enormously successful, Bedistan national football team, had no previous head managerial experience at the time of his promotion. He produced identical results to Pentove's in his first attempt, World Cup 40, managing only a draw with Sel Appa in the group stage, but was allowed to try again. In World Cup 41, Vephrall managed its first World Cup proper victory in over a decade, trouncing Dancougar 4-1. That lone win turned out to be sufficient to send the Auric Wolves into the second round, where they bested Ad'ihan in a penalty shootout to reach the quarterfinals before finally falling to perennial juggernaut Valanora.
World Cup 42 saw the team stumble in the second round against Jeruselem, but this was then followed by two more quarterfinal appearances. Law chose to retire after World Cup 44, citing old age and deteriorating health. At his departure from the managerial post, Law was considered a national hero for his efforts in turning the Auric Wolves into one of the ten best national teams in the world.
The slow decline: Umsaasad at the helm
After Parker Law's retirement, the VFR chose to stick with a native Vephraller to take over the post, choosing Sartiros Umsaasad. Great things were expected for the team, which had just seen three quarterfinal appearances in the last four World Cups, and it was hoped that Umsaasad would be able to pick up where Law left off. The Umsaasad administration started well, with Vephrall's first ever undefeated World Cup qualifying campaign. However, the team stumbled out of the gate in the group stage of World Cup 45 with a loss to neighbors and rivals Kura-Pelland. The ensuing draw with Milchama did not help matters, and a win over Cassadaigua turned out to be insufficient to advance, resulting in Vephrall's first failure to get out of the group stage since World Cup 40.
World Cups 46 and 47 ended up being repeat performances of World Cup 45 and the formerly top-ten Auric Wolves started to experience a slow, steady decline in the world rankings. The World Cup 48 qualifying stage marked Vephrall's first failure to win its group since World Cup 42, with hated rivals Candelaria And Marquez topping the group instead. The team's five-nil humiliation at the hands of Sorthern Northland in the group stage remains to this day Vephrall's most lopsided competitive loss. Miraculously the team was able to sneak into the second round, where they managed to take Valanora to a penalty shootout before departing the competition. Nevertheless, unrest was clearly growing within the fanbase.
A program in turmoil: Renário, Ocilla, Anárion, and Clayton
The World Cup 49 qualifying effort started in horrifying fashion, and near the midway point the VFR had finally had enough. Sartiros Umsaasad was shown the door and the VFR decided to look abroad for a new manager. In came Renário, who had previously seen success with Cafundéu among others. Renário was nearly able to pull off the impossible and successfully salvage the qualifying campaign, but ultimately the team fell just short. Vephrall found itself in the Cup of Harmony for the first time in nearly 40 years. The team rattled off eight consecutive wins to reach the final, which they lost to Sargossa. Following that second-place finish, the team was expected to regroup and qualify for World Cup 50. Despite what most would consider a very good performance, the Auric Wolves finished third in their 11-team qualifying group and once again missed the cut. Renário was, unsurprisingly, let go as a result.
Netgorin Ocilla, the team's assistant manager since the Parker Law years, had served as caretaker manager for one match between the Umsaasad and Renário administrations. After Renário's sacking, he was once again appointed caretaker, but he also threw his hat into the ring once again for the permanent job. Ocilla was one of four candidates for the job, which ultimately went to the Vanorian Orophin Anárion. Ocilla resigned as assistant manager afterward and would later become president of the VFR.
Anárion took control of the team for Cup of Harmony 42 and got off to a similar start as Renário had in the previous edition. However, the VFR was caught by surprise after the Cup of Harmony quarterfinals when the Vanorian elves, including Anárion, elected to abruptly withdraw from Vephrall's plane of existence. Fortunately, the VFR was able to quickly hammer out a contract with Ousevale Borough manager Paul Clayton, who had been one of the other candidates to replace Renário. Under Clayton, Vephrall was able to win its semifinal match but would frustratingly lose on penalties to Milchama in the final.
The Vephrall job is considered these days to be one of the most unstable in the business and perhaps one of the most toxic, due in large part to the VFR looking for a relatively rapid rise back to the glory days of the 1760s. Chances are they will once again be looking for, at minimum, qualification for World Cup 51 in order for the Clayton hire to be considered "successful".
| World Cup 1
World Cup 35
|N/A||Did not enter||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|World Cup 36||1737–38||53rd||Did not qualify||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|World Cup 37||1742–44?||Did not qualify||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|World Cup 38||1747||Group stage||3||1||0||2||2||4||–2|
|World Cup 39||1753||Group stage||3||0||1||2||2||4||–2|
|World Cup 40||1756||27th||Group stage||3||0||1||2||3||7||–4|
|World Cup 41||1758||Quarterfinals||5||2||0||3||7||8||–1|
|World Cup 42||1761||21st||Second round||4||2||1||1||5||5||0|
|World Cup 43||1763–64||16th||Quarterfinals||5||3||0||2||11||9||+2|
|World Cup 44||1766||7th||Quarterfinals||5||3||0||2||11||11||0|
|World Cup 45||1769||7th||Group stage||3||1||1||1||3||3||0|
|World Cup 46||1771||11th||Group stage||3||0||1||2||4||7||–3|
|World Cup 47||1774||11th||Group stage||3||1||0||2||4||7||–3|
|World Cup 48||1776–77||Second round||4||1||1||2||6||10||–4|
|World Cup 49||1780–81||Did not qualify||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|World Cup 50||1784||Did not qualify||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
World Cup qualifying
|World Cup 36||1735–36||108th||5th of 8||14||7||2||5||21||12||+9|
|World Cup 37||1740–41||55th||6th of 8||14||3||4||7||20||28||–8|
|World Cup 38||Automatically qualified as hosts|
|World Cup 39||1751–52||1st of 8||14||11||2||1||34||10||+24|
|World Cup 40||1755–56||3rd of 6||10||6||0||4||23||17||+6|
|World Cup 41||1757||2nd of 6||10||6||1||3||19||13||+6|
|World Cup 42||1760||23rd||2nd of 7||12||8||1||3||40||13||+27|
|World Cup 43||Automatically qualified as hosts|
|World Cup 44||1765–66||7th||1st of 8||14||9||2||3||32||15||+17|
|World Cup 45||1768||7th||1st of 8||14||9||5||0||26||5||+21|
|World Cup 46||1771||12th||1st of 6||10||7||2||1||14||4||+10|
|World Cup 47||1773||17th||1st of 8||14||12||1||1||39||5||+34|
|World Cup 48||1776||19th||2nd of 8||14||10||2||2||48||19||+29|
|World Cup 49||1779–80||20th||3rd of 9||16||11||2||3||37||14||+23|
|World Cup 50||1782–83||26th||In progress|
|Baptism of Fire 23||1734–35||1st KO round||1||0||0||1||0||2||–2|
|Cup of Harmony 28||1737–38||Repechage||4||1||1||2||3||5||–2|
|Cup of Harmony 29||1742–44||Runner-up||8||5||1||2||7||8||–1|
|Cup of Harmony 41||1780–81||Runner-up||9||8||0||1||28||9||+19|
|Cup of Harmony 42||1784||Runner-up||10||8||2||0||24||9||+15|
|Netgorin Ocilla (caretaker)||1780||1||1||0||0||100.0%||100.0%||3||2|
|Netgorin Ocilla (caretaker)||1783||1||0||1||0||0.0%||100.0%||0||0|