never lost records

GNT WC qualification facts

  • World record: won 10/10 games with a goal difference of 39
  • World record: never lost an away game during qualification
  • DFB qualification record: 43 goals in 10 games
  • Unbeaten since the defeat against France in the EC: 16 wins, 3 draws
  • 19th participation at a World Cup: never failed at qualification
“I miss you too” you tap out the reply, with fidgety fingers that know nothing but lies. You hand over a return ticket that should be made of relief but your eyes linger on the distant place you’ve just left through the glass of the window. You say you’re going home but the word is poison on your tongue because you’re not sure what or where that is anymore. You don’t get homesick and you wonder why that is whilst knowing that where you live is just a house, it’s definitely not a home.
—  ~Excerpt from a book I’ll never wrote #48

Steve’s always loved to draw. When he was little, he would sit in a corner of the hospital - too sick to stay home, he was always too sick - and one of the nurses would give him old records to scribble across, an old pencil stub tugged like magic from behind a doctor’s ear.

He could always find a pencil, or a bit of charcoal - sat by the stove on cold winter nights and sketched summer onto their pitted, wood floors. Bucky kept hinting about art school (picked up the habit from Sarah Rogers, both of them talking like Steve might live past twenty five), but Steve had different dreams.

It took awhile, after the serum, to relearn how to hold a pencil in his suddenly thick hands, but Steve needed to be able to write Bucky letters, to promise that he was okay and hadn’t done anything too stupid. (Bucky never got them, pointless reassurances to a man trapped in hell; and Steve hadn’t seen them again until 2013 in the back rooms of a museum that echoed like a tomb.) Steve drew pin-up girls for the Commandos, bomber planes and city streets when they felt nostalgic for home. He drew the sharpening lines of Bucky’s face, the uneven beginnings of a beard on his cheek, all the wreckage of Bucky’s scars that promised he was wounded but still alive.

Steve didn’t start working in color until after the ice. Pepper - trying to be helpful - forced Tony to teach Steve how to take still pictures from old movies (classic films, spotted and unspooling and fresh in Steve’s mind from the cinema three years before), compiled an enormous folder filled with pictures of Brooklyn, of tenements and trolleys and boys playing ball in an abandoned yard. They were all in shades of gray, washed out and frozen in time.

He taped them to his walls, laid the city out as best he could - streets and homes and the church where he had taken First Communion, where the priest had prayed over Sarah Rogers’s cold body and ashen face - and stared at them for hours from his bed. When he finally fell asleep (finally woke up home, Brooklyn like it was meant to be), Mrs. Santorini smiled at him, her teeth white and her red lipstick a slash of gray, the puff of her hair white without the yellow tinge she claimed came from eating lemons as a girl.

The first time Fury broke into Steve’s apartment, he slipped on the layers of Brooklyn - red brick and wood painted blue and green and yellow, pink sandstone and brown streets and boys with flushed cheeks and dirt smudged over their nose, caked into the palms of their grubby hands - and nearly hit his knees on the hardwood floors.

“What the hell is this?” Fury grumbled, flourishing a handful of drawings in Steve’s face (careful not to crumple them, Steve startled to find a SHIELD tech at his doorstep a week later, machine in hand to colorize old photographs, to scan drawings and sharpen them until they looked like a movie still of the world Steve had lost).

“Brooklyn,” Steve answered, and smoothed a hand across the wrinkled edges of Bucky’s face, blue and brown and pink and tan and streaks of Irish red in his hair. When he went to sleep that night, Bucky smiled at him, teeth white, stubble shaded in patches of black against pale, colorless eyes, the ashen flush on his cheeks, the wreckage of his scars in shades of gray.