Playing in white jerseys with black stripes (at home, in the Rackham Range of mountains-its most recent home field was Wayr Stadium, though home games have been played elsewhere) and black jerseys with white stripes (away), the team was formed impulsively by the eventual television announcers and essentially consisted of whoever showed up. They lost the first game of their Baptism of Fire against Northern bettia. Three more losses followed before the team's first win, points, and goal, but hotshot attacker Simon Ryne Olson's shot was enough to beat Turruth Gordur. The team finished the group stage 1-0-5, but toppled undefeated Kelssek before elimination to Quintessence of Dust.
The Cup of Harmony 25 winners, included in video games years later.
The ensuing qualification tour saw Zwangzug tour the multiverse, from Cafundeu to The Archregimancy. Despite an defeat to the Fire Ants in their first match and the team's record loss, 6-1 against defending champions Ariddia, Zwangzug finished tied with Ropa-Topia and Tessan for the final at-large playoff spots. But Zwangzug had the lowest goal differential (4), and went instead to the twenty-fifth Cup of Harmony, hosted by Jasīʼyūn. After advancing to the knockout stages of the tournament on a three-way head-to-head tiebreaker, Zwangzug won 1-0 twice in a row. But the goals flew freely in the final match: Zwangzug defeated Ropa-Topia 4-2.
An unchanged team (countrywide time-dilation policies and football-related apathy leading to low turnover rates, especially in early tournaments) returned for World Cup 34 riding that wave of success, and qualified directly for the Proper. In their first finals match, they faced Demot, semifinalists in the previous cup-but won, 1-0. A 1-1 draw with Bazalonia let them hold the group lead into the third matchday-when they were promptly eliminated, a 4-0 defeat to Cafundéu knocking them to third on goal difference.
World Cup 35 was a tournament of transition. In the team's only foray with an attacking style-their previous 3-4-3 having been defensive-minded, mostly due to all-around ignorance-they finished third in their qualifying group, defeated Sativaville in the playoffs, but finished third outright in the group stage. The robotic coach was permanently damaged, and the technical difficulties continued in the tournament at large, with a beta version of Zwangzug-designed organizational software mistakenly used rather than the correct version used in the previous tournament (albeit one which featured a dysfunctional group draw). There were nevertheless encouraging signs for Zwangzug, perhaps most notably the emergence of Eddie Barnes in the midfield. While his sisters' instrumentals traditionally replaced full-scale singing of the national anthem pregame, that being an unnervingly nationalistic practice, Eddie thrived against the toughest opposition. And with Bazalonia a rather more comprehensible destination for tourists from Zwangzug than Alasdair I Frosticus, the proper saw some early signs of true national fandom.
Everything came together in World Cup 36. The team had a neutral style, having settled into the 3-2-1-2-3, a new captain, and a new coach. Bigtopian Doodlypants Mcgimpy's control of the team, not to mention his command of the English language, varied wildly over time. But the qualification stage was nothing spectacular; in fact, a governmental shutdown led to a media outage lasting from the tail end of the qualification stage through the group stage. Intermittent reports broke the news of Zwangzug's playoff victory over Spruitland. When things returned to full force, Zwangzug had taken four points from the group stage. This time, however, the tiebreaker went the other way, and Zwangzug advanced on goal difference over Jeruselem.
Ahead lay Bettia, the defending champions, first seeds, and so dominant a team that, historically, anyone who beat them in the knockout stages had eventually won the tournament. But it was the team twenty ranks below that didn't just win, but won 3-0. The world stage brought out Barnes' best-he was named man of the match in the 2-1 quarterfinal victory over Cafundéu-and the Bettian Blessing seemed alive and well. Yet group-stage foes Ariddia triumphed in the semifinals on their way to their third world title, and Zwangzug lost the third-place match to Capitalizt SLANI. Defeat was hardly the right emotion for the increasingly numerous fans, however. Olson, Barnes, and rookie defender Bartholomew Hanson were all named to the tournament's Best XXIII, while the team was honored with the Golden Haddock award. For Zwangzug, the tournament was an unimaginable success.
Nationwide interest in football had never been higher, and Mcgimpy was able to recruit a full squad of players for World Cup 37. Zwangzug clinched qualification by winning their first eleven games, including two long-awaited victories against Northern Bettia. Used to fighting until the final day, they promptly lost their next match but nevertheless sailed into the proper, taking six points from their group stage before defeating Jeruselem and Cafundéu. Their semifinal performance was in some ways superior than their World Cup 36 semifinal. Rather than losing in ninety minutes, they drew Demot in a hundred and twenty, yet were still defeated in not altogether unpredictable fashion before losing to Sel Appa in the third place match.
Qualification for World Cup 38 featured a little bit of everything. On one hand, Zwangzug set a team record for margin of victory in a 6-0 defeat of Kansiov, then two matches later tied it in a 7-1 victory over Scotchpinestan. On another, it lost 1-0 to San Adriano (national population: 439). Yet the team qualified with ease, and clinched a place in the knockout stages with a game to spare. They lost that game, however, to Tynelia, setting up a rematch with Sel Appa, who won 3-0.
Off the field, Zwangzug co-hosted the twenty-sixth Baptism of Fire with Liverpool england prior to World Cup 39. The national athletics organization's subsequent bureaucratic ineptitude somewhat distracted from the team topping its qualifying group. Nevertheless, an late comeback gave Zwangzug a victory in its opening match of the proper. They'd advance to the knockout stages once again, and once again lose in the second round. This time it would be to Capitalizt SLANI, the eventual champions.
World Cup 40 was much the same as far as Zwangzug's results went. The team breezed through qualification, this time winning their finals group. A second place finish might have been better: as things turned out, the team was eliminated in the second round by eventual champions Valanora. A group stage defeat to Bazalonia gave Zwangzug the distinction if nothing else of having lost to both finalists in the same Cup, perhaps a rarity in light of standard tournament format.
In the World Cup 41 qualifiers, Zwangzug beat Acapais 6-0 in its first and only undefeated qualification. While the country hosted Cup of Harmony 33 with Newmanistan, the team rolled to a perfect group stage, including a thrilling 5-3 defeat of Dancougar. By then realistic title contenders, they could have at least viewed their second round opponents, Starblaydia as beatable. But the twenty-first seeds triumphed en route to another Starblaydi world title.
Things started out normally enough for Zwangzug in World Cup 42 when they were drawn into Group 7 for the fifth of their ten qualification attempts. But the normalcy ended when the roster was announced-or, perhaps, began. The team played a 4-4-2, with newcomer Saena Mathash in goal.
Opponents of the shakeup, most notably innovative veteran Andrew Card, by then the captain, could have been forgiven for crowing after the first two matches. The team followed a loss to An blascaod mor, whose population was less than a third of San Adriano's, with a home draw against Kosovoe. But things turned around, and Zwangzug guaranteed qualification on the final day. They topped their group despite the rescheduling of their final group-stage match, and progressed into the knockout stages once more.
If Yafor 2 had title-winning ability, they didn't display it in a 4-2 defeat to Zwangzug. Back in the quarterfinals, Zwangzug beat Candelaria And Marquez 5-1. A semifinal match against the Archregimancy resulted in a 3-1 victory for Zwangzug, who advanced to the final in Cafundéu. There, in Lasft's Obelisco Monumental, they lost 2-1 to Valanora on a late penalty kick.