World Cup 2018 Russia

(Stanton) #21

I do not have much ideas which other teams than the usual suspects have the substance to win the title.

Brazil, Germany, Spain, maybe France are able to reach the half finals. Argentina played bad in the qualifications, but now is now …

(Asa) #22

My guesses for the quarters:

France v Portugal
Brazil v Belgium
Spain v Argentina
Germany v Colombia

I’m basically predicting that seven of those sides all win their groups and then go on to win their second-round matches, eliminating all of the second-placed teams from the groups except for Portugal, who will finish behind Spain in their group but will beat whoever finished top of group A (Uruguay I’d imagine, or hosts Russia with a spot of, um, creative refereeing).

From there, its hard to look past another Deutschland victory overall, probably at the expense of Les Bleus in the final.

If a “plucky upstart” underdog team emerges this year, I’m hoping it’s either Mexico or Senegal (West Ham United have a player in each of those squads, as they do in the Argentinian and Portuguese squads also). It’s a shame the Netherlands aren’t coming along because it’s always fun watching them rip themselves to pieces just as they’re on the verge of greatness. We can always count on Holland’s lowland brethren Belgium to choke at the precipice of glory of course but their routine capitulation always feels a little deflating when placed against the traditional Dutch spectacle. :grinning:

As usual I’m finding it difficult to muster any enthusiasm for my own nation (England). I might get more into them if they start brightly enough and become a team I actually want to watch but, right now, I couldn’t give a toss. Doesn’t help that they’ve not included any Hammers in the squad although, in fairness, no English Hammers deserved to go. I’ll likely be cheering on Le France as I tend to do around World Cup time (I think one of my grandparents might’ve been part French. I don’t want to check though, just in case they weren’t and it turns out I’m just a boring old Englander from top to bottom).

(scherpschutter) #23

WORLD CUP 2018 RUSSIA - My Predictions

Let me tell you first who, in my opinion, will NOT win the tournament

Ever since 1990, when Cameroon made all the headlines, we’re waiting for an African team to grab the title. Some thought it would happen before the end of the millennium, or shortly after. in reality it never happened and I doubt it ever will. If the best African teams are not eliminated by others, they eliminate themselves, as did Ghana in 2010.

I don’t believe in Asian football either. I’ve been told that Iran - not Korea or Japan - is actually the strongest team from this region, so I’m looking forward to their games, but I can’t see them as a serious contender for the second round or quarter finals, let alone the title

On Belgian TV a few experts tipped Argentina: it’s Lionel Messi’s last chance to do what Diego Maradona did for his country, and he’ll grab that chance, and the title. I don’t think he will. Messi is Messi, but defensively they’re not strong enough (and their goal keeper isn’t good enough) to go all the way. And Messi’s lieutenant Mascherano, the old warrior, is definitely over his peak (and Messi is unwilling to drop his buddy). I’m afraid the best player of the last decade will never win the world title and will join the ranks of Cruyff, Puskas, Platini …

And Uruguay Uruguay, Peru and Colombia won’t make it either. Croatia and Portugal have strong teams with skillful individual players, but I don’t think they’re consistent enough to reach the final stages. Poland, Dnmark and Switzerland have at least one world class player (respectively Lewandowski, Eriksson and Shaqiri), but one world class player is not enough to become world champion. England will have to wait another four years for their second world title.

So that leaves me with three hot favorites and three major outsiders
Among the favorites are the two most recent world champions, Spain and Germany. The Germans have been struggling lately, but I’m sure they will have things attuned in time. Spain still has the skeleton of what probably was the strongest national team in history, the team that won three major titles in a row (Piqué, Sergio Ramos, David Silva, Iniesta) but they have some new blood as well (Asensio, Isco), and with David De Gea they have one of the best goals keepers of the tournament. Brazil is the third major contender for the title. After the disastrous tournament in their home country, Dunga took over the team, but continued with the same players that had already proven that they weren’t good enough. Things changed after the new coach Bacchi took over. They seem up to the challenge now.

France is possibly the strongest outsider. Their problem is called inconsistency. They were in one qualification group with Holland and Sweden, and won it, but their results were completely unpredictable: a 4-0 win over Holland was followed by a 0-0 against Luxemburg, in Paris , no less. Go fish. But with Griezmann, Mbappé, Ousmane Dembelé and Giroud (who does all the dirty work) they probably have the strongest attacking force in the world. Belgium’s golden generation should now be ready to cash after two disappointing tournaments. Like the Germans they have been struggling lately, but if you have players like Debruyne, Hasard, Vertonghen, Lukaku and Kompany (if he’s fit), your team looks like a machine ready for war. And finally I tip Mexico. They have real top players like Guardado, Moreno and Lozano (I know them very well, they played in Eindhoven) and I simply like their approach to the game: fresh, open, relying on technical skill. Viva Mexico!

Let the games begin …

(Stanton) #24

Again an interesting read, Scherp.

Mexico, that would be a real surprise. So far they only reached 2 times the quarter finals, in the 2 home tournaments 1970 and 1986.
Compared to Brazil that is strange, cause it is also a football-loving nation, and one with a big population figure, one in which football has a long tradition. And the social problems should make those who have nothing hungry to achieve something to escape their fate. More hungry than in the western world.

(scherpschutter) #25


Opening match, Russia beating Saudi Arabia 5-0

I only saw some highlights, had obligations elsewhere, but it looked very one-sided, almost a one-way shooting gallery at a fancy fair.

We can’t say much about the actual strength of the home team, because the Saudi’s were no real opposition. As for the Saudi’s (I know they did well in '94, but I also remember the 8-0 against Germany from 2002): What the heck is this team doing on a World Cup ??

Apart from all this: the fourth Russian goal was a beauty. If i see such a goal, I know why i like football

(kit saginaw) #26

Line of the broadcast (waxing nostalgic about Russian Cup-performances):

" You’re not only dating me, you’re dating yourself. "

" Nothing lonelier than dating yourself. "

" My wife tells me that. "

(scherpschutter) #27

Thanks to Spain and Portugal we had our first thriller of this World Cup

Spain were the better team, but they were punished for their arrogance and lacklustre defending. I think the problem is in midfield. Players like Iniesta, Silva, Isco and others are fantastic players with incredible technical skills, but they largely neglect any defensive work. Even the wing backs are offensive, so there’s a lot of pressure on the two remaining centre backs, Ramos and Piqué. Against a strong opponent with a lethal player like Cristiano Ronaldo, that almost looks like suicide tactics

(El Topo) #28

Another world cup

The strangest thing is no Italy and no Holland, but there’s Iceland.
My favourites Germany, Spain and Brazil.
In a second group of contenders, Argentina, Belgium, Croatia, England, France, Portugal and Uruguay, the winner will be in these 10 teams.
I don’t think any Asian or African team can make it, but I’m curious about Senegal they have a lot of strong players
For us the Portuguese team a lot of pressure was taken as we finally won something for the national side.
My top favourite is Brazil, they have a team with some old school Brazilian magic, but backed with some more European mentality in tactical terms, and a fantastic goalkeeper.
But in these type of tournaments it will depend of the physical condition of the team top players, it’s critical for success and at the end of the season things normally are complicated.
In my opinion player for player we have a better team than the one that won the Euro, mostly in offensive terms, the problem are the centre backs that are becoming old, midfield defensive players are not in the best physical conditions.
But if not favourites with Ronaldo in best form we have a word to say

(El Topo) #29

First major upset

(Asa) #30


(El Topo) #31

Surprise number two

(scherpschutter) #32

Major upset, yes, but expected a difficult match for Germany. Mexico is a very talented team. Three players of this team - Moreno, Guardado and goalscorer Lozano - have played (and in the case of Lozano still play) for PSV Eindhoven and they’re all three top players. Furthermore the Mexicans learned their lesson from this match at the Confederations Cup: in that match they made the game, played most of the time on the German half, but were punished by some razor sharp German counters. Today they let Germany play and created space for themselves. And now their counters were razor sharp.

Brazil altogether dissapointing, excellent players, but not really a team. They all want the ball, they have hardly any ball winners and if marcelo keeps playing like this (more as an attacker than as a defender) they will be punished by teams playing the counter attack.

(El Topo) #33

México is a very talented team yes but nevertheless it was a strange result, I was surprise by the lack of control from the Germany midfield Kedhira is totally out of shape and Ozil only plays half of the field.

About Brazil above all they seemed tired.


I don’t think Argentina is going to win the world cup. Messi can’t do it all by himself…needs help badly.

(scherpschutter) #35

Löw made the same mistake most coaches of a world champion made in the past: he had too much trust in the players that brought him the world title. Luckily for him, he was punished for this mistake in the first game, not in de second round or quarter finals (so the strong group was his luck, so to speak): he’ll get the chance to correct his mistake. I expect another line-up next time. But the comments in the German press will be very, very harsh. We have a @stanton to keep us informed in that aspect.

(The Man With a Name) #36

Woohoo! :man_dancing: Keep it up, England!

(Asa) #37

Wow. Deutschland were about a minute away from being effectively out of the tournament there. As it is, that win puts them right back in the mix. This is as average a German side as I can recall but they’re still my pick to win the lot, despite the incredibly shaky start to their defense of the title. They’ve just got a knack for grinding out the result they need, even when they’re not at 100%. As late as they left it - and even accounting for the fuckawful Boateng getting sent off - I never got a sense of them panicking. England would’ve panicked like headless chickens as soon as they went a goal down :slightly_smiling_face:.

Belgians looking absolutely dynamite, admittedly against less than stellar opposition.

(scherpschutter) #38

Everybody is lyrical overhere in Belgium. And yes, they have a good team, and some of the key players, notably Hazard and Lukaku are in great form. Lukaku has never played better in his career, I suppose. But … the opposition was, as you put it, less than steller and I wonder if the Belgian’s will be able to avoid that one bad day they always seem to have on a great tournament. Four years ago they were beaten by a not so impressive Argentine team in the quarters, because some of those key players (notably Kompany and - yes - Lukaku) had an off-day. Two years ago they were beaten by … Wales

I guess England will beat Panama, so the game against Belgium will be of minor importance. I don’t know if that’s an advantage, neither of the two teams was really tested and the first real test will be a knock-out game. I guess the Germans, who had more problems so far than anybody would have guessed, are ready for war now.

(Asa) #39

England just about scraped through there. Could’ve gone either way. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Stanton) #40

After performing comparatively weak in the group phase in 2014 the European teams are comparatively strong this year. Only Poland has disappointed so far.

And well, that German goal in the last 10 seconds, that’s a sure tactic to win …
… and they surely did a lot more to relieve the German pension funds than the government in the last years.

Scherp, what do you think now after 2 games are played by every team?