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World Football Championship

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#1
Jonanananas
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So, what do you guys think of the games we've had so far? There was some very interesting games that made this World Cup even more interesting.

 

Spain got demolished! After they've won three major tournaments in a row, have they lost the determination to win this one as well?

 

The Netherlands are all the more hungry though. I haven't really considered them a serious contender after 2012, but that match was amazing.

 

A few other favorites haven't done quite as well either. Brasilia won, but without the referee's help that match might have looked quite different. Uruguay won't defeat them in their own stadium like in 1950 though, after their loss against Costa Rica they most likely won't make the eigth finals.

 

England and Italy both were very good, even if Italy won it in the end.

 

Personally I'm looking forward to Germany against Portugal of course. We haven't done so well in the last test games, but the first few opponents should be difficult, but not impossible, so we can get into the rhythm. I fear we'll make semi-finals or finals without winning just like the last few times, but we'll see.

 

 

Also, what do you think of the referee's so far? Is it overdue for the FIFA to allow some kind of video evidence during a match? We got goal-line technology, but should it stop there after several controversial decisions this early in the tournament?



#2
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I knew that the Netherlands would win, but 5-1 is something i didn't expect. Maybe a 2-1 or 3-1 at most. Germany - Portugal should be a good match too. I expect Germany to take it 3-1. But it's going to be a "close" game all the way. I'm also looking forward to see what Argentina can pull off. I know they're not an amazing international team despite having some good individual talent, but i'm hoping they can do something this time round.

I don't think France, England, Italy, or Portugal are serious contenders for the finals, but i'm almost certain they're going to cause one or two upsets on the way. I'm looking to see Germany, Spain, Argentina or the Netherlands in the finals.



#3
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I have followed the Oranje, Eredivisie and Ajax for a very long time. The Spain game is very good publicity imo for an otherwise underrated league; its significance and style reminded me of the 1995 UCL final - the LVG factor once again. Although this time it's like Feyenoord (as opposed to Ajax) - Vlaar, Martins Indi, de Vrij, Janmaat, Kongolo, Clasie, de Guzman, Leroy Fer, van Persie and Kuyt. The problem with Spain (ironically, playing the classic Oranje style) is that the players have played like 60 game-season before the WC, fatigue and form loss is understandable especially with age. I am hoping for a Brazil v Spain (need Spain to finish 2nd though) round of 16.

 

England had the same problems as Liverpool last season; but that said, Pirlo is magical (remember the last Euro?). Shame Antonio Di Natale retired, he could have made it at 35.

 

I am a massive fan of Klose; with Reus out and the inconsistency of Ozil, I am curious to see what tactics will be employed by Low in final 1/3 (4231-ish..but who plays 10?).

 

Penalties given so far are just disappointing...very soft claims. Diego Costa is lucky not to have been sent off. Again, none of the decisions are particularly game-changing (Brazil game..maybe), but it does highlight a problem with trusting the refs' judgment with so much at stake.

 

Switzerland game in around 1.5 hr time should be good. I have my eyes on Barnetta and Stocker.


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#4
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This has been a fantastic World Cup so far. Absolutely amazing. A few shocking results as well, such as the 5-1 Netherlands - Spain game and the Costa Rica - Uruguay match. Personally I'm rooting for Netherlands, and have been doing so ever since they played against Iceland and tore us apart. However I'm expecting Germany, Argentina or Brazil to win.

Also interested to see how the Icelandic player Aron Jóhannson will do for USA.


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#5
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Well that was a great game with Germany (regardless of the false 9); cannot read too much into the Portuguese for now, I think they are still in position to come 2nd. Although I feel that Sweden would have done better.

 

Belgium game should be good - eyes on KDB and Mirallas. Why wasn't Jelle Vossen chosen anyway? Januzaj should not have been selected. Surprising Lukaku wasn't targeted by Rodgers...then again they probably wouldn't sell after Sturridge.

 

Haven't seen a Russian World Cup team in a while. I do wonder if they will stick with 433 without a archetypal midfield playmaker (Shirokov). 451 with Dzagoev (still remember him from the last Euro?) and Viktor Fayzulin on wings might be more plausible. I still think they would have been better off for selecting Ryazantsev or Alan Kasaev instead of Ionov, to give more midfield versatility.


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Tournament has been fantastic so far with only Iran v Nigeria being a let down really (but that was never going to be a great game). I think the most disappointing thing for me so far is how badly the African teams have performed. With the exception of the Ivory Coast I can't see any of them making it out the group stages (even then I could see Japan beating them into second).

 

I picked Germany as my favourites before the tournament and I'm happy to stick by them.

 

Predictions for the groups:


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#7
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Ghana was actually pretty competitive vs the USA; although I highly doubt either team has the quality and depth to get past round of 16. Some nice predictions there as well.

 

Group A - Mexico played well - it could really go 50/50 with Croatia (I wonder whether the photos affected their mentality lol)

Group D - depends on whether Suarez can come back in time for England and Italy. If Uruguay can beat England then draw Italy in the final game, I can see them meeting Brazil in quarter.

Group H - I actually think that South Korea might edge past Russia - depending on how well they cope without Shirokov.

 

I too have entered into a pool of about 15k a few months ago when they made the draw, and when everyone was fit and healthy, that Germany could win - not that I support them...actually they are my arch rivals, and my judgment hinged on history repeating itself (1974).

Germany tops group G, plays Russia in round-16, then plays the Swiss (who top group E ahead of France) in quarter and beat Brazil in semi. The Netherlands would have won group B, beat Mexico (2nd group A), beat Italy in quarter and Belgium in semi - that said, the Italians could very well find themselves at the final if Pirlo stays mercurial.

 

 

edit: The Brazil v Mexico game had been the best so far, unquestionably.


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#8
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Unfortunately, I haven't been able to see many games lately, just Germany vs. Portugal and Spain vs. Chile.

 

Germany vs. Portugal was enjoyable - in the first half. After Pepe got banned and the two goals lead, Portugal gave up. Germany played a good game, but Portugal didn't do much to disrupt that either. The group constellation speaks for us, it might be that the semi-finals will be the first match with a really tough opponent. The matches up to that won't be a breeze (this is the world cup after all), but should all be doable. This should offer some time to really get the system to work, but it might lull us in a false sense of security.

 

Spain was disappointing. Okay, the loss against the Netherlands was harsh, but they really haven't been able to deal with it. The match against Chile was almost already lost before it started, and when Chile scored the first goal, it was over. I can understand that the team might not be able to offer the same quality it did in the last world cup, but they didn't even try. Congratulations to Chile though, they tirelessly worked to win this and truly deserved it. Pumped for the match against the Netherlands, this should be interesting.

 

My predictions:

 



#9
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Group D - depends on whether Suarez can come back in time for England and Italy. If Uruguay can beat England then draw Italy in the final game, I can see them meeting Brazil in quarter.

 

 

How about that? The not-100%-fit-Suarez plays and now England is almost out. 

 

The defence work rate for Chile and Uruguay are just impressive. I can see them beating the Netherlands if Chile can also pressure them higher up the field like what the Australians did, (remember RVP gets suspended as well).

 

Big game ahead with Switzerland vs France and Russia vs Belgium.

 

I've only missed all the Group C games, the Ghana game and the second Croatia game so far, but it's really messing up my day/night body clock (games run from 2am to 10am GMT+10). Thank goodness I can access the lab at uni outside of standard hours and can still get research done. Must be so much more convenient living on the other side of the world.


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I still think England will make it out of the group stages purely because Italy are too strong for Costa Rica and Uruguay and, providing they play better last night, England should beat Costa Rica.


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#11
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England has a little over a 3% chance to move on. Don't think it'll happen. Also why wasn't this topic simply named The World Cup? Do people actually call it the world football championship? 


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#12
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England is out and Switzerland got destroyed like Spain. What a day!



#13
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More proof the Premier League is massively overrated.

#14
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Well...not entirely. Is La Liga overrated then? After all, they have won the UCL and UEL this past season.

 

The problem is that many of the top EPL teams are foreign players dominated, as a result not many homegrown players get their chance to develop at the high level you would normally associate with EPL. This is irrespective of whether the team has a rich youth programme or not - you got to see it from those who gets promoted and played in the first team, and possibly in reserve games or those NextGen series. Chelsea for example, has an extensive squad of reserves many of whom came through either their own youth programme or from another club they work with (Vitesse for example). These players rarely ever get through to the 1st team because they weren't afforded to opportunity to play in the first place. They are loaned to lower leagues, other leagues and released when they turn 21/2/3 etc.. How many Chelsea players are in the England squad? This England squad this year has 5 Liverpool players (excluded Lambert), who are all starters for the team. This is something they need.

 

As a contrary example, for a small country, the Netherlands are really doing quite well on the International stage over the years. Their youth programmes are quite successful over the years; younger players get their chances in the league and the top young players from other peripheral leagues are bought in to further their skills. The problem here is that soon as some richer clubs come in and buy the best for other leagues displacing their own homegrown players. You very rarely see this happening the other way (because they really cannot financially compete), barring from the transfer from peripheral leagues I mentioned earlier (e.g. Luis Suarez and Zlatan). So I guess the point is that poorer leagues (financially) may to some extent develop better homegrown players.

 

 

edit: 88 mins, Belgium scored. Capello should have started Kerzhakov and Dzagoev. Barring anything spectacular, I think Russia's return to the WC will end on Friday.


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#15
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I have to admit that this World Cup has been kind of crazy so far. A lot of upsets. My brackets didn't play out the way i expected at all. But i'm happy to see USA with their current position. Personally i would have preferred Iran to be second over Nigeria.

I'm still in a bit of shock over Spain being knocked out. 

I haven't been able to watch much of Argentina so i'm not sure whether they've been struggling or just playing extremely passive (i hope for the latter). I'm excited to see what happens once knockouts start. But thus far the Dutch are just looking head and shoulders above the rest.



#16
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England has a little over a 3% chance to move on. Don't think it'll happen. Also why wasn't this topic simply named The World Cup? Do people actually call it the world football championship? 

 

I'm not a native speaker, so I wasn't quite sure if World Cup was unambiguous enough, so I went with World Football Championship.

 

I have to admit that this World Cup has been kind of crazy so far. A lot of upsets. My brackets didn't play out the way i expected at all. But i'm happy to see USA with their current position. Personally i would have preferred Iran to be second over Nigeria.

I'm still in a bit of shock over Spain being knocked out. 

I haven't been able to watch much of Argentina so i'm not sure whether they've been struggling or just playing extremely passive (i hope for the latter). I'm excited to see what happens once knockouts start. But thus far the Dutch are just looking head and shoulders above the rest.

Well, the second group game quite often has the favorites struggling, especially if they won the first game. The Dutch haven't done that well against Australia either. There were more surprises than usual for sure, but I'm sure some teams who haven't done that well so far will pick up when it comes to the knockout phase (or the third group match, if it is vital for them).

 

It's difficult to compare, but right now my picks for the best teams would be Brasil, France, Netherlands and Germany. Some smaller teams like Chile and Costa Rica have done great, but I think that they will reach quarter finals at best, depending on the opponents in the eight finals.

 

For Group G, I think Ghana might take it over the USA. With the bad goal difference, Portugal stands almost no chance of reaching the knockout phase, so I think Ghana will win that one. I also expect Germany to win against the USA. For Ghana to pass, they need to overtake the USA in goal difference, but for that either Germany or Ghana has to win with a two goals lead, which is definitely within the realm of possibility.



#17
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I think it's more down to the tactics employed and the mentality of the players. In the first Dutch game, the players really had nothing to lose against Spain (having lost in the previous final), and if you look at how they go forward via the wings when the Spanish fullbacks are up the field, it really looks like 4 on 3 or 4 on 2 in attack. For Australia though, no one really know what their style of play is, there's no particular tradition they follow, whether they sit deep or pressure high up is anybody's guess. In the Dutch game versus them, they played higher up than in the Chile game; so there's really a lot of pressure on the wingers' positioning (and that's how they score their first goal). Soon as you switch back to 4 at the back, the gaps narrow as the presence of wingers higher up eliminated much of the forward runs made previously by the now fullbacks. Against Chile, which fields a lot like the Spanish but also combines high pressure and robust defensive tackles, they should really pose a significant challenge to the Dutch.

 

Argentina has a major problem in that they have no genuine attacking options from the midfield and lack players who are actually capable of playing in from the wings (especially if Di Maria gets fielded in mid). Had Tevez been selected it might have been better. They only really deserved 1 point in their last game.

 

It's a longshot, but Iran versus US is still possible. US must win the group by beating Germany, then they play second place of Group H (likely to be Algeria). Iran must beat Bosnia Herzegovina and hope Argentina beat Nigeria (overcoming 2 goal swing at the same time), to finish 2nd in Group F. Then they need to beat France in round-16. This will set them up against the US in the quarter final. ...If these fail, we could either see France against Germany or the US.


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#18
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A win/draw Thursday will get us out of the group stage. If we lose to Germany, I think a Ghana-Portugal tie will also sends us through. I wish the games weren't going to be at 9AM, because I definitely can't get away with being drunk that early in the day.  


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A lot of none German fans seem to think that Germany will settle for a draw with the USA but really I can only see Germany playing to win. Germany are pretty much guaranteed to go through because of their goal difference but it's going to be tense for the other three.

 

As for today's games, either Italy or Luis Suarez are going out of the Cup. Hoping it will be Uruguay that go out because they're pretty much as close to a one man team as you'll find in the tournament.


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#20
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Luis Mother[bleep]ing Suarez.





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