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2018 World Cup

Who will win the 2018 World Cup?

  • Argentina

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Belgium

    Votes: 1 12.5%
  • Brazil

    Votes: 1 12.5%
  • Colombia

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • France

    Votes: 1 12.5%
  • Germany

    Votes: 5 62.5%
  • Portugal

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Spain

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other (please specify below...)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    8
  • Poll closed .

Jerry

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A slight tangent but it was announced today that the 2026 finals will be held jointly in the USA, Canada and Mexico. Football is only really a major sport in Mexico and that country hosted the 1970 and 1986 finals. The USA was the venue for the 1994 finals. So this will be the third finals to be held in Mexco (albeit partly this time) since England held its solitary finals in 1966.
I'd think you'd be surprised at how popular soccer is in the US! It does vary from different parts of the country but I'd say it was in the top 3 or 4 of sports over there and does have a high participation rate as well i believe. Women's soccer is also extremely popular.
 

TheLocalYokel

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I'd think you'd be surprised at how popular soccer is in the US! It does vary from different parts of the country but I'd say it was in the top 3 or 4 of sports over there and does have a high participation rate as well i believe. Women's soccer is also extremely popular.
I believe it's popular amongst parents for their youngsters and in the women's game but the top men's league is populated by European and South American former stars looking for a last meaningful wage packet. It's true that the USA has produced some excellent home-grown players some of whom have done well in the English Premier League but I don't think football (or soccer as they call it - the woman news reader on BBC News 24 light-heartedly told off an American sports journalist for using the term soccer when discussing the 2026 tournament today) holds the same interest there as their version of football or baseball or basketball or ice hockey (or hockey as I believe north Americans call it).

The only positive thing that I can see about having 48 countries in the finals is that it will afford opportunities for some countries who might otherwise struggle to reach the finals.
 

Jerry

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The only positive thing that I can see about having 48 countries in the finals is that it will afford opportunities for some countries who might otherwise struggle to reach the finals.
One thing about an expanded Euros is that it gave countries like Wales a better chance of getting to a tournament but it could risk devaluing it if it becomes too easy to qualify for.
 

jfy1999

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The only positive thing that I can see about having 48 countries in the finals is that it will afford opportunities for some countries who might otherwise struggle to reach the finals.
We could also be seeing many more "thrashings" as the top teams face weaker opposition.

Then we have this from Wikipedia: Another criticism of the new format is that with 3-team groups, the risk of collusion between the two teams playing in the last round will increase compared with 4-team groups (where simultaneous kick-offs have been employed). One suggestion by President Infantino is that group matches that end in draws will be decided by penalty shootouts.

End quote. I find it quite shocking that the new format was seemingly introduced in the absence of any definitive solution to this problem - quite apart from the fact that the suggested solution would only work with drawn games. It wouldn't work in the following scenario:

Team 1 beats Team 2
Team 2 beats Team 3
Team 3 beats Team 1, and all teams finish with the same number of goals scored.

The only possible solution I can see is to play three more matches to separate them!
 

TheLocalYokel

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We could also be seeing many more "thrashings" as the top teams face weaker opposition.

Then we have this from Wikipedia: Another criticism of the new format is that with 3-team groups, the risk of collusion between the two teams playing in the last round will increase compared with 4-team groups (where simultaneous kick-offs have been employed). One suggestion by President Infantino is that group matches that end in draws will be decided by penalty shootouts.

End quote. I find it quite shocking that the new format was seemingly introduced in the absence of any definitive solution to this problem - quite apart from the fact that the suggested solution would only work with drawn games. It wouldn't work in the following scenario:

Team 1 beats Team 2
Team 2 beats Team 3
Team 3 beats Team 1, and all teams finish with the same number of goals scored.

The only possible solution I can see is to play three more matches to separate them!
In the 1982 finals in Spain there is the notorious West Germany v Austria match at the end of the group stages that ended 1-0 to the Germans a result that suited both countries but eliminated Algeria. After Germany scored an early goal the game descended into a low key affair with no real effort from either side. This prompted FIFA to ensure in future that the last games in a group were played at the same time.

I detest penalty shoot-outs so the thought of more of them leaves me cold. If we must have something to decide a game I'd prefer something like a player being given the ball say 30 yards from goal and given a time limit to take on the keeper and try to score. Currently if a keeper's luck is in and he guesses the right direction to dive (and remember a keeper now has an advantage in that he can move before the penalty is kicked, something that used to be against the laws of the game) that can decide the outcome of a match. You might as well just toss a coin.
 

rollo

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They used to toss a coin in the past I can recall a European tie between Liverpool and an Italian team who's name I forget, the teams played two really good matches and had fought each other to a standstill on pitch conditions you don't see today. They ended level and had to toss a coin Liverpool won and I can still picture the deverstated faces of the Italians at least penalties have a skill element to them.
 

TheLocalYokel

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It's started then, with Russia surprisingly walloping Saudi Arabia 5-0. They are the lowest ranked teams in the tournament and, given Russia's recent form and results, I don' think anyone expected a comprehensive win by either side.

Saudi Arabia were poor but Russia took advantage of rather feeble opponents to give their supporters something to cheer and possibly regain some optimism, not that I think the most loyal Russian can think his or her country has the ability to win the competition, but theymight get out of their group into the knock-out stage.
 

TheLocalYokel

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As a well-known cigar lover once said, "Some chicken.........some neck" (although this neck is a different meaning of the word). The Super Eagles might have fancied a chicken snack.
 

TheLocalYokel

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What a game this evening after the drab and uninspiring performance this afternoon, of which I'm pleased to say I only watched part of the second half.

Ronaldo as a person annoys me hugely at times but as a player......words can't do justice to his ability.

The final goal reminded me of Beckham scoring the late equaliser against Greece to put England into the 2002 finals. My son and I watched the game on tv in a bar in Fuerteventura. When we rejoined the rest of the family on the beach they said that a huge cheer had gone around the bay from all the English people sunbathing and listening to their 'trannies' (no Internet tablets then) so they knew something important had happened.
 

Ray Finkle

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Ronaldo 3 - 3 Spain

It sure was a great game and Spain played some fabulous football at times. Like you I can't really take to Ronaldo as a person but his quality as a footballer is beyond belief.

I remember that Beckham goal against Greece. He will always be remembered for that free kick (and it was a great strike) but the countless others that he missed during the game have long been forgotten :)
 

TheLocalYokel

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VAR reviews

Today there have been three matches where penalties have been involved in VAR reviews.

The first was in the France v Australia match where a French attacker was brought down in the penalty area but the referee decided no foul has been committed. The game continued for about a minute before being stopped for a belated VAR review. The onfield referee viewed a tv monitor at the side of the pitch and overturned his original 'no foul' decision and awarded France a penalty which was scored.

Now that apparently righted a wrong although I believe Lawrenson the BBC pundit thought the penalty should not have been awarded (there was also some controversy about the coorectness of a penalty awarded in the Argentina v Iceland match). This shows there will still be differences of opinion even with VAR but that is not my main point.

My point is this. During the minute or so the game continued prior to the belated VAR review what would have happened if Australia had gone straight up the pitch and scored a goal themselves before the review took place? I presume the goal would have been chalked off after the belated VAR review decided the incident a minute or two ago at the other end was a foul after all and therefore a penalty kick. So an apparent righting of one wrong would have created another wrong. Imagine such an occurrence at the end of a closely-fought World Cup Final. It would be a recipe for violent disorder amongst some sections of the crowd.

There was an identical occurrence in the Peru v Denmark game but Peru missed the belatedly awarded penalty.

Back to the France v Australia game and shortly after the France penalty goal the ref awarded Australia a penalty for what looked like a clear and deliberate handball. The VAR review confirmed the ref's decision and the penalty was scored. There is a question mark over this type of occurrence though. When, as in this case, the ref immediately awards a penalty the game is stopped. What happens if the apparent obvious penalty is judged not to be one in the VAR review and the ref overturns his decision? In the game today the French player who obviously tried to divert the ball with his hand might have actually missed it even though from the ref's angle it looked a nailed-on penalty. He did handle the ball today so no problem but if he hadn't how is the game re-started? If you have a dropped ball in the penalty area will it be contested? If so it's a bit unfair on the defending team. If it's uncontested (there is no such thing in the laws of course only a convention) the defence will merely boot the ball up field towards the opposing keeper so the promising attacking position created will have been for nothing.

Technology is all right but it can create as many problems as it solves at times. They haven't really got it right yet in cricket. The first few years were farcical at times and in truth it is not ideal now with such things as 'umpires call'. In football, I would have technology for goal line decisons (this is instant and uncontroversial) and for offside reviews following a goal. The mistaken identity procedure is also a good use of technology. Apart from that, leave it to the ref.
 

jfy1999

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Germany 0–1 Mexico

As it turned out Mexico's scintillating counter-attacks were too much for a disjointed German defence and midfield.

Commenters on the BBC have been questioning the omission of Premier League-winning forward Leroy Sane in favour of Mesut Ozil, whose season with Arsenal was mediocre.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Germany 0–1 Mexico

As it turned out Mexico's scintillating counter-attacks were too much for a disjointed German defence and midfield.

Commenters on the BBC have been questioning the omission of Premier League-winning forward Leroy Sane in favour of Mesut Ozil, whose season with Arsenal was mediocre.
i only saw the last half hour of Germany v Mexico but even in that time Mexico had enough chances to bury the game. Knowing Germany always seem to come good in the end, even when not playing well, I was waiting for a late equaliser. I still don't write them off.
 

TheLocalYokel

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England score an important late goal!

First half hour was breathtaking at times in terms of England's movement and creativity - spoilt by profligate finishing. The Tunisian penalty then put something of a brake on England's dominance until halftime.

The second half was less impressive despite long periods of possession in the opposition's half. I thought it was going to be another of those England results in the end. Give them their due because they didn't give up. Tunisia were a poor team in truth with the sole aim of shutting up shop in the second half.

Their penalty was correctly awarded according to the letter of the law but England had at least two much clearer claims for a penalty when Kane was wrestled to the ground in the crowded penalty area.

At the weekend the VAR referees advised the match referee to look again when a French attacker fell to the ground in the penalty area against Australia. After looking at a video replay the match referee changed his mind and awarded a penalty.

So why did not the VAR refs advise the match ref to look at the two Kane incidents this evening? They were certainly clearer penalties than the French penalty.

Anway, it's a young and inexperienced England team so at the end of the day they deserve credit for not giving up.
 
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