• Moderators, please send me a PM if you are unable to access mod permissions. Thanks, Habsy.

2018 World Cup Thread

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
How do we not have a World Cup thread yet? Russia beckons people ... well, not the US, but what can ya do?

The tourney kicks off with Russia playing Saudi Arabia on June 14th in Moscow. Venues range from Luzhniki Stadium (Russia's national stadium) and Strtak Stadium in Moscow, to that dumb stadium Putin had built for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. They had to completely rebuild the seating areas for the Confed Cup last summer to get the building approved by the safety and health folks ... which no one bothered with ahead of the Olympics. Welcome to Russia ... bring a hard hat and maybe a safety harness, just is case. Another note of interest is that FIFA is battening down the hatches to prepare for what most security experts think might be a ton of violent fan behavior. Elements of the Russian right wing criminal communities agitated hard in the streets during the last two Euro Championships, causing all sorts of headaches. The English, Poles and of course any poor Ukrainians who get in the way are particular targets ... not that the English don't bring their issues with them. The Serbs and Croatians can be fun too. It bears watching. The Brazilian and Polish teams took the Russians up on the offer to set up their bases in Sochi, far from the bigger population bases. Im sure the Poles are looking for peace while the Brazilians are just looking to not be mobbed when they go out for a team jog.

Here's the Groups ... which are refreshingly balanced. No groups of death to be found. Note that this is a down cycle for Africa, as really only Egypt looks remotely dangerous. Asia looks to have more balance than in Cups past but nobody really stands out from their group. Mexico should have the best shot of the CONCACAF contingent, but you know how they do in these things ... great or horrific. Sometimes in the same match. The European favorites are your usual suspects and the betting lines seem to like Germany and Spain of that bunch. I mean, fair enough. England, the second choice of a lot of US fans, actually look to have a cohesive team and a cohesive strategic setup this time around. Iceland looks to reprise their Cinderella act from the last Euros, but we all know that Cindy rarely shows up in the same dress two balls in a row. We'll see how all that goes, starting less than 2 weeks.

Group A
Russia
Uruguay
Egypt
Saudi Arabia

Group B
Portugal
Spain
Morocco
Iran

Group C
France
Peru
Australia
Denmark

Group D
Argentina
Iceland
Coatia
Nigeria

Group E
Brazil
Switzerland
Costa Rica
Serbia

Group F
Germany
Mexico
Sweden
So Korea

Group G
Belgium
England
Panama
Tunisia

Group H
Poland
Columbia
Senegal
Japan
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
The pre WC friendlies are upon us. Some results from yesterday:

Ireland 2-1 US. The re-tooling continues with a young squad. Ireland gets the winner in the 90th minute.
Austria 2-1 Germany. Neuer’s First match after a 9 month injury layoff
Belgium 0–0 Portugal. Ronaldo wasn’t in the squad, Kompany left injured.
Sweden 0-0 Denmark. Eriksen wasn’t in the squad.
England 2-1 Nigeria
Mexico 1-0 Scotland
Iceland 2-3 Norway
 
Last edited:

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Just FWIW, here's the Vegas odds for the top group ... before the numbers get dumb. The Germans are what you'd call heavy betting favorites. Given that their roster is strong enough to leave LeRoy Sane at home ... yeah. I get that.

Germany 7-2
Brazil 4-1
France 6-1
Spain 6-1
Argentina 6-1
Belgium 10-1
England 20-1
Portugal 25-1
Uruguay 30-1
Colombia 40-1
Russia 50-1
Croatia 30-1
Poland 40-1
Mexico 50-1
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
And in a vote that wasn’t close, North America will host the 2026 World Cup. The final vote was 134-65. Mexico is the first country to host 3 times. It will be the first World Cup with 48 teams. The US will host 60 of 80 matches including all matches from the quarterfinals on. The final will probably be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Mexico and Canada will each host 10 matches.

http://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/story/3522327/2026-world-cup-us-mexico-canada-joint-bid-wins-fifa-hosting-vote
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Reminder ... we're under way TODAY with Russia taking on Saudi Arabia at 11:00 eastern. OK, it's a game you probably couldn't pay me to watch from start to finish, but hey ... World Cup!!
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Russia opens with a 5-0 win over the Saudis. Don't draw any big conclusions. The Saudis are horrible AND had a stupid game plan
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Russia opens with a 5-0 win over the Saudis. Don't draw any big conclusions. The Saudis are horrible AND had a stupid game plan
With the World Cup expanding to 48 teams in 2026, how bad are some of those matches going to be?
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
With the World Cup expanding to 48 teams in 2026, how bad are some of those matches going to be?
You mean you're not looking forward to Canada opening that tournament with a scintillating matchup with Togo?

Seriously. The 48 qualifiers thing is dumber than dumb. All you're going to do is add the 5th and 6th best teams from federations that only produce 2 or 3 good teams. Yeah, there's Europe and South America ... but that's TWO Federations. The rest are going to bring nothing but dreck. And we already get dreck from Asia and Oceana as it is. I mean, you know that Oceana will end up with a full slot in that format which will basically guarantee a qualification of New Zealand ... if Australia isn't relocated AGAIN to even things out a bit.
 

HNIM

Well-known member
So far today, Uruguay in the 89th minute to beat Egypt 1-0, overcoming a fine effort by the Egyptian keeper, and Iran same score over Morocco in the 95th minute on an own goal, after parking the bus all game. Dreadful WC football is back after having mostly skipped Brazil.

Edit: 3-3 Spain-Portugal. That was an excellent game.
 
Last edited:

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Spain and Portugal saved the day with a brilliantly entertaining game. 3-3 ... CR7 with the hattie, capped by a delightful bendy late free kick when Spain looked like they were squeezing all the toothpaste out of the tube. Diego Costa had a brace for Spain including a brutish 1 on 3 that he somehow turned into enough space for a right footed weed-eater. Nacho with a brilliant swinging volley looked to give Spain the edge after a great run to start the second frame, but Ronaldo happened late and the points were shared.

That's why we watch folks. Even when club and country have let us down. Lovely football.

Argentina and Iceland at 9AM highlights tomorrow's slate. That one's on big Fox.
 
Last edited:

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Spain and Portugal saved the day with a brilliantly entertaining game. 3-3 ... CR7 with the hattie, capped by a delightful bendy late free kick when Spain looked like they were squeezing all the toothpaste out of the tube. Diego Costa had a brace for Spain including a brutish 1 on 3 that he somehow turned into enough space for a right footed weed-eater. Nacho with a brilliant swinging volley looked to give Spain the edge after a great run to start the second frame, but Ronaldo happened late and the points were shared.

That's why we watch folks. Even when club and country have let us down. Lovely football.

Argentina and Iceland at 9AM highlights tomorrow's slate. That one's on big Fox.
A howler from DeGea on Ronaldo’s 2nd and a badly mispositioned wall on the 3rd. But that and Nacho’s were highlight reel goals.

France squeaks by Australia 2-1 on 2 technology goals. The first on a VAR awarded penalty, the second on goal line technology, although it clearly looked like a goal live.

Argentina and Iceland tied at 1 at the half. Argentina has had about 75% possession but Iceland should be leading. Caballero looks shaky in goal and the back line doesn’t look cohesive. Aguero had a brilliant strike for his first ever WC goal. He only needs about an inch of space to get a shot off.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
I was not impressed by France this morning. Disorganized and disjointed for the most part. And the Aussies play with a lot of spirit but they're kind of crap, so France really need to get their mess together if they're going to do anything better than just get out of the group.

Iceland did what they do. They packed two groups of four in tight in front of that keeper and make the other team break them down. They're patient, dedicated and passionate about defending and do not give a crap about the critics. Add Argentina to the pile of victims. They're in pretty good company after the last Euros. Messi is going to take big heat after blowing that penalty kick, but the result isn't his fault alone.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Saw this on Twitter. In Euro 2016, Iceland and Portugal drew 1-1. Ronaldo took 10 shots and had no goals. Messi has 11 shots today. Iceland held arguably the 2 best players in the world to 0 goals on 21 shots.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Yeah ... the defend like their lives depending on it and then use Gylffi to make you pay on set pieces and breaks. It's simple, but it works.

Rounding out the first 4 game day of the tournament, Denmark won an unremarkable 1-0 game with Peru. Schmeichel was wonderful in net for Denmark but otherwise not a lot to remember about that one. Then Croatia just sliced Nigeria to pieces in a 2-0 win. Nigeria seemed increasingly disinterested as the game went along, but again ... this is NOT a good Super Eagles side. They have a lot of individual talent but are woefully disjointed. They looked just as bad or worse in the African Cup of Nations last year.

The headliner on Sunday for me is Mexico vs Germany, although I'm sure Switzerland vs Brazil will generate interest. The Swiss are not the same old bland defense-first bunch that they usually roll out for the World Cup. They've got a lot of shake and bake in the lineup now. The third match is Costa Rica against Serbia. That one should be pretty technical ... aka boring.
 
Top