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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    2018 FIFA World Cup

    The FIFA World Cup is only a short time away. The squads are starting to be revealed and the England announcement is today, I believe.

    All sorts of big names failed to qualify. Italy, Netherlands, USA, Cameroon, Chile, all countries with solid world cup pedigree.

    Groups of interest to the forum might be Australia in C, with France Peru and Denmark; Mexico in F, with Germany, Sweden and South Korea; and England in G, with Belgium, Panama, and Tunisia. If there's other teams that interest you that I've left out, sorry but I can't anticipate everything!

    The hosts have a kind group but will likely meet European champions Portugal or Spain in the second round, which would be a tough tie for them on paper.

    If England clear the group their second round game wouldn't be the toughest. Poland, Senegal, Colombia and Japan are the four possibilities.


    The current favourites with the bookies by a nose are Brazil, from Germany (with some making them joint favourites). Spain and France are next, with Argentina rounding out the most likely five. Portugal at 25/1 seems like a decent outside bet, while they're only offering between 16-20/1 if you want to throw your money away on England. Belgium are presumably expected to win the group since they're ahead of England in the list of favourites by about a fiver.

    Some places are offering as much as 50/1 on the hosts, and we're talking hundreds of pounds if the Aussies fancy backing themselves - whatever the equivalent is in dollars, I'm guessing more than a thousand. The longest odds of the tournament are for Panama and Saudi Arabia, so I imagine it'll be embarrassing for Southgate and his men if they don't put goals past Panama. Similar situation for Russia and the Saudi's really.


    Anyway, that's enough of an intro. If you're watching the world cup this year, this is the thread to discuss it.

  2. #2
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    England's team is the worst I've seen in years. I looked at it and was stunned by the inadequacy of it. They won't beat Belgium in my view so the best they hope for is 2nd. That defence and goalkeeper choice is painful. But then what's better out there? Smalling and Tarkowski would surely be better at centre back than any of those guys.

    The backups could form a half-decent 5-a-side team.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    It's a pretty uninspiring selection, made only slightly more bearable by the fact that there's only going to be a couple of genuinely decent sides at the thing by historical standards. Our own mediocrity will be tempered somewhat by the mediocrity of the state of the game.

  4. #4
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    So can we now stop with all the usual "England are the best" nonsense that the media goes crazy for when leading up to a World Cup? When they lose well before the semi-final, let's not pretend they had any right to be that far along anyway. And let's not have a World Cup song this year, eh? That'd be nice. Just enjoy your mediocrity in silence. There's a good country.

    Sorry. Maybe that's a bit harsh. But still true. It was almost warranted back when Sven was in charge. We're a far cry from that now.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    When was the last time anyone heard any of that? Probably 2006, when it wasn't unwarranted (although the team didn't turn up as it happened).

    But 2008 was a non-qualifier, 2010, the talk was just that being winter weather might benefit us, 2012 was marred by the change in coach just before hand so all the talk was let's just try and put out a good position regardless and since then there's been no positivity in the media that I've seen for any of the other tournaments.

    I honestly don't recognise that tendency in England anymore.

  6. #6
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    I quite like the World Cup Songs....The more cheesy the better.

    But yeah, I think it's been accepted England are rubbish for a while.

    Germany, Spain, Brazil and Belgium will do well. France are probably dark horses.

  7. #7
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    I for one have a fairly good feeling that we will over achieve with that squad. By over achieve I do mean... QFs? But it's a mostly young squad and more importantly, we are probably seen as dark horses more than ever. That could go both ways of course, but we're not kidding ourselves and putting ourselves as 'favourites' anymore.

    I'd have taken Hart over one of the three personally, not to start games, but as experience. As such, I suspect Pickford starts, which does not fill me with much hope. I'd rather Pope get the nod.

    The defence is definitely lightweight with Stones and Cahill my choice as a back 2 (if Southgate goes for 3 at the back, put Walker there. A gamble, but one that might pay off and gives us a pacy CB). Wing backs we have a few to choose from. Rose is the one player I would certainly not be taking, and even though Bertrand has been part of a desperate Saints side, warrants a place more than Rose. Trippier and and underappreciated Delph for me.

    Gutted for Wilshere, but I understand the decision. If he had started 10 more games he'd be on the plane. As such, probably Henderson and Dier in the middle behind Alli.

    Front 2 for me, Kane and Vardy. I suspect he'll stick in Sterling somehow for Vardy though.


    Optimistic, without going over the top. If we can get sort the defence out, hopefully we will achieve a QF spot and go down with a blaze of glory. And not to Iceland this time.

  8. #8
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    My alternative x11 would be:

    Hart
    Clyne, Smalling, Tarkowski, Keane, Cresswell,
    Wilshire, Milner,
    Sessegnon (sp?), Walcott
    Crouch (who I love)

    The whole defence, Milner and Walcott would have been in my squad ahead of others.
    Last edited by anonymous; 1 Week Ago at 12:52 PM.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Isn't that an alternative 12?

    I guess that's one way to get through the group.

  10. #10
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    I don’t know what you mean?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    I honestly don't recognise that tendency in England anymore.
    Pardon me. I just looked it up. I completely forgot that Roy Hodgson was a thing.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Yeah, the last time it was genuinely a thing was in Sven's day. There's been a bit of hope since that but no genuine belief, that I've noticed.

    Basically when we were at low ebbs we'd come back strong and that gave us a boost for a while. After a couple of bad decades, 1990 was an outlier that didn't last. But 1996 raised hope massively, which fed into 1998. 2000 killed it, but the 5-1 and overperforming in 2002 raised it up again.

    But there hasn't been a boost to that for an age now.

    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous View Post
    I donít know what you mean?
    Poor Lallana, didn't make the cut!
    Last edited by Prime Time; 6 Days Ago at 06:08 AM.

  13. #13
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    I didn't really think about how weak the England squad was until I saw the squad list announcement yesterday. Just thought you had more, for some reason.

    I'd be really disappointed if I were Jonjo Shelvey - really talented player whose form deserved a call up, in my book.

    With that said, how on earth is Welbeck in there?

  14. #14
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    Welbeck is there because he can play in about 4/5 different positions. Striker, both wings and behind a main striker. While quality is very hit and miss, he always does give his best and actually has a decent record in an England shirt.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't think he has done enough for a call up and I'm biased. But I think that's Gareth's thinking.

  15. #15
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    Yeah, I totally get that. And I quite like Welbeck as a player. However, if it were me, I'd have Carroll or even Crouch going instead. Neither have been in particularly scintillating form, but they're both strikers who present an interesting plan B or C when things inevitably go pear-shaped.

  16. #16
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    I think Southgate is dead set on improving the side's A game so to speak, and if he were to change the game, I think he brings on pace, not height. We've almost always had that plan B player in the squad, and that could be seen as though plan A will never work so you need to prepare for that.

    Overall, I like the squad based on what was available. May have made two or three changes here or there, but in the grand scheme of things it looks quite forward thinking.

    I've heard Milner said no to a call up as he had retired in 2016. Shame as apparentlly it came after discussions with Allardyce, who lasted a grand total of one game. He'd definitely be on the plane for me. Criminally underrated player.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous View Post
    England's team is the worst I've seen in years. I looked at it and was stunned by the inadequacy of it. They won't beat Belgium in my view so the best they hope for is 2nd. That defence and goalkeeper choice is painful. But then what's better out there? Smalling and Tarkowski would surely be better at centre back than any of those guys.

    The backups could form a half-decent 5-a-side team.
    I actually quite like what Southgate is doing in theory - he's choosing a style of play and then picking the players to fit it, rather than picking the players and trying to find a way to play with them. He obviously wants to play a bit of possession football so is picking people who can hold onto the ball and pass it. It's not necessarily a bad plan, although the players picked then can be a bit underwhelming, and does it explain why he might leave someone like Shelvey or Walcott out. Lallana gets left out due to lack of game time, as does someone like Clyne, which is someting we often haven't seen.

    I have no expectations, but would expect us to reach the quarter finals. Our draw is actually pretty kind because of how Group H has lined up - I think we should be looking at any side in that group and expecting a close and hard fought victory, to be honest. It can obviously go either way - we'll probably end up drawing with Tunisia, scraping past Panama, and then desperately needing points against Belgium to go through, knowing us - but I think we should fancy the last 8. Second in the group puts us on a collision course with our old friends Germany in the quarter finals (assuming they win their group and then best either the Swiss, Costa Rica, or Serbia), while winning the group most likely means we face Brazil at that stage. Either way, we're boned.

    Quite genuinely, if we ever had a chance of winning the World Cup, it was 2002. 1-0 up against Brazil, threw away the lead, couldn't claw it back despite half an hour against ten men. Our semi-final opponents would have been Turkey (or Senegal, if you believe the impact of us going through could have changed things) and then the German side we'd thumped 5-1 in qualification in the final. Our squad was pretty much a group of players at their peaks. In my opinion, if Gerrard hadn't had groin knack and we'd taken Lampard, we'd have won that.

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