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  1. #81
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    It seems every match I miss sounds like a better one than the ones I catch.

    Just for the avoidance of doubt, in 2006 after two games the table was:

    England 6pts (+3)
    Sweden 4 pts (+1)
    Trinidad 1 pt (-2)
    Paraguay 0 pts (-2)

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #82
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Argentina just beat Nigeria in a classic. Pure drama.

  3. #83
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    How come Musa never really got a look at Leicester? Been there for a season and a half, but only played something like 1500 minutes for them. Always looked excellent whenever I saw him..

    EDIT: So as I type this Germany are heading out of the World Cup.

    EDIT2: That was incredible. Keep VAR forever, I love it.
    Last edited by Oliver; 06-27-2018 at 11:58 AM.

  4. #84
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Not sure if anyone has noticed yet, but the so called "big names" are mostly finding themselves on the same side of the draw... It may be a good thing if England finish second.

    If we win the group, we're on the same side as Uruguay vs Portugal, Argentina vs France and Mexico vs (probably Brazil), with a game against one of Colombia, Senegal or Japan.

    If we come second, we're on the same side as Spain vs Russia, Denmark vs Croatia and Sweden vs (probably) Switzerland, with again a game against one of Colombia, Senegal or Japan.

    On paper (and pre-World Cup) you'd pick the second option every day of the week. With Germany crashing out and Italy and Netherlands not even competing, the World Cup is seriously open.

  5. #85
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    What do you guys think the odds are of a first time winner getting the job done? Now Australia have been accounted for I'll be cheering for Brasil and any team that hasn't won before.

    Odd combination I know but I lived in Brasil for a year.

  6. #86
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I'd say those odds are shortening all the time, to be honest.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  7. #87
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I agree, now is the time for a Belgium, Portugal, Croatia, Colombia or Mexico. Really have some possibilities this year.

  8. #88
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Right now my gut says Ronaldo drags Portugal to the promised land. Mainly because it's basically my worst case scenario.

    Am all for Croatia, or one of the two Latin American countries you mentioned. If England can't make it I'd be behind any of them in a final.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  9. #89
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I still have a soft spot for Argentina (though their draw is horrible, aside from their form), but it would be great for the game if a Croatia or a Mexico wins it.

    As subplot, should that happen, has VAR leveled the playing field? Are the so called 'smaller' teams getting decisions now?

  10. #90
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Yeah not Argentina for me, that would not make my residual Brazilian side happy.

    I'd love any of the other South American teams though. It is a shame Iceland didn't get through, there is a team you could get behind.

  11. #91
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    On VAR I think you would have to see it across multiple tournaments to make that conclusion. Right now it could just be the big teams underperforming and no more.

    Football has been converging generally for years, far fewer gimmes than there used to be in international football.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  12. #92
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    I've got Croatia vs England in the semi-final at the moment, after Belgium stick a couple past us this evening.

    Winner of that vs Brazil or Argentina in the final.

    If this afternoon goes the other way, still Brazil or Argentina on one side of the draw up against either Croatia or Belgium.

    I fancy Croatia, I've got to say. It would be incredible if they could win it. One of my favourite teams since 96/98 time.

  13. #93
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Croatia and Australia have a very interesting history football wise.

    There is a decent sized Croat immigrant community in Australia, particularly in Melbourne. The community has produced a number of really great football players including a number of our 'golden generation' and the captain of our 2006 World Cup team Mark Viduka. There was a lot of pressure on a number of them to play for Croatia instead of Australia so meetings between the two teams have been heated affairs in the past.

    They actually played their first ever international game after being readmitted in 1992 against Australia but it all reached a boiling point in the final group match the 2006 World Cup. We needed a draw or win to qualify for the final 16 in our first world cup since the 70s and were trailing so were pressing hard while Croatia were defending very doggedly. This aggression from both teams was typified by Josip Šimunić, himself an Australian born Croatian player that played with Viduka in their original NSL club, who in a massive ref blunder was given three yellow cards in the final half an hour of play.

    That said because of their close ties to Australian football, if Croatia managed to find there way through I would undoubtedly be supporting them above all but Brazil.

  14. #94
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yeah Graham Poll has largely been reduced to laughing stock after booking that player three times...

  15. #95
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    I mean if Croatia had scored in the time he was on and it changed who advanced to the Knockout stage it would have been a pretty huge scandal.

  16. #96
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Only caught highlights - for the people who saw the whole game, how good was Mbappe's general play?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  17. #97
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Awesome. man of the match performance. His pace is genuinely frightening. Bit like original teen Ronaldo when he burst on the scene at Barcelona, but with the touch and control of Henry.

  18. #98
    Super Moderator sheepster's Avatar
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    Is that England's route to the final completely blown open now...???

  19. #99
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    One of the following teams will be in the World Cup Final:
    Russia
    Croatia
    Denmark
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    Colombia
    England

    No way anyone was predicting that before the tournament started.

  20. #100
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheepster View Post
    Is that England's route to the final completely blown open now...???
    Yes, but of course we're also capable of losing at any time. I'd say it's a respect every one, recognise you could lose in any round... But at the same time, fear no one.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  21. #101
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Exactly. Hope, do not expect. But yes, we can do well if the team pulls together.

  22. #102
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    If we had a draw like this between 98-06 you'd consider not making the final a failure. This year it's a massive opportunity. I think we should be snatching it but nothing will be easy. It would be so very England to get this draw and just do something totally stupid against Colombia to go out at that second hurdle.

  23. #103
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I agree, especially in 2002. We had a better team on paper in 2006, but the teams around us in 2002 were not great, and there were also the same type of shocks as this year (France, Portugal, Uruguay, and Argentina all fell in the group stages).

  24. #104
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I've always believed if we'd got past Brazil, we'd have won the World Cup in 2002. Obviously though, a team with Rivaldo, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho takes some getting past - especially when you add in we were only the third team to score against them in that tournament, and the only team to do so in the knockouts. So their defence wasn't exactly shabby, either.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  25. #105
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yeah I've said the same thing. A pretty weak Germany, South Korea and Turkey were the other semi finalists. Considering we scored first and Brazil got a red card, we should probably have won that Quarter.

  26. #106
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Maybe. I've seen it suggested before, but Brazil were a bloody good side. Probably better than us regardless if I'm honest about it.

    The disappointment for me wasn't that we didn't win it, it's that in the last half an hour so we didn't really look like getting it.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  27. #107
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Oh they were miles ahead of everybody. But a lot of things went our way that day... stuff that generally is the other way around.

  28. #108
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    Perhaps, but I don't think you can factor in too much circumstantial stuff when it's a 'should have'. The red card is the only one I'd really factor into it, but even then I'd say that only took us from major underdogs in the match to 'could have won it', rather than 'should have won it'. But it is worth pointing out that if we'd been playing with the heavier ball from four years earlier, it probably doesn't outfox Seaman the way it did and there's a decent chance that we take the game to extra time.

    There's other things too. The big players (Owen and the centre backs aside) generally had a poor game, and it's hard to come back from that against the best team in the world. And the heat was a real problem for us over there, if the kick-off time was not favourable to us - as it wasn't that day in Shizuoka.



    Anyway... there's actually real pressure on England now, because everyone has seen the way the draw falls. People are talking about not winning, but an open route to the final and their best finish since 1966. At the very least people are saying that the semi-finals and a best performance since 1990 is on the cards. That changes the game for me. I'm not convinced we're going to get past Colombia, and I think it's far from guaranteed that this team will be able to keep playing the same brand of football now that the pressure has been amped up. I hope I'm wrong on that, but it's worth saying that this is a very different environment now. Anyone can play when the pressure's off - and for a lot of this team it is the first time they'll be playing with the genuine expectation that comes with playing for England.

    Hopefully they can thrive in it.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  29. #109
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yeah, bit like what I said before. Hope, but don't start expecting it to happen. Before the tournament, I was happy just to see us get out of the group. That was my only expectation, so therefore it still is. Undoubtedly there is now a better chance at exceeding expectations, but Colombia really is a 50/50 game. Seeing how many shocks this round has given us, maybe the shock for this game is a comfortable 3-0 win?

    Belgium last night got away with one, but have to give credit to Martinez. Right substitutions, at the right time too.

  30. #110
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    To be honest that Belgian win impresses me more than any routine victory. That's the kind of win that makes you think they have what it takes to do very, very well. Plus they'll be buzzing now, confidence will be soaring, and it'll be like the problems that created the 2-0 deficit weren't there in the first place. Keep that confidence high and they can beat anyone.

    You are right - a comfortable win either would be more surprising than either side winning close one, I think. If Colombia turned us over 1-0 or 2-1 I wouldn't be shocked at all. But a 3-0 for either team certainly warrants a raised eyebrow.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  31. #111
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I'm always skeptical of comeback wins, they can go both ways. Yes, on face value, it's a great result, showing character and belief. But then again, they got themselves into that situation. On paper, that really should have a been routine victory.

    I've mentioned it before, but the Barcelona vs PSG story really is a compelling example. 4-0 down, Barcelona came back and won the return leg 6-1. They should have gone on and reached the final just from that amazing result. Instead, they fell down straight away losing 3-0 to Juve and never mustered that same performance in the return leg. It was completely different scenario and different circumstances. But a comeback win doesn't always go the expected way afterward.

  32. #112
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    To me it's as much about the last minute thing. It's not so much that the problems aren't there so much as at the top level the margins are so razor thin that the additional belief that comes from winning in such cirumstances can actually iron out a lot of the problems you had, if they relate to individual performance.

    I'd certainly take the point about a two-leg tie, I don't think the same premise would apply then at all. And it does depend on how much belief is in the squad generally, and I think you could make a case for it applying far more in tournament situations than in club football, where it's more day to day stuff, less of a camp mentality, and you've probably got more competitions to balance at once. For example, which was more relevant for the Barce/Juve game, the comeback against PSG or the away defeat to Malaga a few days before? But tournament football is a different beast in that respect.

    Of course, if they don't feel great after it then it won't mean anything to their performance, so in that regard yes, I do believe it can cut both ways.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  33. #113
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    Colombia 1-0 England
    Jones, P (OG) 86'

    It's going to happen, isn't it?

  34. #114
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I said I wouldn't get caught up in it this time.

    I said we wouldn't even get that far.

    That we'd go out on penalties again.

    ...

    It's coming home....

  35. #115
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  36. #116
    Super Moderator sheepster's Avatar
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    Congrats, guys! You won a shootout, despite Henderson doing his best Gareth Southgate tribute.

  37. #117
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    Second ever and first in a world cup match.

    Ends a run of five consecutive shootout defeats.

    First knockout match win since Ecuador in 2006.

    I mean, it's a funny old night.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  38. #118
    Super Moderator sheepster's Avatar
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    And now they've got Sweden next.

    In matches that matter, they've got a 1-5-2 record against them. That's 1 win and 2 losses. But those 2 losses came in 1992 and 1998. They were in WC groups together in '02 and '06, drawing both games. That one win came in their last competitive meeting, in the group stage of the Euros in 2012.

    A winnable match, for sure.

  39. #119
    Super Moderator sheepster's Avatar
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    And here's some more stats for you.

    The current 16-team knockout round was first used in 1982. Every country that has won at least 7 knockout games since then has been to a post-1980 World Cup final. That's Germany (20), Brazil (17), Argentina (13), France (11), Italy (10), Netherlands (8) and Spain (7). Out of those teams, only the Netherlands have not won the whole thing yet. And they account for all 16 post-1980 World Cup final berths. There hasn't been a post-1980 World Cup final without a team that has presently won at least 7 post-1980 knockout games.

    Meanwhile, including today's win against Colombia, England have won 6 knockout games since 1982. So they've won the most knockout games of all non-finalists since 1982. England are the absolute best at being not quite good enough. The next nearest is Belgium, with only 4 post-1980 knockout wins.

    Funnily enough, only three other teams have won more than 2 post-1980 knockout games. Even more oddly, they are Croatia, Sweden and Uruguay; three other quarter-finalists from this year. Experience counts.

  40. #120
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Fun stats, Sheep. I think it's another game where neither side will fear the other. I expect the Swedes will be very difficult to break down and will be confident that they can beat us if they play to a game plan.

    Even so, clearly a game we can win, too. I'd say we're very marginal favourites in the quarter finals. If we make it through there, then we would be underdogs against Croatia. God knows if we end up against Russia, on paper it's an easier game but you know how hosts routinely overperform.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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