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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:06 pm 
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pk500 wrote:
Stu Holden was so correct: Belgium was using the wings, especially with Hazard in the left, very effectively to threaten in the first 20 minutes. Then they started playing what I call "shoebox soccer" when I coach kids in youth soccer -- everything crammed up the middle.

I'm not tactically savvy enough to know whether that was a result of a change by Deschamps or a change by Martinez. Either way, Holden spotted it quickly, and he was right.


The reason Belgium lost is pretty simple. France's midfielders were SIGNIFICANTLY better. Matuidi (my MOTM), Kante and Pogba shut down the attack because Belgium simply didn't have enough attackers. Playing Dembele, Fellini and the other frizzy haired dude who's name escapes me atm was basically just in response to MBappe and being scared of his speed. Yes, they nullified his speed for the most part, but at the expense of their attack. Makes it even more puzzling to leave Niangollin off the team...he'd have fit in nicely.

They tried to use Chadli on the right side way too much. Could predict it each and every time the ball went back to Alderweild (sp???)...pass to Kompany in the middle, over to Vertongen on the left, then back to Alderweild and then up to Chadli. It was so predictable. No wonder France just rotated everyone to that side of the field...easy to stop when there is one plan of attack. It was a LOT more effective once Mertens came in...they had six or seven crosses running the same thing with a more talented attacker.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:00 pm 
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Also funny that one of panelists from the Football Writers Podcast, which is excellent, said during the show's Belgium-France preview to watch Fellaini on set pieces because his concentration was appalling. And who got beat on France's goal from a set piece?

Fellaini. :)

Soothsayers!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:43 pm 
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Very sloppy Croatia side, whether it’s indifference or tiredness despite the early goal by England, they are playing as is if it’s an early round of the WC. Not much from Rakitic not Modric, you get this feeling that Lingard’s speed along Sterling will create plenty of chances for England.

Being a much younger side, they do look good so far.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:48 pm 
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10spro wrote:
Very sloppy Croatia side, whether it’s indifference or tiredness despite the early goal by England, they are playing as is if it’s an early round of the WC. Not much from Rakitic not Modric, you get this feeling that Lingard’s speed along Sterling will create plenty of chances for England.

Being a much younger side, they do look good so far.


Yeah...So far so good for England but a ways to go yet.

Trippier's goal was pretty.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:39 pm 
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England is this ][ close to being down 2-1. Crossbar showed up at the right time. Come on England !!!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:56 pm 
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What a different Croatia team was in the second. Definitely had their chances to advance.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:56 pm 
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Oh God.

So many questions. Who thought letting Croatia have the ball for an hour was a good idea? Where has our composure gone? Why are we tiring first? Why has Jordan Henderson picked today, of all days, to remember that he's Jordan Henderson?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:23 pm 
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Pickford did his best to save his team into PK’s. Unfortunately for England Walker and Stones went for a nap together.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:38 pm 
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What a game. RIP to the entire country of England who will now drink themselves to death.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:41 pm 
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dbdynsty25 wrote:
What a game. RIP to the entire country of England who will now drink themselves to death.


That was the plan regardless, DB.

Gutting. Better team won, but...gutting.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:43 pm 
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GB_Simo wrote:
dbdynsty25 wrote:
What a game. RIP to the entire country of England who will now drink themselves to death.


That was the plan regardless, DB.

Gutting. Better team won, but...gutting.


I stand by my minority opinion that Kane is severely overrated. He didn't do a single thing on the field today...nothing. He was non existent. He scored a ton of goals on positioning and luck more than supreme shotmaking or skill. Hard to do anything when you don't have the ball skills.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:52 pm 
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Holy $hit they actually did it!

Totally incapable of analytical thought after not breathing for over an hour.

What a match!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:58 pm 
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Holy Sit they did do it. That was a fun game.

Gratz Rob.

Feel for you Adam and Jimmy.

Croatia was the better team.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:06 pm 
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10spro wrote:
Pickford did his best to save his team into PK’s. Unfortunately for England Walker and Stones went for a nap together.


I said about 100x in the run-up, England are younger, fresher, faster and deeper. The only advantage Croatia had was that England are also England, and it turned out to be prophetic.

They couldn't cope at all with Croatia's wide players pinning back their wingbacks and just resorted to hoofing it up to Alle and Sterling.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:12 pm 
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Kane was invisible today. Walker was terrible, and not just on the game-winning goal.

I fear the final will mirror the NBA Finals this year, with the Western Conference champion France beating the Eastern Conference champion Croatia, 2-0, in a walk.

But I'm pulling for Croatia!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:12 pm 
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And not just Kane if you want to spread the blame around. How do you expect a team to win when you have only one shot on target and a great one at that. Not much of Dele either, the only time they looked dangerous is when they were using the speed of Lingard and Sterling in the first. To Kane’s defense, you gotta keep your top players especially snipers as long as you can. Other than headers on set pieces, England is pretty much what you see is what you get.

Mandzukic was pretty much absent too to be honest, but great players have a way of opening themselves up when it matters and it keeps the defense honest.

Pretty sure the manager gets a lot of credit too for waking the team up on the second, there was a purpose, they all realized they were in the semis.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:29 pm 
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England's best performances all featured their WB's and wingers. They don't really have a command the center-type MF. Henderson is good at what he does, but it's more structural. He helps the team keep its shape and moves the ball quickly. Lacking the ability to match Croatia in the middle, they depended even more on their wide players. Rebic and Perisic just pinned them in after the first 20 minutes. England were set up to play long to Sterling and Alle 1v1 with Lovren and Vida, but they too often tried playing out of the back.

Sweden did the same thing to them for long stretches, but they lacked the quality to take advantage.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:53 pm 
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Difficult to shake the feeling that England, with a typically English bit of Englanding, Englanded it right up.

Picking up on what James said, it felt to me as though both sides realised it was the World Cup semi-final at about the same time. One found inspiration, one retreated within itself. After half an hour where we could have been further ahead, it seemed as though a switch was flicked and the focus suddenly shifted to keeping a clean sheet at all costs. Croatia pushed us back, worked the full width of the pitch and tired us out, yes, but don't underestimate the extent to which we let them.

Still, though. I'm too young to remember losing the semi-final at Italia '90 but that squad would have had a great chance in the final had it got there. I do remember Euro '96 and still can't believe we didn't win it - to my dying day, I'll watch Paul Gascoigne stretching to reach that cross in extra time against Germany and expect him to get there.

We weren't winning this one and, no matter how we got this far, we've had a hell of a run. How nice it's been to watch an England team and genuinely enjoy the ride for once.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:09 pm 
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GB_Simo wrote:
We weren't winning this one and, no matter how we got this far, we've had a hell of a run.

Your run went a helluva lot further than the USA team.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:19 am 
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I re-watched the France-Belgium semi as methadone to get me through to tomorrow's 3rd-place game. I think France will try roughly the same gameplan that England did against Croatia. The differences are two and they are enormous. Kante and M'bappe. M'bappe can do things 1v1 that the England forwards can only dream about, but Kante is the big one. I think he's been the best player in the tournament and he's the kind of dominant middle-of-the-park player that England lacked. Croatia aren't going to be able to knock the ball around, casually switching play and picking out runs the way they did after the first 20 minutes against England. It's going to take something incredibly special to unlock them.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:31 pm 
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Btw, Courtois being salty about France’s tactics and Griezman’s retort were amusing.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:01 pm 
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Well deserved Bronze medal for Belgium. Tielemans and De Bruyne dominated the midfield, brilliant 1-2 finish from Hazard after De Bruyne trapped a couple of guys with him. It’s been a great WC event with major upsets.

I will always remember the Ronaldo goal vs Spain, Kroos must win goal vs Sweden, Cheryshev brilliant strike vs Croatia, Coutinho’s goal vs the Swiss, Di Maria’s beauty against France and from the same match Pavard’s awesome one timer to tie the game.

Just love the sport. Took almost three weeks off to watch 80% of the matches, it’s just too bad we have to wait another four years. This WC had it all, plenty of dramas and upsets, VAR made every single referee more accountable.

I have France winning it all tomorrow, it’s been a lot of fun.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 1:47 pm 
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Agree with all of that but the VAR. Poorly implemented to say the least.

Belgium was fun to watch for sure.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:44 pm 
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France 2, Croatia 0 tomorrow in a match that's closer than the scoreline. A compelling finish to a magnificent, entertaining tournament.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:18 am 
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Disgusting dive for a goal.

the ugly game.

f***in garbage.

Where was the f***in VAR?????? Again worthless. Whats the point?


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