martin

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It's just not the same without fat blokes in Lacoste polos smashing in D&G and Givenchy store windows, lobbing seats at the cops and wrecking the plumbing in the 'fan zone' to create a 2am fire hydrant-style party fountain.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Happy for Saka who was really a victim of the insane penalty shoot-out decisions in the Euro Final, I know it's only the first round so I'm sure that in his head it's not making up for the misses that lost the final, but really it's the subsequent actual tournament game to that one and he bounced back with two fine goals so I think that's the best way to put that behind you. Did Rashford miss one too? Certainly he also got a good goal today.

As an aside, the more distance I have to look at the euro final properly the more annoying I find it. After that early goal we gave them way too much respect, as though they were a far stronger side instead of one that was at best on the same level. It was there to be won and we let them back in... although, at least on that I can see the idea behind it, Italy bundled one in from a corner and if they hadn't lucked out like that then football would have "come home" - the thing to me is, that's not the whole story, if you let teams come on to you to that extent and defend so deep then they are gonna get loads of chances of that nature, and you can't chalk it down to a lucky goal cos if the ball bobbles around your six box for the whole of the second half then there is every chance that one "lucky" toe will make the necessary contact at some point. But obviously it was a fine line and England could have won that way. Personally I think that if they had kept taking the game to them then they would have proven too strong and they would probably have won. But that's speculation, fine margins etc I feel it was wrong but whatever....

However what does absolutely enrage me is the strategy (if you can call it that) with the penalties. Subbing on Rashford (I remember now) to take one when he hadn't played a minute of the tournament, it made no sense to bring him on absolutely cold and tell him his first kick was the most important one of his life. In fact, I think a couple of them were brought on just to take the pens and the rest of them were 14 year olds like Saka. It seemed utterly insane when it was being announced, how can you entrust the entire tournament to shots from players who haven't properly warmed up? Why would you pick your least experienced to be the last players at the business end of the shoot-out, it seemed like the worst idea possible, and I don't understand why none of the staff stopped him - "Gareth snap out of it man!" as they slapped him right across the fucking face. Especially cos Pickford saved two, if Southgate hadn't sabotaged it we would have won that tournament and my lifetime long football drought (international level) would have come to an end.

They gotta win the world cupn to make up for... please guys please... make a sad old man happy.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Funny as fuck

Wales were tepid, the occasion possibly, more fluid after an hour. England have nothing to worry about, still think their team aren’t scarred as deeply as previous shirt bearers were, not just pretty boys for once even though the sport is full of cheating cunts. Ribbing aside, wasn’t expecting degrees of cohesion

View attachment 13546

I'd agree with that, Wales did get better in the second half, but even so I think they were lucky to get a draw. Fair play to US, in the first half their press had Wales totally trapped, again and against they passed left and right along the backline hoping to find a way through but each pass took them further back and invariably they went back to keeper who leathered it out for a throw. That happened three or four times and I thought they would figure out a way through or else they would simply tire of the running needed to keep them locked in like that, but they didn't. So for most of the first half Wales simply couldn't get any quality possession, certainly they couldn't change possession in their own final third to possession anywhere further up the pitch. So all they did was lose the ball and then the US came at them time and again. My thoughts changed from "They've come out of the blocks fast" to "they are completely dominant" as it became clear that this wasn't just the way it started but the actual pattern of the game. Anyway, as so often happens, when America went deservedly ahead Wales seemed to wake up a little and they got a bit more of the ball... well, they got a bit of the ball full stop, before the half-time whistle. Second half they got stronger and stronger with more and more of the ball but although they did have a couple of really good chances they felt as though they were isolated moments rather than part of a sustained attack that was inevitably gonna break 'em down. They should be grateful they were gifted the penalty from that clumsy challenge. I always think it is really difficult and disheartening to lose the first game, of course it doesn't mean you're out, but when years of planning goes out of your mind and you collapse to 3-0 before half-time like Iran today it must be awful and hard to recover from. So Wales will be glad to avoided that today, and in fact I think that both teams must have seen England today and thought "we can't guarantee getting anything from that game so we need to finish today with something."

But enough of what I think, there has been overwhelming support from the US contingent, what did you think of the game @suspended , @linebaugh , @Clinamenic? Would you agree with my analysis there such as it is?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Never watched a World Cup before but it's never too late to start. What are the narratives to hook a fella in?
Good question actually. I tried to get into the narratives and then watch the rugby world cup, but it was still so fucking boring I had to turn it off after about 20 minutes. So it's not a guaranteed way in but it's worth a shot.

One pure footballing story might be Messi and Argentina. Now Messi is often counted as the greatest player of all time, with Barcelona he won every possible club trophy numerous times and scored countless goals, many of them wondrous. Last year (or the year before) Messi's Argentina won the Copa da America so that is one of the two main international trophies for which they are eligible. However, Messi has never won the world cup and many feel that if he really wants to be seen as the greatest beyond any shadow of a doubt then he needs to lift that. I'm not saying that a player needs to win the WC to be the best cos they could be from a minor football power - but Messi is from Argentina and they are a strong football nation, arguably you would expect the teams they've had over the last few years to have performed better than they did if one of them is seriously going to go down as the all time greatest. Especially cos one of Messi's rivals for the all-time number one spot is Maradona who did lead Argentina to the world cup.

And this is surely Messi's last chance to win the world cup. Argentina have come into the world cup looking very strong, they have been 36 games unbeaten, can they do it this time?

And then their first game is against completely unfancied rank outsiders Saudi Arabia and.... in one of the biggest world cup first game upsets ever, Argentina lost 1 - 2 to SA! So, what does that mean? Is the dream dead... can they bounce back stronger? The only equivalent fuck up I can think of is way back in 1990 when the then champions played no-hopers Cameroon who after a very violent match finished the game with only 9 players, but one more goal than the champions. However, the champs did pick themselves up and made it all the way to the final where they were defeated by West Germany. Who were those champions? Yep, it was Argentina of course and Maradona was seen as almost single-handedly dragging a team significantly weaker than the one that won it previously, all the way to the final.

So, the stage is set for Messi... can he deliver?
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
You could also talk about Neymar at Brazil who is a generational talent but has arguably wasted his career playing for PSG. A club way too strong for their league who win it by miles every time, but who can't raise their game to match the European giants of Spain and the UK. While he is at PSG there will be a kind of question mark over him taking the easy route and the money (70m a year) instead of a challenge and trophies. One way to put that right would be to win the world cup for Brazil. When the cup was there he was injured and without their talisman they collapsed 7-1 to Germany, he is pretty much the only one from that squad untainted by that humiliation. But last time around they didn't do too much, I guess he's like 28 so he might play next time, but he might not. Again this is his chance to shine, to lay to rest accusations of wasting his phenomenal ability.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
You got England looking for redemption - or just any trophy - after losing to Italy in the Euro final. And they come fast out the traps... though not always a good thing I gotta say.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
I know I'm talking superstars here which is kinda facile but... I gotta mention Ronaldo too, also his last chance surely. I would say Portugal are a team that could win it over 20 years whereas Argentina with the players they have had arguably should have won it. So I sort of hold it against him less that he's not won it.

Messi and Ron have had bizarrely similar careers though in that they were both so relentlessly dominant scorers for their clubs for so long, both winning so many trophies. With their countries they have both win their respective continent's cup once and WC never.

It's crazy they both maintained that level so long. Other players that are mentioned as candidates for all time greatest - the first Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Maradona - certainly touched the same heights, but only for a handful of seasons. Messi and Ron have this unbelievable dedication to fitness and determination to keep playing and keep winning. Or more likely they are taking some drug that noone can detect yet.
 

WashYourHands

Cat Malogen
Ronald, what a pillock, crying to the media about being hung out to dry at Utd

Caught glimpses of the Danes v Tunisia, not a bore draw in the usual sense. ITV have a rule/VAR pundit, Peter Walton, in a strange wee purple room filled with screens. Science!

A9945CCA-A3DC-41DE-B159-41EDBF0998B9.jpeg

cosmic, let’s smoke some dmt
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Never watched a World Cup before but it's never too late to start. What are the narratives to hook a fella in?

Yesterday was obviously US vs Wales... which, I dunno if there is a huge amount of spice in that tie. I mean, neither are huge footballing nations and I don't think that they have any particular rivalry or anything like that. Both anglo nations that speak English I suppose (in parts at least). The things that are maybe a little bit notable are the fullback Dest who belongs to Barcelona and is on loan to Milan which means he is a player used to the top level, and there were a few others on the pitch. Notably Gareth Bale for Wales who is a genuine superstar who ought to be looking for redemption through the national side.

The story of Bale is that he used to play in the premiership for Tottenham and he had some incredible performances in European games which put him in the shop window and ultimately meant that Real Madrid splashed out a hundred mil or so for his signature. Playing for them he scored some unbelievable goals and some important goals, but then he fell out with manager Zidane and with the club as a whole, and I guess maybe with Ronaldo too. And the thing is, when he wasn't playing they were paying him 600k a week to do fuck all... or in fact to play a lot of golf, they even called him the golfer. This pissed off Real cos they wanted him to accept a wage cut and fuck off to another team so they didn't have to pay him, but he basically said that he was happy to sit around doing nothing and collect the money.

Personally I think fuck Real cos their tactic is to buy players at ridiculous prices, offer them a ridiculous wage so that they are sure to get the player, and then expect them to meekly fuck off when Real want them to. Basically they are annoyed with Bale for childishly insisting that they honour the contract that they drew up when they signed him. They did lend him back to Spurs at one point but that didn't really work out either. To me it just shows how spoilt Real fans are that they turn against a player who scored a goal like this in the Spanish cup final against their legendary rivals....




Or won the Champions League for them with two goals in the final, one of which was this



Anyway, when you have superstars whose nation is a footballing minnow it can go two ways, sometimes they hardly ever play and consider it a waste of time, sometimes they throw themselves into it and become a national hero and Bale has been towards the latter option. He's really gone for it for Wales and scored some good goals for them and yesterday he played up front, I guess they were basically hoping that if they could get the ball to him he might do something.

And there were other good players on the pitch, you got Ramsey who has been top level for a long time. US had Pulisic who struggles to get in the Chelsea side, but that's cos Chelsea have a load of good players and he did well last night. And the goal scorer called Weah, who I only just realised is the son of the legendary George Weah - I believe the only African player to win World Player of the Year, and probably also the only one to become president of his country.

George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah (/ˈwiːə/; born 1 October 1966)[5] is a Liberian politician and former professional footballer who is serving as the president of Liberia, in office since 2018. Prior to his election to the presidency, Weah served as Senator from Montserrado County. He played as a striker in his prolific 18-year professional football career, which ended in 2003.[6] He is the first African former professional footballer to become a head of state.

After beginning his career in his native Liberia, Weah spent 14 years playing for clubs in France, Italy and England. Arsène Wenger first brought him to Europe, signing him for Monaco in 1988. Weah moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992 where they won the Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. He signed for AC Milan in 1995 where he spent four successful seasons, winning the Serie A twice.[8] He moved to the Premier League towards the end of his career and had spells at Chelsea and Manchester City, winning the FA Cup at the former, before returning to France to play for Marseille in 2001. He ended his career with Al Jazira in 2003. FourFourTwo named Weah one of the best players never to win the UEFA Champions League.

Weah represented Liberia at international level, winning 75 caps and scoring 18 goals for his country and playing at the African Cup of Nations on two occasions. He also played an international friendly in 2018, where his number 14 jersey was retired. Regarded as one of the best players never to have played at the World Cup, Scott Murray in The Guardian refers to Weah as "hamstrung by hailing from a global minnow".

So no major rivalry I would have said between Wales and US, although Dest and Bale theoretically play for the great rivals of Barce and Real I can't imagine they have a huge loyalty to either. The other teams in the group are England and Iran and I think that both teams do have some sort of rivalry going on with England, and, in purely footballing terms, they would have seen England dismantle Iran earlier and will feel that it will be hard to get points from that game, so they would have been desperate to avoid a defeat yesterday.

England play US on Friday I believe, I think at 7pm UK time. We should all try and watch that right? I think I will venture out to some kind of bar to catch it.
 

Leo

Well-known member
Good question actually. I tried to get into the narratives and then watch the rugby world cup, but it was still so fucking boring I had to turn it off after about 20 minutes. So it's not a guaranteed way in but it's worth a shot.

One pure footballing story might be Messi and Argentina. Now Messi is often counted as the greatest player of all time, with Barcelona he won every possible club trophy numerous times and scored countless goals, many of them wondrous. Last year (or the year before) Messi's Argentina won the Copa da America so that is one of the two main international trophies for which they are eligible. However, Messi has never won the world cup and many feel that if he really wants to be seen as the greatest beyond any shadow of a doubt then he needs to lift that. I'm not saying that a player needs to win the WC to be the best cos they could be from a minor football power - but Messi is from Argentina and they are a strong football nation, arguably you would expect the teams they've had over the last few years to have performed better than they did if one of them is seriously going to go down as the all time greatest. Especially cos one of Messi's rivals for the all-time number one spot is Maradona who did lead Argentina to the world cup.

And this is surely Messi's last chance to win the world cup. Argentina have come into the world cup looking very strong, they have been 36 games unbeaten, can they do it this time?

And then their first game is against completely unfancied rank outsiders Saudi Arabia and.... in one of the biggest world cup first game upsets ever, Argentina lost 1 - 2 to SA! So, what does that mean? Is the dream dead... can they bounce back stronger? The only equivalent fuck up I can think of is way back in 1990 when the then champions played no-hopers Cameroon who after a very violent match finished the game with only 9 players, but one more goal than the champions. However, the champs did pick themselves up and made it all the way to the final where they were defeated by West Germany. Who were those champions? Yep, it was Argentina of course and Maradona was seen as almost single-handedly dragging a team significantly weaker than the one that won it previously, all the way to the final.

So, the stage is set for Messi... can he deliver?

Isn't a main narrative also that this is probably the final World Cup for some big stars: Messi and Ronaldo, obviously, but also Luka Modric, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Luis Suarez.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Isn't a main narrative also that this is probably the final World Cup for some big stars: Messi and Ronaldo, obviously, but also Luka Modric, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Luis Suarez.

Sure. I mentioned above that it should be the last chance for Messi and Ronaldo and also, while Neymar may well play in another, this is the last one where he is in his prime and he could theoretically put his stamp on it and justify the hype that has followed his whole career so far.

But yeah there are very few people indeed playing at the top level after 40. Maybe some goalies occasionally, and you get maybe the odd playmaker type whose game relies on that. Modric is older than Wayne Rooney believe it or not.
 
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