The opening day saw the host nation take on Saudi Arabia.
The Saudis started impressively, knocking the ball around with speed and accuracy but it didn’t take long for Russia to score the first goal. Yuri Gazinsky rose highest to meet a cross from the left and he guided his header past the goalkeeper.
Denis Cheryshev, an early sub for Djagoev who pulled up with a hamstring injury, doubled the hosts’ lead over the beleaguered Saudis three minutes before half time when he eluded three green jerseys in the box and rifled home.
Saudi Arabia toiled to no effect and Artem Dzyuba stepped off the bench to head home a third in the second half and Cheryshev looked to have put the icing on the cake with a lovely finish off the outside of the boot in stoppage time.
There was one more fine finish to come, though, when Alexander Golovin swept home a direct free-kick with the last action of the game.
Reader Comments (89)
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1 Posted 12/06/2018 at 19:23:55
2 Posted 12/06/2018 at 19:24:48
3 Posted 12/06/2018 at 19:34:00
Nicholas, that would be an overstatement, but he did win the ball from him twice. Griezmann spent more of his time on the opposite side torturing US right-back, Shaq Moore.
4 Posted 12/06/2018 at 19:55:33
France are going to the party. They were the team in preparation.
5 Posted 12/06/2018 at 20:32:00
I have been pleasantly surprised by England. I stopped watching them years ago because I couldn't bear the predictable misery and failure over rated superstars like Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Ferdinand and Scholes would repeatedly serve up. In fact I would go back even further, However.
I tuned in to see how Pickford was doing and thought this current bunch seemed a lot more genuine, I like that they are not being touted as "certainties" by the knobheads who hog our screens.
Some very talented players amongst the English ranks. A semi-final place would not be out of the question for me.
6 Posted 12/06/2018 at 20:41:23
I hadn't thought about it until you mentioned it, but there does look to be an awful lot of draws in those group stages.
Might just follow your lead there...
7 Posted 12/06/2018 at 20:41:54
Didn't you say recently you were 'going large' on Belgium for your World Cup punting...?
If so, this article on the Beeb might encourage you:
8 Posted 12/06/2018 at 21:50:42
So my dogs' inheritance is on Germany.
Best bet for any tournament is in any England game, back a draw or the other team. Do it nice and late to let the pissed patriots get their money on and watch the odds get skewed.
If England use their main attacking asset, pace, they may surprise us and do better than we think. Either way, at least we'll be better to watch. Southgate has revamped the mental support the squad gets, which is long overdue, so let's hope that works as well as the players' pace.
9 Posted 13/06/2018 at 07:17:42
10 Posted 13/06/2018 at 07:31:23
I suspect they might fare better against better quality, with those sides decidedly a level better might over egg the pudding and let England in on the counter.
But to go far you need more than that. I might proffer they give a big gun a bloody nose but will be unable to repeat the dose.
11 Posted 13/06/2018 at 07:44:58
12 Posted 13/06/2018 at 09:03:28
I think our set pieces might really help as Trippier in particular has excellent delivery and with the likes of Cahill, Kane, Dier and Stones we have some decent aerial threat.
As long as we don't choke (as vs Iceland) I could see us making quarters or semi.
13 Posted 13/06/2018 at 09:10:42
14 Posted 13/06/2018 at 09:12:33
15 Posted 13/06/2018 at 09:19:16
We are probably a Paul Scholes away from being a very very good team. Who is the ball player in our team? Who from the midfield splits defences? It's a shame as we look strong in all other areas.
16 Posted 13/06/2018 at 09:24:35
I can only see the usual disappointment ahead but it would be great to get through a couple of knockout rounds, make the close season a bit more fun!
17 Posted 13/06/2018 at 11:47:40
18 Posted 13/06/2018 at 12:11:30
Spain's task at the World Cup just got a wee bit harder.
19 Posted 13/06/2018 at 13:05:05
Just select who you think will finish 1st and 2nd of each group and the KO phase will be automatically calculated. Continue predicting the match winner all the way to the final.
I predicted 1st place group finishes for Brazil, Germany and Belgium which potentially results in a Brazil v Belgium quarter-final and a possible England v Germany. My semi-final line-up was Brazil v France and Spain v Germany with Brazil triumphing in the final.
I may have to re-think that with the announcement of the dismissal of the Spanish manager this morning.
20 Posted 13/06/2018 at 13:30:18
I have England finishing second to Belgium in the group, beating Colombia in the first knock out game, losing to Germany in the quarter-final and a final of Brazil v Germany.
21 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:37:25
Could they fluke a World Cup win and we'd be the club that rejected a World Cup winning manager? That would be right.
22 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:39:59
23 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:41:59
The 2026 tournament will be the biggest World Cup ever held - with 48 teams playing 80 matches over 34 days. â€” Oh gawd no! I started losing interest when they went to 32 teams...
Sixty matches will take place in the US, while Canada and Mexico will host 10 games each. â€” That's 80 matches... OMG! Absolute madness.
24 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:49:48
32 is an optimum number which doesn't need any jiggery-pokery (as was the case when FIFA expanded numbers from 16 to 24 teams) as to who qualifies for the KO stages.
48 dilutes the quality of 'the product'.
With 3 hosts â€“ USA, Mexico and Canada â€“ that also implies 3 automatic qualifications and 3 top-seeded teams, who on FIFA rankings wouldn't otherwise merit it.
25 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:55:12
Hopefully the three countries will be back on speaking terms with each other by then and the current idiocy will be just a bad, distant memory.
Michael (#21), "absolute madness" is right. And for a 48-team World Cup, the multi-nation bid will become the norm from now on. No single nation could host that many games.
26 Posted 13/06/2018 at 14:58:12
27 Posted 13/06/2018 at 15:00:24
When I was a kid, the World Cup was the pinnacle. Now, it's a lesser standard than most of the big 5 leagues, and even the later stages are inferior to the quality on show in the Champions League.
The other great thing about the World Cup was watching teams full of great players you've never heard of before. Sure, there will be one or two players surprising in each side, and maybe a few of the "lesser" sides will surprise with their quality. Serbia in particular are a good technical side, much better than you would expect. But the days of only knowing a few of the big players from the likes of Brazil and Argentina are gone. Most of us could name the entire first XI of the likes of Brazil.
The last time I remember being shocked and surprised was the emergence of Chile under Bielsa, but Bielsa was attracting noise prior to the 2010 world cup, with his side's exploits in qualification, and their performance at the World Cup was not unexpected to those who were already aware of what Chile had been doing to the rest of South America in qualification.
28 Posted 13/06/2018 at 15:03:24
29 Posted 13/06/2018 at 15:05:06
Over the moon. I will begin today to set my hard earned dollar aside to take my family of seven to see my America play.
I'm not sure of the automatic qualifying of the three teams? That is absurd admittedly. I believe what will happen, this current cycle clearly not being an accurate barometer, is that the US and Mexico will qualify traditionally, and only Canada will end up getting the automatic bid. Time will tell.
Great news for soccer fans in the States.
30 Posted 13/06/2018 at 15:15:07
Most of the teams will be able to defend well enough even if just parking the bus but the teams with the extra class up front will win through and that means the usual suspects like Brazil, Germany, France, Spain and Uruguay.
England have severe limitations none more so than Southgate and if Harry Kane is muted then neither Vardy nor the very wasteful Sterling will compensate but Rashford may just come of age if used properly.
31 Posted 13/06/2018 at 15:16:02
32 Posted 13/06/2018 at 15:55:59
The process is so unwieldy it excludes many countries from hosting as a sole country, many I suspect are now excluded on technical prerequisites alone.
Joint bids are not to my liking, desperate and lacking cohesion. Even more so when two of the three nations have hosted in recent memory.
Really disappointed for Morocco, it would have been novel, a great spot for most of the footballing world, both proximity to Europe/game times and for that region, amazing! Nothing like this has happened there in forever?!
But the expansion lends itself to joint bids it can accommodate more sides and therefore host teams, sadly weakening the competition significantly.
Already on the wane it makes a World Cup of clubs more likely one might think.
33 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:07:16
If games are hosted in Orlando, I live 2 hours away. You can crash at the Crowley Compound for a night or two. ;0)
Bear in mind I have 5 sons, and 3-4 of them will be out of the house then, so hopefully not as chaotic or loud as it currently is!
John Pierce @32 -
I completely understand your stance on the exclusion of countries with these joint bids. But frankly the US, Mexico, Canada bid will be very good for soccer on the whole. There will be much more money generated with a massive US audience pumping millions into respective FAs. The infrastructure here is ready to go - no more human slaves building shiny new stadiums and dying in the process, or "making" abhorrently low and unethical wages. There's many other positives including the growth of the game here - which I'd argue is good for the global game.
I don't feel bad at all for Morocco. We're better suited to host the world frankly.
But I do agree with you FIFA are a Frankenstein's monster.
34 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:13:32
England knocked out in the quarter-finals.
Final 4 of France, Brazil, Germany, Belgium.
Final Germany - Belgium.
Bobby Brown-Shoes will outscore everyone, winning games by 5-4 and the like. It's Belgium's year to make it's mark. But Germany is simply too good to not win it in my opinion.
My bracket had Germany knocking out England. Please know I hope I'm wrong, and I'm very pleased the English are undefeated in World Wars. ;0)
35 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:24:33
36 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:31:46
I agree with your closing remarks that the World Cup is on the wane. I will pick my games to watch but have no real interest in the competition and I haven't had much interest in it for a long time, but that is just me...
For the supporters who are looking forward to it, I hope you all enjoy a very good competition with plenty of good attacking football.
37 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:33:40
Re Steve, easy access to New York City from my place by the way! ðŸ˜œ
But frankly once you've had the World Cup you should have to wait your turn, Mexico (twice) and the USA have their chance to make a difference. It's the World Cup right, what's the point if you just juggle the competition amongst a select few?
Perhaps using the money argument was not the road to go down? We all know Fifa are corrupt, and if they had done their job properly by disseminating money around the world surely Morocco or its ilk would be in a position to win a bid?
Whilst Russia & Qatar have been horribly executed the sentiment was right.
But with expansion the likelihood of even a country like Australia hosting is all but null and void. China perhaps, so what countries are left that haven't hosted that could host a 48-team World Cup?
I know the argument is more a moralistic one, and money talks but finally the monster has broken its shackles and will never be tamed.
38 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:34:14
In my opinion, stadiums in this country have come an awful long way since 1966, with no building of new stadiums (except hopefully us) required.
Hopefully we will be in a new stadium before too long, and along with Wembley, the Emirates, the Olympic stadium, Spurs' new stadium, Old Trafford, the Etihad, St James's Park, the Stadium of Light, Villa Park, Anfield, as well as slightly smaller capacity stadiums such as the King Power, and Elland Road, this country is well more than capable of holding the World Cup Finals.
If it were to be a joint British bid, we can include Hampden Park, Celtic Park and the Millennium stadium.
So, as Jamie says, no more human slaves building shiny new stadiums and dying in the process, required in this country either.
So come on, FIFA, start playing ball and share the World Cup around...
39 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:43:43
41 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:44:20
FIFA also want tax breaks, and loads of other things. The UK will not cede to the FIFA demands, and most importantly, the UK press will scrutinise everything FIFA get up to, and that's scrutiny that they don't want. FIFA won't come back to the UK until they are ready to run the game in a way that is cleaner and can stand up to the scrutiny of the press.
42 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:53:42
I agree with both of you regarding World Cup venues.
I think there should be a measured analysis of where to have the Cup to grow the game, as well as paying homage to developed countries who've been soccer's heart since near the beginning - like Brazil last cycle. And of course economics simply must come into it.
I see no reason why a World Cup couldn't be held in China. It would create a ton of revenue, and bring a massive country into the fold that hasn't seen soccer success. Australia could easily host the event I'd think? But they'd have more of an uphill battle I think to secure it.
Regarding Rob's suggestion of a joint bid, I'd suggest a UK - Ireland bid. Might be the single best venue for a World Cup ever. Could those two countries actually join forces for an economic windfall? I'd think so. It would strengthen the bid as well as two countries who historically have had some pretty serious "issues" come together to host the world's biggest sporting event.
And isn't that what the World Cup is about after all?
Celtic Park, the stadium not to be named for the team not to be named in Scotland, Aviva, Croke Park (never been is that a viable option?), Wembley, Manchester's two stadiums, and of course the new Bramley-Moore location - just to mention a few of the myriad of options there would be.
China in 2030, UK / Ireland in 2034. I'll be 64 years old if it's hosted in the UK in 2034. I'd definitely get over my fear of flying and make the trip across that massive body of water for a World Cup in England, Scotland, and Ireland.
In fact, if God took me on that trip I'd be satisfied, because I'm not sure it would get any better than that.
43 Posted 13/06/2018 at 16:59:46
I agree with Rob that the next bid should be a joint UK bid, that may change the voting preferences of those involved of awarding the event. Having all involved may sway things and there would be four lots of people trying to win votes. The FA has long been highlighted as still living in the past and maybe old-fashioned attitudes are still on display when networking.
On a sidenote, is it possible the USA joint bid won because no-one wanted the FBI coming after them... :) :)
44 Posted 13/06/2018 at 17:08:02
We have long passed up any chance of hosting for a marginally higher moral ground, not saying much is it?
It would take a massive sea change in both organizations for bid to be politically acceptable.
As for joint British bid? Nah the FA are well up themselves England can host any World Cup. What is more likely is a joint bid from Scotland, Wales and Ireland, it's not England and FIFA/UEFA get to piss the FA off.
45 Posted 13/06/2018 at 17:14:11
46 Posted 13/06/2018 at 17:23:32
But let me give you a wee insight into the Brazilian football fan psyche. I have to say, in all my travels, they are the most fairweather of fans I have encountered.
Now as footy fans we all have a moan during a game if the team or a player is underperforming, but with Brazilian supporters, it can be extremely vitriolic (and violent!) towards their own team.
I laughed in absolute amazement at one Serie A game in which the supporters of the losing team were going absolutely ape shit at the manager within 30 minutes of the kick-off. The heavily armed Military Police that attends matches moved in to (barely) control the near riot. By the game's end, the losing team turned it around and the self-same supporters who wanted to lynch the manager an hour before were now raucously singing his praises.
In the city I live, my own father-in-law (92 years old!!!) some years back simply changed his support from one city rival to t'other because his original side were losing too often and sliding down the leagues. Could you ever envisage the day or any scenario you could give up your Blueness for t'other lot of a different hue? No... me neither.
The scars of 2014 run very deep. And so they should. For me, the 7-1 defeat to Germany is the most shocking result in the history of the game. Brazil doesn't lose competitive games at home. They very rarely lose at home at all. So â€“ as the live images of the home crowd showed (and that was just a microcosm for the whole nation) â€“ it was a deeply, deeply traumatic event.
Brazil is party capital of the world and Brazilians will take any excuse to throw a party. Post game - be it club or national football â€“ there will be the setting off of fireworks and motorcades on the streets. The night of Brazil 1 Germany 7, I have never known the streets so subdued.
But that was 2014. This is 2018 with the excellent Tite in charge. Tite has deliberately selected emotionally stable players (thus no room for the eye-popping David Luis, substitute captain for the suspended Tiago Silva the night of that crushing defeat to Germany). Altogether, they are a more mature squad, with fair more talent certainly in the attacking front (2014 â€“ Jo and the aging Fred... seriously? vs 2018 â€“ Neymar, Jesus, Coutinho, Willian and Firmino). The latter just edges that comparison, wouldn't you say?
But nothing surpasses Brazil as a location to be during the World Cup. Over in the UK (and other countries) you may see a few St George's displayed in windows and flying from verandahs and mini-flags in cars.
In Brazil, it's full-on carnival time. Whole urban streets are decorated with green and yellow streamers the length of the street. Every household flies the national colours. The actual roads themselves are painted with all manner of football-related motifs: the national flag, badge and shirt; the World Cup trophy and mascots; images of players; mini football pitches... it's amazing!
Four years ago, Gabriel Jesus was preparing for the World Cup in Brazil doing just that - see first link below. Now, he will line up alongside Neymar in Russia, representing his country.
And Jesus' efforts is a shitty example of how streets are transformed. For a better idea of how Brazilians decorate their neighbourhood for the World Cup, watch the slideshow in this next link:
Oh! And the weather will have absolute zero impact on their performance. No more, no less than any other team.
47 Posted 13/06/2018 at 17:37:19
The weather has a big impact on us. Our players (all of the British isles) are always out of gas come the summer tournaments and will be even more so in extreme heat. This World Cup should suit England more than any for a while.
Also, I think most of England's big players should still have something left in the tank. It wasn't a long hard season for many except the Liverpool players.
The winter break is going to be a turning point for the fortunes of the national side. It's not just the English, but any English based players are usually out of gas come the World Cup or the euros. The winter break should change that.
48 Posted 13/06/2018 at 17:44:39
In terms of Brazil's hopes for the world cup, they are confident, and there is a sense of making up for the disaster of 4 years ago.
And this team is of another level compared, as you said, best Brazilian manager since Scolari Mk 1, best attack since 2002 (but still nowhere near that level), best left-back in the world. If they play Germany again, it will be interesting, but I fear that Brazil may crumble yet again under the pressure (yet Tite is the manager to have for high-pressure games)...
49 Posted 13/06/2018 at 17:48:49
50 Posted 13/06/2018 at 18:22:37
As we know, the third, fourth and fifth rounds of the FA Cup take place in January and February, when a lot of teams play reserve players anyway, thus giving some of the bigger names a two-week break. Any Premier League teams knocked out in any of these rounds also get a two-week break, or at least ten days, as I think there may well be a midweek fixture, certainly after the fifth round, though I may be wrong on that.
Also it's a nap that during the two-week break teams will be flying to warmer climates to play friendly games, or so-called warm weather training.
If the FA want a successful national team then they need to introduce a longer winter break, and clubs should be prevented from flying halfway round the world just to make a few bob, which will never happen.
I personally think starting the season on the first Saturday in August would be beneficial for the national team. The season would then end around the first Sunday in May, giving about six weeks before the start of the World Cup or European Championship Finals.
Just out of curiosity, how are clubs going to fit in the fixture which would normally be played n the winter break period?
51 Posted 13/06/2018 at 18:33:08
Lots of players go into the break with fatigue and carrying knocks. Playing with fatigue increases your chance of injury. Having two weeks off should ease the fatigue and give a player time to recover from the knock.
If you really want to prove that the Premier League season is not a hindrance to the national side, have a look at how many Premier League players (of other nationalities) also struggled at the World Cup. There's few examples of a Premier League player having a starring role at the World Cup despite the money they all worth or paid.
The mid-season break is necessary. It should be slightly longer though.
52 Posted 13/06/2018 at 18:37:56
As you say, one person can enthusiastically support multiple teams. I can understand it to a degree. Outside the big metropolises, there aren't many big teams to follow, certainly if you live in the remoter, less populous states.
Often a Brazilian from such states will support one of his local teams (who usually play in Serie B, C or D) for the annual state championship and in addition support a big team from both Sao Paulo and Rio during the season proper.
I also think the 'selecao' is more resilient than 4 years ago. I predicted before a ball was kicked in anger against Germany that Brazil would lose, based just on how hyped up they were in the presentation ceremony. In a recent TV report, Brazilian commentators made the same observation â€“ how the players were more concerned in paying homage to the injured and absent Neymar (as if he had died!) rather than concentrate on the task at hand.
Don't forget also, Brazil recently beat Germany in Germany by a single goal which flattered the hosts. Curiously, since Tite took over, the two teams who have played them best was Coratia in the 1st half in the recent game at Anfield, and... England! In the 0-0 draw at Wembley. I think they will go very, very close.
And Steve @ 49. Low attendances are not necessarily related to the fickleness of fans. It is simply economics. It is still a largely working-class game in Brazil and the low salaries the fans receive doesn't leave them with much in the way of disposable income to justify paying to watch a game live at the stadium.
When they don't have to pay, fans turn up in their tens of thousands to watch an open training session, or simply send their team off at the airport if travelling to an important game.
The likes of Corinthians and Flamengo â€“ two of the biggest supported clubs â€“ have had 40,000 supporters attending a training session this year already, and 10-15,000 overwhelming the airport to see their team off.
And when the likes of those two meet, you could fill the Maracana 4-5 times over.
53 Posted 13/06/2018 at 18:48:39
You do realise that a joint UK & Ireland bid isn't 2 countries in footballing terms, it's 5! We could suggest a joint British Isles team but doubt it would be popular almost anywhere.
54 Posted 13/06/2018 at 19:19:38
It's that whole, "It's one country, but it's actually 4 countries" that my feeble American brain can't wrap itself around!
Four separate FAs would indeed mean the UK would need to go it alone.
I wonder if the 5 countries together would waive the automatic qualifying condition to host?
The idea is even beyond hypothetical. I'd just like to see England host, and bringing in neighbors would help the cause.
55 Posted 13/06/2018 at 19:27:48
56 Posted 13/06/2018 at 19:35:37
I've been to Rio, watched a Rio cup game, (I was lead to believe its a pre-season tourno) and after reading what you have just wrote, then I really wish I was going to your adopted home this week mate.
Anyway it's been a long time since I saw a great tournament, and although this might be an age thing, I hope this is what we get. Maybe even the most arrogant of races can change, once they have seen the joy that a World Cup can bring?
57 Posted 13/06/2018 at 19:57:59
I firmly believe that the vast majority of match-going supporters share my view, and if asked the question, "Would you prefer your club to win a trophy or England to win the World Cup?" would without exception, prefer the latter.
I know that you and I are from different generations, and we view the game differently, you are of the camp that studies team formations, whereas I see only eleven players per team, and care not for formations â€“ my concern is that each player gives of his best.
In my opinion, for what it's worth, football is being transformed from a sport into a science; every week, we're informed of how many miles players run, how many tackles are won etc; we managed quite well without this unnecessary information for years.
Regarding the mid-winter break, it was always recommended to combat weather conditions when grounds were unplayable, now that grounds are as pristine at the end of the season as they were at the beginning, that doesn't apply.
The tiredness of the players is quoted now for the reason to have a break; again it's only my opinion, but I believe that if a player is told often enough that two games a week are too many, he will believe it.
I've no doubt that we will touch on this subject, when we have our little get-together.
58 Posted 13/06/2018 at 19:58:37
And yet, there is an electric buzz in the air on the eve of the World Cup.
Escapism from the day-to-day drudgery and ongoing political and corporate corruption investigations...? Quite possibly.
But I can categorically say Brazilians would be totally bewildered at the indifference and hostility shown by TWers to the national team as is frequently aired on here. It's a totally alien concept to them.
But then, they've had a fair bit more to keep them interested in the World Cup and the national team then Engerland has offered since 1966.
59 Posted 13/06/2018 at 20:37:27
I'm thinking about the football now, Germany, France, Belguim, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil. I've enjoyed watching Mexico, in recent tournaments, and hope this young England team can play without fear.
In fact, let them all play without fear, and hopefully give us a feast of football, like when I was a child in 1982. Zico, Socrates, Eder and Falcao, with the awful Serginio leading the line, but Paula Rossi's Italia, were definitely worthy winners by the end!
60 Posted 13/06/2018 at 20:38:20
One country, 50 independent states. Helps me make sense of it.
The whole Engerland dynamic absolutely floored me when I learned of the feeling towards the English national team in some quarters on TW in 2014.
It never once crossed my mind that you could care less about your national team. I'd give body parts for the USA to win the World Cup while I'm on the right side of the grass.
I still have a very difficult time understanding it to be honest. Despite all the similarities the cousin-countries have, there's cultural differences to be sure.
In fact, off topic, I understand it's a bit of a "rip" to ask someone to dinner over there? What is that?? If you ask someone here to come over for dinner, you enjoy them and would enjoy hosting a meal and your guest's company. Over there it's like a "I'm busy, don't bother me" thing if you say, "you should come over for dinner." ?? Is that correct?
Someone enlighten me. I come to these pages to learn a thing or two. How does that add up and make sense?
61 Posted 13/06/2018 at 21:06:09
I remember when I lived in New Zealand, lovely place, lovely people, but once everyone had met, they all used to go to someone's house, rather than stay out to enjoy themselves.
I couldn't get my head round it, Jamie, just like I couldn't get my head round one of my American cousins, who would let people buy his ale all night, but would never take a cigarette off anyone because he said that made him feel like a bum!
62 Posted 13/06/2018 at 21:26:54
63 Posted 13/06/2018 at 21:32:52
Jay, I enjoyed your posts on what the World Cup means to Brazil.
64 Posted 13/06/2018 at 21:49:43
Anyway it was a great day and the pubs were packed with a great atmosphere everywhere you went. We were involved with a large group of young Irish people even though we didn't know any of them, but made very welcome.
One of the lads asked me and my wife what part of Ireland we came from, after we had been talking and singing with them for a couple of hours. I said Liverpool and left it that, don't think he was any the wiser.!!!!!!!!
65 Posted 13/06/2018 at 21:57:11
But being accused of being a potential thief by a stranger, sure one who thinks he's being "funny", is something that makes us a bit defensive. Other jibes are usually associated with poverty.
It creates something of a detachment from the rest of the country. That, our unique accents, and some other characteristics. Liverpool is also the ONLY Catholic City in the UK (no, Belfast and Glasgow have a minority of Catholics) and so we have a different religion to rest of the country. So there's a major indifference that occurs to England.
People of Liverpool are fiercely patriotic towards the city though. Take the boxing, Tony Bellew was massively supported by Red and Blue, despite being a proud blue himself. If someone from Liverpool is competing at something other than football, then they can count on the city being behind them.
John @57, as stated above, I am not really an England fan. Last time, we had a load of Liverpudlians (Baines, Barkley, Rooney, Gerrard) and I think there was other Evertonians (Jagielka), so I was very much behind England. This time, we have just Pickford, so it's not exactly pulling me in.
One thing that really annoys me about England fans, actually at the games, is the songs they sing, and this whole England identity. I don't and can't associate with it at all. England doesn't have a national anthem, but we use Britain's. I hate it, if there is a God, I certainly wouldn't want him to save the Queen, so I'd never sing it. I think I'd exercise my right to play for Ireland just to get away from it.
66 Posted 13/06/2018 at 22:59:05
Gaelic Park is in the far-North Bronx. Still there and open. From a child to my young teen years, it's where my dad would take us to watch the Irish games; Irish football and hurling. It was a place where only my dad and us kids spoke English with an American accent.
Everyone one, included my dad, still called it by its old name, Croke Park. Clearly in reference to the original.
No point to all this. Just reading "Croke Park" brought back those memories. And in the spirit of 1,500 Irish and unlimited alcohol in one place, I received my first busted-bleeding-sutured, battle scars at Gaelic Park up in the Bronx.
68 Posted 13/06/2018 at 23:05:53
That song was 'Give it a lash Jack' written for the Italia 90 expedition. Thanks for reminding me Dave, just listened to it again now, a good laugh. Link
Last Tuesday was the 30th anniversary of Ireland's first match at a major championship and folksinger Christy Moore wrote a song called Joxer goes to Stuttgart. I'm sure it was given an airing at your session Dave. Well worth a listen. Link
69 Posted 13/06/2018 at 23:11:55
I've always planned to cycle around Ireland, particularly around Cork and Kerry, it looks great cycling around there.
70 Posted 13/06/2018 at 23:15:13
In a similar way I was lucky to be brought up in Marino, a 15 min walk from Croke Park and my Dad brought me to all the games as a youngster. He had a couple of blocks of wood in a brown paper bag for me to stand on.
Great times. Great memories. We owe our Dads so much.
71 Posted 13/06/2018 at 23:29:09
Coincidentally, my grandfather was a champion Irish Cyclist, won the English Open 5 Mile in Bristol in 1935 and he told me in the early 60s that Everton were the Irish team, so here we are. If you get the weather, the countryside in West Cork and Kerry is unbelievable.
72 Posted 14/06/2018 at 04:04:08
Someday I'll take you up on your dinner offer.
You mention, "Everton were the Irish team". When I was going over all the teams in the Premier League 10 years ago, that was one of the major reasons I "chose" Everton. That and the city of Liverpool having such a large Irish immigrant population. Plus a hell of a lot of other reasons I won't bore you with.
But, then again, I did not choose â€“ I was chosen. Deigned by God this decision to be Blue.
Steve @ 65,
I greatly appreciate your reply. Helps me understand. Thank you sir.
73 Posted 14/06/2018 at 15:15:52
First time watching Irish football, even little me knew something was different. Asking my dad about it, he got this little smile and said, "They don't allow the English game here."
Not his preference, because he loved soccer. Had to wait for Winter time to go there and watch footy. But during the Summer season, it was forbidden.
And between games, marching bands of drums and bagpipes! Great times for a boy out with his dad.
74 Posted 14/06/2018 at 16:13:12
Lively start too. Love the way the Saudi's are playing.
75 Posted 14/06/2018 at 16:14:09
76 Posted 14/06/2018 at 16:32:45
Liverpool is also the ONLY Catholic City in the UK.
Is it compulsory, do I ask my parents to relocate ?
Wasn't common knowledge to me when growing up there either,
Doesn't bother me either way as the last time I went to church that didn't involve wedding or funeral was in the 70's
77 Posted 14/06/2018 at 16:39:53
78 Posted 14/06/2018 at 16:56:36
Well, it can only get better from here!
79 Posted 14/06/2018 at 17:06:28
We then went down to Wexford by Dart (train) and stayed in a boarding house owned by a real Irish character, made me and my wife laugh and cooked a lovely Irish full breakfast ( and I mean full) the boarding house was close to two churches built exactly the same, coming out of mass on the Sunday morning every person I passed wished me a " good morning " I felt like a celebrity until I realised it was just the Irish way.
If I ever go back Frank I'll let you know, I enjoyed Ireland a lot, the country and the people, mind you if you are from Liverpool you are halfway Irish to begin with.
80 Posted 14/06/2018 at 17:24:14
I agree with most of what you said there. Left home in '83 and the jokes about hubcaps etc still occur now. So I got your drift mate.
81 Posted 14/06/2018 at 17:24:24
82 Posted 14/06/2018 at 17:55:01
83 Posted 14/06/2018 at 18:28:54
The sprayed on hair & beard look? Not too dissimilar! :D
Let's hope for better execution of chances on Tosun's part, though!
84 Posted 14/06/2018 at 19:29:57
Nevertheless, in recognition of my support for my new team, I have just had a little nibble at 9/1 for them to beat the boys from Brazil.
Warraya mean, I've just thrown my money away???
85 Posted 14/06/2018 at 22:27:52
Everyone notes Brazil have gone something like 20 games under Tite in 2 years with (off the top of my head) 17 wins, a couple of draws and a single 1-0 defeat (a meaningless exhibition game against Argentina in Australia last summer, with both sides missing their big names).
Switzerland's record in the same time is almost identical â€“ a single defeat. And a good few have not noticed that of all the group games, this clash is the highest ranked meeting of all 48 group matches: Brazil 2nd in FIFA rankings, Switzerland 6th.
Remember also they had a decent World Cup in Brazil, only losing out to eventual finalists Argentina with a last-minute goal at the end of extra time in the quarterfinals.
The squad is pretty much the same, so battle-hardened for the rigours of the World Cup. They have a mean defence, big mobile units all over the park and a touch of magic dust in their forwards.
The Brazilian manager, Tite, has stressed a lot that if his team is not focussed, they could lose their opening game to the Swiss on Sunday.
86 Posted 14/06/2018 at 22:36:08
Go all the way back to after the last World Cup. They've not had a big result other than Portugal and a friendly draw against Spain. If I remember correctly, Portugal had a man sent off in that game too. Maybe, Switzerland are pretty good. The reality is they've not been tested much for 4 years, and when they have they've been beaten. I think they can get out the group, but they're unlikely to get past the round of 16. In a one-on-one game, anything is possible, but the Swiss are unlikely to attack enough to get the win, a draw is the best they'll hope for.
Edit: no it was the Swiss who had 10 men, Xhaka got sent off at the death.
87 Posted 14/06/2018 at 22:58:29
Switzerland swamped Portugal at home, and Portugal played their best game of the qualifiers in the final game to overrun the Swiss. Best not talk about the play-off games with Northern Ireland, or Andy Crooks might spontaneously combust.
What the Swiss will be is extremely disciplined and well organized. The two times I have seen Brazil 'negated' under Tite was vs England at Wembley and the recent first half vs Croatia in our fair city.
Not saying they will go all the way, but they have enough about them to take advantage of any side who aren't fully on their game.
Tite is fully aware of this threat. If how Brazil lined up in training today is any indicator, he is going to play it bold, with Neymar, Jesus, Willian and Coutinho all starting (he usually plays one or other of the latter two, but seldom both together), and going with Casimiro and Paulinho in midfield, and dropping Fernandinho for one of Willian or Coutinho.
88 Posted 14/06/2018 at 23:07:50
If the Swiss do get beaten easily, perhaps that could be an indicator of how the Brazilians will be able to overcome any European suffocation tactics.
Who do you reckon is in the best shape from Europe? Belgium have all the problems you associate with Belgium and they're doubled by all the problems you associate with Martinez. France have a big problem called Deschamps (he still doesn't know his formation, never mind his XI), Germany look like they're much weaker judging by recent results, Spain just sacked the manager and that'll have an impact, Portugal weren't the best side 2 years ago, and Cristiano Ronaldo Aveiro shouldn't be able to carry them the way he did two years ago. I don't think any of the Europeans are in top shape, though I thought Spain were getting there until they went and committed suicide!
Surely, this is a tournament for your adopted country to finally win on European soil (for the first time since '58)?
89 Posted 14/06/2018 at 23:37:06
There doesn't appear to be an outstanding European side for the reasons you stated, but Belgium has an embarrassment of riches and if it clicks, they may prove the best flag bearers for Europe.
Unless Messi has an outstanding tournament, I just don't see Argentina progressing beyond the quarters at best. Germany just look off-key, but... it IS Germany! You just know they will have a good tournament. Portugal lucked out to be crowned European Champions 2 years ago. Spain are more potent for me of the Iberian sides, but the removal of the manager on the eve of the World Cup has got to have some detrimental effect on their preparations.
As for England, I'm guessing they are using Russia as a testing ground to expose this young squad to tournament environment at the highest level ahead of giving it a crack in 4 years time.
With the successes of the junior England sides in recent years, there does seem to be a development and progress plan in place for England's better players which offers encouragement for the future.
90 Posted 15/06/2018 at 00:28:13
The question will always be for players like this: Can he do it in Premier League?
91 Posted 15/06/2018 at 05:08:57
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