Reader Comments (38)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 01/07/2018 at 16:57:16
Hardest game so far to watch — unless you're Russian!

Into extra time... can they keep Spain at bay until penalties?

Jay Wood

2 Posted 01/07/2018 at 16:57:20
Well I don't think we are seeing the likely champion in the Spain-Russia game, do you?
Jeff Armstrong
3 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:32:26
Russia played for pens from 45 minutes on, quality was awful from both teams.
Shane Corcoran
4 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:33:07
Spain didn't really try to win the game. Bizarre approach in 90 minutes in particular.

I mentioned this in another thread; how are fans able to sit next to opposition fans in this tournament but not in club football? Who thought up segregation and why is it used? It's inviting intolerance.

Come on Russia.

Pete Clarke
5 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:35:30
Horrible tactics by both teams really. Spain didn’t use Costa to his strengths and most of Spain’s best moves have come since Iniesta came on.
Wouldn’t want to see Russia play again that’s for sure but it may happen yet !
Jay Wood

6 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:43:37

Spain deserved to lose that.

All praise to Russia for gutsing that out.

Awful game, mind...

Pete Clarke
7 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:46:03
Doors are opening for a new nation to be world champions.
Pete Clarke
8 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:50:26
I wanted Spain to win initially but the more the tossed around in the middle of the park made me turn on them.
Isco and Iniesta were the only ones looking for a pass.
Come on Mexico !
Don’t tell the missus I said that.
Jay Wood

9 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:57:40
In England's half of the draw, that leaves only England as previous winners of the WC.

In the other half you still have France, Uruguay and Brazil.

So if England don't get there, a new name will be in the final and with a great chance of making history.

Raymond Fox
10 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:57:58
Mind numbing shite of a game.
Jay Wood

11 Posted 01/07/2018 at 17:58:39
But great drama at the end, Raymond.
Will Mabon
12 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:03:08
There's certainly plenty of variety, it's getting interesting.
Raymond Fox
13 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:10:50
I'd turned the TV off before the end Jay, I couldn't watch any more.
Pete Clarke
14 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:13:15
It was hard to watch but the end result was what it’s all about. I just hope every underdog wins each match from here on.
Lawrence Green
15 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:18:15
If both Spain and Russia could have been eliminated after that 120 minutes I would have been very happy. Russia because of their mind-numbingly boring tactics plus their inability to pass or control a football, Spain because they were too arrogant to take a chance or two and were more than content to play pointless passes from side to side for most of the match. In the end Russia did have the discipline to get what they set out to get and Spain should take a look at themselves and ask if pointless passing is really the way to win a match when faced with an Iron curtain of a defence.

Pete Clarke
16 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:24:57
The decision to sack the manager just before the start of the WC has come back to haunt them.
That is the type of football Martinez wanted us to play only with crap players.
Darren Hind
17 Posted 01/07/2018 at 18:59:24
Wasn't a classic by any means, but what tension.

I've always viewed Russians and Russia with suspicion and distrust, but, fuck me those fans were easy to recognise.
Fanatical support which had me (a big fan of Spanish football) roaring them over the line.
Football comes in all shapes and sizes and they cant all be classics. but this was high drama

I groaned when I heard they had been awarded the Tournament, but what a festival of football they have delivered so far. Fans from all over the world have been welcomed and have turned this world cup into something very very special

Dave Abrahams
18 Posted 01/07/2018 at 19:18:15
You can keep those games away from me, it's a World Cup isn't, they'll have to invent a new word to describe that sleep in, boring, tedious doesn't come anywhere near that display, mind you I might have missed some exciting moments, I fell asleep five times and that was in the first half.

The World Cup moved up a couple of notches on yesterday's two games; they moved down plenty on that game. I kept looking for Koeman and Allardyce in the dugouts, utter dross.

Brent Stephens
19 Posted 01/07/2018 at 19:24:05
Dave, one big bore. I literally fell asleep part way through. Rollicked my wife for waking me up and saying "you're missing the game".

What time is your normal afternoon nap?!

Peter Mills
20 Posted 01/07/2018 at 19:35:19
As Pete#16 says, Spain were very Martinezesque (what a horrible word), but the last few minutes of extra time and the pens were compulsive viewing.

Possible pen for Spain in the 129th minute - I think the ref quickly weighed up the possibility of being prodded with an umbrella, or having to have his dinner tasted for him, and waved “play-on”.

Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 01/07/2018 at 20:05:22
Brent (19),I fell asleep as often as I said, and I love football, as Peter said (20), the penalty shoot out offered a bit of drama but don't all penalty shoot outs offer that, the second game isn't much better to be honest, maybe they ration entertainment in Russia, just have it on alternate days.
Dermot Byrne
22 Posted 01/07/2018 at 20:21:51
The only thing I am liking (apart from that second Russian pen save) is passion or at least determination are knocking out the so called superstars.

What someone called Martinezesque rings true to me. They are passing it side to side with the arrogance that one moment of their inevitable magic will open the opposition up.

Well not happening and some superstars are on way home.

Stephen Brown
23 Posted 01/07/2018 at 20:23:30
It’s funny on a double page in the Sunday Mirror today it had stories on Martinez, Stones, Lukaku and Fellaini. All about the latter stages of a World Cup!!

With the stories of Rooney being sold too early also this week it really struck home about our lack of status at the top table!

Andrew Clare
24 Posted 01/07/2018 at 20:57:19
Two poor games today. Very disappointed with Croatia. Modric hasn’t featured like he did in their previous matches. Hopefully someone will get a winner in extra time. Yesterday’s games were in a different league to today’s dire stuff.
Brian Williams
25 Posted 01/07/2018 at 21:08:54
Croatia v Denmark. Like watching paint dry.
Darren Hind
26 Posted 01/07/2018 at 21:50:32
After years of watching Zombie football, much of which was excused and even called by some fans. I'll settle for a World Cup full of brilliant goals, fantastic atmospheres, memorable games and high drama.
Brent Stephens
27 Posted 01/07/2018 at 21:53:28
Crap football. Scintillating shoot-out.
Amit Vithlani
29 Posted 01/07/2018 at 22:05:39
It has been a special tournament so far, and the games today may not have been totally entertaining, but let us face it - Russia knocking out Spain was so unexpected it keeps the tournament really interesting.

The second game had an unbelievable start and high drama in extra time, so to some extent it continued the theme of excitement.

Unfortunately everything in between was not as good. I guess it was hard to get on a par with some of the extra ordinary things we have seen in this very enjoyable tournament.

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 01/07/2018 at 22:11:14
Have they changed the rules for goalkeepers at penalties?, they seemed to get an awful lot of licence with their movement, especially the Danish keeper with the one in normal time and then the shootout, he had the gall to complain when Croatia scored one in the shootout, nearly as bad as Dudic doing the Hoki Coki and moving yards off his line when Liverpool won against AC Milan.
Ian Burns
31 Posted 01/07/2018 at 22:18:13
Two desperately awful games today - two fantastic penalty shoot outs!

As Gary Lineker said it is a bonkers world cup creating a fascinating tournament.

I am really looking forward to Brazil vs Mexico - maybe we might get a better Monday than we had Sunday - at least during the match.

Jay Wood

32 Posted 01/07/2018 at 22:51:58
Yup! Spain-Russia was a dreadful game. Denmark-Croatia a little better. Denmark and Croatia seemed to cancel each other out. Both their main men, Modric and Erikson, were very anonymous.

Butttt! What drama in the penalty shoot-outs!

I thought Denmark edged it over the 120 minutes in-game, but in the end I'm glad Croatia won the penalty shootout (even, for England's sake, I would have preferred Denmark to go through) because of the penalty two minutes from the end of extra time.

It was a clear penalty. The guy was clear to tap it into an empty net to win the game for Croatia and he was cynically fouled to deny him the glory. Yes, great save by Schmeichel, but I think justice was done on that point that Croatia prevailed in the penalty shootout.

I know there has been a change in the rules about sending off the last man who commits the foul, but I thought this was an occasion that merited a straight red for the foul, giving the gravity of the situation. Hells Teeth! The forward was clear and BEYOND the keeper and last man. A yellow card for that wasn't enough, although otherwise the Argentinian ref was excellent.

This is turning into a wonderful opportunity for England, IF they can get past the very serious challenge of Colombia. The way England has played, with speed and rapid transition, getting beyond and in behind defences, they would have beaten all four teams today.

I think after Saturday's games today went back to more 'traditional' KO football at this stage of the WC: the prize is so great, teams and individuals don't take chances. The irony is, of course, is that the boldest and bravest will always triumph in these situations.

I'm hoping Southgate and the team can be bold and courageous from here on in.

And even with today's poor in-game fare, this is still an outstanding World Cup.

John G Davies
33 Posted 01/07/2018 at 22:57:08
Brazil or France will win the tournament.
Miles ahead of everyone except Belgium.
Steavey Buckley
34 Posted 01/07/2018 at 23:18:08
Apart from France, who look to have goals in them, there are a lack of good goal scorers from other teams, who have already played in the last 16. Maybe because too many teams have tired players after playing in top European leagues in long and drawn out gruelling seasons. Teams who reach the finals, will have players who have played continuously for nearly 12 months including international matches.
David Barks
35 Posted 01/07/2018 at 23:41:39

Not sure about that one. Uruguay have Suarez and Cavani. Spain had players with goals in them but were stopped by ultra defensive anti-football tactics.

And if you’re limiting it to just the teams that have played SO FAR in the last 16, well then we’re neglecting the teams yet to play. Belgium and England surely have goals in them. Brazil surely have goals in them.

That said, totally agree with the point about players going for 12 months straight. They need to come up with a better plan in World Cup years to get a better break after the leagues. It’s an insane amount of football for the top players to have to play when adding the Champions League, domestic cups, international qualifiers and friendlies.

James Flynn
36 Posted 01/07/2018 at 00:04:26
Steavey (34) - Disconnected, nonsense mumblings.

Go to sleep.

Pete Clarke
37 Posted 02/07/2018 at 00:12:21
Going back to the Uruguay game, that is the best headed goal I have seen for a long time. The speed of that cross would have seen most players pull out of it let alone get it into the net.

It is up there with some cracker goals at this World Cup.

Jamie Crowley
38 Posted 02/07/2018 at 00:31:19
Steavey's point should be well taken.

Some players feel the fatigue. It's a non-stop playing schedule in a World Cup year.

Some, not all of them but some, will be knackered.

Different players need different levels of recuperation. And that will affect the level of play on some level.


Either way it's been an amazing World Cup. It's like Christmas in June and July.

Darren Hind
39 Posted 02/07/2018 at 06:11:28
It's ridiculous to criticise the Russian tactics. Some people have lost all perspective.

This wasn't Sam Allardyce or Ronald Koeman setting up not to lose against teams of equal or lesser ability. Russia are rated about 50 places below Spain in the rankings.

It's as if people have just seen one hell of a giant killing act in the FA Cup and want to complain about the manner in which the minnows achieved it. The Russians don't have a player who would get near the Spanish squad, If they engage them in an open game they get murdered...but here they are, a nation in rapture.

Good football was in short supply yesterday, but football isn't just about the good stuff, it's about tactics, desire, bravery, determination, team work. All of these things are there to be appreciated.

I don't understand how Evertonians could complain about yesterday. This is the most entertainment we've had in years. It was better than anything we saw at the old lady last season. The desire, passion and drama were from another planet..

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