In the first game of the day at 3pm, Uruguay meet one of the strongest-looking sides in the tournament so far in the form of France in Nizhny Novgorod.
Later, at 7pm in Kazan, a Brazil side that has looked stronger and more dangerous as the World Cup Finals have progressed takes on Roberto Martinez's Belgium who showed their resilience in overturning a 2-0 deficit against Japan to win 3-2 in stoppage time in the Round of 16.
Reader Comments (97)
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1 Posted 05/07/2018 at 19:45:56
2 Posted 06/07/2018 at 15:02:32
It is the way that referees handle the incidents too, some seem oblivious, and appear to condone the 'cheating', possibly by not being aware, of who is conning who.
It is something, imo, that needs addressing, because there is possibly so much at stake: 3 points, relegation or promotion, the end of a Cup run, etc.
Sorry to go on, mate, but it is a subject that really grinds my gears.
3 Posted 06/07/2018 at 15:28:32
Oh for the days of Johnny Morrisey, Kendall, Labone, Lyons etc. Gave stick, took stick, and never cheated. The 'rolling about' players always makes me think about how they explain it to their kids; most men would be ashamed to act like that.
4 Posted 06/07/2018 at 16:02:41
Very good header for the France goal to time it perfectly to run across the Uruguay defender.
Top draw save from Lloris to deny Uruguary the equaliser.
Good referee this, the Argentinian. Seen a lot of him in the Libertadores and Copa Sudamericano — the South American Champions League and Europa League equivalents.
5 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:09:11
6 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:21:47
What the frig was Mbappe playing at, going down like he did to provoke the melee? Shithousery indeed, Ray.
Carvani, not surprisingly, proved a huge miss.
And for all their star names – Griesman, Pogba, Mpabbe – is there a more key and important player in the French team (or any team at this World Cup, for that matter...) than the diminutive Kante? He is class personified.
And to think our own Gueye was a near-as-damn-it lookalike of Kante when he first arrived 2 years ago. If Silva can get Gana playing like that again, that would be one helluva bonus.
7 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:32:09
I think France have a good chance of winning this World Cup; they would have a much better chance if Pogba added the other 25% he is holding back – he didn't have a bad game but never gives his all.
8 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:36:58
The referee lost all control of the game. Hopeless.
9 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:44:43
Jay, you were being hopelessly optimistic claiming they were still in it. Their care of their ball was abysmal. Yes, Lloris pulled off a brilliant save to keep them out, but that was such a rarity.
I was loving Mbappe but that nonsense has flipped me. I guess the VAR was in the ref's ear to give him the booking but if ever there was a case for retrospective action to stamp out this attrocious playacting... I know, I know — it's never going to happen to Fifa's star players.
10 Posted 06/07/2018 at 18:04:32
No shots on target according to the stats. France were not much better, to be fair. Quickly forgotten this one.
11 Posted 06/07/2018 at 18:44:16
Michael when it is only 1-0 a team is never out of it.
I enjoyed the game for its contrasting tactics and styles. No surprise France went through given the relative strength of the 2 squads.
No team as yet has shown themselves to be the Champions in waiting.
Will Brazil or Belgium show themselves to be that team in the next couple of hours?
12 Posted 06/07/2018 at 18:46:47
13 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:01:54
Looking forward to it.
14 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:20:31
Could we not pay him monthly until he got reemployed and negotiate a termination payoff?
15 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:28:43
I really hope Brazil get smashed here. Always liked Brazil as a kid. Beautiful football has now been replaced with diving and cheating. Cant stand watching them. I hope they lose.
16 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:32:41
17 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:52:58
18 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:53:50
But a very nice game that I initially thought I'd just miss, until I thought about it again... Attack vs attack...
19 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:56:10
20 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:03:22
That is just why we did so well in Martinez's first season! He inherited a squad trained defensively by Moyes.
But when he was appointed Belgium Coach, I eventually realized he could do that very well, since he only had to organize already trained defenders.
21 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:03:27
Marcelo and Neymar are clearly not 100% fit. The guile and speed of their game is lacking. Without it, Brazil cannot get beyond the solid Belgian defensive wall. They can barely get beyond the Red Devils midfield.
Unless there is a Lazarus-like revival in the 2nd half, this could get embarrassing for Brazil. Not 7-1 embarrassing, but in the 3-4 goal ballpark.
Could this be a year in which two teams who faced each other in the group stage both made it to the final...?
22 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:09:21
Most of us want Brazil to play 1970 and 1982 Brazil flowing footy but it looks like those days are gone forever and they play no different to anyone else.
23 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:09:47
24 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:13:46
25 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:57:19
WHAT. A. GAME!
26 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:02:20
27 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:02:24
28 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:02:51
29 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:04:39
30 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:06:31
Neymar has almost done a Rivaldo in this World Cup. Champion cheat.
31 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:08:02
Hes so far suffered a relegation at a small club in a town where football comes second to rugby (Wigan) but won against the odds the FA Cup which will forever rank as that clubs greatest moment in its history.
He scored a record Premier League points total and record Premier League 21 victories in one league season at Everton, where two relatively poor frustrating seasons followed.
Hes now coming of age as a manager and learning from past mistakes and will continue over the next five years to learn more and probably develop into an even finer manager.
Only time will tell with Marco Silva (another young manager starting out) but just maybe we were too brutal with a manager in Roberto Martinez who was a victim of his own high standards in that first year at Everton.
32 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:11:41
If England don't win the bloody thing, I hope the Belgians do.
33 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:13:44
You might be right about Roberto's age and he may learn from his past mistakes – but he got away with one tonight. If Brazil had had had their shooting boots on, they may have at the very least have forced a draw. I can't envisage Martinez ever managing a club side that wins the title in one of the top five European leagues. I can't crtiticize or praise Silva yet as he hasn't sent an Everton side into battle yet.
34 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:13:53
35 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:14:44
Universal interest in international tournaments ends here the second Brazil's elimination is confirmed. You are a winner or nowt in Brazilian football culture.
I feared for Brazil in the 2nd half but, to their credit, they gave it a right go. On the balance of play, they probably merited an equaliser.
VAR has gone quiet in these knockout games, but it is beyond me how they could look at the Kompany - Jesus incident and not call for a penalty, or at worst advise the infield ref to look at it.
This World Cup just keeps giving and giving.
36 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:17:14
Belgium were awesome in that first half. Fair play to Roberto. He changed it against Japan and was tactically astute today. I was interested to see Rom somewhat frostily shaking Roberto's hand when he was subbed. I still don't like Rom and his ego.
37 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:19:02
38 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:21:01
The point I want to make is that, as many said on here, we sold two magnificent players; Stones and Lukaku, for fees that Daniel Levy would piss himself at.
This is not hindsight, because the deals were lamented by many on here. Just confirmation that the custodians of our club who were responsible, only demonstrated, once more, that their incompetence is unmeasurable and jaw-dropping.
39 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:22:26
40 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:23:23
41 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:25:40
Neymar had his eyeball touched but again VAR said no; another possible penalty at the end of the first half wasn't even looked at. Brazil, not the Brazil we like to see, definitely were as good as Belgium on the night, but they are out.
It will be interesting to see the reaction of fans and pundits if England get the VAR treatment that Brazil got tonight.
42 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:27:16
I still think he's a spoofer of the highest order, but that hasn't stopped others being successful in their chosen field, so he could well end up a World Cup winner.
Belgium v France should be a good semi-final.
43 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:27:38
44 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:28:18
45 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:31:29
I keep expecting somebody to tap me on the shoulder and hand me an enormous bill. This level of entertainment can't be free, surely?
46 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:33:43
He's not the worst manager we ever had. Not even close. He's not the best. Not even close. He had a rollercoaster of a tenure, some great times, some infuriating times. He allowed us to dream big and it turned into a nightmare, and some do not want to forgive him for making them believe.
Maybe I'm talking shite, but I cannot understand the vitriol towards a guy who gave it his best, and never disrespected us. No one mentions Walker, the guy who almost took us down. Or how Smith / Johnson gave us 10+ years of austerity. I'd take Roberto Martinez's Everton every day over watching Smith, Moyes, Walker, or Koeman.
47 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:35:37
48 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:35:45
Must have been hard for you to post that.
All credit to you.
49 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:39:58
I can't see France losing any sleep over Belgium.
50 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:46:53
51 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:47:17
Point one – agreed.
Point two, any country would have nightmares about Lukaku, De Bruyne and Hazard. Also about Fellaini on corners.
52 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:21:44
This is not churlish. This has been a magnificent World Cup and I hope England or Belgium win it.
53 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:24:44
54 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:30:06
Billy K!!! And he's still got a big involvement in our transfers.
He'll probably swap Lookman for Ashley Young to do his chums at Old Trafford down the East Lancs Road another big favour.
Lukaku – no surprise; scored a load of goals for Man Utd and laid a few on, and he's been great for Belgium. Fellaini too has played a key role for Belgium too, both tonight, against England, and as a sub against the Japs.
Never mind, in order to bring an old banger back, we let Man Utd have Rom cheap in mid-July last year, 2 years left on contract & World Cup coming up! What a master-stroke by Boys Pen Bill.
55 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:52:15
He has basically inherited a Belgium squad that has matured and come good in this particular year.
The wonderful partnership of Hazard and Lukaku goes a long way to their success but De Bruyne is now one the best playmakers in the World.
However, they dodged a lot of bullets against Brazil but won through and I see them winning the World Cup now.
56 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:52:26
57 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:55:36
Of course, Bobby did bottle his subs as always – no fresh legs until minute 83, and bringing Rom off was ridiculous – but he got the job done.
BBS no longer stands for Bobby Brown Shoes – it's now Bobby Beats Samba. Good for him.
58 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:13:17
59 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:18:10
This all come together with the second goal and the swift counter from a Fellaini headed clearance from a Brazil corner, Lukaku's rocket burst through the middle and perfectly weighted past to De Bruyne and a clinical finish.
There could have been more from similar circumstances.
But credit to Tite and the changes he made. First, withdrawing Willian for Firmino, then Costa for Jesus and Augusto for Paulinho.
Tite and Brazil have been unlucky in that their two nailed on full backs – Dani Alves and Marcelo – were ruled out before the World Cup kicked off in Alves's case with Marcelo injured whilst on duty in Russia.
But for me the key error Tite made was continuing to start with both Coutinho and Willian. In the qualifiers he tended to play one or the other, substituting one in for the other, and played a more solid midfield three of Casimiro, Fernandinho and Paulinho. Other than the last game against Mexico, Willian has been very poor in Russia.
Costa and Augusto helped change the momentum of the game in the 2nd half, but poor finishing denied them the draw and extra time they probably merited.
France v Belgium is going to be a doozy.
Horrible to think there are only six games left in this World Cup. For me it's right up there with one of the very best I've ever seen.
60 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:32:40
The result: acres of space behind Brazil's back line, strung out like someones washing.
Had they iced the game with the counters they had,Brazil would have been sunk by half time.
In part a Tite made adjustments but mostly Belgium's desire to hold what they had gave the impression Brazil could get back into the game. That they almost did was more about Bobby than Tite.
A deserved win for a very talented team. But c'mon — who thought, when Bobby subbed Rom, he'd pressed that self-destruct button?!
61 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:32:55
We've seen that formation before; when we tore Arsenal a new one at Goodison a few years back. Lukaku on the right of a front 3, cutting inside and hiting them on the break.
Still talks positively about Everton and a potential World Cup winning manager...
Hope he does it.
62 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:50:34
How many years has Kompany been in and out of Man City? Roberto gets him at full fitness.
The Peter Principle on full display.
63 Posted 07/07/2018 at 00:25:06
The gig involves the best squad in Europe by a distance, as well as the help of a proven winner in Thierry Henri on the coaching staff. As I've said before, a monkey could manage a squad like that to success.
64 Posted 07/07/2018 at 00:36:39
Now, having the likes of Kompany, Alderweireld, and Vertonghen masks his defensive frailties, and having the likes of Hazard, De Bruyne, and Mertens highlights his strength (he loved players getting into one-on-one situations). It's like the squad was designed for him.
I wouldn't want Martinez back, but he was a million times better than Koeman and Fat Sam, and I liked him as a person (which can't be said for the other two). If England don't make it through, I'll be rooting for Belgium.
65 Posted 07/07/2018 at 00:43:26
I missed the entire first half, relegated to listening on satellite radio. Finally ended a journey north to Savannah, Georgia, only to have thunderstorms move in and knock out Directv.
Enter the Mrs who pulls up the stream on her phone. Directv came back around the 60-minute mark and I watched vintage Bobby Brown Shoes.
Grab a lead, and then let them absolutely pile on the pressure for an equalizer. Didn't happen.
As Colin Glassar says, if England don't win it, I certainly hope Belgium does. Fantastic enjoyment watching Everton-Belgium pull a Groundhog Day and hang on.
England at 10 am here in The States. We're going to the Six Pence English Pub to watch. Hope they book the semis.
What a tournament!
66 Posted 07/07/2018 at 03:56:11
And I say hear! hear! to Steve Ferns @46.
One thing I got to thinking -
Roberto's Belgium today was SO Everton during his tenure. I sat there thinking, "Surely he's fucked up – they'll lose!" But they held on. And I thought, with a big smile, this is exactly why I love and loved Roberto.
No matter what, faults, warts, and all... it was always exciting! Watching the possible train wreck under Roberto is better than watching boring football.
I really hope England win it all. If they don't, as I said previously, I truly hope Belgium win it. It's just wonderful to watch both teams – England and Belgium.
Bobby going for it.
Garreth saying, "Sod that! I'm going with the kids and a team."
Best World Cup ever. Seriously the best ever. Entertaining as anything I've ever seen.
67 Posted 07/07/2018 at 07:10:28
The main difference is the quality at his disposal... I think most ToffeeWebbers would do just as well with those players.
68 Posted 07/07/2018 at 07:27:54
And as Jamie said, it is exciting. I was sat there at a restaurant for a goodbye lunch and couldn't take my eyes away. Whether it was Brazil throwing every man forward or Belgium having three men stuck up top to try to hit them on the break, ya just didn't know what was going to happen. But I can say with certainty that having three men up top instead of just one did limit Brazil's attack.
So well played to Belgium and Martinez. Anyone saying that any Evertonian could have managed them past Brazil is a fool. Now let's hope for England to advance and see where this thing goes.
69 Posted 07/07/2018 at 07:43:12
Brazil's football was great to watch though and Coutinho and Co will be kicking themselves as the should have won in the end, I think.
If England play football and don't retreat into their defensive shell again, then I hope they go all the way but otherwise may the best football playing team win. What a great World Cup.
70 Posted 07/07/2018 at 07:58:32
71 Posted 07/07/2018 at 08:39:53
Secondly, back to the match. Although Belgium dominated the first half with some superb counter-attacking football, Brazil should have scored three in the first 20 minutes alone. Their finishing was shocking. Overall, a sensational game, and it will take a great team to stop Belgium winning the cup. They've been incredibly good and incredibly lucky so far – what a combination.
72 Posted 07/07/2018 at 09:01:29
73 Posted 07/07/2018 at 09:08:50
What was your reaction to the use of VAR? Were Brazil treated fairly?
74 Posted 07/07/2018 at 10:12:36
There were many examples of the "possession at all costs" approach last night as well. On a number of occasions, Belgium had the ball in the final third but passed sideways and backwards all the way back to Courtois who then launched it down-field. Never understood that when we did it at Everton and still don't understand it now.
75 Posted 07/07/2018 at 10:32:05
76 Posted 07/07/2018 at 10:58:49
77 Posted 07/07/2018 at 11:06:31
78 Posted 07/07/2018 at 11:29:52
79 Posted 07/07/2018 at 11:33:50
He is a pig-headed player, and mostly it is about him, so good on Martinez for making the call. Very small margins in games like this though and no doubt if Belgium had gone on and lost then Martinez would have been out of a job and lambasted by all.
80 Posted 07/07/2018 at 11:58:36
It has been a fantastic tournament. England have played their part, although the Swedes are a bogey team.
France v Belgium is going to be Phenomenal, to quote the brown-shoed one.
81 Posted 07/07/2018 at 12:36:58
82 Posted 07/07/2018 at 12:49:05
Martinez was desperate for Everton, the longer he was here the more desperate he got. Some spotted it early, but some took a while to realise it.
What I do recall is he was friendless in his final days at Goodison Park. The clamour to have him removed was universal... it so amusing to see people claim they always knew he was good. He wasn't, he relegated Wigan and nearly ruined us.
I have no axe to grind with Roberto now. Okay, he had nothing to do with making these world class players Belgian, but they still had to be managed last night, they beat a good team, and Martinez deserves credit for it... That's not hard to say at all.
83 Posted 07/07/2018 at 12:56:43
I noticed that, mate. Showing the same petulance he showed with us when the ball sometimes wasn't played within the required 2 cm of his boot!
Some young millionaires are arseholes. Being a very skilled footballer, unfortunately, doesn't automatically come with good manners and a respect for others.
84 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:01:49
The amount of posters now who comment that they'd happily have entertaining football and a couple of cup runs rather than a dull 7th or 8th place – that's what we had with Martinez.
I'm not saying he shouldn't have gone, but we shouldn't put him in the same category as Koeman or Allardyce who couldn't care less about the club.
He made some decent signings, gave some players a chance where previous management wouldn't, and always acted with dignity towards the supporters.
If England don't win, I would like Martinez to.
85 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:28:56
Too much "Everton this, Everton that" here. I'm judging what I saw yesterday and both BBS and Rom were the key factors in Belgium's win. Put your hands up and congratulate them where it's merited. Martinez outmaneuvered Tite and exploited Brazil, Lukaku was vital to that ploy.
If you want a less Bobby-inspired reason, then say Brazil got beat by the first half decent team they've played. That's true; all their performances have shown a vulnerability; to date, the opposition haven't been good enough to exploit it.
South American football has a long time since being a dominant force in World Cups. Only Argentina 2014 & Brazil 2002 have made the final in the last four and current iteration. Their fascination with playing ‘with grit' or ‘balls', I believe is the right term, is killing them as a continent when many of their great players are capable of so much more.
Tite, Tavares & Pekerman are all defensive coaches. They limit their teams' expression, choosing the path more virtuous in their minds because they are small countries, Brazil excepted.
But hey — if Bobby can do it, we all can, right?!
86 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:41:55
That is an urban myth, about Lukaku and Mirallas giggling on the bench in the Wayne Rooney Man Utd - Everton testimonial match on 'hearing' the announcement of Roberto Martinez as Belgium manager.
The announcement was made in game and a few minutes later, by pure coincidence, they showed the image referred to. The conspiracy theorists immediately leapt to the same lazy conclusion you both appear to accept as gospel.
As for Lukaku's presumed 'petulance' and lack of respect towards Martinez on being substituted yesterday, I saw a driven player who wanted to stay on the pitch and was frustrated at being hooked.
It was a World Cup quarter-final against the most successful team in the competition's history. He is a professional sports person performing at his chosen sports very highest level. His intensity and emotions are allowed to run high.
87 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:54:15
Absolutely spot on.
88 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:57:26
If Deschamps wins the final, will he have performed a steering job? Or will he be credited with setting the team up over the tournament to tactically outwit the opposition?
89 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:04:14
90 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:06:20
Martinez was not an appointment I welcomed when Moyes left. During and by the end of his first 'phenomenal' season, I was a convert. He totally embraced the ethos and history of the club in a positive and challenging way.
Having laid such a strong foundation, I expected him to build on it and see Everton evolve as a club and start mixing it with the big boys again. Instead, he stopped doing what he had done so well in his first season and increasingly, Everton became a slow ponderous possession-obsessed team with no cutting edge and a porous defence to boot.
Martinez's positivity in press conferences became a parody of someone living in and reporting on life in a parallel universe far removed from the one we inhabit. The third season was more of the same, but with two very fine runs to the semi-finals of the domestic cups. Only, we lost them both in very 'Martinez-fashion'. He had lost the fan base and the new de facto owner got rid.
Martinez has been manager of Belgium since their meek exit at the Euros 2 years ago. He has lost a single game in that time – his first against Spain. His overall record with Belgium reads:
P 25 W 19 D 5 L 1 F 78 A 22
Belgium had a near perfect World Cup qualifying campaign – 9 wins and a single draw in their 10 games with a goal scoring ratio of 43-6.
Belgium have risen to 3rd in FIFA's rankings under Martinez. He has won all five games at this World Cup, changing his tactics and personnel before and in-game depending on the opposition. It is working.
To claim as some do that a monkey on a lead, or any TWer, could achieve the same with the talent available to Belgium is as delusional as Martinez was in his most 'parallel universe' moments during his shift at Everton.
Roberto Martinez has done and is doing a fine job for Belgium. Why is that so hard for some to acknowledge?
91 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:07:50
92 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:18:31
Just look at the teams.
Is that rocket science?
As a person, quite like the guy. Seems to have some dignity about him.
93 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:54:11
Why no changes, Southgate? I would have slotted Dier in for sure and Rashford or Welbeck instead of Sterling.
94 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:58:35
You can only pick one.
95 Posted 07/07/2018 at 15:09:30
96 Posted 07/07/2018 at 15:13:55
97 Posted 07/07/2018 at 15:54:00
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