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Posts tagged ‘Russia 2018’

Football did come home

A World Cup Final to bless the best month of football in my lifetime. I felt for Croatia, and my mate out in Moscow, but after three exhausting games their continued chasing of the ball when they were out of possession and their lust to get forward and make chances when they had it was extraordinary. The Croats were admirable finalists.

But the best team should win it, and they did. As in the semi-final, France seem content to sit and counter, and they do it with such pace and effectiveness. This team is young as well, and have many good players on the bench and in reserve. Whilst Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Italy all lick their wounds and plan for the future, France already have the future and a superstar in Kylian Mbappe.

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On the 31st day..

A traditional 3rd Place humdrum affair yesterday. In truth both sides put out strong sides and it was reasonably fast paced, but Belgium are irresistible on the break, and we failed again to make the most of our possession around their penalty box, specifically in the second half.

Oh well.. still, it was a very enjoyable journey and there is plenty of hope for the future with youngsters like Joe Gomez, Ryan Sessegnon, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden amongst others still to come. Loftus-Cheek and Eric Dier were good today, and Trippier, Pickford, Maguire, Stones and Henderson all return home with their stock high. Kane appeared to try too hard after the group games, but it is hard to knock a Golden Boot winner, which he is sure to be. Lukaku got no closer to him yesterday.

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That was tough to swallow last night wasn’t it? In the end the experience and brilliance of Modric and Rakitic, and canniness of Mandzukic was too great for our young lions. If Kane or Lingard had got a second, and Kane should have, then that might have been too much for a tired Croat side to come back from.

There was Trippier’s perfect free kick to get us going, yet Croatia led by Modric, rallied in the 2nd half and started to dominate the midfield, and as we started to lose momentum, Croatia grabbed the initiative and made the kill with just 11 minutes of ET left.

Another way to exit a big tournament game, and I think we will for a while all feel that after over half a century we missed such an opportunity to contest a World Cup Final. Nonetheless like millions of other Englishmen and women this group of young men representing us has made their way into my heart.

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We’re on our way

My brother and I have just got off the phone, we have worked out the visa system and have looked into hotels and flights. Problem is I’m talking about the Final, he is talking about the Semi, and to do that I have to seriously ditch some long planned work stuff this week. We will see.

Today’s game was as I had hoped more straight forward than the Colombia game, and was like watching a Premier League match at times. We always looked better, and should have long put the game to bed, Sterling culpable but he was a constant handful for the Swedish defence.

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It’s coming home

Just to make sure I never dreamt it, I woke and overdosed on video clips of delirious Englishmen and women this morning. It happened didn’t it. It’s coming home.

Our office is shut today, it’s Independence Day somewhere, so bleary eyed I put the TV on, and the American news shows talked that whilst the English lost 242 years ago, we won a World Cup match last night. Sorry, American friends, it is much more than that.

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From Russia with love

This World Cup just keeps on giving, and I’m loving it. Two outstanding games of football yesterday, and whilst today’s 2nd Round matches lacked the same quality, the excitement was palpable as both games went the full distance and were settled by penalties.

The two keepers were unbelievable in the Denmark v Croatia game. After a dramatic start the game lacked quality. The Croats were nowhere near as good as they were in the groups and I felt Denmark had the upper hand as the game meandered into extra time. The competition will be worse off without Kasper Schmeichal’s passion and ability, but it was Subasic that won it for Croatia saving three pens. Modric showed nerves of steel to get back up to the spot to score in the shoot-out after missing a last minute penalty. Anyone know why the final defender wasn’t send off for the foul?

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Auf Weidersehen Pet

Is it safe to come out behind the sofa yet? Is the ref playing until the Germans score three?

How an earth did that happen? The mental fortitude of the Germans finally exploding into a million pieces, that 95th minute Kroos goal against Sweden on Saturday meaning nothing as South Korea gloriously beat the four-times winners 2-0 today to send Joachim Low and his haircut home. That 2nd goal with Manuel Neuer out on the left-wing will cheer me from miserable days for a long, long time.

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Don’t know about you but I’m becoming besotted by this World Cup. So much to see and enjoy, and the noise and the colour in the stadiums brings back for me childhood memories of Mexico ‘86 and Italia ‘90. There’s been goals, not one 0-0 draw in 32 games, a desire to win games and not lose them, drama, excitement, shocks, VAR nonsense, good and bad and bloody England scored five first half goals. In one game.

Yes Panama played like a hungover Sunday league side but they did beat the might of Trumpy and the free world to make it to Russia, and we have hardly breezed by this standard of nation before in competitions.

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Like him or loathe him, Ronaldo was sensational yesterday as the 2018 World Cup burst into life in Sochi after two underwhelming earlier games. It was all there. The petulance, the berating, the dedication, the brilliance. That was Ronaldo’s 51st career hatrick, which I find unfathomable. Ronaldo is one of the best ever, possibly the best. Let’s see how Messi, in a much better team, responds next.

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Do not disturb

The first proper day of the World Cup. The do not disturb sign is hanging around my neck.

As suspected the Bermuda TV coverage is worst than terrible. Not sure where they stole the pictures from, but sounds as if the commentator is doing it from his sofa, and there is no pre or post game punditry and the half-time show consists of crowd scenes interrupted by adverts from local companies who have each thrown in about a hundred bucks to ‘sponsor’ it. Please don’t let me hear you moan about Martin Keown and Glenn Hoddle..

Also, during the game the screen has no score or time on it, which is a very disconcerting and a nightmare if I need a wee. Who knows what the score is and how long is left, doubt if the commentator knows either.

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Russia 2018

Hold tight because football’s coming home on Thursday. Well, not unless your home is a non-ethical racist cesspit. It was seven and a half years ago when those nefarious egomaniacs at FIFA had us all shaking our collective heads over breakfast when they awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia, and then used their top trump to select human rights dinosaurs Qatar for 2022. We’ve been shaking our heads ever since.

We could all boycott it of course, you know a football fan’s every Christmas and birthday rolled into a month, 64 matches to be glued to, but that’s plain silly. Yet it is hard to see the month will pass without any incident.

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