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Topic: 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Lroy

Anyone getting excited for the kick-off of the World Cup? Not long to go now. Same day as Nintendo's E3 coverage I believe?

My build-up has included getting the Panini sticker book for my young son, buying World Soccer magazine's World Cup special issue and I've been playing FIFA 18 and FOOTBALL MANAGER TOUCH 2018.

Really looking forward to the tournament and shall be doing a little sweepstake, be cool to chat about what teams we are supporting and the players and teams who stand out as the tournament unfolds.

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BenGrimm

England for me, hope we do well but probably won’t.

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spizzamarozzi

We didn't even qualify for the World Cup this year, so I'll be watching and supporting whichever team has the player that looks the most like me.

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NaviAndMii

Can't wait!

The World Cup is the reason I fell in love with football, really - I have vague memories of Italia '90 (seeing posters around, my Dad getting annoyed at the TV etc!) ..but USA '94 was the real start of my love affair - the sights, the sounds, the fans, the drama, the upsets - I loved it all!

Of course, I'll be cheering my country (England) on all the way - hope the lads to us proud! ..but I'll be obsessed with the whole tournament!

I usually try to watch as many matches as I can (I'd watch 'em all if I could!) ..seeing Brazil in action is (almost) always a treat - and I've always had a soft-spot for the African/Asian nations (..the progress those confederations have made in the last few decades has helped to turn the World Cup in to a truly competitive tournament on a global scale - it's fantastic to witness!)

I'm a little concerned with England that we may not have much of a 'Plan B' if the main tactic isn't working (no real playmakers, left wingers or target men in the squad) - I'd have preferred to have seen a few 'game changers' on the bench just to have the option of mixing things up a bit...but I'm quietly confident that we might have a nice little ride this summer **fingers crossed!**

It's a real shame that some tournament regulars - like Holland, Italy, USA etc - won't be present...just doesn't feel right (they'll be sadly missed!) ..but I hope that it'll be a cracking tournament - really, really looking forward to it!

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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Peek-a-boo

I’m looking forward to seeing the Netherlands play against Italy.

Hee hee!

I honestly reckon England will get knocked out in the last 16, by going out on penalties (as fate always deems them to do so).

@NaviAndMii Out of curiosity, are you a Tractor Boy?

I was looking at your post in a different thread earlier on, and I was pleasantly surprised to see you using Ipswich Town as your team on Football Manager! I live in Woodbridge, which is about a twenty minutes drive up the road from Ipswich.

Peek-a-boo

NaviAndMii

@Peek-a-boo I am indeed! My brother used to live in Woodbridge (and now lives just up the road in Bredfield) and one of my oldest friends works at one of the local school's there - so I'm very familiar with your town too (..particularly the pubs - very familiar with those! Haha!)

My parents divorced when I was quite young - and my Dad's lived in and around that area (Martlesham Heath) for as long as I can remember...I actually started following Ipswich after seeing on the old football videprinter one day that they'd been beaten 9-0 by Manchester United - felt sorry for them - so have supported them ever since! (true story!) ..had quite a few highs and lows over the years - but we're pretty much settled in the Championship right now (14 or 15 seasons in a row?!) - still, we go again next year!

How about yourself? ..a fellow Tractor Boy?

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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Peek-a-boo

@NaviAndMii Small world!

I was born and raised in Blythburgh (near the pig farm). Our family moved to Saxmundham to go to high school and went to Sixth Form in Woodbridge, and I settled here for good when I met my partner at The British Larder, which is now called The Unruly Pig after their kitchen caught fire in June 2015.

I am a regular at The Cherry Tree (which Addams bought out about seven years ago) and The Kings Head atop Market Hill. I do like Woodbridge ~ the food is good, the local shops are nice and the walk along the river is always pleasant however, there’s an air of upper classism about this place that slightly spoils it...

I know of Martlesham, as I did the Kesgrave 5k Fun Run two years ago. There’s a big green park where they host little community concerts in the summer, am I right? It’s quite odd talking to someone local on here.

Anyhoo, yes, I am a Tractor Boy. I was sad to see Mick McCarthy go, because he did what he could on a shoestring budget, but it was never enough for those men who are aged 50 and above who speak of Ipswich's best years (back in the 70’s) as if it was only yesterday...

Nostalgia should be taken in small doses, I say.

I accepted a couple of years ago that we will always be a midtable Championship club, and I feel slightly sorry for those who see it any other way. We shall struggle next season, no doubt about that, unless you play as Ipswich Town on Football Manager that is!

Well, I am afraid I'll be adding you onto my Switch friends list over the weekend. I hope you do not mind?

Peek-a-boo

NaviAndMii

@Peek-a-boo Oh sure, add away!

Yeah, I know those pubs well! My brother used to live in a little flat above the HSBC and we'd regularly (every other weekend) go on a bit of a pub crawl around town I haven't been down there in a little while, but we used to kind of loop around from The Crown and Cross Keys - up to the market to the Kings Head (and another just around the corner) - then down to The Mariners and that old pub with a selection of traditional bar games, then on to The Anchor near the river - then stagger out to the Cherry Tree (where I once met Charlie from Busted, randomly!) ..then have a wobbly legged walk back in to town! () ..who knows, we may have even drunkenly bumped into each other before! Haha! (Crazy!)

...and yeah, that's Martlesham! That annual concert on the green used to be great - but I seem to remember my Dad saying that they've stopped hosting that event now, unfortunately (..such a shame - used to be the best thing about the village!)

Totally agree with you about Ipswich, too! There seems to be a bit of a footballing cliché that certain clubs (Ipswich, Forest, Leeds etc) somehow 'belong' in the Premier League - but, just because we've had a couple of periods of success in the past, doesn't mean that we have a divine right to be up there! With clubs of this size, the stars can align and you can punch above your weight for a few years - like we did under George Burley a while back...but I think that Mick was doing a good job - last season wasn't great, but he bought in a couple of strikers, a couple of decent loanee's, blooded a few youngsters and things seemed to be moving in a better direction this year (even finished above Norwich for the first time in years!) - the stars didn't quite align for a promotion push, but I felt it was quite an encouraging season really...ugh! (Ah well! )

Still, looking forward to the World Cup - not expecting much, but my heart is filled with hope nonetheless! ..may the best team win!

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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FragRed

Personally I much prefer Rugby but I will support the England team, assuming they make it out the group stages.

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gcunit

@Peek-a-boo @NaviAndMii My first ever football shirt, having been asking for one for years, was the ITFC home shirt from the 9-0 season when Town amassed a paltry amount of points and went down. Always kinda hated that shirt and considered it cursed (Town always seemed to lose when I wore it) because of that season, although I quite liked the look of it at the time (and still have it... perhaps it needs to burn to lift Town out of the duldrums).

I barely follow Town anymore though. I don't mind admitting to being a fair weather fan. I've been to Portman Road a few times over the past 10 years, and other than one match, the games have been so uninspiring. I try to stay positive regardless, but there are so many moaners in the crowd that I come away resenting having paid money to listen to the moaners while watching grass grow.

As for England, I gave up caring towards the end of Sven's reign I think. Tournament performances since then have been laughably bad, and when your talisman is a player as ineffective as Wayne Rooney (as good as he was as a kid) it's hard to get excited about any of it. All sense of patriotism in me is long dead anyway.

But I still look forward to a World Cup regardless. For moments like that first South African goal in 2010. Moments like that still get me jumping out of my seat.

Edited on by gcunit

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Peek-a-boo

@NaviAndMii For some unknown reason, the notifications stopped working on my end this past week, hence the belated reply.

I once ate at The Crown and thought it was grossly overpriced for what you are served up; seems to be more of a ‘meet and drink’ place than a restaurant nowadays.

As for The Cross, it is something completely different now. I even walked pass it the other day! Think it is called East Coast-something and is a chic looking pub/diner.

Ipswich Town are seemingly no closer to finding themselves a new manager. I am struggling to see who would take the reigns ~ I don’t want Pardew anywhere near our club though, that’s for sure!

@gcunit It was you all along! I knew someone was to blame for that bad season, hee hee...

That’s an Ipswich Town home game in a nutshell! Uninspiring is one of the many, many words I have used to describe their on pitch performance over the years. I will say that Ipswich seem to be more up for it against the ‘bigger’ clubs, whereas they drop points when they play regulation fodder teams.

As for England, the ‘Golden Generation’ in 2002 with Sven is the last time I felt really excited about England and their chances at the World Cup. You had a in-his-prime Beckham with a trio of defenders at their peak - Campbell, Cole and Ferdinand - and a Michael Owen that terrorised defenders all over the world.

I just stopped caring after that. I will still watch the England matches in a couple of weeks time however, my expectations of how deep into the tournament they shall venture are as low as they can possibly go.

On another subject altogether, seeing as Liverpool are my second favourite side, it was so disheartening to watch Salah go off injured after a Judo-esque takedown from Ramos.

They were easily the best team before he walked off in tears, and both of those Karius howlers practically gifted wrapped Real Madrid their third Champions League trophy on the trot.

Cracking goal by Bale though! Even Ronaldo was in disbelief!

Peek-a-boo

OorWullie

Who do you fancy to lift the World Cup and who is your dark horse?

There hasn't been any international side really standing out for me. Brazil have been in good form for the last year or 2 and will be looking to make up for the embarrassment of 4 years ago when they didn't even deserve to make the semis .They scraped past Chile in the last 16 with some dodgy refereeing helping them make it to a penalty shoot out where Chile bottled it. They looked far from convincing against Colombia in the quarters as well. I knew they were going to get found out against Germany ,just not 7v1 found out. They were an absolute bag of nerves at their own World Cup ,which is kind of understandable though considering who they are and all the strife going on in the country at the time. I think they'll be much improved in Russia but I can't see them winning the cup.Only once has a non-European side lifted the cup on European soil,Brazil beating the hosts Sweden in 1958.

My dad would always say ,"never rule out the Italians" but this time we safely can. Of course never rule out the Germans either. They've looked far from convincing for a while but yep,it's the Germans. Spain I think,after their run of success will return to being the side that lets themselves down at major tournaments. Don't know why but I just don't fancy them at all,despite their dominance at club level. France are definitely in with a shout but again ,I just don't fancy them.

England are England and this World Cup is without doubt the worst side they've taken to a tournament.For once I haven't read any pundit or hack talking up their chances of winning the cup although there's still time. They never got their big win over a top nation in a pre-tournament friendly that never fails to fool the media into thinking they can win it. This time they're going in not expected to do much which could actually help them greatly. A win and good performance over Belgium in the group stage though and the words "England can win this" shall be heard.

So for my tips I'm going to say 3 teams ,Germany ,Argentina and Belgium.

Germany - It's the Germans,nuff said.

Argentina - With Sampaoli managing them I really fancy them this time,despite their struggles in qualification. He's a cracking manager and his Chile side were superb the last few years,winning 2 Copa America's. Now he's in charge of his own nation and it being Messi's (expected) final World Cup I think they're going to impress.

Belgium - With the players at their disposal I don't think they can be called a dark horse anymore. They have yet to really prove they deserve to be one of the favourites though. Perhaps like with England's Golden Generation they never will fulfill their potential but I'm not sure ,with the form of De Bruyne and recent form of Hazard if they click they will take some beating. They are so strong all over the pitch,they remind me of France 98/2000. They kind of lack a leader in the middle though so Martinez not taking Nainggolan from Roma seems like a crazy decision , especially after the season he's had. I'm not a fan of Martinez as a manager but I think his style might just be suited to international tournament football. Crazy ,wide open gung ho football that always looks vulnerable at the back. But again with the players at their disposal,they could well get away with it. I've been talking up Belgium winning something for over 12 years now. Ever since I seen this programme on TV about their youth academy and changes they had made to their whole structure to ensure they produced better players in the future. Hazard ,De Bruyne, Lukaku ,Witsel etc were all in there as little kids. The 2016 Euros was the tournament I thought they would do it and if Wales hadn't knocked them out perhaps they would have. Portugal won it after all. Still,they never really looked convincing. They had a poor manager in charge of arguably the strongest squad of players in international football.

For my dark horses I'm not really sure,it would have been Chile but they never made it.Colombia perhaps but I don't know enough about them,they did have a good qualifying campaign Egypt could do well if Salah plays but after last night it's not looking promising from what I've read. They dominate the African Nations but aren't as strong in WC qualifying normally.

I know who who I'll be supporting though.Plucky little Iceland .Unless they're playing your side surely anyone with an interest in the World Cup will hope to see them do well. It's incredible what they've achieved and they've proved that they are no one cup wonder. They are there because they deserve to be. They won a group featuring Croatia ,Turkey and Ukraine,winning away in Turkey 3v0. In the Euro 16 qualifying they finished ahead of Netherlands and again Turkey. They're a good side,they play as a proper team and their manager is a part time dentist. It might not be easy on the eye at times but they can get away with playing that way. Their population is 335,000,15k less than the county of my birth ,Fife which is just hilarious. Other than the outstanding Jim Baxter no footballer of note has come from there. So aye,Iceland are the side I'll be getting behind. If they can make it out of a group with Argentina ,Croatia and Nigeria it will be a huge achievement.

Edited on by OorWullie

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Krull

Sweden, England and Ireland are my teams. Ireland lost in the playoffs, England have maybe the worst squad I've ever seen them take to a tournament, and Sweden, well, Sweden put out Italy. TBH, can't really ask for more than that - qualifying felt like winning the World Cup.

Quite nice going into a tournament with absolutely zero expectations. Not sure either of my teams will get out of their groups, although even this England probably ought to. Just going to enjoy the ride.

Brazil are looking very strong; Germany are Germany; France's squad is flipping ridiculous, and they've probably even left better players at home than most teams have in their starting elevens; Belgium have more good players from the Premier League than England do; Argentina are as gloriously dysfunctional as in the Maradona era, but have an even better player now...

I'd love to see some leftfield teams go on a run, like in 94 (Sweden and Bulgaria in the semis!), but I'm not sure where it would come from. Egypt are kind of everyone's favourite tip for a bolter, but I'll go even further afield and say South Korea. Always good to watch, and with Son Heung-min they've actually got some real cutting edge too.

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OorWullie

@Krull As a Scotsman it annoys me how Sweden are always so successful in getting to World Cups.Not only do they nearly always qualify,they've even made it to a World Cup final as well as a semi/3rd place,incredible. Our own FA and League bosses are so inept at making the most of our resources. We are a small nation who for decades punched above our weight when it came to producing players who were success at club level but then flopped at international level.At least then we made it to the tournaments though. Now we don't qualify nor produce players. Yet nothing changes ,those they run the game think by changing the name of our league system to copy the English and allowing a junior/amateur access into the league pyramid will somehow fix things. We're a country who produced players like Dalglish,Souness,Law,Bremner, Johnstone and Baxter. Now other than Robertson at Liverpool and Tierney at Celtic we have no one who really stands out. Mctominlay maybe,time will tell. None of them are match winners though,like the legendary King Henrik Larsson or Zlatan,players who make the difference. Even without those ,Sweden still qualify. As I said ,it annoys me

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Krull

@OorWullie Here's a weird theory, but I reckon there's too much money in the Scottish leagues - or certainly at the very top. I know neither Celtic and certainly not Rangers are where they were in a European context, but they still represent a genuine top level and solid pay.

In Sweden, pretty much without exception, any player with talent has left the domestic league by the time they're 23/24, and often much earlier. Consequently every Swedish squad is made up of well-travelled players with experience of multiple European leagues, styles of play and conditions. I think that has to count for something. I don't think it has anything to do with the coaching of kids or an exceptional level of native talent (Zlatan aside, who is a freak in the best possible way).

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NaviAndMii

OorWullie wrote:

I know who who I'll be supporting though.Plucky little Iceland .Unless they're playing your side surely anyone with an interest in the World Cup will hope to see them do well. It's incredible what they've achieved and they've proved that they are no one cup wonder. They are there because they deserve to be. They won a group featuring Croatia ,Turkey and Ukraine,winning away in Turkey 3v0. In the Euro 16 qualifying they finished ahead of Netherlands and again Turkey. They're a good side,they play as a proper team and their manager is a part time dentist. It might not be easy on the eye at times but they can get away with playing that way. Their population is 335,000,15k less than the county of my birth ,Fife which is just hilarious. Other than the outstanding Jim Baxter no footballer of note has come from there. So aye,Iceland are the side I'll be getting behind. If they can make it out of a group with Argentina ,Croatia and Nigeria it will be a huge achievement.

Yeah, Group D is certainly shaping up to be this World Cup's 'Group of Death'...as an Englishman, I need no reminding of what Iceland can do (!) - Croatia are formidable (and in my eyes, with Luca Modric, have the best midfielder in the world at their disposal) - Argentina don't seem to play well together but, in Lionel Messi, have the ultimate 'Get out of jail free' card - and Nigeria have a pretty tasty looking team too (and an even tastier looking kit, below! )

Untitled

...you could make a case for any combination of teams getting out/dropping out of that group, really - having them all drawn together is a salivating prospect!

Like you though, I'm picking South Korea as my 'dark horses' - they always turn up with a hard-working, disciplined and well-drilled side, playing their now-familiar brand of productive (and attractive) football - and more-often-than-not seem to get the very-maximum out of their players - this time around though, with the likes of Son Heung-min and 'the Korean Messi' Lee Seung-woo (below) at their disposal, they have some real difference-makers in their squad, which they've perhaps lacked in the past

Untitled

...they're another side that find themselves in a tough looking group (with Sweden, Mexico and **gulp** Germany!) - but if they can get themselves out of it, I could see them going far!

I also suspect that some of the CONCACAF countries could do some damage at the tournament...as much of a shock that World Cup regulars, USA, failing to qualify was - the teams that out-qualified them in that process certainly earned my respect - wouldn't surprise me at all if they cause a few shocks along the way!

Not long now - can't wait!


@Peek-a-boo @gcunit Ahhh...if only it were as simple as a 'cursed shirt' - haha! With so few candidates seemingly interested, I'm starting to think that I'd have a more-than-decent chance of getting the Ipswich job with my Football Manager C.V.!

Still feeling pretty shell-shocked off the back of the Champions League final - the injury to Salah, the Bale stunner and (unfortunately for him) the Karius mistakes will certainly live long in the memory - just a jaw-dropping match...and with Ronaldo and Bale both hinting post-match that they could be leaving Real this summer, it sets up the transfer window merry-go-round beautifully! ..AND there's the small matter of a World Cup too - exciting times!

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Lroy

Anyone fancy a score predictions game for fun? Say 3 points for a 100% correct score, 1 point for the correct outcome but not the correct score? e.g. Team X wins but by a different scoreline, or Team X and Team Y draw but by different amount of goals than you predicted.

Any other suggestions of rules? Best to keep it as simple as possible. Perhaps keep all predictions to the end of 90mins even for knockout rounds. Can always add bonus point for correctly adding in brackets any predictions for extra-time/pens.

Anyway, let me know if we have numbers to do this. Opening game between RUSSIA and SAUDI ARABIA is June 14th. So we'd need to get things organised and ready to go by then. The the games come thick and fast, so we'd need to post our predictions for each day's fixtures before they kick-off.

@agent721 @NaviandMii @Oorwullie @Fafounet and co ?

Edited on by Lroy

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Lroy

Anyone had any luck getting a big wall chart? Despite not subscribing to any newspapers in decades I usually have one by now for the big tournaments. They usually have the time and channel of each match too.

Anyway, not seen one in the wild yet. Anyone recommend which paper has a decent one? Imagine this weekend will be the last chance I get to grab one.

Edited on by Lroy

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OorWullie

@Lroy I've just made a World Cup predictor game for us. Me and my mates used something last WC and for the Euros and it was great. It's a mini league format and you get awarded points for correct scores/ results.

I've never used this one but it seems ok.

Take a look and see if it lets you join you from this link

https://www.superbru.com/worldcup_predictor/pool.php?p=11860487

Just checked out the site and it looks really good. There's even an app for it which I've just downloaded and it's great. Thai could be a lot of fun if a few of us join it.

Edited on by OorWullie

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Lroy

OorWullie wrote:

@Lroy I've just made a World Cup predictor game for us. Me and my mates used something last WC and for the Euros and it was great. It's a mini league format and you get awarded points for correct scores/ results.

I've never used this one but it seems ok.

Take a look and see if it lets you join you from this link

https://www.superbru.com/worldcup_predictor/pool.php?p=11860487

Excellent. Takes the hard work off us managing/keeping track of the predictions.

I've managed to click the link and sign-up. Also made my first prediction for the opening match 👌

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