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This Argentina side is dreadfull isn't it, they'e even brought Messi down to there level it seems.

Going in I had them finishing behind Croatia and going out to France in the 2nd round but even that prediction is looking bold now.

An Iceland win tomorrow would really leave the Argies on the brink and needing favours and a big win in the final game to progress 

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Today was a huge improvement on yesterday. Denmark VS Australia (from what I saw when I caught the last half hour or so) was end-to-end excitement and the Eriksen goal was a thing of beauty. France VS Peru was ok, but Croatia VS Argentina was a worthy main event.

What a shower of shite Argentina are. It shouldn't be a huge surprise, given how wank they were in the qualifiers but at the big stage form often goes out of the window. Not this time, they were just as crap. Players were jogging around and half-arsing it. The set-up was completely wrong- in a game they really had to win they lined up with 5 at the back AND Mascherano, with the likes of Di Maria, Dybala, Banega, HiguaĂ­n, Lo Celso and Biglia on the bench. That's a lot of talent to sacrifice for Enzo fucking Perez (who was a late replacement for Lanzini for crying out loud) and Meza.

The manager publicly stating before the tournament that their hopes are pinned on Messi can't help. I mean, of course that's true, but you don't hear Fernando Santos saying this of Ronaldo. What are the other players supposed to think if your manger tells the world you're a bunch of also-rans?

Wily's error was as bloody hilarious as Modric's goal was stunning. The third goal was just comical defending. Croatia looked class without even having to hit top gear, Modric and Rakitic are two of the best players of the tournament so far.

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I just can't fathom how some of the top players in the world perform at these tournaments. Obviously England teams of the past were the prime example, but so many players just not turning up this year. Is it the pressure? The tactics? Tiredness?

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I'll be absolutely made up for Iceland if they qualify, and after tonight that's looking like a relatively fair shout. To put it in perspective, all the star players aside, Argentina have a population of 40 million people....Iceland have 330,000. As the ultimate underdogs, I've been rooting for the Icelandics from the beginning (I'm Scottish....) but I never dared think they'd actually be in for a chance at this. And to give scale to their pedigree, they actually finished above Croatia as group winners in the qualifiers. I reckon Iceland getting out of that group would be just as special a story as the Leicester one a couple of years ago.

Of course now I've posted this ,watch Nigeria batter them 4-0. 

Edited by SpiritOfTheForest

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If VAR happened during a Rangers vs Celtic game they'd be throwing their babies at the referee and various other heavy stuff.

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Argentina just have no balance. For a team with 5 defenders and Mascherano they looked shaky every time Croatia came forward and then with arguably the best pool of talent (in the competition) in attack they just couldn't create anything at all. At times they couldn't even get the ball from defence to attack even with Croatia's wonderful midfield controlling the game.

One thing I have noticed is the lack of Plan B from teams in this World Cup. I think since the Spain model too much focus has been on playing one way and hoping it pays off. So far I haven't seen much changes from teams in this World Cup when things are going against them. I'm not saying hoof the ball into the box like we see in the Premier League but even throwing a few more forwards on (in forward areas), crossing the ball into the box etc would mix things up a little. It's so like for like - I mean taking Aguero off last night and putting Higuain on is fine if your changing your approach, but they kept playing the same way.

This does give me hope England have different options that may work to our advantage (although Southgate kept to his principles against Tunisia).

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I don't know much about football these days, but it was lovely watching Croatia smash Argentina last night. I feel bad for Messi because he seems better than the team he was on, but yay Croatia!

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2 hours ago, Briefcase said:

One thing I have noticed is the lack of Plan B from teams in this World Cup. I think since the Spain model too much focus has been on playing one way and hoping it pays off.

I think you've used the wrong example there, as Spain strike me as a team that has a Plan B. In fact, they exercise plans A & B with the same players! Not too dissimilar to their 2008 side.

Their Plan A is clearly to suffocate their opponent with possession and pressing, patiently working the ball until they have an opening and score. Very much what you've come to expect from them and Barcelona over the past 10 years. If that isn't working, Plan B they get somebody to smack a 40 yard diagonal ball up to Costa to bring down and use his strength to battle off the defenders and score. Iago Aspas is their Plan C.

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This thought just crossed my mind while watching Serbia Vs Switzerland and given how well Croatia are doing: What would a 2018 Yugoslavia squad look like, and how would they be doing at this World Cup?

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Sounds fun! It might look something like this. Options in midfield are ridiculous.

GK: Oblak (SLO)

RB: Vrsaljko (CRO)

CB: Milenkovic (SER)

CB: Lovren (CRO)

CB: Vida (CRO)

LB: Kolarov (SER)

CM: Brozovic (CRO)

CM: Milinkovic-Savic (SER)

CM: Modric (CRO)

CM: Rakitic (CRO

ST: Dzeko (BOS)

Subs: Handanovic, Ivanovich, Matic, Pjanic, Perisic, Mandzukic, Mitrovic

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Man, you talk of the amount of midfield options and stick in a five-man defence! I'd chuck Savic (Montenegro) in at the back, but yeah, that's a damn good team. Maybe put Goran Pandev on the bench to give Macedonia a shout-out, even though he's old as fuck and has a Steve McClaren hair island.

Putting together a USSR side years ago would've been fun. Now it'd mostly be Russians with Yarmolenko, Konoplyanka and Mkhitaryan thrown into the mix.

Edited by PunkStep

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25 minutes ago, PunkStep said:

Putting together a USSR side years ago would've been fun. Now it'd mostly be Russians with Yarmolenko, Konoplyanka and Mkhitaryan thrown into the mix.

Yeah, it does seem like the best chance for a more diverse USSR XI would've been around the turn of the millennium, with maybe Pahars, Poom, Shevchenko and Rebrov (and Hleb 😁). Or maybe a few years earlier than that when there were a few decent Georgian players too.

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2 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

a few decent Georgian players too.

Kaladze would make my USSR XI for that era.

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Just now, PunkStep said:

Kaladze would make my USSR XI for that era.

A lot of tough choices, really. Not sure about the XI, but Kanchelskis and Kinkladze would certainly have made the squad. Lots of Ks. Maybe even Ketsbaia.

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Ah yes, Kanchelskis in a 90s side for sure. 

Today's football was pretty good. Watching Neymar constantly moan at the ref, dive, throw a strop, do a ridiculous bunny hop/rainbow flick hybrid, score and then cry was quite the spectacle. Ahmed Musa scored two gorgeous goals (the first is probably my favourite of the tournament so far) after a dull first half from Nigeria and then Switzerland VS Serbia was far more entertaining than I thought it would be. A nice Xhaka rocket and impressive performances from Shaqiri and Mitrovic tonight.

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