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Guest ryanlammi

2018 FIFA World Cup

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Boycott it. I wonder if we would have boycotted the Winter Olympics if the Ruskies had invaded Ukraine before the Sochi games.

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I don't think we would have. I don't think Russia would have invaded Crimea during the Winter Olympics to avoid such a situation, though. Sadly, this whole thing is going to blow over in the world news by the time the 2018 World Cup is even being thought about by most people.

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Not to mention their treatment of homosexuals and the lesser offense (but still disgusting) killing of stray dogs in Sochi.

 

Russia is a terrible place. Why are they being rewarded with these types of events? (Though if you watch John Oliver, maybe it's not really a reward to host the World Cup.)

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The 2018 World Cup starts today.  But for U.S. soccer fans, the main thing this brings up is this:

 

 

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Host Russia faces Saudi Arabia today in the opening match.  A battle of the two lowest-ranked teams in the 2018 World Cup (Russia #70; Saudi Arabia #67).

 

Because the tournament is in Russia, you can expect some Sochi-ness in the way they'll host it.  And it doesn't get more Sochi than the eastern-most venue of Yekaterinburg.  Yekaterinburg is a city of almost 1.5 million people located about 932 miles east of Moscow.  It features an existing soccer stadium.  However, the existing stadium only has a 23,000-seat capacity and FIFA requires a minimum of 35,000 seats for a World Cup venue.  What to do?

 

Their solution was to add temporary bleachers containing 12,000 additional seats to meet FIFA's capacity requirement.  Here's what that solution looks like(!):  https://www.thesun.co.uk/world-cup-2018/6521225/ekaterinburg-arena-capacity-extra-seats-fixtures/

 

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^ They should follow up the World Cup with concerts by The Scorpions and Guns n Roses. Keep that stadium going!

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Not the same thing but it reminded me of those 2015 Grateful Dead concerts at Soldier Field, with no less than 25,000 "obstructed view" seats behind the stage. 

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In the Ronaldo vs. Messi debate, the early result emphatically goes to Cristiano Ronaldo:

 

-- Ronaldo led his Portugal team against WC-favorite Spain yesterday - and had a game for the ages.  Ronaldo scored a PK to give Portugal an early 1-0 lead.  Spain tied it up at 1-1.  Then Ronaldo scored a 44' goal just before halftime to give Portugal a 2-1 lead.  Then Spain scores two goals in quick succession at 55' & 58' to grab a 3-2 lead and looked to hold on for an opening match win.  But then Ronaldo buried a beautiful free-kick that bent around the Spanish wall in the 88th minute to re-tie the game at 3-3 and complete a hat-trick!

 

-- Meanwhile today, Messi and his Argentine team faced underdog Iceland (the smallest population country to play in a World Cup at 350,000).  Argentina got an early lead with a 19' goal, but then Iceland quickly equalized with a 23' goal.  With the game tied 1-1, Messi had two chances to win it for his country.  The first was a PK in the 64th minute - but his PK attempt was saved by the Icelandic goalkeeper.  Then Messi had a 95' free-kick as time was running out - but his attempt hit harmlessly into the wall.  The game ended and Iceland tied mighty Argentina 1-1.

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They are both tremendous players and their status certainly can’t be dictated by a single game.  However, I think what I’m seeing from ronaldo, not just yesterday and the past couple years but obviously Euro 2016...he is brilliant and not only has the individual talent but the resolve of a champion.  Messi May be the best dribbler and creator of a shot I’ve ever seen but his international play is not as dominant and that’s been a trend for a while. 

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28969185808_263040b2e6_o_d.jpg

 

Nike designed a special World Cup jersey for Nigeria (shown above) that's been the hit of the pre-tournament.  The official jersey from Nike sold out in less than three hours.  Which has been a boon to those selling fake knock-off versions of the jersey:

 

https://qz.com/1294652/nigerias-world-cup-kit-has-sold-out-nike/

 

http://www.africanews.com/2018/06/16/fake-nigeria-world-cup-jerseys-sales-soar-as-fans-dare-to-dream//

 

But maybe the Super Eagles should have worn those special jerseys for their first World Cup match against Croatia - which they lost 2-0.  Instead they wore a simple all-green kit against the second-best jerseys in the tournament - the red-and-white checkerboard of Croatia.  Maybe they thought pairing the special Super Eagles jersey with the Croat checkerboard would lead to an overload of awesome?

 

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Not the same thing but it reminded me of those 2015 Grateful Dead concerts at Soldier Field, with no less than 25,000 "obstructed view" seats behind the stage. 

 

Good thing most Dead fans just want to hear the music--they are happy to be in the building.

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Host Russia has an important match later today against Egypt.  If Russia wins, they'll clinch advancement from group play into the knockout round.  Even a draw would still give them a great chance to advance (depending on the result of their 3rd game in group play).

 

Russia placed themselves into this position with a dominating 5-0 over Saudi Arabia in their World Cup opening match last Thursday.  Below was this screenshot from that game's second half showing the Saudi Crown Prince, the FIFA President, and Vladimir Putin watching the game.  It's almost as if the Saudi Prince is saying "Please Vlad, show mercy on my team" and Putin is saying "My team is too good and owns your team like I own Donald Trump. No mercy! We will score two more goals!"

 

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"Sorry, Mr. Prince, but if Russia doesn't score two more goal and annex goalie the ref will die."

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"we must score. they go to moscow last year. have pee videos on all of them."

 

 

but seriously, very enjoyable world cup so far. we are watching at work lol.

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Agree. Very entertaining this year. My regular teams are not in this cup so I adopted Croatia and have not been disappointed.

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All 32 teams have finished the first two of their three group stage games.  Obviously the third group stage game will determine whether some teams will advance to the knockout rounds or not.  But going into that final group stage game, here's some of the prominent stories:

 

-- Host Russia has dominated their first two games (5-0 over Saudi Arabia and 3-1 over Egypt) and clinched advancement to the knockout round.

 

-- Some of the favorites have looked good and clinched advancement (France, Belgium, Uruguay, England, Croatia, Mexico).  England and Mexico have exceeded expectations with Mexico beating Germany & Sweden and England blowing out Panama 6-1 today.

 

-- Some of the favorites haven't yet clinched advancement but can do so with a game three group stage win (Germany & Brazil).  Both Germany & Brazil had game two scares that could have been catastrophic for them.  Germany was tied 1-1 against Sweden with time running out, when a German free-kick goal in the 95th minute gave them the win.  A win over winless South Korea should see them advance.  Brazil was tied 0-0 with Costa Rica until two 90+ minute goals gave them a 2-0 win.  Brazil will advance with a win but faces a tough Serbia team.

 

-- And then there's Argentina.  They currently sit last in their group after a 1-1 draw with Iceland and a 3-0 loss against Croatia.  They could still advance with a game three win over a good Nigerian team, but they'll also need some help in the outcome of the other final game within their group to do so.

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This has been a really fun group stage. Japan and Senegal sitting at the top of their group is awesome. I hope they stay at the top and keep Colombia out of the knockout phase. I also really hope that Nigeria or Iceland can stay above Argentina.

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After yesterday, i realllllly want to see Columbia in the next round.  It will make for more intriguing match-ups. That James Rodriguez pass was one of the best i've seen.  Columbia vs. England/Belgium would be a little more tasty than Japan or Senegal. 

 

Pretty interesting that Panama, the team that beat out the US, may be the worst team in the world cup.  The US wouldve certainly shown better, but those underachieving, arrogant prima donnas quit several times during qualifying and they deserved this fate.  I still wish Klinnsman was never fired.  They quit on him vs. Costa Rica, but at that point I wouldve shipped out those losers and brought in guys that wanted to play for their country pridefully.  That same group quit on Arena and lost to Trinidad and Tobago inexplicably...the best/most competitive US soccer ive ever seen was in the 2014 world cup...and that was led by Klinnsman

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Harry Kane was gifted a hat trick yesterday. He had two PKs and a deflection he wasn't trying to make. He's a great player, but I'm skeptical to give him that title after he scored three easy goals in the last game. Watching England has been fun, though. They have been dominant.

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Iran and Portugal played to a 1-1 draw in a highly controversial game. Potential red card for Ronaldo with an elbow to the face away from the ball was somehow avoided with a yellow after VAR. Iran was given a weak PK that took 4 minutes for VAR to decide (3 minutes into stoppage time) and the ref only extended play for 1 minute beyond what was required despite the 2 additional minutes before the PK goal.

 

Unfortunate for Iran who played a great game against one of the best teams.

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This has been a really fun group stage.

 

It has been entertaining.  So many late game deciding goals (many at 90+).  Also, just a good number of goals period.  Going into today's games there were 97 goals in the 36 games played - 2.7 goals/game.  The tournament's first (and so far only) 0-0 match came today in Game #38 (France vs Denmark).

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When the USMNT didn't qualify for this World Cup, there were considerable angst (mostly from FOX Sports) that the U.S. TV ratings would be in the tank.  Although having the USMNT games would have undoubtedly drawn bigger ratings, the ratings for some of the marquee group stage matchups have been quite good nevertheless.

 

From

 

"Here's a sign of soccer's growth in the United States:"

 

-- Yesterday's Germany-Sweden game drew the largest ever audience for an English-language broadcast of a non-USA World Cup group stage game: 5.636M.

-- That is also bigger than the audience for the 1994 USA-Colombia game: 4.81M.

 

"Here's an even crazier stat:"

 

-- The combined audience for Germany-Sweden between Fox and Telemundo was 9.368 million viewers.

-- The combined audience for the 2010 U.S.-Algeria (knockout) game between ESPN and Univision was 8.393 million.

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Iran and Portugal played to a 1-1 draw in a highly controversial game. Potential red card for Ronaldo with an elbow to the face away from the ball was somehow avoided with a yellow after VAR. Iran was given a weak PK that took 4 minutes for VAR to decide (3 minutes into stoppage time) and the ref only extended play for 1 minute beyond what was required despite the 2 additional minutes before the PK goal.

 

Unfortunate for Iran who played a great game against one of the best teams.

 

*Best player.  Take away Ronaldo and Portugal miiiight just have 1 point.  But he makes them a contender.

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When the USMNT didn't qualify for this World Cup, there were considerable angst (mostly from FOX Sports) that the U.S. TV ratings would be in the tank.  Although having the USMNT games would have undoubtedly drawn bigger ratings, the ratings for some of the marquee group stage matchups have been quite good nevertheless.

 

From

 

"Here's a sign of soccer's growth in the United States:"

 

-- Yesterday's Germany-Sweden game drew the largest ever audience for an English-language broadcast of a non-USA World Cup group stage game: 5.636M.

-- That is also bigger than the audience for the 1994 USA-Colombia game: 4.81M.

 

"Here's an even crazier stat:"

 

-- The combined audience for Germany-Sweden between Fox and Telemundo was 9.368 million viewers.

-- The combined audience for the 2010 U.S.-Algeria (knockout) game between ESPN and Univision was 8.393 million.

 

All good stuff.  I will note that Germany-Sweden was a weekend peak viewship.  US-Algeria was dead in the middle of a workday.  I remember watching it at work

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Iran and Portugal played to a 1-1 draw in a highly controversial game. Potential red card for Ronaldo with an elbow to the face away from the ball was somehow avoided with a yellow after VAR. Iran was given a weak PK that took 4 minutes for VAR to decide (3 minutes into stoppage time) and the ref only extended play for 1 minute beyond what was required despite the 2 additional minutes before the PK goal.

 

Unfortunate for Iran who played a great game against one of the best teams.

 

*Best player.  Take away Ronaldo and Portugal miiiight just have 1 point.  But he makes them a contender.

 

Portugal is better than that, though their group stage play has sewn some doubts. Ronaldo is leaps and bounds better than almost every other player in the tournament, but that doesn't mean that the team (minus Ronaldo) isn't still one of the best in the world. FIFA's rankings put them at #4. Obviously there are questions to how you evaluate teams that rarely play each other, but there's no doubting that Iran almost beat one of the best teams in the world. They almost had the game winner in the 95th minute, too.

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^im just saying, where do you think Portugal is without Ronaldo?  Definitely a loss vs Spain, and maybe a tie with Morocco? He accounted for all of their goal in those games

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I don’t really buy into rankings.

 

Portugal is 0-2-1 without Ronaldo and out of the WC.

 

Iran and Spain both got robbed Ws against Portugal thanks to dubious officiating.

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Today's Argentina vs Nigeria match was really something.

 

It was a must-win game for Argentina to advance out of group play.  And they got a moment of brilliance from Messi in the 14th minute when he gathered in a long ball to him with his body, tapped it forward with his left foot, and then blasted it past the keeper with his right foot (all while running and never breaking stride!) to give Argentina a 1-0 lead.

 

Then Argentina squandered that lead with a foul in the box in the 51st minute that led to a PK delivered by Moses (real name) of Nigeria to make it 1-1.  With the result of the Croatia-Iceland game, a draw would have advanced Nigeria to the next round.  But this match was decided on another late-game goal, this one in the 86th minute on a Rojo goal nearly as brilliant as Messi's!

 

So Argentina avoided disaster and advances to the knockout round - where they will face France (one of the pre-tournament favorites).

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With Argentina, expect drama both on and off the field:  http://www.espn.com/soccer/argentina/story/3546129/diego-maradona-fine-after-being-treated-by-paramedicsshowing-middle-fingers-in-argentina-win

 

Argentine legend Diego Maradona showed the double bird to fans seated below him after Argentina's game-winning goal in yesterday match.  Then he collapsed and was treated by paramedics in the stadium after the match finished.

 

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Shocker in Group F:

 

Going into this group's final game today, three teams were fighting for the two top spots to advance.  Mexico had 6 points and just needed a draw with Sweden to advance.  Sweden had 3 points and needed a win and some help in the group's other game - Germany vs South Korea.  The defending World Cup champs Germany had struggled in their first two games, but only needed a win over South Korea to advance.  A likely outcome given that South Korea was winless.

 

Sweden did its part to advance with a 3-0 thumping of Mexico.  Which then put Mexico in jeopardy of elimination if Germany won.  However, in the 90th minute, Germany was tied 0-0 with South Korea.  Since Germany needed a win to advance, they pushed forward for a goal - but in the 93rd minute, it was South Korea that scored the game's first goal instead!  South Korea added an empty net second goal to win 2-0.

 

-- The defending World Cup champs Germany lose and are eliminated

-- Sweden wins over Mexico and wins the group

-- Mexico loses big but still advances because of Germany's shocking loss

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Once again Mexico gets bailed out when they should have been eliminated. That was a shocking turn of events. Too bad Germany couldn't have knocked out Mexico and stayed in the tournament.

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It was really strange seeing Mexico getting their [/member]$$ kicked, and as as South korea scored and Mexican fans saw it on their phones, they started celebrating and thrwing their beers in the air.  Nothing like celebrating a beatdown

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Once again Mexico gets bailed out when they should have been eliminated. That was a shocking turn of events. Too bad Germany couldn't have knocked out Mexico and stayed in the tournament.

 

Had Germany, you know, not lost to Mexico, they would have stayed in the tournament.

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