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Thread: WC Semis

  1. #1

    WC Semis

    1 France v Belgium

    Should be a cracker. But one still gets the feeling that Deschamps is still not allowing the French to fully express itself. In the 1st few games, he tried to build the formation around Pogba. The result - cagey performances.

    Then tried the Griezmann route, which meant Giroud was brought in. Result- improvement but no real fire.
    Finally- the Mbappe avenue down the right. At last, a sense of what they are potentially capable of.

    Belgium - Strong going forward but still a bit shaky at the back. However a good keeper is always a steadying hand.
    Funnily they seem a team of halves. 1st half against Panama - slow. 2nd half - exploded. Tunisia - sublime 1st half. Shaky first halves against England and Japan. Much improved in the 2nd.
    Reverse happened against Brazil.
    But apparently the players seem to be able to follow Martinez's tactics. Each understands his role.

    Winner? France start as slight favourites. Incidentally their first ever international was against Belgium. Belgium have a good record against them. Hopefully it doesn't follow a typical semi with both playing not to lose rather than to win.
    If we have a repeat of France v Argentina or Belgium v Brazil, it'll be a treat for football fans worldwide.
    France have been to the Final before, it'll be great to see Belgium reach their first.
    Belgium to win. Hopefully in a goalfest like 3-2.

  2. #2
    2. Croatia v England.

    Head v heart. I've got money on Croatia to be champions. So does my head tell me England and my heart - Croatia? Or is it the other way round, wanting England to win with the head saying Croatia?

    England are improving with each game defensively. There finally is a kind of teamwork and bonding between players not seen for a long long time. The only fear is whether having not faced any serious competition, can they withstand the technical ability that Croatia possess?
    The 1 telling factor is England's prowess from set-pieces. Not to mention Trippier's crosses. England should stick to this rather than trying to outplay Croatia.

    After doing the hard work in the group, Croatia found the mantle of favourites harder to bear. But 2 shootout wins, must be seen as a fillip. Will two 120 minute games take its toll?
    If they can relish being the underdog like they did against Argentina, then they'll probably outplay and beat England.
    But will the full impact of being here affect their nerves? And will they again decide to play for penalties? Modric is the key.
    A very tight contest. Quite hard to call, but I think if England calm down and do what they've been doing without being too adventurous, just trying to find a set-piece goal, they should be strong enough to hold on.
    Narrow England win.

    NB: Just hope that the press don't muck up and start praising England to the hilt while rubbishing everyone else. And start raising hopes by putting funny ideas into the players heads. Just leave them be and wish them luck.

  3. #3
    IMO, Southgate will keep the players' feet firmly on the ground. We have gone further than most people expected and have a realistic chance to make the Final. There will be no Billy Big Cojones performances. It will be the same old, same old that has seen us win the games in which we played GS's preferred XI in his preferred style.

    England 2-1.

    The other? Belgium 2-1

  4. #4
    I am predicting France vs England

    ..........but on the Saturday not Sunday

  5. #5
    Better team won. Can't believe England started time wasting in the first half. No ideas.
    Belgium probably kicking themselves for winning the 3rd group game.
    Croatia should have won in normal time.
    Hope they get revenge for1998 on Sunday

  6. #6
    England meanwhile can feel proud. True they had an easier route but still a young side with the future ahead.
    Another striker to complement Kane to be unearthed and a creative midfielder and perhaps a replacement for Young (who did well) and maybe England can win the Euros.
    The latter stages to be played in England after all.

    Anyway give 3rd place a go.
    Something for posterity.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Romanis View Post
    England meanwhile can feel proud. True they had an easier route but still a young side with the future ahead.
    Another striker to complement Kane to be unearthed and a creative midfielder and perhaps a replacement for Young (who did well) and maybe England can win the Euros.
    The latter stages to be played in England after all.

    Anyway give 3rd place a go.
    Something for posterity.
    No one likes a bronze!

  8. #8
    First half we bossed them. Their setup suited ours and we took advantage and played the better football. Unfortunately, we failed to turn better football into more than 1 goal.

    First half the ref was not taken in by most of the Croatian "funny stuff". Nowhere near as much of it as you get from the South Americans but Lovern and a couple of others were naughty to say the least.

    Second half they changed shape slightly and it was our turn not to be able to cope with them. The ref was very lenient on their "funny stuff" and that helped them. They started the half knowing they had to take the game to us and they did. After the first goal they also had confidence in what they were doing.

    In extra time, we weren't really in it after the first 10 minutes. They were stronger, both physically and mentally.

    Over the 120 minutes I have absoluely no complaints about which side deserved to go through and did so.

    It might have been very different had the ref done a better job. He gave 23 fouls against them, 14 against us. He might have given them double and us half a dozen more. He booked Walker for keeping hold of the ball and preventing a quick restart. After that, Lovren (a mere 2 minutes later) did the same and 2 other Croats repeated the offence later in the game. None of them got booked. He was most definitely not anti England in the first half but he looked pro Croat after that. They got a couple of free kicks from dives he fell for. We had several bad tackles on us that he waved away.

    What we are missing to make this team really tick is a player with that killer pass. A Messi, a Modric. That type of player. We didin't have one in the squad.

    Looking forwards, we have the basis of a very good squad here. There will be a few coming on in the next couple of seasons from the U17s to U21s who have made finals and actually won tournaments. Add that "how to win a tournament" experience to the squad and find that killer pass merchant and we are there. Sounds simple but is not as easy as it seems. The gaffer has to keep on picking the best available rather than being faithful to certain players, which has been the downfall of England managers in the past. Clubs have to give these youngsters the chance to develop, week in and week out in the PL.

    Lastly a few words on the rookie manager, his staff and the youngest ever England squad at a major Championship...... You have all done us proud. Almost nobody expected you to reach the Semi Final yet you did. You have done yourselves proud and I thank you for giving the country some belief in the national football team again.

    The Cup might not have but the pride has certainly come back home.

  9. #9
    Kane was a massive disappointment, never put himself about or harrassed and got at their centre backs. Perisic was forever on the move, putting pressure on defenders. He was quick both on the ground and between the ears, a class above Kane on the night. Midfield was non-existent, we have no creativity and rely too much on dead ball situations. We need to find a 'Modric' to become a major force but where from...........??
    A big improvement, let's hope we can build on it but I have my doubts. This is England after all!!!

  10. #10
    I read somewhere Kane never scored on a Weds

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