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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

OT: Soccer Thread (World Cup)

We’ve gotten through Champions League and most of the relegation/promotion stuff so we may as well focus on the World Cup. And what a World Cup, Buffon playing his sixth, Pulisic making his WC debut, quality on-site reporting from Fox and two time Copa America champs Chile just part of what should make for an amazing tournament!  Plus of course the the family-friendly, inclusive atmosphere sure to be fostered by the Russians.

Group A - Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B - Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group C - France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Group D - Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Group E - Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F - Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G - Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
Group H - Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:57 AM | 3354 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: off topic, soccer

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   601. bunyon Posted: June 20, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5696102)
I know I said I'd stop but I'm eating lunch, watching the game and I keep thinking about different shootouts.

What about set pieces? Take the keepers out and give each team direct kicks with all other players on the field. Play ends when ball is cleared from the area. Start at 30 yards, alternating sides of the field. Five kicks each and, if tied, move to edge of area and do five more. Still tied, sudden death.

I clearly need to get over this.
   602. bunyon Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:00 PM (#5696115)
If it were truly random, England wouldn't always lose them.

I like the snark, but that isn't right.
   603. bunyon Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5696118)
But I do think there's some value in either having 2 distances of PKs (for different caliber of fouls) and/or having some fouls in the corner of the box that are fouls but aren't a clear goal scoring opportunity be something other than a PK.

On that subject, there should be something worse than the current PK for Suarez level fouls. Or, they should just have awarded the goal on that play and banned Suarez for 800 games.
   604. zack Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5696127)
What about set pieces? Take the keepers out and give each team direct kicks with all other players on the field. Play ends when ball is cleared from the area. Start at 30 yards, alternating sides of the field. Five kicks each and, if tied, move to edge of area and do five more. Still tied, sudden death.

I don't see how that is less random? Either they are easy goals for anyone who can dip a ball or they are a playing plinko.

Besides the only logical One Rule To Fix The Sport is not allowing keepers to use their hands.
   605. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 20, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5696324)
Still wondering about languages. The ref in Spain-Iran is from Uruguay, so Spanish is the obvious choice one the one side, but there was just some grousing about Diego Costa stomping the GK and a brief heated exchange. Is that in Spanish, Persian, English, what?

In other news, possession's currently over 80% Spain - what's the highest we've seen this time around, or historically?
   606. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 20, 2018 at 03:28 PM (#5696373)
Good call on the offsides...
   607. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 20, 2018 at 03:41 PM (#5696389)
I had too much work to watch any of the games today. Turns out the games are much closer than anyone thought.
   608. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 20, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5696393)
That would have been beautiful. Oh well.
   609. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 20, 2018 at 03:44 PM (#5696395)
This is loopy. Iran could easily be leading this game.
   610. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 20, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5696401)
Of the 20 matches so far 4 of them have been decided by more than one goal (Russia x2, Belgium and Croatia). I wouldn't have guessed that when I saw the schedule. For comparison sake 8 games were decided by more than 1 goal at this point in 2014.
   611. OCF Posted: June 20, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5696442)
The on-campus lunch location I go to has a big screen TV. I got there today at about minute 55 of Iran/Spain. There was a group occupying the front few tables - some male, some female, speaking among themselves in a language that was neither English nor Spanish. Their rooting interest was obvious. They went wild at the apparent Iranian goal - then sat down stonily as the delayed offside call played out. They erupted again at the late header that barely missed. And ultimately they left disappointed.
   612. Textbook Editor Posted: June 20, 2018 at 10:16 PM (#5696658)
That was a hell of an effort by Iran. Granted, playing 6 at the back when out of possession isn't something most teams would think to do, let alone try, but they kept their shape and took the chances they had and really frustrated the hell out of Spain.

And they're not done. I do think they could certainly do the same sort of job on Portugal, and despite the graphics in-game that showed Portugal with 6 points, they have only 4. The task in some ways is still the same: win and they're through.
   613. McCoy Posted: June 20, 2018 at 10:57 PM (#5696701)
For me it isn't just the time thing that seems so weird to me but also the imprecision of it all. A player will run to the sideline for 30 yard on a throw in. Hell, they'll be in bounds when they do it. A player will move and kick the ball around before a free kick. A free kick will just be anywhere a player wants it to be. A defender will just kind of wander up to the ball and the kicker has to complain to the ref to get him to move back. Then, yeah, you have all the time dawdling stuff that seems to have no effect on extra time. I think yesterday in extra time there was an interesting that took over a minute to resolve an extra time still stopped exactly at the time it was announced at the 90 minute mark.

Then on the other side of it is the so called sportsmanship. A player goes down with an injury and an opposing team will kick the ball out of bounds. Then after it is resolved the other team will give them the ball back.

For me my biggest pet peeve is the goalie biting the ball downfield. Why? It seems at best your team had a 50/50 shot of getting control of the ball with a goalie boot. Why not do a more controlled pass?
   614. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 20, 2018 at 11:12 PM (#5696712)
The throw in stuff is kind of like pine tar use by pitchers. Everyone does it so no one ####### too much. If it’s really outrageous then yeah they’ll ##### and the ref will move it back. Same with free kicks though I think those are better controlled than you say. A lot hinges on where on the pitch it is. It’s not a big deal if you move it five yards in the middle of your own zone but in a shooting position, yeah they mark it with the vanishing spray.

I like the sporstsmanship thing. I like that you give it back. It gives it a gentlemanly feel.

On the goalie kicks sometimes sending it 60 yards down field is better than trying to play out from the back. If you pass it right to one of your players 20 yards from goal and he loses the ball then you are in trouble quickly. Plus I think there is more precision to that play than it sometimes appears. Watch Jordan Pickford for England, he’s pretty precise. Worst case you lose the ball 70-80 yards from goal and get organized. The better teams will be a bit more willing to pass it and play from the back than say an Iran would be.
   615. Richard Posted: June 20, 2018 at 11:21 PM (#5696723)
On the goalie kicks sometimes sending it 60 yards down field is better than trying to play out from the back. If you pass it right to one of your players 20 yards from goal and he loses the ball then you are in trouble quickly. Plus I think there is more precision to that play than it sometimes appears. Watch Jordan Pickford for England, he’s pretty precise. Worst case you lose the ball 70-80 yards from goal and get organized. The better teams will be a bit more willing to pass it and play from the back than say an Iran would be.

100% This. If you always play the ball short sooner or later you're going to get burned. Plus you'll often win a throw in the other half off a goal kick even if you don't get possession.
   616. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 21, 2018 at 06:33 AM (#5696776)
I like the sporstsmanship thing. I like that you give it back. It gives it a gentlemanly feel.


I used to feel this way as well, but it is a very easy way to foil a counterattacking move. Bump into an opposing player, go down writhing, then give the ball back to the counterattacking team after they hit it out - by knocking it deep into their own half after your defence gets a chance to re-set. Allowing the referee to order a throw-in from the spot the ball was knocked out might be fairer, but still buys a defending team time when they're struggling to shut down a counterattacking move - which is one of the only things I find uniquely enjoyable about possession sports.
   617. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 21, 2018 at 07:42 AM (#5696787)
I used to feel this way as well, but it is a very easy way to foil a counterattacking move. Bump into an opposing player, go down writhing, then give the ball back to the counterattacking team after they hit it out - by knocking it deep into their own half after your defence gets a chance to re-set.

I am pretty sure I have never once seen this happen. If it is a genuine counter-attacking play, that team is going to finish that move, and let the other team put the ball out of play, if they win it back. Nobody is putting the ball out of play on genuine goal-scoring chances.
   618. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 21, 2018 at 08:21 AM (#5696796)
I am pretty sure I have never once seen this happen. If it is a genuine counter-attacking play, that team is going to finish that move, and let the other team put the ball out of play, if they win it back. Nobody is putting the ball out of play on genuine goal-scoring chances.


Saw it happen once in the opening round of matches in this World Cup, which is why it sprang to mind. I'm not certain of exactly which game, but best guess would be Egypt-Uruguay. The counter-attack wasn't at full speed, but certainly it was possession in the last third of the pitch for one team, which turned into possession within their own 6-yard box purely because they put the ball out of play.
   619. strong silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:08 AM (#5696809)
Australia - Denmark.
Handball in first half.

That is not a penalty. When the defenders arm is so close and the ball is actually headed out of bounds AND there is no other offensive player near, it is not a penalty. So in effect a goal is given when there was no chance.

I wish the refs took a pragmatic approach.
   620. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:10 AM (#5696810)

On the goalie kicks sometimes sending it 60 yards down field is better than trying to play out from the back. If you pass it right to one of your players 20 yards from goal and he loses the ball then you are in trouble quickly. Plus I think there is more precision to that play than it sometimes appears. Watch Jordan Pickford for England, he’s pretty precise. Worst case you lose the ball 70-80 yards from goal and get organized. The better teams will be a bit more willing to pass it and play from the back than say an Iran would be.


I'll also argue that for a lot of teams that press or play on the counter, and this includes world class teams, the best offense is a good defense. Similarly, a lot of the best teams do press to win the ball back if they don't think you're capable of routinely stringing along 5 or 6 accurate one-touch passes in a row. So, for a team without a couple of outstanding ball retention players, booting it up the field often makes sense.
   621. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5696812)

That is not a penalty. When the defenders arm is so close and the ball is actually headed out of bounds AND there is no other offensive player near, it is not a penalty. So in effect a goal is given when there was no chance.


I swear I can't figure out what SHOULD be a hand ball and for that matter what is. For me that's a handball, his arm was away from his body so that should be a foul and in the box, a penalty. I don't think enough handballs get called though. I think a lot "ball to hand" no calls should be called because the hand is away from the body.

But that doesn't seem to be the rule and/or practice. I don't think there was anything intentional about what the Danish player did but his arm was away from his body.
   622. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5696813)
We discussed this above. There needs to be an intermediate penalty. It was a clear handball. But i agree that a pk is a harsh punishment for that type.
   623. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:17 AM (#5696815)
Right. It’s crazy that the punishment for the danish handball was the same as suarez’s In the last cup.
   624. strong silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:22 AM (#5696819)
Aus-den. Lots of energy. Counters, these teams are playing to win.
   625. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:22 AM (#5696820)
To nitpick a bit it wasn't. Suarez was sent off, his team had to play with ten men and he missed the next game. Obviously a lot of that was mitigated by it taking place on what would have been the last kick of the game but the penalty for that was much sterner.

I agree though. Some kind of intermediate punishment makes sense. I liked the idea of moving the kick back to the edge of the "D" rather than the spot. Not sure what that would do for conversion rates.
   626. strong silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:25 AM (#5696822)
I am headed to Manhattan this weekend. Brooklyn is the place to watch a game right? That's where the ethnic neighborhoods and national fans live right? Any suggestions to where to watch a game?

Edit: I have never been to Brooklyn.
   627. strong silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:29 AM (#5696825)
That Dane could have hit the ground and would have got a penalty. He was dragged, for his shirt pulled, which was easy to see, and his body was foot from the ground. To his credit, he stayed upright.
   628. strong silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:33 AM (#5696827)
Is there a stat for vertical passes? These two teams have loads, if I'm seeing this game clearly. It's 6:30 PST so I might not be.
   629. strong silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5696839)
Erickson. Best player on the pitch but only about 10 touches this half!?!?
   630. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 09:57 AM (#5696847)
I didn't see the play (had to work), but from what I'm hearing this is exactly why, so long as the punishment for a foul in the box is so harsh, referee's discretion is critical for the game to be adjudicated justly. VAR seems to be moving us away from that. If it results in the game finally changing the punishment for fouls in the box, it will have been worth it, but otherwise no.

edit: I'm not too concerned about Denmark though... there have been many penalties called in this tournament now that were less obvious than their foul on the Peruvian player that wasn't called (not the one reversed on VAR, but the other one that was never reviewed).
   631. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: June 21, 2018 at 10:17 AM (#5696860)
The first tiebreaker in groups is H2H, right? So if Peru and Denmark both end up with 4 points, Denmark goes through? I thought I heard that. Anyhow, Denmark is still sitting pretty well. Unless Peru wins today! And Peru knows that, so they'll probably be coming out France. There are some fun group matches coming up the next few days. Each of the next 2 games today I think are both good matchups and important games, and then Serbia/Switzerland, Germany/Sweden, and both Group H games are the headliners on the Friday-Sunday games for me.
   632. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 10:21 AM (#5696862)
No.

Goal difference
Goals for
H2H
   633. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 10:23 AM (#5696863)
In a 3 way (or 4 way) tie goal difference involving the tied teams and goals for in games involving the tied teams is next. Then fair play points and the always exciting drawing of lots.
   634. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: June 21, 2018 at 10:27 AM (#5696866)
I know I said I'd stop but I'm eating lunch, watching the game and I keep thinking about different shootouts.

What about set pieces? Take the keepers out and give each team direct kicks with all other players on the field. Play ends when ball is cleared from the area. Start at 30 yards, alternating sides of the field. Five kicks each and, if tied, move to edge of area and do five more. Still tied, sudden death.

I clearly need to get over this.

I'm not a fan of shootouts, though I could live with them if there were an intermediate step between regular game action and the shootout to try to determine a deserving winner. I would love to see 10 minutes of 8-on-8 before resorting to a shootout. Open things up for each team's best players to determine the outcome. If one team was always playing for a tie by stacking the box, that'll be a lot harder to accomplish down 3 men. And then limit the shootout to the presumably very tired players who just finished playing 8-on-8.
   635. strong silence Posted: June 21, 2018 at 10:29 AM (#5696869)
End of match and it's a tie. Settled by most corner kicks. Awards team with most attacking intent.
   636. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: June 21, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5696913)
Tiebreaker - play on half a pitch with 5 a side for 15 minutes. Still a tie? Play on quarter of a pitch with 3 a side. Still a tie? Goalie versus goalie from one edge of the penalty area to the other. Fractal shootout.
   637. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5696916)
Holy #### that French counter by Mbappe. Too bad no goal.
   638. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5696920)
Man, if Peru could finish worth a damn ...
   639. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5696934)
I could only glance up from work, but I mostly saw France getting good opportunities, and only one from Peru. Were there many others?

edit: Sheesh, watching the highlights France had a lot of chances.
   640. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5696949)
I could only glance up from work, but I mostly saw France getting good opportunities, and only one from Peru. Were there many others?


Not really. But it was more of a general commentary about the first 3 halves that Peru has played so far.
   641. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5696953)
C'mon Peru, get a draw here and you can still go through!
   642. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5696957)
Some luck would help, as well ...
   643. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:10 PM (#5696959)
That was really close. Peru not having the luck.
   644. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5696963)
Both teams have really strong kit game.
   645. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:32 PM (#5696982)
I've always liked the sash.
   646. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5696986)
Getting late for Peru, who've had their chances
   647. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5696990)
Peru look out of ideas.
   648. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5696991)
There's a not-insignificant chance that all the top 6 teams in pre-tournament odds could end up on one side of the bracket. ok it's small but not impossible.

edit: it would take Spain finishing behind Portugal and Argentina finishing behind Croatia (or Iceland!). If all of it happens, that Belgium/England game will be ridiculous--the loser would be the top seed on its side of the bracket.
   649. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 12:56 PM (#5696996)
Damn, with the way they played in their first two matches, Peru at least deserved to go into the final match with something to play for.

Bad finishing and bad luck is a bad combination.
   650. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 21, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5697001)
edit: it would take Spain finishing behind Portugal and Argentina finishing behind Croatia (or Iceland!). If all of it happens, that Belgium/England game will be ridiculous--the loser would be the top seed on its side of the bracket.

I am hoping we get a game, where both teams try and score as many own goals as they can. Which means one team kicks off, and knocks it straight back into their own net. And keep repeating it until half time. Then the other team spends the second half doing the same. Winner is whoever manages to score the most own goals that way. And the 71-74 score would be the greatest gift to the record books ever.
   651. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 01:09 PM (#5697008)
Wouldn't that flip the script? If teams are trying to score own goals, the "offense" would play defense and vice versa.

Would be fun.

To nitpick a bit it wasn't. Suarez was sent off, his team had to play with ten men and he missed the next game. Obviously a lot of that was mitigated by it taking place on what would have been the last kick of the game but the penalty for that was much sterner.

Fair point but, as you say, in that particular situation, waning moments of an elimination game, a red was the same as a yellow. Seems to me that, just as a PK is too harsh for many fouls in the area, a PK and a red wasn't sufficient for Suarez's play. Should have been a goal, a red and a free kick to the balls (okay, maybe just a goal and a red). Seriously, I'd think a handball by a defender on a ball going in when the defender is behind the keeper should be an automatic goal, no PK necessary. Or a goal and a PK. That circumstance may well not come up ever again but a player shouldn't be able to benefit from such an obvious and unsportsmanlike play. With that said, it was clever of the bastard.
   652. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: June 21, 2018 at 01:11 PM (#5697009)
I placed a long bet on Denmark to win the World Cup because ERIKSEN, but feel a bit bad for Peru. A ton of luck comes into play on a 3 game round robin.
   653. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5697014)
I placed a long bet on Denmark to win the World Cup because ERIKSEN, but feel a bit bad for Peru. A ton of luck comes into play on a 3 game round robin.


I feel like Denmark's been 2nd best in both their matches so far. Frankly, I'd rather see OZ advance at this point.

Sorry, Christian ...
   654. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5697068)
Strategy Jose dislikes; the short corner. I get it once in awhile, change the angle, catch the opponent sleeping, but generally you've got a free ball into the box have at it. South Korea took one short in stoppage time down a goal against Sweden, like why on earth would you do that?
   655. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 21, 2018 at 02:24 PM (#5697077)
I quite like these Croatia kits.
   656. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 21, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5697084)
Strategy Jose dislikes; the short corner. I get it once in awhile, change the angle, catch the opponent sleeping, but generally you've got a free ball into the box have at it. South Korea took one short in stoppage time down a goal against Sweden, like why on earth would you do that?

I liked that Argentine corner even less though.
   657. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 21, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5697100)
In case anyone else is as behind in the times as I was until I decided to just google the damn thing, here's what I found out:
For many years, there was no requirement that a referee speak anything besides his native language. Then, FIFA made it a matter of strong desire that a FIFA Referee or Assistant Referee be functional in one of FIFA's main languages. Later, FIFA required that a FIFA official speak English and another of FIFA's languages.

Lately, it has been recognized that for the sake of fairness and impartiality on the field, the officials should not use the language of one team when that language is not likely to be understood by the other team. English has become standard unless the officials happen to be fluent in the language that is used by both teams.
Not that you should believe everything you read on teh interwebs... Per Wiki, FIFA official languages are French, Spanish, German, and English.

Today's Argentina/Croatia ref is from, you guessed it, Uzbekistan.
   658. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5697106)
Kinda surprised Portuguese isn't an official language. Also kinda surprised that Arabic isn't.
   659. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 02:58 PM (#5697110)
Peru xG in the France game was 1.9 to 0.3 in favor of France. It's not that Peru doesn't know how to shoot, but more that they don't seem to know how to get a shot off. To a lesser extent the same thing happened in the Denmark game.
   660. Textbook Editor Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:10 PM (#5697117)
Strategy Jose dislikes; the short corner. I get it once in awhile, change the angle, catch the opponent sleeping, but generally you've got a free ball into the box have at it. South Korea took one short in stoppage time down a goal against Sweden, like why on earth would you do that?


This all goes back to the stat* that only 1 in 100 corner kicks results in a goal.

*It's something like this, too lazy to look up actual number.

I can say in youth soccer, this year in the Fall there were a lot of short corners from teams we faced, as we made the jump to 11v11 and the big field and many teams did not have a kid who could get the ball anywhere close to the near post, let alone in a decent position to run onto. We were exceedingly lucky to have a couple kids who could routinely get the ball to the PK spot from the corner (one being TE Jr.). Combine that with teams having to adjust to more bodies to defend in the box, and this year we actually scored maybe 8-9 goals off corners. But pros don't make the same mistakes U13 players do...

As for playing it out of the back, there's two things at play here: if you have CBs comfortable on the ball, and a GK comfortable on the ball, have at it--it is the best way to play. I would contend that there are many, many teams that do NOT have this construction, and for whom playing out of the back would be like playing with a live grenade. US Soccer urges us to teach kids how to play the ball out of the back, and the entire U8-U10 structure is designed to encourage this (i.e., GK's can't punt, there's a build out line halfway between the penalty area and the halfway line that defensive players have to get behind once a GK gets in possession or on a goal kick, etc.)... But in practice, it's a complete ########### train wreck. I've watched U8/U9 tournament games and it's essentially no better than it was before the rule change--and in fact possibly has made it worse, as there are a LOT of U8-U10 defensive players who are not, you know, Vertonghen back there on the ball. Which leads to disaster because the other team just loads 5 guys on the build-out line and bull rushes whoever the poor kid is who the GK kicks the ball to off the goal kick.

Personally, my team has to be pragmatic. We punt the ball because if I asked my defenders and keepers to play the ball out of the back we'd lose games 7-2 and parents would eventually get tired of losing and of me asking kids who will never play any higher than JV/Varsity HS soccer to die on the hill of "playing like Barcelona."
   661. McCoy Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:11 PM (#5697118)
There was a game yesterday in which time was winding down and the team with the ball was trailing and attacking. The opposing team had a player down with an "injury" and the trailing team eventually booted it out. There was quite a few players on the field that were not happy about that.
   662. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5697120)
Probably not, but if we learn down the road that Arg players are throwing the game, I’d believe it
   663. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5697123)
Well, the ref in the Poland game is off the hook for dumbest act in this WC.
   664. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5697124)
Was it me or did it look like Caballero forgot the backpass rule and started to bend down to pick it up then realized "oh #### I can't do that."
   665. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5697133)
On the gentlemanly ball out, you definitely shouldn’t have to do it if the guy was down while his team pressed an attack as just happened with the Croatian
   666. McCoy Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5697135)
This goalie sucks
   667. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5697136)
On the gentlemanly ball out, you definitely shouldn’t have to do it if the guy was down while his team pressed an attack as just happened with the Croatian

Argentina certainly were not going to. And the BBC commentators had some stern words for stopping play eventually, even though the immediate threat had petered out.
   668. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:38 PM (#5697138)
He does. That's a great shot by Modric but I can't help but feel a better goalie would've kept that out with minimal fuss.
   669. McCoy Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:39 PM (#5697140)
And I love how the injured player immediately got better after the whistle.
   670. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:41 PM (#5697142)
I thought he was screened off by the defenders. He does suck.
   671. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5697143)
Why was that not a red card?
   672. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5697144)
Red
   673. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5697146)
That was much more of a red card to me, than the incident in the first half that they were crowing about so much.
   674. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5697148)
That's a great shot by Modric but I can't help but feel a better goalie would've kept that out with minimal fuss.
+1 on this. Well struck, but could have been better anticipated.

So if Iceland can top Nigeria, how much you wanna bet on a draw for ISL-CRO?

--------------

Wow, and that should be a red.
   675. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:45 PM (#5697149)
Misirlou: because the goalie isn’t the only man on the pitch who sucks.
   676. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5697151)
NVM I think my math was off. Too many beers.
   677. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:47 PM (#5697152)
Argentina can't be stupid. They are not out of the tournament yet, and actually have a fair chance of advancing still.
   678. McCoy Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:48 PM (#5697153)
Just shoot them.
   679. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:49 PM (#5697154)
Based on what I'm seeing, Argentina may very well be stupid before this is over...
   680. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5697155)
They may as well have played Maradona.
   681. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5697156)
They are falling apart. GD could mean a lot now...
   682. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:50 PM (#5697157)
um... yeah.
   683. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5697160)
And that should've been a yellow, no?
   684. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 03:56 PM (#5697164)
If Iceland can get a 1 goal win tomorrow then Argentina will need to make up 4 goals AND get the results (win over Nigeria, ISL lose to CRO). At that point Iceland might park the bus even if they are losing 1-0 to Croatia.

Am I overreacting or is Croatia the team that has looked the best so far? Russia has beaten two cream puffs, a lot of the other top teams have lost or drawn or just looked bad in winning. Croatia were dominant today against a good team and we will get a better handle on Nigeria tomorrow but I was surprised at how easily they got beaten on MD1.
   685. bunyon Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:00 PM (#5697167)
It depends on the opponent right? Arg looked terrible. Are they really a good team? Draw Iceland, get blown out. Either Croatia is great or maybe Arg isn’t as strong as we think.
   686. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:01 PM (#5697171)
Man, those Argentina fans... I almost feel bad for them. Russia is a long, long way to go to see your team suck this badly. And most of them probably are booked to stay for another week or more.

Let's see, if Nigeria does beat Iceland, Argentina still has a shot, mathematically, but at this point I wonder if they could beat Nigeria themselves.
   687. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:04 PM (#5697177)
Per 684, I'd put Belgium and Mexico up there with Croatia. 50-50 the winner comes from those three teams.
   688. J. Sosa Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5697184)
Re: Otamendi

He needs to go away for awhile. Incredibly reckless and dangerous play.

Re: TE/Playing the ball from the back

I agree. It has become some sort of bizarre sports morality issue where not having your least talented passers on the ball all the time is viewed as a sin against the sport. It is ludicrous.

As you said even at the very top levels of the sport quality ball playing centerbacks are rare. In the CL final Zidane had Varane and Ramos bring the ball out in favor of Casemiro. Watching the match it occurred to me they might be the only team in the world that could have pulled that off so well against Liverpool. Pep’s City can’t even do it.

Re: Croatia

I agree Jose. I was thinking the same. That midfield is a monster. They also have a good distribution of talent and veteran players.

Re: Unpopular opinion

Despite the rhapsodies written about Xavi, Modric is and was better.

Have at it.
   689. AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:17 PM (#5697191)
Per 684, I'd put Belgium and Mexico up there with Croatia. 50-50 the winner comes from those three teams.
Wow. These odds are way different than the betting odds. Even as a group these three combined are way underdogs to win. (probably 20-25%). We've also only seen one game from Mexico and Belgium, and Belgium played the worst team in the tourney (maybe).

Croatia didn't exactly look that good against a fairly weak Nigeria team.
   690. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:22 PM (#5697198)
Wow. These odds are way different than the betting odds. Even as a group these three combined are way underdogs to win. (probably 20-25%). We've also only seen one game from Mexico and Belgium, and Belgium played the worst team in the tourney (maybe).
Yeah, but I don't actually *think* about these things. Which is why I don't actually bet on anything.

Panama are better than the Saudis. Probably.
   691. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:24 PM (#5697200)
and Belgium played the worst team in the tourney (maybe).


By 538's SPI, it's Saudi Arabia 48.8 versus 55.5 for Panama, so Panama's 2nd.

Next up for Belgium is Tunisia, who are 4th at 59.9.
   692. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:27 PM (#5697204)
I'd put Belgium and Mexico up there with Croatia


As noted Belgium is hard to gauge but they didn't #### around, they just crushed a terrible team. Mexico is a good catch. Also one game but given the opponent and performance they are definitely one of the teams that have stepped up so far.

Wow. These odds are way different than the betting odds. Even as a group these three combined are way underdogs to win. (probably 20-25%). We've also only seen one game from Mexico and Belgium, and Belgium played the worst team in the tourney (maybe).


Pep is more optimistic about those teams than I am. I think Germany and Brazil are still favorites but I'm not as convinced as I was. It's just one game and lots of teams look bad in the first game of a tournament. I just don't think the spread is as much as I thought it was a week ago.

Croatia didn't exactly look that good against a fairly weak Nigeria team.


Like I said, we'll know more tomorrow but Nigeria aren't a weak side I don't think. At the very least they have some attacking talent that I don't think can be dismissed.
   693. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:28 PM (#5697205)
I just saw the replay of the Denmark penalty. I really don't like giving that call. My understanding in the EPL, at least what the announcers say a lot, is an unnatural position. I don't really think that his hand is in an unnatural position there. It is common and human nature to raise your arms up to brace yourself a bit as you're jumping. Everyone does it. That also had zero impact on anything, it didn't prevent any scoring opportunity and Denmark was getting possession regardless.
   694. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:34 PM (#5697209)
Despite the rhapsodies written about Xavi, Modric is and was better.


I first read this as "Xabi" and was on board. I'm not sure about the Modric v. Xavi matter. I want to argue for Xavi but I think Modric might be separating himself here. My thought is that Xavi could control a game better but Modric can do a wider range of things. Of course for better or worse Xavi never really played with a limited side. Obviously both played their club football for elite clubs but Modric had the Spurs spell where he was great and Croatia while good are certainly not the Xavi-era Spain teams. One reason Xavi was able to run the show like he did is there was such a wealth of talent around him he had a bit more space.

I think my copout answer is "in the world we live in Xavi was the superior player but in a world where both guys suit up for mid-table level teams Modric would have been able to adapt and influence games better."
   695. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5697210)
I wasn't quite as into European soccer as I am now, but I think Modric is the #2 best central mid in the world behind KDB. Comparison against Xavi is tough, he's a legend. Let's see Modric play a few more years. As great as those Spain teams were all around in the ~2010ish era, I thought the heart of them was Xavi/Iniesta.

I think it can be easy to overreact to early games. I continue to probably favor Brazil as the favorite. I think Croatia was in that England-ish level though. I'm also a believer in Belgium, despite them never having done it in the national team. They're better now than ever, and KDB playing in the middle of the pitch gets more of their best players on the field, and I think helps them from being a team like Argentina that loses the battle in the middle of the field.

Edit: I think Brazil and Germany are in different classes in terms of their first game. Switzerland and Mexico are roughly equivalent teams by most measures, right (even if style is very different). Germany looked liked a team exposed and I had serious concerns about their squad selection that were all borne out. The good thing about a team like Germany is I feel like there was a similar concern about them in 2014 (maybe it was 2010?) with Mertesacker clowning about early in the tournament, then they benched him or went to a back 3. So, the only upsell for Germany is they have a shitton of talent on their bench to change their style a bit, if Loew wants to. Some of the other lesser-but-still-good teams pretty much just gotta run out the same 10/11 guys because the bench dropoff is so steep at most positions.
   696. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:43 PM (#5697217)
That also had zero impact on anything, it didn't prevent any scoring opportunity and Denmark was getting possession regardless.


It stopped a headed ball from going towards the net. That's something you HAVE to call every time. Sure, the keeper might have been able to stop it, or it might have gone wide.
But he was so close to the header that we'd never know.

I'm fine with that call.
   697. J. Sosa Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5697219)
That is kind of how I see it too Jose. As much as I hate the guy, Busquets was often there to caddy for Xavi. Iniesta and Xavi got most of the plaudits, but Busquets allowed both of them so much freedom.
   698. SPICEY WITH A SIDE OF BEER ON A BABYYYYYYY Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:52 PM (#5697224)
It's gotta be said for how freaking amazing Messi is his national team performances leave something to be desired.
   699. J. Sosa Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:55 PM (#5697231)
Re: Denmark

I thought it was a clear pen.

   700. Textbook Editor Posted: June 21, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5697233)
Argentina made it's life a lot harder shipping that last goal.

Even with an Iceland win, it's not crazy out of the question that Argentina could score 3 against Nigeria to make up the GD and advance. (A 1-0 win for Iceland tomorrow and a 1-0 loss to Croatia nets them a GD of 0; if Argentina scores 3 against Nigeria they get to 0 on GD and then would advance on more goals scored than Iceland.)

A draw or a Nigeria win and all of a sudden there's a #### ton of possible outcomes for the final day of the group, which is always fun.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Argentina need help, but it's not crazy to think they can sneak through. I'd be much more concerned about the fact they look awful than whether or not they get through. Getting through and getting bounced in the round of 16 wouldn't be a ton better than going out in the group stage.

Re: favorites... there's no team so far I've seen that looks unbeatable. I wonder what the odds would be on a "1st time WC winner" bet? Because I'd put $20 down on that--I think it's going to happen this year.
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