Germany: Don’t mention the VAR!

Dear friends, I’ve been withdrawing from writing and blogging as work and World Cup took over priorities. But, now, with the group stage behind us, it’s nice to revisit the blog and share some thoughts. Expect more posts to coming sooner again by the way.

Thank you for the ongoing support! It’s always very nice and highly appreciated to see the support come in. You know who you are ;-).

As for the Tournament, I think we can all be quite comfortable with the recent events. For years we have been debating the decline of Dutch football, the development of lesser nations based on our football heritage, how the Germans stole our ideas, how Sweden and Iceland are even better than us, etc etc.

Well, the exit of Germany tells the story, I think. And as a result, we can now immediately stop focusing on “innovation” or “new identity of Dutch football” topics… It’s mostly the ebb and flow of football.

It’s talents coming up, or not coming up. It’s generations at the peak of their game and generations slowly becoming lacklustre, complacent, fulfilled…

Germany was killer diller in 2014 and completely at sea in 2018. Joachim Low was the meister in the past and he will be the failure moving forward.

Germany’s exit – very entertaining for us Dutchies – tells the story. A coach who can’t accept that his favorite sons can’t do the job anymore. A coach underestimating the bad run up to the tournament. Who failed to recognise why Tony Kroos is the King at Madrid and not in Der Mannschaft. A coach who wasn’t able to let the counter striker Werner shine in the more dominating national team. A coach who relied on veteran and unfit central defenders and who simply couldn’t find automatisms and patterns for his creative forwards, Ozil, Reus, Mueller… And to add to that: who felt he didn’t need Leroy Sane.

Germany uncharacteristically exposed vs Saudi Arabia

The Germans have been a mess, really, from November 2017 onwards. And their exit is a clear sign for the Dutch that if it can happen to the mighty, it’s not strange it happened to us. And just as the Germans will be back, we will be back.

And…look at Argentina! They have Messi, Angel di Maria, Aguero, Dybala… and it’s not much. Look at Brazil! Definitely not firing on all cylinders. Italy? In the same boat as us.

And from the likes of Sweden, Iceland and Switzerland, surely, we consider them to be inferior football nations to us, and they are only able to make an impression with muscle based defensive, compact football. There is hardly any creativity to be found in those teams and hey, if they can play at the World Cup, surely we can as well?

Australia, led by Bert van Marwijk and Mark van Bommel, were unlucky. It started with a bad draw, and slightly unfortunate matches vs France and Denmark. When they really needed to shine, vs Peru, they couldn’t, lacking a killer in the box and some composed decision making. Still, Bert made the Socceroos proud.

Ronald Koeman: “Based on what I saw up until now, I think Oranje would have done well at this World Cup. We’re not worse than at least half of these nations! We just need to qualify and once we’re in, we can always out perform our own expectations.”

Do we see any interesting trends?

A key one: dead ball situations. Lots of penalties thanks to the VAR introduction. I am good with that. Even though the esteemed VAR refs still missed a couple of huge ones (Mitrovic of Serbia, Berg of Sweden) and maybe handed out some soft ones. But it’s a step up.

Lots of goals from free kicks and corner situations. Stuff that can be practiced. Time and time again. With some creativity and hours of work, I’m sure we can dramatically improve in this area.

So, I’m quite positive moving forward to be honest.

My predictions for the final stages of the tournament? I fear for Messi and Argentina. I think England might cruise to the semis but Croatia will reach the finals, I believe. On the other end of the draw, it will most likely be between France and Belgium. With Dutch Bjorn Kuipers as ref and Danny Makellie as the VAR ref. The latter did well for his country :-).

Danny Makkelie impressing as VAR referee

In other exciting football news:

Dujan Tadic returns to the Eredivisie and signed a 4 year deal with Ajax.

Mark van Bommel takes the PSV job, while Phillip Cocu signed for Fenerbahce

Rafael van der Vaart will join PEC Zwolle pre-season for fitness purposes but Van ‘t Schip doesn’t rule out signing the artist up.

Morocco got the sympathy from lots of people, despite their disappointing run and Ziyech (Roma), El Ahmadi (France) and Nordin Amrabat (ex PSV) will surely be rewarded with a nice move somewhere else.

Juninho Bacuna of FC Groningen signed for Huddersfield Town.


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  1. You are absolutely right that Germany went from heroes to zeros. As you said, they’ll be back and so will we.

    I feel this 2018 World Cup is very much open. None of the pre-tournament favorites have been convincing so far. They all have their problems. Our 2010 or 2014 squad would definitely be among one of the clear favorites if they played this year.

    In life, you have to take maximum advantage of your opportunities when you have them.

  2. Wow! France vs Argentina certainly lived up to expectations.

    Still can’t figure which is more inexplicable — Sane not making the German team or Dybala playing only 20 minutes in this whole tournament.

    Argentina’s problem is they have no midfield at all. What a waste of unbelievable front line talent! Again, in comparing our current situation to others, Argentina have totally wasted their current golden generation — an outcome much worse than our not qualifying during a down period!

    And by the way, France’s five-pass, end-to-end final goal has to be the goal of the tournament for me so far. I could watch that all day long (and I would not consider myself a fan of France)…

    1. They do have midfielders its jus because of Messi they cant take centre stage.all Di Maria, Messi and Aguero have to retire from internationals. The n

    2. You are kidding right? That goal was not even that special, just a regular counter attacking goal. If you watch 2008 Dutch Team, we score many more great goals than that against France and Italy.

      1. 2008 dutch team was special sad that We didnt had Roben for 90 minutes and RVP only got 45 mins due to injury.Both would have burried Russia alive….Sad story….

      2. Well, unlike the Geico commercials, my knee slides for goals scored 10 years ago have come to an end. I thought that was a great team goal! It didn’t matter who scored it. It didn’t matter who made the passes. All of the players were moving together fluidly and looking to attack. I would like to see Our team score goals like that again, rather than watch France and Belgium do it…

  3. I find Argentina trying to play but they can’t, they are very slow int the buildup as if it is 1986 and Diego might pass the entire English squad.

    As per France, the are a complete team but very uninspiring, they play one speed under their capabilities as if they want to save gas and they coast on half cylinders. That’s probably not true, but they do seem inexplicably “bored”

      1. I have to say I am happy Argentina, Portugal, Ronaldo and Messi are out. There is so much pushing to get them right up there in the World Cup that it really makes me sick. If they are good, they can do it themselves … right?

        1. Demi…Too much Messi sisisy fans Cr fans etc…they think that they(fans) are the best and they deserve it..Most of them are seasonal stupid football Fans…. i expected Urugay and France will emerge as winners…i am happpy about it..

    1. I do agree Argentina failed to take advantage of their golden generation. They came so close in 2014 at the WC, 2015 and 2016 at the Copa America. This Argentina team barely qualified on final match day of the qualifiers. I wasn’t surprised one bit by their exit. They are a talent factory so with the right coaching they’ll bounce back. Maybe, Simeone needs to take over once he is done with Atletico.

      France I believe are shackled by Deschamps. Mbappe showed what he can do. Deschamps is clueless on offense. Argentina also exposed their defense yesterday. Umtiti on the 2nd Argentina goal failed to mark his man and Varane on the 3rd Argentina goal kept Aguero on-side.

      Uruguay are a very dangerous side and are capable of taking out any team. They are very organized defensively and are very dangerous up top. The problem is their midfield is average. I see the FRA – URU game as a 50/50 toss up.

  4. i was thinking about dutch team in WC2018..roben wouldnt have retired if we qualified…then we could have had wonderful team
    i mean only best one plays irrespcetive of anything…
    on bench
    Vilhena—Frenkie dejong—Wijnaldum

  5. Agree Demi about the buildup speed. The generational gap between the both sides were clear cut on showcase. mbappe was devasting and mascherano and Banega simply didnt have the legs to contain him. Some well taken goals and highly entertaining games.this is what I was expectating. As far as the Argentines are concerned , they simply need major overhaul starting from the front to back including the coach. Im sure next WC they will the team to watch with their young generation taking the centre stage. Icardi, Dybala, Lo Celso, paredes,correa, and others who missed out in this WC.funes- Mori,musacchio, Perotti,Rulli.

    Uruguay also looks now like are burning all the cylinders with Suarez and cavani in attack. Godin and Gimenez at the back.alot of analyst’s on espn predicted Portugal to win this game because of Ronaldo but its evident now this world cup is also about the team who has the best defense. Should be another entertaining encounter in the quaters.

    1. Wilson, it is natural when a team fails to require a rebuilt. This Argentina, failed and failed and failed. They almost didn’t make it to the WK. But down there it is more difficult to get rid of the sacred cows due to culture…. IMO, the sooner you drain the pus, the better. I am not disputing that they have great players but they have not been able to make a winning team, thus it is considered a failure. There are some hard choices to make, which could have been made earlier. The entire WK campaign for Argentina reminded our campaign for the Euro 2016.

      Kavani seems to have an injury, let;s see how that affects him. He has a week to recover. This is an issue with small countries, you lose a key player due to cards or injury, you are out …

      We see… Looking forward to Danemark Croatia today. We will know more about Croatia. The Danes are not that great but they do put up fights 🙂

    1. Well realistically, it’s almost certainly going to be Ronaldo unless someone else has a spectacular World Cup and leads their team to victory.

      Neymar for Brazil, Hazard / de Bruyne for Belgium, Griezmann / Mbappe / Pogba for France, Silva / Sergio Ramos / de Gea for Spain, Modric for Croatia, Kane for England. Those are really the options.

      Some real long shots would be Cavani / Suarez for Uruguay, James for Colombia, or Eriksen for Denmark, but if their team actually won the WC it would certainly be possible…

      If Egypt had done better, Salah probably would have been on the list.

      Players like Lukaku and Diego Costa are just too maligned reputationally to win it, no matter how much they score.

      Unfortunately, it’s really just a popularity contest and it’s going to have to be someone who plays for a major (big money) club team that had significant success this year

      1. Out of curiosity (and during halftime), I took a quick look at the history of Ballon D’Or winners.

        Of the players receiving multiple votes during the history of the award, we are ties for second with France behind only Germany.

        Germany has 4 winners (Beckenbauer, Rummenigge, Muller and Matthaus), we have 3 (Cruyff, Van Basten and Gullit), and France has 3 (Platini, Kopa and Zidane).

        While obviously players like Messi and Ronaldo have each won 5 individually, Cruyff and van Basten are still tied for third with 3 each.

        The takeaway for me is that (other than Germany) no European country has produced so many great talents over the years as we have.

        Hopefully our next generation of greats (and potential Ballon D’Or winners) will arrive very soon!

        1. How about rewarding ethos in and out of the field for a change? I mean everyone is watching soccer, our kids do. Is Christiano Ronaldo the type of person you want your kids to lookup to? Today the technical differences and capabilities are narrower than ever. How about we start rewarding ethos, effort, fair play etc… Why reward an ego maniac, who cries every chance for another “gift” and can’t live without constant attention to the terms of “look at me”

          Why not give this award to someone like Dirk Kuyt? Or Andreas Granqvist? Or Kasper Schmeichel? or Sergei Ignashevich ? or Akinfeef?

          Let’s start rewarding something that has a real value as a role model. After all even in the field that ego maniac biatch doesn’t worth a dime anymore

    1. This sideways passing gets boring real fast. They keep doing the same thing over and over again.

      Russia is playing for penalties. They are feeling Akinfeev will do better than De Gea.

  6. Watching this 2018 edition of Spain is like listening to a metronome on its slowest possible setting.

    Russia has no business competing with them, and yet we’re at 1-1 in the 80th minute

  7. Spain is subbing out all of their scorers. Interesting…

    Meanwhile, I haven’t seen Russia’s number 10 make a decent touch on the ball

    How is this game in extra time?

  8. They just said possession during the game was 75/25 in Spain’s favor.

    I must’ve missed the quarter of the game when Russia had the ball

  9. loved to see Ineasta going in vein….Just beause of charles puyol and Casious Toe they took a WC from us…
    Spain divers…Good bye………….

    1. I have to agree on the hate for the divers. Russia proved it is the size of the fight in the dog.

      Good job by Kuipers our Dutch referee and one of the best ever. He doesn’t buy theatrics. Good job in 2nd half of extra time when Ramos and co blackmailed for a “penalty”. Go back to Real Theshit where you are used to that idiot.

  10. My son just sent me a tweet:

    One of Russia, Croatia, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Colombia and England will be in the World Cup final. Let that sink in for a little while

          1. no worries, at all. Simply stating my opinion, and totally respect yours. To elaborate just a bit, this year I think Real Madrit played very good. But the penalty against Juve and the judo from Ramos are what I can’t stand. At the end of the day, there is spectacle, tech abilities and ethos. And we all have preferences. Being part Dutch, and having watched the 1978 live… I can’t tolerate this shiat…

            Anyhow my friend, I will not hide that I love Sweden been there many times and I wish you good luck and a great game on Tuesday.

          2. Thks Demi. I don’t feel any passion for the Swiss team. Sure, I’ll be happy for them to reach the quarters (last time was in … 1954, lol), but I’d be happier to see an entertaining team win (and France lose against anybody).

  11. Eriksen getting more involved as well.

    Poulsen has looked dangerous too

    This looks like it’s going to take some individual brilliance or a big mistake to keep this from going to penalties as well

  12. I wonder how many times Croatia will need to be sent home after the first direct elimination game for them to realize they need to play to win?

    Bring back Davor Suker.

    1. the rule has been changed. can’t give direct red card if it’s a penalty and the defender going for the ball, no matter what other circumstances are (last man, clear goalscoring chance)
      the replay clearly showed that Zanka slightly got the ball.

      yes, it’s strange.

    1. HA HA …No Belgium will make it…COz mark wilmots is not the coach…i would 100 if it was wilmots they wont even come this much…Wilmots was their Danny Blind in 2014…Martinez is very good coach…

  13. Surely this will mark the end of “boring tica taca ” I’m so happy that Spain are out, 1119 passes for what? Nothing!
    They have not evolved as a Nation, they will need a rebuild now just like we do, I bet they try and copy us again.
    I was very disappointed in Croatia’s game today, Denmark had the better of the match and are very unlucky to be going home. A gripping game non the least, what great saves by both keepers and Modric showed massive courage to step up and take his second penalty after missing earlier.
    Russsia will be flying now, with the nation sweeping them towards glory, they will be hard to beat.

    I’m really looking forward to tonight, to see if Brazil will go to the next level of play or fizzle out like the others, I have no idea what will happen.

    Great World Cup so far!

  14. Russia….Never been a football nation and never will be. Their ugly technicless football was a joke to watch. However, they were inspired by their hungry and alcohol-fueled nation. After the game most people in Moscow wrote on their cars “Spain is my Penis” and were very happy about their flat jokes and victory of their clueless team. Well, let hungry Russians to be happy for their temporary success, at least something for a mealless breakfast or may be a dinner. Sanction-suffocated people deserve some light in their gloomy life. I just feel pity that sometime ago mighty Spain collapsed so miserably on the hand of the team that does not know how to play football. From the beginning of the WC it was clear that Spain, despite their excellent qualification campaign, was not in good shape. Not sure what exactly affected their campaign but it was not the the team that could fight for WC title. Their loss against Russians resembled me a demise of Rome empire against attacks of barbarians…Very sorry to watch that. Even when you lose, you have to lose with dignity. Spain did not show any sign of desire to fight, and got what they deserved.

    I was a bit disappointed by Croatia. I have highly rated this team but against Denmark entire team looked very tired and uninspired. I am again and again get convinced that it is wrong to give players rest during the tournament. You have to keep a momentum. Remember, EC-2008 when Marco van Basten rested many players prior to 1/4 game with Russians and how Dutch looked poor and uninspired…Thanks God that Croatia won. I do not have anything against Scandinavian countries but their opportunistic football drives me crazy. I hope Sweden will be out soon too.

    I still believe Brazil, France. Croatia, and England are the best teams in this tournament. Eventually, if Brazil passes Mexico, they will collide with France (might be wrong). Uruguay is a good team too but they are less deep than the above-mentioned ones. So far I truly enjoy this WC and looking forward to a debut of our new Oranje in coming Euro-2020 qualification and also Nations League.

  15. Russia did play ugly but they did what they had to do to win. I am not a fan of parking the bus but teams do use it effectively from time to time.

    As you mentioned, Spain were not in a good shape coming into the tournament. The coaching change drama also didn’t help. Despite their 80% possession, they did not create that many chances. They didn’t counter-attack fast when they got the Russians out of position. They tried everything through the flanks. There was no plan B!

    1. I think this Belgium has no chance… but ok soccer ball is round anything can happen. It will be a little more than Japan for Brazil but ….

      1. What is his deal? Does he just step back and defer to Hazard and Lukaku?

        He should be the difference maker for this Belgium team, but he’s pretty much been innocuous the whole tournament.

  16. Germany, Argentina, Portugal and Spain gone so early, it’s a pity Netherlands did not qualified this time…. 🙁

    What KNVB was thinking with Danny Blind…

    We should win it this time.

    1. I agree. When I look at that lower bracket with Russia, Croatia, Sweden, Switzerland, Colombia and England, there really could not have been a better opportunity to reach the final again.

      I may regret saying this, but in all honesty, it would be slightly disappointing to win the World Cup with this current 2018 Dutch team, after being so close so many other times with so much greater talent.

      When we do win, I want it to be glorious!

      1. Yes.
        If only we have 2014 squad + Van Gaal in this worldcup 🙁

        especially we already taken care Brazil in the last 2 world cup (2010 & 2014).

  17. What a performance by Japan! And kudos to Belgium for a fantastic come back. Martinez did a great tactical changes. But Belgium will not go further. They are still vulnerable in the back and Brazil will take a very good care of them.

    1. I would love to see a wide-open Brazil vs Belgium game — just all out attack. I’m actually afraid that Belgium will oblige but Brazil will not.

      I think Martinez has actually done a pretty good job with them, and if he can get the front line clicking they can be very dangerous. At this point though, I think I’d prefer Batshuayi to Lukaku because he’s so much more mobile and dynamic. Hazard and Mertens aren’t wings who cross the ball, and so they seem ill-suited to playing with Lukaku as a big, aerial target.

      1. another thing Belgium needs to do is playing Vertonghen as left wing back — replacing Carrasco — and put either Vermaelen/Boyata as left CB. Japan right sided players was able to bypass them so many times.

  18. Evryone is competing for World cup…but Neymar has something different in his mind…The Oscar thats what his target is..i am convinced..

  19. TBH, Neymar was much much less theatrical against Mexico. Maybe you all should also factor in that:

    – he has the most fouls against this tournament

    – somebody broke his frigging vertebra 4 years ago

    so chill out 😉

  20. I can’t understand the teams that reach the round of 16, then decide to pile on Xanax for their game. How many like this have qualified in history?

    1. I think the managers and players have a subconscious understanding that if they can take a knock-out game into extra time, or even possibly penalties, then they can’t be blamed for the outcome.

      If you take the conservative approach, play things by the book, and ultimately fall short, what more could you have done?

      Unfortunately, that’s the exact attitude that can make this sport so dull and dreary.

      Which is why teams like our traditional Oranje teams, Brazil in its era, and other attacking oriented teams are so much more fun to watch. They take chances, they accept risk and they try to win rather than avoid losing.

      These are the teams that neutral fans embrace and why there is such a strong following for our Dutch team around the world

  21. Colombia has been atrocious today. I would prefer that we not ever play like them.

    Their strategy has to be to take England to PKs and watch them self destruct…

      1. I actually liked the morning game because it had a lot of chess. It is just different.

        I also think that despite the weak bracket, the games are good not so much from the soccer technique point of view but from the emotional.

        I also think Croatia and Russia will kill each other to win and that makes it exciting. at least IMO.

        As per the bland spectacle in the morning I think both countries need better coaches. Van Gaal could do miracles on both sides. Augustinsson and Forsberg can dribble inside a phone booth. Check how both use their left leg for reclaiming the ball from an opponent while pressing with their right.

  22. AD Poll… Who Dutch people believe has the highest chance of winning.

    France 38%
    Brazil 20%
    Belgium 19%
    England 7%
    Uruguay/Kroatia 6%
    Russia 2%
    Sweden 1%

  23. Before this year, England’s most recent success at the World Cup was in 1986, 1990, 2002 and 2006. Three quarterfinals and one fourth place.

    In 1986, the World Cup was in Mexico. Gary Lineker won the Golden Boot but England lost in the quarterfinals to Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal and his dribbling run through seven English defenders. Argentina went on to win the World Cup.

    In 1990, the World Cup was in Italy. We tied them in the opening round and both advanced. England beat Belgium in the round of 16 and Cameroon in the quarterfinals, both in extra time. Then they lost in the semi-finals to West Germany on penalties, who went on to win the World Cup (we lost to them as well one round earlier).

    In 2002, the World Cup was in Japan and South Korea. England beat Argentina in the group stage and then Denmark in the round of 16, but lost to Brazil in the quarterfinals, who went on to win the World Cup.

    In 2006, the World Cup was held in Germany. England won their group, beat Ecuador in the round of 16 and then lost to Portugal in the quarterfinals on penalties.

    Those first two English teams featured Lineker, Bryan Robson, David Platt, Chris Waddle, John Barnes, and Stuart Pearce, and in 1990 Paul Gascoigne joined in.

    The later two English teams featured David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, and Ashley Cole and in 2006 Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney joined in.

    All four of those English teams were WAY better than this 2018 edition. In today’s game, England was awarded a free kick near the box against Colombia (a great goal scoring opportunity) and I wracked my brain to try to figure out who would take it. Other than Kane, I couldn’t think of one player in their squad who should take it – Kieran Trippier eventually did.

    If they make the World Cup final with this group, I won’t even know what to say…

    1. I think you are underestimating this English side. what doesnt strike in this English side is their versatility and this is what I would say is stronghold for them.Dier, Henderson, Walker,Sterling Young, Lingard, Rashford,welbeck. though they dont have technically gifted players but if you look at every position, they have players who balance the team going back and forward and fit in the formation perfectly . this wasn’t a feature in other generations.I would say this is the best English team from overall team point of view. you cant tell any weaknesses in this team and even on the bench.

      the only downfall I see of this english side is that of plan B.should there be a need for a different approach to that of 3-4-3 it will be balance again for Southage and whether he can find the same balance is as in 3-4-3 will be question mark. when Dier replaced Alli I thought Southgate will revert Back to 4-2-3-1 but instead Dier slotted back into 3 man defense and Columbia took advantage of this by sending on two strikers which did eventually lead to the goal. could have gone wrong for them but they saw it through.

    2. The reason why this doesnt seem like a better side is because yhese players havent had time to establish their reputation yet but in a few years people will be going wow this is a really good team. Thats just a possibility

  24. Mitchell dijks has completed a low profile move to Italian side Bologna and my bet keep a tab on this guy.His stay at Ajax indeed was ruined by the ever changing coaches within a short span after De Boer left. Bosz wanted to mould and shifted Sinkgraven to LB. Under Kiezer, frenkie was shifted to CB, with Wober and Viegrever both covering at CB and LB while Under Ten Hag, the hiehiarcy decided to buy Tagliafico.Timely and a wise move given he will get more playing time at Bologna in a more competitive league. Dont have to remain about the road that van dijk took.
    Kevin Diks has also returned to fiorentina and is actively involved in pre season training. Rick Karsdorp also has been active at Roma pre season camp and serie A could be good stepping ground for these guys.
    I was jus thinking, the pool of talents with the new season starting will be quiet especially if all start with a bang.

    1. Depay (Lyon), Locadia(Brighton & Hove), Groeneveld ( club brugge),Zivkovic (KV Oostende), El Ghazi (Lille), Sinkgraven ( Ajax), stengs (AZ), Kluivert (Roma)

      Bruma (Wolfburg) De Vrij (inter) Van Dijk ( Liverpool) De Ligt (Ajax), Karsdorp (Roma), Tete (Lyon) jairo Riedewald ( Crystal Palace) Nathan Ake ( Bounemouth)

      Look at this pool of talents minus the midfielders. they jus need a good one season of football in their respective clubs.there is no reason after this why NT cant win thr euros or WC in coming years.

  25. I was disappointed with the England Colombia game, it was a real throw back to boring World Cup matches of the past and not in line with the vast majority of exciting matches that we have seen in this World Cup. The relentless badgering of the referee was pathetic from both sides, how could the Colombians complain about the rugby tackle on Kane? It took 85 mins before Colombia decided to play football and they go and score, why not play from the start?
    Way too many cheap fouls in this game, not enjoyable to watch at all, England will have to do much better to go any further I can only recall about 3 scoring opportunities in the whole match for them, that won’t be enough against Sweden.
    I’m still solid with Brazil, they should do Belgium and I think Uruguay might just upset the frogs!

    1. Amen. I still have hope Croatia will be entertaining, but fear they will again refuse to play. Against an energized Russia, they will lose if they don’t step up from their Denmark game.

      Well, let’s hope somebody beats the frogs soon and we can see tears on Griezmann’s puppy face.

  26. If I was Martinez, I wouldnt start lukaku vs Brazil. Mertens should start upfront, de Bryne and Hazard behind him and dembele as deep lying midfielder with witsel.shutting lukaku becomes easier if given no space.dont think he will have much luck vs Silva and Mirinda.

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