This World Cup has delivered: dynamite games (62% decided by one goal), no team looks unbeatable, two untraditional juggernauts (Belgium and Croatia), penalties penalties penalties… It should get even better in the knockouts, and what a start: a Messi – Cristiano doubleheader. You could argue about their greatness compared to predecessors, but Lio and CR7 occupy a hallowed place in the history of tax evasion in Spain.
In the end it’s all about the teams, and the opponents are tough. France is crazy stacked and Uruguay is foie gras—not chopped liver. Form could be a crucial factor, as games now cannot finish in ties. First comes the two extra 15’ periods, then penalty shootout if still tied. It’s an improper way to decide a fútbol game, but it’s dramatic AF. Although I don’t think this could be topped:
FRANCE vs ARGENTINA
9:00 AM Central – Kazan
Don T: I don’t see weakness in France. Those folks have an arrogance that is disgustingly genuine. The team, however, could stand to have more swagger–the constructive kind. Giroud’s got the douche kind covered.
France has yet to play to the level of their players’ talent, which is what is usually said of Argentina. Which is generous: Los Albicelestes are a crap team coached by a loudmouth fraud. But against Nigeria, the Argentinian defense got dependable through new goalkeeper Franco Armani, and more repellent by Javier Mascherano
The rumor is that Sampaoli is being kept for appearances’ sake and it is the players who are running the team. There is some credence to that, as Messi was seen speaking to teammates in the tunnel for several seconds. It’s bedlam. But Argentina already hit bottom against Croatia and, to the players’ credit, clawed out. France… I dunno; I haven’t seen much conviction in their play.
Predicción: France 2 : 2 Argentina–BUT Argentina goes through on PKs. As the game goes on, France may crack under pressure, again. Just like the Euro 2016 final. Book it.*
* I hope it happens 🙏🏽
Hippo: It is my non-esteemed opinion that France is still France, and that the Peronist Sheep Fuckers are just extremely lucky as fuck to be here. Les Frogs have too much firepower for the Argies to deal with, and strength in midfield and defence to frustrate Wee Messi.
Predicción: France 3 : 0 Argentina.
Balls: It appears that Messi has finally done what he should have done a long time ago and taken over the management of this team. All the Spanish media outlets are talking about how the lineup for the last game was basically
I’ve mentioned before that I love when individuals and teams go into IDGAF mode. Messi and Argentina seem to be there.
On the other side, France has been perfectly cromulent, but hasn’t excited me one bit. It’s still weird that they have essentially decided to have a French Colonial team. If all these guys played for their home countries in Africa, African fútbol might be in better shape.
Predicción: A 2-1 Argentina win. Most likely in extra time.
Litre_Cola: First thing is first, I have money on France to win the whole thing but I want Messi vs Ronaldo with all of my heart. Having said that, on paper the French Colonies team is better than the West Falkland Islanders. The Colonists had nothing to do in their last match against the Danes and should come at the Argies with a lot of pace. The trio of Mbappe, Griezmann and Giroud are starting to click whenever they are on the field together and I have found the back four of Argentina a little shaky. Thought was going in to this tourney that they wanted Deschamps to fail so they could appoint newly jobless Zinedine Zidane as their manager. I wonder how far Deschamps will have to go in the tournament to save his job?
I love Messi, he is the best, but finally he has taken over this team. He needs to show that fire and not just be the silent leader. His teammates responded and he needs to continue to be vocal in order for them to progress. I also would like to watch first hand the full demise of Maradona. If they keep pulling games off late there is no way he makes it until the end of the tourney.
Prediction: France 2 Argentina 1 I have been so wrong all tournament long.
Wakezilla: Anyone who is a fan of lesser footy, sports, greatness or the underdog, has to be rooting for an Argentina and Portugal victory today. The potentiality of having two of the greatest lesser footy players of all time playing against each other at the World’s Greatest tournament is something that must happen. It’s never happened before, and it’ll likely never happen again. I don’t even care if the refs blatantly favour Argentina. Messi vs Ronaldo in the quarterfinals has to happen. If the winner of that quarterfinals gets to play Neymar in the semis, I think we can alter the current, darkest timeline to something that could be pure beauty.
For this to happen, Messi is going to have to perform like he did against Ecuador, where he scored a hatrick, resulting in Argentina qualifying for the World Cup. He’s going to need Augero and Higuain to both step up (when they’re on the field), goalkeeper Armani to have the game of his life, and the defense to not look like a dumpster fire.
While that extensive list has to go right for Argentina to advance, their one saving grace is that France hasn’t exactly looked like a tournament favorite in their first three games. France has looked so uninspired, French media and their fans were starting to call for Deschamps’ head after the second game because France has not even come close to living up to their potential. France drawing Denmark in the third match is only fanning the flames. I’m not entirely sure why France has been so lackadaisical this tournament, but I hope it continues so it gives Argentina a fighting chance to advance.
Predicción: I’m currently of the mantra that if you see it, it will happen. So, I’m going to say Messi scores two and Mascherano scores one, to give Argentina a 3-2 win
PORTUGAL vs URUGUAY
1:00 pm Central – Sochi
Don T: Uruguay enters the knockout stage with only one yellow card (Betancur), and 33 total fouls. 12 of the 16 teams left have more fouls than Uruguay. For those still clinging to that “dirty play” narrative, I finish my Fair Play assessment with this:
Portugal started the tournament with that amazing 3-3 against Spain, narrowly beat Morocco, and then barely survived a tense 1-1 against Iran. Not exactly impressive, if you think about it. Uruguay, however, has been improving since the tournament started. La Celeste was a buzzsaw in the last game, finally clicking with its renewed midfield—kids in their early 20s who ran expertly all over the field in the 3-0 win against Russia. But few care about it. It’s all Cristiano Cristiano Cristiano, plus the possible game with Argentina. It’s an actual Jordan – LeBron game, I GET IT. But treating Uruguay as roadkill… I’ll just say it made my List:
Excerpt from SLIGHTS2018.doc
Uruguay’s goalie is Fernando Muslera, who prevailed in two penalty shootouts: at the Round of 8 against Ghana in South Africa 2010 and at the 2011 Copa América against Argentina, which was the host. In this World Cup, he has three clean sheets in three games. Total boss.
Suárez already has two goals and Cavani at last got his first. They’re starting to get hot. Captain Diego Godin, whose club is Atlético Madrid, knows Cristiano very well. And Uruguayans play with abandon:
As an Uruguay fan, this game does not worry me at all.
Predicción: Uruguay 2 : 1 Portugal
Hippo: This one is a little tougher, as Fighty Bitey really got their merde together late in the Group stage. They might be a legitimate contender again. That said, Ronaldo is Ronaldo, absolutely a force of nature right now. Is very hard to bet against him.
Predicción: Uruguay 2 : 3 Portugal (winner coming in 2nd half of extra time, say 112th minute)
Wakezilla: My god this is going to be a wonderfully physical game. Hopefully Ronaldo didn’t blow his scoring load early in this tournament and still has magic for at least one more game. As long as Ronaldo is clicking and carries Portugal, they have a chance. Thanks to their group being fairly strong, Portugal feels more battle tested than Uruguay. Hopefully that means something, as Uruguay is a tough team.
Uruguay played like most tournament favorites–they did just enough to win. One thing that they have going for them is that they built on each game. What’s scary is that Suarez is starting to heat up. If he continues to get hot, he could terrorize Portugal’s aging defense. Cavani has been pretty quiet this tournament, but based on his skillset, you would think he is due to breakout soon. Hopefully it won’t be until he returns to PSG before he plays well again.
Predicción: When talking about Ronaldo, Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates said: “We will mark him with the same respect we mark everyone, despite him being a superstar. You don’t prepare a match just looking at one player.”
Assuming he’s not full of shit, that just spells disaster. As a result, I’m going to say Ronaldo scores 2, and Portugal defeats Uruguay 2-1 in a good old fashioned brawl.
Balls: This is one hell of an even matchup. Both sides could hurt each other, figuratively and literally. To execute a historically stereotypical but still accurate assessment, I’d say this is the matchup of the tough macho guys from South America against the European pretty boys with the skill and flair.
In that scenario, who wins?
Predicción: Uruguay 2 Portugal 1. Fuck Pepe.
Litre_Cola: Fuck Pepe. I hope Suarez bites his dick off. It will be right after the 1st game that I will know who I want to win. If Messi gets through the French then I will want Portugal to win. We deserve this game. If the French win I will hope Ronaldo misses 2 penalties and Pepe gets hit by a zamboni. I am very excited to watch this fixture their will more diving than a spring break in Acapulco. I guarantee that with these two teams that there will be at least 5 comical dives.
Predicción: Portugal 2 Uruguay 1 Pepe draws a foul in the box in extra time and Ronaldo cashes it in.