World Cup Preview: Mexico vs Brazil Predictions & Betting

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Brazil vs Mexico - World Cup Preview, Predictions & Best Bets

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Brazil vs Mexico Betting Preview

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Brazil v Mexico | 2007-06-27 | Copa America | Betting Preview

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2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C Preview [Honduras, Jamaica, El Salvador, Curaçao]

HONDURAS , via fanolato2

About

Introduction

The current ‘successful’ era of Honduras football can be pinpointed to the 2007 Gold Cup. Reinaldo Rueda’s first tournament in charge saw him beat Mexico in the group stage, with THAT famous kiss. While Honduras did not win, there was hope again after a disastrous 2006 World cup qualifying campaign, where Honduras didn’t even make the final Hexagonal. Honduras then qualified, with Rueda in charge, to South Africa 2010 (Thank you Bornstein) for the first time since 1982, and then with another Colombian in Luis Suarez, they made it back again in 2014 to Brazil. Both performances at the actual World Cup left a lot to be desired. While losing to France is expected, the final group stage match in 2014 vs Switzerland left a sour taste.
For 2018, after a disastrous Hernan Medford UNCAF tournament stint, Honduras turned to Costa Rica’s 2014 miracle worker, Jose Luis Pinto. Pinto then had disappointing showings in the 2015 Gold Cup and qualified to the Hexagonal under a lot of criticism of the team’s play, particularly the defending of crosses. Once in the Hex, despite USA’s destruction of Honduras in San Jose, and despite one defensive mistake after another in late game situations dealing with crosses, Honduras still found themselves in the playoff vs Australia for the 2018 World Cup final spot, by making a spirited comeback vs Mexico in the final hexagonal game, who up to then had not lost in qualifying. The playoff just set the pain back a month though, as Honduras played two very sad games vs Australia, both at home and away, meaning that Honduras would not be the first Central American team to qualify to three World Cups in a row.
Now Honduras looks to another foreigner, Fabian Coito, the Uruguayan who has been a long standing disciple of Oscar Tabarez and manager of the Uruguayan U-20s. With only one friendly under his belt, there is a lot to learn on how his teams will approach this Gold Cup.

Manager and Squad

Manager: Fabián Coito (Uruguay)

FINAL 23 MAN SQUAD

POTENTIAL STARTING XI

 R. Castillo M. Chirinos A. López A. Elis L. Garrido B. Acosta E. Izaguirre M. Figueroa (C) H. Figueroa B. Beckeles L. López 

Players to Watch

Alberth Elis (RW)
The Houston Dynamo winger and forward,has been rumoured with moves to Europe the past couple of years. He is pacy but strong, and is a physical mismatch for many fullbacks. His decision making can be an issue. Very unselfish in the box, often to a fault, he will have to become a more decisive finisher for Honduras to make a leap in this Gold Cup. He will be looking for that move to Europe, and there is no better place than at an international tournament.
Michaell Chirinos (LW)
The small and skillful winger currently playing in Liga MX for Lobos BUAP (Now Bravos de Ciudad Juarez), on Loan from Olimpia. He has 6 goals and 4 assists for a team that is more likely fighting against relegation than for a trophy. The good production and his incisiveness will provide a different kind of weapon than Elis on the opposite wing. As Chirinos is better at keeping the ball close to his feet, and at combining with teammates, Honduras will look to trust often in counters but also when the smaller sides of this tournament attempt to stifle Honduras’ attack with numbers behind the ball.
Henry Figueroa (CB)
The center back, who was heavily criticized during the 2018 WC qualifying campaign, will need to step into leadership for Honduras during this Gold Cup. Maynor Figueroa his likely partner at the back is showing his age, and the Motagua youth product will have to take it upon himself to ensure that defense is quick when balls are played behind them, and strong when defending crosses. Currently a starter at Alajuelense of the Costa Rican league, Henry isn’t great on the ball like Maynor is and has been, but he is a good reader of the game, and is absolutely fearless going into tackles. He can exposed against the most skillful players on 1v1 situations, but he has great recovery speed. He will want to maybe make a jump to MLS or Europe, and this could be the platform that propels him that way.

Points of Discussion

  • Can Coito improve defensive performances?

    In the 2018 qualifiers, Honduras let in late goals at Panama (90th minute by Roman Torres), vs USA (85th Minute Bobby Wood), at Costa Rica (90th + 5 minute by Kendall Waston). All those goals came from crosses that were not dealt with or lack of concentration. It turned out to be the achilles heel of the national team. Can Coito ensure better solidity? He might have to make some changes, which leads to…
  • How long can Maynor Figueroa and Emilio Izaguirre start in defense?

    Figueroa, the former Wigan Athletic and Hull City defender now at MLS, is both the captain of the team and was one of the most scrutinized players for not qualifying. His decline in athleticism has exposed his bad positioning issues, and rivals have taken advantage of this. But as the captain and leader of the national team, it will be a tough decision to bench him. Similar with Izaguirre who is one of the emotional leaders of the team, and has so much European experience with Celtic. But at the Glasgow side, Izaguirre has not been chosen often since he returned from his short time in the Saudi league. Leading to the question on whether he is being chosen on what he can do or what he has done for the national team.
  • Can Honduras finally win a major trophy?

    Honduras has only once won the CONCACAF Championship/Gold Cup, and it was at home in a tournament that doubled as World Cup qualifying. Since 1981, Honduras has not lifted any actual hardware. There have been feel good stories, like in 1991 losing out in the final of the first Gold Cup to the USA in penalties, or the 2001 Copa America third place in what was Honduras’ first and only participation in that tournament. Honduras is thirsty for a trophy, and with key absences in the Mexican side, plus a renewed spirit from the new manager, Honduras might have a reason to hope this summer.

JAMAICA , via kauliflower_

About

  • Nickname(s): Reggae Boyz
  • CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 11
  • Best Finish: Runner Ups (2015, 2017)
  • FIFA Ranking: 53 (5th in CONCACAF)

Introduction

Jamaican Football has not been this exciting since the late 90s when current head coach, then top striker, Theodore "Tappa" Whitmore and Co. lead the nation to a first World Cup appearance at France 98'. After various false revivals this crop of Jamaican footballers is arguably the best in two decades. After being outplayed in two Gold Cup finals in a row the Reggae Boyz will be looking to make it third time the charm with another deep run expected by a team full or experience, talent and youth.
Beating the USA in a recent friendly on the eve of the tournament (albeit a weaker USA starting 11) will surely give a mental boost to the players and management in their hopes to repeat the exploits of 2015 and 2017. Many key players have been retained in all positions from the previous Gold Cup campaign with a few fresh faces, some long overdue.

Manager and Squad

Manager: Theodore Whitmore (Jamaica)

FINAL 23 MAN SQUAD

POTENTIAL STARTING XI

 D. Mattocks B. Brown P. Vassell L. Bailey M. Hector K. Lambert K. Lawrence S. Francis D. Lowe A. Powell A. Blake (C) 

Players to Watch

Andre Blake (GK)
Goalkeeper for the current MLS Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union has been a key players for club and country for the past seasons. After suffering a heartbreaking injury in last tournament's final (NSFW?), he will be hoping to lead the team to another final as captain and custodian.
Peter-Lee Vassell (AM)
Recently drafted by Los Angeles FC in the MLS Draft, Vassel is a creative midfielder not often seen among Jamaican youths. Although struggling for game time at high fliers LA FC, when he puts on the national jersey he shows the potential, vision and creativity that convinced LA FC to acquire the service of the young midfielder. He can use this tournament to convince Bob Bradley he deserves a starting spot at Los Angeles.
Leon Bailey (RW)
The Bayer Leverkusen winger has finally committed to the Reggae Boyz after stand-offs with the Jamaican Football Federation and his management (His Step-father) and himself (situation is too long to explain in this post). His pace and skills on the wing and his eye for goal may be what gives Jamaica an edge in this year's Gold Cup. If he's on his game, he could be a top 5 player in CONCACAF.

Points of Discussion

  • Third time's the charm?

    With the USA seemingly still suffering from demons of that warm night in Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico with a solid but not spectacular team, and Canada and Costa Rice with slightly aging squads, all things are aligning for a first nation to win the Gold Cup since Canada in 2000. Jamaica have their fates in their own hands and should not fear any of the teams in CONCACAF.
  • Leon Bailey

    Leon Patrick Bailey. Where to start. Born in Jamaica, he was taken to Europe by his step-father along with his step-brother with the intent to find European clubs for his then minor children. After arriving in Europe and shocking scouts of various teams (KRC Genk of Belgium a front runner) he and his family had to return to Jamaica but that did not stop the Baileys and after a couple 'not so legal' encounters, a verbal agreement with Ajax FC and a police raid, Leon Bailey eventually signed for AS Trencin as a youth player, eventually moving to KRC Genk as his first professional contract. Bailey won the Belgian Young Player of the Year in his first season at Genk and attracted many clubs, halfway into his second season in Belgium, Bayer Leverkusen came and he signed in Janaury 2017. His time in Germany has had many ups and downs but he has shown his skills and aggressive dribbling in a very up and down Leverkusen team. After failing to be eligible for England and seemingly burying the hatchet after 2 or so years of conflict with the JFF, Bailey is donning the Black, Green and Gold. However, all this turmoil the worst thing that could happen is him not showing up in this tournament, after all this is his performance at the senior international level.

EL SALVADOR via Currul

About

  • Nickname(s): La Selecta, Los Cuscatlecos, La Azul y Blanco
  • CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 11 Times
  • Best Finish: Quarter-finals (2002, 2003, 2011, 2013, 2017)
  • FIFA Ranking: 71 (9th in CONCACAF)

Introduction

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, it was the first country from that region to qualify to a World Cup (Mexico 1970). Twelve years later ‘La Selecta’ would qualify for their second (and last to date) World Cup in Spain 1982 where they scored their first goal in a World Cup ik the first game where they lost to Hungary in a historical game that ended 10-1. The Salvadorian National Team has won the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean games in two occasions (1954 and 2002). El Salvador had some troubles qualifying to the 2019 edition of the World Cup after a shocking lost against Bermuda but they earned their ticket in their last game of the Concacaf Nations League after beating Jamaica 2-0 at the Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador.
Soccer is the most popular sport in the country even though the country have not qualified to the World Cup in 37 years. The Cuscatlecos enter this Gold Cup in great form and in a winning streak of 5 games in a row after beating Haiti twice (1-0), Guatemala (3-1), Jamaica (2-0) and Peru (2-0).

Manager and Squad

Manager: Carlos de los Cobos (Mexico)

FINAL 23 MAN SQUAD

POTENTIAL STARTING XI

 N. Bonilla J. Alas M. Monterrosa D. Cerén Ó. Cerén N. Orellana J. Jiménez R. Domínguez I. Mancía B. Tamacas H. Hernández (C) 

Players to Watch

Óscar Cerén (RM)
The younger of the Ceren brothers, probably the player with most protection in the country at the moment. He was an important part for Alianza in order to reach 6 finals in a row. Rumors had linked him to MLS before so we’ll see if the Gold Cup is the tournament that makes him migrate to another league.
Narciso Orellana (DM)
The best midfielder in the country at the moment, key player in Alianza too, has the quality to migrate to another league and Alianza had received offer from Europe for him but the money wasn’t right for them. The 24 year old will be essential for the midfield in El Salvador for years to come. Because his dimunitive 5'7" (170 cm) stature, he retains the ball easily and his aggressive style of play is something to look out for.
Nelson Bonilla (ST)
Currently the most successful Salvadorian playing in a foreign league after scoring 25 goals in 32 games in 2018 for the Sukhothai in Thailand, Bangkok United paid more than 1 million dollars to sign him. Wirh 14 goals in 40 games, a lot of the hope for goals in El Salvador is on Bonilla’s back.

Points of Discussion

  • Momentum!

    For the first time in a long time Salvadorians are expecting and with hope that the team will perform good in the tournament after showing a good style and game the friendlies played, who knows maybe this year will be the first time that ‘La Selecta’ reaches more than Quarter Finals in the Gold Cup.
  • Lack of goals in the past

    El Salvador has struggled finding a reliable goal scorer for the team after the match fixing ban in 2012 that took out of professional soccer 11 players from the national team and gave temporal bans to a couple more including Rodolfo Zelaya who at that moment was the starting forward and the player with most talent in the team. Can Bonilla, Rugamas or Portillo finally fill the shoes of the great Raul Diaz Arce, Ronald Cerritos and Rudis Corrales who were the last great goal scorers in La Selecta.
  • Can de los Cobos make the match fixing ghost go away?

    Even though is being 7 years after the ban most of the fans have not forgotten about it, Carlos de los Cobos was the coach when the Match Fixing happened and no one really know how much he knew about everything or even if he knew anything a all, that was one of the most painful memories in recent time for Salvadorian fans as the team were in a good route to qualify to the 2010 World Cup but made some questionable mistakes in key games that later on were found as fixed. We’ll see if this generation is the one that finally is going to throw away that bad memory for Salvadorian fans.

CURAÇAO , via ArawakFC

About

  • Nickname(s): n/a
  • CONCACAF Gold Cup Appearances: 2
  • Best Finish: Group Stage (2017)
  • FIFA Ranking: 82 (15th in CONCACAF)

Introduction

Curaçao used to play as the Netherlands Antilles up until 2010. The only notable achievements being two 3rd place finishes in 1963 and ’69 in the old CONCACAF championship(1963-1989), which was the predecessor to the Gold Cup.
In 2010 that all changed as they gained their constituent country status. The “Curaçao Football Federation” was established in 2011, making it the youngest football federation in the world. In June 2015, Patrick Kluivert, who’s mother is from Curaçao, was brought in to coach the team and he started to raise the bar for the then mostly amateur team. With Kluivert’s pedigree, it was now possible to recruit professional players, playing in the Eredivisie, lower levels of the Dutch footballing pyramid and across other European leagues. The most notable players recruited at that time were Eloy Room(GK) and Leandro Bacuna(MF). In just one year, Kluivert managed to equal the amount of wins(6) the team managed from 2011-2014.
With much of the groundwork laid out by Kluivert, his successor, assistant coach Remco Becentini led the team to their first ever title in 2017, beating Jamaica to take the Caribbean Cup. The key player though in the final wasn’t any of the players born in the Netherlands, but it was Willemstad born and raised Elson Hooi, who netted a brace to secure Curaçao’s first triumph in its history as an autonomous nation. To give everyone an idea of the scale of the achievement, Curaçao went from being 183rd (lower than Aruba) in the FIFA rankings to 68th in a period of just 3 years.
The Gold Cup in 2017 wasn’t a success, having lost all 3 of their group stage matches to Jamaica, Mexico and El Salvador. However, the experience playing at such a tournament for the first time would prove to be invaluable for a team aspiring to become the smallest nation to reach the FIFA world cup.
Recently, the team participated in the CONCACAF nations league qualifiers which also doubled as qualifiers for the Gold Cup. Curaçao showed that they now belong in the upper tiers of CONCACAF, having seemingly outgrown most of the other Caribbean island nations.

Manager and Squad

Manager: Remko Bicentini (Netherlands)

FINAL 23 MAN SQUAD

POTENTIAL STARTING XI

 J. Arias E. Hooi R. Bonevacia G. Nepomuceno L. Bacuna M. Maria J. Carolina D. Lachman C. Martina (C) J. Gaari E. Room 

Players to Watch

Cuco Martina (RB/CB)
One of the most experienced players in the squad, having played in the Premier League and Eredivisie, he will be critical for organizing the team in defense and for overall motivation and moral. Together with Room, they have the Captain duties within the squad. While normally a right back, Becentini has used him in central defense as well.
Leandro Bacuna (CM)
Another experienced player in the Championship and Premier League, his presence and quality on the ball, but also his physicality will be needed in midfield. His skill and ability on the ball is miles ahead of most teams in the Caribbean region. His verstatility will also be of use, capable of playing quite literally anywhere in midfield and fullback if absolutely needed
Elson Hooi (LW)
Small, quick and versatile at 5'6" (67 cm). Was a key player for them in the Caribbean cup. If Hooi starts firing again, he is an incredible joy to watch and dangerous in attack.
And when I say quick, I mean QUICKKKK, can be a bit selfish with the ball at times but can skin defenders. Think of him as a shorter, less bulky Adama Traore

Points of Discussion

  • "Total Football" principles introduced by Patrick Kluivert

    Curaçao plays a possession game, building out from the back with ever present “triangles”. They need to take care of their defense, because it is not the most sound with only Martina having top level experience. Which is why Cuco Martina is selected to play center back at times. What they need to avoid at all cost, is an injury to goalkeeper and captain Eloy Room. The keeper position is the one with the least depth and if Room is out, they are left with one EFL League Two keeper and an amateur keeper from Curaçao’s own Vesta.
  • To close....

    Curaçao went from a mostly amateur side, to almost a full professional side in under a decade. They did this by hiring Kluivert and supporting him in trying to get Dutch born players with roots in Curaçao to choose to play for the national team. Players like Kuwas (who elected to not play this Gold Cup), Bacuna and Room all played for the Dutch youth sides. Looking at the future, there are also plenty of Curaçao born and Dutch born players of Curaçaoan descent currently playing for various youth sides in Europe. With proper coaching and infrastructure and the willingness to improve, I can’t bet against this side advancing passed the group stage of the Gold Cup and I can’t help but imagine if they can make the World Cup given that CONCACAF have two extra spots this time around from 2026 onward.
Tune in tomorrow when sardar_star will be posting Group D!

Don't forget to participate in the Predictions Game in the comments below!

PREVIOUS REVIEWS

GROUP A: Mexico, Canada, Martinique, Cuba

GROUP B: Costa Rica, Haiti, Nicaragua, Bermuda

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Team Preview: Argentina [2018 World Cup 13/32]

Welcome back to the /soccer World Cup preview series! Today, we're analyzing Argentina with the help of RiverPlate11 and amideabc!

Argentina

About

The Country

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is the eighth largest country in the world. It has a population of over 43 million people. The country has a large amount of Italian influence, as seen in its national team too.

History

Argentina are one of the few countries to win the World Cup multiple times. They did so in 1978 in Argentina, and 1986 in Mexico. They have also finished runners-up three times, including in 2014.

Group D

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Iceland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nigeria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Manager and Squad

Manager: Jorge Sampaoli
The most likely final 23 based on this article from La Nación newspaper. Sampaoli should confirm it Monday.
Position Name Country Club
GK Sergio Romero England Manchester United
GK Willy Caballero England Chelsea
GK Franco Armani Argentina River Plate
DEF Marcos Rojo England Manchester United
DEF Nicolás Otamendi England Manchester City
DEF Gabriel Mercado Spain Sevilla
DEF Federico Fazio Italy Roma
DEF Javier Mascherano China Hebei China Fortune
DEF Nicolás Tagliafico Netherlands Ajax
DEF Marcos Acuña Portugal Sporting
DEF Eduardo Salvio Portugal Benfica
MID Manuel Lanzini England West Ham
MID Ángel Di María France PSG
MID Cristian Pavón Argentina Boca Juniors
MID Lucas Biglia Italy Milan
MID Guido Pizarro Spain Sevilla
MID Éver Banega Spain Sevilla
MID Giovani Lo Celso France PSG
MID Ricardo Centurión Argentina Racing
FWD Lionel Messi Spain Barcelona
FWD Gonzalo Higuaín Italy Juventus
FWD Paulo Dybala Italy Juventus
FWD Sergio Agüero England Manchester City
The remaining 12 players on the preliminary squad:
Position Name Country Club
GK Nahuel Guzmán Mexico Tigres
DEF Ramiro Funes Mori England Everton
DEF Germán Pezzella Fiorentina Italy
DEF Cristian Ansaldi Italy Torino
MID Maximiliano Meza Argentina Independiente
MID Enzo Pérez Argentina River Plate
MID Leandro Paredes Russia Zenit
MID Rodgrigo Battaglia Portugal Sporting
MID Pablo Pérez Argentina Boca Juniors
FWD Diego Perotti Italy Roma
FWD Lautaro Martínez Argentina Racing
FWD Mauro Icardi Italy Inter
via RiverPlate11 and amideabc

Players to Watch

  1. Javier Mascherano. As Argentina's most capped player ever and having started regularly as far back as Germany in 2006, he brings reliability and other intangible qualities that other players are hard-pressed to replicate. Yet, in the year or so leading up to his move from Barcelona to China, he seemed to be losing a bit of his commanding presence on the pitch. Would it be right for him to start, or is he holding back the incorporation of a new generation of central midfielders?
  2. Éver Banega. Having featured prominently for Sampaoli and entering the tournament in better form than Mascherano or Biglia, his potential importance cannot be understated. Many tactical choices in the central midfield include both him and Mascherano (and Biglia, for that matter), so regardless of Sampaoli resolves this conundrum, Banega will have a non-trivial role.
  3. Nicolás Otamendi. Can he translate his stellar performances from club level to lead the defense of the national team? Or is he a sort of Gerard Piqué who needs a Puyol or Kompany to guide him?
  4. Gonzalo Higuaín. Primary scapegoat of Argentina's losses in three recent major tournament finals, will we see a new side of Pipita, or more of the same? He, along with several current and previous national team players, has been labeled "pecho frío" (literally "cold chest", as his heart doesn't beat hard enough while playing in and wearing the shirt of the national team); are goals the only way he can shake this label off?
via RiverPlate11 and amideabc

Potential Starting XI

FORMATION AND STARTERS
The more-or-less definite starters are Messi, Romero, Higuaín, Di María, and Otamendi. Mascherano is probably a starter, too, but it is unclear whether he would play as defender or defensive midfielder, itself likely contingent on the formation. Biglia is returning from injury, but both he and the medical staff are hopeful he will be fit for the first fixture against Iceland, in which case he will likely start, else probably Banega. Fazio is also a good bet for a starter, especially if Mascherano starts in midfield. Several possible formations, but for a starting XI let's suppose 4-2-3-1:
 Romero Mercado - Otamendi - Fazio - Rojo Mascherano - Biglia Lo Celso - Messi - Di María Higuaín 
Sampaoli has also played variations of 4-3-3, with Messi playing either with another attacking midfielder behind a single striker or by himself behind two strikers. He has also played three defenders in variants of 3-4-3 and 3-5-2, with attackers shaped similarly to the front three of the 4-3-3.
In sum, I am not sure what formation to expect.
GOALKEEPERS
There is little reason to believe Romero will not start. Caballero is likely second choice, with third choice between Armani and Nahuel Guzmán of Tigres in Mexico, although these latter two could very well push Caballero out entirely.
CENTRAL DEFENDERS
The 4-2-3-1 can flow into a 3-5-Messi-1 in attack, with Mascherano dropping down for three at the back, with the fullbacks overlapping with the wingers. If Argentina play three natural defenders at the back, Rojo (or less likely Mercado) could also play with Otamendi and Fazio.
FULLBACKS
Fullbacks (or wingbacks, if used) are probably Argentina's weakest and least certain position. Mercado has fairly consistently started at right-back when using four defenders. Rojo played quite well at left-back last World Cup, although Tagliafico could reasonably be the starter. That said, Acuña and/or Salvio could be used as wing-backs or fullbacks.
(Not-so-)fun fact: Maradona started Otamendi at right-back in the 3-0 to Mexico in octafinals and the 0-4 trouncing from Germany in quarterfinals in South Africa. Sabella later also cut him from the provisional squad before Brazil.
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDERS
The defensive midfielder situation is also unclear. Sampaoli usually plays two, although he has used three when using the 4-3-2-1. I think his ideal scenario would be to start Mascherano and Biglia and have Banega as a super-sub. But Banega is more offensively oriented than the other two, thus offering a different style of play. But, if Argentina use wing backs and/or Mascherano drops to defense, then if Sampaoli still wants 2 defensive midfielders, they would likely be Biglia and Banega.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS
Messi, on paper, probably would be in the middle, but he will likely drop back just in front of the defensive midfielders to start orchestrating attacks. Di María has played on both wings for Argentina, so the side he plays on depends on who the third attacking midfielder is, if there is one. I listed Lo Celso, but after the fullbacks his is probably the position whose starter is most unclear. In perhaps slightly descending order of likelihood, this position could be filled instead by Pizarro, Lanzini, Pavón, or Centurión, or even Acuña or Dybala.
I personally would like to see Enzo Pérez in the squad, as I thought he was a brilliant replacement for Di María in Brazil after the latter was injured against Belgium in the quarterfinals. It seems, though, he's not been playing particularly well since returning to River from Valencia last summer.
FORWARDS
Higuaín will almost certainly start, despite the memery from soccer and social media in Argentina. Agüero is returning from knee surgery but would likely be a frequent substitute. Dybala has not played often for Argentina, but he could play either as a lone striker or as a second striker if Sampaoli ever plays two forwards.
via RiverPlate11 and amideabc

Points of Discussion

  1. Tactics. The configurations of midfield and fullbacks are the least clear. More broadly, how will Sampaoli approach each match? I think most challenging will be with Croatia, no disrespect at all to Iceland and Nigeria. Modrić arguably would be the best player on the pitch after Messi, and with, among others, Rakitić, Kovačić, Perišić, and Mandžukić to coordinate attacks both through the middle and on the wings, it's not clear what the best formation would be. Furthermore, being the second fixture means neither will have secured qualification to the knockout rounds, and both will be going for a result. That said, it is not unreasonable to think that each considers the other the strongest opposition in the group and would be content with a draw.
  2. Is this Messi's last opportunity to lead Argentina to World Cup glory? He arguably carried the country to the World Cup, netting a hat trick in the final qualifying fixture in Ecuador after Argentina fell behind 0-1 inside a minute. What will his legacy be after the tournament? He will turn 31 the day after Argentina's third group stage fixture with Nigeria; with many potential future replacements in this year's squad and many others rising through the Superliga, will we even see Messi in Qatar?
  3. Influence in Argentine football. After the death of longtime AFA president and FIFA vice president Julio Grondona in 2014 (and, frankly, long before then), Argentine football, already known as a bastion of transparency, has been roiled in interminable scandals of fraud and corruption. Ranging from a drawn vote of 38-38 by 75 delegates to elect a new AFA president in 2015, to the return of Fútbol para todos from public broadcasting to pay-TV in 2017, to longtime charges that the national team is "Messi and friends", to the bizarre formats of the Superliga since the relegation of River in 2011, there is no end to the activities of Argentine football that raise eyebrows.
via RiverPlate11 and amideabc
Thank you again to RiverPlate11 and amideabc for their help on Argentina! Tomorrow, debutants Iceland!
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[Next Day Discussion] Post-Match Thread: France 4-2 Croatia [2018 World Cup - Final]

"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that." - Bill Shankly

France 4 - 2 Croatia

Final

Stadium: Lenin Stadium (Moscow, 78,011 Capacity)
Referee: Nestor Pitana (ARG)

Lineups

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

--------------------------------------- Lloris------------------------------------------
------- Pavard----------- Varane---------------- Umtiti----------- Hernández-----
------------------------------ Kanté----------- Pogba---------------------
------------ Mbappé---------------Griezmann--------------- Matuidi----------
---------------------------------------- Giroud-----------------------------------------

------------------------ vs. ----------------------

--------------------------------------- Mandžukić----------------------------------------
------------ Perišić--------------- Modrić------------------ Rebić---------
---------------------------- Brozović--------------- Rakitić--------------------------- ---- Strinić--------------- Vida----------- Lovren--------------- Vrsaljko----
--------------------------------------- Subašić----------------------------------

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

France (4-2-3-1) Croatia (4-2-3-1)
Hugo Lloris (C) Danijel Subašić
Benjamin Pavard Šime Vrsaljko
Raphaël Varane Ivan Strinić 81'
Samuel Umtiti Dejan Lovren
Lucas Hernández Domagoj Vida
Paul Pogba Ivan Rakitić
N'Golo Kanté 55' Marcelo Brozović
Kylian Mbappé Ivan Perišić
Antoine Griezmann Luka Modrić (C)
Blaise Matuidi 73' Ante Rebić 71'
Olivier Giroud 81' Mario Mandžukić
Substitutes Substitutes
Steven N'Zonzi 55' Andrej Kramarić 71'
Corentin Tolisso 73' Marko Pjaca 81'
Nabil Fekir 81'
Manager Manager
Didier Deschamps Zlatko Dalić
  • not-used Subs: Djibril Sidibé, Steve Mandanda, Adil Rami, Alphonse Areola, Florian Thauvin, Benjamin Mendy, Thomas Lemar, Presnel Kimpembe, Ousmane Dembélé.
  • not-used Subs: Lovre Kalinic, Mateo Kovacic, Tin Jedvaj, Dominik Livakovic, Marko Pjaca, Filip Bradaric, Duje Caleta-Car.
MATCH REPORT
GOALS:
STADISTICS:
France Croatia
Shots (on target) 8 (6)15 (3)
Ball Possession 39%61%
Passes 269548
Pass Accuracy 74%83%
Distance Covered 99 kms100 kms
Fouls 1413
Corners 26
Offsides 11
FULL MATCH REPORTS:
  • FIFA: "Tonight, the Croatian team played better football, but France were more efficient, perhaps even more intelligent. Les Bleus’ strength is exactly this: no matter who they faced, they found the solution to beat their adversaries, one by one. Without being brilliant today, they scored four goals, which gives an idea about France's level, and their coach’s one. Today, with his smart tactical set-up, Didier Deschamps won the duel with Dalic."
  • The Guardian: "When the decisive blows arrived the entire squad piled on top of one another in the victory scrum. Hugo Lloris, the goalkeeper, had run the entire length of the pitch to join in the celebrations. All the substitutes were throwing themselves into this heap of arms and legs. There were even members of the backroom staff contemplating joining in, and who could blame them? France were on their way to winning the World Cup and a party was under way behind the goal where the tricolours were fluttering. Those were the moments when everybody knew that no side – not even one with Croatia’s resilience and powers of durability – would find a way back. Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé had scored in quick succession and the next edition of the France national shirt will have two stars, rather than one, above the cockerel."
  • BBC: "France are the team for all seasons - possessing an all-round quality that has carried them to this World Cup triumph. When that is added to an element of good fortune, it can prove a deadly combination. Croatia will complain bitterly that Griezmann went down theatrically for the free-kick that led to Mandzukic's own goal, and they will also feel Perisic's handball was not clear-cut enough for VAR to make that decisive intervention just before half-time. What is not in doubt, however, is the sheer quality this France side possesses, a potent attack the spearhead for a strong midfield and outstanding defence. When Croatia threatened to come back once more early in the second half, Pogba and Mbappe's strikes from the edge of the area past the static Danijel Subasic - who still looked less than fully fit after injuring a hamstring in the quarter-final against Russia - proved the defining passage of this final. France celebrated joyously at the final whistle after claiming the sport's greatest trophy once more, with Deschamps - the coach whose conservative methods have often brought criticism - tossed high into the air by his players."
  • Kicker: "It's their second title after 1998 and it's probably not too risky to bet that it won't take another 20 years to win a third title. From today's perspective, it seems absurd that this nation had to wait 65 years for its first World Cup Final. It was France one of four European countries to make the long journey to Uruguay in the first round of the 1930 tournament, when they played their first game ever against Mexico and won (4-1). This nation has always loved football and yet the French had to wait until the end of the last century before the Big Bang happened. There is no other way to describe the triumph of Zidane and Co. in 1998. What has happened in French football since the end of the 1990s is phenomenal. No nation has been more successful since then: World Cup title in 1998, Euros victory in 2000, World Cup final in 2006, Euros final in 2016 and now the repeat of the global triumph.
  • MARCA: "The 4-1 of Mbappé after a great run of Lucas Hernández killed Croatia. France was close to perfection: six shots and four goals. Croatia grew again on the strength of Mandzukic, who made a goal out of nothing thanks to his unwavering faith while pressing Lloris desperately. Vrsaljko kept pushing on the right, but there was no time or space. The French 'towers', commanded by Varane and Umtiti, denied them any chance. France has not needed a colorful game to be the deserved world champions. What's more, it has won the World Cup without suffering too much. Deschamps has managed to make a solid block that stands out for its defensive security, mastery of strategy and physical exuberance."
  • La Gazzeta dello Sport: "The boys have taken over the World. Twenty years later, like the Three Musketeers. Conquered Moscow: better than Napoleon. World champions, like Zidane. It's no longer alone, Zizou, in the French football Olympus: make room for Griezmann, Pogba and Mbappé. The second cup brings it to them, and it may just be the beginning. Croatia didn't want to know any limits: it reached its own, at the Luzhniki, in a race full of goals and errors. Deschamps at the fourth goal breaks the protocol and rejoices: it's him, the common point between the two editions of the champion Bleus. He made a team in his own image and likeness: intelligent, attentive to defense, ready to unleash the talent of others. Then it was that of Zinedine, today of Kylian, Antoine and Paul. France is also stronger than the duck of Lloris, Croatia cannot exceed the not-party of Subasic, hero in the tournament, not very convincing in the final act. Modric's Ballon d'Or will probably never arrive, like those of Iniesta and Pirlo (although there is that of the tournament, a small consolation)."
  • L'Equipe: "Rarely so much happiness passes in just three words. Champions du monde. These words tell a long French story, the quest for a life and the conquest of Russia by children, the magic of collective happiness and eternal paths of honour. These words are a link, twenty years apart, between 1998 and 2018, two dates that allow France to sit at the table of the great nations in the history of football. These are two collective adventures more than game adventures, two epics that have the same signature, the gift of self and the sense of the other. If the first time will always be the most beautiful, the second time will always be the most stunning, because half of this team that put the world at their feet on Sunday in Moscow, beating Croatia (4-2), knew nothing about this universe five weeks ago."
POST-MATCH INTERVIEWS & QUOTES
Deschamps:
  • "I had a very young group, 14 of them were on a discovery journey in the World Cup. But the quality was there. My greatest source of pride with this group is that they managed to have the right state of mind for such a tournament. I repeat all the time: never give up, never give up anything.”
  • "There are imperfections and today we didn't do everything right but we do have those mental and psychological qualities that were decisive for this World Cup. In the first half of this final we didn't have much but we were leading 2-1"
  • "So, of course the question to be asked is always: are France a beautiful champion? Well, we are world champions and France are going to be on top of the world for next four years. That's what needs to be remembered."
Dalic:
  • "I congratulate France on their title. We played well in the first 20 minutes, we controlled the game. Then there was an own goal from a set play. We came back to life, dominated and then the penalty was given"
  • I have to congratulate my players, it was maybe the best game we played in these championships; we controlled the match but we conceded. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we have to be proud as well for what we've done."
Antoine Griezmann:
  • “I don't realise yet what it is. I'm very proud of this team: the players and the staff, the technical staff and medical staff. We were really a united group. We did something incredible, we made history and we are going to enjoy it. We're going to see our families and we're going to party. Tomorrow in France will be the same, we're going to party with the French people.”
  • "We can't wait to bring the cup back to France. To score in the final makes me so happy. I hesitated to do a Panenka [with the penalty]. I hope to sleep with the cup."
  • "That’s the France we love. Different origins but we are all united. In our team there are many players who come from different horizons, but we have the same state of mind. When we play for our jersey and our country we give everything we have. As soon as you wear the jersey we play together."
Kylian Mboopi:
  • “Pele has marked history and I'm just here trying to forge my own path. I'm just trying to play the way I always did. Scoring and beating records is always good, but I've always worked towards this goal. I must continue, I have the ambition to go further, wherever my potential takes me. Winning a World Cup this young opens you lots of doors.”
  • "You always have to believe. In this type of competition, it's not the most handsome that wins, but the one who believe the most. And our belief was as solid as iron. We had to show it even if it seemed arrogant at first. But we are all on different paths. Take Adil Rami for example, he worked all his life towards this goal, but me, I'm just starting. I have a whole history to write."
  • (about the Ballon D'Or) "It's for certain that the World Cup works in my favour, but I'm not thinking about that right now,."
Luka Modric:
  • "You can say that my team today just was not lucky. I really think so. And everyone in our team thinks the same way. We played well and today were the best team on the field. But the best teams do not always win. The second goal conceded was a turning point in the match. We were surprised when the referee resorted to VAR help. And in general we were surprised by the work of the referee. Before the first goal he put a free kick, although, in my opinion, there was no foul there. France opened the account. But we returned to the game, showed excellent football, and the judge put a penalty. Such moments always kill the team. It is impossible to constantly make a back-up."
  • "We fought to the very end and are proud of what we have achieved and how we played today. Unfortunately, this was not enough"
Ivan Rakitic:
  • “"We were the better team in the first half, we were attacking, but we were unlucky tonight. They scored four goals from their three shots on goal. But I congratulate France, they deserved it."
STATS AND FACTS

-------------------- France are the World Champions -----------------------

  • Luka Modric (CRO) wins the Golden Ball.
  • Harry Kane (ENG) wins the Golden Boot.
  • Thibaut Courtois (BEL) wins the Golden Glove.
  • Kylian Mbappé (FRA) wins the Young Player Award.
  • Spain wins the Fair Play Award.
  • Deschamps is the third person to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager, after Brazil's Mario Zagallo and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.
  • Mandzukic is the first player to score an own goal in a World Cup final.
  • France became the first team to score four goals in a World Cup final since Brazil beat Italy 4-1 in 1970.
  • Croatia are the first team to lose in their first appearance in a World Cup final since the Netherlands in 1974 (2-1 v Germany).
  • Mbappe (19 years 207 days) is the second youngest player to score in a World Cup final, after Pele for Brazil in 1958 (17 years 249 days).
  • Griezmann has scored 10 goals for France in major tournaments - only three players have scored more for Les Bleus (Michel Platini - 14, Just Fontaine - 13, Thierry Henry - 12).
  • Mandzukic became the fifth player to score in both World Cup and European Cup/Champions League finals after Ferenc Puskas, Zoltan Czibor, Gerd Muller and Zinedine Zidane.
  • Olivier Giroud didn't attempt a single shot on target in 546 minutes at this World Cup for France.
THE ROAD TO LENIN STADIUM:
Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
URU 2-1 POR
FRA 4-3 ARG URU 0-2 FRA
BRA 2-0 MEX FRA 1-0 BEL
BEL 3-2 JPN BRA 1-2 BEL
FRA 4-2 CRO
ESP 1-1 (3-4) RUS RUS 2-2 (3-4) CRO
CRO 1-1 (3-2) DEN ENG 1-2 CRO
SWE 1-0 SUI SWE 0-2 ENG
COL 1-1 (3-4) ENG
POINTS OF DISCUSSION
  • I) How will you remember this World Cup?: Infantino says that it's the best ever, and even if I don't agree it is undeniable that at least is something debatable. What do you think?
  • II) How is this France compared to 98' and 06'? Repeated question, aye, but has your opinion changed after the final? Is this France better than 98' and 06'?
  • III) VAR: did it approve the test? It had a pivotal role in the tournament since its very start. What do you think about it after the end of the cup? did it approve? does need changes? which ones?
(the idea of creating next-day/the day after match threads is to offer a platform for those who have seen the match, and inform those who haven't, while also encouraging more in-depth discussion than in the original thread. Here is a link to the original Post Match Thread.
submitted by LordVelaryon to soccer [link] [comments]

Match Thread: Australia vs Costa Rica

Australia vs Costa Rica
Kick Off: 7:30pm AEDT (hour from submission)
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium (Capacity: 45 000)
TV: Live on Fox Sports 3
Streams: Feed2All, hahasport

Preview (excerpt from The Guardian)

It is five months since Australia last played in Australia. On that June evening in Sydney, Holger Osieck took the applause from the fans and the plaudits from the media after clinching a spot at the 2014 World Cup – there were even calls for the German to be given a contract extension.
The global tour undertaken since produced results and performances that would have the cricket team wincing. The Socceroos finished dead last in the East Asian Cup and then went to South America and Europe to suffer successive six-goal spankings. It cost Osieck his job.
In comes Ange Postecoglou. There is a good deal of goodwill for the new man. Major football nations in the Asia Football Confederation should always have a homegrown coach and Postecoglou was the best choice with two titles in the achievements column of a CV that also lists a desire to play a smooth passing game in the objective section.
Costa Rica Profile
Costa Rica are the most successful team in Central America having qualified for four World Cups, including reaching the last sixteen on their debut in Italy 1990. For Brazil 2014 they breezed through their qualification zone, coming second in CONCACAF and beating the USA and Mexico in the process. The Costa Rican's squad largest contingent (7 players) is from their local league however they have players from the German, Belgium, English, Greek, Swedish and Finish leagues (9 Players). The Costa Ricans have also included A-leaguers Carlos Hernández and Kenny Cunningham, both of whom are from the Nix.
Socceroos Profile
For the Socceroos Ange culled Wilkshire, Holman, Thompson, Brosque, Ognenovski from his new squad. Mark Schwarzer also announced his shock retirement. For this reason the game will also help show whether Ange prefers goalkeepers Langerak or Ryan for the Number One position. The other issue that looms large is the captaincy; whether Ange will bench Neil and give the armband to Cahil as much of the media has speculated.
Costa Rica are currently ranked 31st in the FIFA World rankings while Australia is ranked 57th.
Form Guide:
Socceroos: WDLLLLW
Costa Rica: LLWWDLW
Betting Odds:
Team Win Draw
Australia 2.02 3.35
Costa Rica 3.70 3.35
Squads
Both Teams Starting XI (Imgur Link)
Socceroos starting XI (4-2-3-1):
 Ryan; Franjic, Neill (c), Williams, Davidson; Milligan,Jedinak; Kruse, Bresciano, Vidosic; Leckie 
Costa Rica XI:
 Gonzalez; Umana, Borges, Duarte, Oviado; McDonald, Campbell, Gamba, Pemberton; Calvo, Cubero 
Match events
Kick Off
Half Time 0-0
69' GOAL for Cahil! Australia 1-0 Costa Rica
Full Time Australia 1-0 Costa Rica
There are Costa Rican flairs available, just click "edit" (next to your username) in the sidebar. Just how you would normally select flairs.
submitted by aleaguematchday to Aleague [link] [comments]

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submitted by rational03 to MexicoLive [link] [comments]

Australia vs Costa Rica - Pre Game Discussion

International Friendly

Australia vs Costa Rica
Kick Off: 7:30pm AEST Tuesday (19/11)
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium (Capacity: 45 000)
TV: Live on Fox Sports 3

Preview

Costa Rica are the most successful team in Central America having qualified for four World Cups, including reaching the last sixteen on their debut in Italy 1990. For Brazil 2014 they breezed through their qualification zone, coming second in CONCACAF and beating the USA and Mexico in the process. The Costa Rican's squad largest contingent (7 players) is from their local league however they have players from the German, Belgium, English, Greek, Swedish and Finish leagues (9 Players). The Costa Ricans have also included A-leaguers Carlos Hernández and Kenny Cunningham, both of whom are from the Nix.
For the Socceroos Ange culled Wilkshire, Holman, Thompson, Brosque, Ognenovski from his new squad. Mark Schwarzer also announced his shock retirement. For this reason the game will also help show whether Ange prefers goalkeepers Langerak or Ryan for the Number One position. The other issue that looms large is the captaincy; whether Ange will bench Neil and give the armband to Cahil as much of the media has speculated.
Costa Rica are currently ranked 31st in the FIFA World rankings while Australia is ranked 57th.
Form Guide:
Socceroos: WDLLLLW
Costa Rica: LLWWDLW
Betting Odds:
Team Win Draw
Australia 2.02 3.35
Costa Rica 3.70 3.35

Squads

Australia's squad:
Goalkeepers: Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge KV)
Defenders: Jason Davidson (SC Heracles Almelo), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Lucas Neill (Omiya Ardija), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough FC), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Michael Zullo (Adelaide United)
Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic (FC Luzern), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), James Holland (FK Austria Vienna), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace FC), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Tom Rogic (Celtic FC), Dario Vidosic (FC Sion)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Robbie Kruse (TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht)
Costa Rica's Squad:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (GK) (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (GK) (L.D. Alajuelense)
Defenders: Junior Diaz (Mainz), Geancarlo Gonzalez (Valarenga),Bryan Oviedo (Everton), Michael Umana (Deportivo Saprissa), Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Oscar Duarte (Club Brugge)
Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolanos (F.C. Copenhagen), Carlos Hernandez (Wellington Phoenix), Jose Miguel Cubero (C.S. Herediano), Ariel Rodriguez (L.D. Alajuelense), Kenny Cunningham (Wellington Phoenix), Esteban Granados (C.S. Herediano), Diego Calvo (Valarenga)
Forwards: Randall Brenes (C.S. Cartagines), Joel Campbell (Olympiakos), Jonathan McDonald (Kalmar FF)

Media Previews

submitted by aleaguematchday to Aleague [link] [comments]

Serie A Round 12 Preview  Live Odds and Predictions 2018 World Cup: Germany vs Mexico Betting Preview and Pick MEXICO vs ITALY Group A FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013  World Sports Weekly Brazil vs Mexico  World Cup 2018  Match Predictions 2018 World Cup Round of 16: Colombia vs England Betting Preview and Pick

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Serie A Round 12 Preview Live Odds and Predictions

Colombia Vs England, France Vs Argentina, Brazil Vs Mexico - World Cup Previews - Duration: 10:13. JD Football 6,136 views. ... Uruguay vs Portugal Betting Preview and Pick - Duration: 2:14. SBR Forum's Natalie Rydström previews Mexico vs Italy Group A FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 and discusses the betting odds with guest Nila Amerova, sportswriter and regular contributor to ... Germany vs Mexico Prediction 2018 FIFA World Cup Match Previews Germany's 23-man final squad: Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp; Jerome Boateng, Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector ... Head to http://www.freesupertips.co.uk for free World Cup 2018 Tips Find predictions, betting tips and match previews for all World Cup games including: Urug... Winners of the World Cup four years ago in Brazil, Germany now attempts to be the first nation to repeat as champions since Brazil way back when. Up first for the Germans is a talented Mexico side ...