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Thread: The World Cup 2018 according to JayFlo

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    The World Cup 2018 according to JayFlo


    The World Cup 2018 according to JayFlo

    My earliest World Cup memory was sitting on the stairs trying to get an angle of the TV. The final started, or at least hasn’t finished, before bed time. It was France vs. Brazil 1998 and I was 4 years old.

    World Cups - and Euros - are hinge points that I can use to recall exactly what stage of my life I was at and what I was up to. I can’t recall England’s participation in ‘98, the first World Cup of my living memory, but come 2002 I remembered it all.

    The school opened early and the hall was packed for the second half of England vs. Brazil. I’d watched the first half at home and for half an hour Michael Owen was my hero. Up until that point all my football heroes were Saints players. Unfortunately Owen’s reign only lasted a short while. The player who remains one of my all time favourites, Ronaldinho, thoroughly embarrassed a perfectly good goalkeeper in David Seaman and that was my World Cup over. I distinctly remember being out on the street playing football myself when Brazil beat Germany in the final. At that age I just didn't care once England were out. That changed as I grew older.


    (I spent the entire summer with that haircut
    - thanks mum)

    I watched England’s World Cup exit in 2006 in Debenhams, sat on a display sofa watching a display TV for the entire game. I should’ve been with my dad for the 2010 Final, Spain being our second nation, but, like 2008 & 2012 in the Euros, I was on a campsite in Swanage. What should’ve been up there as one of my best ever footballing memories, celebrating a World Cup win with my dad, was instead experienced vicariously via text message.

    The most defining World Cup for me, however, was 2014. My then girlfriend now wife nearly left me. Awful timing for it, you’d presume. It was because of the World Cup we nearly broke up, though. Until then she didn’t quite realise how important football was to me. “Why do you want to watch Ivory Coast vs Japan at 2am?” she asked with pure indignation, “why does it even matter; you’ll be asleep?” I matched with equal fury. It was at that point it became clear to her that I wasn’t just a hobbyist when it came to football, it was all but absolutely everything to me. Since then she has shown genuine interest in my interest in football. It is genuine, but I also know the day I die she'll stop being interested.

    “Are you looking forward to the World Cup?” i asked my colleague yesterday.

    He’s 53, has one son who is 9, and is an Arsenal fan who reads the Guardian and is still passionately upset with Brexit. All of these things are important to his enjoyment of the World Cup.

    “I’m struggling to feel patriotic. My interest in England rises and wanes depending on how patriotic I feel. In the 90s I went to every Euro 96 game of England’s, to all the Wembley games. The England football team was cool then,” a concept I struggle to see the importance of, “but when we lost to Iceland [in Euro 2016] I didn’t care. The Brexit vote had just happened and I felt we had hurt ourselves and done something really stupid, so I didn’t care when we lost.” He feels similarly about Russia: “I don’t think we should be going. We're going, cap-in-hand, to a country that attacked us in Salisbury just months ago."

    I don't think he'd have stuck to that conviction if England won Euro 2016 and I'm certain he won't come the end of July if the Three Lions roar in Russia. If England won Euro 2016, we might all be feeling a lot better about Brexit, too. Triumph in the football could have framed Brexit in such a way that it may have gone on to be a moderate success rather than the whirlwind of toxicity and polemic that we have now.


    (Joe Cole. Sweden. Phwoar. Fairly convinced that Zlatan
    spent years waiting to take revenge and did so to Joe Hart's embarrassment)

    "I'll enjoy it being on TV 24 hours a day; I'll enjoy watching it with my son; I'll enjoy coming into work and discussing it all with you. I adore that," the same colleague said.

    Adore. He adores it. I found it succinct and brimming with clarity. I adore it. I adore everything about it: the spectacle; the stories; the romantic notion than the World Cup is emblematic of the very essence of football - you can shove your consumable, fast food football Champions League up your Arsene Wenger - the World Cup is the true pinnacle of football.

    I will enjoy the World Cup, without a doubt, and I'll be keeping a blog on it here. I'll write different pieces, many of which will be match reviews, but I'll aim to encapsulate the moments that make the World Cup one of the frameworks of life itself.
    Last edited by JayFlo; 07-06-18 at 11:03 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Lovely little blog man raised plenty of memories and feels

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    Quote Originally Posted by drkshadow1 View Post
    Lovely little blog man raised plenty of memories and feels
    Thanks. Hoping the blog has a Ghana 2010 feel to it!

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    Is "lovely little blog man" an insult?


    Good read that. Can we add our thoughts/ memories/ stupid stories?

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    Really enjoyed that Jayflo

    I get what your colleague means though - there are a LOT of England footie fans that have fallen out with the national team and it doesn't have everything to do with then not being "successful"

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    Quote Originally Posted by trunky View Post
    Is "lovely little blog man" an insult?


    Good read that. Can we add our thoughts/ memories/ stupid stories?
    100% Would really enjoy hearing them

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    Great story JayFlo. Must be tough being an England fan.

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    I understand that too. The way modern football is nowadays, there are a lot of people falling out of love with the game. Most notably people in their 40s/50s, my dad included and I kind of sympathise with him having grown up in the blood and guts and thunder of English football in the early 90s.

    My earliest World Cup memory is actually 1994 as I can remember all the memorabilia for USA but as England weren't there, I don't remember anything about the tournament itself. Euro 96 is where it all kicked off for me, with the little figurines that you could collect of the players. John Salako

    98 is still clear in my head though, especially with Owen and Beckham announcing themselves.

    I'm completely with you about the last World Cup. I stayed up for nearly every game and can remember that Ivory Coast match It was the first time the GF got to realise how I would watch (and gamble!) on every game that took place though I wouldn't go as far as to say we'd nearly split up over it. It's just what happens when the tournaments come around every two years. She knows it's coming

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    Conversley, I've never been fully fledged watching Wales over the years as we've always had a couple of decent players (usually strikers) but they didn't turn up (Giggs), got injured, didn't get picked or sad some god awful manager tactics as well

    But Coleman brought a proper "Stronger Together" with the whole country and team pulling together. The lead up and then qualifying and the run in the Euro's to the Semi Final was immense. That was the first tournament we have been to for about FIFTY years (I know if was joke qualification where 3 teams went through but hey ho!)

    There is still that mentality but some people are not sure on Giggs as manager (how can he be that motivational about his country when eh couldn't be fooked to turn up)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Really enjoyed that Jayflo

    I get what your colleague means though - there are a LOT of England footie fans that have fallen out with the national team and it doesn't have everything to do with then not being "successful"
    I was won of them too many abject performances and swagger like they owned the pitch. I just lost the love for England this team has started to change those views now.

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    I like Southgate - speak well an making some decent decisions

    The atmos at Leeds last night was AMAZING - get away from Wembley and play around the country

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    nice memories Jay, have you got the wife's permission to write the blog?? we don't want a divorce

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    The Ritual

    The Ritual



    Every time a World Cup comes around and the squads are announced, I will faithfully recreate the competition and line ups on my football simulation game of choice - PES.

    Now, I can't say I was enthralled with the team Southgate has chosen but I was happy with the majority of the squad. The goalkeepers are my main concern, but I appreciate the pool is limited and the position of goalkeeper probably divides opinion more than most. I simply don't rate Pickford. There, I said it. I know I am not alone, but it seems unpopular to state it. He doesn't command his box, despite shouting almost constantly and looking angrier than a man who just saw his wife leave for a man who not only prefers rugby but the football team he does support is the rival of said husbands. He's not great at diving, either, which is essential for a goalkeeper, is it not? He has an incredibly baffling style of jumping directly upwards and then throwing his body into a horizontal plane without actually making much ground to either side. Apparently he's a consummate goalkeeper because of his distribution, but I would even disagree with that. He looks the part when it comes to kicking the ball. Remember roughly 10 years ago when it became the latest trend for goalkeepers to kick the ball from their hands in a European manner? That is, for me, what Pickford's distribution style is admired for: not the quality, but for the aesthetics; he raises his hips, gets his leg to an acute angle to his torso and kicks the ball from the side rather than underneath.

    I've always been completely indifferent about Butland; he's not error prone and he plays behind leaky defences so he is kept busy and thus makes a high amount of saves. Pope is the one I was happy about, but he was never going to start, was he? He doesn't have the reputation. I wouldn't have taken Hart - of course not - but I think Alex McCarthy deserved one of the three spots and considering England's goalkeeping coach is also Southampton's - Dave Watson - I thought he may have been in with a shout.

    Outfield, I think our choices were always fairly limited. I'm not overly sold on Ashley Young as a left wing-back and whilst I understand he may have got the not because he's able to play in numerous positions, are we really going to use him further forward when we have numerous players able to play on the wing or in that #10 area of the pitch? Danny Rose should rightly - in the context of the squad - start at left back, but even his inclusion didn't sit well considering his limited amount of starts this season. His interview on depression last week was welcomingly open and honest and I am pleased he has salvation in the national squad. Ryan Bertrand deserved a spot on talent and performance but can also not complain at being left out thanks to his habit of pulling out of friendlies with injuries.

    In midfield it is painfully obvious we lack an anchorman, a holding midfielder, a lump who can play a bit. Eric Dier looks likely to play in that position and I can't say I'm particularly encouraged by that. Hopefully our style of play means possession on the ball and pace off of it, means we won't rely on a player able to shield the defence too much, but should we do so we'll be left with a defender playing in midfield because he isn't good enough at defending, and has limited passing to boot. If we need to dig in, sit on the counter and require a player to sweep behind the midfield, I'd much rather Southgate opts for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who I think is a very promising player and looked very clever in possession against Costa Rica. Had I been choosing the team myself, I would've genuinely considered Tom Huddlestone. Yes, really. I know he plays in the Championship but big nations such as Spain and Germany have taken second tier players to major tournaments in recent years and both of those countries have a higher percentage of their top flight composed of domestic players, too. I also would've taken Lallana.

    I'm happy enough with our striking options and I am delighted Solanke didn't get a seat on the plane. That would've been criminal.

    So, having fully assessed the options Southgate chose for me, I opted for the following XI:


    Goalkeeper: Butland - I couldn't stomach picking Pickford.

    Centre Backs: Cahill, Stones, Jones- I think that three provides all that is needed but understand Walker will likely take the place of Jones

    Wing Backs: Walker and Rose - take your Ashley Young and leave him gaffer taped to the bench so he can't run the ball into the final third, pretend he has a right foot, and go down the left anyway.

    Midfield: Loftus-Cheek, Henderson, Sterling - I like Lingard these days, having disliked him for the past two seasons before this one, but still prefer him off the bench. I despise Alli.

    Attack: Kane & Vardy - don't think it even needs justifying, but would be equally happy for Kane to be partnered by Rashford or even Welbeck - though all three offer something different to the partnership and aren't like-for-like.

    With that lot, I set off on my World Cup voyage.

    First up, for me at least, was Belgium. bigged up Belgium before it was cool - about 8 years ago - and unlike some pundits I have seen, I still think they could do well. 'Their golden generation' is over, I read in one World Cup preview. Imagine having Courtois, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Kompany, Witsel, De Bruyne, Mertens, Hazard and Lukaku when your golden generation is over. We had the likes of the following in our first post-golden generation World Cup squad: a 39-year old David James, Michael Dawson, Warnock, Upson, Wright-Phillips, and Emile Heskey. What I'd give for Belgium's.


    (Henderson with an absolute tinger against Panama)

    Even with my effervescent praise for Belgium, my in-game score of a 1-0 win thanks to Harry Kane, is something I feel like we could replicate. I think we will do well early on, a nostalgic nod to tradition with a group stage stumble, and then worked out by the quarter-finals or purely outclassed. My Lions were then outroared by Tunisia, as we failed to turn a 1-0 deficit around and lost. It left us needing at least a draw against Panama. They levelled things to 1-1 after we took the lead, but it was only a moment of World Cup delight for the plucky team as we went on to win 4-1. Kane finished the group stages with 4 goals.


    Into the next round and we faced Japan. Both Kane and Vardy grabbed braces as we dispatched them with relative ease. Could this be the end of decades long hurt? Drawn against Mexico next it quite possibly was. (In real life I expect us to be drawn against Brazil or Germany in the quarter finals, where I imagine we will actually play really well and exit to a one-goal margin and start to immediately get excited about 2020.)


    We turned over Mexico, Kane again scoring for fun, and a pleasant surprise was to be found in Denmark, who had made the final four. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was the England hero in that game as we earned our place in the final against France.


    (Could Kane be the hero in the final?)

    In typical England fashion, we lost as soon as we came up against opposition of any prowess - it was perhaps just luck that we didn't encounter a team of calibre until the final. Kane even missed a sitter at 0-0 from 3 yards out, heading straight into Lloris's hands, presumably mistaking him for his club teammate and not an international rival in a World Cup Final. Japan, Mexico and Denmark were never really a challenge and if we were dumped out by any of those three at the knockout stage in real life over the next month, I am fairly certain the English public would be utterly dismayed.


    Then again, it seems not many people actually care this time round. At least not until Monday night..............................


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    Some solid Saints bias there

    McCarthy and Bertrand and you nearly got relegated?!

    I like McCarthy though and I agree on the keepers - like a bag of revels

    I am FULLY behind you on Pickford. The guy has small hands - end of!

    No great option for LB but Rosell get it

    Shedloads if options at RB!

    Hendo isnt a DM but gets far too much stick. When he doesnt play for us the ball is soooooo slow if Gini or Can are trying to start things off

    I like Vardy but he HAS to play through middle. None of this wide shit

    But Rash and Sterling will play with Kane


    Dont agree on Lallana - been injured all season and when he has played has done feck all - if fit hed deffo be in the team though

    Solanke?! Not sure why you mentioned him as was never a contender for a squad place was he?!

    Youll get to quarters then its luck of the draw

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    Think Lallana offers something different to anyone else in the team and was England's best player prior to his injury. I don't know how close to contender he was but he kept getting England call ups and that scared me enough!

    Quarters will be where we end, I reckon.

    Agree on Vardy.

    Although McCarthy and Bertrand were part of a defence that nearly got relegated, they were both ten times better than the other dross we had to put up with all season from the other backline players. Bednarek was a welcome inclusion once Sparky came in and many Saints fans laughed hard when United were rumoured to be interested in Cedric Soares. If he has a good World Cup I hope someone bids and we sell, because he's tripe for us. Can't see Portugal getting far though. Wouldn't be much of an upset for them to go in first knockout round and I wouldn't be surprised if Morocco pipped them to second in their group either.

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    Soares seems to get constant rave reviews and ratings last couple of years (including this season)?

    Agree on Lallana but don't think Southgate can be arsed with players who are not "match fit" (Lallana been injured a lot over the years at pool as well). And given Lallana prob hasn't played under Southgate for ages then he'll go with what he knows (or even from those he had at U21)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Soares seems to get constant rave reviews and ratings last couple of years (including this season)?

    Agree on Lallana but don't think Southgate can be arsed with players who are not "match fit" (Lallana been injured a lot over the years at pool as well). And given Lallana prob hasn't played under Southgate for ages then he'll go with what he knows (or even from those he had at U21)
    I doubt any ST holder at SMS would give him rave reviews. Didn't get a single assist until last couple games of season. Can't cross to save his life.

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    Should it matter if he's RB? (full backs just get judged on going forward then actually defending these days!)

    Also - you ain't really got someone decent in the air that plays regularly to get crosses to?!

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    I had actually typed out his defensive issues too but deleted them because I didn't want to seem to effervescent in my criticisms. Trust me, he's been pony for us this season.

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    The Opening Ceremony

    The Build Up and Opening Ceremony

    I've turned on ITV at 1430 and will be watching every minute through to when the coverage stops in 4 hours. I like the line up in the studio: Mark Pougatch, Slavan Bilic, Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, and Gary Neville. In particular I like Ian Wright and Lee Dixon; I've always liked both of them and Ian Wright's always been honest. It frustrates me when a pundit or journalist is asked a question that they obviously don't know the answer to and instead of being honest and saying they don't know, they waddle through a complicated answer as convoluted as it is nonsensical. Ian Wright just says, "I don't know." Knowing your weaknesses is a strength. Be like Ian. They've gone for Brazil as their favourites but not before Gary Neville answered the question like Theresa May would answer one at Prime Minister's Questions.


    If I haven't already made it clear here, or elsewhere, my choice is Spain. Lopetegui being sacked hasn't made me reconsider. If it was Southgate sacked on the eve of the tournament I'd feel differently; I feel we need a leader and more so I know Southgate has molded England very much to his style, whereas Spain has a decade long identity that has come in two shapes. Luis Aragones began the spell of dominance and Vincent Del Bosque continued it, but it was in essence the same blueprint with slightly different execution.

    I am pleased Jacqui Oakley asked Ryan Giggs if the Champions League has supplanted the World Cup and I am delighted that he thinks not and reckons players would still rather win the World Cup. Maybe modern football hasn't completely lost its soul - yet.

    I didn't know Mark Clattenburg was a Geordie.

    Eric Dier or Jordan Henderson?

    Quite brashly, Gabriel Clarke put that question directly to them. Southgate has supposedly told them it's 'either or,' says Henderson and Dier told Clarke that it would not make a difference to how he prepared for the game. I personally prefer Henderson on an individual level and whilst I'm mentioning my preferences, I thought the performance and team selection was much better versus Costa Rica than it was Nigeria, though I do appreciate the latter are a much better side than the former going into the World Cup.

    The Opening Ceremony

    It is 1515, 45 minutes before kick-off. The players have jogged onto the pitch for the pre-match warm-up. Have I missed the Opening Ceremony or is it just incredibly short? Oh, here's Robbie Williams being interviewed - he's opening the ceremony. Big fan of that. Hero probably isn't the right word, but Robbie Williams is someone I liked a lot growing up. It's not as bizarre as you may initially think, Robbie Williams playing Russia; he's actually quite big out there and was doing private gigs in Russia as recently as in the past two months. On the contrast, I am drinking my first ever Supermalt. It isn't something I like.


    The Russia National Team

    They're shit apparently. I don't have an opinion. I do look at it and wonder how Yuri Zhirkov is at a World Cup in 2018, though. It does say something that there's more appeal about creating a political subtext to a game than there is the game itself. I imagine newspapers such as The Financial Times have had journalists in the offices over the past week, whose last involvement in football was when they had to play it in PE at school, begging the editor for the chance to write about Russia vs. Saudi Arabia.

    Jermaine Jenas was just modelling a teenager's outfit for Jacamo in an advertisement break. What? How? Why?


    British or English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish?

    One thing I've always enjoyed about World Cups and Euros is, normally, having a fellow British side in it to cheer on (plus Ireland, who I'll support with equal interest as the others). I find it a shame that none of them are in it this year. I really enjoyed cheering on Northern Ireland in 2016. I understand why they might wish us badly every time we are in a competition, but I nonetheless think it is petty in a humorous way. Whilst saying all that, I still and always will describe myself as English, and even Spanish, before I describe myself as British.

    ROBBIE WILLIAMS

    THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY GLORIOUS. Robbie Williams singing all his belters from 1998-2002. Sensational. Massive fan of that. Also, a leopard print suit in red. Love that.

    World Cup 2014 vs World Cup 2018

    I haven't had a haircut.


    OOoooooooohhhhhhh there it is. As the teams walk out Beglin (I think) points out the 'political' side of this game - a game between 'the two biggest producers of crude oil.' Thanks for that.
    Last edited by JayFlo; 14-06-18 at 04:04 PM.

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    Cherchesov's Game Management Spot On



    Much was made of Russia's low FIFA World Ranking, that their team was the worst its been for years, that the state of Russian domestic football was at the core of the problem. All of that is highly likely to still be the case. After all, beating Saudi Arabia as the host nation is hardly an unexpected result.

    But, despite my opening qualifying statement, I am going to go on to make an impassioned defence of the game, which many are already slating and only lasted a matter of minutes before Jim Beglin had decided to label it a crude oil derby and the Twitterati leapt at the chance of easy jokes about the score being calculated by human rights abuses and oil wealth. I wonder if commentary, punditry and social media will make equal comparisons when England play Belgium with a historical backdrop of violent colonisation of Africa. I'll hazard a guess at no.

    Ramadan


    It may have been overlooked by some, but it is worth noting from the off that the Saudi Arabia national team have been fasting for the past month. Ramadan actually finishes today. There's no defence in saying 'but they may not have fasted for the past couple of days.' You don't get over a month of fasting in a matter of days,* and there's not a chance in Jahannam (hellfire) that they skipped the past month of fasting. In fact, Ramadan nearly stopped them qualifying in the first place, as it was in full swing last year when Saudi Arabia were qualifying for Russia. It was heavily pointed out, and respected, that Mo Salah was fasting during the end of the domestic season and at the time of the Champions League Final, and I'll even go as far as suggesting, as horrible as the Sergio Ramos tackle was or wasn't, the injury would not have been as severe outside of Ramadan.**

    Stanislav Cherchesov

    This will be the last qualifying statement I make in this article, probably: I am not overplaying Stanislav Cherchesov's tactics, but. But, he did get his game management spot on. It would not have escaped him that his opposition were coming off the back of Ramadan. Saudi Arabia started the game at a blistering pace, naively. In the first five minutes, part-time Alan Partridge impersonator Glenn Hoddle went as far as saying they moved the ball quickly and had quick feet. And they did. They did for five minutes. And then they fizzled out. Passes went astray at an embarrassing rate, passes that if I misplaced on a Saturday, I'd get stick for endlessly. Saudi Arabia tired quickly and there wasn't even a second half resurgence or noticeable step up immediately following half-time.

    Cherchesov managed the second-half perfectly. Both of his first two substitutes changed the game in a positive way. The first was forced in the first half through injury but the choice of replacement wasn't; it was a fantastic choice and Denis Cheryshev went on to score two goals, the second being a beautiful outside of the boot, curving and looping strike. His second substitute, entirely of Cherchesov's own doing, was masterful. Artem Dzyuba, all 6'5 of him (1.96m), came on with twenty minutes left against two tiring and lumbering centre-backs and bullied them. He scored the third with his first touch - a header Hoddle claimed No-Goalkeeper-In-The-World would have saved - and assisted the fourth with a target man's bread and butter lay off for Cheryshev's sumptuous second. Golovin, who got both of the assists in the first half, added a fifth with a goal from a free-kick in the last seconds of the game. Two of Russia's five came in stoppage time.


    My Verdict

    Saudi Arabia didn't threaten once, for all of their possession, they had no intensity and no purpose with the ball. They were poor and I would not suggest otherwise. Russia beat what was in front of them and did so in a controlled manner. I know nothing of Egypt's abilities, other than they qualified at the final chance thanks to, largely, Salah, but with Russia's last game being Uruguay, who I expect will top their group, they'll be putting much hope on qualifying on beating Egypt. They'll hope Uruguay beat them tomorrow, too.

    Spoiler!

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    The World Cup 2018 according to JayFlo

    Did Giggs really say that?!

    Maybe if he turned up more often instead of prioritising his club we could have stood a chance of qualifying!

    I like Slav
    Always like GNev as pundit
    Lee Dixon - meh
    Wright - loveable, honest but Not the most insightful

    Pougatch is a very good broadcaster

    Hendo for first 2 games but Dier v Belgium if you want solidity

    Football wise Im not arsed if England do well as long as you dont win it!
    England Rugby is VERY different

    Great haircut now by the way - my hair has grown over the years but not to such an impressive level!
    Last edited by Redknapp69; 14-06-18 at 08:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Redknapp69 View Post
    Did Giggs really say that?!

    Maybe if he turned up more often instead of prioritising his club we could have stood a chance of qualifying!

    I like Slav
    Always like GNev as pundit
    Lee Dixon - meh
    Wright - loveable, honest but Not the most insightful

    Pougatch is a very good broadcaster

    Hendo for first 2 games but Dier v Belgium if you want solidity

    Football wise I’m not arsed if England do well as long as you don’t win it!
    England Rugby is VERY different

    Great haircut now by the way - my hair has grown over the years but not to such an impressive level!
    Giggs indeed say that. I'm pleased he thinks WC>CL as every normal football fan should believe!

    Pugatch and Chapman are the best hosts in my opinion. I rate them both, for the same reason as liking Ian Wright - they don't pretend to be experts and they ask good questions and teach the viewer passively.

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  37. #24
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    part-time Alan Partridge impersonator Glenn Hoddle

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  39. #25
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    JaysusFlo!

    I like your comments on the build up, etc. I do try to watch but as I need subtitles to follow the dialogue, they always come up late due to it being live.

    Interesting comments about Ramadan.

    I'm with you about the British sides being there too. I did enjoy following them at the Euros, watching on in Paris at a big-screen at the Eiffel Tower when the Irish played the Italians.

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