World Cup Thread

TU_BLA

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Now that most of the squads have been announced, let's discuss who we all think have the best chance to win the tournament. I'll start. The usual contenders, Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany will obviously be favored. I intentionally left off Belgium. They're not going to be the same team from the last 2 WCs and I have serious questions with their backline.

PICK: Portugal. I'm biased of course but in looking at their 26, they may have the best defensive corps in the tournament when you talk about Dalot, Cancelo, Antonio Silva, Nuno Mendes, and Ruben Dias and then you add Guerreiro and Pepe. They'll be strong in the Forwards as well led by Ronaldo, but add in Joao Felix and Ramos. And they've got a strong MF, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Vitinha, and Joao Mario.

It's an upset pick I know but I feel like no one gives them a real chance because they're so focused on Brazil, Argentina, and France (best team on paper). I think Brazil flames out again in the round of 16. I think they have real problems in the MF despite all the star names. I mean Fred is there and he's a human turnover whenever he gets near the ball. Yes, they've got dynamic forwards but watching them play for their domestic clubs and they only seem to be interested in taking dives and trying to earn PKs. Argentina has a shot but again I think everyone gives too much credit to them for having Messi on the team.

I don't think Germany has enough this time around. I wouldn't sleep on Spain...they have some talent but I think this is more of a rebuild year for Spain and the transition from the old to the new for them. England is not in the mix despite everyone wanting to talk about them like they are. Serious issues in their backline IMO, especially against teams with a lot of speed. I expect the US to make the knockout round and perhaps win a game in that round but the real goal is 2026 for that team.

Out of Asia, watch for Japan to make the knockout round. Really good side. South Korea has a chance but they'd have to have an upset in the group stage. Solid with a do all striker in Son.

Africa....I have no idea. Ghana and Cameroon are back and Senegal had a chance to make noise before Mane went down with an injury (still expect them to move on as they are playing in the weakest group).

Group of Death IMO is Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, and So. Korea followed closely by Group E: Germany, Japan, Spain, and Costa Rica (although this version of the Ticos is not nearly the 2014/2018 version.

Mexico will likely get out of their group as it is pretty weak although Poland will be a tough result as any team that can run Lewandowski out at the 9 is going to be trouble, especially when your back line always seems to be in disarray (i.e. Mexico).

What's everyone else got.
 

TUcandoit

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I do not follow professional soccer enough. I know USA is not a powerhouse but do you think we could ever truly have a shot at a World Cup title or are we just too focused on other sports here to ever give soccer a true chance?
 

GoldenCaneKC

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I know USA is not a powerhouse but do you think we could ever truly have a shot at a World Cup title or are we just too focused on other sports here to ever give soccer a true chance?
IMO, we’re at least 20 years away from having a legit chance to win a WC. We’re really just not even close right now.
 

TU_BLA

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IMO, we’re at least 20 years away from having a legit chance to win a WC. We’re really just not even close right now.
Right now we have an extremely young, albeit exceptionally talented team. I expect the core of this team back in 4 years barring injury when the players should be in the primes of their careers. We do need significant upgrades at CB and GK. We need an Alexa Lalas type big bruiser with speed in the back. Zimmerman isn't it. He's a stop gap. Maybe a Chris Richards or Cameron Carter Vickers is that player in 4 yrs. Ream will be out of the mix in 4 yrs as I think he will be just a touch too old. Maybe a Miles Robinson can grow into that role as well. I was impressed with him before his Achilles' injury.

As for GK...maybe Slonina is that guy in 4 yrs. GKs are on a slightly different growth level than field players in terms of their progression and maturity. Usually happens 2-3 yrs after a field player. Turner and Steffen should still be in the mix IF they can get PT with their clubs.

2026 the US has a real shot to go deep. We have the quality talent to rival many and it's really young. If we can figure out the CB and GK pieces it should be a great time to be a US Soccer fan
 

TUcandoit

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I just look at the quality of the Premier league and then the quality of MLS. We look like highschool teams compared to them. I hope to see USA do better because it will put more focus on the sport. Soccer is actually really fun to watch (albeit it has more flops than basketball).
 

TU_BLA

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I just look at the quality of the Premier league and then the quality of MLS. We look like highschool teams compared to them. I hope to see USA do better because it will put more focus on the sport. Soccer is actually really fun to watch (albeit it has more flops than basketball).
I get it but you are seeing more and more players from the US playing in top flight Euro leagues and starting. McKennie at Juventus, Pulisic with Chelsea, Ream and Robinson at Fulham, Aaronsen and Adams at Leeds, et. al. The only players who may start for the US from MLS will be Zimmerman and Ferreira. Zimmerman has been rumored to different Euro clubs and it wouldn't shock me if Ferreira gets some play with an FA Championship side looking to add goal scoring for a stretch run to promotion. 4 years ago the majority of the squad was MLS based with a few European based players (Pulisic and Yedlin being 2 of the more prominent ones).

In other news...apparently the Spain manager has gone of his anxiety and ADHD meds. Spanish fans are revolting against his squad. No Sergio Ramos, no David De Gea (it's not the lack of De Gea as much as who they included over him which is a joke really. I fully expect Unai Simon to get the starting nod over anyone anyway). Germany's team was announced and no Timo Werner...he's injured but I don't think he was in great form over the other F they took. I just don't see them making much noise.
 
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quincy101

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Sorry Bla, but you keep pour-mouthing Brazil and France. I like them for the final (if the bracket lines up) with the Frogs repeating as world champs.
 

TU_BLA

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Sorry Bla, but you keep pour-mouthing Brazil and France. I like them for the final (if the bracket lines up) with the Frogs repeating as world champs.
I can see that, I can't see Brazil. Yes, they are loaded with individual talent but as a group I think they are suspect. I will say if they start Fred in the MF for more than a game they are begging to go down. Fred is a turnover machine. Fabinho is way better in that role to build through. And I'm not a Neymar fan...just another gifted player who is looking to draw fouls rather than play and do something.
 

nevadanatural

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Me, I’m having trouble not picking France because of their offensive firepower. If not France then I might go with Germany. While they’re not what they used to be they’re still a formidable side.
 

TU_BLA

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Me, I’m having trouble not picking France because of their offensive firepower. If not France then I might go with Germany. While they’re not what they used to be they’re still a formidable side.
I worry about Germany's ability to score goals. They have a strong MF but this is probably the weakest collection of German forwards since the 70s. And remember...they didn't get out of the group stage 4 years ago. They still have the best GK in the world (IMO) but if you can't score, that doesn't matter.
 

GoldenCaneKC

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Let’s talk Group Stage cheering strategy. England vs. Iran. Do we root for a tie to limit the overall points earned by other teams in our group? Root for Iran to take down England to make it more likely that we finish top of the group? Root for England to bury Iran to make it more of a 3-horse race?

Thoughts?
 

TU_BLA

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England courting disaster starting Maguire in the back. Iran is parking the bus to start the game. Apparently it worked well in qualifying only conceding 5 goals in 16 Asian qualifying matches
 

nevadanatural

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After all the angst Berhalter ended up fielding what I feel is our best lineup and we’re up 1-0 at the half. It wouldn’t hurt to net a couple more but if we can keep Wales off the sheet then it’s a great day.
 

TU_BLA

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US Goal!!! Weah from Pulisic on a beautiful build up play. Ream has been rock solid. Dest in a yellow on a really bad decision to challenge when it wasn't needed. Adams on a yellow on a foul that was a foul but not a bad one...Welsh player sold the caution with his over the top banshee scream. US is dominating possession and chances. Wales really only threatened once but Turner hasn't had to do anything. Look for Acosta and Yedlin coming in to protect Dest and Adams from a 2nd yellow. Musah has been very good as has Robinson and Sargent has been active and impactful (goal started with a nice chest down to Pulisic's feet which led to the break). I like what I am seeing.
 

Li'l Eric Coley

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Our Ponyboys on the backline are doing all right, all right! Not worried about officiating. Just come out and do what you did. Musah’s a man. He could be on the next 3 World Cup rosters.
 

nevadanatural

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I thought Sargent was going to get the first goal, that header just clipped the outside of the post.
 

nevadanatural

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Well, we didn’t lose but it’s frustrating to lead for so long the give up a totally unnecessary penalty. Zimmerman didn’t need to make that tackle.
 

nevadanatural

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I think this means we have to beat Iran and draw with England to have a shot at moving on. If we draw with both then one of Wales or Iran is likely to end up with 4 points. If we draw both our only hope would be for Wales to lose to England and draw with Iran. Aaahhhh! We had this in hand.
 
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HuffyCane

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I get it but you are seeing more and more players from the US playing in top flight Euro leagues and starting. McKennie at Juventus, Pulisic with Chelsea, Ream and Robinson at Fulham, Aaronsen and Adams at Leeds, et. al. The only players who may start for the US from MLS will be Zimmerman and Ferreira. Zimmerman has been rumored to different Euro clubs and it wouldn't shock me if Ferreira gets some play with an FA Championship side looking to add goal scoring for a stretch run to promotion. 4 years ago the majority of the squad was MLS based with a few European based players (Pulisic and Yedlin being 2 of the more prominent ones).

In other news...apparently the Spain manager has gone off his anxiety and ADHD meds. Spanish fans are revolting against his squad. No Sergio Ramos, no David De Gea (it's not the lack of De Gea as much as who they included over him which is a joke really. I fully expect Unai Simon to get the starting nod over anyone anyway). Germany's team was announced and no Timo Werner...he's injured but I don't think he was in great form over the other F they took. I just don't see them making much noise.
MLS has matched or Zimmerman has turned down three previous tenders from first division European clubs. He’s from the South. So is his wife. She wants to raise their kids in Nashville unless the money is spectacular and the offers haven’t been much more than what MLS has been willing to pay. He’s 29. Nobody from Europe is coming calling after this tournament except a one year deal. And I doubt that number will be higher than a guaranteed deal from MLS for him and a transfer for the club that makes the deal make sense.
 

Gmoney4WW

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After all the angst Berhalter ended up fielding what I feel is our best lineup and we’re up 1-0 at the half. It wouldn’t hurt to net a couple more but if we can keep Wales off the sheet then it’s a great day.
Doesn't help that England scored so many against Iran. We prolly gotta beat England to have any hope of winning our group, otherwise we'll be gunning for second place.
 
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Gold*

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We just can’t get the ball in the middle of the box. And even if we do, they’d what we are the worst at.

Our defense played better than I would have thought. I don’t understand starting Aaronson on bench and not playing Reyna. You could make a decent argument that they are our two best players.

All the yellows at beginning, then makeup yellows, and then calling everything a foul, then calling nothing a foul, is not how it usually works.
 

HuffyCane

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I think this means we have to beat Iran and draw with England to have a shot at moving on. If we draw with both then one of Wales or Iran is likely to end up with 4 points. If we draw both our only hope would be for Wales to lose to England and draw with Iran. Aaahhhh! We had this in hand.
Precisely.

Four big problems in this game.

1. Gregg didn’t respond to Kiefer Moore coming on and pressing high. McKinnie should have come off immediately. Moore totally changed the game. Mind set was totally different and our high press immediately went to crap. Zimmerman struggled with the size of Bale and Kiefer. We will likely see that again against England.

2. Yedlin was exposed. That can’t go on except garbage time in a two goal game either way.

3. Morris being subbed was vanilla milk toast wishy washy. Neither helps you win or helps you draw. What it does signal is that you are planning on playing England to a draw Nevada suggests. You want Gio fresh for England if you need him. You need Gio to break down the bus against Iran. So playing Morris guarantees Gio’s availability.

4. It’s absurd Pulisic is taking set pieces. We have four guys that take set pieces for their clubs that are less dangerous in front of goal than CP and he isn’t getting it done.

Oh, and Adams is a baller.
 
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HuffyCane

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We just can’t get the ball in the middle of the box. And even if we do, they’d what we are the worst at.

Our defense played better than I would have thought. I don’t understand starting Aaronson on bench and not playing Reyna. You could make a decent argument that they are our two best players.

All the yellows at beginning, then makeup yellows, and then calling everything a foul, then calling nothing a foul, is not how it usually works.
Reyna is still a little ginger with an injury. And we are going to need him the next two games. See above.

Ref was terrible. Totally unready for the game. But he’s Qatari so that’s why he’s in there. He lacks the credentials to ref a European tourney if you believe the internet.
 

HuffyCane

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Doesn't help that England scored so many against Iran. We prolly gotta beat England to have any hope of winning our group, otherwise we'll be gunning for second place.
You mean if we lose against England, England and their friendly neighbor Wales will play to a friendly draw so both go through unless Iran gets a result against Wales.
 

Gmoney4WW

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You mean if we lose against England, England and their friendly neighbor Wales will play to a friendly draw so both go through unless Iran gets a result against Wales.
I wasn't even considering a loss to England. Cuz if that happens we are possibly headed home. Win, maybe win the group. Tie hopefully get 2nd. Lose, probably headed home.
 
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quincy101

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Ref was terrible
Had to have a bias against us. That many blown foul calls, throw ins and 2-3 bogus corner kicks just can't be incompetence. Now, it's all about goal differential. I've got a feeling that Wales & us will either both lose to England, or both tie them and both will beat Iran. Wales scoring is even worse than ours. And we owe Iran and are going to thump them. I'm feeling better about locking down 2nd place in the group.
 
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drboobay

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Had to have a bias against us. That many blown foul calls, throw ins and 2-3 bogus corner kicks just can't be incompetence. Now, it's all about goal differential. I've got a feeling that Wales & us will either both lose to England, or both tie them and both will beat Iran. Wales scoring is even worse than ours. And we owe Iran and are going to thump them. I'm feeling better about locking down 2nd place in the group.
We have not thumped many teams.
 

quincy101

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True. But Iran won't have 5 Premier League defenders at the back. You saw what the "Rosbifs" did to Iran. I believe that Pulisic, Reyna, Sargent, Weah, et al will get on a roll & do some similar damage to them. I am worried, however, with who Beer?halter will run out to start vs England. What with 4 yellow cards and the apparent lack of match fitness of several of our guys, we could then see Ferreira, Long, Yedlin, Acosta, & de la Torre. A recipe for disaster.

Carter-Vickers and Joe Scally would work. Still, vs England, I'm worried who Beer?halter will run out.
 

drboobay

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True. But Iran won't have 5 Premier League defenders at the back. You saw what the "Rosbifs" did to Iran. I believe that Pulisic, Reyna, Sargent, Weah, et al will get on a roll & do some similar damage to them. I am worried, however, with who Beer?halter will run out to start vs England. What with 4 yellow cards and the apparent lack of match fitness of several of our guys, we could then see Ferreira, Long, Yedlin, Acosta, & de la Torre. A recipe for disaster.

Carter-Vickers and Joe Scally would work. Still, vs England, I'm worried who Beer?halter will run out.
I actually think De La Torre has been impressive for the MNT. But maybe not best suited to this type of match.

What do you think of the idea of pulling Musah for an extra defensive midfielder and dropping Sargent for an extra center back?

Playing more of a pack it in style and relying on Weah or Pulisic up front for using their speed on the counterattack to sneak a goal?
 

HuffyCane

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True. But Iran won't have 5 Premier League defenders at the back. You saw what the "Rosbifs" did to Iran. I believe that Pulisic, Reyna, Sargent, Weah, et al will get on a roll & do some similar damage to them. I am worried, however, with who Beer?halter will run out to start vs England. What with 4 yellow cards and the apparent lack of match fitness of several of our guys, we could then see Ferreira, Long, Yedlin, Acosta, & de la Torre. A recipe for disaster.

Carter-Vickers and Joe Scally would work. Still, vs England, I'm worried who Beer?halter will run out.
Don’t confuse Iran’s first game tactics against a team that should beat them versus the chance to play spoiler in the third game against a despised geopolitical rival. They will park the bus worse than CONCACAF and dare us to break them down. Not sure we can. Wouldn’t surprise me if we win 2-nil off set pieces.
 

quincy101

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With McKinnie apparently hurt, dropping Musah (although didn't play very well) leaves us no one but Robinson to advance the ball up the left & no one through the middle. Remember Saudi & Japan games. We hardly got out of our own end.

De la torre is another who can't possibly be match fit, although he might work off the bench for 25-30 minutes. Sargent is match fit and tracks back on D to help out, Aaronson also. Either might get that goal Dr.bb suggests. Iran has some good players, but not the horses that Wales had. We had better score 3,4 or 5 against Iran or that dreaded goal differential thing will see us home early.
 
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HuffyCane

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You could sit Acosta back and shape Adams but that would be suboptimal. You figure Luca will play.
 

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I don't follow England that closely but a good pal of mine does. He feels the weakest link is the speed of their center backs. At the same time they are deadly accurate with crosses. Thus the ideas of extra center back and pulling Sargent while relying on counters and speed. Both Dest and Robinson would have to carefully pick their moments to support the attack.
 
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quincy101

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I thought France was in trouble when Benzema went down. But an old pal of CP's at Chelsea, Olivier Giroud takes his place & scores twice today. Pulisic used to set up Giroud when they played together briefly under Lampard. Then Chelsea gets rid of Giroud & he's tearing up the Serie A in Italy with AC Milan. Big mistake, Chelsea
 
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drboobay

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Youtube tv has an easily digestible key plays function on recordings.

All caught up now.
 

HuffyCane

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I thought France was in trouble when Benzema went down. But an old pal of CP's at Chelsea, Olivier Giroud takes his place & scores twice today. Pulisic used to set up Giroud when they played together briefly under Lampard. Then Chelsea gets rid of Giroud & he's tearing up the Serie A in Italy with AC Milan. Big mistake, Chelsea
Gotta admit. Didn’t see France coming. They looked great today and I expected them to be a bit dysfunctional.
 

TU_BLA

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Precisely.

Four big problems in this game.

1. Gregg didn’t respond to Kiefer Moore coming on and pressing high. McKinnie should have come off immediately. Moore totally changed the game. Mind set was totally different and our high press immediately went to crap. Zimmerman struggled with the size of Bale and Kiefer. We will likely see that again against England.

2. Yedlin was exposed. That can’t go on except garbage time in a two goal game either way.

3. Morris being subbed was vanilla milk toast wishy washy. Neither helps you win or helps you draw. What it does signal is that you are planning on playing England to a draw Nevada suggests. You want Gio fresh for England if you need him. You need Gio to break down the bus against Iran. So playing Morris guarantees Gio’s availability.

4. It’s absurd Pulisic is taking set pieces. We have four guys that take set pieces for their clubs that are less dangerous in front of goal than CP and he isn’t getting it done.

Oh, and Adams is a baller.
I'm actually pissed about the result more because Berhalter didn't even anticipate what Wales might do in the 2nd half and have an adjustment ready for it. He looked like he was content to park the bus for the most part and try to play solid defense. Always a losing proposition (see Frank Haith). I thought Ream was very good and Adams was a flat out monster. My son said current stats had Adams with the highest number of dispossessing tackles so far. Agree on the set pieces. Maybe McKennie or Adams? Not sure who else takes them.