World Cup Day 12 12/1: It's December! It's the World Cup!

DJnVa

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Group F goes first with Croatia/Belgium and Canada/Morocco

Morocco with the easiest route here--all they need is a result against Canada, who has been eliminated. They can even advance with a loss.
The winner of Croatia/Belgium also advances--if it's a draw then Belgium needs a big win by Canada.


Group D gives us Costa Rica/Germany and Japan/Spain--all 4 teams still alive.

Spain: advances with a win or a draw and wins group with a win.
Japan: advances with a win or a draw AND a draw in the other game. Can also win the group with a win and some GD help.
Germany: Must win and have Spain win or a win by more than 1 goal if other game ends in draw or catch Japan on goals scored.
Costa Rica: advances with a win or a draw if Japan loses.


I think what we all need to remember today is Mexico is out. Canada is out. The US is not.
 
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Dummy Hoy

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Belgium finally made the necessary changes and got Trossard in for a smoked Eden Hazard and Mertens (I might have gone for Openda but either way someone in form) for Batshuayi. Witsel still in is brutal but the only other real DM on the roster is probably Dendoncker but Martinez obviously doesn't trust one of the younger guys in the back 3...I might have run Faes out there with Dendoncker in the holder role but whatever.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Putting in DeKetelaere for Carrasco would be even better but zero chance Roberto does that. I mean, having two playmakers up front is such a foolishly utopian idea that I should probably just stop watching football.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Belgium finally made the necessary changes and got Trossard in for a smoked Eden Hazard and Mertens (I might have gone for Openda but either way someone in form) for Batshuayi. Witsel still in is brutal but the only other real DM on the roster is probably Dendoncker but Martinez obviously doesn't trust one of the younger guys in the back 3...I might have run Faes out there with Dendoncker in the holder role but whatever.
I hated having to face Eden Hazard when he was on Chelsea a few years back, but man what a fun player he was to watch during his peak. His fall off (and I know there were some injuries) has been immensely fast.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Interesting early shape from Belgium...looks like Castagne in the back three with Dendoncker pushed up in a double pivot with Witsel. Mertens dropping deeper, Carrasco out wide (as Martinez likes)
 

blueguitar322

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Lukewarm take: penalties are one of the worst rules in soccer. Punishment almost never fits the crime.

Edit: at least this one ruled out for offside.
 

SocrManiac

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England's officiating contribution has not been covering itself in glory, which is absolutely a reflection of its current state.
 

SocrManiac

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I'd be far more comfortable overturning the penalty on the basis of the foul, not the offside.

Edit: The offside lets the awful Taylor call off the hook, which blows.
 

Jeff Van GULLY

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That VAR image didn't look offside at all. Compare it to the video where it seemed much more compelling.
 

singaporesoxfan

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Lukewarm take: penalties are one of the worst rules in soccer. Punishment almost never fits the crime.

Edit: at least this one ruled out for offside.
We had the discussion a while back - soccer has an underlying different philosophy around punishments from American sport, in that it uses harsh punishments to deter unwanted behaviour. It's why a back pass to the goalie is an indirect free kick often in a dangerous area.
 

blueguitar322

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I'd prefer Canada to move on, but I also can't help but enjoy the success of some of the African sides this year. Senegal through, Morocco all but through and might win their tough group, Tunisia acquitted themselves well, Ghana in good shape to go through with a result, and Cameroon still alive as well.
 

SocrManiac

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Let's assume the offside technology is absolutely infallible and that image is 100% accurate (spoiler: it's not).

Is anybody satisfied with that being offside?
 

Dummy Hoy

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Interesting how both midfields are designed to deny the opposition's best player the ball, so both DeBruyne and Modric forced to go out wide to get the ball.
 

Ed Hillel

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Also, I believe two others were further offside, one of whom interfered with the play.
 

blueguitar322

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We had the discussion a while back - soccer has an underlying different philosophy around punishments from American sport, in that it uses harsh punishments to deter unwanted behaviour. It's why a back pass to the goalie is an indirect free kick often in a dangerous area.
Yeah, this topic has come up numerous times in the 16-ish years I've been lurking/talking soccer on SoSH. Where I would quibble is that it's just not possible to deter some behavior because defenders are left in a lose-lose scenario. Like Szczęsny's penalty yesterday. Cross came in, he punched for it, missed by an inch, and his fist happened to glance off Messi's head despite Szczęsny not once looking in that direction or having any idea that Messi was cutting in. Sure, if he hit the ball, it wouldn't be a penalty... but no athlete can make that type of split-second assessment of ball movement and fluid (air) dynamics with 100% accuracy. What should he do there? Refuse to go for the punch just in case someone is there?
 

OCST

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I've been impressed with Faes, the little I've seen of him.

Like Idrissa Gana Gueye, Everton's other non-English WC participant, Amadou Onana got a second yellow and got himself suspended for this game. Onana has had a promising but uneven start to his PL career - he is an immense talent and seems to be a hardworking and humble kid, but he is very raw and prone to mistakes, like dumb fouls when he gets caught out of position.
 

thehitcat

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I hate using VAR for offside decisions like this. The offensive player gained no advantage there and no official would flag for this. I believe that the governing bodies for each association need to turn off VAR for offside in game and start playing what is in my mind the spirit of the rule which would have put this player onside. If you want to use VAR as an after match review to grade officials so that they can improve great but I'm tired of VAR being used in this way.
 

singaporesoxfan

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Let's assume the offside technology is absolutely infallible and that image is 100% accurate (spoiler: it's not).

Is anybody satisfied with that being offside?
No, and increasingly I think maybe the offside rule section should in fact open with the spirit of the rule (preventing attackers from unfairly gaining an advantage by being too forward) so that refs can actually go back to judging based on that spirit. It feels like the offside technology is moving towards the "“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should" territory
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Another example - Andy Robertson in the box a couple of years ago - kicks at the ball to clear it - the attacker got there first and the ball was no longer there and Robertson’s follow through gets the defender - PEN
 

Dummy Hoy

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He's also predicted shit with incredible accuracy. He's a study in extremes.
He knows the game really really well (obviously) but him getting stuck on Lukaku as if he's the only Belgian who has ever scored is embarrassing. His touch has been off today but Mertens has done nothing but score goals for a decade now.

I'm also annoyed that Martinez's plan seems to be just throwing on out of form guys to change the game (and Darke/Donovan are wholly on board). I'd rather see Openda or Doku than Big Rom at this point. And what the fuck is Hazard going to do? He's an absolute legend but his legs are shot.
 

Zososoxfan

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Yeah, this topic has come up numerous times in the 16-ish years I've been lurking/talking soccer on SoSH. Where I would quibble is that it's just not possible to deter some behavior because defenders are left in a lose-lose scenario. Like Szczęsny's penalty yesterday. Cross came in, he punched for it, missed by an inch, and his fist happened to glance off Messi's head despite Szczęsny not once looking in that direction or having any idea that Messi was cutting in. Sure, if he hit the ball, it wouldn't be a penalty... but no athlete can make that type of split-second assessment of ball movement and fluid (air) dynamics with 100% accuracy. What should he do there? Refuse to go for the punch just in case someone is there?
I think you've framed that situation incorrectly, even though I mostly agree that the play shouldn't be a pen.

First, "no athlete can make that type of split-second assessment of ball movement and fluid (air) dynamics with 100% accuracy." Uhhh, isn't that what they're doing 100x throughout a match?

I also think you came really close to answering your own rhetorical question: What should he do there? He should refuse to go for the punch just in case he misses it. In my mind, it's the same as pulling out of a tackle.

Finally, "Szczęsny not once looking in that direction or having any idea that Messi was cutting in" isn't really relevant I don't think? Again, judging this is a more typical tackle, how many times have we seen a defender tracking a really high ball, not seeing an opponent coming in ahead/above him, and fouling him as he tries to strike/hit the ball?

Edit: What @Mighty Joe Young said re the last point.
 

nolasoxfan

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How in the hell is this Belgium team not equal to the sum of its parts?
Crashing out of this group would be a massive embarrassment.

Edit: and they have such a great kit. What a shame it would be to not advance.
 

Dummy Hoy

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That's probably the biggest advantage for having Rom in there- can go long and have him as a target man...haven't been able to move the ball through the lines well enough today, being more direct may help.