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NFT: **World Cup Preview and Game 1 Thread**

Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/12/2018 5:52 pm
It's time for the World Cup! The Pannini stickerbook is purchased, New Jersey is starting sports betting the day before, and the Univision guys are resting their voices.

No US, Italy or Holland takes some of the shine off of this particular edition, but it should still be a good tournament especially when you get to the round of 16. As of this morning, the betting favorites are Brazil and Germany, followed by Spain and France. Uruguay is an interesting longshot at anywhere from 25-1/30-1 to win and they are 7-2 to reach the quarters.

I think Spain is my pick right now, but they have the added wrinkle of Real Madrid naming the National Team coach as their next manager.

For resources, both the Totally Football Show and Guardian Football Weekly have full podcast breakdowns of each group.

Enjoy!
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I got an alert  
bubba0825 : 6/13/2018 7:06 am : link
That the us Canada and Mexico will host 2026
RE: It seems with the USMNT not there  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/13/2018 7:43 am : link
In comment 13989919 Deejboy said:
Quote:
A lot of the U.S. media is cutting back on coverage of the World Cup. You are hearing very little about it compared to 4 years ago. While Fox has basically all but bailed on the WC even though it's their event, surprisingly ESPN is going all out. Without the casual fan, it will be interesting to see the ratings. Soccer is still a niche sport in this country and without that U.S. team draw, the WC is going to take a huge hit.


While I agree the buzz is down without the US team, I don't think FOX has bailed on the World Cup considering that Port Authority in NY is draped in FOX World Cup advertising.
RE: bw  
bw in dc : 6/13/2018 7:50 am : link
In comment 13989936 Tony in Berlin said:
Quote:
Sane was not nominated for the German team. He failed to make the cut.


Wow. Thanks, Tony.

Anybody else shocked by this?
Official: 2026 coming to North America  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/13/2018 7:53 am : link
80 games - 80!

As for Spain, all goes back to Fiorentino Perez. Egomaniac.
RE: RE: bw  
Big Rick in FL : 6/13/2018 8:49 am : link
In comment 13989974 bw in dc said:
Quote:
In comment 13989936 Tony in Berlin said:


Quote:


Sane was not nominated for the German team. He failed to make the cut.



Wow. Thanks, Tony.

Anybody else shocked by this?


I think just about everybody was shocked because of name recognition. If you look at Sane with the German team you wouldn't be. His numbers are not good. I think he has 12 caps for Germany. He hasn't scored a goal and only has 1 assist.
Big Rick..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 6/13/2018 8:52 am : link
that's an excellent point.

One thing Germany has not been sucked into doing is having guys on the team or keeping guys just for name recognition. They are very astute at roster management. I think it is one of the reasons they are so successful on the Int'l stage.

Even if they don't win it all, I almost always give them a shot because I don't think there has been a more consistent side in world soccer over the past 30 years. They don't always win, but they rarely fail to at least have a decent showing.
Regarding Sanť  
Tony in Berlin : 6/13/2018 9:32 am : link
Leaving him behind was IMO the right decision. His "look at me" style of play hasn't really worked in the concept of that team and the way it is put together. And his last few international appearances (vs. Brazil, Austria) were terrible. One could have made similar arguments against Guendogan and Oezil but they've been with the team much longer.

Overall, Germany has a good squad but they seem terribly out of form and that defense is suspect. Hasn't stopped them from advancing in the past. But we'll see.
Tony..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 6/13/2018 9:51 am : link
one of my fondest football memories was being in Germany for most of Euro Cup 2008. Didn't actually go to any of the games in person due to work commitments, but watched the matches with locals and it was so much fun.

For some reason, the German fans weren't too enthused about their chances. I watched Germany barely squeak by Austria in a bar where I was the only American and the fans at the end were buying me beers and letting me join in on their chants, but it got them to clinch their group.

The first match of the knockout stage was against Portugal and we had a work event set up to watch the match as a company at a local restaurant. Beautiful evening and I think Germany won 3-2. I had never seen such joy before as the Germans really thought their team would lose. Found out that German schnapps is nothing like American schnapps that night!!

I had to go up to Dortmund prior to the next match vs. Turkey and was surprised at the number of Turkish flags and supporters. Germany beat them in a close game and I think came from behind and won it very late. After each Turkish goal, you could hear nearby bars erupt. I landed back in the US the night they lost the final, so I didn't get to see that match.

What many Germans told me is that 2008 was one of the first times since the World War eras where the Germans started showing signs of nationalism. That the flag waving during the tourney was something not very common prior.

I really felt like I was part of that magic - and perhaps that's why I root for Germany.
Terps would be more informed  
Kyle in NY : 6/13/2018 9:54 am : link
but this feels like an overreaction by the Spanish FA. The timing of him taking the job is not great but I'm not sure why it had to lead to his sacking. The core of the team is from Real Madrid as well, why is it a bad thing that he'll be their manager after the tournament?

Not the first time a national manager has had a club job lined up after a major tournament. Conte was announced as Chelsea manager while he was still the Italian manager for the Euros. It didn't happen three days before the tournament was starting, to be fair. But this feels like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
According to Guillem Balague,  
Go Terps : 6/13/2018 10:58 am : link
what really set Rubiales (Spanish FA president) off was that he only found out five minutes before it was made public. Yeah he could have swallowed his pride and kept Lopetegui, but I see where he is coming from too. He's been on the job a month and already Real Madrid is treating the FA like a little brother. And you can argue the distraction had already been caused by the announcement.

It was a scumbag move by Lopetegui and, unsurprisingly, Real Madrid...a shit club with fascist roots that has always taken from the game more than it has given. God I have always fucking hated that club.

My initial thought is obviously that Spain's tournament is probably over before it begins. They should still get through the group, but at this point I wouldn't know what to expect from them at all.
RE: Regarding Sanť  
bw in dc : 6/13/2018 11:30 am : link
In comment 13990090 Tony in Berlin said:
Quote:
Leaving him behind was IMO the right decision. His "look at me" style of play hasn't really worked in the concept of that team and the way it is put together. And his last few international appearances (vs. Brazil, Austria) were terrible. One could have made similar arguments against Guendogan and Oezil but they've been with the team much longer.


I'll defer to you on how the GNT operates. I saw Sane play the last few years for City and he's a real force. That speed and acceleration are terrific in my book. And he never seems to run out of gas.

Ozil, on the other hand, only plays when he cares. And it's anybody's guess when that will be.
RE: According to Guillem Balague,  
Big Rick in FL : 6/13/2018 2:25 pm : link
In comment 13990169 Go Terps said:
Quote:
what really set Rubiales (Spanish FA president) off was that he only found out five minutes before it was made public. Yeah he could have swallowed his pride and kept Lopetegui, but I see where he is coming from too. He's been on the job a month and already Real Madrid is treating the FA like a little brother. And you can argue the distraction had already been caused by the announcement.

It was a scumbag move by Lopetegui and, unsurprisingly, Real Madrid...a shit club with fascist roots that has always taken from the game more than it has given. God I have always fucking hated that club.

My initial thought is obviously that Spain's tournament is probably over before it begins. They should still get through the group, but at this point I wouldn't know what to expect from them at all.


Rubiales is a liar. Saying he found out 5 minutes before the announcement. They released a statement yesterday when it was announced.

Spanish Football Federation removed their 1st announcement about Lopetegui signing for Real Madrid from their official website: It said: "The RFEF has been at all times in contact with Real Madrid and the negotiations of our coach with his future team. The RFEF wishes best luck to Julen Lopetegui in his new stage and asks for utmost respect to maintain normality on the National team before their debut vs Portugal"
A scumbag move  
Big Rick in FL : 6/13/2018 2:29 pm : link
By Real Madrid? How? Florentino made the best move for Real Madrid. Which is the team he runs so that's what he should do.

Rubiales is wrong. That's why the players (Madrid & Barca players) fought to keep Lopetegui. Even the guy who ended up getting the job (Hierro) didn't think Lopetegui should be sacked.
RE: If I were Deschamps I would have left Pogba at home  
Kyle in NY : 6/13/2018 2:34 pm : link
In comment 13989794 Go Terps said:
Quote:
He's got all the talent in the world but if the game isn't completely built through him he is a negative force. Enough of trying to make him happy...there's more than enough talent on that team to win the tournament without him.


This is a hot take. Not sure I agree, but I do think France needs to change how they setup and rely more heavily on N'Golo Kante. Kante is the type of player who could do all the dirty work to allow Pogba to shine. The kind of player he doesn't have next to him at United.

Now if one of the most expensive footballers in the world needs the right players around him to succeed, then he's probably a bit overrated. I agree there. But he still brings a lot to the table. I'd try him and Kante together in a two man midfield, send Matuidi to the bench, and load up the attack up front.
RE: Any votes for best kit?  
Jon in NYC : 6/13/2018 2:42 pm : link
In comment 13989771 Go Terps said:
Quote:
I think I might go with Peru...



I honestly  
Jon in NYC : 6/13/2018 2:44 pm : link
don't feel very confident about anyone in this tournament. Everyone seems to have warts. I would have been most comfortable with Spain, but with the coaching news they're certainly in flux.

If there was a year for Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, or someone like that to really make a deep run, I think this could be the year.
Big Rick  
Go Terps : 6/13/2018 3:05 pm : link
Florentino could have at least waited until after the Portugal match, at minimum. It's not like Lopetegui was going anywhere.

Real Madrid didn't mind fucking over the national team when they didn't really have to. But they're Real Madrid, so why should they care? Florentino's is and has been a scumbag; the examples of him being one are too many and too well documented to deny.

Good for the RFEF for firing Lopetegui. Have fun dealing with Ronaldo's whining and not being able to find anyone to buy him.
fivethirtyeight  
JayBinQueens : 6/13/2018 3:07 pm : link
just came out with their predictions
Link - ( New Window )
RE: I honestly  
Go Terps : 6/13/2018 3:10 pm : link
In comment 13990484 Jon in NYC said:
Quote:
don't feel very confident about anyone in this tournament. Everyone seems to have warts. I would have been most comfortable with Spain, but with the coaching news they're certainly in flux.

If there was a year for Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, or someone like that to really make a deep run, I think this could be the year.


I picked Uruguay to win the whole thing in a pool I'm in. They've got the best central defense pairing - Godin is the best CB in the world and his Atletico teammate Jose Maria Gimenez is a rising star. They've got the best strike partnership with Suarez/Cavani. A good goalkeeper in Muslera whose played a million times for them. An improved midfield from previous teams - Betancour from Juve could be really good though he's still young. And their coach is hugely experienced.

Easy group to start, and could be looking at a path of Portugal and France in the first two elimination matches. Winning the whole thing may be too far but I could easily see Uruguay in the semis or the final.
There has to be some back story regarding Lopetegui getting fired.  
giantBCP : 6/13/2018 7:13 pm : link
Why couldn't he just assume the Madrid post after the tournament was over?
RE: RE: I honestly  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/13/2018 7:51 pm : link
In comment 13990509 Go Terps said:
Quote:
In comment 13990484 Jon in NYC said:


Quote:


don't feel very confident about anyone in this tournament. Everyone seems to have warts. I would have been most comfortable with Spain, but with the coaching news they're certainly in flux.

If there was a year for Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, or someone like that to really make a deep run, I think this could be the year.



I picked Uruguay to win the whole thing in a pool I'm in. They've got the best central defense pairing - Godin is the best CB in the world and his Atletico teammate Jose Maria Gimenez is a rising star. They've got the best strike partnership with Suarez/Cavani. A good goalkeeper in Muslera whose played a million times for them. An improved midfield from previous teams - Betancour from Juve could be really good though he's still young. And their coach is hugely experienced.

Easy group to start, and could be looking at a path of Portugal and France in the first two elimination matches. Winning the whole thing may be too far but I could easily see Uruguay in the semis or the final.


You're stealing my picks, dude.
RE: There has to be some back story regarding Lopetegui getting fired.  
Go Terps : 6/13/2018 7:53 pm : link
In comment 13990657 giantBCP said:
Quote:
Why couldn't he just assume the Madrid post after the tournament was over?


I've been reading/listening to podcasts about this all day. The story from multiple sources has been, as far as I can tell, pretty consistent:

1. Florentino contacted Lopetegui on Friday
2. Lopetegui told Florentino he was interested, and to work it out with his agent (the ubiquitous Jorge Mendes)
3. On Monday Lopetegui agree to take the job
4. 5:40PM Moscow time Rubiales (FA President) is informed
5. 5:45PM Real Madrid publicly announced the hiring
6. Over an hour later the FA releases a statement that sounds positive, then changes it to sound less so
7. Rubiales (in Moscow for the FIFA congress) flies to Krasnodar
8. Wednesday morning Rubiales, Lopetegui, Hierro, and Ramos meet - they try to convince Rubiales to keep Lopetegui
9. Rubiales emerges from the meeting and announces Lopetegui is sacked

Guillem Balague, Sid Lowe, Gab Marcotti, Marca, and AS all reported that, with varying opinions on whether or not Rubiales acted correctly.

Personally I think Rubiales did the right thing. Given the history of Madrid/Barca, Spain could not have a situation where there was speculation that Lopetegui was favoring a Real Madrid player or slighting a Barca player. Even in the likely event that it would be bullshit, just the perception of such behavior could have huge consequences. The situation could be salvageable had Lopetegui taken a job in England or in Italy or something...but Real Madrid? No. The same would have applied had he taken a job at Barcelona.

Further, and I can't say this strongly enough, fuck Florentino Perez and Real Madrid. Their gall and arrogance make Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder look like class acts. This was a move beyond the pale, even for their already pathetic standard. And they deserve the guy they got - I understand that managing Real Madrid could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, but Lopetegui signed an extension to 2020 with Spain 3 weeks ago. You'd think Spain was some kind of joke job instead of a team that's legitimately within the 4 or 5 best teams at this World Cup.

Scumbag move from a club that's been a scumbag since Franco was buying their European titles back in the '50s. Hopefully Hierro (another guy that got fucked by Real Madrid) does a good job and shoves it up their ass.
Correction  
Go Terps : 6/13/2018 7:55 pm : link
4. 5:40PM on TuesdayMoscow time Rubiales (FA President) is informed
5. 5:45PM on Tuesday Real Madrid publicly announced the hiring
That certainly sheds some light on it.  
giantBCP : 6/13/2018 8:51 pm : link
You would assume that either Madrid or Lopetegui would inform the federation of their intent before it all transpired.
Go Terps - you may find this of interest -  
Del Shofner : 6/13/2018 9:41 pm : link
Spanish defender Pique compares the Spain coaching situation to Michigan hoops in March Madness 1989 ...

fire the coach at the start of the tournament - no problem! - ( New Window )
Ha i totally forgot  
UESBLUE : 6/13/2018 10:14 pm : link
about the UofM Frieder/Fisher fiasco. Youd think I would have recalled that. And I agree RM are the Cowboys of LaLiga.
Ha  
Go Terps : 6/13/2018 10:32 pm : link
Maybe Hierro needs to call up Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson.
RE: RE: If I were Deschamps I would have left Pogba at home  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/13/2018 10:38 pm : link
In comment 13990472 Kyle in NY said:
Quote:
In comment 13989794 Go Terps said:


Quote:


He's got all the talent in the world but if the game isn't completely built through him he is a negative force. Enough of trying to make him happy...there's more than enough talent on that team to win the tournament without him.



This is a hot take. Not sure I agree, but I do think France needs to change how they setup and rely more heavily on N'Golo Kante. Kante is the type of player who could do all the dirty work to allow Pogba to shine. The kind of player he doesn't have next to him at United.

Now if one of the most expensive footballers in the world needs the right players around him to succeed, then he's probably a bit overrated. I agree there. But he still brings a lot to the table. I'd try him and Kante together in a two man midfield, send Matuidi to the bench, and load up the attack up front.


I want to go back to this - it's not that much of a hot take. Pogba's best year at Juventus was with Pirlo sitting deep spraying passes and an all-world Arturo Vidal cleaning everything up. Not to mention the BBC behind that. The next year he wasn't as effective.

The problem at United is he's playing in 4-3-3 no real wide players to free up his runs and crappier players behind him than at 2014-15 Juve. For France the issue isn't that Pogba isn't useful, but that Griezmann is the focus and prefers to play off Giroud.
Maybe this will galvanize Spain...  
bw in dc : 6/13/2018 10:43 pm : link
like it did for the Wolverines, and they go on to win the WC...
RE: RE: RE: If I were Deschamps I would have left Pogba at home  
Kyle in NY : 6/13/2018 11:01 pm : link
In comment 13990822 Bobby Humphrey's Earpad said:
Quote:
In comment 13990472 Kyle in NY said:


Quote:


In comment 13989794 Go Terps said:


Quote:


He's got all the talent in the world but if the game isn't completely built through him he is a negative force. Enough of trying to make him happy...there's more than enough talent on that team to win the tournament without him.



This is a hot take. Not sure I agree, but I do think France needs to change how they setup and rely more heavily on N'Golo Kante. Kante is the type of player who could do all the dirty work to allow Pogba to shine. The kind of player he doesn't have next to him at United.

Now if one of the most expensive footballers in the world needs the right players around him to succeed, then he's probably a bit overrated. I agree there. But he still brings a lot to the table. I'd try him and Kante together in a two man midfield, send Matuidi to the bench, and load up the attack up front.



I want to go back to this - it's not that much of a hot take. Pogba's best year at Juventus was with Pirlo sitting deep spraying passes and an all-world Arturo Vidal cleaning everything up. Not to mention the BBC behind that. The next year he wasn't as effective.

The problem at United is he's playing in 4-3-3 no real wide players to free up his runs and crappier players behind him than at 2014-15 Juve. For France the issue isn't that Pogba isn't useful, but that Griezmann is the focus and prefers to play off Giroud.


I think leaving him off the squad entirely is a bit overboard. But I agree with the general point that heís underwhelmed at United relative to expectations due in large part because he downgraded in supporting casts. Although donít underestimate the soul sucking powers of late career Mourinho.

But I think France has the talent to compliment him. There is no Pirlo as a deep lying playmaker, thatís true. But Kante for my money is the best CDM in the world right now. He can free up Pogba. I donít think they entirely knew what they had in Kante during the Euros. He hadnít yet moved to Chelsea and he wasnít starting in the knockout rounds. Didnít play in the final. Freakin Moussa Sissoko was playing instead. That midfield upgrade canít be understated

I actually like France heading into the tournament because theyíre better set up down the middle than at the Euros. Varane/Umtiti is a nice combination and then thereís Kante. Watching Kante week in week out, he truly is a difference maker. Not to mention others like Mendy, Mbappe, Lemar, Dembele that werenít even invoked at Euros

Maybe Pogba just canít function as a cog in the whole unit and it all blows up. But Iím bullish on the French
Least compelling opener in the history of WC football?  
trueblueinpw : 6/14/2018 8:41 am : link
I hope the ruskies donít score a single goal in the tourney. Hard to pull for the Saudis too. But let the games begin!
Yeah, but tomorrow will be great  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/14/2018 9:26 am : link
Even Morocco vs Iran should be interesting.
RE: Least compelling opener in the history of WC football?  
Jints in Carolina : 6/14/2018 11:15 am : link
In comment 13990891 trueblueinpw said:
Quote:
I hope the ruskies donít score a single goal in the tourney. Hard to pull for the Saudis too. But let the games begin!


1-0 Russia
Pogba's talent is indisputable,  
Go Terps : 6/14/2018 11:26 am : link
but winning the World Cup is about keeping clean sheets and I can't trust that guy in a midfield position with any defensive responsibility at all. France has way too much talent (maybe the most in the tournament) to just hand him the keys. And if he isn't handed the keys, is he going to be a good soldier and fulfill his defensive duties? Or more doubtful, be ok with a substitute role?
Agreed, my point is  
Kyle in NY : 6/14/2018 11:31 am : link
with Kante next to him, they don't need to trust him with as much defensive responsibility.
2-0  
Jints in Carolina : 6/14/2018 11:45 am : link
.
Check out the hosts  
Go Terps : 6/14/2018 11:49 am : link
That was a nice goal just now...though the Saudis are brutally bad.

Kyle - if he's in the midfield he has to do defensive work, especially considering it sounds like Deschamps is looking to play Griezmann as a #10 behind Giroud and Mbappe.
Of course  
Kyle in NY : 6/14/2018 11:56 am : link
At this point we'll just have to wait and see. They're going to be a fascinating team to track. So much talent but can the pieces fit together? I'm more optimistic that they can.

Did you see Griezmann is going to do a Lebron style "The Decision" special to announce whether he's staying at Atletico or moving to Barcelona? I'm sure you love that
I hadn't seen that  
Go Terps : 6/14/2018 12:01 pm : link
I don't really care one way or the other. I hope he stays at Atletico. That team is really good and can compete for both Liga and UCL.
Atletico is signing Lemar  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/14/2018 12:30 pm : link
.
Russia 3-0  
Go Terps : 6/14/2018 12:34 pm : link
The guy that just scored that goal is huge.
Villarreal's Cheryshev with a phenomenal goal  
Go Terps : 6/14/2018 12:54 pm : link
What an opener for Russia.
And now a free kick goal to end it  
Go Terps : 6/14/2018 12:55 pm : link
5-0 to Russia. Wow.
Wow  
jv : 6/14/2018 1:12 pm : link
Saudi Arabia might be the worst team I can recall watching in a World Cup. Wait til they add 16 more teams though....
Going to..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 6/14/2018 1:36 pm : link
48 teams will likely result in more matches like this opener.

Russia isn't all that great of a side, yet they just destroyed Saudi Arabia and now have a significant goal differential.

The loser of Egypt- Uruguay will be in a lot of trouble, especially if it is a 2-3 goal loss.
they're all gonna get cracks at Saudi  
Nitro : 6/14/2018 3:32 pm : link
I'd expect them to lose similarily to all other group opponents.
RE: they're all gonna get cracks at Saudi  
njm : 6/14/2018 3:57 pm : link
In comment 13991342 Nitro said:
Quote:
I'd expect them to lose similarily to all other group opponents.


Unless you see the members of either or both teams driving around in brand new Bentleys.
Griezmann chooes to stay at Atletico  
Bobby Humphrey's Earpad : 6/14/2018 6:06 pm : link
actually not a surprise after rumors in recent days and AM spending big on Lemar.
RE: RE: There has to be some back story regarding Lopetegui getting fired.  
ColHowPepper : 6/14/2018 9:26 pm : link
In comment 13990686 Go Terps said:
Quote:
In comment 13990657 giantBCP said:
Quote:
Why couldn't he just assume the Madrid post after the tournament was over?
I've been reading/listening to podcasts about this all day. The story from multiple sources has been, as far as I can tell, pretty consistent:
1. Florentino contacted Lopetegui on Friday
2. Lopetegui told Florentino he was interested, and to work it out with his agent (the ubiquitous Jorge Mendes)
3. On Monday Lopetegui agree to take the job
4. 5:40PM Moscow time Rubiales (FA President) is informed
5. 5:45PM Real Madrid publicly announced the hiring
6. Over an hour later the FA releases a statement that sounds positive, then changes it to sound less so
7. Rubiales (in Moscow for the FIFA congress) flies to Krasnodar
8. Wednesday morning Rubiales, Lopetegui, Hierro, and Ramos meet - they try to convince Rubiales to keep Lopetegui
9. Rubiales emerges from the meeting and announces Lopetegui is sacked

Guillem Balague, Sid Lowe, Gab Marcotti, Marca, and AS all reported that, with varying opinions on whether or not Rubiales acted correctly.

Personally I think Rubiales did the right thing. Given the history of Madrid/Barca, Spain could not have a situation where there was speculation that Lopetegui was favoring a Real Madrid player or slighting a Barca player. Even in the likely event that it would be bullshit, just the perception of such behavior could have huge consequences. The situation could be salvageable had Lopetegui taken a job in England or in Italy or something...but Real Madrid? No. The same would have applied had he taken a job at Barcelona.

Further, and I can't say this strongly enough, fuck Florentino Perez and Real Madrid. Their gall and arrogance make Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder look like class acts. This was a move beyond the pale, even for their already pathetic standard. And they deserve the guy they got - I understand that managing Real Madrid could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, but Lopetegui signed an extension to 2020 with Spain 3 weeks ago. You'd think Spain was some kind of joke job instead of a team that's legitimately within the 4 or 5 best teams at this World Cup.

Scumbag move from a club that's been a scumbag since Franco was buying their European titles back in the '50s. Hopefully Hierro (another guy that got fucked by Real Madrid) does a good job and shoves it up their ass.
Because FIFA is so effing pure of principle
but, by and large, I endorse FManinCharlotte's  
ColHowPepper : 6/14/2018 9:42 pm : link
perception of most things, because he IS a man of principle, notwithstanding that I don't necessarily always agree with his take, and his fucktard assignations are sometimes arbitrarily awarded, but not too often, but any guy who watches as much Bundesliga matches in the host stadiums as he has, is ok and has my GoodHouseKeeping Seal of Approval.

This, of course, after my local margarita watering hole manned and womened by Hispanic soccer fanatics, and one Austrian, has put me in mode to offer commentary.........Brasil Germany Spain (yikes) Belgium? Will that work in the Group Stage brackets?
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