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Old 05-27-2018, 12:00 PM   #141
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See, everyone misses us already! People love to hate on Italy and that's OK, I wouldn't have it any other way. This tournament won't be the same without Italy, Netherlands, USA, etc.

I do agree that Italy needs a solid rebuild. A tournament break might be a good chance for a reset. We will let some of the other countries try and capture a World Cup or two, spread the wealth.

So who do I cheer for now? I guess the only solid option is Argentina...
USA has not really been relevant at the WC, with the exception of one time in the QF. Their impact at the World Cup is similar to Belarus or Latvia in Hockey's World Championship. I agree about Italy and Holland though.

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Old 05-27-2018, 12:32 PM   #142
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The Saudi squad for the friendly against Italy tomorrow. Good luck to play by play guys.

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Goalkeepers:#Assaf Al-Qarny (Al-Ittihad), Mohammed Al-Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al-Musailem (Al Alhi), Abdullah Al-Mayuf (Al Hilal).

Defenders:#Mansoor Al-Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al Hilal) Mohammed Al-Breik (Al HIlal), Saeed Al-Mowalad (Al Ahli), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsaw (Al Hilal)i, Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Mohammed Jahfali (Al Hilal), Ali Al-Bulaihi (Al Hilal).

Midfielders:#Abdullah Al-Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al-Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al-Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al-Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al-Faraj, Nawaf Al-Abed, Mohamed Kanno (all Al Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Mohammed Al-Kwikbi (Al Ettifaq), Salem Al-Dawsari (Villarreal, Spain), Yehya Al-Shehri (Leganes, Spain).

Forwards:#Fahad Al-Muwallad (Levante, Spain), Mohammad Al-Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli).


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Old 05-27-2018, 04:18 PM   #143
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USA has not really been relevant at the WC, with the exception of one time in the QF. Their impact at the World Cup is similar to Belarus or Latvia in Hockey's World Championship. I agree about Italy and Holland though.
But they are the USA though and their impact is 100 times greater than Belarus in hockey.

For better or for worse.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:15 PM   #144
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^^You must mean in the context of world events, not in football though. From a purely sporting perspective the last time they played a significant game was the quarter final loss to Ghana which was a few world cups back. Indeed Belarus had more of an impact when they beat Sweden in the 2002 QF at the Olympic hockey tournament and reached the semi final, the US has never got that far and they appear to have peaked in this particular sport.

This is one event where they have no significant impact, short of a Canadian obsession with all things US. Furthermore their lack of participation in this world cup is irrelevant(outside of US Fans missing them), and I don't see how it would change anything. Even from a CONCACAF point of view Costa Rica and Mexico have been much better in recent years.

I think you must be referring to the US women's team.
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Old 05-27-2018, 10:37 PM   #145
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Hoping Neuer can be fit enough, he's going to be a dealbreaker. Ter Stegen is good insurance but I still think Neuer will be elite if he's in form
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Old 05-28-2018, 12:05 AM   #146
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Ya know, I'll take a flyer on Neuer letting in a howler if he's fit.

Knowing he loves to sweep and go roaming, and having not played for 9 months, he's due for another.
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:28 AM   #147
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^^You must mean in the context of world events, not in football though. From a purely sporting perspective the last time they played a significant game was the quarter final loss to Ghana which was a few world cups back. Indeed Belarus had more of an impact when they beat Sweden in the 2002 QF at the Olympic hockey tournament and reached the semi final, the US has never got that far and they appear to have peaked in this particular sport.

This is one event where they have no significant impact, short of a Canadian obsession with all things US. Furthermore their lack of participation in this world cup is irrelevant(outside of US Fans missing them), and I don't see how it would change anything. Even from a CONCACAF point of view Costa Rica and Mexico have been much better in recent years.

I think you must be referring to the US women's team.
No I am referring to the USA. The global superpower and media magnet that attracts attention wherever it’s athletes play. Really no comparison to Belarus.

Canada is not the only country in the world aware of the US influence and reach.

I hear you from “a purely sporting perspective” but the World Cup is like the Olympics and is much more than a little tournament.
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Old 05-28-2018, 08:37 AM   #148
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Ya know, I'll take a flyer on Neuer letting in a howler if he's fit.

Knowing he loves to sweep and go roaming, and having not played for 9 months, he's due for another.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:10 AM   #149
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No I am referring to the USA. The global superpower and media magnet that attracts attention wherever it’s athletes play. Really no comparison to Belarus.

Canada is not the only country in the world aware of the US influence and reach.

I hear you from “a purely sporting perspective” but the World Cup is like the Olympics and is much more than a little tournament.
Because of the massive size of the World Cup as more than a sporting event, no one really cares about the US making it or not. Even when England misses, Europe's English language media cares but the world, not really.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:13 AM   #150
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Go Iceland! Beat the crap out of everyone please.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:29 AM   #151
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Go Iceland! Beat the crap out of everyone please.
Hitching your wagon to that underdog early huh?

Thats the interesting part about the World Cup and short tournaments though, a well-disciplined team can surprise.

That being said though, Iceland have lost their element of surprise. They're not sneaking up on anyone anymore.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:38 AM   #152
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If Neuer is not fit for Germany, Karius just played in the Champions League final so he must be good...


Also check out his "Personal Life" section on his wikipedia page. You'll be amazed at this incredible thing.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:38 AM   #153
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Hitching your wagon to that underdog early huh?

Thats the interesting part about the World Cup and short tournaments though, a well-disciplined team can surprise.

That being said though, Iceland have lost their element of surprise. They're not sneaking up on anyone anymore.
Their first game against Argentina will be really interesting. Can they use their height against the short and weak Argentina keeper and defense. Especially on set pieces. Argentine keepers are notoriously bad in the air. Can that be the surprise.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:38 AM   #154
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Hitching your wagon to that underdog early huh?

Thats the interesting part about the World Cup and short tournaments though, a well-disciplined team can surprise.

That being said though, Iceland have lost their element of surprise. They're not sneaking up on anyone anymore.
3 points, -3 GD, out in the group stage. That's my prediction for Iceland.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:39 AM   #155
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Hitching your wagon to that underdog early huh?

Thats the interesting part about the World Cup and short tournaments though, a well-disciplined team can surprise.

That being said though, Iceland have lost their element of surprise. They're not sneaking up on anyone anymore.
I'd love to see them oust the standard soccer superpowers. Underdog stories are so much more fun to cheer for than the usual countries who are always pegged to win it.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:42 AM   #156
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Iceland have lost some of that 2014 to 2016 magic. That said, you never know which Croatia will show up, Argentina is not what they used to be, and African sides can outmuscle you or fall flat on their faces vs Euro sides.



I'd be surprised, but not shocked if any of the teams from that group progress.
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:00 AM   #157
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Their first game against Argentina will be really interesting. Can they use their height against the short and weak Argentina keeper and defense. Especially on set pieces. Argentine keepers are notoriously bad in the air. Can that be the surprise.
Iran almost tied Argentina last World Cup. Anything is possible
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Old 05-28-2018, 11:03 AM   #158
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Iran almost tied Argentina last World Cup. Anything is possible
That was a weird tournament. Everyone nearly beat Argentina on their way to the final.
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Old 05-28-2018, 05:36 PM   #159
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Indeed Belarus had more of an impact when they beat Sweden in the 2002 QF at the Olympic hockey tournament and reached the semi final, the US has never got that far
Sorry to nitpick, but this is incorrect. The US were semifinalists in the first world cup back in 1930. To this day it remains the closest a CONCACAF side has come to the trophy. Granted it was a much different tournament back then with only 13 teams and the knockout stage was just the 4 group winners.

The QF appearances by Mexico x2, the US and Costa Rica are arguably more significant achievements.
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Old 06-01-2018, 06:21 PM   #160
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The Socceroos smashed the Czechs 4-0 in a warm up match last night. Dominating a European team gives me some hope they won't get completely embarrassed in a ridiculously hard group.
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