Day 5: Switzerland vs Cameroon | Uruguay vs South Korea | Portugal vs Ghana | Brazil vs Serbia

That_Bloke

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It’s easy to say that, but African nations don’t have the luxury of playing openly without fear. Not only is the opportunity to go to a World Cup a rare one, but the money is absolutely necessary - and often times it’s the best chance for a young & undiscovered player to be put in the shop window and get in a major European league.
Also the fact that all African teams get lumped together is strange in the first place and never happens with any other region or continent.
I know that the road to WC is extremely hard for african teams with only five places, but still find it to be a cop-out. Especially in 2022.

I've watched every single WC since 1990. Cameroon had then a fantastic team with the likes of Joseph-Antoine Bell and Roger Milla and should've at least reached the semis. Then we had Nigeria in 1994 and 1998 with Yekini, Amokachi, Oliseh, Finidi... who also should've done so much better than what they've achieved. Then Senegal in 2002 and their victory against the then defending world champions (France) and their stupid elimination against Denmark Turkey. Then Ghana in 2010 and the heartbreak when A. Gyan missing that penalty. Then Algeria in 2014 giving Germany a proper run for their money and arguably their most nerve-wrecking game in their entire winning run. Only the WC 2018 was a disaster.

The quality is there even with so many hurdles and the lack of proper infrastructures, yet african teams keep getting eliminated even when the game is in their hands. Nowadays most of their best players are in the european leagues. More than inexperience, it's for me a lack of self-belief and a deeply ingrained complex that the european/south-american teams are better and will win anyway. I sincerely wish to live long enough to see an african team lift the trophy, but they have to start playing for the win and not only to just not lose.
 
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Steffa Barnesa

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OK, don't think Brazil have anyone as good as Ronaldo or as clinical as Romario in their forward line, but in terms of sheer number of quality options it almost looks unprecedented (in part due to larger squads than ever before). Even in 2002 backup striker was Edilson, '94 guys like Viola, Zinho, Paulo Sergio were backup forwards. I'm sure other teams through history have had great options, but still, an incredibly stacked bunch of forwards.
 

oneniltothearsenal

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Glad the manager didn't bother. Tremendous goal.
Me too
Neymar, Rodrygo, Vinicius, Richarlison, Jesus, Antony, Martinelli

vs.

Kane, Sterling, Saka, Rashford, Foden, Grealish, Wilson

I don't think England's attack is far off.
France too. Missing Ballon winner. Still have Mbappe, Dembele, Giroud, Coman, Griezmann.
 

antohan

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They also face Danilo and Alex Sandro instead of Shaw and Walker/Trippier.
I rate Shaw and Trippier but, uncharacteristically, it is for their attacking contribution that I'd strongly prefer them as a pair.

The Brazilian central core craps all over England's though. Don't mean to bash anyone here. England have the right weapons to hurt Brazil, absolutely, but their squad isn't as good or as deep.
 

PoTMS

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I rate Shaw and Trippier but, uncharacteristically, it is for their attacking contribution that I'd strongly prefer them as a pair.

The Brazilian central core craps all over England's though. Don't mean to bash anyone here. England have the right weapons to hurt Brazil, absolutely, but their squad isn't as good or as deep.
Oh no, I don't disagree. But I can certainly see England/Spain/France with the pace they possess having success out wide against Brazil.
 

FootballHQ

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They'll meet in the quarters assuming both top their groups.
Brutal half of the draw that if Argentina get their act together. Whoever makes the final will certainly be battle hardened just as Italy were in the euros and France in 2018.
 

Krakenzero

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Having seen all teams now: Spain and Brazil the most impressive.
Most likely they'll face each other in QF. France-England could be another lock. The remaining spots seem to be there for the taking.

Argentina got lucky as its group allows them to recover. Germany fecked it big time: if they don't beat Spain (an in form team that's historically difficult for them), then it's pretty much game over.
 

RoyH1

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Which game were you watching? There were some beautiful moves from the Brazilians, today. Did you see the second goal or Casemiro's shot hitting the bar? The link-up play between the forwards?
The CAF has to be the most negative place for World Cup football discussion. Every match is boring and no one is good enough. The tournament should only be played by 8 teams and everyone else is a waste of time and space
 

bosnian_red

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Most likely they'll face each other in QF. France-England could be another lock. The remaining spots seem to be there for the taking.

Argentina got lucky as its group allows them to recover. Germany fecked it big time: if they don't beat Spain (an in form team that's historically difficult for them), then it's pretty much game over.
Argentina vs Netherlands is probably a quarter final lock as well
 

Bluelion7

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Neymar, Rodrygo, Vinicius, Richarlison, Jesus, Antony, Martinelli

vs.

Kane, Sterling, Saka, Rashford, Foden, Grealish, Wilson

I don't think England's attack is far off.
You guys may not want to jinx anything, or maybe just modesty, but England looked like they would be a lot for anyone to deal with.
 

BorisManUtd

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Well done to Brazil, you can indeed see why they're favorites to win the competition. Some people will criticise the approach from Stojković but I guess we were always going to lose this game. It's all about matches vs Cameroon and Switzerland. Think Switzerland are favorites to beat us and finish 2nd like in 2018 but let's see.
 

bosnian_red

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Argentina is ~40% to win their group.
I'd be shocked if they didn't still win it, given how shit Poland and mexico are. They fecked up the first game and while they were overrated IMO, they'll still be fine and are far better than the others there in their group. Germany is in trouble as they need to beat the best team to go through, so it's a different scenario IMO.
 

Eddy_JukeZ

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Brazil looked very good.

Is Neymar going to be fit though? Tite thinks he'll play again, but he look distressed on the bench.
 

Demyanenko_square_jaw

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I thought the brazil game was shaping up to be a turgid nerves fest after the first half, but they went up through the gears impressively in the second. Serbia i thought looked quite comfortable until that, they had set things up as well as they could have to come out and attack in the second, so i wouldn't say it was a cowardly performance like some have, just one where they couldn't keep up and eventually were pinned down. Better in that case not to get smashed by 4 or 5 for the second game .

maybe they could take more risks with more pace.mobility in the team, but their better attacking players are all so slow and lacking in any agility in tight spaces/against good pressing, just not physically up to it against a team with the balance of quality, athleticism and defensive organisation Brazil have. Tadic , though never fast, is the only player that at one point could produce a bit of creative magic or dribbling to unbalance a formation, but he's at the end of his career and needs quite a lot of space/mistakes to feed on.
 

padr81

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I don't get the we can't attack and have to defend to get anything narrative for smaller teams.

The two major shocks came from Saudi playing like 2018 Liverpool, Japan playing aggressive fast football too, and if they had shooting boots on Canada would have beaten Belgium.

The teams that have sat 9 men back have either gotten walloped or like the games today eventually caved and lost anyway.

Both Serbia and Ghana looked better when they had to come out. Had Ghana started like they finished they had a real chance.
 

ExoduS

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Pathetic display by Serbia. Decent in first 25 minutes and then total physical collapse. Off course Brazil is Brazil but I'm upset by the showing. 0 shots on target.
 

Eddy_JukeZ

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50-50. Probably won’t hear till Saturday if he’s going to be able to play. He’s got a scan tomorrow according to the team doctor.

https://www.skysports.com/share/12754978
Hopefully he plays. Would be a shame if another WC player is out.

They can easily manage without him in the groups and they've got the attacking talent to compensate for him in general, but they're still better with him.
 

evil_geko

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Brazil was much better, but Ref was terrible, so many fouls against Brazil not called, even some deserved yellows, also Neymar spent half of the game on the ground, like expected.
 

RedDevilRoshi

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Hopefully he plays. Would be a shame if another WC player is out.

They can easily manage without him in the groups and they've got the attacking talent to compensate for him in general, but they're still better with him.
Same. We’ve had enough key players across various nations that have been ruled out by injury in this World Cup.

Yeah, they will definitely manage without him for these remaining two games as you’ve mentioned - the attacking depth is very strong. I just hope he’s available to play a part in the knockout rounds. He was able to play an extra 10 mins after the collision as confirmed by Tite. Also didn’t need a stretcher or assistance to be helped off the pitch so could possibly be a positive there.
 

Demyanenko_square_jaw

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Pathetic display by Serbia. Decent in first 25 minutes and then total physical collapse. Off course Brazil is Brazil but I'm upset by the showing. 0 shots on target.
The 2018 game was similar. besides any issues of being too negative and the obvious overall difference in quality, i think it's just a bad stylistic matchup too with Tite's Brazil. of all the bigger teams, their usual game is just very well set up to nullify Serbia's large amount of slow players, which seems to be an issue for at least half a decade now.
 

Grande

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I don't get the we can't attack and have to defend to get anything narrative for smaller teams.

The two major shocks came from Saudi playing like 2018 Liverpool, Japan playing aggressive fast football too, and if they had shooting boots on Canada would have beaten Belgium.

The teams that have sat 9 men back have either gotten walloped or like the games today eventually caved and lost anyway.

Both Serbia and Ghana looked better when they had to come out. Had Ghana started like they finished they had a real chance.
I’m not sure if I agree here. My impression was that both Japan and Saudi Arabia (to a degree) where pushed back from the start, and in fact got counter intuitive rewards later in the games when they were already behind and would normally be out if the opposition put away their chances. While Serbia to me was well in the game up until Brazil actually scored on two of not too many chances, and collapsed after that. Ghana, like Saudi Arabia and Japan, came under 1-0 (unrightful penalty though), and then answered. Unfortunately for them, Bruno and Felix/Leao were clinical when Hofman/Gnabry wasn’t, and that’s the difference.

Canada just played better altogether/Belgium played worse. Well this is my take on these games anyway.
 

antohan

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Then we had Nigeria in 1994 and 1998 with Yekini, Amokachi, Oliseh, Finidi... who also should've done so much better than what they've achieved.
You forgot West, Babayaro, Babangida, Okocha and Kanu!

Then Senegal in 2002 and their victory against the then defending world champions (France) and their stupid elimination against Denmark.
France's elimination. Senegal had a good run and narrowly lost to 3rd placed Turkey in the quarters.

I agree what used to be lack of discipline and tournament experience/smarts has given way to lack of self-belief and jitters leading to brainfarts.

We are clearly talking about non-Maghreb Africa though.
 

antohan

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I don't get the we can't attack and have to defend to get anything narrative for smaller teams.

The two major shocks came from Saudi playing like 2018 Liverpool, Japan playing aggressive fast football too, and if they had shooting boots on Canada would have beaten Belgium.

The teams that have sat 9 men back have either gotten walloped or like the games today eventually caved and lost anyway.

Both Serbia and Ghana looked better when they had to come out. Had Ghana started like they finished they had a real chance.
Maybe the difference is whether you have the personnel for aggressive fast football, as you call it?

Saudi and Japan had the right gameplan, yeah, but if Serbia comes out all guns blazing against Brazil they would get slaughtered. Ghana managed to score two but every time Portugal countered it was half a goal and all that was the result of a very soft penalty. They had the game relatively well controlled up to then.

If you are playing good counterattacking teams -more so if you don't have the right backline to defend high up- the last thing you want to do is attack.

It's not a narrative, it's common sense.
 

marktan

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Man I really hope Santos has the balls to drop Ronaldo against the better teams. They have one of the most rounded teams they'll have, it'd be a shame if they don't fully maximise it's potential. Next world cup players like Bruno and Bernado and even Cancelo will be too old. They have a mix of youth and players in their prime.

For me they have to line up with Leao - Felix - Bernado up front (would've preferred Jota for Bernado if he was fit). Then Bruno and two of their 50 midfielders behind. It gives them the best shot of having a fluid attack. It's criminal to leave either Felix or Leao on the bench, for me two of the top 10 young talents around currently. Ronaldo is perfectly tailor made for a role of the bench when they need a goal.. I mean just look at how fluid Leao runs with the ball Vs Ronaldo.. you can't hide from the realities of time.

It'd be such a shame if they face off against say Brazil and don't play the best team, both teams at full strength would be a classic
 

colombianmancunian

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I'd be shocked if they didn't still win it, given how shit Poland and mexico are. They fecked up the first game and while they were overrated IMO, they'll still be fine and are far better than the others there in their group. Germany is in trouble as they need to beat the best team to go through, so it's a different scenario IMO.
Argentina has been heavily overrated, specially here at the Caf. But they are the best team in their group, they can still recover and finish at the top. Probably will go out in QF
 

That_Bloke

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You forgot West, Babayaro, Babangida, Okocha and Kanu!


France's elimination. Senegal had a good run and narrowly lost to 3rd placed Turkey in the quarters.

I agree what used to be lack of discipline and tournament experience/smarts has given way to lack of self-belief and jitters leading to brainfarts.

We are clearly talking about non-Maghreb Africa though.
Yes indeed. You can add Amuneke and Ikpeba to the lot. Nigeria 1994 were fabulous. I remember my uncle telling me that the Super Eagles beat Bulgaria 3-0 and I couldn't believe it (I missed that game as I still was in high school), as Bulgaria were really strong at the time and had eliminated a great France team in the qualifications in 1993. Then I watched R. Baggio shattering their dreams with a late brace in the round of 16. Nigeria were leading 1-0 until the 88th minute.

You're right again. I mixed them with Nigeria 1998 who came first out of the group of death (Spain, Paraguay, Bulgaria, Nigeria). At the time I genuinely tipped them to reach the semis at least. Then they went to lose 4-1 against Denmark in the very first knockout round.

I never make a difference between North-Africa (Maghreb) and "Africa". Same continent, same problems, same quality even if the style of play differs. Unless I misunderstood you.
 

fergiewherearethou

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Man I really hope Santos has the balls to drop Ronaldo against the better teams. They have one of the most rounded teams they'll have, it'd be a shame if they don't fully maximise it's potential. Next world cup players like Bruno and Bernado and even Cancelo will be too old. They have a mix of youth and players in their prime.

For me they have to line up with Leao - Felix - Bernado up front (would've preferred Jota for Bernado if he was fit). Then Bruno and two of their 50 midfielders behind. It gives them the best shot of having a fluid attack. It's criminal to leave either Felix or Leao on the bench, for me two of the top 10 young talents around currently. Ronaldo is perfectly tailor made for a role of the bench when they need a goal.. I mean just look at how fluid Leao runs with the ball Vs Ronaldo.. you can't hide from the realities of time.

It'd be such a shame if they face off against say Brazil and don't play the best team, both teams at full strength would be a classic
If Santos drops Ronaldo then it's another P. Morgan interview, this time about Portugal.
 

Kopral Jono

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How bad were Cameroon yesterday after conceding. Portugal v Ghana aside it was another poor matchday.
 

Gringo

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Portugal are waiting to be smacked up. Honestly. I'd rather we just parked the bus because we cannot defend with Danilo in a back 4 and Dias as his partner. The sooner we are out the better. That Germany game in the Euros was all the evidence you needed, to see that Fernando Santos isn't up to par.
 
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