2018 World Cup Pre-Tournament Betting Tips

It’s the return of the World Cup betting tips!!! Four years ago I predicted like a mad man and made tons of money on my £1 bets! That’s right…I’m the sort of guy who risks it all! Continue reading “2018 World Cup Pre-Tournament Betting Tips”

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2018 FIFA World Cup Preview

The biggest sporting event in the world rumbles its way into town as Russia hosts the World Cup. 32 nations take on the biggest challenge of beating the other 31 so as to grasp that sexy golden piece of gorgeousness. Continue reading “2018 FIFA World Cup Preview”

The 2018 World Cup Draw Review

After what can only be called a mind numbingly awful draw process in which a number of continents most people don’t give a shit about we finally made it to the European draw.  The event contained many highlights like…em…Fat Ronaldo…the axis of evil being on the same stage together…hm…  Yes the draw was made for Russia 2018, the World Cup which will probably be in Russia but might actually be in England because of silly little things like racism, anti-homosexual and corruption problems.  To be fair what did they really expect when they awarded the hosting to a country which is notorious for racism, anti-homosexual and corruption problems?  To be fair to Russia, at least they aren’t as bad as Qatar, who positively make Russia look advanced in their social progression. Continue reading “The 2018 World Cup Draw Review”

World Cup Team of the Tournament.

It was a great World Cup and there were many great performances so I am here to pick the best 11 of the tournament. Unlike other best 11’s out there I won’t be playing six strikers across the midfield to try and squeeze everyone in just cause they score goals.

GK Manuel Neuer
Could it be anyone else? Arguably the best player of the tournament, he was an absolute rock in nets for the Germans. I could give you all his goalkeeping stats but I won’t (and I can’t be arsed looking them up) because I don’t need to as the thing which Neuer excelled at in this World Cup would not come up in his stats, that’s all the tackles outside the box and the excellent anticipation he required to get to all those balls before quicker attacking players. Quite simply put it was a remarkable display from Neuer.

RB Philipp Lahm
Germany had looked shaky defensively until Lahm was moved back to right back in the quarter finals and from there on in Germany were rock solid only conceding a last minute consolation to Brazil. Lahm is the best right back in the world which makes you wonder why both Germany and Bayern insist on playing him in central midfield. I’m not one to criticise though as in the end the right decision was made and Lahm lifted the World Cup as captain and put in a tournament performance to match that honour.

LB Daley Blind
I don’t think there was a truly outstanding left back performance in the World Cup so I have given it to Blind who I thought did very well. Blind was a big part of the Dutch backline and sometimes slipped into a holding midfield or centre back role, due to that versatility he just edged it for me.

CB Mats Hummels
He was the standout centre back in this World Cup, not only did he chip in with two goals Hummels was also a wall in the backline. Hummels was unreal against France and although he occasionally got out paced in the Argentina game his tackling was inch perfect. Hummels is arguably the best centre back in the world and he really showed up to this World Cup, made even more impressive when you consider he battled against injuries, what a player.

CB Ron Vlaar
Who would’ve thought that Ron Vlaar would even get a sniff at this team? The same Vlaar who concedes goals for fun at Aston Villa looked like a world class centre back in this World Cup. For me it was a toss-up between Vlaar and De Vrij but I gave it to Vlaar because I believe that he is the leader of a young backline and he performed incredibly well in Holland’s two biggest games against Spain and Argentina.

RM Juan Cuadrado
Cuadrado epitomised what Colombia did, high paced exciting attacking football. Cuadrado was a constant threat down the right as his pace gave left backs more than something to worry about and then best of all he had the end ball to boot, creating 4 assists in just 5 games and scoring 1 as well.

LM Arjen Robben
Did Robben have a bad game at this World Cup? I don’t think so. Robben was a constant threat for Holland and was their best player. He probably was the best player of the tournament but was never going to win the Golden Ball because he had been tarred with the diving stick and more importantly wasn’t named Leo Messi…Great player who seems to keep getting better with age.

CM Toni Kroos
What a player Toni Kroos is, he dictates a game like a young Paul Scholes and has the shot to match. Kroos played as part of a midfield trio and had the skill and passing ability to not only control games but set Germany off in attacks with precision passing and incredible vision, a deadly combination. Add to that Kroos’ two goals against Brazil and his 4 assists and you see why he made the team. Kroos was always a threat from set pieces and controlled the tempo of the game in an excellent German team, deservedly making the team.

CM Javier Mascherano
Mascherano was Argentina’s best player, putting in man of the match performances game after game. He is the sole reason they made it past Holland in the semis and was also their best player in the final. When Argentina needed someone to step up Mascherano took the task and was excellent in doing so. Mascherano was fantastic and if the rest of the Argentinian players had played to his level I doubt we are talking about Germany being World Champions.

AM James Rodriguez
If he had made it to the semis he almost certainly would have won the Golden Player but sadly for him he got kicked off the park by the Brazilians and Colombia crashed out in the quarters. Rodriguez did win the Golden Boot with his impressive 6 goals in 5 matches, scoring in every match which he played. Yes the so called “breakout” star of the tournament (you know the guy that moved to Monaco a year ago for £37m) was outstanding and deserved more than he got.

ST Thomas Muller
It could only be one man, Muller was outstanding once again and makes it 5/11 Germans in the team. Muller notched up another 5 goals and 3 assists to add to his impressive tally from South Africa. It is incredible to think that he is only 24 yet he has already cemented himself as one of the greatest World Cup players of all time, Klose must be worrying about his record. Muller played all along the front, beating defensive with his effort, pace and trickiness, the boy just knows how to score goals and make pivotal plays. I was quite shocked when he didn’t win the Golden Ball because if you were going to give it to a German (and they more than often give it to the winner) then it would have went to Muller.

If you are counting this list includes 5 Germans, 3 Dutch, 2 Colombians and 1 Argentinian. That’s right no Brazilians, that is because they were pretty shit and only one Argentinian because they were also pretty shit despite making the final. In terms of clubs we had 5 Bayern, 1 Ajax, 1 Dortmund, 1 Monaco, 1 Barca, 1 Fiorentina and incredibly 1 Villa player.

Seeing as the World Cup isn’t all about the first 11 and there were many other players who played well but just missed out, here is the rest of the 23 man squad (it’s essentially a second team with two keepers.

Tim Howard, Keylor Navas, Dirk Kuyt, Jan Vertonghen, Stefan De Vrij, Jerome Boateng, Mathieu Valbuena, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marcos Rojo, Alexis Sanchez, Leo Messi (I didn’t want to put him in because I thought he was poor but there was no one better in his position) and Karim Benzema.

So there you have it the best 11 (and reserves) of the 2014 World Cup. I think it’s a pretty good list, but then I would because I picked it…Leave a comment about who you think deserved to be in the best 11 of the World Cup and share the love!

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World Cup Final Review.

After just over a month of football Germany have been crowned the World Champions for the fourth time, making them the second most successful team in World Cup history. They won the crown with a Mario Gotze goal in extra time to take the game 1-0 much to the dismay of the Argentinians.

It wasn’t really a great final; the first have was really good with Germany controlling and Argentina looking deadly on the counter. There were two unbelievable chances for each team with Higuain somehow not scoring what looked like a guarantee and Howedes smacking the post with an open header from about 7 yards out. The second half was a dire affair which saw both teams (the Argentinians in particular) not willing to take a risk in attack and compensated that with a bunch of cheap fouls. As extra time came around it looked very much that the extra day and lack of quality semi-final opponent had finally paid off for Germany as Argentina looked very much the inferior team on the stamina market. However Germany wanted to keep the game level so continued to play very open defensively even letting the man with the silliest haircut at the World Cup Rodrigo Palacio in with only a mad jumping Neuer in his way, but he still managed to miss and blew another excellent chance to take the match. As the second half of extra time came around Argentina forgot that the game was about kicking the ball into the net so instead decided to start kicking Bastian Schweinstieger hoping that it may end up in something (Aguero especially was lucky to not be sent off). In the end though a run down the left by Andre Schurlle with a cross which found a teammate in Mario Gotze (his first good cross of the match), a chest and a sublime finish was it that was needed for Germany to be crowned deserving World Champions and that was the game.

Argentina will be incredibly disappointed that they haven’t given a better showing in the final because Germany were very open defensively at times and let Argentina in twice for one on ones with Neuer only for Argentina to blow those chances. It didn’t help that Messi didn’t show up at all, he was a total non-event (don’t show up for last two rounds, win best player…). This wasn’t the Holland game where the defence and midfield doubled up on him and gave him little space, there was lots of space for him to play into, and he just didn’t show up. This game is what legacies are made of, can you really be considered one of the greatest ever players if you are from a major nation and never win a World Cup, I personally don’t think so and Messi’s running out of time.

Germany will be pleased with the result, partially because they are World Champions but also because there was a lot of adversity in their way. Even before kick-off the Germans lost Khedira, an important cog in their midfield having to replace him with Kramer (not the Seinfeld guy, he wasn’t eligible) who had never started a competitive game. Things got worse when Kramer then suffered a concussion and came off after 30 minutes, again not an ideal scenario. Germany arguably put in one of their worst performances of the competition and weren’t helped by Argentina and their heavy fouling and generally negative tactics. In the end it was a win for football and although it wasn’t their best performance Germany were still the best team in the competition.

Although I don’t think the Germans defended particularly well I do think that their tackling was absolutely sublime. The high defensive line played into Argentina’s hands and often had the German defence running back chasing shadows but they more than often got themselves out of trouble with inch perfect tackling. Boateng, Hummels, Schweinsteiger and Lahm all put in superb performances keeping the Argentinians at bay and although Argentina never got a shot on target (bit embarrassing) Manuel Neuer was once again unbelievable, showing that he truly is the best goalkeeper in the world. For Argentina you have to feel sorry for Mascherano who had an unbelievable tournament and once again was Argentina’s best player, he really didn’t deserve to be on the losing side of the match, I’m sure he wouldn’t have been if his teammates had played to his level and intensity. Beyond a handful of players I don’t think that many of the other players had great games (it wasn’t a great game to be fair) and the best attacking players on the pitch would’ve been Muller who was a pest all night without actually creating anything and Gotze who’s freshness gave Argentina real problems to end the game (oh and that winner).

I think that pretty much everyone would agree in unison that Germany were deserving winners of the World Cup for their play in the tournament and their play in the final. Looking forward for Germany the future looks very bright, with the only player in this 23 man squad who definitely won’t be at the next World Cup being Klose as they incredibly only have two outfield players over 30 (Lahm [30] and Klose [36]). It looks even brighter when you consider the players who didn’t make it into the team either through injury or because they just missed out, I wouldn’t be shocked if Germany won the next World Cup at all. Argentina on the other hand will have to go back to the drawing board because their tactic of give the ball to Messi isn’t particularly effective against the big teams. They have two Copa America’s coming before the next World Cup so they will have a great chance to end their international drought (stretching back to 1993) because Messi is running out of opportunities to finally win the biggest prize in football (he’s 27) and will have at very best two more attempts.

The tournament as a whole was pretty damn good. The group stages were outstanding with teams just saying ‘fuck boring football the World Cup only comes round every four years!’ Sadly as we kicked into the knockout stages the quality dropped dramatically as teams shrivelled up and forgot what an opposing final third looked like. All the matches were incredibly enough won by the favourites with the exclusion of Germany thumping Brazil 7-1 which also turned out to be one of the best games as well. Great tournament, great hosts and great winners, all in all pretty damn good.

Something which wasn’t pretty damn good was the handing out of the tournament awards. Neuer for the golden glove, tick. Pogba best young player, tick. Rodriguez golden boot, tick. Messi golden ball, what the fuck! How the fuck does Messi win the golden boot when he didn’t even play that well in the tournament? He only played really well in the Nigeria game which was essentially meaningless. He only had one moment of magic in the Bosnia, Iran, Swiss and Belgium games, granted that moment turned out to be the winning moment of the match but he did almost nothing else in any of these matches. To make it even worse when Argentina really needed him to step up in the semis and the final he was totally anonymous, barely getting a touch of the ball. How all of this led to a best player in the World Cup award is ridiculous. To make matters even worse, Messi wasn’t even the best Argentinian player at this World Cup, Mascherano was. Rodriguez, Robben, Muller, Kroos, Lahm, Schweinstieger, Hummels, Vlaar and Cuadrado all deserved the nod before Messi (although not all were nominated). In fact of the players who were nominated I would say that Messi had a better tournament than only Di Maria (who shouldn’t have been nominated) and Neymar (who only got nominated because he was the Brazilian poster boy). This was the classic case of Messi wins things by default, he has done it many years with the Ballon d’Or and he has managed to do it with his mediocre performance in this World Cup.

Anyway enough of idle chitchat, it was a great World Cup and we got the best winner from it. Gone is the stupid European’s can’t win in South America tag (hooray!) and once again we see that Europe is the superior football race which makes a mockery of Sepp Blatter trying to reduce the UEFA places when he should be increasing them.

Personally I’m ecstatic to see Germany win the World Cup; they are my favourite international team which actually plays in international tournaments (Scotland and Ireland don’t really make it very often). I think this is the closest I will ever get to the feeling of my nation winning the World Cup (not that I am German in anyway whatsoever, I’ve never even been, I just feel a connection, maybe it’s that socialist thriftiness we both share…) because I highly doubt Scotland will ever win anything because we generally suck and can’t even get to the finals (last time was 1998 which was like forever ago).

Well leave a comment on what you thought about the World Cup final, what you thought about Germany winning their fourth crown and what you thought about the tournament as a whole. With every comment you contribute you move a step closer to heaven…if you believe it that sort of stuff…

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