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Timetxu

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    Rotterdam, Netherlands

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    Roda JC

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  1. FIRST ROUND OF POOL PLAY - RECAP With the first 24 games over, we've seen every nation in action once. What can we say? Most bigger nations have showed why they're favourites, but some find themselves in an early pickle (looking at you Belgium and Italy). Because of the way the games have been set up, many smaller nations might already be dreaming of the next round. But beware: all that can change when you've faced a stronger nation. In general, four points will be enough to qualify to the next round, but slotting in some extra goals might just make that difference between going to the next round and skipping one altogether. Top goalscorers: 3 - Álvaro Morata (ESP) 2 - Lionel Messi (ARG), Roberto Firmino (BRA), Neymar (BRA), Harry Kane (ENG), Moussa Marega (MLI) 1 - 54 Players (+1 Own Goal) ----------- In the second round of pool play, we get to enjoy 24 new matches. There will be two hubs playing all-Pot 1 confrontations with the juicest one planned for Day 10 in Washington D.C.: Belgium vs. Italy.
  2. DAY 6 - GAME 4 Fans of Iran and Ivory Coast have had to wait the longest, but their teams will be the last two to play their first game this tournament. First Round of Pool Play Estadio Azteca, Ciudad de México, Mexico Lineups: Iran (4-2-3-1 Wide): Beiranvand; Ghafouri, Hosseini , Cheshmi, Hajsafi ; Pouraliganji, Amiri, Jahanbakhsh, Shojaei, Taremi ( 80' Torabi); Azmoun Ivory Coast (4-4-1-1): Gbohouo; Aurier, Koné, Deli ( 90+1' Kanon), Konan; Zaha, Sangaré ( 72' Fofana), Kessié, Cornet ( 67' Gervinho); Traoré, Pépé Report: A sensational comeback was the storyline to round out the first set of games at this World Cup. Two very different playing styles produced a very attractive first half. With Iran playing a possession based game and Ivory Coast mostly creating danger from counter attacks, it looked like a tie game going into half time. However, a header by Mehdi Taremi from an Ehsan Hajsafi free kick right before half time put the Persians up ahead. The second half was of a lesser quality, with chances become more rare. That was no problem for Alireza Jahanbakhsh, however, who curled in a free kick from thirty yards out to guarantee Iran the three points. At least, that's what everyone thought. Wilfried Zaha was tackled inside the box just under ten minutes before the end of the game, with Franck Kessié scoring the penalty kick. The Elephans then stormed the Iranian goal and they got what they were looking for as veteran Gervinho managed to pull Ivory Coast level on the final touch of the game with a beautifully curled shot in the top corner. Statistics: 2 Goals 2 18 Shots 14 10 On Target 9 2.0 Expected Goals 1.9 + 1 PK 51% Possession 49% Man of the Match: Alireza Jahanbakhsh - Iran (1 goal, 8 recoveries, 6 fouls received, 5 shots, 87% passing accuracy)
  3. DAY 6 - GAME 3 It's another even matchup in the South: it's Ghana facing Honduras. First Round of Pool Play NRG Stadium, Houston, United States Lineups: Ghana (4-4-2): Ofori; Amartey, Aidoo, Adams, Rahman; Yiadom ( 83' Baba), Partey, Duncan ( 61' Acquah), Asamoah; Ayew, Ekuban ( 67' Boateng) Honduras (4-2-3-1 Narrow): Morales; Beckeles , J. Palacios, Figueroa, Izaguirre ( 80' Leverón); W. Palacios, García ( 90+1' Mejía), Toro, De León, Acosta ; Lozano ( 80' Elis) Report: Honduras had a slight advantage in the first half, thanks in part to a stunning longe-range shot from their best man on the field today: Jonathan Toro. However, the Central Americans led that advantage slip when Brayan Beckeles halted Kwadwo Asamoah's solo and Jordan Ayew scored the ensuing penalty kick just before half time. The Black Stars then had the best of the game in the second half. That did not lead to all that many chances though, and a draw was on the cards. However, late substitution Emmanuel Boateng wanted none of that as an acrobatic jumping kick made Thomas Partey's cross end up in the top corner for a last minute winner. Statistics: 2 Goals 1 14 Shots 14 6 On Target 5 1.8 + 1 PK Expected Goals 1.2 50% Possession 50% Man of the Match: Kwadwo Asamoah - Ghana (5 crosses completed, 5 tackles won, 16 recoveries, 9 fouls received, penalty earned)
  4. DAY 6 - GAME 2 Another interesting tie between up-and-coming Austria and the tough Ecuadorians. First Round of Pool Play Estadio BBVA Bancomer, Monterrey, Mexico Lineups: Austria (Cautious 4-1-2-3 DM Wide): Lindner; Lazaro, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Alaba ; Baumgartlinger ( 73' Ilsanker), Grillitsch ( 73' Laimer), Schlager; Sabitzer , Arnautovic , Gregoritsch ( 79' Onisiwo) Ecuador (Cautious 4-4-2): Domínguez; Carabalí, Arboleda, Arreaga, Ramírez; Sierra ( 68' Gaibor), Sornoza, Gruezo ( 57' Orejuela), Ibarra ( 85' Plata); Bolaños, Valencia Report: It wasn't the most flashy of games down in Monterrey. Austria had a slight advantage in the first half, turned on the gears to "full domination" in the second half, but neither team managed to find the net. The Europeans were close to a goal with just under ten minutes to go when Karim Onisiwo headed the ball on the post, but outside of that, La Tri's defense did not give way. Statistics: 0 Goals 0 19 Shots 5 7 On Target 1 2.6 Expected Goals 0.5 55% Possession 45% Man of the Match: Valentino Lazaro - Austria (Clean sheet, 4 crosses completed, 1 chance created, 4 interceptions, 4 tackles won, 21 recoveries)
  5. DAY 6 - GAME 1 We're into the last day of the first round of pool play and there are eight more countries just aching to get their World Cup started. We'll start off with Sweden and Iraq. Estadio Akron, Guadalajara First Round of Pool Play Lineups: Sweden (4-4-2): Olsen; Krafth, Lindelöf, Gagliolo, Augstinsson; Larsson , Ekdal, Olsson ( 68' Kacaniklic), Forsberg ( 4' Tankovic); Quaison ( 74' Berg ), Isak Iraq (Defensive 4-1-2-3 DM Wide): Gassid; A. Ali, Natiq, Ibrahim, Adnan; Hadi, Amin, Kamel ( 63' Zahra); Yasin, Tariq ( 68' Hamad), Ahmed ( 63' Jassim) Report: Sweden had a scare as one of their best players had to leave the pitch with an injury after only four minutes. That did not stop the Tre Kronor though, as the Swedes scored a good team goal just minutes later. It was from that moment on, however, that Sweden suddenly lost its grip on the game and let Iraq get back in it. The Lions of Mesopotamia got very close to scoring an equaliser, but right before half time, a quickly taken goal kick from goalkeeper Robin Olsen landed in Alexander Isak's feet and was placed in the top corner beautifully. That moment seemed to have sunk Iraqi hearts as the Swedes were in control in the second half and rarely felt any threat to their lead. Statistics: 2 Goals 0 12 Shots 8 4 On Target 4 1.2 Expected Goals 1.1 59% Possession 41% Man of the Match: Robin Olsen - Sweden (1 assist, clean sheet, 4 saves)
  6. Most definitely! They really need to go all out in their Pot 3 game now and hope for the best in their own matchup. Thanks! A great win indeed. They're virtually through one would say. A draw should be enough for them. I've actually been thinking about the exact same idea, but with the Champions League. That tournament could be so much better if there would be more appealing games prior to the winter break. You could reduce the amount of group games too to do something about the whole schedule congestion too. Lots of things to think about. I'll very much take it into consideration once this World Cup is over! Thanks for following! Unfortunately it's not an added league. What I've done is I've started a save in FM with all players loaded from the 48 nations. Then, I've exported all those teams for versus competition. Every time I simulate a game for this thread, I use FM Touch and choose the versus mode to pit the two teams against eachother. Then I resign from both teams and let the AI play itself.
  7. DAY 5 - STANDINGS And so another day comes to a close. The rain of goals has dried up a little bit in the last couple of days, with the average amount of goals dropping from 3.58 after Day 3 to 2.95. That shouldn't be all too surprising, as we've seen some more evenly matched contests in the last two days. The effect of that is that the top 11 has not changed one bit, with Brazil still leading the way. Morocco, Netherlands and Australia have joined the countries with one win and with the amount of teams on one point, it's safe to say that any team that gets that second win is automatically through to the knockout round.
  8. DAY 5 - GAME 4 It's probably the biggest game from the first round of games. The Estadio Azteca is filled to the brim for the third host opener. First Round of Pool Play Estadio Azteca, Ciudad de México, Mexico Lineups: Mexico (Cautious 4-2-3-1 Narrow): Ochoa, Sánchez, Álvarez, Salcedo, Calderón; Herrera, Guardado ( 83' J. dos Santos), C. Rodríguez, Pizarro, Vela; Jiménez Portugal (4-2-2-2 DM Narrow): Patrício; Cancelo, Dias , Pepe, Guerreiro; Neves, Carvalho, Fernandes ( 80' Pizzi), B. Silva; Félix, Ronaldo Report: For such a heavily anticipated matchup, the game was rather dull. Both sides were lucky to have a shot on goal all game and the opening goal surprised everyone as Jiménez was halfheartedly brought down in the box by Pepe and the ensuing penalty was scored. The second half was more of the same as both teams rarely got in front of goal. However, with about ten minutes to go, the moment-you-know-it's-coming was there for Cristiano Ronaldo, when he was sent lone on goal by Bernardo Silva and the Portugal star calmly slotted the ball home for the deserved draw. Deserved in the sense that none of the teams should really get the win. Statistics: 1 Goals 1 8 Shots 8 3 On Target 5 0.8 + 1 PK Expected Goals 1.1 53% Possession 47% Man of the Match: Cristian Calderón - Mexico (12 tackles won, 15 recoveries, 92% passing accuracy)
  9. DAY 5 - GAME 3 We'll end this day by heading into the Southern Hub with the first two confrontations between two Pot 1 sides. The good thing about this format is that we'll have eight of these guaranteed in the group phase! First Round of Pool Play NRG Stadium, Houston, United States Lineups: Switzerland (Defensive 4-2-3-1 Narrow): Sommer; Lichtsteiner, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodríguez; Zakaria, Xhaka, Fernandes, Shaqiri, Aebischer; Embolo ( 72' Ajeti) Argentina (4-4-2 Diamond Narrow): Rulli; Bustos, Otamendi , Kannemann, Tagliafico ; Palacios, Banega ( 82' Domínguez), Lo Celso ( 82' Di María), Messi; Dybala, Agüero ( 77' Martínez) Report: For the first game between Pot 1 teams, it sure was a very cautious game. Both teams were more than happy to gift the opposition the ball. Nevertheless, Switzerland struk first after a quarter of the game on a beautifully curled free kick from leftback Ricardo Rodríguez. The Swiss couldn't enjoy their lead for a long time as on the first play after taking the lead, Manuel Akanji shoved Paulo Dybala in the box and Lionel Messi scored the penalty kick. Straight after half time, Messi scored again on a beautifully passed play into the box after which it was all Argentina in the game. However, like most of the games so far, the team that deserved the most did not get the win as Argentina's star Messi had a very sloppy defensive moment when a random heeve ended up in Granit Xhaka's feet and the Arsenal midfielder scored on a beautiful long strike from outside the box. Statistics: 2 Goals 2 10 Shots 17 6 On Target 5 1.0 Expected Goals 1.8 + 1 PK 50% Possession 50% Man of the Match: Granit Xhaka - Switzerland (1 goal, 5 key passes, 11 recoveries, 78 successfull passes)
  10. DAY 5 - GAME 2 After missing the last two major tournaments, the Dutch are back and they face the tough Peruvians in Baltimore. First Round of Pool Play M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, United States Lineups: Netherlands (Positive 4-2-3-1 Narrow): Cillessen; Hateboer, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Blind; De Jong, Wijnaldum , Depay, Toornstra, Van de Beek; Bergwijn Peru (4-2-3-1 Narrow): Gallese; Advíncula, Araujo ( 89' Zambrano), Abram, Trauco; Santamaría ( 56' Fuentes), Gonzáles ( 75' Tapia), Cueva, Benavente, Flores; Guerrero Report: After two shock defeats by tournament favourites, the same script was slowly rolled for the third consecutive game. Oranje had enough scoring opportunities, but a lot of trouble keeping possession in the final third of the field. The Incas were collectively having a great game, but Hans Hateboer crushed Peruvian hopes when a Frenkie de Jong pass ended up before the rushing fullback's feet end the Atalanta player slotted the ball into the net. Peru almost managed to equalise with seconds to go, but Renato Tapia missed two enormous chances of which a header bounced off the crossbar twice. Statistics: 1 Goals 0 28 Shots 10 10 On Target 3 4.0 Expected Goals 1.2 55% Possession 45% Man of the Match: Hans Hateboer - Netherlands (1 goal, clean sheet, 4 crosses completed, 8 recoveries, 4 shots, 89% pass accuracy)
  11. DAY 5 - GAME 1 It's a new day, it's a new dawn, it's a new... anyway... Four more games with some absolute crackers in here. We start off with two European giants, followed by the first two all-Pot 1 matchups! First Round of Pool Play Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, United States Lineups: Italy (4-4-2 Diamond Narrow): Donnarumma; Lazzari, Bonucci, Acerbi, Spinazzola; Jorginho, Verratti, Pellegrini, Bernardeschi ( 62' Politano); Immobile ( 62' Sensi), Insigne ( 79' Belotti) Morocco (Cautious 4-4-1-1): Bounou; Hakimi, Saïss, Feddal, Mendyl; Ziyech, Belhanda, S. Amrabat ( 74' Aït Bennasser), Harit ( 84' Idrissi); Taarabt, En-Nesyri Report: We all went to bed last night with Australia surprising Belgium, but what about this result? A shock win by Morocco as another giant in the Eastern Hub has been beaten by the slimmest of margins. Italy controlled most of the ball, but a strong center block from the Moroccan defense proved too tough for the Azzurri to break through. The Italians were mostly limited to shooting from distance. They amassed no less than thirty shots, but could not find the net. The rather boring match crawled to a close but with just over ten minutes to go, a completely unexpected strike from righthalf Amine Harit surprised everyone in Atlanta. Italy had already substituted their entire frontline prior to that moment and could not muster anything from the last ten minutes. And with Italy and Belgium facing eachother in their Pot 1 confrontation, it could well be that one of these countries will not survive the first round! Statistics: 0 Goals 1 30 Shots 12 9 On Target 4 3.5 Expected Goals 1.7 50% Possession 50% Man of the Match: Amine Harit - Morocco (1 goal, clean sheet, 14 recoveries, 91% pass accuracy) 85b21e87a1e0739fdb2bd9f48dbe8293.mp4
  12. DAY 4 - STANDINGS Four days in and there's finally some sensible things to say about the standings. New Zealand is the only country who played today and managed to work its way up to the top eight. For Belgium, the alarm bells will be ringing as they will definitely need to beat Burkina Faso and can't lose to Italy in their Pot 1 confrontation.
  13. DAY 4 - GAME 4 It's the final game of the day with another big favourite coming up. First Round of Pool Play FedEx Field, Landover, United States Lineups: Belgium (4-1-2-3 DM Wide): Courtois; Meunier , Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Bolingoli; Witsel, Tielemans, De Bruyne ( 77' Dendoncker); Carrasco ( 69' T. Hazard), E. Hazard , Lukaku ( 83' Mertens) Australia (Cautious 4-4-1-1): Ryan; Karacic , Degenek, Jurman , Smith; Kruse ( 77' Leckie), Mooy , Luongo , Mabil ( 69' Oar); Rogic , Giannou Report: It's the first real shock result of this World Cup as Australia manage to snatch a 1-0 win over heavy tournament favourites Belgium. The Socceroos took an early lead on a strong header by Apostolos Giannou. Belgium then took control of the game and managed to amass a sizeable amount of scoring opportunities. However, even though he managed to stay on the field, an early hit to Kevin De Bruyne destabilized the Belgian midfield and for all of the game, the Red Devils just seemed off. They had problems stringing passes together and really push Australia back on their own half. Some individuals moments of genius by Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard were the only real threats to the Aussie goalie Mathew Ryan. Statistics: 0 Goals 1 22 Shots 8 12 On Target 2 3.0 Expected Goals 1.0 47% Possession 53% Man of the Match: Brad Smith - Australia (1 assist, clean sheet, 1 chance created, 5 interceptions, 13 recoveries)
  14. DAY 4 - GAME 3 Four very interesting matchups coming up between Pot 1 and Pot 2 teams. Starting with the vice World Champions. First Round of Pool Play Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, United States Lineups: Croatia (5-3-2): Livakovic; Jedvaj ( 73' Juranovic), Lovren, Vida ( 73' Skoric), Caleta-Car, Strinic ; Modric, Kovacic, Rakitic; Petkovic ( 56' Rebic), Livaja Senegal (Cautious 4-2-2-2 DM Narrow): Mendy; Wagué, Koulibaly, Sané, Souaré; Gueye , Kouyaté, B. Ndiaye ( 78' Saivet), Al. N'Diaye ; Mané, Niang ( 62' Baldé) Report: It was a very interesting game in Kansas City as Croatia and Senegal finally gave us an evenly matched pairing. Senegal was in control earliest and scored on a fantastic strike in the top corner from the edge of the box by Alfred N'Diaye. From there on, the organised Croats slowly pushed forward and it didn't take long for them to equalise on a great header by wingback Tin Jedvaj. The rest of the game was a mix of dangerous crosses by Croatia and good central play from Senegal, but neither team managed to find the net again. Not even after a second yellow for Ivan Strinic. Statistics: 1 Goals 1 17 Shots 12 9 On Target 6 2.1 Expected Goals 1.5 40% Possession 60% Man of the Match: Tin Jedvaj - Croatia (1 goal, 3 crosses completed, 8 tackles won, 12 interceptions, 4 shots)
  15. It sure is. I'm really curious what's going to happen once the last round of pool play starts and you start filling in the knockout rounds.
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