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you're just a huge pessimist

and Witsel is brilliant

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Witsel isn't overrated at all.

He's gracious, strong, has a quite good ball control and a good tackle.

That he slows down the game massively, always takes the easy way out and restricts himself by giving short passes sideways (where's the player from Standard?) of course is completely redundant.

He's very good, I just don't understand what should make him brilliant or world-class. Surely it's not the opponents we've faced in the qualifiers or he's playing against in the mighty Russian league?

you're just a huge pessimist

We'll see. Next game this Sunday. :D

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He plays at the 6 fgs! going forward isn't his job, nor is creating chances (and do note in yesterdays first half he was the only one attempting a shot at goal, bar that weak attempt from Chadli.)

It is a shame though he went to play in Russia and now can't get out of the Russian league because of his heavy contract. To think he might've been at Real..

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playing Xabi Alonso out of the team, or Khedira? don't think so

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When he joined Zenit he could've also gone to Real. I don't suppose they wanted to sign him to clean their windows.

e: they also want to sign Januzaj. I don't reckon he'll start ahead of Cristiano anytime soon though?

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playing Xabi Alonso out of the team, or Khedira? don't think so

err he's easily better than both. Alonso was much better, but he's old and terrible nowadays. Khedira is not as good as Witsel.

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Kompany reportedly injured, let's pray he's fit in time

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I used to love Holland, until 2010.

Get yourself a couple of new Bergkamps, Kluiverts and Frank de Boers and I'll love you once more.

I can not believe that Red didn't explode at this :D

Van Persie, Robben and Blind will stand in for those nicely I think :)

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Wasn't Van Persie accused of that too?

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Wasn't Van Persie accused of that too?

Yes, but though both cases were dropped for lack of evidence, in Kluivert's case it was a matter of "he probably did it but we can't prove it" whereas in the Van Persie case investigation showed he was most likely innocent.

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Regardless, Van Persie is an annoying guy. Hardly a likeable fella.

Kluivert has more personality.

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err he's easily better than both. Alonso was much better, but he's old and terrible nowadays. Khedira is not as good as Witsel.

but when he moved to Zenith too? Have to compare at the time of the signing tbh, and personally I doubt it.

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does van Persie have a nickname, like Gluiperd does though?

can top footballers be likeable, especially when playing for an opposition/rival team?

do prefer players with character, type "love or hate" ; Ronaldo, Zlatan for example. Pretty indifferent towards Van Persie tbh. Bit like Messi, difficult to be against such players as they're not outspoken imo. Could be a wrong impression though, maybe I don't see or read enough on them in the (wrong, un or biased) media to actually care.

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Not better than Alonso but Khedira isn't exactly anything special apart from a hard worker. Witsel was probably already as good, back when he was at Benfica, as he is now.

Today not many people see him as one of the best midfielders around, but I think if he'd move to a top club in England or Spain, he'd quickly gain a reputation of being a world class player.

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does van Persie have a nickname, like Gluiperd does though?

can top footballers be likeable, especially when playing for an opposition/rival team?

do prefer players with character, type "love or hate" ; Ronaldo, Zlatan for example. Pretty indifferent towards Van Persie tbh. Bit like Messi, difficult to be against such players as they're not outspoken imo. Could be a wrong impression though, maybe I don't see or read enough on them in the (wrong, un or biased) media to actually care.

TBH Red is the only Dutchman I know who calls him that ^^ And he's an ABA so he doesn't count.

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Not better than Alonso but Khedira isn't exactly anything special apart from a hard worker. Witsel was probably already as good, back when he was at Benfica, as he is now.

Today not many people see him as one of the best midfielders around, but I think if he'd move to a top club in England or Spain, he'd quickly gain a reputation of being a world class player.

Will be a bit like Fernandinho. Never rated and slotted easily in a team like Man City. Witsel might even be better though.

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Yeah, he's not a player who takes the headlines, but everything he does seems so effortless. He's an ideal midfielder really.

I think the only bad trait he has, is that he sometimes holds up the ball a bit too long.

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tbh as a manager at Real Madrid would you have taken the "gamble" of signing Witsel when bigger names as Alonso or Khedira were available at the time?

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Can't be right. I remember at least two clumsy first touches.

Yeah, didn't sound right but I am sure they said that

Was it didn't touch it or only 5 touches, can't remember :D Anyway, was days ago, I forgot :p

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line-up for tonight could be the same with Mertens and Fellaini instead of Chadli and Dembele? Hopefully also with Lombaerts instead of Van Buyten.

Ah well, one can only hope ... Suppose result is the only thing that matters though.

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TBH Red is the only Dutchman I know who calls him that ^^ And he's an ABA so he doesn't count.

I'm not ABA. Well, I dislike Ajax, but I don't disrespect them. Gluiperd is just that though. Couldn't be a more appropriate nickname.

Although maybe that weasel John Jaakke trumps him.

Nothing but respect for guys like Litmanen though.

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can we please put Lukaku on a plane back home?

How is it possible to have such a physique and not win one duel? another poor display and then even mouthing off when he got subbed.. incredible :thdn:

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6 points with minimal effort. We are playing the perfect tournament :cool:

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Wouldn't say minimal effort, De Bruyne said it was physically very demanding tonight.

But yeah, they've got this covered. With Origi now as the main striker we're going to win this thing :cool:

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Will take a boring 1-0 every game

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Hope Januzaj starts against S Korea :cool: Bit surprised that Mirallas hasn't started so far either tbf, although for yesterday there was no way around Mertens. He's been one of the few stand out players as far as I'm concerned.

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maybe Lukaku suffering from too much stress he puts on himself, maybe a non-start can liberate him. Maybe the weight of the press post Benteke's loss does have an impact that way.

Anyway: intelligent play by Origi creating the goal, holding back to create the sapce for himself.

As for the general match: the issue to me is the slow ball circulation in the team. Russia was dangerous a couple of times (well, they were awful so relatively dangerous) because they played one touch football in breakaways. Seems the Belgian team wander around the pitch, pass at each other (least risk passes), control the ball, look, think a bit, then pass back towards defense or Courtois etc. And no it's not a Witsel characteristic or anything, it's almost all players. Also felt the grass might have been rigid cause passes were quite slow and not as fluent between players, but then again Russia was able to pass with a certain speed over the ground during some stages of the game.

So more movement and increased ball circulation speed to go with that, more one touch football.

But maybe it's down to Wilmots' careful approach, not running into the Algerian/Russian counter knife talk. Whereas against this Russia we should have gone for their throats straightaway, they would've cracked soon under the pressure, especially at the back. And even with this "careful" approach Russia managed to get a great chance with Kokorin at 0-0 so the defensive stance wasn't even 100% safe anyway. Attacking, pushing forward, is what we should do and we do have the players to do so. If only Wilmots can fire up the squad and play more aggressive that way.

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also noticed another annoying thing: people running with the ball towards a fellow player, and that way bringing along a shadowing opposition player, effectively closing down any room present at first. Instead of running with the ball to a player they should pass the ball around and let the ball do the work.

Seems like especially Van Buyten does that, as he gets lots of freedom as well from the opposition to get hold of the ball I suppose. But others seem to do so as well.

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also noticed another annoying thing: people running with the ball towards a fellow player, and that way bringing along a shadowing opposition player, effectively closing down any room present at first. Instead of running with the ball to a player they should pass the ball around and let the ball do the work.

Seems like especially Van Buyten does that, as he gets lots of freedom as well from the opposition to get hold of the ball I suppose. But others seem to do so as well.

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To be perfectly fair if we had any luck at all, one of Mertens' efforts could've gone in in the first 15'. Then again if we had bad luck we could've conceded a penalty. Again.

It's just a shame we only have Mertens & De Bruyne that have that forward drive & pacey play about them. The others all like to slowly walk with the ball for some reason

The frustrating part to me is that we have players like Hazard who can play creative & fast (like the last 10 minutes) but we never do.. I think the 2 Belgium games have been among the poorest games I've seen this entire world cup. We may have 6 points & advance to the next round, but I haven't enjoyed any of our games, sadly.

It's like their nerves get the better of them for some reason. They all play at big clubs so I don't get why they can't handle the pressure.

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Hazard & Mertens are often isolated because they receive no support from the fullbacks to draw a defender and relieve the pressure. One of the many reasons we have no fluidity to our game.

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Hazard did look a bit apathic tbh. The moment he kicked in gear everything went so much better. I really hope playing in a knockout round or against a big team is enough motivation for him to do that from the start.

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It really is hard for Hazard when he's up against 2 or 3 defenders everytime he gets the ball. Vertonghen/Vermaelen have to push up atleast a little bit more to free up some space/take away a man. I saw Hazard gesturing towards Vertonghen imploring him to come towards him atleast twice yesterday

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I think a substantial problem of ours is we haven't had a real number 9 in Lukaku. He keeps complaining about the supply, but that's just a load of crap imo.

Every ball he got to feet jumped miles away from him, every aerial challenge he lost (in spite of his towering physique).. You can't expect every ball to be played deep behind the defense. If that's the only trick he has up his sleeve he shouldn't even be in the team.

Origi has completely outperformed him in those short appearances he's made. Many flaws of Lukakus game that many people have been going on about for years are once again on display. Painfully so.

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hahaha - the queen just congratulated Lukaku for scoring yesterday. As if he wasn't annoyed enough already :D

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the problem is also our full backs or Van Buyten running forward with the ball and when at a few yards of Hazard passing him the ball, which means he constantly has 2 players in front of him to pass when on the sideline. Mertens was able to be dangerous first half at some times when he was reached with passes from longer range, enabling him to go one on one. It is true that not having an extra connection up front to revolve around maybe means more of the static play we have seen so far, but again might also be because Wilmots was a bit too prudent in his communication vs the players as he focused on not facing too many dangerous counters etc. Maybe that has fed the safety passes mentality the team currently has, fact no real initiatives are being taken. Well, until Origi came in. Seemed like a wake-up call for some and/or the contribution of Origi's play.

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hahaha - the queen just congratulated Lukaku for scoring yesterday. As if he wasn't annoyed enough already :D

well, fact he played badly and was subbed off for Lukaku did in a way result in the goal I suppose ...

but yeah sometimes people in the stands can see different games altogether, especially in the royal seats

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well, fact he played badly and was subbed off for Lukaku did in a way result in the goal I suppose ...

but yeah sometimes people in the stands can see different games altogether, especially in the royal seats

Wilmots likes him, but not that much. :D

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think a Calimero photoshop would suit better

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTBSo3J_-oR-JsQTI0k6HdzeQulga_L-EuMrUo5Kog69Z2ZAw-mm4FbFQ

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I think his angry reaction at being subbed off didn't do him any favors, he may just have lost a lot of credit with some fans. Especially because so many were already critical of him.

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seems like an alley without end, he feels and puts on the pressure for being criticised which he feels unfair, he then plays cramped, gets more critique, reacts more and so on. Wilmots was cool about it in his comments, also maybe cause there's Origi and who else as a sub, but think internally he'll be less patient. Then again second-guessing here. Think now's the time for Wilmots and his team to prove their worth as a manager.

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What lineup is everyone hoping for tomorrow?

I'd go for Courtois - Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Lombaerts, Vertonghen - Witsel, Fellaini - Mertens, De Bruyne, Hazard - Origi

Unless Kompany is fit in time ofcourse..

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I expect and hope that will be the line-up.

Wouldn't put it past Wilmots to start with Lukaku though. Of all the people involved in this world cup, he seems to be sweating under the pressure the most. Some bizarre choices so far, which he did put right with his substitutions mind.

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Yeah I'm pretty sure Lukaku will start too. I seem to recall reading Wilmots saying something along the lines of Origi is only 19 and not ready to be a starter.. bollocks

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That's a candidate for the slowest back 4 in the tournament

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Candidate for least beaten back 4 as well.

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