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Now we are in the knockout stages, who do you think will win the world cup?


Who do you think will win the world cup?  

87 members have voted

  1. 1. Who do you think would win the world cup?

    • France
      7
    • Argentina
      0
    • Uruguay
      7
    • Portugal
      0
    • Croatia
      10
    • Denmark
      0
    • Spain
      14
    • Russia
      0
    • Brazil
      21
    • Mexico
      2
    • Belgium
      6
    • Japan
      0
    • Sweden
      0
    • Switzerland
      1
    • England
      19
    • Colombia
      1

This poll is closed to new votes

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  • Poll closed on 30/06/18 at 14:00

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34 minutes ago, JDownie said:

 

It's not just about De Bruyne, it's the whole team composition.

Carrasco is a lazy player. He couldn't play in Simeone's 4-4-2 and now he's supposed to do well with even more defensive responisbilities? Yeah, right.
Witsel is past his prime and was never a top class player. Also lacks bigger games because he's playing in China.
Good amount of De Bruyne's talent gets wasted with this lineup.
Hazard and Mertnes are also lazy and don't contribute in defense.
Lukaku tries, but isn't exactly a Costa/Mandžukić type player when it comes to defending.

Idk, but I've yet to see a game plan like Martinez's work on the biggest stage.
Very offensive gameplan with 3 man defense and lack of personnel to play high pressing to win the ball back quickly.

Now we get to what if area, but as I said, Nainggolan in place of Mertens would be a lot better. Or Dembele with De Bruyne higher up.
Competent wingback on the left would also help them a lot.

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2 hours ago, D_LO_ said:

Really don't understand why Belgium is such a popular choice.

They've got a winger who nows plays in China as a wing-back, wing-back, one the most important positions in that system. As the only wide-man he will get isolated, defensively, at times. 

Boyata who started 3 games in 3 years at Man City/Twente. They desperately need Kompany back almost irrespective of his fitness. Even then they'd have little to no pace at the back.

And De Bruyne as one of the sitting midfielders. His technical quality is not in question but that position comes with so much more responsibility, defensively. Cesc and Bakayoko, arguably better defensively and/or have better positional qualities yet they don't cut it in a similar system and they have Kante next to them!

I'm not even fully convinced by Witsel the supposedly better defensive player.

 

Dembele in for Mertens would be a big help but I still think they're 5th/6th faves at most. 

Belgium are unbeaten in 22 international games. 

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All the eventual favourites have a "yeah, but..." factor, which isn't exactly big news in contemporary football...

It happened in the past, with relatively unfancied teams winning the World Cup, but I can't think of a potential finalist, past or present, that didn't have a weak spot or two.

Probably West Germany 1990 and Brazil 1994 are the only sides you'd have comfortably bet a hefty sum on without too many second-thoughts. I'd add Brazil 2002 too, but there were some doubts and other contenders.

More recently, can you really not have thought "they're a good team, but..." about 2010 Spain or 2014 Germany?

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1 minute ago, RBKalle said:

All the eventual favourites have a "yeah, but..." factor, which isn't exactly big news in contemporary football...

It happened in the past, with relatively unfancied teams winning the World Cup, but I can't think of a potential finalist, past or present, that didn't have a weak spot or two.

Probably West Germany 1990 and Brazil 1994 are the only sides you'd have comfortably bet a hefty sum on without too many second-thoughts. I'd add Brazil 2002 too, but there were some doubts and other contenders.

More recently, can you really not have thought "they're a good team, but..." about 2010 Spain or 2014 Germany?

2014 Germany I agree. Spain I don't understand what the but would be there?

Some people found them boring but surely everyone agrees they were comfortably better than every international team back then. The dominance of their games was fantastic.

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5 minuti fa, AJJ ha scritto:

Belgium are unbeaten in 22 international games. 

Against: Cyprus, Bosnia, Gibraltar, Estonia, Greece, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Costa Rica and Portugal.

So ONE actual opponent of equal-or-higher level, and it was a 0-0 draw in a pointless pre-World Cup friendly.

I think we can still be skeptical about NT with such a record... Something that England used to boast, loooong undefeated streaks from the defeat in the WC knockout phase to the defeat in the following Euros' knockout phase (or group stage)

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My point is they have come into the WC in great form (longest unbeaten streak from any side in the competition if I remember rightly) and all their players are in the prime of their careers. 

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4 minuti fa, EnterUsernameHere ha scritto:

Spain I don't understand what the but would be there?

They had a big target on their back, and a lot of pressure, as reigning Euro champions and with zero experience in handling the new status of hot favourites.

Also, their lack of a Plan B was, not entirely unreasonably, regarded as a weakness that could be exploited. Unfortunately only Switzerland did it, and it didn't matter.

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1 minute ago, RBKalle said:

They had a big target on their back, and a lot of pressure, as reigning Euro champions and with zero experience in handling the new status of hot favourites.

Also, their lack of a Plan B was, not entirely unreasonably, regarded as a weakness that could be exploited. Unfortunately only Switzerland did it, and it didn't matter.

I thought you were referring to say after the group stage rather than going into the tournament. Fair enough on the pressure though.

I don't agree on the plan B argument, but then I've always hated that. A team who spends time training on their plan B has less time to perfect their plan A. Also think plan B (in the UK anyway) basically means a big lump up top and firing crosses into the box which would never work for Spain.

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By the way, Portugal is unbeaten in 17 consecutive tournament games, an european record (last defeat vs Germany 2014), yet most people are pessimist (and rightly so) for the match against Uruguay.

Of course Portugal can go out on penalties and keep the streak.

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3 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

I hope the rest of the names you saw qualified the stat a bit more though if 2 draws vs Portugal is the pinnacle.

Friendlies/qualifiers I'm sure everyone also appreciates aren't comparable to tournament football. I suspect England's record is impressive considering some of the quality of the friendlies we played (Spain, Brazil, Germany). We were unbeaten against most if not all weren't we? What does it matter? Not a lot IMO. 

England were unbeaten 12 games before the defeat to Belgium.

I agree it doesn't matter at all, sooner or later everyone loses and the WC is a time as good as any to lose.

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That's not the point I'm making at all. The point is Belgium have the best form of any national side going in to this tournament. Longest unbeaten streak. They have played Portugal, Holland, Mexico, Czech Republic. Not exactly minnows. 

Look through the spine of their squad and they have three or four world class players. Only France and possibly Spain have that kind of quality. 

But football's coming home etc etc

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10 hours ago, JDownie said:

Not sure how you can bash KDB by saying Chelsea players can't do it. 

He's a City player. He played a high press all season, a back 3 is designed to help the midfield press high. The only problem with KDB in Belgium's system is that he's not used far forward enough at times. Like Martinez isn't letting him roam. But defensively he can do the job, he is great at closing down and tracking back, and perhaps the most underrated part of his game is his tackling. He's very capable for someone not often associated with that side of his game. It's one of the notable improvements to him game under Pep - he has become a very capable ball winner whilst retaining his obviously fantastic technical ability. And he's got amazing stamina, so you get great effort from him for 90 mins. 

Also not sure what relevance Boyata's record was for clubs he hasn't been at for 2 years now. He's not a great defender. He's very limited and prone to mistakes. But in the central position he can sweep using his speed and he has less of a focus on passing too - Martinez has played him in the position that covers his weaknesses. It's clever. 

But yes, Kompany is needed soon. For Brazil. If they go in with Boyata it could be disastrous defensively  (But Belgium can still outscore Brazil). 

I watch Boyata every week. He’s a really good defender. Prone to errors on the ball though.

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9 ore fa, AJJ ha scritto:

The point is Belgium have the best form of any national side going in to this tournament. Longest unbeaten streak. They have played Portugal, Holland, Mexico, Czech Republic. Not exactly minnows. 

They barely defeated probably the weakest Czech side ever, they drew 3-3 (see a pattern here?) with Mexico, the awful Netherlands and Portugal.

So most of their "longest unbeaten streak" is just par-for-the-course for a Pot 1 nation that got a rather soft WCQ group. Which is what England has been doing for years: going 9-1-0 against Greece, Moldova, Slovenia and Malta, showing up for the WC/EC with high hopes and then melting like butter against the first top-level opponent.

Basically they haven't played an actual competitive match against a team of their level in 2 years... and last time at Euro2016 it was just another disappointment for them.

Belgium are the new Spain. Pre-2008 Spain, that is....

Edited by RBKalle
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2 hours ago, RBKalle said:

They barely defeated probably the weakest Czech side ever, they drew 3-3 (see a pattern here?) with Mexico, the awful Netherlands and Portugal.

So most of their "longest unbeaten streak" is just par-for-the-course for a Pot 1 nation that got a rather soft WCQ group. Which is what England has been doing for years: going 9-1-0 against Greece, Moldova, Slovenia and Malta, showing up for the WC/EC with high hopes and then melting like butter against the first top-level opponent.

Basically they haven't played an actual competitive match against a team of their level in 2 years... and last time at Euro2016 it was just another disappointment for them.

Belgium are the new Spain. Pre-2008 Spain, that is....

 

Immaterial really. Doesn't matter who you play. Momentum is what matters in world cup. They have a strong, settled squad and, as i said before, they have 3 or 4 world class player in their starting XI. Not many teams can say that. Even Brazil can't say that.

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1 ora fa, AJJ ha scritto:

Immaterial really. Doesn't matter who you play. Momentum is what matters in world cup. They have a strong, settled squad and, as i said before, they have 3 or 4 world class player in their starting XI. Not many teams can say that. Even Brazil can't say that. 

We'll have to agree to disagree...

Momentum works only if it's based on strong performances against strong teams. Belgium have "England-momentum", also known as "we think we're better than we actually are because we haven't faced actual threats yet".

Also, their alleged world-class players are erratic, inconsistent performers who have rarely, if ever, delivered when it really mattered. And, again, their defense is awful and will be exposed by the first half-decent team they'll meet.

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1 hour ago, AJJ said:

Immaterial really. Doesn't matter who you play. Momentum is what matters in world cup. They have a strong, settled squad and, as i said before, they have 3 or 4 world class player in their starting XI. Not many teams can say that. Even Brazil can't say that.

Which players are world class?

Hazard and De Bruyne for sure.

Lukaku hasn't won anything yet and he can be terribly inconsistent.

Mertens is a big-game bottler and never delivers.

Witsel and Carrasco play in China.

Meunier is a great player, but hardly world class.

Tottenham duo in defense? I don't think so.

Courtois is far from his best performances.

 

Momentum would be in play if they actually defeated any proper teams. Tunisia and Panama are terrible, England wanted to lose.

I still have Brazil deafeating them easily.

 

And for once, I completely agree with Kalle.

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Mertens is an elite player... Scoring for fun for years. If he was in the EPL people would be raving about him. 

I think Belgium are a good contender. At this stage lets just enjoy it... Argentina have the monkey off their back and may cause an upset vs France. Uruguay are my pick as they have the best CB and the best strike partnership. And with England playing like Utd in Fergies latter years (winning when playing bad) i cant even rule us out yet! Spain can beat anyone on their day... France have a great all round squad so might catch fire... Brazil are tournament favorites and Croatia were best in group. 

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4 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

Mertens is an elite player... Scoring for fun for years. If he was in the EPL people would be raving about him.

In last season of Serie A he scored 3 goals in 12 games against other top clubs. (Juventus, Roma, Inter, Lazio, Milan, Fiorentina). 2 against Lazio, 1 each in two 4-1 victories and 1 against Roma, 2-4 loss.
He scored 18 total goals.

In CL he scored in home games against Shakhtar and Feyenoord. 3-1 and 3-0 victories. No goals against City or in away games.

Your typical small game player that scores regularly against the teams Napoli would defeat anyway, but is nowhere to be seen in big games.

I really want to know how many of his games did you actually see. I bet you just looked at the numbers and started making assumptions.

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For me it's too open to predict with any confidence, but I'm looking forward to 2 mouth-watering quarter-finals that ought to be semis:

Brazil v Belgium   and

Spain v Croatia.

 

The winners will come from those matches.

 

Push me and I'll tip Croatia v Belgium in the final.

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19 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

So you'd have De Bruyne and Witsel protecting your defence?

He's a good player but that's not what's in question here (by me at least) at all. It's the balance of the team. There's plenty of 'elite' players left out of squads this World Cup let alone plenty more on the bench as their manager's appreciate the need to field a balanced team. We're English we should know about this all too well. 

 

If everybody is going to keep picking and choosing one aspect of my comments in isolation without taking the rest into consideration I'm going to start doing the same  :lock:

(I expected better of the guys from the tactics forum :thdn:

But hes not there to protect the defence... Like my leverkusen side belgium are proactive and not too concerned with what the other team do. They have a clear plan of how to keep the ball and create chances. A lot of teams lack that vital clarity 'how are we going to score goals'. England are one of the worst cases. I dont think Belgium will win because they will come against a Spain or other team that is adapt at both ends. Thats why i said Uruguay are my pick. 

I just agree with Rashidi that Mertens is underrated. 

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15 minutes ago, GunmaN1905 said:

really want to know how many of his games did you actually see. I bet you just looked at the numbers and started making assumptions.

I have bt sport... I watch more serie a and bundesliga than epl! Far more accessible

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3 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

I have bt sport... I watch more serie a and bundesliga than epl! Far more accessible 

Why would you say he scores for fun? He never delivered when it mattered the most.

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I remember why I left this place now.

Witsel is the anchorman of the midfield. KDB is the supply line to the runners of Hazard,Lukaku and Martens. 

Edited by AJJ
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1 minute ago, GunmaN1905 said:

Why would you say he scores for fun? He never delivered when it mattered the most.

Scoring when it matters sounds stressful not fun :D

Goals always matter.. He scores his fair share for his position. Similar to Hazard... Who you could also say hasnt done it when it matters seeimg as how he only lead his team to 5th 

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Well, Mertens played in the striker role whole season long.

18 goals is great for his style of play, but point of him not scoring in any big games still stands.
Partially due to him underperforming, partially because he doesn't have the quality.
For example Miranda, his potential matchup in quarters, made him invisible in both games this season.

3 minutes ago, AJJ said:

I remember why I left this place now.

Why? Because you said Belgium has more quality than Brazil, even though they have yet to defeat a top team in knock-out phase with this squad?

Ok then.

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There is a screen though. Witsel. And it's worked so far.

I don't remember anybody mentioning the word "balance" when City employed the same tactic last season with three Centrebacks and Fernandinho covering in the middle

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And how did City do in CL for two seasons in a row?

Got knocked out easily by a supposedly weaker team.

And City has more quality than Belgium.

Edited by GunmaN1905
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To some extent having a screen infront of a back 3 is pointless... They should be fluid and negate the need for a screen. You either allow on wb to press really aggressively and the other fb and 3 cbs shift over forming a back 4. Or the fullbacks play a bit tighter but you allow all midfield to be aggressive and one of the cbs steps out as a BPD to act as screen

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2 minutes ago, westy8chimp said:

To some extent having a screen infront of a back 3 is pointless... They should be fluid and negate the need for a screen. You either allow on wb to press really aggressively and the other fb and 3 cbs shift over forming a back 4. Or the fullbacks play a bit tighter but you allow all midfield to be aggressive and one of the cbs steps out as a BPD to act as screen

Which is what normally happens as Kompany steps up when Belgium are in possession (when he plays).

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8 minutes ago, AJJ said:

Conversely they also won the league and a domestic trophy at a canter.

Key word: league.

A completely different thing from winning a Cup competition.

As I've said the other day, when was the last time a very offensive team won the World Cup?
As long as I can remember, every team that won the WC had absolutely stacked defensive line on top of their great attack.

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6 hours ago, james95 said:

I watch Boyata every week. He’s a really good defender. Prone to errors on the ball though.

Totally agree. Like I said, he has his limitations  (such as his non-existent composure, his occasional mistake or his inability to pass) but Martinez is catering to them and it's working - playing him centrally protects him from himself. 

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6 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

your tone has been poor throughout,

So has yours. 

Don't whine and complain and call out other users when you're being just as complicit in making confrontation worse. 

I've already hidden bickering posts from you both the other day.

Just move on both of you, nobody cares about pathetic bickering and point scoring in arguments. 

Thanks.

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3 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

Yeah ok name calling and middle-finger emojis are comparable :rolleyes:

Dude, Lucas said drop it. What aren't you getting here? :D

I think both you and AJ contribute well, but in this thread you are contributing nothing and just making it a pain for the rest of us to wade through the endless shitposts.

keep it civil. If you've nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. That's how I was brought up. Exercise your ability to not respond :lol:

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4 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

Yeah ok name calling and middle-finger emojis are comparable :rolleyes:

You don't get it do you? You're both as bad as each other is my point. 

So would be wise to shut up and move on, if it needs to be made any clearer.

Thanks.

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