Category Archives: sports

World Cup 2018 Round of 16 Preview

Here we are! The best have made it to the Round of 16 and below are my picks. Brazil and Spain will disappoint, especially with all of the chaos behind the scenes for La Roja. Firing your coach the day before the World Cup starts, WOAH!! I think Belgium’s got that magic this year. Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku is an incredible trio. They are no longer a dark horse and know they have a lot of prove. But did I pick them to win it all? NO!!

2018 World Cup Qualifications - Africa - Egypt vs Congo

Round of 16

  • France – Iceland
  • Uruguay – Portugal
  • Spain – Egypt
  • Argentina – Denmark
  • Brazil – Sweden
  • Belgium – Poland
  • Germany – Serbia
  • Colombia – England
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Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini during the UEFA Super Cup final soccer match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at Philip II Arena in Skopje, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) ORG XMIT: XPG134

Quarterfinals

  • France – Uruguay
  • Brazil – Belgium
  • Spain – Argentina
  • Germany – England

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Semifinals

  • France – Belgium
  • Argentina- Germany

Finals

  • Belgium – Germany

World Champions

Germany World Cup

GERMANY

The big boy Germans will win this year’s World Cup. The strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf. They are a team that works together and also has a lot of talent. The experience of the last World Cup winners along with the exciting talents of Timo Werner can take them all the way!

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World Cup Preview – Group F

In arguably the strongest group, any of these four teams could qualify for the knockout stages. Led by the always talented Germany, Group F will go down to the last day.

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Germany

This soccer powerhouse will be considered a failure if they don’t make the finals, especially after leaving one of their most talented players, Leroy Sane, off the squad. There’s also been some rumblings of unrest in the team with Ozil and Gundogan taking pictures with President Erdogan of Turkey. Bad timing guys! It really shouldn’t matter though, as this team’s B squad would have a chance of winning the World Cup. Starman Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is coming off a long layoff from an injury, and his match sharpness will be key, but if he’s on, he’s the best in the world.

 

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Mexico

Landon Donovan is reported to be very upset that he wasn’t called up the Mexican team, after playing in Liga MX for a season. Then they chose 53 year-old Rafa Marquez in his place. It’s probably a good choice on their part though. A team with a ton of potential, but a ton of potential to fail as well, Mexico could do well if they show up in the tournament. It seems like their coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, is having a lot of trouble picking a starting 11 and struggling in the past couple games. They have a lot of good attacking options, but I think they’ll be fighting it out with Sweden for the second spot. It’s never a good sign when a team calls a 72 year-old into their team, so their defense is questionable at best.

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Sweden

Power to the Swedes for sticking with what got them to the World Cup and not picking Zlatan. If you can’t start for the LA Galaxy, you probably shouldn’t be starting for Sweden in the World Cup. That, and it would probably cause huge unrest in the locker room from a squad that qualified without him. Watching them qualify, they play really solid defense and have good attackers up front, with Emil Forsberg starring. They’ll battle for second with Mexico. It really depends on their head to head matchup as I think both teams will lose to Germany and beat South Korea.

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South Korea

The Son shines on South Korea, but they need more than one Son get out of this group. They could surprise some, but every team will be doing what they can to shut down their star attacker, who it seems like Korea is doing everything to run the team through. They’re even going as far copying the Tottenham tactics and formation to accommodate their star man. I could see them pulling an upset, but I doubt they’ll get out of the group.

 

Players to Watch

  1. Son Heung-min
  2. Emil Forsberg
  3. President Erdogan
  4. 59 year-old man Rafael Marquez

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Group F

  1. Germany
  2. Sweden
  3. Mexico
  4. South Korea

 

World Cup Preview – Group A

After getting out of the ‘Group of Death’ in 2014 things were looking up for the United States. Christian Pulisic, the brightest young talent US Soccer has ever had burst onto the scene. Yet, the United States did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup and our soccer program is left in shambles. But the World Cup will go on without us, so here is my preview for this summer’s biggest event.

Group A should be called the ‘Group of Boring’ because the only interesting things about this group are whether Mo Salah will be fit to play for Egypt and will Luis Suarez bite someone again.

Group A consists of the host, Russia, along with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.

Russia

Much like in American politics, they don’t belong here but they have a chance to influence proceedings anyway. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is the best player on the team. A hot goalie could see them make it out of the group. Any good Football Manager player will tell you that Akinfeev is a top level player. He will have to be great behind Russia’s garbage defense. It is their biggest weakness and will likely be their downfall. Injuries to two of their top center backs leave them weak at the back. Fedor Smolov will lead their attack, leading the Russian League the last two seasons in goals scored. He’ll have to be in form for Russia to advance. Alan Dzagoev is the creator in midfield and attacks will flow through him. Russia could make it out of the group if Mo Salah isn’t healthy for Egypt.

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Egypt

A team that could be exciting to watch if Mo Salah is able to make it on the field. Otherwise they will be battling with Russia for the second spot in the group. Salah is a magical boy and an utter joy to watch. A healthy Salah would likely topple Russia and Saudi Arabia and should be enough to take second in the group. Even with Salah they are not at the same level as Uruguay. Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny can add quality to their midfield if he is fit after an ankle injury. This is a mediocre team with one star player in Salah, but if he’s able to play against Russia and Saudi Arabia that should be enough for them to take second in the group.

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Saudi Arabia

Just a bunch of guys named Al trying to make it in the World Cup. Yahya Al Shehri is the top player on the team who is relied on to create chances from midfield. This is the first time they have qualified for the World Cup in twelve years and they seem to lack the quality to advance. However, if they can get a good result against Russia in the opening game they could stand a chance of getting to the round of 16 because this is a weak group. Ultimately I pick them to finish last in Group A and they will struggle to score in Russia.

2018 World Cup Qualifications - Africa - Egypt vs Congo

Uruguay

They couldn’t have asked for any easier group to get through. Things set up nicely for Uruguay to make a run deep into the tournament. Led by Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani this team could honestly score 15 goals and give up none in the group stage. Suarez and Cavani provide the goals and create, but the back line is also strong with Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez commanding the box. The Atletico Madrid duo will be tough to break through. They have a talented, young midfield who haven’t been tested like the rest of the squad which could be where they struggle. Uruguay should cruise through Group A and make a deep run in the World Cup.

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Players to Watch

  1. Mo Salah
  2. Mo Salah
  3. Mo Salah
  4. Luis Suarez biting someone

Group A Standings

  1. Uruguay
  2. Egypt
  3. Russia
  4. Saudi Arabia

Who will be the next coach of US Men’s soccer?

As the higher-ups look to put a baby Aspirin in the gaping wound that is the US Men’s National Team, we will look at some likely and unlikely candidates for the US manager position. They pick the interim manager tomorrow, and it looks like it’s going to be Tab Ramos, so we’ll start with him. 

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Tab Ramos – He has the best name of the group, except for maybe Tata, and he’s been with the national team for a while already. That means he understands how unexceptional the USMNT needs to be. Really, he good be a good hometown pick. He knows the younger players well, and as a former player for the US, he’s got the passion.

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Landon Donovan – Just kidding.

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Laurent Blanc – He almost has a girls name, but we won’t hold that against him. If he becomes the US manager, some will though. With his international background for club and country, managing and playing, he brings something that we haven’t had in years. Since Jurgen. I think we need that though, and he has some proven success.

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Patrick Viera – The former Arsenal captain is different than most candidates in that he has a strong international connection, mixed with a strong knowledge in the US, mixed with an actual boy’s name. I think he’d be a great manager for the US team, as he knows the MLS well, but has international experience that most others do not have. He’s young and motivated to take his career to the next step.

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Sam Allardyce – The greatest England manager of all time, Big Sam, has been frozen out after his little 2016 fiasco. He does have a 100 percent winning record internationally, in spite of his (not) SUPPOSED malfeasance. I think he’d be much more cutthroat than managers in the past with our team, which we definitely need. It would be nice to have a manager who isn’t okay starting the same underperforming players for 5 years straight, and I think Allardyce is someone who would do that.

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Gerardo “Tata” Martino – A very intriguing prospect to coach the USA. He’s done amazing things so far in his time in Atlanta and has stated that the US needs to focus on player development, which I really like. He managed Barcelona, so he’s obviously good enough for our national team, and with his propensity towards developing youth, he’d be a really interesting choice.

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Bob Bradley – I like Bob, but more Bob means more of the same.

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Bruce Arena – He’ll be hired as the interim, then hired again as the actual coach after being fired as the interim. And it will be an endless cycle that goes on forever.

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Sunil Gulati – He’s going to hire himself as the manager before he’s dropped. It only makes sense.

 

My choice – Whoever Cristian Pulisic wants.

 

 

Rory’s Round-up: Week 3 – THE LIVERPOOL EDITION

There are rare times for Liverpool fans to feel extraordinarily good about a game, and this week was one of those times. I kind of slept through the Everton Chelsea game, so whoops, but it was worth it for the full energy I had for the Liverpool game.

 

Newcastle 3 – West Ham 0

How has Bilic not been fired yet? West Ham have been total crap now for two years, and with as much talent that they have on their roster, it can’t be far off. Newcastle looked pretty solid overall, solid enough that not even the yells of Joe Hart could stop them. The highlight of the game was seeing JOE HART give his teammate a loud pep talk after the first goal. West Ham need to turn things around fast, or they’re going to find themselves in the bottom half of the table at the end of the year.

 

Manchester United 2 – Leicester 0

Kasper Schmeichel proved that he is the best current Schmeichel goalie again by saving a penalty that he was 10 to 20 yards off the line. Really though, he was good, and saved Leicester from going down even more goals. Rashford looked great when he came on, I still think Marouane Chamakh Fellaini is a total ding dong, and Man Utd looked great again. They are the team to beat for the moment, except for…

 

LIVERPOOOOOOOL 4 – Arse-nal 0

Liverpool were amazing. (Almost) Every player on the field looked like they might score on every play for pool. Except for one very scary player, Karius (more like Scaryus), who inspired fear in everyone watching the game when the ball came his way. Luckily, Arsenal didn’t get a shot on goal, so he didn’t get much of the ball. Mane, Firmino, and Salah look like the most dangerous front three at the moment, and Henderson was a game changer with his one man press. They could’ve easily scored more than six goals if it wasn’t for Peter Cech.

On the other side of the ball, Arsenal were absolutely abhorrent. Everyone on defense and midfield would get a rating of 0 or 1 out of 10, the worst being Bellerin, Holding, Ramsey, and Xhaka. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wenger gets fired soon.

If Liverpool can play like this, then they should sell Coutinho and reinforce the rest of the team. They have Lallana coming back in a couple of months, but they need players to rotate in at central d and the wings. SIGN PULISIC.

Rory’s Round-up: Week 2

The best part about watching EPL games at your parents house (as a 32 year old) is that you get to eat chocolate chip pancakes while you watch soccer. And that they love you too. Mostly pancakes though. Here are the games I watched!

 

Manchester United 4 – Swansea 0

There’s good news and bad news for the Swans this week. The good is that they are way richer and they only have to play United once more. The bad is that they lost their best player, don’t have a replacement, teams will overcharge them for anyone, and got thrashed by the league’s top team. It was close for most of the game, but Swansea couldn’t keep it going, giving up 3 goals in the span of 4 minutes. When Manchester United have it going, they look so unstoppable right now. If they stay injury free, they’ll be really tough to beat.

 

Liverpool 1 – Crystal Palace 0

I have no idea how Liverpool got a clean sheet, but Palace looked pretty anemic going forward. They played more like a shitty Chinese restaurant than a shiny castle. They really missed Zaha on the wing, it was pretty obvious. Benteke missed an easy chance to go up, but other than that, Palace didn’t have much. Liverpool, on the other hand, actually looked solid at the back for most of the game. With a mostly new back line, Andrew Robertson really shined going forward (although I’d like to see him play defense. Mane saved the day and was the best player on the field yet again. The only real negative for Liverpool was the midfield. They were pretty invisible and uninspiring most of the game. Klopp was pleased though, and so am I.

 

Stoke 1 – Arsenal 0

I only caught part of the game because a guy has got to tan, but it sounded pretty funny. Arsenal failed to capitalize on all the momentum they built in the last 5 minutes of the previous game. Typical.

 

Huddersfield 1 – Newcastle 0

This wasn’t a great game, but I like the way Huddersfield play. They play fast and run a lot. If they can keep it up over the whole season, they have a decent shot of staying up. Newcastle looked more like Oldcastle, because they were unimpressive and looked to be going down. They really missed Jonjo’s fun antics this game.

 

Chelsea 2 – Tottenham 1

This was a really fun game, in spite of me wanting Spurs to win the whole time. Marcos Alonso scored a goal that rivals his hair in personal beauty, and his second was more like David Luiz’s hair. Meaning crazy. Lloris should’ve probably done better on it (but the defense left him out to dry). Michy Batshuyai scored, but for the wrong team, which makes sense for him. I hope he can get it right one day. It was a good result for Chelsea, and I’m sure Spurs will feel like they should’ve done better with their chances.

 

Manchester City 1 – Everton 1

Rooooooooooooooooooooooooney! Everton played really well again, but a poor clearance by Mason Holgate got City back in. It could’ve gone either way and I think this was a fair result. Rooney though, he can’t be stopped.

Rory’s Round-up: Week 1

I hate getting up early. Maybe as much as I hate bigotry, or popcorn. One reason I will get up early is for Premier League soccer, and also work. Here’s my take on the games I was able to catch this weekend.

Arsenal 4 – Leicester 3

This was a really fun game to watch for many reasons. One, it’s hilarious to see Wenger’s reactions to his team failing. And it was the typical crap turnovers and poor defending that his team has been known for over the past 100 seasons. Second, there were so many goals. Lacazette started the action off the action early on, but Leicester came back at them fast with goals from Okazaki and Vardy. Arsenal were good to get one back right before halftime through Welbeck. More excitement came later on after Vardy put Leicester ahead, until Arsenal got two back in dramatic fashion for the win.

Both teams had similar defensive problems. They both looked like good competitive teams with some work to do at the back. I was really impressed with both attacks. Iheanacho barely played, and as soon as they get him more involved they could get even better. Welbeck and Lacazetter were really dangerous up front as well, so if they can stay healthy, I see them finishing pretty high.

 

Liverpool 3 – Watford 3

This was the most typical Liverpool game ever played. Goalkeeping blunders? Check. Suspect defense? So many checks. Shit on set pieces? Checks again. Dropped points in stoppage time? Obviously. The positives were that Salah and Mane looked really good. Firmino was good in attack too, even with his (and the other defenders) not marking on the first goal.

Coutinho would’ve helped, but I have to put this mostly on Klopp and Liverpool’s brass. They haven’t addressed the team’s defensive needs at all. Lovren shouldn’t be starting on a championship calibre team, nor should Moreno. They have no creative replacement in midfield for Coutinho, so I’m worried about Liverpool if they don’t do any more business before the summer window ends. It doesn’t look great for them, and Watford weren’t an especially talented team.

 

Everton 1 – Stoke 0 

King Rooney hath returned! I kid about his influence, but he actually looked really good. Everton’s defense was pretty strong overall, and Jordan Pickford was probably the player of the game for me. He’ll be a steal at that price if he plays like he did today. On Stoke’s side, Shaqiri should’ve been sent off for his elbow on Baines in the 48th minute. He was a little shit all game, diving around and yelling at his teammates. He played like Ronaldo if he was 4 feet shorter and significantly less skilled. He had a nice shot at the end of the game, but Pickford got a good hand to it.

 

Manchester United 4 – West Ham 0

Manchester United were scary good this game. Their passing was great and Lukaku looked excellent up front. If I had done my predictions after seeing this game, I would’ve picked them first or second probable. This team will definitely be tough to beat.