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Iskaral Putsch

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  1. Iskaral Putsch

    WC2018: which game to watch? (No spoilers!)

    Helpful, thanks. That leaves me on the fence but it gives me the right information to make a choice. Nice to hear the AvC game was exciting. I thought it might have been another dull example of Messi hogging the ball ineffectually while being marked by four players and "aided" by a deeply lackluster entourage. We're not getting a lot of recs here. Perhaps I'm one of only a few choosy omnivores; a floating voter in the mainly partisan WC.
  2. Iskaral Putsch

    Football: Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    Looking at Can's deal with Juve: 14m signing bonus plus 80k per week for four years, which is a combined 220k per week (all figures in GBP), it makes me wonder why more players don't run down their contracts. That's more than Modric or Kroos at RM. Sanchez and Ozil both got huge pay bumps too by running down their contracts at Arsenal. Aside from the risk of serious injury (I'm sure there could be an insurance market for that), why would players accept a transfer deal with less than two years remaining? Yes, careers are short and no-one wants to waste their time, but being able to seize a large slice of the putative transfer fee is a really big deal now.
  3. Iskaral Putsch

    WC2018: which game to watch? (No spoilers!)

    I think I’ll be skipping all of today’s games. The novelty and optimism of the opening games is behind us, so a smaller proportion of second games are worth watching. I have received a spoiler-free assurance that I’m making a decent choice. France vs Peru tomorrow looks like a good bet instead.
  4. Iskaral Putsch

    WC2018: which game to watch? (No spoilers!)

    I turned on the Japan game but the commentator was so annoying I couldn’t watch more than a few minutes. So a night off for me. Looking forward to the Spain or Portugal game tomorrow.
  5. Iskaral Putsch

    WC2018: which game to watch? (No spoilers!)

    Thanks. Helpful. Perhaps I should take a night off and bounce back tomorrow.
  6. Iskaral Putsch

    Cord Cutting Advice - Not the newborn type

    I wish I could just have unbundled internet and then a la carte streaming choices. But Comcast is the only provider to my condo building and their internet-only costs almost as much as the bundle. Even with our cable bundle still intact, we use a Roku and nearly all of our TV viewing is on Netflix or Prime. My recommendation would be to just use Prime, Netflix and Hulu (my least favorite of the three FWIW) for a couple of months and see if you really miss the cable channels that much. I never even check what’s being broadcast now. If live sports is a deal-breaker, then try a direct subscription. There’s no ideal solution and the more must-haves on your list, the closer you get to keeping your cable bundle.
  7. Iskaral Putsch

    WC2018: which game to watch? (No spoilers!)

    Damn! Someone already spoiled that result for me. Are either of the other games a decent watch or is it better to stick with C vs J even if the suspense is ruined?
  8. Kane was basically pants all game, but scored two goals from a combined five yards. In fairness he was rugby tackled several times at set pieces but his open play was shocking. England’s high pressing was great in the opening 15 minutes — and Tunisia looked like Saudi Arabia at that point — but Sterling and Lindgard were comically wasteful. Stones too at one corner. Alli, Sterling and Lindgard do well bombing forward at pace or pressing high, but if the game slows down against a deep defense, then they don’t have a clear attacking shape. Loftus-Cheek was by far the best at creating openings; food for thought with Panama ahead. They missed Lallana’s ability to receive the ball with his back to goal, turn a marker and play a one-two. Young gave no width, and one terrible attempt at scoring from a good free kick. Walker and Stones both have an error in them. Maguire was the best for me. Henderson was good early on but then regressed to only passing sideways to Trippier. Not a terrible thing since the youngster was having a good game, but Henderson was pretty pointless then. They need to hope that the young trio of AMFs find their groove. Belgium fully deserved their win and Panama fully deserved their litany of yellow cards. They looked a good bet for a sending off for a while but managed to regain some discipline. Belgium had some innovative set pieces early on but only got dangerous as Panama tired and had to chase the game. Mertens and Hazard were best for me, Lukaku took his goals well (especially his second) and DeBruyne has some good flashes but didn’t exactly destroy them. Why does Witsel start ahead of Dembele? A decent day of football but that group now looks much more predictable than most. An upset would have kept it interesting.
  9. Iskaral Putsch

    WC2018: which game to watch? (No spoilers!)

    Tuesday will need some assistance to make the right selection. Poland vs. Senegal looks like the best bet, but there could be a surprise lurking. Colombia play nice football and Salah could destroy Russia.
  10. Iskaral Putsch

    Match Day 4: Costa Rica v Serbia; Germany v Mexico; Brazil v Switzerland

    Huge congratulations to Mexico for a great win. Despite my allegiance, I have to acknowledge that El Tri had perfect tactics. Four years ago Germany were regularly stymied for long periods by a deep defense, and they would patiently continue short passes around the box and eventually a goal would come. It never really looked like coming today. Too many touches slowed down the attacks to a ponderous pace. Draxler was anonymous in the first half (but much improved in the second), Werner didn’t reach any crosses, Mueller’s darting runs never happened, Ozil was playing too deep. At the other end, Boateng and Hummels were lumbering about in isolation and over-run by explosive, nippy counter-attacks. Reus, Brandt and Gómez were good subs but this team has too many players who crowd into the same space, and lacks pace through the spine. Mexico, on the other hand, pressed well, defended resolutely in numbers and surged forward in lung-bursting runs to create counter-attacks. They managed subs well to keep energy high and they absolutely deserved their win. Serbia were worthy of their win. Tadic, SMS and Matic, plus that young ball-playing CB, give them a great platform to move the ball around well. Unfortunately Mitrovic doesn’t have the sharpness or skill to go with his endeavor. They could really struggle for goals. Costa Rica looked fine when they actually tried to play. They need to be more adventurous. And I was pleased for the Swiss. Usually I’m critical of negative tactics and fouling flair players, but Switzerland earned their point. Neymar was fouled, but not hacked to pieces, and he dived and exaggerated too. Brazil seemed complacent. Coutinho got his trademark goal as he picked up a poor clearance and otherwise the late Firmino header was their only really good chance. Several half chances were well defended and crowded out. The Swiss also look like they’ll struggle for goals though. So three of the four pre-tournament favorites failed to win their opening game, and France needed a late deflected goal to grab the solitary win. Sometimes top teams gain momentum as the tournament progresses, so far too early to count them out, but it would be great if this is the year for some usurpers.
  11. Yeah, Kante was excellent, despite the referee calling some fouls against him that definitely were not. I’m not sure there’s a need for both N’Zonzi and Kante unless against Brazil or Germany. Based on today, I’d drop Dembele, move Mbappe wide in Dembele’s spot, push Griezmann further forward to #9, bring in Giroud, replace Tolisso with Matuidi, have Pogba play ahead of Kante and Matuidi, and replace Pavard with a more attacking RB. There’s not much broken there but they need to fix the problem of Mbappe and Griezmann wanting the same space so they’ve pushed Griezmann into Pogba’s space. That hasn’t worked out. Better to give Pogba and Griezmann their preferred space and allow Mbappe to attack off the shoulder of the opposing full back.
  12. Croatia looked very solid today and controlled the tempo and flow very well. That defense, even with Dejan Lovren, didn’t concede much throughout qualifying. If they can fend off the misfiring Argie attack then they could top the group. Modric was great as a deep playmaker but when he stepped further forward they looked more dangerous. Perhaps Rakitic and Kovacic should play the deeper MF roles, then Mondric, Perisic and Rebic behind Mandzukic. They could have been a bit more clinical with their chances though. Nigeria looked all at sea. Mikel is a solid #8 but not really a #10. I’d prefer to see Iheanacho and Iwobi flanking Ighalo, then Mikel, Ebeto and Ndidi in a MF three. They have decent players, but not connecting enough.
  13. Iskaral Putsch

    Football: Jules Rimet Still Gleaming

    If Pogba looks over-hyped and over-priced, what can we say about Dembele? I know he’s still very young, but Barca went out on a limb there.
  14. The French were a bit fortunate, playing some decent football in passages but not connecting effectively to create good chances. Both goals were legit, but required some technology assistance. I don’t want to sound too negative but Pogba and Tolisso weren’t doing very much, and Pavard was defensively strong but didn’t contribute at all in good attacking opportunities. And Pogba’s winner seemed to be helped by a deflection. Fekir was confident on the ball when he came on but his final ball wasn’t great, either getting caught in possession or mis-playing a pass Dembele was fast and had good close control but his final cross was nothing great Improvement needed. They need something to knit them all together better. Australia are generally a likable team, working hard for each other to offset their technical deficiency. They’re a bit like the US team. But their fans today turned me right off when they were booing Hernandez — he had a good game and was on the receiving end of a series of legitimate fouls, and the only time he exaggerated was at th very end in injury time to run a few seconds off the clock. Australia are a dirty team and foul more skillful players. You don’t have much room to complain when that’s the core of your game. If you want to watch rugby then fuck off and watch rugby.
  15. Iskaral Putsch

    Match Day 2: Uruguay v Egypt; Morocco v Iran; Spain v Portugal

    Ronaldo was ice cold taking that free-kick. It was a soft penalty award, a soft free-kick award and an absolute gift from DeGea — lots of good fortune (and diving) all around — but that’s still a hat-trick in the WC (he only had 3 goals in 13 previous WC games) and a nerveless late equalizer. Costa’s first was quintessential: up front by himself for an outball, battling against two physical CBS, sneaky forearm to the face of one to get on the ball, force his way into the area and smash home a shot despite having no support. Portugal weren’t great, but they took their chances and scored at perfect times to take a point despite being outplayed. Spain need to be concerned about conceding three, plus DeGea’s other bizarre flap at a bouncing long pass into his area. Can he not see past his beard? Isco was great for them but Iniesta and Silva were less potent than usual. The MF seemed just a bit older and slower, and struggled against long direct passes. Now both teams have to race to rack up goal difference against Iran and Morocco. That will make the group more interesting. Iran especially may sit deep to play for a draw.