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Argentina v Croatia, 21st June, 7pm(GMT)

Pagnell

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Surprised Rakovic didn't turn around and laugh Otamendi's face after scoring that.
 

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Not quite as satisfying as Spain getting thumped in 2014, but it's not too far behind. Messi deserves better, but watch the media use this as a stick to beat him with for the rest of his career. It's a team sport innit.
 

Pagnell

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Not quite as satisfying as Spain getting thumped in 2014, but it's not too far behind.

My favourite is still Germany raping Brazil 7-1 in their own back yard. Nothing against Brazil but that was just so funny. Especially seeing Luiz crying.
 

Benji

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Messi shouldn't be expected to carry this team, this squad is blessed with top level ability in most positions. The team should be able to carry itself! Messi, Dybala and Higuain should be a dynamic and dangerous attacking trio at the very least.
 

Chris FGR

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Croatia are a superb side, their midfield is as good as anyone's. Would beat France imo.
 

SALTIRE

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Poor Messi, a Ferrari surrounded by clapped out Ladas.
 

Steve_Wafc

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I really wish I’d put a fiver on my dark horse prediction, think they can go deep in this tournament. Argentina though... is it the formation? Is it the personnel? Are the players just not arsed?
 

Chris FGR

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Poor Messi, a Ferrari surrounded by clapped out Ladas.

What, like Aguero, Higuain, Dybala, Mascherano, Otamendi etc?

They've got enough quality to be decent, just no proper game plan or team spirit. Shame cos I like Sampaoli, but they're a total fucking mess(i).
 

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I’m not really that surprised. Argentina qualified by the skin of their teeth and they were playing a good side.

Great performance from Croatia, a quality team. That midfield must be one of the best in the World Cup? They could go far.
 

Dirk

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Tactical masterpiece of Croatia. Great!

Had to laugh when Sampaoli undressed his jacket. Battle dwarf mode. :lol:

Argentina still can make it to the knockout stages but I hope they won't.

What's the actual standings Europe vs South America at this World Cup?
 

Pagnell

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There is a misconception that Argentina are 10 players and Messi. Look at the lineup and with the right setup and attitude from the players they could give anyone a good game. But there is no cohesion or game plan. You could have claimed tonight to someone who didn't know better that it was the first time they'd ever played as a team and they wouldn't have batted an eyelid.
 

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What, like Aguero, Higuain, Dybala, Mascherano, Otamendi etc?

They've got enough quality to be decent, just no proper game plan or team spirit. Shame cos I like Sampaoli, but they're a total fucking mess(i).
I’ve never thought Higuain was that quality. Misses loads of chances and he’s playing in a poor league. Otamendi has huge flaws in defending too. Then there’s Dybala who’s still pretty new to this kind of pressure, but the rest are solid.
 

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I’ve never thought Higuain was that quality. Misses loads of chances and he’s playing in a poor league. Otamendi has huge flaws in defending too. Then there’s Dybala who’s still pretty new to this kind of pressure, but the rest are solid.
Don't be silly. Higuain has been a success at three of the biggest clubs in the world in both Serie A and La Liga. His goal scoring record is incredible for all of those teams, including Real Madrid. He cost 90 million euros. Dybala is even better. Otamendi was the best defender in the Premier League this season. These are top class players, especially at International level. They would get into almost every International starting 11 with ease.

As I said before, a team of individuals with a good manager, but not the right manager. Too much strength in central attacking areas, not enough elsewhere and absolutely no balance to play in an aggressive Sampaoli system. The manager doesn't know how to play any other way successfully.
 
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SALTIRE

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What, like Aguero, Higuain, Dybala, Mascherano, Otamendi etc?

They've got enough quality to be decent, just no proper game plan or team spirit. Shame cos I like Sampaoli, but they're a total fucking mess(i).
Aguero and Higuain never turn up for them, Dybala isn't long in so I can't criticise, Mascherano isn't going to be that player who gets the ball forward quickly and Otamendi lost his head and is usually an accident waiting to happen anyway.

I do think Lanzini is a bigger miss than has been made out, but there should be others in the mix who could do a similar job, and there is zilch. Maybe Banega should be in the side too. As it is just now, there is no one in midfield to drive with the ball, thread a pass, or get the ball forward quick enough; its so pedestrian.
 

Khukri

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Heeh....

Well nice day in the end.
 

Nilsson

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Hard to believe that Argentina can't find a place for Dybala to start. He's one of the best players in the world and would take some of the spotlight off Messi which would benefit the main man massively imo, he always has so little space and so little creativity around him when playing for Argentina.

Lovely strike by Modric though. That and Sampaoli's touchline breakdown will ensure this one lasts long in the memory.
 

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rudebwoyben

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Sampaoli looked like he’s going through a mid-life crisis.
 

Khukri

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Curiously enough after few nervous breakdowns in last well....year. This wasn't something I thought would make me tick a bit. Usually only masturbation,liquor and large dosage or pills make me happy....well that. And at times when I feel really depressed I watch Titanic...sight of all those people drowning kinda insures me that there are people with bigger problems in life then mine. Still...I suppose being happy about this is sort of an progress :)
 

Gassy

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My gf is Croatian so I watched that with about 7 other Croatians.

That was hilarious!

Poor first half from both teams if i'm honest, very boring with no real chances. The game completely changed after the first goal. Tactically Croatia were on point in the 2nd half, their midfield is very good. Their problem is their GK & defence (which is weird to say when they haven't conceded a goal so far) - but when they get challenged they are riddled with mistakes and were also lucky not to concede last night.

As for Argentina - have that Maradona you fat cheating f*** :lol: In fact, the whole of Argentina, that was so satisfying to watch after their constant cheating and horrible tactics.

Their front line is probably (on average) the best the world has ever seen play for 1 country at a time, perhaps the best we ever will see, but that was shocking! If anyone ever wants to know the difference between Messi & Ronaldo, now you know. 1 can only play when he has the worlds greatest players around him, the other is the worlds greatest player.
 

Bobbin'

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1 can only play when he has the worlds greatest players around him

Yeah, that’s all Messi can do :lol:

Let’s just forget he carried Argentina into the last World Cup final and into this tournament.
 

Renegade

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My gf is Croatian so I watched that with about 7 other Croatians.

That was hilarious!

Poor first half from both teams if i'm honest, very boring with no real chances. The game completely changed after the first goal. Tactically Croatia were on point in the 2nd half, their midfield is very good. Their problem is their GK & defence (which is weird to say when they haven't conceded a goal so far) - but when they get challenged they are riddled with mistakes and were also lucky not to concede last night.

As for Argentina - have that Maradona you fat cheating f*** :lol: In fact, the whole of Argentina, that was so satisfying to watch after their constant cheating and horrible tactics.

Their front line is probably (on average) the best the world has ever seen play for 1 country at a time, perhaps the best we ever will see, but that was shocking! If anyone ever wants to know the difference between Messi & Ronaldo, now you know. 1 can only play when he has the worlds greatest players around him, the other is the worlds greatest player.
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/lionel-messi-is-impossible/

He outdoes Ronaldo in almost every major statistic despite being two years younger and his international record is comparable to Ronaldo's. He won the golden ball at the last World Cup for the tournament's best player, which I'll admit was a dubious award (should have been Rodriguez obviously), but he did drag a pretty average Argentina side to the World Cup final and was one of the best players at the tournament.

Don't be a prisoner of the moment, Messi even outperformed Ronaldo this season, the latter was anonymous (by his standards) for the first half of the season. Football is a team sport, Ronaldo relied on his team mates during Euro 2016 in which Portugal were bang average (they finished third in their group) until the semi-finals. Then his team mates beat France in the final completely without him as he went off injured. He was pretty poor in that tournament apart from against Wales. Yet the narrative is somehow that Ronaldo dragged his team to the Euros. Two impressive World Cup games in the group stage should not change the narrative so easily, but that's the spin of football.

People love the Messi vs Ronaldo narrative, but it's a team sport above all of this and both players rely heavily on their team mates for success. Portugal are a much better team at the moment with a proper sense of identity, confidence from winning the Euros, cohesion and balance. They play as a unit and whilst obviously Ronaldo is the stand out performer, he is being facilitated to perform on the biggest stage by a very good team around him and a coach who knows how to use him. Argentina on the other hand are a complete tactical shambles, a team of individuals in the wrong system, with the wrong manager, no balance, no cohesion, no confidence.
 

rudebwoyben

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My gf is Croatian so I watched that with about 7 other Croatians.

That was hilarious!

Poor first half from both teams if i'm honest, very boring with no real chances. The game completely changed after the first goal. Tactically Croatia were on point in the 2nd half, their midfield is very good. Their problem is their GK & defence (which is weird to say when they haven't conceded a goal so far) - but when they get challenged they are riddled with mistakes and were also lucky not to concede last night.

As for Argentina - have that Maradona you fat cheating f*** :lol: In fact, the whole of Argentina, that was so satisfying to watch after their constant cheating and horrible tactics.

Their front line is probably (on average) the best the world has ever seen play for 1 country at a time, perhaps the best we ever will see, but that was shocking! If anyone ever wants to know the difference between Messi & Ronaldo, now you know. 1 can only play when he has the worlds greatest players around him, the other is the worlds greatest player.

I don't think you were really watching the first half if you can say that. Both sides had at least one gilt-edged chance in the first half but I suppose you must have forgotten about that with all everything that happened in the second half and with everyone around you getting more and more ecstatic as the match went on.

After what happened last night I can't see the 4-1-5 formation catching on.
 

Chris FGR

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The most annoying thing about the whole ‘Argentina are rubbish’ and the Messi vs Ronaldo debate is that we should be talking about how brilliant Modric and Rakitic are.

And Perisic as well. Brilliant midfield.
 

Gassy

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https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/lionel-messi-is-impossible/

He outdoes Ronaldo in almost every major statistic despite being two years younger and his international record is comparable to Ronaldo's. He won the golden ball at the last World Cup for the tournament's best player, which I'll admit was a dubious award (should have been Rodriguez obviously), but he did drag a pretty average Argentina side to the World Cup final and was one of the best players at the tournament.

Don't be a prisoner of the moment, Messi even outperformed Ronaldo this season, the latter was anonymous (by his standards) for the first half of the season. Football is a team sport, Ronaldo relied on his team mates during Euro 2016 in which Portugal were bang average (they finished third in their group) until the semi-finals. Then his team mates beat France in the final completely without him as he went off injured. He was pretty poor in that tournament apart from against Wales. Yet the narrative is somehow that Ronaldo dragged his team to the Euros. Two impressive World Cup games in the group stage should not change the narrative so easily, but that's the spin of football.

People love the Messi vs Ronaldo narrative, but it's a team sport above all of this and both players rely heavily on their team mates for success. Portugal are a much better team at the moment with a proper sense of identity, confidence from winning the Euros, cohesion and balance. They play as a unit and whilst obviously Ronaldo is the stand out performer, he is being facilitated to perform on the biggest stage by a very good team around him and a coach who knows how to use him. Argentina on the other hand are a complete tactical shambles, a team of individuals in the wrong system, with the wrong manager, no balance, no cohesion, no confidence.
I'm not comparing for club, I'm mainly comparing for country. Messi is mentally weak - missed a penalty vs Chile and retired. Then came back. Then he missed against Iceland and the next day didn't leave his room to join the players for a BBQ. He's the captain right? Where is your leader? We talk about Argentina not being able to gel, where was Messi to facilitate that as well? Do you think Ronaldo would do that?

Also Argentina side average? If that squad is average then the rest of the world must be amateurs.

I'll admit I exaggerated on Messi being poor which you've all jumped at a bit too quickly - but I honestly believe Ronaldo is a better player and leader than Messi.
 
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Gassy

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I don't think you were really watching the first half if you can say that. Both sides had at least one gilt-edged chance in the first half but I suppose you must have forgotten about that with all everything that happened in the second half and with everyone around you getting more and more ecstatic as the match went on.

After what happened last night I can't see the 4-1-5 formation catching on.
Sorry, I'll re-phrase for you "very boring with neither keeper being really tested"

Perisic had one shot saved, but what was it. But maybe I'm wrong, I'd like to see how your photographic memory can remind me of the world class saves.

Either way, I thought the first half was boring with very little quality from either team (how many missed passes and constant fouls were there?!), only until the 1st goal did it really pick up in quality
 

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