Tag Archives: World Cup 2018

Red’s World Cup Update

Here is how Red fared in his Group Play predictions.

Group A Red – Uruguay and Egypt      Group A Results – Uruguay and Russia

Group B Red – Portugal and Spain      Group B Results – Spain and Portugal

Group C Red – France and Peru          Group C Results – France and Denmark

Group D Red – Argentina & Iceland   Group D Results – Croatia and Argentina

Group E Red – Brazil & Costa Rica      Group E Results – Brazil and Switzerland

Group F Red – Germany & Mexico     Group F Results – Sweden and Mexico

Group G Red – Belgium & England    Group G Results – England and Belgium

Group H Red – Columbia & Poland   Group H Results – Columbia and Japan

Red was 10 of 16 for the Round of 16.  A really good grouping would be 12 or more out of 16, but Red is far from embarrassed by his picks.  Red certainly did not see Croatia, Switzerland or Sweden as the powerhouses that they have proved to be in Group Play.  Picking Peru over Denmark was probably Red’s biggest blunder followed by picking a shaky Egypt side over the team playing on home soil.  Germany heading home probably surprised all but a very few prognosticators, but that is what happens when you score one goal – one goal!

Red’s knock-out round picks will be up tomorrow.

Red’s World Cup Update

Red’s pre-tournament  favorites Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Argentina seem to be headed in different directions.

Spain and Portugal are likely moving on with 4 points each and playing Morocco and Iran respectively in the third game of group play.  But neither side has impressed so far.  Red calls Spain and Portugal mediocre in action to date.  Each side needs a three goal outburst against the lesser competition.  Red views Portugal as more likely to come up with a big game.

Any time you beat the reigning world champion, things are looking up.  Mexico is certainly looking that way and a win over Sweden (make that S. Korea)  tomorrow (not a given by any means) would all but assure an entry into the Round of 16 for El Tri and add to the swagger that comes with beating Deutschland.   Look for more fireworks from Mexico’s powerful frontline and rising star Hirving Lozano and more solid keeping from Memo Ochoa.

And alas, Los Albicelestes are wondering where the bus came from that has run them over and drug them a kilometer down the road in this WC.  A total ass-whomping by Croatia has put Argentina in a serious bind.  There is a narrow path to the knock-out rounds but Messi and Co. no longer control their own fate.   SB Nation has the scoop on Argentina’s chances.

  1. Iceland ties or loses to Nigeria tomorrow.

  2. Croatia then needs to beat or tie Iceland.

  3. Argentina needs to beat Nigeria.

All three of those things happening will allow Argentina to advance.

If Iceland beats Nigeria tomorrow, there is still an outside chance that Argentina could sneak in, but for that to happen it would rely on them beating Nigeria and then Iceland losing to Croatia, and then it would come down to a tiebreaker, since both teams would be on four points.

Goal difference would decide it at that point, and if goal difference is the same, then it will go to yellow cards, of which Argentina has more than a few.  If none of the above happens, Argentina is eliminated.

This looks like the end for Argentina as a serious world power for at least a couple of years.  Maybe they come back in Copa America next year – but maybe not.

Other teams to watch (besides the obvious favorites to move on) include – Croatia, Senegal, Japan and Denmark.  Meanwhile, Red is sort of wishing he had gotten on the Uruguay bandwagon – but he just doesn’t like Suarez or Cavani (the Robbins of South America).

Red’s World Cup Group Play Predictions

The world’s largest single sport event gets under way in less than one hour with host Russia taking on Saudi Arabia in what is the worst match up in the entire tournament between the two lowest ranked teams.  Nonetheless, Red will be watching as much as possible.  And despite the scandals, despite Russian, despite the USA failing to make the Finals, despite everything – Red is still excited.  So hear goes:

Group A  –  Uruguay and Egypt.   The weakest group by a long shot with Russia and Saudi Arabia bringing up the rear.  Uruguay is the overwhelming favorite to win and Red sees no reason why they shouldn’t be 3-0-0 with the disagreeable Suarez and sulking Cavani up front. Mohammed Salah should be enough to carry Egypt into the Round of 16 with a 2-0-1 total.

Group B – Portugal and Spain.  The winner of Friday’s Iberian rivalry will have the inside track to finishing on top here.  Look for Ronaldo to have his hair and game in perfect form and Pepe to anchor a solid defense on the way to a first place 2-0-1 ranking going into the knock-out rounds.  Spain sacked its coach 48 hours before the Finals begin and will be playing catch-up but will finish 2-1-0 and be the most dangerous second place team.  Morocco and Iran can’t match these powerhouses.

Group C – France and Peru.  Les Bleus are the class of this group led by centerback Varane who has the difficult task of keeping and shaky back line in order, France will move on at 2-1-0 possibly losing to Peru or Denmark.  Peru is an up and coming squad with most of the players coming from the rough and tumble of Liga-MX.  They play tough defense and will squeak in at 1-1-1 on a tiebreaker with Denmark.  Australia will enjoy the show.

Group D – Argentina and Iceland.  If Argentina doesn’t overwhelm this group then Los Albiceleste need a thorough housecleaning.  All should go well unless Higuan blows it again. Messi, diMaria and others will carry the day but only at 2-0-1.  Iceland – Cinderella story from out of the North Atlantic about to move to the Round of 16 – unless the Super Eagles get in the way.  That could happen, but Red is going with the upset here and Iceland getting in at 1-0-2.

Group E – Brazil and Costa Rica.  Brazil!!!!!!!! Neymar!!!!!! Enough said.  Brazil 3-0-0.  Costa Rica rides on the mighty shoulders of world’s best goalkeeper Navas.  And mighty shoulders they are.  Switzerland is the hot pick for second here.  Red is not a believer.  CR has just enough offense to move on at 1-1-1.

Group F – Germany and Mexico.  The Germans look for back-to-back  for the first time since Brazil did it a good while back.  Red doesn’t discount their chances.  There has been a lot of turnover, but that is usually a good sign of rising talent.  Kroos in the midfield is the new leader and the Germans know how to follow.  Deutschland 2-0-1.  Mexico is Red other choice.  This is a struggling Mexican squad that looked uninspired and unimaginative in their last friendly with Denmark.  Maybe that is a kick in the pantalones.  This is the last chance for this generation.  Chicarito, Lozano and Corona must attack, attack, attack.  And hopefully there will not be a rotating cast of characters in goal.  If they beat Germany on Sunday all bets are off though. Mexico 2-1-0.

Group G – Belgium and England.  Belgium is a real contender for the Semis.  They cruise through this group 3-0-0.  England by default at 1-1-1.

Group H – Colombia and Poland.  Colombia finally lives up to its potential and James Rodriguez again competes for the Golden Boot.  2-1-0.  Poland is a dangerous squad with another candidate for top scorer in  Lewandowski who scored a European-high 16 goals in qualifying. Polski in at 2-0-1.