OT: 2018 World Cup - Final Weekend

This weekend pits England vs Belgium in a Group H rematch for third place, while favorites France take on spunky Croatia for the title. France opened as 1/2 favorites while Croatia were 9/5 underdogs.

Who ya got?

Croatia has played the equivalent of an entire extra game in the knock out rounds due to all three of their matches so far having gone to extra time. They will be playing on one fewer day of rest than France will be, and the French side is one of the few in the world with the quality and depth in midfield to match Croatia. I see a largely cagey match that ultimately finishes with the meaty French forehead of Olivier Giroud lifting the trophy.

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Croatia all day! They're the Netherlands of this year.

Wish Belgium would have pulled it off so I'm hoping they take 3rd.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

They're the Netherlands of this year.

Well you just cursed them.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

live look at what RealDiehl just did to Croatia's chances

Chem PhD '16

I still don't understand how that only got a yellow card.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Croatia has a team of destiny feel to them, but France is just so talented and has significant rest advantage with an extra full day + Croatia playing three consecutive 120' games. So naturally Croatia will win.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I'm torn - I've always supported Les Blues, and as a PSG fan I'm all in on Mbappe. However, my freshman roommate at VT, still one of my friends, is Croatian. He came to the US at 15 to escape the civil war, but always followed Croatian football.

My head will root for France, but my heart will sing if Croatia wins.

Bet on France at 6-1 so naturally rooting for them. But croatia winning would be a fantastic story. England takes the third place game. The third place medal is coming home.

Love this Croatia team. Rooting for Belgium in the 3rd place game.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I want to say the pace of Mbappe will be too much for the tired legs of Croatia playing 3 straight extra time games but at the same time it looked like they got stronger as the game went along against England.

I thought the same thing and wondered where they got their second wind!

Thought they wanted to play a shell to start off with. It didn't seem to be working, so they pressed England high and forced them to feed in hurried long balls out of the back and or make some short passes out of the back. England has been fantastic at hitting beautiful long balls out of the back, when they have time. Unfortunately for England they didn't have the time and this made Kane, Sterling, forward mids compete for 50 50 balls. Did they have sufficient skill to small pass the ball out of the back? Probably just think they fell in love with their beautiful long balls and couldn't adjust in game to needing to small ball it. Its like neurons (middies) who have to link into the back for small balls... if you don't use the capability it withers and rewires.

Mbappe sounds like a song by Hanson

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

I am thinking the tired legs issue is being overrated by most. These guys are professional elite level athletes with incredible conditioning. I bet they almost all feel 100% after 3 days. Mix in the nutritionists and physical therapists and my guess is the only thing they will feel by sunday are the strains and sprains, muscle fatigue will be moot.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

on the contrary, saturday-wednesday-sunday is a tough turnaround even for most of these players, as evidenced by customary rotation during UCL weeks. And then you remember that saturday and wednesday games went an extra 30 minutes each. It will be tough.

Edit: and it's not just looking at Croatia's schedule, it's looking at Croatia relative to France

Chem PhD '16

Kinda agree, though I don't know what the "science" is suggesting these days. Some folks used to play themselves into shape during tournaments. By having hammered your body in extra times etc, Croatia may be more ready physically(if it gets that far).

Whether that matters will be interesting to watch. If this boils down to Modric / Rakatic vs Kante / Pogba, its going to be fascinating to watch. Think Kante will win his, but Modric is tough as nails may hang. Croatia must exploit Pogba, which I'm not sure Rakatic has in him.

Folks keep saying Croatia will shell but I feel like we saw that in the first half of the England game and it wasn't working so well. High pressure seemed to work better against the English defense, and it may work as well against the French. Looking for Croatia to shell early, increase high pressure with the zone they placed on Messi on Mbappe. So many things to watch for.... Hopefully this will be fun to watch even if it turns into a shell counterattack snoozefest.

I've got France over Croatia 2 goals to 1

Pulling for Croatia, but won't mind a France win. Just want some entertaining soccer with no dirty play or diving.

Hope Belgium destroys England.

Lol Phil Jones just got turned inside out by Eden Hazard

VB born, class of '14

Belgium pretty much bossed that game vs England. Alderweireld's clearance off the line on Dier's chance was very clutch, and Hazard sealed it clinically on the other end a few minutes later. Idk why anyone rates Phil Jones.

Kickoff for the final is in about 10 minutes. I think France will take it but believe Croatia has as much of a fighting chance as they've had vs anyone in this tournament. The midfield battle will be awesome to watch.

Chem PhD '16

Mandzukic own goal on a free kick that was given after a shameful griezmann dive

Chem PhD '16

Greizmann bated the defender to come in and then fell on contact, minimal as it was. Defender needs to be smarter than that. Shitty dive but dumbass decision by the defender to come in with his hip.

hopefully Croatia can complete the magical run.

The reverse angle showed that griezmann dragged his foot and was going to ground before the contact even occurred. It was a dive before it was contact, and if he had stayed on his feet, defender probably wouldn't have touched him at all. Either way all square again now!

Chem PhD '16

oh I don't disagree. He was diving no matter what but the defender gave him exactly what he wanted.

Perisic what an equalizer!!!!!!

Chem PhD '16

THERE WE GO!

Croatia is so damn clutch. They never ever panic.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Huge error by Vida there to give them that corner in the first place.

Agreed, really good hit down the field by lloris but vida shouldn't concede the corner like that

Chem PhD '16

Penalty to France by VAR

Chem PhD '16

this is when heroes are made!!!

Griezmann converts and France is up 2-1 just 39' in. What a fun final

Chem PhD '16

agreed, i almost want it to go to penalties... almost

Umtiti down injured. Looks to have been rolled up on during a scramble in the box, similar to what happens to football linemen

Edit: he is back on the pitch but is moving a lil gingerly, will be interesting to see if he stays on for the second half

Chem PhD '16

Least deserving halftime lead in history

Looking at it in realtime I think that's harsh hand ball call. His arms weren't really in an unnatural position and the ball deflected so close to him. Croatia are really unlucky to be down a goal.

Great move by Croatia to open the half and key save by Lloris to deny rebic

Chem PhD '16

Sheesh mbappe is FAST. Great save by subasic and vida did all he could do without going to ground and risking giving away a penalty.

Now Nzonzi on for Kante. His first half yellow really is influencing deschamps

Chem PhD '16

ouch...

Pogba probably just sealed the deal for France. Keeper had no chance. And now Croatia looks all out of sorts.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Another for France vis Pogba shot from 18 yards or so and had subasic wrong footed. Hoping for a Croatia goal to set up a good finish

Chem PhD '16

It's over now, surely. Mbappe!

Chem PhD '16

i cannot express how insufferable my French friends will be for the remainder of the year

i cannot express how insufferable my the French friends will be for the remainder of the next 4 years

FTFY

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

so true

If it wasn't over before, Mbappe just drove in the final nail to the coffin.

Everyone wanted to know the next Messi/Ronaldo superstar? Mbappe just established himself into the conversation.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

That's game

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Wow wow wow mandzukic!

Chem PhD '16

Ummmm... That was dumb

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

Liverpool fans everywhere were just triggered watching that... 😁

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

This liverpool fan thought...where have I seen this before?

And France takes it! Exciting game with plenty of goals. Great heart from the croatian team, but France capitalized on some moments of lax defending.

Chem PhD '16

And now the stupid analysts come out and say stuff like "France did what Messi and Ronaldo couldn't" or something along those lines that I just heard. Well no shit, they have a stacked team unlike those 2.

Well to be fair Argentina is pretty stacked, just not for defensive or box to box midfielders which is what they sorely need

Chem PhD '16

Argentina is not stacked. They have some good forwards, but this isn't FIFA 18 - you can't play 3 strikers alongside each other. Poor goalkeeper, mediocre defense, woeful midfield, and the good forwards (besides Messi) were on the bench.

Are you confusing "young" with "stacked"? You'd think a defense anchored by Romero, Rojo, Otamendi, and Mascherano wouldn't suck (even if Mascherano is old and Romero was hurt), but the tactics and lack of midfield were all wrong. They needed a Kante or Pogba in midfield to dictate tempo and break up attacks. Instead they had Lucas Biglia and played a suicidally high line with no on-ball press. But when your attacking options run so deep that Mauro Icardi doesn't even make the squad, I'd say it counts as stacked.

Chem PhD '16

Wait so what's the point of mentioning Romero if he didn't play even one game? This isn't 2010 or 2014 anymore - Mascherano is trash, there is a reason he is playing in China now. An Otamendi-Rojo pairing isn't very good either in comparison to real top squad like France with Varane-Umtiti (waaaay better). I think we agree the midfield sucks. So then look at the forwards. In their elimination game, they played Messi with Di Maria and Pavon on the wings. That is not a stacked team. Again compare them to France. If you take each team's XI and make a combined team, you'd pick 10 French players and Messi. That's why France are stacked and Argentina aren't.

Lowkey - not sure if you're aware, but your tone comes across as really angry and condescending, at least to me, and it's often hard for me to sift that out and see the points you're trying to make.

Hokie fan | W&M grad

Sorry if the tone appears annoyed but I think the posts are pretty straightforward

I don't know what you're arguing. Is it that Argentina isn't stacked, or is it that no team is stacked like France is, or is it that Argentina isn't stacked because France is more stacked? Just because the French XI is better than the Argentina XI doesn't mean that Argentina doesn't have a stacked roster compared to many other countries in the world. The talent on Argentina is incredible but they haven't had a manager who can find a way to maximize that talent without leaving the defense woefully exposed... which is exactly what happened in the second half against France in the RO16.

Chem PhD '16

All I'm saying is it doesn't matter that Argentina and Portugal have a better individual player than France because it's a team sport. France's team is better at every position (except one) when compared to either Argentina or Portugal. And then you seemed to suggest that Argentina is stacked, which I strongly disagree with.

Yes it is a team sport. Yes France has higher level talent and depth across the entirety of all positions. No Argentina and Portugal are not one man teams. Yes Argentina has a crazy level of talent on their squad and drastically underperformed that talent level.

Chem PhD '16

Like I said, I strongly disagree. A team starting Enzo Perez and playing Maxi Meza every game is just not very talented. Agree to disagree, have a good evening

So next World Cup - for all you gamblers out there - just ask me who I want to win and pick the opposite, you'd do real good.

My parents landed in Paris Sunday morning to start a two week European vacation. They have texted me some pictures. Looks like absolute chaos on the streets.

I can only imagine. Good on them, and I hope everyone stays safe and lives it up. People wait a lifetime for something like that.

Fortunately for the French, they've only had to wait 20 years.

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.