It's the international break. Game thread.

fletcherpost

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'Tiz the time for International footie. Just noticed Wales and Ireland are both playing World Cup Qualifiers.

Ireland drawing 1-1 away to Serbia.

Wales are down 2-1 to Belgium. I can't help thinking Beligum need to win one of the big tournies with this golden generation they have right now. Wales are doing well to stay in the game, but they've only had one shot on target and 25% possession.

Mon the Welsh an mon the Irish.

Nooooo Ireland conceded. 2-1 to Serbia.
 

fletcherpost

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Bloody Hell.

The Welsh number 22 Chris Mepham has let hmself down. Doesnae look around flings out a leg and fouls Mertens. Lukaku makes light work of the penalty. Reality bites and it's 3-1.

Jeezo ireland concede again. Since i stopped pottering about and focusing ont he football the home nations have let in three goals. Another good reason not to watch the forthcoming Scotland matches.
 

fletcherpost

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Ireland have pulled one back. Only 4 minutes and stoppage time to get another.

Not to be, 3-2 to Serbia.
France and Ukraine 1-1 deep in inury time. That would be a shock result
 
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Titans Bastard

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It will never not be hilarious that the Dutch federation hired Frank de Boer.
 

Dummy Hoy

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'Tiz the time for International footie. Just noticed Wales and Ireland are both playing World Cup Qualifiers.

Ireland drawing 1-1 away to Serbia.

Wales are down 2-1 to Belgium. I can't help thinking Beligum need to win one of the big tournies with this golden generation they have right now. Wales are doing well to stay in the game, but they've only had one shot on target and 25% possession.

Mon the Welsh an mon the Irish.

Nooooo Ireland conceded. 2-1 to Serbia.
Agree...two missed opportunities with that dumb loss to Wales in 2016 and not being able to break down boring France in 2018.
They're bringing through some pretty talented youngsters these days and there are a bundle more on the cusp, but that Hazard-DeBruyne-Lukaku-Mertens offsensive core is aging, as is the back three that started yesterday.

Edit: This Euros and the 2022 WC have to be it for that back line at least, and attackers age quicker...we'll see
 

Kliq

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Nobody else probably cares about Sweden, but Zlatan unexpectedly came out of retirement to help them qualify. He hasn't played for Sweden since 2016 and while he teased playing in the 2018 World Cup, he didn't and I figured that would be the last we would see of him in the Blågult but here he is, at 39. Picked up a nice assist today in their win over Georgia.

View: https://twitter.com/ESPNFC/status/1375183055422427137?s=20


Sweden have a manageable draw in Group B, with Spain, Greece, Kosovo and Georgia. Greece will be the team they need to beat out for the #2 spot, assuming Spain rolls over everyone else, although Spain and Greece tied today in a game where Spain outpassed Greece 920 to 235. The team is pretty old, still relying on the backline that propelled them to the feel-good run to the quarterfinals in 2018. Andreas Granqvist (35) is still the captain, although Rangers CB Filip Helander started in front of him today. Victor Lindelof rounds out the CBs who are clearly the strength of the team.

The two X factors for Sweden will probably be Alexsander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski. Isak (21) had some lost seasons in Europe after starring at AIK at 16 and getting hailed as the next Zlatan. Isak does have similarities to Zlatan, he is 6'4" and does have an ambitious flair when it comes to going for goal, but he didn't do much at Dortmund which should have been the perfect place of him. He had a nice season at Willhelm II in the Eredivisie, scoring 13 goals in 16 appearances, and is having a very good season at Real Sociedad, with 12 goals so far in La Liga. The non-Zlatan options at striker are weak, so the floor is his to take the job.

Kulusevski (20) is a versatile midfielder who won the Serie A Best Young Player award last year playing on loan at Parma, tallying 10 goals and 9 assists. He has been a rotation player for Juventus this season, although that is a very tough midfield to crack.

Sweden will probably always play compact, mistake-free defense even with middling talent. The ceiling for this team would be raised considerably if they can get some more punch offensively beyond old Zlatan and Emil Forsberg, and there are some promising young players who can make a splash during qualifying. They are not quite at the mid-2000s heyday of Henrik Larsson, Freddie Ljungberg, Anders Svensson and young Zlatan, but it stands to be a really interesting group.
 

SoxFanInCali

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California. Duh.
Well, at least they can just give me no hope early this time, rather than getting super close then losing a playoff.

EDIT: just read that this is only Luxembourg's 4th ever away win in World Cup or Euro qualifying... in 125 games.
 

tmracht

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Unreal. You'd think after Ireland/France they would have replay and/or goal line tech in any of these WCQ tournament matches.
 

SocrManiac

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With no VAR or goal line tech, why aren’t the goal line refs utilized? These misses are absolutely unacceptable. There’s too much at stake.

Ronaldo apparently threw the armband and walked off before the final whistle after his tantrum to the assistant. I’d like him to have more composure at his age and with his status. It’s just too much.
 

fletcherpost

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This is looking like one of those games where Scotland concede the first goal then huff and puff and maybe get a lucky or deserved equaliser. But I would like them to get the first goal. They have clear quality on the left side, but they're not exploiting this so far. As usual it gets a bit pedestrian on the ball. But every so often they throw off the shackles and look like a decent team. But for all that Israel have had the better half so far and some decent chances.

I fuckin knew it Israel score. Same old same old.

Scotland giving Israel way too much time on the ball. Considering all the players play in England or Scotland; physical high tempo leagues, I'd like to see more energy and more hustle.
 

Dummy Hoy

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That was a nice goal, although I bet Marshall wants it back.

get Adams out of there for Dykes, and maybe Christie in for McGinn- he’s been invisible today.
 

fletcherpost

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That was a nice goal, although I bet Marshall wants it back.

get Adams out of there for Dykes, and maybe Christie in for McGinn- he’s been invisible today.
Give them another 15-20 minutes. McGinn is the creative outlet, I don't mind letting him staying on the park for a wee while longer. My issue has been that we've been sluggish in transitioning from defense and midfield into attack. I dunno, it's just been pretty flat.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Give them another 15-20 minutes. McGinn is the creative outlet, I don't mind letting him staying on the park for a wee while longer. My issue has been that we've been sluggish in transitioning from defense and midfield into attack. I dunno, it's just been pretty flat.
agree that’s the issue...normal think McGinn is quality, I haven’t seen him at all today.
 

fletcherpost

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Credit Mart- it was McGinn who made the great pass to spring Adams
Outside of that he's having a bit of a mare. He's given a way about 4 fouls in the final third.

Good grief, we make it hard on ourselves.

There's space to get in behind this team. The commentator said Clarke would settle for a draw...fuck Clarke I'm no settling for a draw...get intae these loons.
 

fletcherpost

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Fuck me. It’s like you watched this team before.
I don't think i have ever enjoyed a Scotland match in my life. But, they (the team and their football) are symbolic of the Scottish mentality in general. I hate it. It's got us nowhere my entire life. The shirt ought not to weigh so heavy on some shoulders. The players ought to know. We expect nothng from them. They need to know that and play with freedom.
 

CodPiece XL

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I don't think i have ever enjoyed a Scotland match in my life. But, they (the team and their football) are symbolic of the Scottish mentality in general. I hate it. It's got us nowhere my entire life. The shirt ought not to weigh so heavy on some shoulders. The players ought to know. We expect nothng from them. They need to know that and play with freedom.
The ref looked like Dracula . But a pale imitation of Ray Reardon. That’s all I have as far as analytics ... it’s just better this way . Why bother getting into the nuts and bolts . It’s hard to watch .
 

Kliq

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Sweden update: They beat Kosovo 3-0 in an easy win yesterday. Kosovo has more talent than most small European countries but Sweden had no problem with them today. Zlatan picked up an assist today in very Zlatan fashion, kung-fu kicking the ball away from the keeper with a backheel to set up the first goal. Isak missed a complete sitter after doing brilliantly to go around the keeper, but made up for it by smashing the ball past two defenders and nutmegging the keeper for the second goal. A strong start to the campaign, with the key games against Spain and Greece looming.

View: https://twitter.com/ESPNFC/status/1376249674944897025?s=20
 

Kliq

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North Macedonia is better than you think, they are ranked 65th, and have some legitimate players who play regularly in Serie A and La Liga (their goal scorers today are starters for Napoli and Genoa) so they are better than a typical UEFA minnow.

Germany just on a talent basis seems to have gone through their WC winning side pretty quickly. They still have a lot of talent, but they are far from the unstoppable juggernaut that they were in the mid-2000s with world class depth at every position. Their flame out at the 2018 WC wasn't a fluke.
 

Titans Bastard

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Yeah, North Macedonia aren't bad but it's remarkable given that it's Germany's first loss in WCQ in 20 years.