Russia 2018 World Cup Open Thread – Thursday 28 June

King Hippo
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Alas, today we close out Group play.  ONE WHOLE FUCKING DAY OFF after this (I originally thought two), which I simply cannot abide.  Fuck your rest and recovery time.

Group H – Senegal (+345) v. Colombia (-120; draw +255) (10:00 EST, Fox)

Be wary of these #HailGAMBLOR numbers, FOAR Senegal still need this result, too.  It’s a crowded bunch at the top, and Coca Bros. are almost surely (maybe definitely?) out with a draw.  I have no earthly idea what to expect, apart from tons of openness and intense stares from the touchline.

Wild Ass Guess: Senegal survive and advance, 3-2

Balls:  Japan has 4 points, Senegal has 4 points, and Colombia has 3.  Since Japan beat Colombia, a tie allows Senegal and Japan to go through even if Japan loses to Poland.  So, Colombia MUST win in order to stay alive in this World Cup.  Germany was in a similar position yesterday and we all saw how well that worked out.

I maintain that this Colombia side is different than the German in that they were crippled in the first game by that fourth minute red card.  Even with ten men they managed to equalize and then just ran out of steam.  I think their quality will be too much for Senegal, which is a shame because the Sénégalaises play a beautiful game.

Predicción :  Colombia 3 Senegal 2

Wakezilla: Partially because the team I have followed my entire life has already been knocked out in the group stage (Germany), I’m all in on watching the lesser footy world burn. Senegal is a talented, young, up and coming team that has all the talent to make it to the quarter finals. Unfortunately for them, they tied Japan—whose old stars inexplicably could run like the wind and never gassed out, even in the 90th minute—and now  play a very determined and more talented (on paper) Colombian team desperate for a win. A lot of this game comes down to matchups. Moussa Wague must contain Cuadrado if they want to beat Colombia. Salif Sane, who is normally a midfielder but playing defense on Senegal has made some costly mistakes. If he is going to drop back on defense again, he can’t make any mistakes.

Colombia is coming off a good old fashioned beat down of Poland. They are playing as a team and are starting to look scary. One thing they must have noticed was how Senegal gassed out against Japan. If conditioning is an issue for the African side, look for Colombia to make them run and capitalize on tired mistakes in the second half. With that said, I thought Germany was going to begin their road to the finals after they defeated Sweden. So, Colombia better learn from Germany’s mistake and understand that this match is far from a gimmie.

Predicción: I really like this Senegal squad, so it slightly pains me to say, Colombia is going to overwhelm Senegal in the second half and will emerge 2-0 victors.

Litre_Cola: This tournament has been superb. Will we have another bananacakes morning from a group that has been all over the place? I’m on team Columbia in this group as I see their strike force being far superior to anything else in this group. Speaking of their strike force…

This will be the game he truly shines in my opinion. At the local pub they are worried the Colombians won’t clear out in time for the deluge of England fans. I will be alright day drinking with Colombians thank you very much. Having said that i do not see the Senegalese back 4 faring well against TWO world class strikers.

In my mind the Senegalese have been great. Their manager however was very disappointed with their effort against the Blue Samurais. “We were not very good, frankly,” Cisse said. “I think the best team on the pitch was Japan, I have to be honest.”. Well, you are sitting at 4 points sir and are almost there. Finish the job and be the fairy tale team from Africa every one adores. Mane is in great form and he has really surprised me this world cup.

Predicción:  My predictions have been brutal. I think that the Senegalese are going to struggle with Falcao and James. Colombia 2 Senegal 1

Group H – Japan (+160) v. Poland (+190; draw +215) (10:00 EST, FS1)

Looking at this Group going in, one would not necessarily list the Poles as the best side, but deffo the one with the highest “floor.”  Yet here they are, at zero points, and the only ones playing for pride this morning.  One wonders if the Blue Samauri will crap their pants Mexi-style, or keep on keeping on with their surprising run of competence.

Wild Ass Guess: Japan do just enough to not worry about the other match, 1-1 Draw

Balls:  I’m really looking forward to Wakezilla reminding us about the monsters that lurk in our toilets and are just waiting to turn into women and then foxes and then mock us for being growers not showers.  On the one hand, I feel bad for Poland because their mistakes have cost them, big time.  On the other, how many mistakes are you allowed to make before one can conclude that you’re just not that good of a team?

Japan will be watching the scoreboard intensely as any favourable result for Colombia ensures that all they have to do is match whatever Senegal does.

Prediction:  Japan 1 Poland 1

How Japan looks to its fans before kickoff

Wakezilla:  Japan’s captain, Makoto Hasebe, recently said” Japan are not the kind of team that can aim for a point and go and carry that plan out,” and he is not wrong. After rallying from behind to gain a point against Senegal, Japan knows that they need to try to defeat Poland. A loss would make things get really weird, especially if Senegal were to lose as well. Coach Akira Nishino is under pressure from the Japanese media to consider starting Honda, who has been a super sub for Japan, and once again replacing goaltender Eiji Kawashima, after he made a costly mistake last game. For Japan to get at least a point, it is going to come down to whether Maya Yoshida can shut down Lewandowski.

Poland is getting absolutely destroyed by the media and their fans for their mediocre World Cup run. With this being the last World Cup game for most of their core players, I expect the Poles are going to get their collective shit together and actually look like a team that could have made a run to at least the quarterfinals.



Lewandowski finally wakes up and scores two, leading Poland to a 2-1 victory.

Litre_Cola: Wow, I’m been so disappointed with Poland so far this tourney. In this group I thought that they could do damage and progress. They have been disorganized, clumsy and passive. Where has their attack been? Lewandowski has been absent through the first two games. Poland manager Adam Nawałka is gone after this tournament as there is no question that he needs to go after a performance like this.

Japan is on P.E.D’s, they do not tire. I want them, the Russians and Hulk-boy from Switzerland tested now.

予測Japan I guess due to the needles? Japan 2 Poland 1. 

Note: It is fucking awesome the Japanese fans and the Senegalese fans clean up the stadium after the matches. This is something so simple yet so good in this age we live in. Good on all of them.

Group G – England (+165) v. Belgium (+185; draw +205) (14:00 EST, Fox)

Alas, what should be a colossal tilt is being written off as a snoozer, with both sides having punched their tickets to the Sweet Sixteen.  But winning the Group will mean something to Roberto Martinez and Romelu Lukaku, methinks (the latter deffo not wanting to be overshadowed by Harry Fuckface Kane).  Plus, let’s say Japan gets the 2nd slot out of Group H.  Surely, that’s a better matchup than facing the Coca Bros. – and I wouldn’t really be wild about Senegal, either.  The Group G winner does get one day less rest, though.

Wild Ass Guess: Rom puts two past his Everton never teammate, 2-nil Waffles

Balls:  Whatever happens in the first games will determine how hard these teams try.  If Japan stays top of the group, you can bet that Belgium will be happy to kick the ball around for 90 minutes.  If Colombia were to go top of the group, they might want to avoid them, but other than that, the second place team in this group has a much easier bracket than the first place team.

Prediction:  Belgium sandbags to stay in second place in the group.  A dull and dreadful 0-0 tie that everyone and their grandmother will use as Example#9890 of why soccer sucks.

Wakezilla: Unless they’re playing for a specific matchup based on earlier results, this game is going to be boring as shit. Both teams are thru to the next round and they’re all friends with each other. Best case scenario, they’ll play the first half with some effort, but, if it’s still tied, they’ll just hold the ball for the final 45 minutes. Watch Tunisia vs Panama instead, which should be an entertaining game.

Litre Cola: We expect nothing which means this game will be excellent. My theory on this is that quite a few Belgians play footy in ole blighty and would love to stick it to them. Martinez used to coach the flying Evertons. I think every one involved here will still go full out in this game. The Belgian crossover  is as follows  Batshuayi, Hazard, Courtois – Chelsea, Lukaku, Fellaini Man U, Dembele – Tottenham, De Bruyne Man City, Vertonghen, Dembele, Alderweilde -Tottenham. You don’t think these guys want to walk in to their respective locker rooms and talk all the shit next year? You think the English guys want to hear that? No. It will be a good game.

Prediction- Belgium 2 England 1.  Prove me wrong soccer gods!

Group G – Tunisia (-120) v. Panama (+330; draw +270) (14:00 EST, FS1)

Panamá have the chance to become the first non-Costa Rican Central American side to win a World Cup match.  Christ, that’s sad.  This match will be very, very sad.

Wild Ass Guess: What the fuck, 4-2 Canal Zoners

Balls:  Costa Rica finished with a tie in their last game with nothing at stake.  South Korea did México the favour of their lives by beating Germany with nothing at stake.  I absolutely love teams that don’t give a fuck and let it all hang out.  I’m betting Panamá will play this way today.  There will be parades for this team if they manage their first World Cup victory ever.

Predicción:  Los Canaleros stick at least one in and give their fans something to smile about.  Panamá 1 Tunisia 0

Wakezilla: This is both team’s World Cup Finals, baby! Both teams should—and rightly—feel that they can score a couple of goals and win this game. Tunisia hasn’t won a World Cup match since 1978 and Panama has never won a match. Both teams are going to go balls to the wall because whoever wins, will be treated like Kings in their home country.

Tunisia is in some trouble because their starting goalie, Mouez Hassen, suffered a shoulder injury against England in their first game and their backup, Farouk Ben Mustapha, who played against Belgium, injured his knee in training. That leaves Aymen Mathlouthi as the only available keeper in their squad. What do we know about Tunisia’s third string goalie? Well, Aymen sounds like “Amen” so we can assume he comes from a religious family. Mathlouthi has math in it, so one can assume he’s good a geometry, meaning his angle game must be incredible.

Aside from goaltending woes, Tunisia will also be without central defender Dylan Bronn, who was carried off with a left knee injury after scoring against Belgium.

As for Panama, surprisingly, only two players, Michael Murillo and Armando Cooper, are suspended for the match. Panama’s top defender, Roman Torres, is going to have his hands full against Khazri and a younger, faster Tunisian side. That’s not when he’s expected to score on set pieces.

تنبؤ: If Panama were to win this game, the entire country would turn into an orgy while the country burned down in flames. For that reason, I sincerely hope they win.  That win would mean so much to the people of Panama. However, international lesser footy is a business and the Tunisian players have a lot money riding on a good showing and a victory. Over the past decade, Tunisian players have had a philosophy to not play in Europe in order to play more in Asian and African leagues. In addition to the extra PT, they like all the notoriety they receive from their club’s fans, and perhaps most important of all, they get to live close to home. A few of the Tunisian players have stated that the gap between African and European lesser footy is too wide. It seems that a change of philosophy and culture is about to happen for the Tunisian squad. Consequently, I expect some of Tunisia’s better players to step up tomorrow and beat Panama in an entertaining 3-2 match. That will help those players sign with a European club in the fall.

Litre Cola: I want Panama to win this game. I will definitely head to their news sites if they do just to watch the party. If Tunisia wins their city will turn in to one big Arabian rap video. There will be a tonne of babies in 9 months for whoever wins this game.

Prediccion:  Panama 1 Tunisia 0.

Need an early morning laugh? Here’s a mostly lesser footy themed awkward stretcher moments.


King Hippo
King Hippo
Reclusive, vulgar Broncos fan. Also a proud fookin' Evertonian. Likely dropped on my head repeatedly as a small child. [Insert George Carlin quote followed by thoughtful nod.]
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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

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Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
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What did I miss? Everything?

/stupid work. Why is there money anyway?


Well, there’s always tomo…..
/holds hand to imaginary earpiece
Well, shit.

Horatio Cornblower

This “artist growing old” ad for Macs makes me want to strangle puppies.


SSSSshhhhhh….that’s next year’s campaign.


Reaaaally? I thought it was “Buy Macs or we’ll send U2 for a private performance”


Ah, I see your error – that’s the campaign for the year after next.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

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Senor Weaselo

Injured at the end of stoppage time? Time for stoppage stoppage time!


I don’t get the impression that England particularly cares if Belgium scores again.


The last time they played defense in a match with Belgium, they didn’t lose a match, they lost a generation.

Horatio Cornblower


I mean, Yipes!


I had to do more doping to the fabric of that joke than the Japanese trainer.