Tag Archives: Belgium

A Little Less Conversation … – World Cup Days 4 & 5



…a little more action!

This Elvis lyric seems appropriate considering Belgium’s 3-0 victory over debutante Panama, and England’s late victory over almost-spoiler Tunisia on Day 4. Day 5 picked up where the previous day left off, with Japan’s historic victory over Colombia (1st time an Asian country defeated one from South America in a World Cup), Senegal upsetting Poland, and Russia continuing to roll with a 3-1 victory over Egypt. My last post asked for more action and more “Wow”, and I got it. (Maybe I should play the lottery?)

My biggest take-away was how much Belgium looked like a title contender. They played so patiently, absorbing the pressure from an energized and excited Panama squad, then picked out their opportunities and picked apart Panama’s defense. De Bruyne looked so in control, and his connection with Lukaku can’t be understated. Belgium has so much to offer, even without usual captain Kompany. Mertens had a beautiful goal, and he must be accounted for by every defense. They were a dark-horse favorite to win the World Cup, but they certainly moved closer to “favorite” status with this dominating performance.

England, another talented squad, underwhelmed. Yes, they won in dramatic fashion, but they can’t afford to miss so many opportunities against the better opponents to come. All it took was one stupid Kyle Walker elbow to give Tunisia a penalty, and the game was seriously in question. I appreciated the excitement of Kane’s goals. My eyes are always drawn to him when he plays. His movements are so smooth, he strikes with precision, and is always in the right place at the right time. However, Panama lost track of him on two occasions, and it cost them points. Also, as an Everton fan, it was great seeing Jordan Pickford start in goal for England. I hope he continues to play throughout the tournament. He could be the England #1 for a long time, and I’d love to see him bring that experience and confidence back to the Toffees and the Premier League.

Here come the Russians!
While maybe not the red scare of the ’60s, this Russian squad has scored 8 goals in two games, conceded once, and have shown to be a dominant offense in this tournament. Granted, they have played Saudi Arabia and Egypt (FIFA ranked 67th and 45th, respectively), but that doesn’t take away from what they’re doing offensively and how they control the middle-third of the field. They’ll be advancing to the knock out rounds against a team from Group B, most likely Portugal or Spain.
Meanwhile, fan-favorite Egypt looks all but eliminated in what will be remembered by fans as the “what could have been” World Cup. (Also, my podcast co-host Mike ran a FIFA 2018 World Cup simulation that had Egypt in the finals. So who knows what could’ve been had they had a full, healthy roster.)

 

The second round of group stage games are in full force, and a lot of story lines are developing. What are you most excited about? How are your predictions looking? Let us know in the comments below.


Ep 15 – World Cup 2018 Preview



It’s almost here! World Cup 2018 kicks off June 14, and we at Sons of a Pitch Soccer couldn’t be more excited! In this episode, the hosts review the 2026 bid process between the United Bid (United States, Canada, and Mexico) and Morocco, comparing their ratings, infrastructure and stadiums, and global impact. Next, we break down all the MLS players and who could make the biggest impact for their respective countries. And if that wasn’t enough …

Mike ran a complete WC 2018 simulation on FIFA 2018, and we go over his predicted group winners and his surprising final matchup. Nick tells him where the video game is wrong, and we review the actual favorites. Who is your favorite to win? Who will most likely surprise the field? Leave your comments below, and enjoy the greatest sports tournament in the world!

 

*Editor’s Note: Since recording, Belgium’s Laurent Ciman has been named an alternate to their World Cup roster and is not on the final, 23-man roster. Sorry for any confusion. (We just really like him.) Here is FIFA’s official rosters page.


MLS Players in World Cup 2018



The 23-man rosters for World Cup 2018 in Russia have been released and there is a contingent of MLS players included. Below is a graph breaking down the players’ club and country.

Costa Rica and Panama have a notable group of players based in Major League Soccer. Is their success or failure a reflection on the MLS as a league? Let us know in the comments below!

Last Name First Name Club Country
Ciman Laurent LAFC Belgium
Matarrita Ronald NYCFC Costa Rica
Calvo Francisco MNUFC Costa Rica
Waston Kendall Vancouver Costa Rica
Guzman David Portland Costa Rica
Wallace Rodney NYCFC Costa Rica
Urena Marco LAFC Costa Rica
dos Santos Jonathan LA Galaxy Mexico
dos Santos Giovani LA Galaxy Mexico
Vela Carlos LAFC Mexico
Cummings Harold San Jose Panama
Escobar Fidel NYRB Panama
Machado Adolfo Houston Panama
Murillo Michael NYRB Panama
Torres Roman Seattle Panama
Godoy Anibal San Jose Panama
Yotun Yoshimar Orlando City Peru
Polo Andy Portland Peru
Svensson Gustav Seattle Sweden
Gaber Omar LAFC Egypt

*This list based on ESPN’s roster release article, found here. If any player has been omitted (and I’m not talking Zlatan out for Sweden), either ESPN missed it, or Nick needs reading glasses.