Which Teams Will Surprise and Which Teams Will Disappoint in Russia?

Discussion in 'World Cup 2018 - Russia' started by Iranian Monitor, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. thewitness

    thewitness Member

    Melbourne Victory, Derby County
    Australia
    Jul 10, 2013
    Club:
    Derby County FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    I ranked the teams to depart already from most disappointing to least disappointing (most surprising). So basically my opinion of their performance vs my original expectations of how they would go.
    1 Germany
    2 Poland
    3 Egypt
    4 Panama
    5 Iceland
    6 Peru
    7 Australia
    8 Morocco
    9 Costa Rica
    10 Serbia
    11 Nigeria
    12 Tunisia
    13 Saudi Arabia
    14 Senegal
    15 South Korea
    16 Iran
     
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  2. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    The list by Sports Illustrated:
    https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/07/17/world-cup-expectation-rankings-2018-russia
    World Cup Expectation Rankings: Who Over- and Under-Performed in Russia?

    Not surprisingly, the Germans ranked 32/32 in terms of the expectations ranking. I don't think anyone can seriously dispute that they did worst compared to expectations. Some might disagree that Croatia should rank 1/32 on the list, but few would dispute the fact that they achieved more than they would have been expected to. The rest of the choices can be quibbled about. Anyway, I thought the list and comments were interesting.
     
  3. thewitness

    thewitness Member

    Melbourne Victory, Derby County
    Australia
    Jul 10, 2013
    Club:
    Derby County FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    Finished my own ranking from above of most disappointing to least to include all teams:
    1 Germany
    2 Poland
    3 Egypt
    4 Panama
    5 Iceland
    6 Peru
    7 Argentina
    8 Australia
    9 Spain
    10 Morocco
    11 Costa Rica
    12 Serbia
    13 Portugal
    14 Nigeria
    15 Tunisia
    16 Saudi Arabia
    17 Mexico
    18 Switzerland
    19 Senegal
    20 Japan
    21 South Korea
    22 Brazil
    23 England
    24 Colombia
    25 Denmark
    26 Uruguay
    27 Iran
    28 Croatia
    29 Russia
    30 Belgium
    31 Sweden
    32 France
     
  4. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    I guess I am surprised that Panama is #4 in your list? You expected a lot better from them?
     
  5. thewitness

    thewitness Member

    Melbourne Victory, Derby County
    Australia
    Jul 10, 2013
    Club:
    Derby County FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Australia
    I didn't expect them to get beaten so easily. Maybe at least hold it together for a bit longer, they looked woeful. I didn't expect much and they delivered a lot less than that.
     
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  6. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    Now that the World Cup is over, the most surprising (in terms of achieving better than expected) and the most disappointing (doing worse than expected) for me would be the following:

    8 Most Surprising (Positive)

    1- Croatia -- while Croatia had enough talent to be considered a dark horse candidate, they clearly were not a side slated to make the World Cup final. They achieved more than would have been expected from them. In fact, short of winning the World Cup, its tough to achieve more than they did finishing runner up.
    2- Russia -- the Russians came to the tournament with low expectations, after failing to look good in their friendlies. They started the World Cup with a 5:0 demolition of Saudi Arabia and finished as a quarter-finalist.
    3- Belgium -- everyone knew Belgium had the talent, but no one could be sure they could put it all together to come so close to making the final. Belgium finished 3rd in the World Cup and they deserved no less.
    4- Japan -- what Japan did in 2018 was what many might have expected from them in 2014 when they disappointed. Besides advancing from their group this time around, they gave us the most exciting match of the tournament when they met Belgium in the knock out rounds.
    5- Sweden -- they didn't impress with playing fluid and entertaining football, but a quarterfinal finish for a side with such limited talent is pretty good. Better than expected.
    6- Iran -- few gave us a chance to advance from our group and while we didn't advance, few would have believed Iran would finish with 4 points and fail to advance by a chance missed by inches in the last seconds of its game against Portugal.
    7- Peru -- they didn't surprise with their results, which were probably less than expected, but they surprised me by the quality of their attacking play and their positive, even audacious, attitude in their first 2 games and, in particular against Denmark.
    8- Morocco -- they are both in the most surprising and most disappointing list. I knew Morocco were good but they truly surprised by just how good they were. Portugal didn't deserve beating them and frankly neither did Iran nor Spain (which only drew them).

    8 Most Disappointing

    1- Germany - no need for any explanations!
    2- Spain -- I am no sure explanation will be necessary either.
    3- Poland -- at least compared to their ranking, they did very poorly finishing bottom of their group. But that group was always between 4 teams of similar caliber.
    4- Egypt - without Salah, I didn't rate Egypt much. But to lose to Saudi Arabia with Salah was even worse than I had predicted and I had predicted them to draw the Saudis.
    5- Portugal -- as suspected, they proved overly reliant on Ronaldo. One he stopped scoring for them, they began to falter.
    6- Tunisia -- they had the team and talent to do much better, if they hadn't chosen such naive and retarded tactics.
    7- Nigeria -- I expected better from them and, frankly, they have no one to blame but themselves given up how things were set up for them by the time they faced Argentina.
    8- Morocco -- while they were impressive and audacious, they ended up last in their group. And for a side that I believe rated among the top 10-15 at the World Cup, and was unlucky against all of Iran, Portugal and Morocco, that is definitely disappointing.
     
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  7. bigsoccertst1

    bigsoccertst1 Member

    United States
    Sep 22, 2017
    Good ol' reliable Japan. Keeping AFC's positive trend alive since 1998 WC expansion:
    AFC has qualified to R16 on every other WC.

    Looking forward to Qatar 2022.
     
  8. Hayaka

    Hayaka Member+

    Jun 21, 2009
    SF North Bay
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    I was also not impressed with Poland, but I thought they were given a raw deal on that play against Senegal, where the Senegalese player coming back from an injury raced onto the field behind the defense and scored a goal. The referee clearly had the discretion to whistle the play dead but failed to use it. Without that goal, Poland finishes 1-1 against Senegal and probably plays a more conservative match against Colombia.
     
  9. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    What you mentioned isn't a referee error so much as a different approach you would have preferred by the referee towards an event that turned out to hurt Poland. I sympathize enough with all perspectives on this particular point so I won't get to the specifics you allude to.

    As in life more generally, however, there are moments and incidents in football when a decision, a move, a mistake (by a player, referee, etc), can have momentous consequences for what unfolds afterwards. But while no one can deny the influence of incidents here or there on the final outcome in football, the game is ultimately akin to a story built on such incidents, including some that sometimes veer from the preceding narrative in dramatic fashion. Incidents which give it the twists and turns that make the game interesting and occasionally thrilling and sometimes tragic.

    In the case with Poland, however, even the incident you mention didn't work to totally disrupt the preceding narrative. For a side whose ranking as a top seed was always in question, Poland showed absolutely nothing to help answer those questions. At best, if they weren't the 4th worst team in their group, they were basically on par with everyone else and maybe worse than some of the others. I didn't put Poland as the 2nd most disappointing team in the tournament as many have since my expectation of them was a bit lower to begin with. I consider Spain a greater disappointment in context and while I have Poland 3rd in my list, I would understand if others found some of the other sides to have been bigger disappointments still.
     
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  10. Hayaka

    Hayaka Member+

    Jun 21, 2009
    SF North Bay
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    This probably isn't the place to argue the point, but I'll just say that many have said it is the Polish defenders own fault because they should have been aware that Niang might be coming back onto the field.I find that an absurd argument, for the simple reason that that I've yet to see anyone point to a case where this has ever happened before. Why would a player think that a back pass to the keeper (which probably happens 10 to 15 games a match) would be intercepted by a guy coming off the bench? There is no precedent for it. The Poles should not have been penalized for not anticipating something that heretofore had never been seen.

    Moreover, you say it wasn't a refereeing error, but I say that the referee should have recognized he had poorly managed the waving on of Niang, and had a duty to rectify it by halting play. The referee in the Brazil-Belgium match did exactly that when, after having already blown the whistle for play to commence, he noticed a second ball on the sideline was affecting play and blew the play dead, even though a Brazilian goal was disallowed by his decision. The referee in Senegal-Poland could have done the same, but I think lost his nerve and swallowed his whistle instead.

    My guess is that the utter inequity of this incident will lead to a rule change, and injured players will no longer be allowed to re-take the field until play has stopped.
     
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  11. Iranian Monitor

    Iranian Monitor Member+

    Aug 18, 2004
    Tehran Iran
    As I said, I sympathize with all sides of the argument on that play. That was a long back pass and while something done often enough, I believe these kind of back passes are always fraught with risk. As someone who saw a hitherto promising Iranian game against Mexico (in WC2006) ruined by an ill timed back pass and the comedy of errors that ensued, I have grown to be alarmed when I see back passes to the goalie if there is even the slightest indication of risk. Usually my alarm proves unwarranted, but I have also seen quite a few instances when even if disaster is averted, it is averted by hair's thin margin.

    On the other hand, I do find it inherently unfair for a player who has been out of the field to be able to run into the field and intercept a back pass like that. A sensible rule change regarding these kind of things might indeed be in order. But absent such a rule change, I don't think the referee was any more at fault in that incident than anyone else. To expect the referee to come up with a solution to a problem that few have encountered before on his own in the middle of a match like that is too much. Referees calling games to stop because of extra balls affecting the play and such are, on the other hand, quite typical and not all that sui generis. Incidentally, I think you are referring to the England-Colombia match (maybe not, but I don't remember the Brazil-Belgium example), where a Colombia goal was disallowed - although that "goal" was scored when the whistle had been blown already and everyone had stopped anyway.
     
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  12. Hayaka

    Hayaka Member+

    Jun 21, 2009
    SF North Bay
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    Denmark
    You're right IM, it was the England-Colombia match with the second ball incident.
     

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