July 14, 2018, Day Thirty-one
In Russia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup, Futbol Papa predicted the Red Devils would defeat the Three Lions when Belgium and England met to determine the third and fourth place finishers in the tournament. The match was not competitive, despite a few promising English attacks. The first Belgian goal came at the 4th minute on a simplistic attack that saw a right cross go through the entire English defense, four players, to reach the only Belgian in the box, defender Thomas Meunier. The lone Belgian shinned the ball in and that summed up the rest of the match.
The Belgians, who seemed in control the entire match, picked their moments and mostly stifled the English long-ball attacks. At the 82nd minute, almost as an afterthought, Eden Hazard received a superb through ball and bore down on the English goal. He easily beat Jordan Pickford to the near post for the final 2—0 score line. Belgium won the third place bronze medal.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary today chronicled that FIFA confirmed the dates of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, and sure enough what was not even discussed during the bidding period, but was asked of the organization’s decision makers time and again before during and after, again came up. The summer heat is just too much to play football in so the dates of the cup will indeed be smack in the middle of most nations’ domestic league play—November 21—December 18. Thank you Sepp Blatter, and Jerome Valcke, and Michel Platini, and Gianni Infantino.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary found that FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino believes there has been zero violent conduct in the world cup. Maybe he was watching ice skating while the rest of us saw football. He also felt VAR had made progress, which Papa agrees with but since there was no previous usage of VAR progress is simply using it. The issue is how it is used and that has to change. There is no point for the ref to have the choice of not reviewing something obvious we have all seen. Furthermore, the question as to why we fans were previously able to see all the angles of a play when under review and half way through the cup we were treated to a couple only has not been addressed.
With VAR being so poorly used in its inaugural World Cup Papa will keep track of the manner in which infractions and unsportsmanlike acts decide games throughout the cup. The bottom line is that FIFA is not transparent so neither is the VAR system they have implemented. If deliberately stepping on an out of bounds, prone opponent’s injured foot is not violent behavior then let’s start by amending the Rules of the Game to state that it is. If fouling a single player 10 times in a game or 30 in a tournament is not violent behavior, let’s fix that rule book. If not calling clearly-visible-on-video penalties is acceptable let’s all go home and play checkers.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary will continue to keep tabs on the cup’s scorers to see if the initial goal scoring tendency continues, as so far, of the 152 goals actually scored in the tournament (11 more have been own goals for a total of 161 tallies) 25% (38) have been converted by La Liga players while 23% (35) have been scored by Premiership stars. The remaining 52% have been scored by all other leagues combined.
On Sunday July 15th, Croatia and France will meet at 11:00 AM EST in Moscow, to contest the final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Futbol Papa’s World Cup 2018 Diary Predictions
Sixty-three games played. 65% correct calls
Right calls–(40)—Correctly called 30 group stage matches and ten knockout round matches.
Papa made an “push (no call)” on the Iceland-Nigeria game, but called it for Iceland after the cup began, so this prediction is not credited as right or wrong (1).
Wrong calls–(22)—Incorrectly called 17 group stage matches and five knockout round matches.