Hosts Russia entertain till the very end

Russia provided drama and entertainment till very, very late today. The country has been the perfect host so far and their team has been winning hearts on the pitch. For the second game in a row, the Sbornaya fought against a much stronger European opponent to take the game all the way to a penalty shootout. Sadly, this time, it was not meant to be as Croatia won the shootout 4-3. Continue reading Hosts Russia entertain till the very end

Star players do make a difference

We often put emphasis on how you need a solid team of players to win tournaments. Sure, this makes sense. You cannot win a major trophy with a mediocre team. However, you probably also cannot win one without one or more star players. Ronaldo and Pepe at Euro 2016, Neuer and Kroos in 2014, Iniesta and Ramos from 2008-2012. All these are top players who took a well rounded team to the next level.  Continue reading Star players do make a difference

Russian gamble pays off

Some will say it was negative football, an unspectacular game, ugly play and what not. I say it’s a gamble which paid off for Cherchesov. He made optimal use of very limited resources and Russia is now in the quarter finals of the World Cup. We always cheer for offensive players but this time the day belongs to the Russian defence and their lieutenant IGOR AKINFEEV! Continue reading Russian gamble pays off

Could the World Cup be rigged?

Recent revelations by much maligned ex-UEFA president Michel Platini concerning “trickery” in the World Cup draw in 1998 has brought up many questions from football fans all over the World. Given the corrupted nature of FIFA and how the two most powerful persons in football at the time Sepp Blatter and Platini himself were banned from the game, we could not help wonder how much trickery is actually involved in the showcase tournament of the sports we all love. Continue reading Could the World Cup be rigged?

Uruguay top Group A; Russia second

Uruguay defeated 10-men Russia 3-0 to take maximum points from their group stage games. Russia fought hard, cheered on by the home crowd, but ultimately Uruguay overcame them. Smolnikov’s red card in the 36th minute put the game beyond the Russians. Before that, the hosts were unlucky to concede an own goal. In the other game of the group, Saudi Arabia beat Egypt 2-1 with … Continue reading Uruguay top Group A; Russia second

Cristiano Ronaldo saves Portugal again

Match day 7 brought us more tight games and with a bit of luck, could have ended in some major upsets. Uruguay joined Russia in the Round of 16 by defeating Saudi Arabia 1-0. This was no easy game for the South American nation. After being humiliated in their opener 5-0, the Saudis showed grit and determination to fight for a result today and almost got one. Portugal once again had to rely on a Ronaldo goal to win. After taking the lead very early, the Euro 2016 winners showed no aggressivity and were unable to trouble Morocco. In the other game of Group B, Spain narrowly edged Iran 1-0, courtesy of a Diego Costa goal.  Continue reading Cristiano Ronaldo saves Portugal again

Japan and Senegal no pushovers; Russia almost there

Japan and Senegal defied the odds and won their games 2-1. As we predicted in our World Cup preview of African teams, Senegal could very well be the surprise package in Russia. Speaking of the hosts, the Russians are almost qualified for the knockout phase. With a convincing 3-1 win against Egypt in the last game of the day, the Sbornaya now have 6 points ahead of their final game. Continue reading Japan and Senegal no pushovers; Russia almost there