The road to Qatar

I agree with you and feel like it is better to move in this direction of actually stopping the clock after injuries that require attention, after goals, or after referee VAR checks now. There are simply more occasions during which play is stopped than in the past.

To eliminate the common ruse for time-wasting, the injured player if on the side that is up in score has to come off for a full two minutes or until stoppage of play, whichever is greater.

If the player was fouled hard by the opponent of the side that is down for a first booking (yellow card), that player comes off for the time as well - this is essentially the "cheap shot" rule.

Neither player may be substituted during that time either, and all regular laws apply including if the challenge is rough enough to merit a second yellow or a straight red card, in which case the injured player does not have to stay off pitch unless being substituted.

As the article linked from the Mail Online notes above, this addition of such additional stoppage time is NEW to a World Cup though it's been more of a trend in recent years in the Premier League as well as in UEFA play.

One of the greatest referees of all time in his time, Pierluigi Collina, is the head of officiating for FIFA and helped with the recommendations for many changes for this World Cup.


World Cup Groups C and D Day One

The Importance of Not Losing the First Match

Elimination of Parking on the Dance Floor at the World Cup

Well the day started for most of us in the Americas with the news of one of the most shocking upsets of all time in the World Cup and any given gambler winning a mini-lottery on any bet on Saudi Arabia to win.

I certainly did not get up in wee hours to watch that one, but tonight I am on night shift so I will catch the early match.

If you are in the US or using a VPN anywhere in the world, there is more information on how to catch the match online, without using an app or the Pirate Sports Network, in the streaming thread.

And then after the shocking defeat of Champion of America Argentina, there were two scoreless draws of varying quality yet overall lacklustre though with good play by goalkeepers.

And then France went on a romp after going down a goal to Australia.

Now after a loss in the first game of the three in group play, and this point would apply as we go through the rest of the first matches in group play for each group, Argentina and Australia must win out their groups to advance in all probability.

Anything short of 6 points via 2 wins for either side losing its first match and the situation becomes often a matter of a tiebreaker via goal differential or goals scored, and a side does not have full control of its destiny via either approach if either side is to earn only 4 points (1 win, 1 draw after 1 loss).

It's food for thought for later, but based yet again what happened today I have been of the opinion since 2016 that scoreless draws in group play in tournaments should also result in ZERO points.

The reason is because then a side cannot merely park the bus as we saw Poland, Denmark, and Tunisia do most especially today merely to salvage a point and with anaemic attacking altogether.

Teams parking the bus are often using or migrating to a 5-3-2, 5-4-1, or 4-5-1 defensive formation to start the game beyond such migration nearer the end if holding a lead so as to defend it.

This is the World Cup, so there should be no parking on the dance floor allowed (damnit).

If you are over a certain age, tell some of those under a certain age that traffic was different back in the day and at times fun kind of like this and just watch because some will believe you.

No player would ever argue with Collina because he would just give them his famous "death stare" and they would back right off. :smile:

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If only Canada had a finisher...still, 45 minutes to go (plus about 3 hours of injury time).

Missed opportunity early in the first half.
And two missed calls by the ref.

stoked that Japan beat Germany

Belgium 1, Canada 0 and the Controversy

Well I am going to be in the minority here on the ultimate ruling and in general, but otherwise I agree with much of the world howling now that the lack of use of VAR by FIFA in the Belgium - Canada game for review of a potential penalty in the box is inconsistent and unacceptable.

I certainly don't agree with Stu Holden's take in the video, which is the norm at that for some reason with him along with fellow American Taylor "Twirp" Twellman when he sounds off via ESPN coverage of other soccer.

In addition, the offside in the build-up as was ruled incorrectly, did not exist and even with a such a ruling because there was a potential foul in the box, the offside should have been reviewed as well regardless. The offside would clearly have been ruled out given the play of the ball backward by the defender who had regained possession.

Somehow the referee got the ultimate call right though his reasoning and the methods used were utterly wrong, which of course made the entire situation worse for understanding.

As far as the alleged foul, a player might get that call in modern league play, which is its own issue, but he won't in the FIFA World Cup in accordance with the officiating standard to date.

The defender played the ball and made contact with the ball then made contact with the attacker, in a 50-50 play of a loose ball, in a normal and not high position or via a the outlawed and reckless stomp tactic.

Then the attacker certainly added theatrics to try to get the penalty. The referee got that part right to deny the penalty, but there should have been a review regardless.

I realize I am in the minority opinion, but that is exactly what I see in the same video clip and slow down to have a look again and see for yourself.

It's a normal and common play in soccer on contested balls and NOT a penalty just because a player goes down after missing with any theatrics just nonsense.

Groups E and F, the Rest of First Games In Group Play, And Weekend Line-Up

Second Upset, Japan

Well, Japan pulled the second upset to defeat Germany, who though skilled and dominant were stopped also by an outstanding performance by the Japanese keeper Gando as well as it appears slow in defence.

Three Scoreless Draws So Far

Unlike the prior two scoreless draws, this morning's scoreless result via Croatia and Morocco had plenty of skilled action and attacking play. In my view these two teams look like better teams than those four who went scoreless in the other two games, but it's only one game.

Great Teams So Far

So far the great teams in no particular order are England, France, and Spain and in the second game we'll find out reality or if simply showy appearances against weaker opponents. These are the same teams that were in excellent form in group play in Euro 2020 last summer.

Slow Starters, On The Decline?

Denmark started out slow, and we'll find out if they have the form of Euro 2020 or are on the decline despite world-class talent like most sides in this tournament.

I've already discussed Germany. In the second game either they show up big or they will go.

Weekend Games Plus Monday For End of First Games in Group Play

The better games look like at 11AM and 2PM Eastern Time. As an exception on Saturday at 11AM perhaps, France and Denmark is always with great players throughout their history of meeting in international play, but the game usually ends up in a draw. I will pass given Denmark's parking of the bus. If I am wrong this time so be it.

Argentina and Mexico right afterwards has either the potential to be a classic or a real hack fest. Both desperately need a win, and a draw is hardly any help.

Monday concludes the second games in group play, and we go from there to the finish next week.

Three of the matches on Thursday and all four matches on Monday look like they could be entertaining.


Still not sure how did that ref got into the World Cup as he's not know to be good at it.

Corruption perhaps.


The play where the Canadian attacker went down was even debated on the TSN panel after the game. Certain camera angles show that the Canadian player extended his left leg into the path of the Belgian defender who subsequently stepped on his foot. He then went down and was looking for a foul.

A "guest" FIFA referee was asked his opinion and he stated that the right call was made in regards to that play since it was the Canadian who initiated the contact.


By your description, you all had a much better discussion of the match there in Canada via TSN than did our lame and generally awful Fox people down here.

I suspect, as usual, much the same in much of the world excluding perhaps Belgium.

Here in the US even on Spanish-language television, the analysis of contentious or close calls weekly during regular season games has almost always been more in depth and better than whatever coverage in English.

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Fun Fact: England have never defeated the US in World Cup play.

1950 Brazil
USA 1, England 0
In my opinion, and that of most fans of the US, this is still the biggest upset win in World Cup play ever by the US.

2010 South Africa
England 1, USA 1
This was not a good match and the American goal involved a howler, or a terrible mishandling by English keeper Green of a shot by American soccer legend Clint Dempsey so as to allow a goal.

A goal is a goal. The American blue kit was dreadfully ugly that year, but USA had a fine tournament showing and built themselves into an even stronger side for the return to Brazil in 2014.

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oh the arrogance.

So typical of so many in USA

USA fans infuriating rival teams with chant that calls football ‘soccer’ | The Independent

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Oh that is too many of my fellow Americans, I would agree, but it is certainly not the majority.

Those guys are a very vocal and smaller minority within the fanbase who always go out of their way to get more negative attention for us all when tourists altogether never mind merely soccer / football.

They also go about during the season angry at fans, Americans or otherwise resident in the US, of other leagues as they try to prop up the MLS, which is a much better league than since start of play in 1996 but not near a top global league as only those homers try to assert.

By comparison to the ultras in Europe with also some political resemblance, they are rather tame and lame though.

Arrogant and annoying - I would agree.

I thought this was pretty funny after John Herdman foolishly provided bulletin board material to Croatia in advance of their Sunday match.


Could be a calculated move by Herdman
Croatia is ranked #12 in the world
This puts all the attention on Herdman and not on his players


And I thought I heard that Belgium was ranked 2. Shows how little I know about soccer. I just liked the picture and how the Serbians reacted.

So did I.

Maybe they are?
I was close, they are #12
Canada :canada: is ranked #41 of 50


In the lead up to Canada vs Belgium, they were saying Belgium was ranked # 2.