The Ultimate Soccer Show!
July 14th 2018 - THE FIFA WORLD FINAL - The semi final games are through and France will meet Croatia in the final. Listen to the Ultimate Soccer show for more info on THE WORLD CUP FINAL! Also hear from: Modric, Lowren, Gary Neville, Jordan Pickford and Harry Kane
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer Media 2004
FIFA 2018 July 5th Quarter-Finals PODCAST PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS!!!
FIFA 2018 July 5th Quarter-Finals PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS!!!
BELGIUM: Belgium came through the group stage without any real issues and topped the group ahead of England in 2nd place. Hazard , Lukaku, De Bruyne are all in good form after 4 games and will need all their abilities to be firing versus Brazil.
Belgium have a weakness, it's their defensive team structure. When the attack minded reds go forward they leave too many holes to fill deep in midfield. Brazil will have seen this and in my humble opinion will execute tactics to start counter attacks from midfield not defense. This is a huge test for Belgium and if they win it they deserve to make it to the final with Brazil being the only big team still standing. Great competition for the reds but a loss to Brazil is on the cards and only a massive team effort will stop that.
BRAZIL: Brazil group winners as expected hit the round of 16 and then hit the Quarter-finals where they meet Belgium without any drama apart from LEYMAR lying and dying on the sideline, sadly embarrassing. Mexico fell to the Brazilians 2-0 who showed great control of the game. Brazil never looked anything other than winners moving to the next round and possibly all the way to the final or possibly the title. They are a stacked team with back ups in each position, depth wins tournaments and Brazil will have a say in that too!
A player who needs a bigger role is Willian as he could offer more options in midfield if coach Tite were to do so. As for the Quarter final game in Kazan with the Belgians it should be 2-0 for Brazil unless we have a slug fest where 3-2 could be on.
FRANCE: France have come through every game on top riding the pressure well even when things don't always go to plan. Their weakness is in defending not attacking and a weak Argentina showed that with three goals last game. next game v Uruguay, we might see a more defensive minded-counter and not a free spirited attacking formation.
This is another big game for France and Uruguay will stand up and become a tough opponent. France must overcome the tactics headed their way too and not react as Uruguay will pull all sorts of tricks and theatrics, it could taint the match. Lets hope for an open game France should take it by a goal unless South American Uruguay implode then explode!
URUGUAY: Uruguay perfect so far with four wins from four and one goal against in the process, coming from Portugal. Quietly moving along but doing so with top results from top players. Fernando Muslera the Uruguayan goalkeeper has been in great form and controls the his box like a tiger, he will need to bring his finest game to avoid defeat. Suarez must bring his best effort too as so far he's looked lethargic and off the pace maybe v France he'll show up??? A guy who has showed up is Edinson Cavani who has been the top Uruguayan thus far at the 2018 Fifa world cup France beware.
The France game will see South American tactics used on the French team and the Uruguayans will try to get under the skin of their opponent by niggling poking, kicking maybe even spitting. They will be at it all game long trying to annoy France and take them off their game. Did I mention time wasting tactics and stressing the ref, well keep an eye on that too. Uruguay have the cannons to blow France out the competition but only if they focus on the game and not game delaying tactics described above. I expect France to punch Uruguay's plane ticket.
RUSSIA:Russia in the quarter final v Croatia has become reality with a great team ethic driven by massive work rate and desire. The Russians have done their country proud who must still be shaking their heads at the current status quo. Three weeks ago Russia were not given a chance of getting out of their group and now they stand one game from a world cup semi final. Dzyuba has been a mountain upfront and in goal Akinfeev has been the savior on a few occasions but the major ingredient is their togetherness and never say die attitude which they will need v the Croats in a very tough quarter final.
Russia's game plan will be the same as the Spain game but with more offensive possession, manufacturing scoring chances. Russia must dominate the middle by force not skill and sit higher up the field. Should they bully the middle Croatia would be forced wide allowing Russia to build in the final third, right down the middle. I would like another Russian win as it's great for the competition and Russia can win this.
CROATIA: Croatia cruised through the group phase like a team destined for the last 4 and it could still happen But if they flat line in the game v Russia like they did against Denmark then a flight back home could be reality. They failed to deliver v Denmark and it nearly cost them big, even Modric normally on the money missed a spot kick three minutes from time. Eventually Croatia got to this point advancing on spot kicks v Denmark. That level of performance will not cut the mustard v Russia thus I expect to see a much better team performance from the start.
Vida has been great in defense and also on set plays, he's always in the game making a difference. Modric quietly going about business needs to get it done on goal or setting up but he must figure for a Croatian victory. Mandzukic can be a real threat on the day with a well timed shot or header this should be his day.
Croatia tipped to win this may well do so but are we in for another Russian win against the odds? email firstname.lastname@example.org
ENGLAND: This young group of players have gone further than expected and if they lose to Sweden their would be no shame in that as they've already been a success. They've also got the current leading scorer in the 2018 world cup Harry Kane with 6 goals who has literally been amazing (Roy of the Rovers). His goals have changed the games completely and when he's scored, England have won. The only English loss was to Belgium but both teams fielded weaker teams on the day, resting their starters for the next game. Harry Kane has been England's white knight and has led his troops into world cup battle by example against Sweden he may show again why he's so highly rated with more goals.
England need to start Rashford and not Sterling, start Dier and not Henderson and adopt a 442 system using wing backs where crosses are a must. This is an all European event and a typical 442 will work perfectly on Sweden, it's very simple and in my opinion and would also save England in defending. England need to be confident and direct with lots of pace in passing and movement and they must create chances something that lacked against Colombia. When Harry scores England win and I can see Harry scoring in this game but someone else needs to help in the scoring department maybe Rashford or Dier? Kane can't do it alone or can he? England have a great shot at advancing but if they give the same performance as v Colombia, then Sweden will be the team moving forward and not England. Kane scores England win!
Last 5 results (Also International friendly games) Sweden 4-2 England (2012 friendly) Sweden 2-3 England (Euro 2012) England 1-0 Sweden (2011 friendly) Sweden 2-2 England (World Cup 2006) Sweden 1-0 England (2004 friendly).
SWEDEN: Sweden has been a tough nut to crack for all the teams they've played at Russia 2018 and will make life tough for England too. This is the game all Swedes are looking forward to, a big game v England and Sweden has no problems facing England matching their opponents well. Sweden will come into this game with a slight edge as favorite and could possibly be in the semi finals after the dust has settled but before that happens they'll have to overcome a strong England defense plus new national hero goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Last time out Sweden forward Forsberg got lucky as his shot took a wild deflection before going into the goal but luck was on Sweden's side. The Swedes won't rely on luck against England and some would argue you make your own luck. I say Sweden played that move a few times in and around the Swiss penalty box and the goal was due to repetitive attack with a slice of luck on the deflection. Against England Sweden will go at it as a team that being their strength. Not a superstar on the team like Portugal with Ronaldo or Argentina with Messi Sweden are made up of average to good players operating under a solid coach Andersson Janne and his coaching team. Sweden remind me of Greece at Euro 2004, very much an outsider who went on to win it all. As for the big game, Sweden can win no doubt and are the favorite and at this stage. The main thing is the energy levels of both teams and if Sweden have more energy in the tank than a tiring England they'll win 2-1
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer Media 2004
FIFA 2018 Tuesday July 3rd, 2018 Updater & Round of 16 PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS!!!
FIFA 2018 Monday July 2nd, 2018 Updater & Round of 16 PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS!!!
FIFA 2018 Sunday July 1st, 2018 Updater & Round of 16 PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS!!!
FIFA 2018 Saturday 30 06 2018 Updater & Round of 16 PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS!!!
FIFA 2018 Thursday 28 06 2018 Updater!
FIFA 2018 Tuesday 26 06 2018 Updater!
FIFA 2018 Monday 25 06 2018 Updater!
FIFA 2018 Weekend Update + schedule June 23rd.
FIFA 2018 Day Eight Update + schedule
FIFA 2018 Day Six and Seven Update + schedule
The Ultimate Soccer Show with Soccersteve June 17th Day 5 WORLD CUP UPDATE SHOW PLUS
Referee abuse segment Why I quit refereeing games!
Day Four: Shocks & Surprises!
June 17, 2018: Germany 0-1 Mexico. The current world champion Germany had an uneasy first half against hard working Mexico. The Germans had no time on the ball as the Mexicans hassled & harried their opponent off it or gave no time to pass or shoot. This old fashioned tactic lol, hard work was the key ingredient in beating Germany. Germany needed to up their work rate or match the Mexicans to turn it around and match it they did. The only thing the Germans could not match on the day was a goal. The second half was one way traffic as the Germans pushed for the tying goal but it never came. Mexico defended for their lives with Ochoa making several timely saves. On the day Mexico deserved this rare victory of Germany and the German team will now have to get it right in game 2 v. Sweden, WILL THEY?
Costa Rica 0-1 Serbia: Serbia got their world cup off to a great start and now need a result in game 2 v Switzerland to advance. Serbia meet Brazil in game three where points will not be gained therefore qualification to the knockout round will be decided by game 2! Costa Rica now has two games to play before heading back home, It’s no surprise as they are the weakest team in group E but getting to the world cup is a major achievement for this tiny nation.
Brazil 1-1 Switzerland: Brazil got their world cup off to a great start too when Coutinho curled in a wonder goal on 19 minutes But the Swiss did not lie down. They kept their defensive shape and continued to fight back into the game and on 50 minutes got their reward as Steven Zuber tied it up. Brazil would continue to press but that vital second goal never came. Brazil will qualify from group E But it is Switzerland who will be happier with a point against the giants of world football. A point for concern was the frequent fouls committed against Neymar! Should that continue I doubt the refs can hold off with a red card any longer.
This is def a great world cup in the making tomorrow will bring a MASSIVE SHOCK!!!!!
Tomorrows games: Group F Sweden V. S. Korea. Group G Tunisia V. England & Belgium V. Panama. Group H.
Soccersteve.com Canadian cer Media 2004
FIFA 2018 Day Three Soccersteve Update + schedule
Day Three: Missed Chances!
June 16th, 2018: Four games on day three and the tune of this day would be missed chances.... In group D, Argentina had to settle for a 1-1 draw with tough Iceland in Moscow albeit after Messi missed a penalty kick! In truth it was not his finest spot kick with a decent save coming too. But what this does highlight is Argentina's inability to be a force as Iceland seemed comfortable for much of this duel. Argentina meet Croatia next and a that will be a tough test a loss is on the cards leaving Argentina in trouble in group D. Croatia beat Nigeria 2-0 today as predicted looking good doing so, Nigeria face Iceland in the next group game.
In group C, France prevailed 2-1 over Australia with a VAR penalty goal from the Uruguayan ref and he was so right to give it. Jerdinak leveled the game at 1-1 also from the penalty spot (Hand ball). However Paul Pogba would get the winner with a deflection off Behich in the 81 minute. I give it to Pogba as the defender would never have scored without Pogba's momentum, Goal Pogba! You should watch the highlights at the http://soccersteve.com/gallery/
Peru took on Denmark in the other group C encounter with the Danes grabbing a 1-0 defensive victory with a Cuevas penalty miss now looking terminal. Peru were the better team and attacked all game long especially the last 30 minutes. Peru had 21 shots either saved by Schmeichel or blocked by defenders but try as they may a goal would not come.
Peru next play France where a loss would send the Peruvians out of the world cup. Australia meet Denmark next and the same fate will await the Aussies should they lose!
Sundays line up from group E: Costa Rica v Serbia. Brazil v Switzerland.
Sundays line up from group F: Germany (Champions) v Mexico. Sweden v S Korea.
FIFA 2018 Day Two Soccersteve Update + schedule
Day Two: Killer Late Goals!
June 15th, 2018: All three games had moments to entertain but all three ended with goals in the dying minutes of each respective game. Uruguay and Egypt were deadlocked at 0-0 until the 89th minute when Jose Gimenez headed in for a cruel killing goal on the Egyptians. 0-0 would have been a fair result and the pharaohs were without the master Mo Salah!
Morocco seemed to be closing in on a draw with Iran until Moroccan substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz headed in a wonderful goal albeit into his own net. Until then a draw was the only result on the cards in this very dull sometimes boring game!
Finally the best game of the day saw Spain battle Portugal to a brilliant 3-3 draw. We won't see many better games at the 2018 world cup and if you missed it, You missed out big time. 6 goals from two top 10 teams and in between Ronaldo gets a hatrick and bad boy Diego Costa gets a brace. David De Gea will want to forget this game, he blundered big time fumbling the ball into his own net on the second goal and did not play at his best.
Saturdays games: Group C France v Australia. Peru v Denmark. Group D Argentina v Iceland. Croatia v Nigeria.
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer Media
FIFA 2018 Day One Soccersteve Update + Predictions
Shock & Awe as Russia Destroys Arabia 5-0!
June 14th, 2018: A pathetic defensive display by S. Arabia helped average Russia to a score line beyond belief. Normally world cup opening games are testy or dull but this was nothing short of exciting for Russian fans as their team crushed the Arabians! The Saudi's can get ready to go HOME!
Russia have a mountain to climb to reach the next round and may have won their only game before exiting the competition.
Catch the Russia 5-0 S Arabia highlights at the Gallery. Next up Egypt v Uruguay, Morocco v Iran & then Portugal v Spain.
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer Media
June 10th, 2018: Tiki Taka pass and move from your own goal line = Play with fire get burnt!
Sorry but it's Unnecessary over coaching and is corrupting the game. I see players screw up every game as they are becoming confused about their roles etc. Worst of all in quite a few games especially in Europe, more passes by defenders resulted in more goals due to losing possession close to goal!
Each week we are seeing more and more blunders/defensive give aways in and around the penalty box which end up in scoring opportunities or worse still soft goals against!
This recent Tiki-Taka virus into the game has teams changing the art of defending and how to clear their lines. It’s not going to work for all as high levels of skill are required and not every defender has the time or skill to out smart or out manoeuvre the skilled forwards!
Mistakes will happen and defenders will give the ball away with bad decisions/ mental weakness leaving quick thinking forwards to feed on easy and unnecessary goals.
Coaches are the ones responsible for the virus creeping into the game it’s up to the individual coach to employ safer tactics.
I mean really think about that. Is it logic to play with fire? Playing the ball around your penalty box with lesser skilled players is absolute Russian roulette.
Wait until a goal is scored at this years Fifa World cup Final in Russia from a defensive blunder then the coin may drop in the minds of a few coaches. I see this as a dangerous evolution in the game whereby it will cost teams in the long run.
It nearly cost Arsenal big time in the London derby today as Mustafi & Ceck only just escaped Deli Alli from intercepting a pass and scoring. The danger signs are there for all to see but the coaches keep on copying tiki-taka death by passing!
Tactics in Football need to be kept simple, playing the ball out from the back like Brazil is not simple it’s suicide!
Another negative from playing out from your own goal line is simply terrortorial. A team needs to move up and down the field as a unit but being pinned in your own half limits both time & space on the ball causing possible interceptions closer to your goal
It’s also easy to build moves from the middle of the park and press the final third like it should be. Not every tactic works for every team just as one size does not fit all!
Guardiola has coached Barca, Bayern & man City, teams stacked with with super skilled players who are also mentally smarter too. Football is a thinking game and sometimes you have no time or space and that’s when the top players expose the weaker ones!
Guardiolas words: "I loathe all that passing for the sake of it, all that tiki-taka. It's so much rubbish and has no purpose. You have to pass the ball with a clear intention, with the aim of making it into the opposition's goal. It's not about passing for the sake of it."
Guardiolas tactic is simple: Overload one side of the pitch so that the opponent must tilt its defence to cope. You overload on one side and draw them in so that they leave the other side weak and then when we've done all that, we attack and score from the other side.
Guardiola operates a “waiting game” or “ambush style” counter-attack with high speed, skill but always keeping the ball moving into threatening space in and around goal. Otherwise city operate with patience from the back in their build up play until the final third where attack is the only focus.
City are able to play it out from the defence with one touch pass and move tactics and they have the skilled players to perform without an issue. BUT the average EPL team does not have City’s super bots that get it done.
More goals are coming from defenders getting caught in possession Watch it happen at the 2018 FIFA World Cup!!!!!
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004
Fifa 2018 Golden boot contenders!
June 8th, 2016. Inset James Rodriguez, Colombia 2014 Basil Golden boot winner. The Golden Boot Award goes to the top goalscorer of the FIFA World Cup. With that in mind, the eventual winner will rely on solid & frequent build up play to get the much desired goals in search of glory.
One problem that springs to mind is not finding that crucial pass to unlock the defence for those top guns to move onto to hit the net!
Creative players are key in all top games at the world cup and this one will present a few magical moments from the world's best play makers.
The golden boot contenders list has a few big names like...Kane Messi Ronaldo Lewandowski Neymar Muller Griezmann Mbappe Lukaku Isco but not Mohamed Salah! As we go deeper into competition the list will get smaller..................................
BUT WHO'S YOUR CHOICE?
Email email@example.com to get your answer into the Ultimate Soccer Show. Do it now the show gets loads of mail 🙂
SOCCERSTEVE.COM CANADIAN SOCCER MEDIA 2004
So near so VAR!
March 27th, 2018: So near so VAR! ENGLAND 1-1 ITALY was the final score on a game bossed by England but it should have finished 1-0 to England. My warning about Italy getting something here on Monday's Ultimate Soccer Show at Soccersteve.com, came through albeit by the German referees eagerness to find something for Italy!
After 84 minutes England ahead from a Vardy goal were minutes away from a well earned victory.
BUT referee Deniz Aytekin changed the game completely calling a terrible VAR penalty decision against England. It must be deliberate to award a penalty and this was definitely not the case, fact. This was the guy who cheated PSG out of last seasons Champions League, who remembers Barcelona 6-1 PSG?
Watch the slow motion video and see this make up call. It's disastrous for England but it makes Deniz Aytekin look very bad after the fact. This was never a penalty, watch the video! I hope he doesn't call anymore like this, it's borderline cheating.
Fifa have VAR and still get it wrong, WHY? It's human error! which begs the questions............If humans are ultimately making the decisions, why do we need VAR?
VAR has changed nothing but has complicated a simple game further...just like the new offside rule. Watch the slow motion video, it was never a foul!
Fifa is causing chaos with such a simple game!
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer Media 2004.
VAR. video Assistant Referee
March 8th 2018: VAR. So after very little debate by Fifa but much debate from the press, fans and players correctly having goals cancelled, Mata.
VAR ( Video Assistant Referee) will be used in Russia at this years Fifa world cup. This came as no shock as VAR has been successfully employed at Fifa junior world cups (India, Peru, UAE).
I HATE VAR you say and all this waiting for a decision, it kills the flow of the game. To that I say, I totally understand I really can, you had the menu changed and you don't like it!
For your whole life Football didn't have VAR and that was and is just fine but for those high ups at Fifa especially Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino that's not good enough any longer. He's made a few changes in his short time in charge, the first changing Fifa world cup finals from 32 to 48 teams coming 2026 which will dilute the talent! VAR is the Swiss born Italians next big change which will be used at the 2018 Fifa world cup in Russia.
My thoughts are: I am all in favour of VAR only if it helps the right decision to be made. There are 4 times when it can be used:
Video Assistant Referee Decision Reviews:
1/ Goals and whether there was a foul during build up play.
2/ Penalty decisions.
3/ Red card decisions (second yellow are not reviewable).
4/ Mistaken identity in awarding a red or yellow card.
These are the 4 reasons when VAR can be used and remember it's a human who makes the decision to use, analyse and give a verdict on the play. So nothing can go wrong right?
AS for rule #3 This rule will change in time, Fifa does not see the error they've made with this tactic.
Other sports (Rugby, Ice Hockey etc.) and their fans have accepted VAR for decades. They too hated the change but after many years their fans demand VAR and await the decision sometimes with great excitement & interest..........
You see the time waiting gives the fans a different dimension to work through. Some converse immeadiatley about the play and decision forthcoming, it's an extra slice of the pie and the fans love it. It's their new sport culture to let tech decide what happens next. Believe me I've seen it in many buildings over the years and it is here to stay and in years to come this will not be a topic. Unless the power goes out, LOL.
So hate it at first but eventually you will learn to enjoy the new tech interaction. Your mind will get to grips with VAR and in future you will rely on it for correct decisions which you demand. Obviously referees have missed or got decisions wrong for too long hence the insertion of Video Assistant Referee software from Fifa to raise the standard on calls.
A little VAR history. On January 8th 2018, VAR was used in England for the first ever time in the 2017/18 FA cup match between Brighton and Crystal Palace. All reviews were positive.
Fifa boss Infantino recently highlighted: Before VAR referees got a 93% correct decision ratio with VAR that is now 99%. Infantino has openly stated with VAR referee decision making is almost perfect.
All England fans should be happy VAR is new as had it been in use at the 1966 world cup, England's third goal would have been ruled out by VAR's Goal Line Tech!
No matter what they change in the rules, keeper can't pick up a back pass, new offside rule or add to it technically, you still watch and eventually accept those changes. But in short time you like the changes once familiar with them. Its evolution, get familiar with VAR, use it enjoy!
VAR it's here to stay, it won't be going away. The world cup in Russia will use it and it may save your team big time. If only Frank Lampard's goal v Germany had been checked with VAR England may have won that game, just saying!
Drop me a line at Steve@Soccersteve.com for any topics to raise or questions to phrase, thank you.
Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer Media 2004