The third day of the knockout phase of the competition sees Brazil and Mexico come together in a mouth-watering Latin American clash in Samara in the earlier game, kicking off at 3pm.

The Mexicans set the tournament alight in their first game by beating the soon-to-be eliminated Germans but the bloom came off their rose a little with their 3-0 defeat to Sweden in the third group game.

Brazil, meanwhile, started slowly but appear to have found their groove and are surely favourites for this one.

The evening game sees Belgium take on Japan, with Roberto Martinez certain to recall those stars who are fit to play but were rested against England last Thursday.

Japan, for their part, scraped into the round of 16 at Senegal's expense and they will be regarded as underdogs against the talented Belgians. Kick off is 7pm in Rostov.

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Reader Comments (97)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 02/07/2018 at 15:11:01
Lozano playing on the right today. Mexico looking bright.
Steve Ferns
2 Posted 02/07/2018 at 15:13:55
Do you think we have much chance of getting Lozano, Michael? I'd love him to come, but doubt it myself.
Darren Hind
3 Posted 02/07/2018 at 15:50:47
I'd be made up if Lozano could be tempted. Brands would be earning his money if he could pull that one off.

I dont see the Mexicans going quietly here...

Paul Tran
4 Posted 02/07/2018 at 16:00:33
I'd settle for a dream left-hand side of Tierney & Lozano. I wish, wish, wish!
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

5 Posted 02/07/2018 at 16:02:32
Brazil showing how much they continue to miss their first choice full backs Dani Alves and Marcelo.

They wouldn't be sitting so deep defensively to combat Mexico's speedy wide men and would instead be pressurising Mexico's own back line more.

Be interesting to see if Mexico can maintain their intensity in 35C heat or whether the game will open up more for Brazil as the game progresses.

Ian Burns
6 Posted 02/07/2018 at 16:03:06
Lozano looks to be Barcelona bound. Exciting player. At least we have a game on our hands today as against the games from yesterday.
Sam Hoare
7 Posted 02/07/2018 at 16:15:11
It's a shame Brands (rightfully) took his time to make the decision on joining us. If he'd been in a few weeks earlier, perhaps we'd have had a shot at getting Lozano pre-World Cup. No chance now.
Ernie Baywood
8 Posted 02/07/2018 at 16:40:06
I don't think I've seen a team make as many terrible decisions as this Mexico team. They've got the pace and skill to scare Brazil but keep on rushing pointless low percentage passes or giving away soft free kicks.

And every time they commit a foul the Brazilians are going to make it into a 5 minute affair.

Ernie Baywood
9 Posted 02/07/2018 at 16:45:03
Case in point with the second goal... what sort of pass was that into the centre?
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

10 Posted 02/07/2018 at 17:00:18
Deserved. Willian finally came to the party today.

Brazil still not firing on all cylinders, but getting the job done.

Taking all games overall to date, for me Belgium and Uruguay look consistently the most impressive teams and they are in the same half of the draw.

Dave Abrahams
11 Posted 02/07/2018 at 17:15:42
Jay (10), Willian is a player I've always admired. He gives his all every game, no play-acting, an abundance of skill, makes and scores goals. I thought he was Brazil's best player today.

The game was always interesting and easy on the eye; still I don't think Brazil will have much of a say on the final.

Tom Bowers
12 Posted 02/07/2018 at 17:26:27
Yes I've always like Willian too and he wasn't a regular at Chelski last season but Barca may want him and of course Everton don't match up with them.

Mexico did have a go at Brazil early on but bad pass choices and carelessness allowed the Brazilians to gradually take control.

Always amazes me when players at this level don't have any vision when in possession and never look up when the right pass is on. They either look for personal glory or delay the pass until it is too late.

John Pierce
13 Posted 02/07/2018 at 17:39:58
Ian Burns
14 Posted 02/07/2018 at 17:45:11
Agreed Brazil and Willian came to the party today. Like Dave (#1), I like Willian as you don't get the histrionics and he is some player. When he is not on his game (which is not often), he doesn't give up, he keeps going for the team.

I am not sure what is happening with Marcelo but if he is still to come back he will make a big difference on the left side full back.

I think Brazil's next game is France, not sure – but if it is that is one game I do not wish to miss!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

15 Posted 02/07/2018 at 18:10:41
Willian is my favourite current Brazilian player Dave @ 11. He offers all you describe.

Unfortunately, where Everton currently is a club and the level Willian plays at we are unlikely to attract players of that calibre...at the moment.

Brazil don't look like 'Champions in waiting' I agree. But...without playing well they are into the quarters having conceded just one goal. A goal FIFA now admit should have been disallowed on VAR review for a push by the Swiss goalscorer on Miranda.

Whoever wants to win this WC will need to beat Brazil on the way.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

16 Posted 02/07/2018 at 18:16:19
Ian @ 14. Getting a wee bit ahead of yourself there.

France have the no small matter of contending with Uruguay whilst Brazil will (probably) face Belgium in their respective quarter finals before any of those teams can meet in a very meaty semi-final.

Steve Ferns
17 Posted 02/07/2018 at 18:28:32
Jay, has Sampioli been relieved of his duties yet? What next for him? Maybe he'll join his mentor at Leeds?
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

18 Posted 02/07/2018 at 18:42:18
Steve @ 17. Sampioli is playing the Koeman-Allardyce card and asking for 'more time for his project'.

You can bet your house on it that he ain't gonna get that time, even though the AFA may have to cough up €15 million in compo.

He's history.

Steve Ferns
19 Posted 02/07/2018 at 18:56:31
I think if it is a post Messi era, an Argentina in flux, without any superstar, then he’s the man. It appears he’s made a few bad mistakes, but he’s had it easy for a while (everything has gone well) and if he learns from his mistakes and adapts he could be an even better manager.

Without Messi he can develop the tactics he used at chile and try to rebuild Argentina.

Otherwise they’ll go back to old Argentina but with no old fashioned Argentinian play maker (especially with the West Ham guy injured for a year) to build their team around. It’s that horrible defence that needs the most work though.

Dermot Byrne
20 Posted 02/07/2018 at 19:09:28
One fairly random thought fitting for the summer...I pray we learn to take a throw-in quickly. I became so pissed off with our throw-ins that when we got one I just wrote it off as losing the ball. Become nearly OCD.
Steve Ferns
21 Posted 02/07/2018 at 19:20:24
Curtis Davies on Marco Silva – says he's very meticulous on training pitch - could be rehearsing throw-ins "6 times". He's not the only player to go on about Silva's obsession with throw-ins.

But perhaps it's not as much as Maurizio Sarri (soon to be Chelsea manager) and his two sides of A4 throw-in crib sheet, with 40 hand signals for preset throw-in routines!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

22 Posted 02/07/2018 at 19:29:15
I think you are being too generous to Sampioli Steve by stating 'he's made a few mistakes.'

In 15 games as manager he never selected the same starting XI in consecutive games.

He switched between playing 3 centre backs to a flat back four, even within this World Cup.

He had ample time and games AND the players to evolve a more balanced system and variation that got more out of the collective than (like his predecessors) the strategy of 'Messi will bail us out'.

In 2018 alone they have lost 4-2 to a young Nigerian team. 6-1 to (what proved to be) a poor Spain. 3-0 to Croatia and 4-3 to France.

I think you can detect a particular problem from those results.

Throw into the mix that even with players of the quality of Messi, Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria and Dybala they managed just 19 goals in their 18 South American WC qualifying group - and 3 of those came in the 'must win' final qualifying game away to Equador, courtesy of an inspired Messi hat-trick. Only Bolivia who finished 9th in the 10 team groups scored less –16.

Another self-evident failing. Even with the considerable compensation package he is allegedly entitled too, I just don't see the AFA risking the wrath of the Argentinian public by sticking with him.

Steve Ferns
23 Posted 02/07/2018 at 19:32:39
Well you see a lot more of him than me. I have seen full 90s. I liked his previous work and was interested to see how he’d deal with an aging Messi whilst maintaining his pressing game.
Brian Williams
24 Posted 02/07/2018 at 19:45:34
Oooh Courtois, might be worth keepin yer trap shut rather than slagging Pickford again!?
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

25 Posted 02/07/2018 at 19:50:09
Steve @ 23: "I liked his previous work and was interested to see how he'd deal with an aging Messi whilst maintaining his pressing game."

Quite simply, he failed to make a happy marriage of the two.

Refer back to my previous post. Failings at both ends of the pitch. What sits in between defence and attack? The midfield.

What do you traditionally get from Argentinian teams? A fierce combative nature, by fair means or foul.

Recall the Coatia game and to a degree the France game. They couldn't compete on the physical side in the former - an Argentinian side? Bullied out of it? Unheard of! They were murdered for speed and slickness of movement and passing in the latter.

Their midfield by and large was left redundant, bypassed. They were neither youthful enough nor physically or technically up to the challenge the World Cup offers.

And the multiple failures happened on Sampiola's watch.

Steve Ferns
26 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:02:23
Fair enough, Jay.
Alan McGuffog
27 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:11:36
Think we'll stick with Pickford. Chortle
Brian Williams
28 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:11:51
Hmmm I think Courtois needed to be a couple of inches taller there, and he went for that with his wrong hand hahaha!
Colin Glassar
29 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:13:33
I think Courtois is too big and gangly. He's a big streak of piss if you ask me.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

30 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:14:53
BANG! BANG!

Andy Crooks is composing his anti-Martinez rant as I type!

What's with the Courtois-Pickford references? Has the Chelski keeper been bad-mouthing our Jordan?

Brian Williams
31 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:18:34
Yeh Jay slagged him in an interview over the Belgium goal.
John Pickles
32 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:20:03
From Skysports: ‘Martinez hasn't said a word to anyone since the second goal.’

What’s a plan B?

Leopard, spots.

Lev Vellene
33 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:20:15
No worries for Belgium, Lukaku will fire in a few now that his team is already ahead! Er, wait...
Brian Williams
34 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:21:15
My forecast. Goes to extra time this one.
Jeff Armstrong
35 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:22:50
Martinez out of his depth... turns to Graham Jones for ideas...l et's bring on 2 DMs, leave Dembele on bench — idiots!
Colin Glassar
36 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:23:27
Martinez has got that zombie-like coach with him. He just sits there looking gormless like he did at Everton. Can’t remember his name.
Jeff Armstrong
37 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:26:08
Oh and we’ll leave Witsel on too
Eric Paul
38 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:29:41
It’s like watching Everton under Martinez, 80% possession in the first half and 2 down before you’ve finished your 2nd half time Chang
Gavin Johnson
39 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:29:48
Graham Jones, Colin. How the hell has that guy managed to get gigs at Everton and Belgium is astonishing! He even makes Steve Round look like he knows what he's doing.

Wonder if Martinez is employing that journeyman former Tobago international with the bandana to coach the likes of Vincent Kompany how to defend? lol.

Jeff Armstrong
40 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:30:03
Does Keown ever believe anything he sees?

Apart from constantly stating the bleeding obvious he offers no insight at all, worst of the co-commentators?

Jeff Armstrong
41 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:31:50
What a manager
Brian Williams
42 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:38:49
Can I hear you chewing loudly on the words from post 35 there Jeff? Lol.
Ray Roche
43 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:41:37
I think Courtois is the long-lost son of General De Gaul.
Big nose get.
Jeff Armstrong
44 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:43:15
#42 with a slice of humble pie for afters!
Brian Williams
45 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:44:42
Hey Jeff mate we all do it, no worries!!!!
Brian Williams
46 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:46:58
C'mooooon Japan. Last minute winner please.
Steve Ferns
47 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:47:18
I don’t get he hatred towards Martinez. Of all of our former managers, he talks about us with the greatest affection. You don’t see a bad word said by him towards the club. Same couldn’t be said for Moyes, and I doubt Koeman or Allardyce will be saying anything complimentary.
Jeff Armstrong
48 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:52:12
More pie, please!
Brian Williams
49 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:53:58
Munch munch. Joining you Jeff I forecast extra time. Pass the salt mate lol.
Brian Williams
50 Posted 02/07/2018 at 20:58:39
Steve (#47).

He was an extremely verbose bullshitter who spoke a load of shite 99% of the time. Nobody likes those people.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

51 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:05:18
What a cracking World Cup this continues to be.

Cruel on Japan not to take it to extra time, but they had control of their own destiny with a corner with just 30 seconds left on the clock.

Why lump it into the box packed with towering Belgian players against diminutive Japanese players? Play the percentages, play it short and keep possession, at worst, until the final whistle and reboot for another 30 minutes.

By conceding possession they left themselves wide open to the swift counter that was superbly executed by Belgium that led to the winning goal.

The Brazilian defence will not be so generous in the quarter-finals, I am certain.

Steve Ferns
53 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:12:19
A joke who got 72 points. I pray next season is a joke just like that.
Mike Doyle
54 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:14:11
So... the Martinez - Graham Jones “Brains Trust” delivers for Belgium! What next from this tournament, we wonder?
Colin Glassar
55 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:21:49
Kudos to Martinez. I didn’t think the subs would work but they did. I thought Japan was the better team but that’s footy for you.
Brian Williams
56 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:26:17
Steve Ferns, you point out the high but omit the low. Taken from an article just before he got the bullet.

They have won just five league games at home all season and are guaranteed to finish with their lowest points tally at Goodison Park since the introduction of three points for a win in 1981.

Steve Ferns
57 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:31:27
That's why he got sacked, Brian. But to constantly call him a joke when he did something only Kendall has beaten (and sure Catterick if you convert from 2 for a win) is ridiculous. You go to a ridiculous extreme. He might have failed, but that high is one of the few highs I've had supporting Everton.
Steve Ferns
58 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:41:01
Fran Alonso just announced he’s left on Twitter. He’s the last of Koeman’s coaches to leave. I didn’t realise he was still here.

The timing seems strange, especially as his Twitter also has a recent announcement that he had committed to coaching a local ladies football team so it doesn’t look like he’s leaving the area.

Doubt we’ll find out the full story.

Andy Crooks
59 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:45:13
Jay@ 30 I am not composing an anti-Martinez rant at the minute, I will when it cools down.

You are used to these temperatures and can sip beer and make pertinent, thought out siesta time posts. I am a very white Irishman with a burnt fucking head. It has recently been a big birthday and I have just had the utter piss ripped from me from by an incredibly funny but sarcastic drag queen. Yes, the World Cup is very fine for most of you.

By fuck, I hate the sun. Don't even start me on Martinez.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

60 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:50:51
I was worried about your gambling stakes Andy.

That looked to be going down the tube.

I see on the BBC match feed plenty of punters predicting a win for Belgium against Brazil. Not with that defence against Brazil's midfield and attack and at t'other end, Brazil's defence will be a tad more resistant against whatever attack Belgian want to play against them.

France, Uruguay, Brazil or Belgium for the final on that side of the draw. Whoever emerges from England's side is going to have their work cut out.

Who are your 'savers' Andy if Martinez and Belgium let you down..?

Steve Ferns
61 Posted 02/07/2018 at 21:51:45
Happy Birthday, Andy. I hope you enjoyed it.
Kristian Boyce
62 Posted 02/07/2018 at 22:10:59
This game was pure Martinez season 1: screw defense, and score more than you let in mentality. Which was fun at the time.

If England face Belgium again in the cup (i have to dream), I'm hoping they are going through Martinez season 2 form, which was very similar to how Spain played the other night, passing for the sake of passing and not going anywhere.

Tommy Carter
63 Posted 02/07/2018 at 22:48:18
No Evertonian should dislike Roberto. His first season was a huge success and we played some great football at times. He managed to bring Lukaku to the club and no matter what you think of his ability (I think he’s a brilliant striker) there is no doubt that signing him was of huge benefit to the club.

Season 2 was poor, I do think a series of unlucky performances really set him back. I recall us cruising to victory against arsenal at goodison early season only to concede a couple of late goals that cost us the victory. I think we lost a lot of confidence around that time and Roberto did too. We also shouldn’t underestimate the impact of the injury that Ross picked up that summer.

When this confidence was tested, Roberto started to regress and buried his head in the sand to growing problems. Defensively we got really poor and his insistence at playing Alcaraz typified his pig headedness which some mistook for arrogance. Players like McGeady and Naismith were also given too much playing time. The Eto’o gamble obviously didn’t work.

He was given a third season and the signs of improvement didn’t arrive. He then did what any proud man with self belief (not to be confused with confidence) would do, and he stuck with what he thought was best and kept going. We didn’t get any better and he was relieved of his duties.

No hard feelings Roberto. Some good signings. Some outstanding football early on and a couple of good cup runs. Thank you and good luck

Tony Abrahams
64 Posted 02/07/2018 at 23:00:37
One half of the draw has produced some fantastic games, whilst the other has been more about not getting beat, so let's just hope England, have the right attitude tomorrow?

I thought Japan were great. Speed, energy, team-work, finding little pockets, and so good on the half-turn, but a two-goal lead, is the hardest to defend they say, and I thought they stopped doing what they were good at to let Belguim back into the game.

Fellaini made a (BIG) difference, and credit to Belguim for not panicking. (Maybe it's a trait, from the manager?) I expect them to be a lot more cagey against Brazil, and maybe start Maurouine up-front, leaving Romelu to start on the bench?

Drew O'Neall
65 Posted 02/07/2018 at 23:08:14
Tommy, I tend to agree with you. He brought in players in the positions we needed them but with extremely limited resources meaning they weren’t up to scratch. He was also unlucky that kone got effectively a career ending injury.

He filled Stones and Barkley with confidence and had us, and the players, in the most positive place I can remember, for a season or so.

He embraced the history and ethos of the club and was eminently positive about our prospects of competing with anyone.

When the results and players turned against him he protected them and remained apparently positive, in my view trying to keep players motivated but it was taken for stubbornness or bullshit and his credibility was destroyed.

Pity because I think if he had been given the resources his successor; Ronald Koeman, squandered, at the time he and we were in the ascendency, then I think we would have continued to climb but then football’s about timing and momentum and Everton have never had much luck with either.

Andy Crooks
66 Posted 02/07/2018 at 23:13:04
Jay, I could go for Brazil again but I have a feeling this could be a Leicester world cup. Frankly, France winning it would be a killer and it is to late to rescue that outcome... The way my luck has gone I would advise ToffeeWebbers to fill their boots on them.
Jay, could you really see Uruguay as World Champions?
Andy Crooks
67 Posted 02/07/2018 at 23:20:27
Jay and Steve, has this not been a wonderful and exciting World Cup? I have walked home from work, uphill, mile and a half, beers in the fridge, wife at our daughters childminding. Quick shower and life is good. Football is fucking great!
Jamie Crowley
68 Posted 02/07/2018 at 23:22:58
Top post Tommy Carter @63.

Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking.

Seems to me it was the Japanese manager who went all "Roberto". A 2-0 lead without a single thought of defending that lead.

Roberto's substitutions made the difference in the end. Nice little Plan B.

But that wouldn't fit the crucify Roberto narrative.

I, like Steve Ferns, hope Silva hits the 72 point mark next season.

Just like Roberto did.

Roberto waxes lyrically (does he know any other way in an honest moment?) about his time at Everton. We had some really good times with him at the helm. I only wish the guy luck and success.

Hell hath no fury like an Evertonian scorned!

Don Alexander
69 Posted 02/07/2018 at 23:40:38
Our first Martinez season was built on players and foundations created by Moyes, with Lukaku added, and McCarthy in his one effective season. The wheels started coming off though as the end of season approached and a golden chance of top four evaporated as the players seemed to me to down tools.

By season two the wheels were coming off from the start, all over the pitch, until the players announced in the April that they'd decided, not Martinez, to play "the old Everton way" and thereby won four games on the spin (I think) to ensure the threat of relegation, real as it had become for most of us, was avoided. The less said about season three the better.

Just how he landed the Belgium job, even on a salary of a "mere" £1mill p.a. is a riddle to me, but they do have top notch players in abundance pretty much all over the park. If they win it it'll be despite Martinez rather than because of him as far as I'm concerned because I think he's a total bull-shitter, unlike his newest coach Thierry Henri, a proven winner.

Andy Crooks
70 Posted 02/07/2018 at 23:51:25
Jamie, I like the stuff you post, and you are your own man. However, can I refer you back to Roberto's overseeing of our thumping at Southampton. His inepitude, his bewilderment, his utter demonstration of how unfit he was to manage a football at any level above the Boys Brigade. He went on to demonstrate his ineptitude time after time after that.

I have a hefty wager on Belgium to win the World Cup. Such was my confidence in their squad that I placed the bet in the knowledge that they are coached by the worst coach ever to be paid to manage a team professionally.

Sorry, got to go. The Cockney Rebel song "Come up and see me" has just come on the TV with the Abba looking guy dancing down the stairs advertising Viagra.

Can't find my pen.... Is that significant?

Don Alexander
71 Posted 03/07/2018 at 00:12:46
Jamie (#68) I too hope Silva can win 72 points but quite frankly 42 will do for starters given the squad he's inheriting. There's a paucity of hard pro's there (Seamus excepted), their stamina is generally crap, and their skill levels are, erm, well disguised shall we say.

Hopefully the stamina issue can at last be rectified by professional training pre-season and beyond and maybe that'll allow more skill to be displayed as better results ensue but the lack of "hard pro" commitment is what has long been our Achilles heel in my opinion.

Jamie Crowley
72 Posted 03/07/2018 at 00:30:23
Don and Andy -

I understand all the misgivings and lack of happiness under Roberto's last two years. I too, after digging in my heels, called for him to go in the end.

It's the utter disdain and vitriol many have towards the man that I just don't understand. When he came to Everton, there was a dark, black cloud over us. Moyes left and was taking pot-shots at us from his big-club-cushy-desk in Manchester, the Club appeared to be on the brink of a tailspin.

Along comes Roberto with his positivity and smile. We have the greatest transfer summer we'd ever had in my 10 years with McCarthy, Barry, and the one that rocked me (dare I say us?) Lukaku signing for Everton. We then went on to notch seventy-two points that season playing some of the best football I've seen an Everton side play. In his second year we had European football that we didn't have the depth or squad numbers for and we slid down the table.

Then, quite admittedly, the wheels fell off.

What gets me is there seemingly is zero recognition for the good he did while he was here. I fully admit to often being a bit of a prat and pushing buttons a bit with some comments when it comes to Bobby Brown Shoes - and believe me that has gotten me in some hot, hot water with many other extraordinarily respected posters on this site at one time - but it honestly pisses me off to no end how we just rip the guy to shreds.

He brought a hell of a lot of sunshine to Everton. His first season is my personal "number one" in my 10 years of support. He left very professionally. He speaks well for the Club and still has a soft-spot in his heart for EFC.

It honestly bothers me that we continually crush the poor dude time and time again with no recognition of his contributions.

He's a nice man in my opinion. I wish he were treated a little more kindly.

That's it.

That's not papering over his faults. He had and has many, to be sure. But he doesn't deserve the dog's abuse many throw at him in my opinion.

What ever happened to the kind and courteous, "thank you very much, best of luck to you in the future"? Instead, we hurl insults and rip the shit-stink out of a man who brought me my best season following the Blues.

Look, when it comes to football knowledge and the fan's opinion, I'll usually bow down to the folks on TW who know a hell of a lot more than I do. I might put up an argument with a differing opinion, but I've found over the years that the people on this site simply know more than me in the end about all things football, and always will.

They did indeed know more than I in the end about Roberto and his footballing and managing faults.

It just gets under my skin a bit that we rip him mercilessly.

Joe Clitherow suggested to me late last season that I move on. It was good advice. But every single time I see the negative, nasty attacks on Roberto my blood starts to boil a bit.

We're better than this. He left the Club well and speaks well of us. We repay him by talking shit about the man at every turn.

He's not done anything to deserve the abuse we dish out in my opinion.

Anyway, both of you have a lovely evening, sleep well, and dream of Everton lifting a trophy. Cheers.

Peter Gorman
73 Posted 03/07/2018 at 01:23:55
"He's not done anything to deserve the abuse we dish out in my opinion."

Jamie, I think the abuse mostly comes from the utter bullshit he spoke from that second season onwards. At one point or another people started to resent it, but also made him the scapegoat for the club being so reticent to act.

However, as ridiculous as it would be for someone like Martinez to win a World Cup, I can't say I have any strong feeling about him, just the 'knowledge' in my bones that he was not good enough for our club.

On the other hand, I will likely dish out no end of abuse if and when Koeman brings the Dutch team to my consciousness.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

74 Posted 03/07/2018 at 01:40:30
Andy @ 66.

First up, Yes! It's a Wonderful World Cup!!!

I really don't understand anyone who claims to love football but cannot be arsed to watch the games, or be sniffy or indifferent about the quality or drama of the games.

There has been one single goalless game. There have been nine games decided with goals in injury time.

To offer a comparison, you have to add up all the results of the previous five World Cups over 20 years that had ten games in total which produced results with winning goals scored in injury time.

Sunday's games were low key, but then, what drama in the penalty shoot outs!

As for your question "Could Uruguay be champions?" As we've already discussed, I neglected giving you a heads up to back them in a weak qualifying group. I backed them against Portugal and I can see them causing France problems or anyone left in the draw.

The problem they have for me is their 1st XI is excellent. But any injury, any change in-game, weakens them. Carvani is struggling to be fit for the game against France. He would be a huge miss.

Because of this, because they basically have to go with the same XI every game, I don't think they will have the stamina or be able to maintain the necessary high standards in 7 games over a month as is required to claim the trophy.

But outside of Brazil, Uruguay is the Latin American football nation I respect the most. For a country with a total population of 3.4 million – a little more than Wales, less than Scotland or Ireland to your south – they have won 2 World Cups and a record 15 Copa Sudamericano (the continent's 'Euros' equivalent) and produced many true world greats.

How would such a record be viewed in Cardiff and Dublin if their national football teams could replicate the same?

John Pierce
75 Posted 03/07/2018 at 01:52:42
JaC - my particular gripe with Bobby was he showed us what it could be like, for the briefest time it was sublime.

He then sat on his laurels, thought he’d cracked his first big job and the rest would follow suit.

Fucking off to Brazil that first summer was a terrible move, and the pre season that followed sealed his fate with me. Too lax, not devoted or detailed enough to be my manager.

That’s why I give him loads, there’s a coach in there somewhere but he didn’t evolve.

Barkley all but the same. The lad showed us ‘Some leg and gave us the nothing afterwards.

I don’t waste my energy on Koeman nor do posters on here because he never offered anything we could visualize. Bobby did and never followed through, for that he cops plenty.

Lawrence Green
76 Posted 03/07/2018 at 01:55:04
The club appeared to be on the verge of a tail-spin - I don't remember that Jamie, I remember some people being more than happy that Moyes had left and many were hoping that at long last we had hired a winner in Roberto as he had guided Wigan to an FA cup victory over big spending Manchester City - something that the dour Scotsman could only dream about.

Moyes' final season was a strong one particularly at Goodison Park - losing just once in the league to Chelsea - and didn't he say at one point that his first team could manage themselves?

On to Mr Martinez, as far as I remember quite a few Evertonians when we first appointed the Spaniard, posted on here that Roberto was nothing more than a snake-oil salesmen - I wasn't one of them.

Many warned us all about the Wigan fans and how they viewed our new Mesiah and quite a few looked at Roberto's teams abysmal defensive record, once again I took the view that given Everton's squad when he arrived that surely couldn't happen to us - how wrong was I? By the time Roberto left, he had managed to oversee a squad that had split into factions, a team bereft of the notion of hard work and too many players that he signed that weren't fit to wear the Everton shirt in any era.

I don't hate Mr Martinez but I will never forgive him for being so obstinate and for his failure to recognise his own short-comings at the expense of his players and Everton Football Club. He could have been great at Goodison, but he ended up doing more damage to Everton than Mike Walker and that takes some doing. Koeman didn't have an answer to the issues that Roberto left behind and we can only hope that Silva can find the answers in the near future.

I enjoyed the Belgium v Japan game but it bought back some terrible memories too.


Jay Harris
77 Posted 03/07/2018 at 03:25:44
Bobby,
The nice guy who was so insecure about what Moyes had built up he sought about destroying it instead of building on the foundations.

We started off well with "new manager" syndrome but towards the end of the season we gave away a banker 4th place by a total collapse in our defensive set up with the "What a manager" proudly claiming he had stopped all the training routines for corners and free kicks because that wasnt a proper way to score a goal.

I don't bear him any ill will but he should never have been appointed manager of a club with top 6 ambitions and his legacy was to destroy all the team spirit and comraderie throughout the club from which we have not yet recovered.

Mike Gaynes
78 Posted 03/07/2018 at 03:48:21
Jay #77,

"...proudly claiming he had stopped all the training routines for corners and free kicks because that wasnt a proper way to score a goal."

That's an oft-repeated TW fairy tale, and it's BS. He never actually said that or anything like it. You don't like the man, fine, but don't repeat made-up crapola.

Here's the actual quote:
“Dead-ball situations are a big part of the game, don’t get me wrong. But you are a winning team when you don’t rely on set-pieces and I do prefer open play goals – I’m not going to hide it.”

Not the same thing.

Derek Thomas
79 Posted 03/07/2018 at 06:34:53
Jay@77; exactly, threw the Moyes baby out with the bath water...along with the fitness guy, various phsyios and other bods.

All he needed to do was tweak it allow them to play a bit...but No, he had his Philosophy and if it wasn't working then it must be due to not enough philosophy, so add more and if required keep adding it.

Jamie Crowley
80 Posted 03/07/2018 at 07:08:00
So before I hit the sheets, let me see if I have this straight and put a positive spin on this.

The style of play - the pass, pass, pass it to death with no intent (say the naysayers) was a big issue with Roberto. Couple that with a lack of attention to the defensive side of the ball, and we saw Goodison groaning audibly with every sideways pass, and the impatience and frustrations of the fans was palpable. Throw in a bunch of defeats at the end of games due to poor defending, you have a riot on your hands.

Marco Silva doesn't neglect the defensive side of the ball from everything I've read. He also prefers a quick-hitting, pacy attack. Long balls over the top are acceptable. Blitzkrieg style football with focus still on the defensive side.

Seems to me, based upon what I recall as a lot of the complaints about Roberto, we may have found the answer to every grudge against Roberto and Moyes's drab shite with Silva's style of play?

Here's hoping.

And in finding that positive, back briefly to a negative.

I find it odd that so many people rip Roberto, but turn around after today's game and applaud Japan. They attacked and looked beautiful! But they didn't pay the least bit of attention to defending, and they blew a lead late in the game!

The exact same argument (damn similar minimally) to bash Roberto is being lauded as "well done" by Japan.

I don't get it. I see inconsistency there.

Anyway, I'll always speak well of Roberto. It may be a minority opinion and it may be an opinion formed by someone without enough football knowledge to know better.

But that one year was very special under Roberto for me, and I for one thank him for it as I enjoyed it immensely. Without the "philosophy" and the purchasing of players to implement that philosophy, we'd have never had a season like that.

It went stale. It went south. Roberto had to go in the end. I just don't like the absolute bashing the guy gets. Never will.

And I'm truly hoping, over time, Silva's style of football proves to be exactly what everyone wants to see.

Now bring on England - Colombia. The door's open. Let's see if England walk through it.

Darren Hind
81 Posted 03/07/2018 at 07:19:05
Belgium have some serious players within their ranks. How Roberto got the gig is beyond me, but what a gig it is. A jockey would refer to it as a "steering job"... but I think those players won last night in spite of Martinez, not because of him.

He got his tactics all wrong. His team were pushed to their very limit and very nearly went three behind to a team who don't have a player who would get in his squad.

It was clear from the start that the Japanese team were too mobile and organised to be passed around, too confident on the ball to be brushed aside on the deck. The Belgians needed height and it took Martinez an eternity to see it.

You can easily imagine the contrasting thoughts of Martinez and De Bruyne (somebody who has very publicly criticised his tactics). When the Japanese naively went balls out on that last-minute corner...

Martinez — "Keep the ball, chaps, you know how valuable possession is... it's 9/10ths of the ..."

De Bruyne — "`k-off loser, I'm doing what made me a world class player and a winner, I can see the jugular and I'm going for it!"

Tony Abrahams
82 Posted 03/07/2018 at 07:48:54
Good points Darren. Also Jay Wood, about how hard matches, are going to catch up with some teams.

Columbia, played nearly a full game, and pushed a very energetic Japan, all the way, despite having a player less, so this is a very hard match for England tonight, but England should be a lot fresher than their opponents, so I just hope they play with enough intensity.

Darren Hind
83 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:10:20
Tony,

Just listening to reports of football reporters in Colombia finding it highly amusing that the bookies here have made us clear favourites.

Erik Dols
84 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:21:09
In general, betting against England in WC or the Euro's via British bookies is something I do often as I feel the odds are more in favour of England. But for this specific match the odds do not differ much from, for example, Dutch bookie.

I still put a tenner on Colombia to win in 90 mins and both teams to score.

Paul Tran
85 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:25:09
Darren, check the odds on Colombia now and notice how they grow between 5pm and kick off. Worked a treat against Uruguay in the last World Cup.

I'd happily lose the bet to see England win, but there'll be an opportunity there .

Steve Ferns
86 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:26:35
You do understand that the bookies odds reflect the betting and not the actual chances of winning, right?

If everyone in the country put a fiver on Cardiff to win the league, they'd be the favourites. It's just the odds adjusting to the betting to protect the bookies from losing.

So, of course, England will be clear favourites to beat Colombia with bookies taking lots of bets off English people in England.

Paul Tran
87 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:33:09
That's my point, Steve. In the constant search for value, punting against England has proved a happy hunting ground. There's more sentimental betting in a World Cup match than a tightly-packed 20-runner handicap, so the odds are more likely to be skewed.
Steve Ferns
88 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:36:23
I was referring to the people surprised at the odds Paul. All they show is that English people are backing their team. Not that the bookies think we’ll win.
Darren Hind
89 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:39:24
Steve

Don't be so foolishly patronising. I've been betting longer than you have been alive. I know how betting markets work, that is why the Colombians are laughing.

Paul Tran
90 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:42:18
Sorry Steve. Just starting my morning espresso, so I'll keep up from now on!
Darren Hind
91 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:45:20
And don't be so naïve either Steve.

Anyone who understands the markets will also know bookies will manipulate odds to draw bets from people who are easily lead.

Next time somebody who isn't remotely interested in a manager's job, suddenly has his odds dramatically cut, ask yourself why? If you believe it's as a result of thousands of people lumping on, you don't understand the market as well as you think you do.

Paul Tran
92 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:46:23
3/1 Colombia, 11/10 England.

And that's before people are drinking after work. I'd have them both at 7/4. Colombia a no-brainer bet.

Tony Abrahams
93 Posted 03/07/2018 at 08:57:02
I think the biggest tip I can give anyone is that Brazil will draw 0-0, against Belgium, over 90 minutes!

Colombia, it seems to me have come out of one of the most difficult groups, whereas England were through after two much easier games, enabling them to basically rest their best team for tonight's game.

It will be 9 days since most of the England players played a competitive game, but their opponents have had to go right to the wire. Is it better to be fresher, or is it better playing every few days?

I'm not sure about my question right now, because it's still early days in this fabulous competition, but if England can get through, then this little rest will surely help them in the latter stages of this tournament.

Talking about rest, I'm made up to see that all the kids, that were stuck in the cave for nine days in Thailand have been found, with their only regret being that they have missed loads of this World Cup!

Rob B Williams
94 Posted 03/07/2018 at 09:03:25
Is there no end to this man's amazing knowledge. He has the inside track on all things – the law, football, betting... he even knows more about our new manager than the manager himself.

He'll soon be telling us how to construct a new stadium and how to cost the bloody thing. Such a pity ToffeeWeb has no IGNORE button.

Ernie Baywood
95 Posted 03/07/2018 at 12:39:05
We'll have plenty of managers. Some will do well, some won't, many will have a bit of both. Most will go out on a low point - finished up on the back of a bad run. Same as most managers and most clubs.

No point 'hating' on that basis.

What I will say for Martinez is that he believed that what was right for Everton was to be more than just the best of the rest. Same as we do. I'll give him credit for that. He certainly wasn't a coward - he had conviction in what he was trying to do.

Still should have sacked him sooner and still can't understand how he got the Belgium job.

Brian Harrison
96 Posted 03/07/2018 at 13:25:48
I have never had a bet on a football match, and I wouldn't comment on how the markets work. But I have had many many bets on horses, as well as having the misfortune to own a racehorse at one point.

I also know someone who had access to Stein's office in Ladrokes, he was the boss of Ladbrokes betting at the time. And I am reliably informed that Ladbrokes would manipulate the odds on horses so it worked in their favour. They had a team of odds compilers whose job was to make sure the odds worked in favour of Ladbrokes. So they would place bets with other bookies to lessen their exposure on certain horses.

And, as the old adage goes, you very rarely see poor bookies.

David Graves
97 Posted 03/07/2018 at 15:28:04
"You do understand that the bookies odds reflect the betting and the actual chances of winning right?" — Sorry, Steve, but that's wrong. The way in which the odds move isn't always determined by where the money is going or the probability of the result.

Bookies will often shorten odds to draw in punters who think that's where the smart money is going so they had better follow. I think it's called "seeding the market".

Andrew Clare
98 Posted 03/07/2018 at 15:42:12
Just watching Sweden v Switzerland. Two teams of the same standard as England. Colombia will be thinking of a semi-final place no doubt. Average football with lots of hard work and little finesse from these two teams.

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