The first two quarter finals take place with two mouth-watering clashes between Europe and South America.

In the first game of the day at 3pm, Uruguay meet one of the strongest-looking sides in the tournament so far in the form of France in Nizhny Novgorod.

Later, at 7pm in Kazan, a Brazil side that has looked stronger and more dangerous as the World Cup Finals have progressed takes on Roberto Martinez's Belgium who showed their resilience in overturning a 2-0 deficit against Japan to win 3-2 in stoppage time in the Round of 16.

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Ray Said
1 Posted 05/07/2018 at 19:45:56
A funny, short read from the Guardian on the subject of "What is 'shithousery'? And why it's the World Cup's biggest problem". The article claims Scouse roots for this word and its a bit of light relief from waiting for us to buy someone.

Derek Knox
2 Posted 06/07/2018 at 15:02:32
Well in, Ray, amusing but disturbingly true, when applied to the modern game; I suppose also it's a crude term for 'cheating', without going into a tirade or for fear of opening up a lengthy debate on the subject.

It is the way that referees handle the incidents too, some seem oblivious, and appear to condone the 'cheating', possibly by not being aware, of who is conning who.

It is something, imo, that needs addressing, because there is possibly so much at stake: 3 points, relegation or promotion, the end of a Cup run, etc.

Sorry to go on, mate, but it is a subject that really grinds my gears.

Ray Said
3 Posted 06/07/2018 at 15:28:32
Derek,

Oh for the days of Johnny Morrisey, Kendall, Labone, Lyons etc. Gave stick, took stick, and never cheated. The 'rolling about' players always makes me think about how they explain it to their kids; most men would be ashamed to act like that.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

4 Posted 06/07/2018 at 16:02:41
Fascinating game. Uruguay aren't out of this. They are showing just how well organized and disciplined they are.

Very good header for the France goal to time it perfectly to run across the Uruguay defender.

Top draw save from Lloris to deny Uruguary the equaliser.

Good referee this, the Argentinian. Seen a lot of him in the Libertadores and Copa Sudamericano — the South American Champions League and Europa League equivalents.

Ray Said
5 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:09:11
A good example of Shithousery by Mbappe — gets the merest of touches, goes down, rolls around, claims he was uppercutted and tries to get his oppo sent off.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

6 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:21:47
Uruguay weren't out of it... until the keeper Muslera's dreadful error. France were on easy street after that.

What the frig was Mbappe playing at, going down like he did to provoke the melee? Shithousery indeed, Ray.

Carvani, not surprisingly, proved a huge miss.

And for all their star names – Griesman, Pogba, Mpabbe – is there a more key and important player in the French team (or any team at this World Cup, for that matter...) than the diminutive Kante? He is class personified.

And to think our own Gueye was a near-as-damn-it lookalike of Kante when he first arrived 2 years ago. If Silva can get Gana playing like that again, that would be one helluva bonus.

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:32:09
Yes, Mbappe let himself down badly in that incident. He's still only young, but stuff like that wants knocking out of him. Kante, as you say, Jay, is excellent but Griezmann is also some player, switching play and slowing the game down at times when it is needed.

I think France have a good chance of winning this World Cup; they would have a much better chance if Pogba added the other 25% he is holding back – he didn't have a bad game but never gives his all.

John G Davies
8 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:36:58
Jay,

The referee lost all control of the game. Hopeless.

Michael Kenrick
9 Posted 06/07/2018 at 17:44:43
I was all set for a rip-roaring game there... but Uruguay simply didn't turn up, as the saying goes.

Jay, you were being hopelessly optimistic claiming they were still in it. Their care of their ball was abysmal. Yes, Lloris pulled off a brilliant save to keep them out, but that was such a rarity.

I was loving Mbappe but that nonsense has flipped me. I guess the VAR was in the ref's ear to give him the booking but if ever there was a case for retrospective action to stamp out this attrocious playacting... I know, I know — it's never going to happen to Fifa's star players.

John Pierce
10 Posted 06/07/2018 at 18:04:32
One of the poorest games to date. I fear without Cavani, much like Colombia sans ‘James they decided to dig in and look for an attritional approach.

No shots on target according to the stats. France were not much better, to be fair. Quickly forgotten this one.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

11 Posted 06/07/2018 at 18:44:16
John G, "The referee lost all control of the game. Hopeless."

Seriously?

Michael when it is only 1-0 a team is never out of it.

I enjoyed the game for its contrasting tactics and styles. No surprise France went through given the relative strength of the 2 squads.

No team as yet has shown themselves to be the Champions in waiting.

Will Brazil or Belgium show themselves to be that team in the next couple of hours?

John G Davies
12 Posted 06/07/2018 at 18:46:47
Do you think he had the game under control for 90 minutes, Jay?
Darren Hind
13 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:01:54
Player for player, you don't get many match ups as good as this one.

Looking forward to it.

Andy Finigan
14 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:20:31
Why the hell did we pay so much compensation to Roberto when he got the Belgian manager's job?

Could we not pay him monthly until he got reemployed and negotiate a termination payoff?

Steve Ferns
15 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:28:43
Because we drew up the worst contract ever and Roberto took us to the cleaners.

I really hope Brazil get smashed here. Always liked Brazil as a kid. Beautiful football has now been replaced with diving and cheating. Can’t stand watching them. I hope they lose.

Andy Finigan
16 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:32:41
How much will Lukaku worth after this World Cup?
John G Davies
17 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:52:58
Tactical masterclass from he who shall remain nameless.
Lev Vellene
18 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:53:50
My heart cheers Belgium, my brain hopes for a draw by full time, and that Brazil ultimately wins... Belgium knows England too well, maybe?

But a very nice game that I initially thought I'd just miss, until I thought about it again... Attack vs attack...

Gordon Crawford
19 Posted 06/07/2018 at 19:56:10
Can’t believe I’m saying this, but Roberto looks like a tactical genius, and Fellani and Lukaku are both immense. :(
Lev Vellene
20 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:03:22
Gordon (#19),

That is just why we did so well in Martinez's first season! He inherited a squad trained defensively by Moyes.

But when he was appointed Belgium Coach, I eventually realized he could do that very well, since he only had to organize already trained defenders.

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

21 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:03:27
I think we are finally seeing a performance at this World Cup suggestive of Champions elect. Belgium are stronger, sharper, faster, more astute and technical superior to Brazil all over the pitch.

Marcelo and Neymar are clearly not 100% fit. The guile and speed of their game is lacking. Without it, Brazil cannot get beyond the solid Belgian defensive wall. They can barely get beyond the Red Devils midfield.

Unless there is a Lazarus-like revival in the 2nd half, this could get embarrassing for Brazil. Not 7-1 embarrassing, but in the 3-4 goal ballpark.

Could this be a year in which two teams who faced each other in the group stage both made it to the final...?

Ray Said
22 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:09:21
I wanted Martinez out but fair is fair and he has done a great job with Belgium so far.

Most of us want Brazil to play 1970 and 1982 Brazil flowing footy but it looks like those days are gone forever and they play no different to anyone else.

Steve Ferns
23 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:09:47
Don’t say it Jay. Don’t even think it!
Lev Vellene
24 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:13:46
Steve (#23), he did it! As I said, Belgium is who I root for by heart, but teams from the Americas usually don't win in World Cups arranged in Europe...
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

25 Posted 06/07/2018 at 20:57:19
What a game!

WHAT. A. GAME!

Steve Ferns
26 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:02:20
Let us know what happens next Jay. I guess it’ll be carnage on the streets?
Brent Stephens
27 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:02:24
So many predictions of a dire future when Roberto was appointed. Great football to watch. Compared to the cheating from Brasil etc.
Ray Said
28 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:02:51
A tremendous high-energy match. This has been a great World Cup. Renato Augusto looked a cracking player — makes you wonder why he wasn't used more.
Steve Ferns
29 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:04:39
Douglas Costa too, Ray.
Andy Crooks
30 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:06:31
What a game, indeed, Jay!!! Should I be looking at the holiday brochures? Perhaps not but I have got a runner anyway.

Neymar has almost done a Rivaldo in this World Cup. Champion cheat.

Jim Bennings
31 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:08:02
People forget that managerial wise Roberto Martinez is still very young at 44 years old.

He’s so far suffered a relegation at a small club in a town where football comes second to rugby (Wigan) but won against the odds the FA Cup which will forever rank as that clubs greatest moment in its history.

He scored a record Premier League points total and record Premier League 21 victories in one league season at Everton, where two relatively poor frustrating seasons followed.

He’s now coming of age as a manager and learning from past mistakes and will continue over the next five years to learn more and probably develop into an even finer manager.

Only time will tell with Marco Silva (another young manager starting out) but just maybe we were too brutal with a manager in Roberto Martinez who was a victim of his own high standards in that first year at Everton.

Colin Glassar
32 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:11:41
I'm made up for Roberto Martinez, our former much maligned (rightly so) manager. He was booted out of Goodison and could've disappeared from football but he was given a second chance and he took it with both hands and resurrected his career.

If England don't win the bloody thing, I hope the Belgians do.

Lawrence Green
33 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:13:44
Jim (#31)

You might be right about Roberto's age and he may learn from his past mistakes – but he got away with one tonight. If Brazil had had had their shooting boots on, they may have at the very least have forced a draw. I can't envisage Martinez ever managing a club side that wins the title in one of the top five European leagues. I can't crtiticize or praise Silva yet as he hasn't sent an Everton side into battle yet.

Ray Said
34 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:13:53
Yes Steve, Costa has been great for Juventus, especially in the Champions League, and you would think he would have been a regular starter. He must terrify defenders. A proper game changer.
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

35 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:14:44
A few fireworks being fired off, Steve, but not as many as would be the case if Brazil won.

Universal interest in international tournaments ends here the second Brazil's elimination is confirmed. You are a winner or nowt in Brazilian football culture.

I feared for Brazil in the 2nd half but, to their credit, they gave it a right go. On the balance of play, they probably merited an equaliser.

VAR has gone quiet in these knockout games, but it is beyond me how they could look at the Kompany - Jesus incident and not call for a penalty, or at worst advise the infield ref to look at it.

This World Cup just keeps giving and giving.

Craig Walker
36 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:17:14
Super game of football. Brazil were too profligate today but played some lovely stuff. 17 chances on goal. The team that finished with Costa and Firmino was a lot better than the starting XI.

Belgium were awesome in that first half. Fair play to Roberto. He changed it against Japan and was tactically astute today. I was interested to see Rom somewhat frostily shaking Roberto's hand when he was subbed. I still don't like Rom and his ego.

Steve Ferns
37 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:19:02
I thought Brazil should have had at least one penalty, but they deserve not to for all the diving they've done all tournament. Maybe they can learn not to.
Andy Crooks
38 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:21:01
Jim, he relegated Wigan through arrogance. Anyway, let's hope he wins the World Cup.

The point I want to make is that, as many said on here, we sold two magnificent players; Stones and Lukaku, for fees that Daniel Levy would piss himself at.

This is not hindsight, because the deals were lamented by many on here. Just confirmation that the custodians of our club who were responsible, only demonstrated, once more, that their incompetence is unmeasurable and jaw-dropping.

Joe McMahon
39 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:22:26
Colin (#32), I'll second that, absolutely!
Alan McGuffog
40 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:23:23
Couldn't agree more, Colin. Seems a decent bloke.
Dave Abrahams
41 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:25:40
Portugal got the bounce of the ball, ie, their first goal. Brazil, still a team of individuals, never got the bounce of the ball, especially in the first 15 minutes. Belgium were the better team in the first half, were definitely second best in the second half but the ball wouldn't go in for Brazil. It looked like a penalty, for me, when Konpany brought the Brazillian player down; VAR referees thought otherwise.

Neymar had his eyeball touched but again VAR said no; another possible penalty at the end of the first half wasn't even looked at. Brazil, not the Brazil we like to see, definitely were as good as Belgium on the night, but they are out.

It will be interesting to see the reaction of fans and pundits if England get the VAR treatment that Brazil got tonight.

Michael Lynch
42 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:27:16
Best game so far IMO. I wish it could have gone on for ever. Brazil really gave it a go in the second half, but Belgium looked like Champions in the first. Martinez likewise had a good first half but was much too slow bringing on subs and it nearly cost his team the game. Familiar story?

I still think he's a spoofer of the highest order, but that hasn't stopped others being successful in their chosen field, so he could well end up a World Cup winner.

Belgium v France should be a good semi-final.

Joe McMahon
43 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:27:38
Colin, it's also interesting looking how in comparison things have turned out for David Moyes (at multiple clubs since Everton)
Stephen Brown
44 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:28:18
I’m delighted for Roberto Martinez. All went wrong here but always respected the blues during and after his tenure!
Darren Hind
45 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:31:29
Fair play to Martinez. I was never a fan, but his "steering job" got an awful lot harder as the Brazilians threw the kitchen sink in the second half. It would be churlish in the extreme to deny him the credit he richly deserves.

I keep expecting somebody to tap me on the shoulder and hand me an enormous bill. This level of entertainment can't be free, surely?

Steve Ferns
46 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:33:43
Exactly, Stephen.

He's not the worst manager we ever had. Not even close. He's not the best. Not even close. He had a rollercoaster of a tenure, some great times, some infuriating times. He allowed us to dream big and it turned into a nightmare, and some do not want to forgive him for making them believe.

Maybe I'm talking shite, but I cannot understand the vitriol towards a guy who gave it his best, and never disrespected us. No one mentions Walker, the guy who almost took us down. Or how Smith / Johnson gave us 10+ years of austerity. I'd take Roberto Martinez's Everton every day over watching Smith, Moyes, Walker, or Koeman.

Steve Ferns
47 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:35:37
lol Darren!
John G Davies
48 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:35:45
Well done, Darren.

Must have been hard for you to post that.

All credit to you.

James Stewart
49 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:39:58
I thought Belgium were very lucky personally. Had that penalty been correctly called for Brazil, they would have got back into it much earlier.

I can't see France losing any sleep over Belgium.

Will Mabon
50 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:46:53
Roberto needs to employ a new eyebrow manager. Never seen him look that way before, knocks Mansell into a cocked hat.
Steve Ferns
51 Posted 06/07/2018 at 21:47:17
James,

Point one – agreed.

Point two, any country would have nightmares about Lukaku, De Bruyne and Hazard. Also about Fellaini on corners.

Andy Crooks
52 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:21:44
I want Belgium to win the World Cup but I I just cannot revise, as others seem to want to, his term here. Jim, said he" suffered" relegation at Wigan; he didn't — he caused it and fucked off without suffering a thing.

This is not churlish. This has been a magnificent World Cup and I hope England or Belgium win it.

Dennis Stevens
53 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:24:44
Hear! Hear! Steve. The big problem with Martinez was that he made us think the impossible was possible... when it all turned to shite, it cost an arm and a foot to offload him as some fuckwit had decided to bump up his contract after his first season — their error, not his.
Keith Monaghan
54 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:30:06
Andy at 38 - oh so true.

Billy K!!! And he's still got a big involvement in our transfers.

He'll probably swap Lookman for Ashley Young to do his chums at Old Trafford down the East Lancs Road another big favour.

Lukaku – no surprise; scored a load of goals for Man Utd and laid a few on, and he's been great for Belgium. Fellaini too has played a key role for Belgium too, both tonight, against England, and as a sub against the Japs.

Never mind, in order to bring an old banger back, we let Man Utd have Rom cheap in mid-July last year, 2 years left on contract & World Cup coming up! What a master-stroke by Boys Pen Bill.

KENWRIGHT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tom Bowers
55 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:52:15
I won't contribute to anyone who suddenly thinks Martinez is a terrific manager.

He has basically inherited a Belgium squad that has matured and come good in this particular year.

The wonderful partnership of Hazard and Lukaku goes a long way to their success but De Bruyne is now one the best playmakers in the World.

However, they dodged a lot of bullets against Brazil but won through and I see them winning the World Cup now.

Dave Abrahams
56 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:52:26
Steve (#37), two wrongs don't make a right. The VAR referees are just that, referees of football incidents – not moral values. Fellaini had a good game but how many fouls did he commit? Plenty, but never got booked.
Mike Gaynes
57 Posted 06/07/2018 at 22:55:36
Spot on, Darren and Steve. In the biggest game of his professional life, Martinez got his lineup, his plan, and his strategy exactly right. He went to a 4-3-3, put Fellaini and Witsel together – Fellaini was immense for me – and left out Carrasco in favor of Chadli, who ran his legs into stumps pressuring Brazilian crosses.

Of course, Bobby did bottle his subs as always – no fresh legs until minute 83, and bringing Rom off was ridiculous – but he got the job done.

BBS no longer stands for Bobby Brown Shoes – it's now Bobby Beats Samba. Good for him.

Mike Gaynes
58 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:13:17
Dave (#56), Fellaini committed five fouls, none of them "stoppers" in the open field and none of the ugly variety we have known him for. I never saw a reason for him to be carded, did you?

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

59 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:18:10
As others point out Martinez made a good call today starting with the height and muscle of Fellaini and Chadli and the way he set up the side.

This all come together with the second goal and the swift counter from a Fellaini headed clearance from a Brazil corner, Lukaku's rocket burst through the middle and perfectly weighted past to De Bruyne and a clinical finish.

There could have been more from similar circumstances.

But credit to Tite and the changes he made. First, withdrawing Willian for Firmino, then Costa for Jesus and Augusto for Paulinho.

Tite and Brazil have been unlucky in that their two nailed on full backs – Dani Alves and Marcelo – were ruled out before the World Cup kicked off in Alves's case with Marcelo injured whilst on duty in Russia.

But for me the key error Tite made was continuing to start with both Coutinho and Willian. In the qualifiers he tended to play one or the other, substituting one in for the other, and played a more solid midfield three of Casimiro, Fernandinho and Paulinho. Other than the last game against Mexico, Willian has been very poor in Russia.

Costa and Augusto helped change the momentum of the game in the 2nd half, but poor finishing denied them the draw and extra time they probably merited.

France v Belgium is going to be a doozy.

Horrible to think there are only six games left in this World Cup. For me it's right up there with one of the very best I've ever seen.

John Pierce
60 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:32:40
Credit to Martinez, he out thought Tite with some excellent tactical changes. In particular reprising Lukaku (v Arsenal) on the right behind a non-present Marcelo and pulled Miranda out with him.

The result: acres of space behind Brazil's back line, strung out like someones washing.

Had they iced the game with the counters they had,Brazil would have been sunk by half time.

In part a Tite made adjustments but mostly Belgium's desire to hold what they had gave the impression Brazil could get back into the game. That they almost did was more about Bobby than Tite.

A deserved win for a very talented team. But c'mon — who thought, when Bobby subbed Rom, he'd pressed that self-destruct button?!

Liam Reilly
61 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:32:55
Good on you, Roberto.

We've seen that formation before; when we tore Arsenal a new one at Goodison a few years back. Lukaku on the right of a front 3, cutting inside and hiting them on the break.

Still talks positively about Everton and a potential World Cup winning manager...

Hope he does it.

James Flynn
62 Posted 06/07/2018 at 23:50:34
Fucking Roberto. If he'd favored women instead of footy, Hugh Hefner would have went to his parties.

How many years has Kompany been in and out of Man City? Roberto gets him at full fitness.

The Peter Principle on full display.

Don Alexander
63 Posted 07/07/2018 at 00:25:06
Martinez now being praised by Evertonians staggers me. I have no idea why Belgium appointed him but I suspect the ginormous pay-off we gave him courtesy of that buffoon Kenwright enabled the Flems to pay him peanuts to take their gig.

The gig involves the best squad in Europe by a distance, as well as the help of a proven winner in Thierry Henri on the coaching staff. As I've said before, a monkey could manage a squad like that to success.

Jon Ferguson
64 Posted 07/07/2018 at 00:36:39
It was right that Martinez left us when did, because it wasn't working, but I always felt like he was so close to getting it right. It was frustrating.

Now, having the likes of Kompany, Alderweireld, and Vertonghen masks his defensive frailties, and having the likes of Hazard, De Bruyne, and Mertens highlights his strength (he loved players getting into one-on-one situations). It's like the squad was designed for him.

I wouldn't want Martinez back, but he was a million times better than Koeman and Fat Sam, and I liked him as a person (which can't be said for the other two). If England don't make it through, I'll be rooting for Belgium.

Jamie Crowley
65 Posted 07/07/2018 at 00:43:26
Thrilled for Roberto.

I missed the entire first half, relegated to listening on satellite radio. Finally ended a journey north to Savannah, Georgia, only to have thunderstorms move in and knock out Directv.

Enter the Mrs who pulls up the stream on her phone. Directv came back around the 60-minute mark and I watched vintage Bobby Brown Shoes.

Grab a lead, and then let them absolutely pile on the pressure for an equalizer. Didn't happen.

As Colin Glassar says, if England don't win it, I certainly hope Belgium does. Fantastic enjoyment watching Everton-Belgium pull a Groundhog Day and hang on.

England at 10 am here in The States. We're going to the Six Pence English Pub to watch. Hope they book the semis.

What a tournament!

Jamie Crowley
66 Posted 07/07/2018 at 03:56:11
Everyone is asleep

And I say hear! hear! to Steve Ferns @46.

One thing I got to thinking -

Roberto's Belgium today was SO Everton during his tenure. I sat there thinking, "Surely he's fucked up – they'll lose!" But they held on. And I thought, with a big smile, this is exactly why I love and loved Roberto.

No matter what, faults, warts, and all... it was always exciting! Watching the possible train wreck under Roberto is better than watching boring football.

I really hope England win it all. If they don't, as I said previously, I truly hope Belgium win it. It's just wonderful to watch both teams – England and Belgium.

Bobby going for it.

Garreth saying, "Sod that! I'm going with the kids and a team."

Best World Cup ever. Seriously the best ever. Entertaining as anything I've ever seen.

Eddie Dunn
67 Posted 07/07/2018 at 07:10:28
Roberto is far from being a master tactician. Praised by his pundit friends, his subs have been too late in most games (as we will surely remember with us) and his side have had a fair slice of luck.
The main difference is the quality at his disposal... I think most ToffeeWebbers would do just as well with those players.
David Barks
68 Posted 07/07/2018 at 07:27:54
I don't know how anyone can criticize Martinez during this tournament. He took out Brazil and has dominated the tournament. All I can say is well played.

And as Jamie said, it is exciting. I was sat there at a restaurant for a goodbye lunch and couldn't take my eyes away. Whether it was Brazil throwing every man forward or Belgium having three men stuck up top to try to hit them on the break, ya just didn't know what was going to happen. But I can say with certainty that having three men up top instead of just one did limit Brazil's attack.

So well played to Belgium and Martinez. Anyone saying that any Evertonian could have managed them past Brazil is a fool. Now let's hope for England to advance and see where this thing goes.

Pete Clarke
69 Posted 07/07/2018 at 07:43:12
Belgium lost their way in the second half and only Hazard was giving them any relief from the onslaught. I was watching Lukaku and he just gave up chasing anything at all if it wasn't in Brazil's half so that sub was spot on.

Brazil's football was great to watch though and Coutinho and Co will be kicking themselves as the should have won in the end, I think.

If England play football and don't retreat into their defensive shell again, then I hope they go all the way but otherwise may the best football playing team win. What a great World Cup.

Colin Glassar
70 Posted 07/07/2018 at 07:58:32
Fantastic World Cup (so far) but still not as good as the 1970 one in Mexico. Oh for a pundit like Joe Mercer with his impeccable pronunciation of the Brazilian team eg Toast, Gearson, Jammyno, Peelee, Revino etc There’s never been another one like Joe.
Michael Lynch
71 Posted 07/07/2018 at 08:39:53
Just to pick up on a couple of points – firstly "it was always exciting watching Everton under Martinez". You're kidding, right? Endless possession tippy-tappy football, it was dull dull dull in the main. Having said that, I also preferred him to Koeman and Sam.

Secondly, back to the match. Although Belgium dominated the first half with some superb counter-attacking football, Brazil should have scored three in the first 20 minutes alone. Their finishing was shocking. Overall, a sensational game, and it will take a great team to stop Belgium winning the cup. They've been incredibly good and incredibly lucky so far – what a combination.

Brent Stephens
72 Posted 07/07/2018 at 09:01:29
Pete (#69). Lukaku wasn't subbed until the 87th minute. So a spot-on early substitution?
Dave Abrahams
73 Posted 07/07/2018 at 09:08:50
Mike (#58), that surprises me that Fellaini only committed five fouls, but I'll take your word for it. You never saw the foul when he used his arm right down an opponents head and face.

What was your reaction to the use of VAR? Were Brazil treated fairly?

David Graves
74 Posted 07/07/2018 at 10:12:36
Martinez is clearly doing a very good job with Belgium and to suggest that their success is in spite of him is ridiculous. But let's not try to rewrite history by claiming his tenure at Everton produced an endless supply of exciting football. I often felt that I was enduring rather than enjoying much of the football he produced after that fantastic first season.

There were many examples of the "possession at all costs" approach last night as well. On a number of occasions, Belgium had the ball in the final third but passed sideways and backwards all the way back to Courtois who then launched it down-field. Never understood that when we did it at Everton and still don't understand it now.

Jeff Armstrong
75 Posted 07/07/2018 at 10:32:05
Did anyone notice Lukaku completely blanking Martinez as he came off? Bobby's behind him going “Rom, Rom!” He gave the impression he has zero respect for the manager.
Ray Roche
76 Posted 07/07/2018 at 10:58:49
Jeff, do you remember the look of astonishment on the face of Lukaku when he heard that Martinez was to be the Belgium manager? No love lost there, I think.
Jeff Armstrong
77 Posted 07/07/2018 at 11:06:31
Ray, yes him and Mirallas where having a right giggle in the dugout!
Ray Roche
78 Posted 07/07/2018 at 11:29:52
Jeff, a collective “WTF” was heard.,..!
Pete Clarke
79 Posted 07/07/2018 at 11:33:50
I did not say early substitution but there was 8 minutes to go including added time and that's a long long time against Brazil with 10 men as Lukaku was not helping anymore.

He is a pig-headed player, and mostly it is about him, so good on Martinez for making the call. Very small margins in games like this though and no doubt if Belgium had gone on and lost then Martinez would have been out of a job and lambasted by all.

Amit Vithlani
80 Posted 07/07/2018 at 11:58:36
Kudos to Martinez and Belgium, but they had a large slice of luck help them along the way.

It has been a fantastic tournament. England have played their part, although the Swedes are a bogey team.

France v Belgium is going to be Phenomenal, to quote the brown-shoed one.

Brent Stephens
81 Posted 07/07/2018 at 12:36:58
You suggest Martinez made the right call, Peter. And Lukaku wasn’t taken off until 87minutes. Which all suggests Lukaku must have done some good for most of the time. Great first half and great contribution to the goal, I guess we’ll all agree.

Darren Hind
82 Posted 07/07/2018 at 12:49:05
Why on earth would it be hard for me to congratulate Martinez for last night?

Martinez was desperate for Everton, the longer he was here the more desperate he got. Some spotted it early, but some took a while to realise it.

What I do recall is he was friendless in his final days at Goodison Park. The clamour to have him removed was universal... it so amusing to see people claim they always knew he was good. He wasn't, he relegated Wigan and nearly ruined us.

I have no axe to grind with Roberto now. Okay, he had nothing to do with making these world class players Belgian, but they still had to be managed last night, they beat a good team, and Martinez deserves credit for it... That's not hard to say at all.


Brian Williams
83 Posted 07/07/2018 at 12:56:43
Jeff (#75).

I noticed that, mate. Showing the same petulance he showed with us when the ball sometimes wasn't played within the required 2 cm of his boot!

Some young millionaires are arseholes. Being a very skilled footballer, unfortunately, doesn't automatically come with good manners and a respect for others.

Kevin Prytherch
84 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:01:49
Martinez ran stale in his last season here; however, he always had the club's best interests at heart and tried to play entertaining football. The first few months of his last season, we were the top scorers in the league, we had Deulofeu, Barkley and Lukaku on fire, Stones was playing out of centre-back... we just couldn't see out a game and our confidence slowly got corroded.

The amount of posters now who comment that they'd happily have entertaining football and a couple of cup runs rather than a dull 7th or 8th place – that's what we had with Martinez.

I'm not saying he shouldn't have gone, but we shouldn't put him in the same category as Koeman or Allardyce who couldn't care less about the club.

He made some decent signings, gave some players a chance where previous management wouldn't, and always acted with dignity towards the supporters.

If England don't win, I would like Martinez to.

John Pierce
85 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:28:56
Rom's look of filth towards Martinez was nothing less than Bobby deserved. With three minutes left of normal time leading 2-1 against Brazil, with them knocking on the door and you take me off? The game could have easily gone to extra time and without Lukaku, that was not a good move.

Too much "Everton this, Everton that" here. I'm judging what I saw yesterday and both BBS and Rom were the key factors in Belgium's win. Put your hands up and congratulate them where it's merited. Martinez outmaneuvered Tite and exploited Brazil, Lukaku was vital to that ploy.

If you want a less Bobby-inspired reason, then say Brazil got beat by the first half decent team they've played. That's true; all their performances have shown a vulnerability; to date, the opposition haven't been good enough to exploit it.

South American football has a long time since being a dominant force in World Cups. Only Argentina 2014 & Brazil 2002 have made the final in the last four and current iteration. Their fascination with playing ‘with grit' or ‘balls', I believe is the right term, is killing them as a continent when many of their great players are capable of so much more.

Tite, Tavares & Pekerman are all defensive coaches. They limit their teams' expression, choosing the path more virtuous in their minds because they are small countries, Brazil excepted.

But hey — if Bobby can do it, we all can, right?!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

86 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:41:55
Jeff and Ray @ 75-78.

That is an urban myth, about Lukaku and Mirallas giggling on the bench in the Wayne Rooney Man Utd - Everton testimonial match on 'hearing' the announcement of Roberto Martinez as Belgium manager.

The announcement was made in game and a few minutes later, by pure coincidence, they showed the image referred to. The conspiracy theorists immediately leapt to the same lazy conclusion you both appear to accept as gospel.

As for Lukaku's presumed 'petulance' and lack of respect towards Martinez on being substituted yesterday, I saw a driven player who wanted to stay on the pitch and was frustrated at being hooked.

It was a World Cup quarter-final against the most successful team in the competition's history. He is a professional sports person performing at his chosen sports very highest level. His intensity and emotions are allowed to run high.

John G Davies
87 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:54:15
Jay,

Absolutely spot on.

John G Davies
88 Posted 07/07/2018 at 13:57:26
You paid him a back handed compliment. Credited him with a "steering job".

If Deschamps wins the final, will he have performed a steering job? Or will he be credited with setting the team up over the tournament to tactically outwit the opposition?

Peter Gorman
89 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:04:14
Dunno Jay, what else did they find so amusing?
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

90 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:06:20
On the Roberto Martinez question I rather think people have fossilised opinions that they are unwilling to change, regardless of the passage of time, contrary evidence to their fixed opinions or reluctance to acknowledge a figure of ridicule and hate can possibly change and do well.

Martinez was not an appointment I welcomed when Moyes left. During and by the end of his first 'phenomenal' season, I was a convert. He totally embraced the ethos and history of the club in a positive and challenging way.

Having laid such a strong foundation, I expected him to build on it and see Everton evolve as a club and start mixing it with the big boys again. Instead, he stopped doing what he had done so well in his first season and increasingly, Everton became a slow ponderous possession-obsessed team with no cutting edge and a porous defence to boot.

Martinez's positivity in press conferences became a parody of someone living in and reporting on life in a parallel universe far removed from the one we inhabit. The third season was more of the same, but with two very fine runs to the semi-finals of the domestic cups. Only, we lost them both in very 'Martinez-fashion'. He had lost the fan base and the new de facto owner got rid.

Martinez has been manager of Belgium since their meek exit at the Euros 2 years ago. He has lost a single game in that time – his first against Spain. His overall record with Belgium reads:

P 25 W 19 D 5 L 1 F 78 A 22

Belgium had a near perfect World Cup qualifying campaign – 9 wins and a single draw in their 10 games with a goal scoring ratio of 43-6.

Belgium have risen to 3rd in FIFA's rankings under Martinez. He has won all five games at this World Cup, changing his tactics and personnel before and in-game depending on the opposition. It is working.

To claim as some do that a monkey on a lead, or any TWer, could achieve the same with the talent available to Belgium is as delusional as Martinez was in his most 'parallel universe' moments during his shift at Everton.

Roberto Martinez has done and is doing a fine job for Belgium. Why is that so hard for some to acknowledge?

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

91 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:07:50
Peter @ 89.

Anything Peter.

Abso-fecking-lutely anything.

Dermot Byrne
92 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:18:31
Martinez is doing a great job for Belgium. He was not great for 2/3 of time at Everton but exciting for the other 1/3.

The reasons?

Just look at the teams.

Is that rocket science?

As a person, quite like the guy. Seems to have some dignity about him.

Tom Bowers
93 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:54:11
Not sure about the England line-up today. They struggled against Colombia after the first 20 minutes

Why no changes, Southgate? I would have slotted Dier in for sure and Rashford or Welbeck instead of Sterling.

Dermot Byrne
94 Posted 07/07/2018 at 14:58:35
England win today or Everton win v Wolves first game of season.

You can only pick one.

Andrew Clare
95 Posted 07/07/2018 at 15:09:30
Everton win v Wolves
Dermot Byrne
96 Posted 07/07/2018 at 15:13:55
With ya on that, Mr Clare.
Jeff Armstrong
97 Posted 07/07/2018 at 15:54:00
England win today Everton lose... then go on and win next 37 games.

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