2018 FIFA World Cup Predictions: The End

So, today the world will see just how badly Croatia slipped up by beating England in the semi-final. You see, it means England get to play in that glorious footballing institution that is the Third Place Play-off, while Croatia have to settle for the poxy final (Pah! How boring…)

In all seriousness, at least the play-off affords Harry Kane with an opportunity to seal the Golden Boot with a flourish – and I’m sure it would mean a lot to the likes of Jamie Vardy and Danny Welbeck to notch a goal in a World Cup, too. I just hope we’ll see some smiling faces on the pitch, and maybe a bit of top bantz between current and former colleagues in the England and Belgium ranks. Nobody cares about the result, so have some fun with it please!

As for the final itself, I’m going with France. As I’m sure Luka Modrić would agree, Croatia must be very tired by now.

Third Place Play-off

England 3 – 2 Belgium

Final

France 3 – 1 Croatia (with Mbappe and Griezmann among the scorers)

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2018 FIFA World Cup Predictions: Semi-Finals

And then there were four – remarkably, and delightfully, including England; now guaranteed our best performance in a World Cup since Italia 90, the tournament in which I came of age as a football fan. I have to admit that it’s impossible for me to be objective about England now, so I used a unique method of forecasting the result of our semi-final: I played an old school footie management game on the ZX Spectrum, and this is how things turned out…

Semi-Finals

England 3 – 2 Croatia

I should probably point out that Theo Walcott scored in the game, so it might not be the most reliable of guides to tomorrow night’s action! I used a rather more conventional method of forecasting tonight’s game, and this is what I’m thinking:

France 2 – 1 Belgium

So, England against France in the final then! What a jolly affair that would be 🙂

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2018 FIFA World Cup Predictions: Quarter Finals

Thoroughly enjoyed watching the Three Lions saunter to an easy victory over Colombia last night – in no way were my nerves shredded at any point in the proceedings. Anyway, on we go to the last eight. Here’s how I think it will go down:

Quarter Finals

Uruguay 2 – 1 France
Brazil 3 – 2 Belgium
Sweden 1 – 2 England (including Henderson scoring his first England goal to exorcise the penalty miss!)
Russia 0 – 2 Croatia

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2018 FIFA World Cup Predictions: Second Round

Well. My group stage predictions turned out to be not too shabby after all, correctly forecasting twelve of the sixteen teams to qualify. Of course, I got one thing spectacularly wrong (Germany!) – however, so did almost every other bastard on the face of the planet, so I don’t feel too bad about that. Anyway, we now turn our attention towards the knockout stages. Here we go again…

Second Round

France 2 – 0 Argentina
Uruguay 2 – 1 Portugal (AET)
Spain 2 – 0 Russia
Croatia 3 – 1 Denmark
Brazil 3 – 0 Mexico
Belgium 2 – 0 Japan
Sweden 2 – 2 Switzerland (Switzerland win on penalties)
Colombia 0 – 1 England (Jesse Lingard to pop up with the winner midway through the second half!)

Pretty sure it’s going to shred my nerves pulling for the Three Lions against Colombia! Fingers crossed…

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World Cup Predictions: Russia 2018

So, having thoroughly disgraced myself with some of my predictions for last year’s domestic season, I decided to set myself up for yet more humiliation by trying to foretell how the greatest tournament of them all will pan out. Using my top secret ultra-scientific means of predicting the scores for all of the group stages games, here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Group A:

1. Uruguay (Points 9, Goal Difference +5, Goals Scored 6)
2. Russia (Pts 4, GD 0, GS 4)
3. Egypt (Pts 3, GD 0, GS 2)
4. Saudi Arabia (Pts 1, GD -3, GS 1)

Group B:

1. Spain (Pts 7, GD +6, GS 8)
2. Portugal (Pts 7, GD +5, GS 7)
3. Iran (Pts 3, GD -3, GS 1)
4. Morocco (Pts 0, GD -6, GS 0)

Group C:

1. France (Pts 9, GD +5, GS 7)
2. Australia (Pts 4, GD 0, GS 5)
3. Denmark (Pts 2, GD -1, GS 4)
4. Peru (Pts 1, GD 0, GS 1)

Group D:

1. Argentina (Pts 9, GD +3, GS 6)
2. Croatia (Pts 4, GD +1, GS 5)
3. Iceland (Pts 4, GD 0, GS 4)
4. Nigeria (Pts 0, GD -4, GS 1)

Group E:

1. Brazil (Pts 7, GD +6, GS 8)
2. Serbia (Pts 5, GD +2, GS 5)
3. Switzerland (Pts 3, GD -1, GS 4)
4. Costa Rica (Pts 0, GD -7, GS 1)

Group F:

1. Germany (Pts 9, GD +6, GS 9)
2. Sweden (Pts 4, GD 0, GS 4)
3. Mexico (Pts 2, GD -3, GS 1)
4. South Korea (Pts 1, GD -3, GS 3)

Group G:

1. Belgium (Pts 7, GD +5, GS 9)
2. England (Pts 7, GD +5, GS 7)
3. Tunisia (Pts 1, GD -4, GS 1)
4. Panama (Pts 1, GD -6, GS 1)

Group H:

1. Colombia (Pts 7, GD +4, GS 7)
2. Poland (Pts 7, GD +3, GS 4)
3. Senegal (Pts 3, GD -2, GS 3)
4. Japan (Pts 0, GD -5, GS 2)

It will be interesting (and no doubt mortifying) to see how my predictions measure up against the actual standings at the end of the group stage. And lest anyone imagine that I’m letting my heart rule my head with these predictions, I should say that South Korea, after England (natch) and Serbia, are my third favourite team in the tournament – so I hope I’m way off about Group F. Anyway, in the astronomically unlikely event that I’m right about everything, here’s what the second round will look like:

France vs Croatia
Uruguay vs Portugal
Spain vs Russia
Argentina vs Australia
Brazil vs Sweden
Belgium vs Poland
Germany vs Serbia
Colombia vs England

I won’t make predictions for these hypothetical games, as that would be a bloody silly thing to do. However, I will be putting up correct score predictions for every game of the knock-out stages – so if you’re interested in one random bloke’s opinion, please stay tuned. Final thoughts before the madness begins? I am cautiously optimistic that England will have our best tournament in a good long while, and go out on penalties in the quarters, or possibly the semis. And one last prediction…

Golden boot: Jamie Vardy

OK, so maybe I’m letting my heart rule my head a little with that one! Hope he has a party in Russia though…

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Man Pretends to Look at Phone before Crossing Street

A British man paused by the side of the road and pretended to look at his phone on the way to work this morning, it has emerged. Matthew O’ Connor, a 31 year-old marketing specialist at Mobiles4U from Evesham, Worcestershire, explained to this blog: “I wasn’t particularly in a hurry and I’d just necked a Red Bull and was about to cross the street to my bus stop. But what happened was, I then saw a solitary car approaching. Now, if the car had kept going at a steady speed, it would have gone straight past me and I could have crossed the road without even breaking my stride – no inconvenience to either one of us. But the driver slowed just a little as he approached, and I could tell that, had I walked one step further towards the kerb, he would have stopped to let me cross in front of him – and I would have had to wait for him to stop and do a little ‘thank you’ wave as I crossed the street. I didn’t want that to happen. So, instead of stepping forwards, I took my phone out of my pocket and pressed some buttons and looked annoyed, as if I was reading a text message. It obviously worked, because the driver didn’t stop, but sped up again and drove right past me. I waited a few seconds until I was sure he couldn’t see me in the rear view mirror, and then crossed the street as I’d originally intended. I’m pretty happy with the way things worked out, and think I played a blinder with the phone.”

The driver of the car was not available for comment.

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Man Shoves Tomato Up His Arse

A British man has shoved a semi-ripe cherry tomato right up his bum for reasons that remain obscure, it has been confirmed. No further details are available at the time of going to press.

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