Russia 2018 World Cup – Quarter Final Wrap Up

Friday 6th July saw the first of the four quarter final matches played with Belgium surprising many by beating 5 times winners Brazil 2-1. After a disappointing World Cup campaign for Brazil, in which Neymar did himself no favours with all his antics, it’s safe to say the current Brazil football shirt will not be as much of a classic as previous Brazil shirts of the past. After all, it is now 4 World Cups in a row where Brazil have been knocked out by European counterparts.

France on the other hand continued to impress with a fine 2-0 win over Uruguay, which meant that Saturday 7th July would see which other 2 teams would complete the Semi-final line up.

 

We Start With England


It’s no secret that the World Cup draw has been kind to England for once. The only time England have faced a stern test was in the final match of their initial group stage, and even that match ultimately did not matter too much, as losing it which they did only gave England a “softer” passage into a potential semi-final.

That said, the old adage goes that you still have to win your games and in football there are no easy matches. The Round of 16 where England overcame Columbia was evidence of this, as the match was ultimately decided on a penalty shootout.

Even then, England were 3-2 down at one point, with Columbia having a chance to go 4-2 up and surely put the contest beyond England. However, the underside of the crossbar saved England from what otherwise looked a certain goal from Mateus Uribe. His penalty was hit well and a centimetre lower would of been goodbye Russia for England that night.

The media and fans alike in England would of been saying how this was so typical of England and that England are no good! However, Kieran Trippier equalised on penalty number 4 and penalty number 5 was brilliantly saved by Jordan Pickford in goal, and the rest as they say is history.

 

Sweden 0 – 2 England – World Cup Quarter Final 


So with expectation naturally rising among the England fans, this Quarter Final match between one of England’s bogey teams in Sweden was the first of the last 2 Quarter Final matches still to be decided on Saturday 7th July, 2018 at The Samara Stadium.

In truth, it wasn’t a spectacular affair and neither side managed to ascertain their superiority in the first 25-30 minutes. England looked solid in defence and it is no mystery that set pieces have been a massive strength of England at this years World Cup.

No shock then when England opened the scoring with what was their first effort on target from an Ashley Young corner. As the delivery was driven in, it was met superbly by the head of Harry Maguire, who has been a standout performer in central defence for England in the campaign so far. What a time for Harry to score his first England goal and in fact he becomes only the 4th player in England’s history to score a debut goal at a major tournament.

That goal was essential for England as Sweden’s game plan had been all about frustrating England and slowing the game down in the hope of keeping the score level at 0-0, and then presumably hitting England on a counter attack.

Problem with Sweden is they lacked pace as a team, and now they suddenly had to attack England to get back in the match, but this of course played into England’s hand.

Sterling should of scored a second right on half time, when the brilliant Jordan Henderson angled a perfect lofted through pass to Sterling, and with only the keeper to beat, he should of done better. However, Sweden’s stopper Robin Olsen managed to get a hand to the ball as Sterling attempted to round him and defenders managed to get back and thwart the diminutive attacking midfielder.

 

The 2nd Half


The 2nd half saw Sweden come out and have a go at England and they were almost rewarded immediately when Ludwig Augustinsson put in a really great cross which was met by the head of team mate Marcus Berg forcing Jordan Pickford to make an outstanding save.

This save proved to be crucial as 10 minutes later after continued Sweden pressure, England scored the decisive 2nd goal through some excellent pressing and ball possession. Jesse Lingard ultimately was the provider for Dele Alli to head home unopposed by some poor Sweden marking. The goal had been coming as Sweden were trying to force it, but were leaving themselves far too open at the back.

The game was effectively over at his point thanks largely to England’s game management which has been another of their strengths in this World Cup campaign.

England are proving to be a very difficult team to break down and even when Sweden did fashion a chance a few minutes later, Pickford is inspired in goal making yet another excellent stop from Viktor Claesson, and then the excellent defensive midfielder, Jordan Henderson blocked the follow up shot from Claesson.

This chance proved to deflate Sweden, and it felt like England could go on and score another if they had to, but as the time ticked away fro Sweden, Marcus Berg then had an excellent opportunity from within the 18 yard area, but saw his shot tipped over from the seemingly unbeatable Pickford.

That chance really did feel like game over as the sails from Sweden’s wings were firmly gone now. This match ended up being one of the most comfortable Quarter Final contests I can ever remember involving England, but credit to the professionalism and game management they showed throughout.

It is worth remembering that England had previously only won 1 of the last 8 competitive matches against Sweden, so although the draw in theory has been kind to England, in practice football is not so straight forward, and therefore we should congratulate England on a fine display against a tricky opponent in Sweden.

 

Russia v Croatia – World Cup Quarter Final Match


Host nation Russia against Croatia was the last of the Quarter Final matches to be decided and this was to determine who England would face in the semi-finals.

Personally, I wanted Russia to win as I think it’s a shame when the host nation goes out of their own party, and Russia had been an excellent host so far. Most people have expressed genuine surprise at how well they have felt welcomed in Russia, but when you visit Russia as I have done many times in the past, you should not be surprised. Once you get to know the locals there, they are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet!

As for the match, most expected Croatia to win, but Russia made it extremely difficult for them and in fact it was the hosts who opened the scoring with a sensational 30 yard curled effort from Denis Cheryshev in the 31st minute. Danijel Subasic could do nothing as he watched the ball curl into his top corner.

Croatia equalised soon after with some excellent wing play down the left and Andrej Kramaric arrived into the box to meet Mario Mandzukic perfect cross.

Croatia should of won it in the 2nd half when Ivan Perisic only had to place the ball to the side of the Russian keeper who was helpless. Somehow he managed to hit the post and it deflected away to safety, but he could not of been any closer and in truth that should of been 2-1 to Croatia. The match went into extra time with Croatia keeper Subasic seemingly troubled by a hamstring injury sustained toward the end of 90 minutes. He somehow carried on, but he often looked in some discomfort.

In the 11th minute of extra time 1st period, Ivan Perisic met a Luka Modric corner with a header that trickled over the line to put Croatia 2-1 up and surely navigate them into the Semi-Final against England.

However, Russia had other ideas when 5 minutes before the 2nd period of extra time was up, Mario Fernandes met an Alan Dzagoev free kick to head Russia level at 2-2!

The match went into penalties for these 2 teams who had both previously won through their Round of 16 match the same way. The drama was only continuing for both these sets of fans to endure.

The Russian fans were in full voice as Fedor Smolov stepped up to take penalty number 1 for the hosts, but his effort was saved by Subasic who has a record of saving around 1 in 3 penalties. it was a strange effort by Smolov as he elected to try a cute chip but without any kind of power. Against a keeper like Subasic, that seems like a risky thing to try and he paid the price.

Marcelo Brozovic converted Croatia’s first penalty and Alan Dzagoev registerd Russia’s first goal from the spot in more typical fashion. Mateo Kovacic of Real Madrid then had his effort saved by Igor Akinfeev meaning the scores were now level at 1-1 after 2 penalties, with both teams having missed 1 penalty each.

Brazilian born Mario Fernandes was next up for Russia, but nerves got the better of him as he blasted wide and after  Luka Modric scored for Croatia, it was now firm advantage Croatia with just 2 penalties each remaining. Modric’s effort only just found the net via the post and may have had a slight hand from Akinfeev, so Croatia a little fortunate it has to be said.

Sergei Ignashevich and Daler Kuzyaev converted their spot kicks for Russia, but unfortunatley for them so did Domagoj Vida and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic for croatia, meaning that the dream was over for the host nation.

Special shout out to Russia who let’s not forget knocked Spain out of the competition, and also a special well done to Croatia for showing the mental toughness to come through 2 penalty shootouts in a row against Denmark and now Russia.

We can now look forward to the Semi-Finals which will involve France v Belgium and Croatia v England.

Good luck to all teams involved!

Brazil and Uruguay Exit at Quarter Final Stage

This Year’s World Cup has really impressed in Russia, and having lost Germany in the group stages, Portugal, Argentina and Spain in The Round of 16, we now find the latest giants to fall are Uruguay and Brazil.

In the earlier Quarter Final encounter, Uruguay were beaten comprehensively by 2-0 against a very impressive French team. From what I saw in the second half, France looked very impressive and have grown into the tournament after a slow start. They now look like hot contenders to go all the way along with Belgium, who have won every match so far including last nights famous 2-1 victory over Brazil.

 

Brazil 1-2 Belgium


Luck was not shining down on Brazil after they performed pretty well and created so many chances to score, only to be foiled by outstanding organisation and strong defending from Belgium.

Early on, Thiago Silva was unlucky not to give Brazil the lead as he managed to connect with Neymar’s corner with his knee, but the post came to Belgiums rescue.

Shortly after that, Belgium won a corner and poor Fernandinho headed into his own net to give Belgium a surprise 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.

This gave Belgium a lift and they had all the confidence and momentum now with Lukaku, De Bruyne and Hazard particularly impressive as an attacking threat. Indeed, it was Lukaku who setup the second and decisive goal for Belgium as he picked up the ball within his own half in the 30th minute and ran a good 30 yards before playing in De Bruyne. De Bruyne with his usual skill dribbled and shimmied before unleashing a sweetly driven shot from just outside the 18 yard area to beat the outstretched arms of Alisson .

Belgium were in dreamland as they now found themselves 2-0 up against the much fancied Brazil.

Not much else to report in the first half, although a great bit of link up play down Brazils left between Neymar and Marcela resulted in Marcelas cross deflecting of a Belgium defender and having to be excellently tipped wide by Cortois who was outstanding as per usual.

From the corner that followed, Cortois was once again called into action as he tipped Coutinho’s curling effort round the post for yet another corner.

 

The 2nd Half – Brazil Onslaught


The 2nd half saw Brazil almost exclusively camped inside Belgiums half as wave after wave of attacking pressure was thwarted by outstanding defending and the odd bit of good fortune by Belgium.

Neymar, who has a reputation for trying to con referees from time to time was up to his unsavoury tricks as he must of dived on about 3 occasions within the penalty box, although on one occasion, replays did show he had a case when Vincent Kompany appeared to trip him up. The VAR panel did not agree though as they decided no penalty.

In between the almost constant Brazil pressure, Belgium had the occasional counter attack of their own and Eden Hazard almost put the result in no doubt but he flashed wide.

Finally in the 77th minute, Coutinho produced a pass of sheer magic as he chipped the ball just in front of Brazil Substitute, Augusto who still had plenty to do, and managed to direct his header passed the despairing dive of Courtois. This was a truly magical moment in the match but it may just have been to little too late for Brazil as time ticked away and Belgium hung on to famously knock the 5 times World Cup Winners out of Russia 2018.

Coutinho himself did have a decent opportunity late on to equilise as he ran onto Neymars excellent pass but sliced his effort horribly wide when the goal was gaping.

As the match entered into injury time, there was still one last effort from just outside the box from Neymar, but once again, Courtois was more than equal to it tipping it over the bar. It just wasn’t meant to be for Brazil.

It would have been harsh if Brazil had of equalised because Belgium had worked so hard and got their tactics spot on.

Remember Belgium went all out to beat England in their final Group G match which meant they would have a potentially harder route to negotiate. So credit to Roberto Martinez for taking this positive approach and remember just 2 years ago he was sacked from Everton Football Club. Last night he has just masterminded a sensational victory against one of the Worlds best teams and both he and the Belgium team deserve enormous praise.

 

 

 

 

Classic England Football Shirts – Some of The Recent Classics

With England handed what is seen by most as a significantly easier route to a potential World Cup Final this year In Russia, it only seemed fitting to take a look at some of the most iconic, classic England football shirts down the years.

Starting With The Most Famous of all – 1966


As worn in the final itself by the Charlton brothers, Geoff Hurst and of course Bobby Moore, this is the very replica shirt England wore as they famously went on to beat West Germany 4-2 in the 1966 World Cup Final at Wembley. Despite the minimal design, this shirt is arguably the most iconic classic England shirt of all time because it is the one and only World Cup win England have had – so far.

1966 classic England Shirt

Some of My Favourite England Shirts


 Here is a classic home kit that I love. The following classic England shirt was worn by some of the England greats such as Kevin Keegan, Terry Butcher and Bryan Robson. I love how it is minimal at the lower end of the shirt, but with wonderful blue and red stripes at the top of the shirt above the England badge and Admiral logo. In these days, it was not fashionable to illustrate the star to show the 1 England World Cup win, but I still love this shirt.

1980's retro England shirt

 

 What about this one. Remember in the late 1990s when England wore this classic away shirt? Actually neither do I, but I have to say I really like it. There’s more going on with this shirt than most England shirts with the St. Georges flag watermarked into the very fabric of the shirt and glistening shades of red with blue and white collar complimenting perfectly. The England badge is located center of the chest area, and I love how the word England is written underneath. Makes you proud to support England!

1990s classic England shirt

 Not only do I love this shirt anyway, but the fabric is to die for and the shades of white are pure lush.

Besides, I could not leave this home shirt out, the same shirt England wore when they lost to West Germany in the semi-final of the 1990 World Cup.

I will never forget the great run that year and the feeling of football finally coming home! Who can forget that famous last gasp winner in the 120th minute of extra time from David Platt which saw off Belgium in the Round of 16.

What about the Quarter Finals against Cameroon where England were 2-1 down with only 7 minutes remaining before Gary Lineker converted a penalty equaliser and then scored again from the penalty spot in the 1st period of extra time to sink the African underdogs.

Then there was that famous scene of Paul Gascoigne crying in the semi final encounter with West Germany after being booked. This meant he would miss the final if England were to make it (which they didn’t in the end), and Gary Lineker consoling him as he had streams of tears dripping from his eyes. England heroically took the match to penalties which they ultimately lost in heartbreaking fashion.

Pure heartbreak in the end, but to be so close and yet so far, this shirt is a must own for all England fans alike.

 

1990 England World Cup shirt

Englands Chances in The 2018 World Cup


I have been saying all along why not. Here are my 5 reasons why I feel we have a genuine chance this World Cup.

 The media genuinely don’t believe England have got the quality – This is perfect as England are not expected to go far and will help relieve a lot of the usual pressure upon those England players shoulders.

 

 

The Manager and team have not been involved in any controversy (so far) – Again, this is fantastic news as normally, there are stories of managers having affairs with beautiful Swedish Blondes, or certain players pictured smoking cigarettes and partying too hard and such like.

This World Cup Campaign has been different in that Gareth Southgate appears to have conducted himself and the team with the utmost professionalism and this is a breath of fresh air.

I think Southgate has been helped by the fact that the previous manager Sam Alardyce had been shamed so much by breaking FA rules. Southgate has always been seen as a clean character and with an easy qualifying group, he was able to steady a troubled ship in England. I say troubled due to the fact it had been over a decade since England had even won a knockout match at a major international tournament.

 

The draw has been favourable – The group stage was very favourable with 2 teams in Tunisia and Panama, that no disrespect to those aforementioned teams, England should beat, and they did. Was a bit of a squeak against Tunisia, but even a draw would likely have been enough given how the group panned out. Only Belgium posed a real threat and as we can see from point number 4, even losing to them in the final game helped the cause!

 

 

The draw continues to open up even more favourably – I mean after losing to Belgium, few would have hated the path that England would need to navigate. Columbia, followed by Sweden is not exactly awful, and then win against Sweden, and England would face either Croatia or hosts Russia to book a place in this year’s World Cup Final! Dare to dream because it really could happen..

Don’t get me wrong, there are no easy games in World football, let alone football in general, but these teams are all beatable, and with only a final to play, the odds are looking increasingly favourable that England can go all the way.

 

Not too many egos – Unlike years gone by, where England always seemed to have a golden generation with players like Gerard, Lampard, Cole, Beckham, Terry etc, now  they have maybe 1 standout player and that is Harry Kane.

I think that is a little unfair as I think the defence looks tight and players like Henderson, Dyer, Sterling and Delli Ali are not exactly bad players. I just feel this group of players compliment each other better than some of the so called superstars of the past.

This team have a togetherness and dogged ability to show mental toughness as showcased against Columbia. Sure, they are not going to typically blow teams away as witnessed against Columbia, but they have the spirit to get a goal or two and hang in there and go to penalties if they have to.

I think Pickford looks capable in goal despite a slightly cagey offering against Belgium, and as noted previously the defence is a solid unit. With Harry Kane up front posing an ever present threat and Jamie Vardy to come on and give an injection of pace, power and finishing prowess of his own, the team has a nice balance of teamwork and goal threat, especially from set pieces. Bring on Brazil in the final…

Click the link below to grab your perfect international or club football shirt!

Russia 2018 World Cup Has Finally Come Alive

Remember the date, 1st July 2018. This was the day that the World Cup in Russia really came alive. Not that it had been a bad World Cup so far. In truth, it has been pretty decent, but with the exception of Germany not qualifying from their group, there wasn’t really any massive surprises.

 

The Round of 16

Enter the Round of 16 and already we have seen 2 heavyweights felled. 1st, we had Argentina losing to France, although this was not a huge upset by any means.

Still, it was an entertaining first match of the last 16 nonetheless. Then we had Uruguay beating Portugal 2-1 which was somewhat of a surprise given that Portugal are the European 2016 Winners and a group of talented individuals.

What happened in the first of the 2 matches today was a major upset. The 2010 World Cup Champions and much fancied choice of many for this years’ event, Spain, were held to a draw after extra time by Russia and ultimately beaten on the dreaded penalty shootout.

 

Nobody Saw The Russia Result Coming!

Nobody had seen this coming. Not even the Russian media or most of their fans gave them a cat in hells chance. Yet they went toe to toe with Spain, a team full of some of the best Real Madrid and Barcelona talent, and held firm.

Even Spain’s goal had a slice of good fortune about it as poor Ignashevich netted an own goal, when he was so concentrated on marking Sergio Ramos at the far post rather than looking at the ball. Too bad for Ignashevich, that the ball hit the back of his heel and went into his own net. From this point in the 12th minute, it seemed their would only be one outcome, a comfortable Spain victory.

 

Russia Had Other Ideas

Russia had a game plan and they executed it to perfection. Russia had obviously realised as most of the world realises, that Spain are a possession based team and they play their special brand of tika taka. Pass, pass, pass just like the good old Liverpool days of the 1970s and 1980’s.

Russia were disciplined and kept their shape and relied on posing a threat from set pieces. When a corner was swung in on 40 minutes, Russia were awarded a penalty after Pique jumped to head the ball clear, only for the ball to hit his flailing arm. A clear cut penalty was awarded to Russia and Dzyuba made no mistake in converting from the spot.

The Rest of the match was a stalemate with Spain enjoying almost exclusive possession of the ball, but in truth Russia were pretty comfortable throughout as Spain did not open them up hardly at all.

Kudryashov in particular, who had been excellent throughout, suffered badly with cramp towards the latter part of the second half and somehow managed to last the full 120 minutes including extra time! There was a few other tired legs in the Russian team and it is a no wonder with the way this Spain team work the ball and keep possession. Up stepped Cheryshev to convert and now Spain had to score their 5th and final penalty to stay in this shootout.

 

The Day of Penalty Shoot Outs

The final whistle of extra time had blown, and it was to be the dreaded penalty shootout and the Russia team and their fans alike celebrated like they had already won the World Cup. And why not, for they had already exceeded expectation, but what was to follow was even more high drama as Koke stepped up to take Spain’s 3rd penalty with the score 2-2 and it was saved by Akinfeev.

Russia scored their 3rd penalty through Golovin and Sergio Ramos equalised to make it 3-3, but now Russia had a penalty in hand. Iago Aspas, once of Liverpool stepped up and struck it fairly well down the left of the centre, but the outstretched left shin of Akinfeev deflected the ball away from the goal to the delirium of the Russian team and fans alike.

The Luzhniki Stadium went mental and emotions were pouring out from both sides. For Russia, it was sheer ecstasy of what they had just achieved and for Spain it was complete heartbreak. The Russia World Cup 2018 had finally arrived!

 

Enter Croatia

Much fancied dark horses Croatia who were slight favourites to beat Denmark in the 2nd fixture of the day were up next. But it was the Danes who opened the scoring int he first minute of the match through Mathias Joergensen. It only took 3 minutes for parity to be restored with an equaliser through Mario Mandzukic. The rest of the match was intriguing and became more and more intense as the clock ticked away.

The teams could not be separated after 90 minutes and yet another 30 minutes of extra time was to be played for the 2nd time in the same day! The World Cup was really starting to get exciting and tense. Both teams canceled each other out for the most part, but with only 4 minutes of the 2nd period of extra time remaining, Luka Modric split the Danish defense apart and set Ante Rebic through one on one with the keeper. Rebic rounded the keeper and only had to tap the ball into the net, but as he was preparing to do just that, Mathias Joergensen’s attempted challenge from behind brought him down and it was a clear penalty. Luka Modric was charged with the responsibility of winning the match for Croatia from the penalty spot, but unbelievably saw his spot kick saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

 

The 2nd Penalty Shootout of the Day

The 2nd penalty shootout of the day proved to be just as nerve wracking as the first. In this shootout both Christian Erikson of Denmark and Milan Badelj of Croatia saw their penalties saved expertly by two top keepers in Danijel Subasic of Croatia and the Danes Kasper Schmeichel. Schmeichel had now saved two penalties in a row including the first near the end of extra time.

The next two penalties were scored for both teams. Incredibly, Lasse Schoene then saw his penalty saved by Subasic, and Schmeichel saved Pivaric effort leaving the score at 2-2 on penalties going into the 5th penalty.

Nicolai Joergensen had to score for Denmark to put them ahead in the shootout but once again Subasic was equal to the effort and decisively saved it. This now meant Ivan Rakitic of Barcelona could win the tie for Croatia and he calmly dispatched the penalty to Schmeichel ‘s right-hand side sending the keep the wrong way.

Like the end of the Russia v Spain match, the Croatia team and fans went absolutely wild with delirium and poor old Denmark were reduced to tears much like Spain had been earlier. The Round of 16 was proving to be quite the memorable occasion.

 

The Half Way Point

Unbelievably, we are only half-way through the Round of 16 with Brazil and Mexico and Belgium v Japan to come on the 2nd July. On the 3rd July we will see England v Columbia and Sweden versus Switzerland.

If it’s half as dramatic as the first 4 fixtures of the Round of 16, we will be in for quite a treat. To summarise, we have now lost Germany, Argentina and Spain already. This year’s World Cup is starting to become very unpredictable in Russia!

 

 

 

 

Germany Out of The 2018 World Cup At Group Stage!

When I think of the Germany football team, I instantly picture in my mind some of the old classic German football shirts as worn in previous World Cups. I also think of Germany qualifying from the group stages of the World Cup as they invariably always seem to.

Today, Germany were playing South Korea in their final Group F match and they needed to win to be certain of qualification to the round of 16 at this years World Cup in Russia.

 

The World Cup Just Got Interesting!

After watching Argentina grab a late winner in last nights live group decider against Nigeria, I couldn’t help but feel slightly let down by this year’s World Cup.

Let me elaborate. The fact is that the teams I fully expect to qualify out of their respective groups are doing just that or at least they had been until today. In many cases, the usual suspects were doing “just enough” to irritatingly qualify for the last 16. The likes of Spain and Argentina are classic recent examples of what I mean.

I was cutting my hedge in the back garden and just couldn’t be bothered to watch the South Korea vs Germany match because I already knew Germany would likely win and by extension qualify like they always do.

 

Then The Unthinkable Happened…

I switched on BBC1 and fully expect to see a comfortable Germany victory, but I immediately felt the script wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Jermain Jenas were chatting away in the post match discussion, and from the words they were speaking I could tell Germany were out!

I couldn’t believe it… Germany out of a World Cup at the knock out stage?! Obviously as an England fan, I was overjoyed to hear this news. Sorry to any Germany fans reading this, but please understand the hurt our England fans have felt against Germany teams of the past.

For example, losing in the semi-final of Italia 90 on penalties when Stuart Piece saw his penalty saved and Chris Waddle subsequently blasted over the bar. This meant that West Germany as they were known back then would win 4-3 on penalties and sent them into yet another World Cup Final.

That image of perfect West German penalties never gets old, and of course who can forget the classic football shirts they wore back then? In this particular match, it was their away shirt, which was green patterned with white shorts and green socks.

Their home shirt at the time was even more memorable. It simply featured a white shirt with red, gold and black lines adorning the front sleeves. These 3 colourful lines of their national flag crossed the upper part of the shirt around the Adidas logo as well as their national team logo.

But today they went out of the World Cup at the group stages for the first time ever in a World Cup, and it is the first time in 40 years that Germany have not made at least the Quarter Finals.

 

Why I Think The World Cup Needed This

My apologies if I offend any Germany fans out there as this is not my intention. I simply get a little tired of all the usual suspects always qualifying from the group stages of a World Cup. Come to think of it, this is exactly what normally happens in the European Champions League too, but that’s another topic for another day.

Don’t get me wrong, The World Cup comes alive in the last 16, because it tends to feature most of the big boys playing each other and that makes for intense battles, oftentimes extremely tense too!

But I am romantic at heart, and I love seeing an outsider who we least expect to progress far at the expense of a heavyweight contender. In this case, Germany’s loss is Sweden’s gain and I say good for Sweden. Good for the World Cup 2018 too. And well done South Korea, for making the 2018 World Cup in Russia that little more exciting.

 

Any Other Upsets on The Cards?

As I have been alluding to in this post, all groups have so far gone as expected with the most likely 2 teams qualifying in all cases. Except for Group F of course, where Germany have unexpectedly been eliminated.

Group H is slightly intriguing as all 4 teams were similarly matched. Poland are already gone unfortunately, which is a little surprising,

but both Japan and Senegal are in the hot seat to qualify at the moment, but that of course can change in the final match where Columbia need to beat Senegal to have any chance.

This is the only group I found challenging to predict, although I was confident that Senegal could qualify. Assuming Senegal do win their final group H match vs Columbia, then they will go through to the round of 16 along with Japan.

That said, you can never assume anything in life, let alone football as I did earlier today assuming that Germany would win because that’s what they always do when they have to. I could not of been more wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

World Cup Predictions – Which Teams Are Wearing The Classic Football Shirts of Tomorrow?

 

The World Cup in Russia is now in full swing with Qualification to the final 16 close to being sorted. Yes, I know this site is all about classic football shirts, but since I am a massive football fan, and I know you are too, please allow me to discuss the 2018 World Cup, especially with England doing so well thus far;-)

Yes, I know England have only played 2 teams in Tunisa and Panama, who we would all expect to win most of the time, but this is England and not only should we get behind our home nation, but remember slow starts against so called lesser teams in the past? I certainly remember plenty of slow starts to World Cup tournaments, and against so called inferior opposition.

 

Which Teams Have Impressed so Far?


From what I have seen, no team has set the World Cup on fire yet, there have been standout performances from Belgium and dare I say England. That said, neither team have yet to meet opposition of any real quality.

The likes of Germany and France have certainly showed their quality in getting necessary results when both came under pressure and indeed the same can be said for the mighty Brazil and Spain.

I have also been thoroughly impressed with Mexico who look dynamite on the break and Croatia who are disciplined and well-organised. Uruguay seem OK and Senegal or Russia may surprise people by going far.

For me though, the World Cup is very much up for grabs!

 

Which Teams Have Disappointed


So far Argentina have been a massive let down. I don’t remember seeing such a bad Argentinian side in my life, so this is a huge disappointment. Was hoping to see more from Egypt, although without a fully fit Mo Salah, this was always going to be a tall order.

 

The Dark Horses


With the group stages not quite complete for all groups, it is always difficult to predict these things, but in my experience, there is always a team or 2 that surprises everyone. At the moment I would say there are quite a few candidates. Croatia and Mexico for sure and add to that Russia as the home nation with their fervent home nation support behind them.

Would be nice to finally see one of the African nations go far, and so watch for Senegal and Nigeria in particular. Can Iceland upset the odds and qualify with their final group match against Group D current leaders Croatia? It would mean Iceland winning against Croatia and relying on Argentina to either draw or beat Nigeria in their final match. While this is unlikely, it certainly isn’t out of the question, but bear in mind if Argentina win and Iceland win then it comes down to goal difference.

 

Who Will Win The 2018 World Cup


My heart always says England because what kind of fan would I be if I didn’t believe in my home nation.

The head says we get to the Quarter Finals or Semi Finals and lose in extra time or on penalties.

Something tells me it could be different this World Cup, but then again, I have these thoughts every major tournament!

Still, I think England are up there as front runners from what I have seen so far, and I will add Germany, Spain, Brazil, Belgium, Mexico and Croatia as being my favourites to lift the famous trophy.

OK, I have to stick my neck out and predict one winner… The Winners of the 2018 World Cup in Russia will be …

England.

 

The Best Football Kit at The 2018 World Cup


Perhaps most importantly, which teams in the 2018 World Cup are wearing what will become the classic football shirts of tomorrow?

I will say Belgium, Brazil (if they go and win the World Cup), Columbia, Mexico and Spain. Do you know what, there are so many so I will Just pick my overall favourite for this years World Cup.

And the winner is…

Mexico.

I absolutely love the Green coloured Adidas made shirt. It looks literally mint, but then I am a sucker for Green Football kits!

Click the link below to grab your perfect international or club football shirt!

 

 

 

 

 

About Football Team Shirts

I have been a football fan since the early 1980’s. I remember watching TV back in the days of only 3 channels, here in the UK. That’s right, way before Sky TV and the cable channels came along! Football Shirts in them days had only just started showing a sponsor on the front, and only numbers 1-11 were mostly displayed on the back. Names of the players were not even printed on the back!

How I Became A Football Fan – Early 1980’s


I vividly remember watching Match Of The Day and following all the scores on Grandstand every Saturday afternoon, and back in them days which was before The English premier League started, I would look forward to Sunday where typically there would be a big match being shown live on TV, a very special occasion indeed.

In them days, there was 4 top divisions in England just like today, Division 1, Division 2, Division 3 and Division 4. Liverpool and Everton were the 2 big clubs around the time that I started following football and I chose Liverpool. I loved the way they played possession football and they were so professional in their approach to the game.

In the playground at school where I would play football during breaks and at lunchtime, I pretended to be Ian Rush, Gary Lineker, or many of my other heroes at the time. In them days I dreamt of being a professional footballer and really believed it could happen. My Granddad bought me a 1984 Liverpool shirt for Christmas, so I would always remain a red as he supported them too!

A Moment of Inspiration


I am now a fully grown adult, but my love for the beautiful game remains and to this day I still support Liverpool. The game has changed a lot since the early to mid 1980’s, and of course it is so much more commercialised these days with the introduction of Sky TV and cable TV.

Down the years I have purchased a few Liverpool shirts, but it has always irked me how a shirt may cost £40 – £70, but then the next season it becomes out of date, and you have to buy a new shirt.

A few years ago, I had a moment of inspiration. One day, I remembered that 1984 Liverpool shirt my Granddad had bought me many years ago for Christmas, and I wanted it again. Subsequently, I decided to purchase that replica 1984 shirt so that instead of constantly having to buy new Liverpool shirts, I could stick with what for me is one of Liverpool’s most iconic shirts ever.

Now, whenever I go to a Liverpool match, I am more than proud to wear that iconic shirt. I also noticed something else while attending matches and watching games in pubs. I am not the only one with a classic shirt on! It seems that they have become quite the fashion these days and that’s where my idea came about for starting this site.

The Reason For This Site


As well as writing general articles about football and the latest kits that are being released, I am keen to find out the best places to purchase kits.

In the menu at the top of this website, you will find a drop down menu with the best places online to search for both new and retro football shirts. I have fully researched these suppliers myself and can fully recommend them.

Most of the sites not only supply full team strips for men, women and children, but they also supply a whole range of football related products, and they offer worldwide shipping too.

Many football fans wish to purchase their teams shirt for nostalgic reasons like I have, or they may just want to have the latest shirt to show their loyal support for the current season. This is why I started this site.

So whether it is English Premier League shirts, or lower division club shirts, or many of the other famous team shirts from around the world, chances are you will be able to search it out here! If you cannot find your shirt, please leave a comment letting me know which team it is you wish to find, and I will help you.

Enjoy the site, have a good look around and impress all your mates down the pub when you adorn a classic shirt that shows your true love and support for your team!

If you have any suggestions about this site, stories to share on how you started supporting your favourite team, or any comments at all, please feel free to post below.

All the best,

Darren