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June 15, 2018

A few takeaways.

Slow start but the steady and unmistakable build as Uruguay's superior talent upped the pressure in the second half--and the last 20 minutes in particular.  

Egypt certainly caught the eye with excellent organization, rugged but heady defending, vigorous but measured running, and the tight shape. West Brom's Hegazi was terrific in the back and may yet attract wider attention from clubs with money, and Elneny looked a better water carrier in this context (though note beaten in the air for the winner).

Uruguay kind of looked like the old Uruguay for much of the game, resolute, calm and excellent in the air on defense, while not very creative on the offensive side, despite the talent infusion in midfield.  A bit boring, really, though one appreciates the organization, and Old Man Tabarez not terribly concerned about the miasma.  Suarez was half-himself, getting into scoring positions but then muffing shots you'd suspect he'd bury most days.  The Atletico central defende...

June 14, 2018

Golovin dominating proceedings.  Saudi effort as full-bore wrestling failed.  But then we've got them a whisker a way from a goal.  We're seeing some of Russia's weaknesses here, old in the tooth.  Saudis settling in a bit, which is a bit of a surprise.  Still I'd pick Russia for the next goal, almost a certainty for me.  Honestly, I'm proud of the Saudis for sticking with it

June 14, 2018

I watched Saudi Arabia a few days ago, in a video of a friendly with Belgium, and they were just entirely outclassed, with a goalie who fumbled nearly everything he could get his hands on.  They were not especially fit and looked as if they might completely fall apart if things began to go poorly.  They looked a bit better against a not terribly inspired Germany a few nights ago, with a bit of speed that could catch a Russian backline lacking in pace, but it was pretty sketchy.  After firing two coaches recently, they've settled on Juan Antonio Pizzi, a high octane guy.  Given the fitness issues, I'm not sure this is going to work out well, but I'm guessing the pay is ridiculous.  Sports Illustrated wrote:  "There are also huge doubts about the match fitness of some of their key players. In January, a deal was struck between the Saudi Arabian Sports Authority and La Liga in Spain, which saw nine Saudi players move to Spanish teams on loan, in a bid to gain glob...

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