Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Semifinals Day 2

Normally, I would expect Croatia to beat England and go on to face France in the final. They are definitely the better team. But they look absolutely exhausted from their quarterfinal game and made three unforced errors in the first seven minutes, passes to no one, the sort of thing you do when you're tired and you're not all there.

And with England scoring on a great free kick by Trippier inside the first five minutes, it's going to be tough for them to pull it together against a fresher, faster England team. The interesting thing is going to be in the last thirty minutes, when England is tired too and Croatia's superior skill begins to show.

UPDATE: As I anticipated, once England's fitness advantage wore off, Croatia's skill began to tell. 1-1 after 90 minutes, and Croatia has all its subs. Given that furious ten minutes between the 75th minute and the 85th minute, England is fortunate to still be in it. And Croatia's subs will be better players than England's two subs. I don't expect this to go to penalties; it wouldn't surprise me if Croatia manages two goals in extra time.

POSTMORTEM: England rode a much easier route to the semifinal and it showed in their relative energy in the first half compared to an exhausted Croatia team. But once their wings and strikers weren't able to run past the more experienced Croatian defenders with impunity, the English attack all but disappeared. Also, whoever was on England's left wing was a complete disaster defensively, as he wasn't tracking back to help cover the Croatian defender who caused complete havoc for most of the second half. This game wasn't as close as it appeared; without Pickford's heroics and with a bounce or two going Croatia's way, it could have easily finished 4-1.

England has nothing to be ashamed of. Vardy's injury hurt them worse than most people realized - he's their true scorer - and I really like the way Gareth Southgate managed to his team's strengths and improved their set plays and penalties. He has the makings of a top flight manager and it won't surprise me if he moves on to a big club when he is ready to move on.

But the final outcome was never seriously in doubt after the first 20 minutes. Consider the key match stats in favor of Croatia.

Shots: 22-11
Shots on goal: 7-1
Final score: 2-1

I've personally done the research. In every league, shots on goal is the most reliable statistical indicator of wins. If you want to win, you have to put shots on goal. The goalie seldom blocks them all, and even when he does, rebounds lead to easy goals. Croatia did. England didn't.



Blogger Jack Ward July 11, 2018 2:58 PM  

Not a soccer fan. Said, and with England having shoved their civilization down the crapper [wasn't the crapper named for Crapper the English peer?],
I shall have to Stand with Croatia.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 11, 2018 3:01 PM  

I want England to win so I can watch them lose the final.

We colonials are ungrateful that way.

Blogger Ahärôwn July 11, 2018 3:07 PM  

Am I the only person who wants to see England win the cup as a morale boost to the young men fighting the swamp over there?

England's not dead yet. She's the mother of the Anglosphere, and may very well end up being freed first.

Blogger Nostromo July 11, 2018 3:21 PM  

Damn you Vox! If you weren't so entertaining I could have been watching instead of reading your blog!! I blame you.

Blogger BassmanCO July 11, 2018 3:24 PM  

Croatia is embracing thug ball. Hope they lose. Physical is cool. Thug play is beneath them.

Blogger Lyon July 11, 2018 3:29 PM  

With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
The bark is ready and the wind at help,
Th' associates tend, and everything is bent
For England.

Blogger Lyon July 11, 2018 3:31 PM  

74:01 1-1... gulp

Blogger BR MK July 11, 2018 3:36 PM  

Vox was so right when he said the last thirty minutes would be interesting.

Blogger Ferdinand July 11, 2018 3:46 PM  

Whatever happens, the croats will probably riot in Vienna again. They did it last game too, as did the serbs. I wonder why, I am sure they have austrian citizenship, making them as Austrian as Schubert.
Still rooting for Croatia.

Blogger Lyon July 11, 2018 3:51 PM  

"And the angst is prolonged..."

Blogger Trinian July 11, 2018 3:52 PM  

And on to Extra Time. Croatia dominated the last half hour.

Blogger David July 11, 2018 3:54 PM  

England look tired.

Blogger The Kurgan July 11, 2018 3:56 PM  

Against all odds... and for the first time ever.... I have to root for EENGAAAALAND!

Blogger Mr. Smith July 11, 2018 3:59 PM  

Resident Moron™ wrote:We colonials are ungrateful that way.

That made me chuckle. I used to do a lot of work with a company in Wolverhampton, England, and every 4th of July I would get an email from them wishing me a Happy Traitor's Day.

Blogger artensoll July 11, 2018 4:06 PM  

I no longer stand with Jack Ward.

Blogger szopen July 11, 2018 4:09 PM  

Naprijed Hrvatska! I am rooting for them and I really do hope they will win.

Blogger Jack Ward July 11, 2018 4:13 PM  

@15. artensoll

Its OK. There are plenty others to stand with. Though, can you trust THEM?
Should England prevail them, good for them. Now, they need to clean house starting with the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
Good luck with all that.

Blogger Cecil Henry July 11, 2018 4:26 PM  

Looks like a globalism polyglot vs based nationalism final!!

Blogger Lyon July 11, 2018 4:28 PM  

"It is a piercing finish..."

Yes, I want to see England come back, only because I want France to beat England (...Grandmother from France, the rest of my clan Scottish Highlanders; no love lost for England on either side).

Why in the world would Americans cheer for England?! (...that was a rhetorical question).

Blogger Crew July 11, 2018 4:38 PM  

And it's Croatia!

Blogger Dave W. July 11, 2018 4:39 PM  

Croatia wins! Way to call it, Vox. Once England got tired, it was a different game.

Blogger szopen July 11, 2018 4:43 PM  

Yii-haaaa! It seems that everyone in Poland was rooting for Croatia. Is it still nationalism when one Slavic nation roots for another Slavic nation?

We should all now start to sing Srce Vatreno :D

Blogger Don't Call Me Len July 11, 2018 4:44 PM  

Don't believe it cost England the game, but the officiating in this game was utter garbage. He missed all sorts of fouls.

Blogger Nate July 11, 2018 4:48 PM  

was this game even televised in the US?

Blogger Salt July 11, 2018 4:49 PM  

Nate wrote:was this game even televised in the US?

If you pay for it.

Blogger Steve July 11, 2018 4:49 PM  

Poor stuff from England in extra time, Croatia always looked much more composed, much more dangerous, and deserved their win.

I hope they win the final.

Blogger Nikephoros II Phokas July 11, 2018 4:49 PM  

So it's Croatia and Ghana in the Final?

Blogger Steve July 11, 2018 4:51 PM  

Croatia v Senegal

Blogger Meanoldbasterd July 11, 2018 4:52 PM  

Croatia vs Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire, Senegal, Niger, Cameroon, Mali, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia AND France.... Sheesh, get it right!

Blogger Weak July 11, 2018 4:52 PM  

Or watch over the air on Fox. With an old school antenna.

Blogger Sterling Pilgrim July 11, 2018 4:52 PM  

Trump Curse Strikes again!

Blogger Lyon July 11, 2018 4:55 PM  

@27. @28. @29. Harsh. But much truth in all that.

Blogger Ferdinand July 11, 2018 4:55 PM  

So it's Croatia against France's foreign legion.
Should be interesting.

Blogger VFM #7634 July 11, 2018 4:58 PM  

Good job Hrvati, keep it up!

Blogger VFM #7634 July 11, 2018 5:02 PM  


Nah, looks more like the Catholic version of Russia backing Serbia.

Blogger C. S. July 11, 2018 5:05 PM  

@24. Nate

Yes, it was on network TV. The World Cup has been getting decent ratings, especially considering the time zone difference and the absence of the US team. The English-language viewers are comparable in number to the NBA playoffs, which surprised me a bit.

Anyway, congrats to England on a great run and congrats to Croatia on a hard-fought (and deserved) win. It's amazing that a small Balkan nation can produce so many world-class and technically gifted players. I'll be pulling for them in the final against France.

Blogger Don't Call Me Len July 11, 2018 5:07 PM  

whoever was on England's left wing was a complete disaster defensively

That would be Ashley Young, who I didn't realize was even still in the squad, and it's pretty clear he shouldn't have been. Did Southgate truly have no other option than a 33 year old who wasn't really that great in his prime?

Blogger Rowan July 11, 2018 5:11 PM  

I'm English and I'm so glad an ethnic European team won, will be rooting for Croatia in the finals.

Blogger pyrrhus July 11, 2018 5:16 PM  

An all-Croatian team vs the French Africa Corp...pretty stark contrast...

Blogger InformationMerchant July 11, 2018 5:23 PM  

Guys please. You're all missing out on the real story here:

Blogger Gašpar Frankopan July 11, 2018 5:57 PM  

Long-time lurker speaking...

There's tremendous amount of thrill over here in Croatia.

It's not that we have something specific against the English, but there was astounding amount of venom spit on Croatian national football team from both home-made and international lefties (e.g. in Deutsche Welle). We could hear that there's "a problem" with all-Croatian composition of team-members (see here in Croatian:

Anyway, let's get back to football... Me thinks that the English were trying to rely too much on free shots from breaks, situation that *are* Croatian team's Achilles heal. Also, they are good runners, very good, better than our guys. We are lucky that they didn't score 2:0 in the first half. After that, it seemed to me that they panicked a little bit, and that panic contributed to their defeat.

I'm very happy to see that this team is the FIRST EVER Croatian football team than can recover from loosing the game - repeatedly! That is something that even Ćiro's legendary generation couldn't do. I see it as THE major factor contributing to their success.

P.S. @Ferdinand - They mostly do not have Austrian citizenship, so send them home. :-)

Blogger Eduardo July 11, 2018 6:13 PM  

soooo when you guys cooking up the Euros Vs Africans+Cucks

u_u don't lie, I know you guys are thinking about it.

Blogger Daniel Paul Grech Pereira July 11, 2018 6:29 PM  

Croatia will beat France because they are actually playing for their country.

Blogger Robert July 11, 2018 6:29 PM  

So what was the final score?

Blogger Crew July 11, 2018 6:35 PM  

Croatia 2, England 1, I do believe.

Blogger Crew July 11, 2018 7:07 PM  

I hope Croatia wins the final.

It is Amazing. Croatia seems to only have a population of just over 4M and they were able to find a team of ethnic Croatians! England has way more people ... and France likewise.

Blogger The Deplorable Podunk Ken Ramsey July 11, 2018 7:40 PM  

A buddy and I managed to check out of work early and caught the game on Fox in the US. Great game, I regret I haven't been able to watch as much of the Cup as I would like. I hadn't seen England yet, but had seen Croatia and thought they were tough. I was surprised by England's struggles on offense. There's no shame in their performance, but the match clearly belonged to Croatia. Well okay, maybe a little shame for England. When they went a man down at the end, I did get the sense that they had given up. They seemed to close in resignation not urgency, it seemed to me. Or maybe that was the famous English Stiff Upper Lip on display. I dunno.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 11, 2018 7:53 PM  

Yes. Fox ch 26 in Houston has aired most games. Telemundo Ch 47.1 aired all games.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 11, 2018 7:56 PM  

Those are antenna channels.

Blogger Xellos July 11, 2018 8:21 PM  

*CS voice* Counter-terrorists win!

Blogger Paddy J S July 11, 2018 9:53 PM  

This Irish man and most of Ireland were delighted with the winning

Blogger Jack Amok July 11, 2018 11:59 PM  

Croatia is embracing thug ball. Hope they lose. Physical is cool. Thug play is beneath them.

Thug play in soccer... thug play in soccer...

I'm picturing that wigger kid from Gran Torino.

Blogger Freddy July 12, 2018 12:55 AM  

But, the, draw. It's difficult to bet.

Blogger SciVo July 12, 2018 2:30 AM  

I've personally done the research. In every league, shots on goal is the most reliable statistical indicator of wins. If you want to win, you have to put shots on goal. The goalie seldom blocks them all, and even when he does, rebounds lead to easy goals.

Incidentally, I have read something similar about war, that the single biggest predictor of confirmed kills was shots fired in the enemy's direction. The upshot of the study was that America's "marksman culture" could actually reduce combat effectiveness by inhibiting fire, and the best thing the Army ever did to counteract that was to buy automatic weapons. (I did not think to check if the study was commissioned by a manufacturer of machine guns.)

Blogger Nostromo July 12, 2018 3:46 AM  

The game had just ended when I got a call from my mom. "Are you watching the soccer?!". My mom, 82 y.o. non-sport watching great grandmother, was excited Croatia had won. Later in the call she said "No. Don't explain it. I don't understand the game.". The only other soccer she had ever watched was 2 years ago when my niece's daughter took it up for a summer.
Mom is also starting to get red pilled. That's why I believe it when Vox sez the alt-right is inevitable. She's been non-political her entire life, and even she's noticing how despicable the left has become.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 12, 2018 6:43 AM  

Shots on goal was closely correlated with Germany’s results too, I think.

I don’t know why coaches don’t coach their players to take the damn shot!

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelpia July 12, 2018 11:58 AM  

Croatia may only have 4 million people, but they have one of the best center mids in the world.

Luka Modric.

There are certain midfield players who come along and their defining characteristic is they hardly ever make mistakes with ball, and when they do it is typically an errant shot or mistimed/mis-hit pass in the attacking third, where the turnover is less likely to be telling.

Zidane, Inestia, Eden Hazard -- and Luka.

Luka made one mistake the whole game -- in extra time, a goofy forward pass.

Otherwise he was perfect. For those hwo have played the game, this was an astonishing performance, but typical.

Blogger Crew July 12, 2018 3:14 PM  

This confuses me: But they look absolutely exhausted from their quarterfinal game

As far as I can tell both Croatia and England last played on the same day, July 7.

Blogger VD July 12, 2018 3:59 PM  

In the quarterfinals, Croatia played a tough game that went 120 minutes. England played a relatively slow-paced game that ended at 90 minutes.

Blogger Crew July 14, 2018 1:43 PM  

Ahhh, that makes sense. Thanks.

Blogger Crew July 14, 2018 5:39 PM  

And Belgium beats England for third place!

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