World Cup 2018 - Defy All Odds - A/B/C/D Conclusions

13
Ashy
9539 posts League Winner
edited June 2018
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Well it's that time of the year again, the World Cup returns and this time it's in Russia. This will be a 2 week long tournament in real time that will start from when the Fifa World Cup update kicks off (Tuesday 29th) and it will finish just before the real World Cup starts and my new story should be up by then. I have chosen four teams to control in this tournament, one nation from group A/B, one from C/D, one from E/F, one from G/H. None of my teams should come up against each other at least until the quarter-finals but that is if they make it that far, more on that below.

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This story will focus on four nations with hopes and dreams of making it to the next round of the competition, the four teams are Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Serbia and Japan. Four teams from different corners of the world and not only that they are some of the weakest teams in the competition, I may not even get a single one through the group stages but that is the journey of this story to see how these small nations compete with the big boys.


World Cup 2018 Promo to hype it up a bit (not my video)
Post edited by Ashy on

Comments

  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
    FIFA Rankings

    #1 22px-Flag_of_Germany.svg.png Germany
    #2 22px-Flag_of_Brazil.svg.png Brazil
    #3 22px-Flag_of_Belgium_%28civil%29.svg.png Belgium
    #4 22px-Flag_of_Portugal.svg.png Portugal
    #5 22px-Flag_of_Argentina.svg.png Argentina
    #6 22px-Flag_of_Switzerland.svg.png Switzerland
    #7 22px-Flag_of_France.svg.png France
    #8 22px-Flag_of_Spain.svg.png Spain
    #10 22px-Flag_of_Poland.svg.png Poland
    #11 22px-Flag_of_Peru.svg.png Peru
    #12 22px-Flag_of_Denmark.svg.png Denmark
    #13 22px-Flag_of_England.svg.png England
    #14 22px-Flag_of_Tunisia.svg.png Tunisia
    #15 22px-Flag_of_Mexico.svg.png Mexico
    #16 22px-Flag_of_Colombia.svg.png Colombia
    #17 22px-Flag_of_Uruguay.svg.png Uruguay
    #18 22px-Flag_of_Croatia.svg.png Croatia
    #22 22px-Flag_of_Iceland.svg.png Iceland
    #23 22px-Flag_of_Sweden.svg.png Sweden
    #25 22px-Flag_of_Costa_Rica.svg.png Costa Rica
    #28 22px-Flag_of_Senegal.svg.png Senegal
    #35 22px-Flag_of_Serbia.svg.png Serbia
    #36 22px-Flag_of_Iran.svg.png Iran
    #40 22px-Flag_of_Australia.svg.png Australia
    #42 22px-Flag_of_Morocco.svg.png Morocco
    #46 22px-Flag_of_Egypt.svg.png Egypt
    #47 22px-Flag_of_Nigeria.svg.png Nigeria
    #55 22px-Flag_of_Panama.svg.png Panama
    #60 22px-Flag_of_Japan.svg.png Japan
    #61 22px-Flag_of_South_Korea.svg.png South Korea
    #66 22px-Flag_of_Russia.svg.png Russia
    #67 22px-Flag_of_Saudi_Arabia.svg.png Saudi Arabia
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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
    Saudi Arabia

    This will be Saudi Arabia's fifth world cup and they return to the world stage for the first time since 2006, with their best achievement coming from the 1994 tournament where they were knocked out in the round of 16. Saudi Arabia are the worst ranked team in the tournament this year, standing 67th in the world they are against all odds to qualify from this group as they come up against the hosts Russia who will have a country behind them, a talented Egyptian side with the man of the season Salah leading their line and the favourites of the group Uruguay.

    Saudi Arabia's coach is an Argentinian born manager named Juan Antonio Pizzi, he took charge of the team back in November 2017 after his time in Chile came to an end after failing to qualify Chile to the World Cup, his time there wasn't so bad however, Pizzi guided Chile to a Copa America trophy back in 2016 but can he take Saudi Arabia to the next level? We will see. The star of the show is the central forward Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, the dynamic forward bagged 16 goals on the road to Russia and is in top form right now, here is the expected line up as Saudi and Russia kick off the tournament on June 14th.

    Expected formation and strongest eleven:
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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
    Nigeria

    Nigeria were the first African team to qualify for the world cup this year, they've had an impressive unbeaten run on the road to Russia and in recent times they have had a decent showing in the main tournament finishing in the round of 16 three times out of their five appearances since 1994, only missing one world cup in the last 24 years. Nigeria are ranked 47th in the world and are 27/32 on the FIFA rankings for the tournament, and they face a very tough ask getting out of the group with the likes of Argentina, Croatia and the ever impressive Iceland. Many expect the fire power of Argentina to top the group and both Croatia and Iceland to fight for second but can Nigeria pull off the unthinkable?

    Nigeria's coach Gernot Rohr is one of the most experienced coaches in Africa, enjoying stints with Gabon, Niger and Burkina Faso, the German took charge of Nigeria in August 2016 and Nigeria have looked a completely different team since, the key men in the squad will be Moses down the right side, the defender is expected to play a more attacking role for his country, and the highly talented duo Iwobi and Iheanacho should combine well as they look to defy all odds and take Nigeria out of one of the toughest groups in the competition.

    Expected formation and strongest eleven:
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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
    Serbia

    Probably the strongest nation out of the four, Serbia have a lot of history when it comes to world cups, they came 4th place in the first ever world cup back in the 1930's and they repeated that feat in 1962 and that remains their best achievement in the competition, Serbia have been involved in a total of 11 world cups but after missing the previous two they return to the world stage and they want to make an impact. Serbia are in a very difficult group with one of the tournament favourites Brazil, the highly rated Switzerland side and the dark horses of the last world cup Costa Rica. Ranked 35th in the world and 22/32 in the competition Serbia have a tough ask but a doable mission to beat the Swiss and Costa Rica to 2nd place.

    Serbia head coach Mladen Krstajic took charge very recently back when the former coach Muslin was sacked in October 2017, Krstajic was a member of the coaching team at the time and stepped up to the task of leading his country to world cup glory. Serbia have several key players, many have performed well this season, Kolorov on the left side, the experienced Ivanovic at central defence, a strong midfield pairing of Matic and Milinković-Savić and a strong front 3 as you can see in the predicted line-up below. Serbia are a team to watch.

    Expected formation and strongest eleven:
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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
    Japan

    Like Nigeria, Japan have had five world cup appearances and all of them have come in the last 20 years, their best finish is the round of 16 twice in 2002 and 2010 but they will struggle to get out of this difficult group this summer that's for sure. Japan are in the final group of the tournament along with strong candidates Poland, Colombia and Senegal. All three are expected to fight for the two spots with Japan expected to be the whipping boys of the group, the good thing in Japan's favour is the group doesn't have a stand-out team and if they can get a win somewhere in the first two games it's all to play for.

    Japan coach Akira Nishino didn't enjoy a good playing career under Japan, only playing 4 qualifying matches back in the 70's, however as coach he took control of the men's Olympic team in 1996 and guided Gamba Osaka to a club world cup semi finals in 2008, the key men in the team in recent times are Premier League duo Yoshida and Okazaki, along with the creative force that is Kagawa and Honda. Yoshida has been a key man in organising the defence in the qualifiers and will play a key role in the tournament ahead.

    Expected formation and strongest eleven:
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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    That's everything, I hope to get some more little updates done tomorrow before the mode comes out, then expect at least 2 games a day to be played from there, there will be no community game for this just a story of 4 different perspectives to follow as the World Cup approaches, let me know if you think any player out of the starting XI predictions I have shown are missing or should be included, it's fair to say I don't know much about these nations so I did a little research, enjoy!
  • Stlducks
    1437 posts Professional
    Excited to see how this goes. Good luck!
  • ale1985bg
    393 posts Sunday League Hero
    Good luck man, can't wait to see how it goes... :)
    If I had to pick a team, I'd say I'll be rooting for Japan: the Captain Tsubasa influence is just too strong in me. :D
  • Alastair
    10033 posts Moderator
    Good luck with this @Ashy

    Having just watched the videos I'm not sure if it is possible to control more than one team. EA haven't announced anything on that yet and from a video I just watched I couldn't tell.
  • DonGabriel
    934 posts Semi-Pro
    Good luck! It'll be interesting to follow.
  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    Stlducks wrote: »
    Excited to see how this goes. Good luck!
    Thanks, me too, I'm hoping to get one or two through to the next round but I'm up against it
    ale1985bg wrote: »
    Good luck man, can't wait to see how it goes... :)
    If I had to pick a team, I'd say I'll be rooting for Japan: the Captain Tsubasa influence is just too strong in me. :D
    Haha Japan are an interesting team, I know about half of their starting eleven, very big underdogs in the group, if I get through it I may come up against England too!
    Alastair wrote: »
    Good luck with this @Ashy
    Having just watched the videos I'm not sure if it is possible to control more than one team. EA haven't announced anything on that yet and from a video I just watched I couldn't tell.
    Yeah I am a bit worried because I've not seen anyone select more than one team yet but from what I see there are several options at the bottom to replace teams, swap the groups around and select teams and an icon appears next to the team selected so I'm hopeful.
    DonGabriel wrote: »
    Good luck! It'll be interesting to follow.
    Thanks hope you enjoy
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    Interesting approach to the World Cup. As I don't feel attached to anyone in particular, I put all my faith in Japan.

    Good luck!

    And good to see you're doing stories again. :)
  • Alastair
    10033 posts Moderator
    Ashy wrote: »
    Alastair wrote: »
    Good luck with this @Ashy
    Having just watched the videos I'm not sure if it is possible to control more than one team. EA haven't announced anything on that yet and from a video I just watched I couldn't tell.
    Yeah I am a bit worried because I've not seen anyone select more than one team yet but from what I see there are several options at the bottom to replace teams, swap the groups around and select teams and an icon appears next to the team selected so I'm hopeful.

    I’ve just installed it and we can use up to 32. <3
  • ASdoZeR
    1362 posts Professional
    Great idea and I'll follow closely as well. I will cheer on Nigeria. They've a good, talented team and I hope they somehow come through their tough group! B) On paper Serbia should definitely do quite well, also when looking at their group. So will be interesting.
  • JoshDFC
    2011 posts Fans' Favourite
    Will be interesting to follow this story picking four teams who aren't favourites makes it even more interesting alhough the story could be over shortly if they don't overacheive :lol:
  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    subpop wrote: »
    Interesting approach to the World Cup. As I don't feel attached to anyone in particular, I put all my faith in Japan.
    Good luck!
    And good to see you're doing stories again. :)
    Another Japan fan out of the teams I picked at least haha, thanks good to be back even if it's just for the summer
    ASdoZeR wrote: »
    Great idea and I'll follow closely as well. I will cheer on Nigeria. They've a good, talented team and I hope they somehow come through their tough group! B) On paper Serbia should definitely do quite well, also when looking at their group. So will be interesting.
    Nigeria yes! I quite like their team, pace in the attack, strong defensive midfield and as an Arsenal fan I'm relying on Iwobi for the creativity in midfield, Serbia should be able to fight for 2nd spot with the Swiss however Savic (Lazio midfielder) who is one of the best player for the nation isn't in the team because he didn't play the qualifiers such a shame.
    JoshDFC wrote: »
    Will be interesting to follow this story picking four teams who aren't favourites makes it even more interesting alhough the story could be over shortly if they don't overacheive :lol:

    All 4 teams were in pot 4 too, I'm really up against it but I like a challenge, if I can get one to the quarters then I've done an amazing job!
  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
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    The worst ranked country in the tournament were real underdogs in the opener with the 80k seater packed full of Russian fans, Saudi started the game well, controlling possession and they looked very comfortable, Russia had the best chances and an early goal from Cheryshev (24th minute) was enough for them to sit back and let their opponents play.

    Russia began to switch to a counter attacking style in the second half and out of nowhere Saudi Arabia punished them as they countered their counter attack to perfection with super sub Al Shamrani scoring the equaliser within seconds of coming on, Saudi then looked like the better team and Russia only put on the pressure in the final five minutes however the game finished level. Russia dominated the game in terms of shots a total of 16 to Saudi's 5, 9 of their 16 were on target, the Saudi keeper Al Mayoof had an incredible game to keep his nation in the tie.

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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
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    Nigeria showed the world they are a team not to be underestimated after many fans and media criticised their poor defence coming into the tournament and they put in a wonder performance against a strong Croatian side, the likes of Rakitic, Modric, Perisic and Mandzukic couldn't break them down, Nigeria really gave it to them and had the better chance especially once Mandzukic was forced off due to an injury 15 minutes into the game, Croatia looked lost after that, it's like they didn't have a plan B, nobody at the top of the pitch to be the focal point of their all star creative midfield.

    Nigeria had several big chances, mostly created down the wings with pace on their side, Moses and Onyekuru providing the chances and Ighalo missing a sitter. Mikel and Ndidi protected the defence to perfection and they come away with a good result, their next game against Iceland who lost 4-0 to Argentina, will be a big one if Nigeria have hopes of qualifying to the next round.

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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    edited May 2018
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    One of the biggest fixtures in the group stages saw two national rivals meet early in the competition, Portugal and Spain collided in an all star match up however both teams cancelled each other out, Ramos kept Ronaldo at bay with Diego Costa finding the net and Adrien Silva equalising late on, the fight for first place in group B continues...

    Mandzukic was forced off within 15 minutes against Nigeria in their opening game, how long will the main man up front be out for? We are not sure but we hope to have more news in the coming days.

    Nigeria legend Jay Jay Okocha has spoken on his nation's opening game which saw them hold Croatia to a 0-0 draw and he said, "They looked amazing, the defence was solid especially the left back Echiejile who was the man of the match for me, the midfield worked well to protect the back 4, it's just a shame the attackers were not clinical enough, the team had no fear."
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  • ASdoZeR
    1362 posts Professional
    Many draws to start the WC. First big surprise as Egypt wins against Uruguay. Didn't see that one coming. Good to see Saudi-Arabia and Nigeria both playing well and claiming a point against bigger teams. Especially Nigeria showed what they may be capable of against Croatia, somehow a small secret favourite. Already a crucial game against Iceland ahead of Nigeria.
  • Danimal5981
    2158 posts Fans' Favourite
    Argentina, what a start!
  • Virtual_K
    1700 posts Play-Off Hero
    Definitely a challenge to bring any of those teams out of the group stage, but off to a good start. Not a good draw for the host Russia as the matches will only get harder. Hoping Japan will do well.
  • ale1985bg
    393 posts Sunday League Hero
    Wow, what a shock seeing Egypt defeat Uruguay! :o
    And what a display by Argentina!

    Also, do you really need me to say that those graphics are gorgeous? Nah, you already know that they are. B)
  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    Good draw for KSA against Russia. The victory of Egypt on Uruguay open a new scenario in this group.

    Also an important draw for Nigeria vs Croatia, a very strong team. This result really opens a good chance for Nigeria to advance. Meanwhile Argentina show muscle trashing Iceland.

    Lots of draws to start as usual... noone wants to lose the first game.
  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
    ASdoZeR wrote: »
    Many draws to start the WC. First big surprise as Egypt wins against Uruguay. Didn't see that one coming. Good to see Saudi-Arabia and Nigeria both playing well and claiming a point against bigger teams. Especially Nigeria showed what they may be capable of against Croatia, somehow a small secret favourite. Already a crucial game against Iceland ahead of Nigeria.
    Yeah that Egypt win was a shock to me too especially considering Salah wasn't involved in any of the two goals!
    Absolutely, Saudi have a good chance if they can get a win against Egypt now and Nigeria in the same position, I'm hoping Argentina can beat Croatia and Nigeria beat Iceland so I'm 3 points clear going into the final game but we will see
    Argentina, what a start!
    Crazy start, no Messi goals though :o
    Virtual_K wrote: »
    Definitely a challenge to bring any of those teams out of the group stage, but off to a good start. Not a good draw for the host Russia as the matches will only get harder. Hoping Japan will do well.
    Saudi will be a tough ask but I have hope, they played well in the first game to be fair, Japan game coming up shortly!
    ale1985bg wrote: »
    Wow, what a shock seeing Egypt defeat Uruguay! :o
    And what a display by Argentina!
    Also, do you really need me to say that those graphics are gorgeous? Nah, you already know that they are. B)
    Haha thanks, shock result so far has to be the Egypt win but trust me there is more to come!
    subpop wrote: »
    Good draw for KSA against Russia. The victory of Egypt on Uruguay open a new scenario in this group.
    Also an important draw for Nigeria vs Croatia, a very strong team. This result really opens a good chance for Nigeria to advance. Meanwhile Argentina show muscle trashing Iceland.
    Lots of draws to start as usual... noone wants to lose the first game.
    I agree group A is all up for grabs as Uruguay are up against it now, Egypt could fail to beat Russia or Saudi as no team is outstanding in this group. Nigeria were really impressive and easy to play with, the pace they have is nice. I think many of those results so far will be similar to real life, it will be cool to compare them later on
  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
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    Serbia had the perfect team to kick start their tournament in Costa Rica as Brazil and Switzerland fought it out in the other fixture. However it was a horrid day for the Serbians as they fell apart very early into the game with Costa Rica's main striker Urena making the most of a defensive error and giving the South American side a 1-0 lead within the first 5 minutes. Serbia tried to get back into the game but the game plan looked off and nothing was working, Costa Rica played the perfect game and put the pressure on. The second goal came soon after half-time to completely kill of Serbia's momentum, not many chances created and a new fresh approach will be needed if Serbia have any chance of getting out of the group now.

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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
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    Wow we have some shock results for you here, firstly England were defeated by Tunisia in their opener in dramatic fashion with a late goal deciding the game, England lacked any imagination and were horrible on the day, they'll need a result against Belgium now to qualify.

    The main news however lies in the final group as Japan completely shock Colombia with a massive 4-0 victory, one of the best and most entertaining games of the world cup so far, Colombia looked completely off pace, something was up with the team as they couldn't get going and Japan made the most of it with all four goals coming in the second half, mostly by counter-attacks, Okazaki kicked things off with a clinical finish and super sub Asano earned a double with his electric pace down the left side causing all sorts of problems, sub Muto also got onto the scoresheet and what a chance Japan have of qualifying with that start!

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  • Ashy
    9539 posts League Winner
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  • subpop
    3364 posts National Call-Up
    JAPAN!!! Here we go!

    Japan aren't a poor team, but the rival was very important. Colombia may be the most relevant team in this group and Japan crushed them. And the 4-0 is great in terms of goal difference and head-to-head results, very important in this short group stages. Fantastic debut. In this group, I guess it's also shocking to see Senegal destroyed by Poland... the surprise wasn't the victory, but the 4-0.

    On the other hand, Serbia are in a very difficult situation now. The group isn't easy, as Costa Rica is a decent team, just as Switzerland... but Brazil are giants. It's always difficult to advance with just 4 points, so it makes me think that Serbia need to win the remainin 2 games... and, for now, it seems it is a very tough task.

    Surprising (or not much) defeat of England against Tunisia. England can obviously turn it around, but they're in a limit situation now.

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