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    Originally posted by MoonlightShadow View Post
    Apparently Switzerland is the top seeded team....
    That's because the ranking goes by Nations League track record. The division A group winners are Switzerland with nine points, Portugal with eight, the Netherlands with seven (+4GD), and England with seven (+1GD). Record cross-comparison is how the order of the top four is determined, and hence Switzerland is top of the pile.

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      I think we're getting lost here. The England team as players haven't changed, they haven't got any better, they haven't got any worse. They aren't any more organized in the past. The Big difference is that they got to the semi-final of a world cup. The last time an actively reviled england team got to a world cup semi-final, it made football safe for middle class people, the manager who the tabloids had spent the previous two years trying to destroy as a human being became a national treasure, and the nation fell in love with an obviously seriously damaged, and damaging person.

      The major difference between this england team and any of the unsuccessful ones is that there was a rule changed that gave a massive advantage to the players from a footballing culture that is obsessed with set pieces. That's all. The football wasn't measurably different. They averaged the same number of passes per 90 minutes as at the 2014 world cup, and fewer than at the 2016 European Championships. There was someone up above mentioning sam Allardyce football, but that's exactly what this was. Hit them with set pieces, defend in numbers and not really create all that much from open play. He must have been bawling his eyes out in the knowledge that he could have actually won the world cup, but he pissed it all away, and there was Tabularasa Gareth basically copying his schtick, but being loved for it.

      There's nothing particularly wrong with being able to score goals from set pieces. It is a crucial part of the armoury of any successful team. It's just that it's important to not get too excited by the football your team is playing if you're getting three quarters of your goals from them, and in most games don't really come close to scoring a goal from open play. That's the same as any other tournament. The football was no better, the results were. And once you remember that the way that you feel about the team is based on their success, and that their success was based disproportionately on set piece goals, then the comparisons with past England teams fall apart. If this rule change had been in place in 2006, John Terry would have smashed Just Fontaine's scoring record, and now be first in line to the throne and you'd all have to sacrifice your first born to David Beckham's deadly right foot, and we'd have had to put up with a lot of articles about how Sven's laid back approach of letting people do whatever the fuck they wanted was the key to improving your life, and we'd be told that parking your bentley in a disabled parking space was the key to greatness.

      But Success is virtue, and virtue success, It's a results based game innit, and given that pretty much everybody was agreed that the reason that the golden generation didn't make football come home, was because they were terrible people, this is just the flip side. success casts a golden glow on everything. But just bear in mind the degree to what you feel about this team is dictated by the first part. I've watched and read enough interviews with Gareth Southgate to admire his impenetrable shell of outward blandness, that allows people to project whatever they want onto him. The only thing he's ever done that was outside that template of utter blandness, is call Mark Sampson an "excellent character" when it was already clear exactly what he was.

      It's been a pretty lean time for good news for people in england, and It's nice that ye got something to cheer ye up for a bit. But it's really annoying to have to listen to people going on about the likable lads, and how it was anything other than cargo cult big sam football just reminds the rest of us why it's important that ye not be allowed have nice things.
      Last edited by The Awesome Berbaslug!!!; 21-11-2018, 15:34.

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        What's really great is that those rule changes only benefitted England. And no other teams scored any goals from set pieces.

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          Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
          The last time an actively reviled england team got to a world cup semi-final
          What the fuck are you on about? No-one actively reviled this World Cup squad, before, during or after. Well, no-one who didn't hate them beforehand.

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            They would have benefited us if we were there. It's all we could manage at the time. Kane would have been fighting it out with Shane Duffy for the Golden boot. It's only the football cultures of these islands that are really into corners. Everyone else seemed to have noticed that 2% of them result in a goal, and largely ignored it. Don't get me wrong, if you look back over most successful teams at international tournaments, they'll have got their share of goals from corners (France 98 being a prime example). But 9 out of 12 is too many.

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              Originally posted by Snake Plissken View Post
              What the fuck are you on about? No-one actively reviled this World Cup squad, before, during or after. Well, no-one who didn't hate them beforehand.
              There should be a comma in there somewhere. The point is the journey of the italia 90 team from being seen as hooligans, who had shat on churchill's grave with their performances in euro 88 to thought pieces in the sunday times, on the back of progress in a tournament.

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                The England team weren’t seen as hooligans in 88 or 90. They were seen as a talented bunch who’d maybe be able to do better than they’d done in 86.

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                  No but the fans were, and the whole thing was tarred with the same shitty brush. Remember the point here isn't about the reality of things, it's about the effects on perception of a bit of success.

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                    "I think we're getting lost here. The England team as players haven't changed, they haven't got any better, they haven't got any worse. They aren't any more organized in the past."

                    Who said they were? Talk about "straw men". I literally said further back people weren't under any illusions.

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                      The NL winners should have been given a place in the finals. It makes no sense that they would have to play off again in 2020 if they fail to get through their EC group when they have already won one set of playoffs to win the NL. OTOH to fail to qualify they would need to play way below the form that won the NL because they would have to finish below 2 sides in lower pots in the EC group then lose a playoff to a side that did not finish in the top 2 in its group.

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                        We won't know who wins the Nations League until we're already part way through the ECQ campaign.

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                          True, and the NL winner does have the play-off as back-up. The chances of the NL winner not qualifying must be miniscule but if it ever happens, the NL crown will be hollow indeed.

                          Is there any update on 2020-21 format?

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                            Can I just suggest we use the abbreviation UNL for the competition to avoid confusing it with the Netherlands?

                            Well I guess the hope is that the UNL title becomes something worth winning in its own right rather than for Euros qualification. But it should be straightforward for them anyway - top seed, and with playoffs against a couple of sides who are outside the best 20 from the qualifying.

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                              Or we could just use Holland

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                                Originally posted by Kevin S View Post
                                Well I guess the hope is that the UNL title becomes something worth winning in its own right rather than for Euros qualification
                                Allied to that, the UNL title needs to become equally important for all the top tier participants, rather than just those who haven't won a trophy this century. I would also worry about 2020-21 being taken less seriously by other tiers if there is no qualification prize in World Cup years as opposed to Euro Champs. It's much harder to qualify for World Cups and probably less than half the entrants start with a realistic chance, compared to just about all but the very poorest Tier D sides in Euro campaigns (although statistically that chance is quite low if you have, say, 15 teams of roughly equal quality in Tier C scrapping for one slot).
                                Last edited by Satchmo Distel; 25-11-2018, 10:11.

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                                  There is going to be a 3rd placed play-off on the same day as the final, even though the Euros no longer has one.

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