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    First impressions

    So, one game in. Have we seen the dark horses, underachievers, sides looking in fine fettle and teams just happy to be here?

    And what are your best and worst bits so far?

    #2
    A very superficial comment: far too many (not so divine) ponytails. Means the rare players like Rapinoe and the Argentina midfielder yesterday really stand out.

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      #3
      I'm wondering how far Italy can go this time. Who are they likely to face in the next round (assuming they beat Jamaica and get through)? Japan?

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        #4
        Originally posted by Felicity, I guess so View Post
        A very superficial comment: far too many (not so divine) ponytails. Means the rare players like Rapinoe and the Argentina midfielder yesterday really stand out.
        This has become an absolute plague in "elite" youth and university football over here, which has an impact far beyond the US team given the number of young women who come to play here from all over the world. And the ubiquity of that "look"makes it harder for women and girls who don't look like that (and can't look like that) in terms of feeling wanted and comfortable than it should be.

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          #5
          The anti-ponytail backlash starts here!

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            #6
            Why is it taking so long to flag offside?

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              #7
              My guess is it's the influence of VAR. Once you've called the offside, it can't be overturned. If you let the play run and someone scores, you can then review the offside.

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                #8
                I was wondering if any of the three African sides are likely to get through. There wasn't much to choose between them last year in the Awcon. Cameroon and Nigeria drew 0-0 in their semi final and it went to penalties, which Nigeria won. And they also won the final on penalties after a 0-0 draw with South Africa. South Africa had beaten Nigeria 1-0 in their group game.

                Thembi Kgatlana of South Africa, who scored against Spain, was the leading scorer in the tournament. She plays her club football in China. The other African player at this World Cup who scored a few in the Awcon was Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria who, as Janik mentioned on the group thread, plays for Barcelona.

                In terms of their matches so far, Cameroon had the best result, holding out for a long time against Canada before going down 1-0. But they're in a very tough group with Netherlands and New Zealand still to come. They will have to come out all guns blazing in at least one of those games as two points won't be enough,

                Nigeria took the heaviest defeat but their next match - starting in about 10 minutes - is against South Korea. Now this really is a match they need to win given they face France last. Perhaps an early goal for Nigeria would sew seeds of doubt for Korea.

                And South Africa need to do the same tomorrow night against China - no mean feat. But Kgatlana looks a real talent and her goal (the only one scored by an African so far this World Cup - a goal for all of Africa, anyone?) was brilliantly taken.

                The safe money is probably on all three going home, but I hope that's not the case.

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                  #9
                  I briefly wondered what VAR had to do with ponytails

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                    #10
                    I tweeted yesterday about the lack of goals and the effectiveness of underdogs' defensive rearguard. A minute or so later, Holland scored and then in the evening match …

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                      I briefly wondered what VAR had to do with ponytails
                      If the ponytail of the last defender is in line with the most forward part of the striker...

                      One of the betting companies here has an ad with generic versions of participants of each sport doing an action from it. The only female involved is the Tennis player silhouette. She has a ponytail. And a visor. It's a very standard look. A generic female golfer would be the same. Be grateful that Footballers haven't yet figured out a way to play in visors...

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                        #12
                        As for the tournament, the matches so far have not been very exciting, have they? The closest we have had to a shock is Italy overturning Australia, and that doesn't really feel like one (with the recent investment in Serie A, Italy will be getting better rapidly). Other than that, it is teams getting to very late in the game with a backs-to-the-wall defensive effort whilst being completely absent up front. Which has resulted in few goals, lots of penalties and lots of VAR.

                        The empty seats and resulting lack of atmosphere have also been rather disappointing. Compared to the last Euros, it has felt like a step backwards. Let's hope things pick up.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Kevin S View Post
                          I was wondering if any of the three African sides are likely to get through.

                          ...

                          The safe money is probably on all three going home, but I hope that's not the case.
                          Three points will probably be enough to be the fourth or better third-placed team. So Nigeria look to be in a good position after their win soon after Kev's post. However, I wouldn't rate their chances highly at all against any of the group winners in R2.

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                            #14
                            I'm expecting a lot from today's France v Norway game. I hope it doesn't disappoint. If the eventual winner doesn't come from Europe (or the US) it'll be a big surprise.

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                              #15
                              13-0 at a world cup finals is a bit of an embarrassment. It's the kind of thrashing you;d expect in a rugby world cup game when Pitcairn Islands are in the same group as New Zealand, or in cricket when Mali are invited to make up the numbers.

                              My initial feelings.
                              1) It's hard to keep track of it when the matches are on all kinds of formats (live TV, red button, website). After an initial burst I'm not sure it's sustaining my interest.
                              2) VAR sucks and seems to be particularly egregious in the games I've seen. A highly marginal offside cancelling out the best France goal. A really harsh penalty given against Scotland, missed in real time. And the late, late, late offside flags for really quite obvious offsides.
                              3) Good pundits. But Jonathan Pearce is a bit too matey and doesn't seem focused on the game at all - do we need to know his co-commentator held up departure at a services because she was buying a sandwich?
                              4) Better pitches than 4 years ago - no flurry of black rubber bits.
                              5) i wish there was a highlights round up programme. I'd prefer that to red button / website options.

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                                #16
                                South Africa beat the US 64-0 at the last Rugby World Cup, and the previous edition featured both South Africa 87 Namibia 0 and Wales 66 Fiji 0.

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                                  #17
                                  Narratively, things are starting to simmer nicely with a few good sub-plots. Ugly Americans. The hosts getting home town decisions. Scotland starting pluckily but unsuccessfully. Germany grinding through without looking much cop. An eyebrow raising pundit recruitment by the bbc. Just needs a few "John 3:16" banners in the crowd and it'll feel like a vintage world cup.

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                                    #18
                                    Well, you're out there soon, aren't you. Get banner-making.

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                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Patrick Thistle View Post
                                      13-0 at a world cup finals is a bit of an embarrassment. It's the kind of thrashing you;d expect in a rugby world cup game when Pitcairn Islands are in the same group as New Zealand, or in cricket when Mali are invited to make up the numbers.

                                      My initial feelings.
                                      1) It's hard to keep track of it when the matches are on all kinds of formats (live TV, red button, website). After an initial burst I'm not sure it's sustaining my interest.
                                      2) VAR sucks and seems to be particularly egregious in the games I've seen. A highly marginal offside cancelling out the best France goal. A really harsh penalty given against Scotland, missed in real time. And the late, late, late offside flags for really quite obvious offsides.
                                      3) Good pundits. But Jonathan Pearce is a bit too matey and doesn't seem focused on the game at all - do we need to know his co-commentator held up departure at a services because she was buying a sandwich?
                                      4) Better pitches than 4 years ago - no flurry of black rubber bits.
                                      5) i wish there was a highlights round up programme. I'd prefer that to red button / website options.

                                      Some good points there, especially No. 3. Some of JP's badinage with Sue Smith is making me cringe with embarrassment.
                                      Last edited by Nocturnal Submission; 13-06-2019, 10:09.

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                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by ursus arctos View Post
                                        And the ubiquity of that "look"makes it harder for women and girls who don't look like that (and can't look like that) in terms of feeling wanted and comfortable than it should be.
                                        Amandine Henry was on a TF1 documentary last week saying "it's not because we play football that we have to be masculine. On est des femmes à part entière avant d’'être joueuse de football [hard to translate this bit: the gist is something like "We are fully-fledged women who happen to play football."]." This 'behind-the-scenes' look at some stars of the French team promised a human angle, which as usual meant paying a lot of attention to their HABs. (It was co-produced by Julie Gayet, ex-WAG de la nation.)

                                        In related news, there are zero openly gay French footballers playing at a high level, men or women. Which is why i found it exciting to see the rainbow flag tifo at the opening ceremony brought by Les dégommeuses. (They haven't been sanctioned for it, even though tifos are banned.) Almost as exciting as hearing Levons-nous femmes esclaves, the hymn of the Mouvement de Libération des Femmes, sung by a section of the crowd at the Sweden-Chile match.

                                        Also, Patrick's observation #4 is well worth underlining, i think.
                                        Last edited by laverte; 13-06-2019, 10:51.

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                                          #21
                                          I'm nervous about asking what HABs means...

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                                            #22
                                            Husbands and boyfriends.

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                                              #23
                                              Oh! I assumed it was going to be something like T&A.

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                                                #24
                                                Only one draw in, what, 19 games now?

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