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13 hours ago, Macca said:

We could end up in not-so-hard group if things fall our way ... the draw is on Dec 1st.

image.thumb.png.7699fa972d3ffad56eeb4cbf1c20cac2.png

Here's a few combo's that might suit ...

Poland,  Peru,  Senegal,  Australia

Russia,  Switzerland,  Tunisia,  Australia

Portugal,  Colombia,  Egypt,  Australia

We don't want ...

Germany,  Spain,  Costa Rica,  Australia

 

 

 

The dream draw ... better still easy to get tickets :)

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12 hours ago, Diamond_Jim said:

The dream draw ... better still easy to get tickets :)

 

The World cup not having Italy,  Netherlands,  USA or Chile has opened up the real possibility of the event having a number of weaker groups.  And we are a real chance of being drawn in one of those weaker groups. 

Spain not being in pot 1 makes zero sense but nations like Poland have been able to manipulate the rankings/seedings by carefully picking & choosing who they play in friendlies.

 

 

Edited by Macca

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Irish radio station 'Today FM' are broadcasting some EPL games ... tuned in last week to the Spurs/Gunners game but I'm not sure how many games they cover or whether we'll be able to listen in on an ongoing basis. 

Anyway ... listen in here

Other games to keep an eye out for this weekend ...

Sun  1.30am - Dortmund vs Schalke

         4.30am - Liverpool vs Chelsea

Mon 4.30am - Villarreal vs Sevilla

         6.45am - Valencia vs Barcelona

         7.00am - Monaco vs PSG

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On 11/23/2017 at 8:07 PM, Macca said:

 

The World cup not having Italy,  Netherlands,  USA or Chile has opened up the real possibility of the event having a number of weaker groups.  And we are a real chance of being drawn in one of those weaker groups. 

Spain not being in pot 1 makes zero sense but nations like Poland have been able to manipulate the rankings/seedings by carefully picking & choosing who they play in friendlies.

 

 

Interesting.... had not thought of that angle

USA and Italy not making it must be a huge disappointment for the TV rights owners not to mention FIFA itself.

Have now got my accomodation in Kazan. A one bedroom unit with a pull out couch for the son in the living room. Apparently a 15 minute walk to the stadium which has the largest outside screen in Europe which I assume will make a good fan site for the non Kazan matches. In the scheme of things the accomodation while basic was not expensive but it was still 3-4 times what they usually charge.

Looking forward to the draw next week.

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5 minutes ago, Diamond_Jim said:

Interesting.... had not thought of that angle

USA and Italy not making it must be a huge disappointment for the TV rights owners not to mention FIFA itself.

Have now got my accomodation in Kazan. A one bedroom unit with a pull out couch for the son in the living room. Apparently a 15 minute walk to the stadium which has the largest outside screen in Europe which I assume will make a good fan site for the non Kazan matches. In the scheme of things the accomodation while basic was not expensive but it was still 3-4 times what they usually charge.

Looking forward to the draw next week.

I listen to to a few soccer podcasts DJ and the pundits have often made mention of how various teams are able to manipulate their ranking by who they choose to play in International friendlies ... Wales has been mentioned as well as Poland and a few others. 

Group draws in WC & EC qualifying are the targets ... also, the actual make-up of the groups in the WC & EC.  Seedings decides the pots and manipulating friendlies (opponents) is within the rules (whilst being ethically wrong)

Spain won their WC qualifying group which included Italy and are obviously one of the best teams in the World - yet not rated in the top 8?  FIFA should act on the inequity but what are the chances of that happening?

 

 

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15 hours ago, Macca said:

Irish radio station 'Today FM' are broadcasting some EPL games ... tuned in last week to the Spurs/Gunners game but I'm not sure how many games they cover or whether we'll be able to listen in on an ongoing basis. 

Anyway ... listen in here

Other games to keep an eye out for this weekend ...

Sun  1.30am - Dortmund vs Schalke

         4.30am - Liverpool vs Chelsea

Mon 4.30am - Villarreal vs Sevilla

         6.45am - Valencia vs Barcelona

         7.00am - Monaco vs PSG

The Dortmund-Schalke game was a belter. Dortmund was 4-0 up within 25 minutes, only for Schalke to peg them back in the last 25 minutes and level the scores deep in injury time.  

Spurs again stumbled at home to weak opposition, while the draw at Anfield just helps City.  

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image.thumb.png.5d8786408275947053ea14e0b8ee5d00.png

All times AEST.

Friday, June 15:

Russia v Saudi Arabia, Moscow (Luzhniki) (1am)

Egypt v Uruguay, Yekaterinburg (10pm)

Saturday, June 16:

Morocco v Iran, Saint Petersburg (1am)

Portugal v Spain, Sochi (4am)

Australia v France  Kazan (8pm)

Argentina v Iceland, Moscow (Spartak) (11pm).

Sunday, June 17:

Peru v Denmark, Saransk (2am)

Croatia v Nigeria, Kaliningrad (5am)

Costa Rica v Serbia, Samara (10pm)

Monday, June 18:

Germany v Mexico, Moscow (Luzhniki) (1am)

Brazil v Switzerland, Rostov-on-Don (4am)

Sweden v South Korea, Nizhni Novgorod (10pm).

Tuesday, June 19:

Belgium v Panama, Sochi (1am)

Tunisia v England, Volgograd (4am)

Poland v Senegal, Moscow (Spartak) (10pm).

Wednesday, June 20:

Colombia v Japan, Saransk (1am)

Russia v Egypt, Saint Petersburg (4am)

Portugal v Morocco, Moscow (Luzhniki) (10pm)

Thursday, June 21:

Uruguay v Saudi Arabia, Rostov-on-Don (1am)

Iran v Spain, Kazan (4am)

France v Peru, Yekaterinburg (10pm)

Friday, June 22: 

Australia v Denmark  Samara (1am)

Argentina v Croatia, Nizhni Novgorod (4am)

Brazil v Costa Rica, Saint Petersburg (10pm).

Saturday, June 23:

Nigeria v Iceland, Volgograd (1am)

Serbia v Switzerland, Kaliningrad (4am)

Belgium v Tunisia, Moscow (Spartak) (10pm).

Sunday, June 24:

Germany v Sweden, Sochi (1am)

South Korea v Mexico, Rostov-on-Don (4am)

England v Panama, Nizhni Novgorod (10pm).

Monday, June 25:

Japan v Senegal, Yekaterinburg (1am)

Poland v Colombia, Kazan (4am).

Tuesday, June 26:

Saudi Arabia v Egypt, Volgograd (midnight)

Uruguay v Russia, Samara (midnight)

Spain v Morocco, Kaliningrad (4am)

Iran v Portugal, Saransk (4am).

Wednesday, June 27:

Denmark v France, Moscow (Luzhniki) (midnight) 

Australia v Peru  Sochi (Midnight)

Nigeria v Argentina, Saint Petersburg (4am)

Iceland v Croatia, Rostov-on-Don (4am).

Thursday, June 28:

South Korea v Germany, Kazan (midnight)

Mexico v Sweden, Yekaterinburg (midnight)

Serbia v Brazil, Moscow (Spartak) (4am)

Switzerland v Costa Rica, Nizhni Novgorod (4am).

Friday, June 29:

Japan v Poland, Volgograd (midnight)

Senegal v Colombia, Samara (midnight)

England v Belgium, Kaliningrad (4am)

Panama v Tunisia, Saransk (4am).

Sunday, July 1

Round of 16:

Group C winners v Group D runners-up, Kazan (R1) (midnight)

Group A winners v Group B runners-up, Sochi (R2) (4am).

Monday, July 2

Round of 16:

Group B winners v Group A runners-up, Moscow (Luzhniki) (R5) (midnight)

Group D winners v Group C runners-up, Nizhni Novgorod (R6) (4am).

Tuesday, July 3

Round of 16:

Group E winners v Group F runners-up, Samara (R3) (midnight)

Group G winners v Group H runners-up, Rostov-on-Don (R4) (4am).

Wednesday, July 4

Round of 16:

Group F winners v Group E runners-up, Saint Petersburg (R7) (midnight)

Group H winners v Group G runners-up, Moscow (Spartak) (R8) (4am).

Saturday, July 7

Quarter-finals:

Winner of R1 v Winner of R2, Nizhni Novgorod (Q1) (midnight)

Winner of R3 v Winner of R4, Kazan (Q2) (4am)
 

Sunday, July 8

Quarter-finals:

Winner of R7 v Winner of R8, Samara (Q3) (midnight)

Winner of R5 v Winner of R6, Sochi (Q4) (4am)

Semifinal 1:

Saint Petersburg Stadium, 4am, Wednesday, July 11


Semifinal 2:

Luzhiniki Stadium, 4am, Thursday, July 12

Third place playoff

Sunday, July 15: Saint Petersburg (midnight)
 

FINAL

Monday, July 16: Moscow (Luzhniki) (1am)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Macca
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So my opening match in good old Kazan is Australia v France... will have to take the right coloured scarf

Who would have thought that when I bought my series tickets.

Will pretty well decide Australia's chances... hopefully a draw or a 1-0 loss. If we repeat the German loss 4-0 a la South Africa that is almost certainly the end of our chances.

Australia's second game (Denmark) is in Samara which is not far from Kazan so I might think about the logistics of trying to catch that game as well.

Spain play Iran in Kazan followed by Germany v South Korea. The other game is Poland v Colombia which should be a close game.

Round 16 match is most likely France v Croatia or possibly Nigeria.

Should be fun.

Looking at heading to Moscow for a week before going to Kazan but accommodation is seriously expensive. Wouldn't mind tripping around Kazan but so far have not managed to crack the code for independent tourism given that most web sites are in Cyrillic Russian.

Edited by Diamond_Jim
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Champions League Round of 16 draw

FC Basel v Manchester City

Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur

FC Porto v Liverpool

Sevilla v Manchester United

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain

FC Shakhtar Donetsk v AS Roma

Chelsea v Barcelona

Bayern Munich v Besiktas

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On 14/11/2017 at 5:16 PM, Grapeviney said:

 

I'm actually weighing up a quick, bucket list soccer trip to Europe in the new year. I figure with Spurs playing at Wembley this season, it will never be so easy to see them live again. Would try to go to matches at San Siro and the Camp Nou while I'm over there. Anyone done such a trip and have any advice?  

I’m going - and soon!

Just bought premium seats at the Camp Nou for Barca v Levante on the 7th, and the same for Spurs v the Toffees 6 days later at Wembley, with a pre-game function, drinks etc.

Pretty pumped, as I’ve dreamt about these stadia since I was a kid (albeit Wembley’s been totally refurbed since then, much like the ‘G). 

Hopefully Harry Kane can keep scoring hat-tricks for a few more weeks yet..

Edited by Grapeviney
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Starting to get a little concerned about how long it is taking Timmy Cahill to find a new club.

At his time of leaving Melbourne City, Muscat opined that Timmy had already lined somewhere up but it is now one month later and nothing.

Hard to think of a club that will give him good service and also be prepared to take on a stop gap striker that wants guaranteed game time.

A genuine conundrum which I hope is quickly settled. Of course he may take the view that as the A league is ending in around a month he really has little to lose by not playing in that league.

Perhaps a third level European club might be an answer (assuming he can't get a second level club)

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On 27/12/2017 at 5:06 AM, Grapeviney said:

 

Hopefully Harry Kane can keep scoring hat-tricks for a few more weeks yet..

Had to settle for a brace, but it’s hard to complain about a 4-0 thumping in front of more than 76,000. 

Was an unforgettable night, my seat was so good I was basically sitting on the bench, and could hear Poch and Sam Allardyce yelling out instructions. 

Spurs fans lament the lack of atmosphere at Wembley compared to the Lane, but coming from the much larger ‘G, it seemed intimate and the vibe all night was amazing. 

With Barca winning 3-0 last weekend, the whole trip has been a dream come true and I’m glad I came. 

Will post some pics when I get back to Oz.

⚽️⚽️⚽️

Edited by Grapeviney
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Some shots from the Barcelona v Levante game. The official attendance was listed as 56,000 but I reckon they fudged it, just as they do with crowds here, as the stadium seemed to be less than half full. Had amazing seats, sitting at about half-forward on level 2, which gave a great vantage point for the action. In the second half, the top row of seats in the stand opposite me took on this ethereal glow from the setting sun, and my cousin, who was sitting in the stand opposite, snapped the magnificent final shot in the series below.

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Seats at the Spurs - Everton game were also sensational, albeit this time at ground level, and I was within spitting distance of the Everton bench. Great atmosphere where I was (there were hundreds of Koreans sitting near me going crazy for Son, who was on fire) but not as good for viewing the match as the upper levels, where you get a better idea of space and distance etc. The thing which really struck me was how congested much of the play is, in comparison to what you see on TV, where it seems they have oodles of time and space to move the ball around. At both games I was one of the first in the ground so I could just sit there and soak up the enormity of it all!

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Edited by Grapeviney
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Livin' the dream @Grapeviney

Good on ya mate!  (great snaps too)

That Liverpool/Man City game from the weekend was all the talk back in Oz.  A 3.00am Monday morning kick off made it difficult to watch live but the extended highlights are worth another look ...

 

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18 hours ago, Macca said:

Livin' the dream @Grapeviney

Good on ya mate!  (great snaps too)

That Liverpool/Man City game from the weekend was all the talk back in Oz.  A 3.00am Monday morning kick off made it difficult to watch live but the extended highlights are worth another look ...

 

I was kind of lucky, Macca - not only did they get one of their largest crowds for the season, but they were on song, too. Rooney actually put Everton ahead about 10mins in but was ruled off-side. From then on it was all Spurs and they could have finished with 6. The Barcelona game was much less of a spectacle, and while it was good to see Messi score, they never had to get out of 1st gear. I should add, the tour of the Camp Nou and the Barca museum is superb. You can go into the visiting team's rooms, walk down the race (which has an adjoining chapel!), sit on the bench and visit the press box. The trophy cabinet, obviously, is enormous, stretching the entire length of a large room. One of the best exhibits was a huge glass case with dozens (maybe hundreds) of little squares, each labelled with a highlight from Barca's history; you touch the square you want to see and it brings up a larger box that shows that particular goal, or game etc. 

I caught the first half of the match at Anfield, but had to leave for the airport at half-time unfortunately so missed the exciting finish. City's loss leaves the door just slightly ajar for United, but for the rest it'll be a battle for CL spots. Hammers have really turned the corner since Moyes took over, a mid-season revival along with Palace and the Cherries. It's been an interesting season in every respect except for the actual title race itself. 

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There's been a number of changes for the European Nations with regards to competitive matches - including a brand new biennial competition.  'Friendlies' will be largely a thing of the past although there may still be room for the odd friendly. 

The following link explains it all but you may have to read the article 2 or 3 times to take it all in - it's a little complicated.  My initial reaction is that it's a terrific initiative but there may be some teething problems and/or the odd flaw might be exposed. 

Read more here ...

UEFA Nations League explained: How new format could aid Euro 2020 qualification

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There might be a few goals in this Spurs/Gunners clash ... big crowd too (close on 90,000 apparently)

The game is on SBS in case you weren't aware.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Macca

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19 hours ago, Macca said:

There might be a few goals in this Spurs/Gunners clash ... big crowd too (close on 90,000 apparently)

The game is on SBS in case you weren't aware.

Spurs should have had a bagful, Macca, they botched plenty of gimmes, but Arsenal never looked threatening. In fact, they looked disinterested most of the time.

Champions League returns this week, with plenty of good fixtures as highlighted in one of your earlier posts. I’m quietly confident about Spurs’ trip to Turin. 

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4 hours ago, Grapeviney said:

Spurs should have had a bagful, Macca, they botched plenty of gimmes, but Arsenal never looked threatening. In fact, they looked disinterested most of the time.

Champions League returns this week, with plenty of good fixtures as highlighted in one of your earlier posts. I’m quietly confident about Spurs’ trip to Turin. 

It was a dull first half and then the Gunners looked like they didn't want to be there.

As you said,  Tottenham could have easily scored 3 or 4 goals.  Arsenal look like they might be putting all their efforts into the Europa League.  They might win it too and thus find another way into the Champions League (although they would want to avoid Napoli,  Dortmund & Atletico Madrid!) 

As for the CL knockout fixtures,  there's 4 big match-ups (Juve/Spurs,  Real Madrid/PSG,  Sevilla/Man Utd & Chelsea/Barca) that I'll be tuning into.  All played on different days too.  That is great scheduling for the neutrals. 

Juventus are in fine form so your lads will be in for a tough 2 games (Juve have only conceded 1 goal since Nov 20)  Good luck GV!

Edited by Macca
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On 2/11/2018 at 7:00 PM, Grapeviney said:

Champions League returns this week, with plenty of good fixtures as highlighted in one of your earlier posts. I’m quietly confident about Spurs’ trip to Turin. 

And that quiet confidence was rewarded GV

That 2 - 2 result is like a win because unless there is another 2 - 2 result, Juve will need to win at Wembley.  Or find a way to score at least 2 goals.  It should be a cracker of a 2nd leg.

Meanwhile,  Man City just keep marching on (albeit against inferior opposition)

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1 hour ago, Macca said:

And that quiet confidence was rewarded GV

That 2 - 2 result is like a win because unless there is another 2 - 2 result, Juve will need to win at Wembley.  Or find a way to score at least 2 goals.  It should be a cracker of a 2nd leg.

Meanwhile,  Man City just keep marching on (albeit against inferior opposition)

W0o0-h0o0 !! Great comeback away from home after another sleepy, sloppy start.

Spurs will need to be on guard against Juve doing the classic Italian 1-0 smash-and-grab job in the return fixture, but as you say, the away goals puts them in the box seat.

With the league titles wrapped up in all the 5 major Euro leagues except Italy and maybe Spain, the remaining CL matches this round and beyond are all the more enticing, and I'll definitely be tuning into to RM v PSG tomorrow morning.

Also interesting to read today that there's been a slump in broadcast revenue in EPL rights in the UK, following years of massive increases. Didn't realise that British broadcasters are only allowed to show 200 of the 380 games live, a restriction apparently aimed at maintaining high attendances at the grounds. 

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Thought it might be time for a World Cup logistics update for those who are interested.

I planned to drop into Moscow for three nights before heading onto my base in Kazan.

Booked a hotel through Agoda in the normal way with attendance guaranteed by credit card and then started hearing all these horror stories about hotels in Moscow cancelling bookings for the WC. Emailed the hotel twice but no reply. Did a dummy booking at the hotel and was told 4 nights minimum stay (I had booked for 3 nights) and the rate had increased.I got in touch with Agoda and they had their Russian speaking consultant phone the hotel and supposedly my booking is good. Who knows... so if you guys know of a couch that I can share in Moscow it could be good back up.

Now onto Kazan where I have booked an Air bnb. Have used airbnb all around the world for the last few years and they are great. The big plus is the payment system. Airbnb act as the broker and no probs with false sites etc and payment is so simple.

Russia however has a twist for foreign visitors. Usually if you are in any city for more than 7 days you need to formally register your presence with the authorities. For the WC the requirement to register has been reduced to 24 hours if you are in a WC host city. 

Registration requires a personal visit by you and the host to the authorities. Nobody knows how this mass registration is going to work in practice. My Kazan airbnb host with whom I communicate by means of google translate has no idea either.

Such joys ... but all part of the adventure....

PS Is Timmy ever going to get onto the park with Milwall??

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Is this the end of Mourinho at Manchester U after this morning's performance against Sevilla

The comments section of the Guardian is on fire:

Here's a sample:

"Just woeful. The away leg was the worst United performance I have seen in years, this evening’s nonsense struggled to reach the dizzy lows of that debacle. If ever proof were needed that The Joyless Twatknuckle (TM) is in no way a United manager, then the first half of this evening’s farrago. It was anti-football, which is what TJT (TM) is. He is the antithesis of United and he must go."

"Don't care whether United win or lose, but that was just bad football. There isn't room in any eleven for Lukaku, Sanchez, Rashford and Lingard, particularly if you then tell your full-backs (both wingers of yore) not to cross the half-way line.

A collection of talented players can only be so dysfunctional, but Mourinho's personality is writ large on this team and no good will come of it."

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/mar/13/manchester-united-sevilla-champions-league-match-report

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My Road to Russia continues....

Late one night recently I check my emails and there is a message from my Kazan airbnb host. In Russian of course so out with handy Google translate and it says he wants to cancel my three week booking as he wishes to increase his price.

Having consumed a lovely bottle of red you can imagine how the exchange of emails then went.

Quickly onto the airbnb site and of course the only available accommodation is worse and astronomically priced.

Fast forward to next morning and I ask him the new price. Answer around double.

Well the natural thing to do is yell.. we have a contract etc etc and report him to airbnb... but when you think about the alternatives not to mention the cost of air fares etc saner heads prevail and we agreed a new price which I am sure will pay his rent for the next year at least.

And just to round it out I found that one of my two days in Moscow coincides with a public holiday they call Russia day. It apparently is a recent holiday to commemorate the establishment of Russia as distinct form the Soviet Union following the collapse of that wonderful national grouping. In practice it means Red Square partially closed for " celebrations".

And Japan sacked their coach ... perhaps we are not so badly off with the flying Dutchman after all.

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What a night in Europe. 

Absolute scenes in Rome. What a win that is. 

I got a tad nervous when City scored so early. But with the greatest front 3 on the planet it was never in doubt. 

Now I’m nervous Pep will buy our whole squad. 

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