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The last sale of world cup tickets started a couple of days ago which won me an email from FIFA.

Anyway their ticketing site had an interesting comment about who bought tickets:

"1,698,049 tickets have already been allocated to football supporters from all over the world via the official website at FIFA.com/tickets since September 2017.

Most of these tickets have been allocated to Russian fans (796,875), followed by fans from the USA (80,161), Brazil (65,863), Colombia (60,199), Germany (55,136), Mexico (51,736), Argentina (44,882), Peru (38,544), China (36,841), Australia (34,628) and England (30,711) – the top-ten countries from abroad."

Australia right up there and ahead of England and every European country bar Germany is a surprise. Must say from reading Guardian articles there seems to be a degree of weariness about the WC with many saying that the WC is no longer that exciting etc and stating a preference for the Champions League etc.

This is borne out perhaps by the high number of South American countries featuring in the top 10. Those fans are now forced to go to the WC to see their stars play.

The venue for the 2026 WC is between Morocco and a joint US, Canada and Mexico bid. One would think it's an open and shut case but who knows how the politics will play out. The vote takes place on 13 June (the day I arrive in Moscow).  Suspect that the FIFA delegates might well be at a more upmarket hotel than my Stalinist era digs on Prospekt Leningradsky.

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Big moment for all Liverpool fans coming up - SBS are broadcasting the match from 4.00am.   Could be a classic final as both teams like to go forward & score. 

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On 5/26/2018 at 8:09 PM, Macca said:

Big moment for all Liverpool fans coming up - SBS are broadcasting the match from 4.00am.   Could be a classic final as both teams like to go forward & score. 

Hard not to feel sorry for Karius.. How do you recover from that? It’s not like anyone’s ever going to give him a chance to redeem himself. 

I also get sad when they show the kids in the crowd at the end, tears running down their faces. Reminds me of me in ‘88, with red and blue face paint running down my face and all over my clothes. 

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7 minutes ago, Grapeviney said:

Hard not to feel sorry for Karius.. How do you recover from that? It’s not like anyone’s ever going to give him a chance to redeem himself. 

I also get sad when they show the kids in the crowd at the end, tears running down their faces. Reminds me of me in ‘88, with red and blue face paint running down my face and all over my clothes. 

Many of the pundits are not necessarily pointing the finger at Karius but at the decision by Liverpool to have him as their 1st choice goalkeeper. 

If it was the AFL he'd possibly be cooked but there's any number of soccer teams where he'd find a home.  And Karius has probably already made oodles of cash and is only 24 years old.  It's a whole different world to the one we live in GV.

Just over a couple of weeks to the World Cup ... sleeping patterns are sure to suffer but it will be worth it. 

Seeing we're on a new page I may as well copy & paste the schedule ... if we can scramble a draw out of our first game (Sat 16th June vs France 8pm) we'll give ourselves a chance to progress from the group. 

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)

 

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Leaving for Russia this weekend.

Having a few days in Moscow on the way to Kazan so I will try and give you some colour pieces as I travel.

Our tickets arrived this week.. luckily as I was not looking forward to having to collect them in Russia.

As one poster put up on another forum...

What could you expect when I am in Australia going to a game in Russia buying tickets from an organisation based in Switzerland that has them printed in Italy... what could go wrong.

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Quick note here on Bert.  He felt that he didn't have time to work up a relationship with the existing set of assistant coaches and support staff in the Australian camp, so he's paying the wages of his own team of assistants, analysts and scouts out of his own pocket. 

I'm really hoping that the support team in the Football Australia had in place are still hanging around and learning from these guys.  That experience will be priceless when Arnold takes over after the World Cup. 

Article.

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Greetings from an overcast Moscow where the temperature is a a balmy 14 degrees or so.

The weather next week is supposed to improve to low twenties which should be pleasant.

Today, June 12 is Russia Day. It's a public holiday where people look for something to do but there's not much on. (Think Moomba). The day commemorates the  announcement of Russia as a country or put another way the end of the Soviet Union. When you think about it that way you can understand why most don't think of it as a great day of celebration. The traditional May day is way bigger.

Moscow is a very impressive city and I can thoroughly recommend some time here. With the devaluation of the rouble it's not too expensive although my ticket for the Bolshoi ballet tonight was serious money.

Security is everywhere but the people and police are very pleasant. Nowhere near like the officious stereotype.

Food is good but the local food is way outnumbered by just about every franchise you can think of. KFC and McDonalds have pride of place at the entry to Red Square !!

Tomorrow I head to Kazan the capital of Tatarstan and my base for the next three weeks.

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3 minutes ago, Diamond_Jim said:

Greetings from an overcast Moscow where the temperature is a a balmy 14 degrees or so.

The weather next week is supposed to improve to low twenties which should be pleasant.

Today, June 12 is Russia Day. It's a public holiday where people look for something to do but there's not much on. (Think Moomba). The day commemorates the  announcement of Russia as a country or put another way the end of the Soviet Union. When you think about it that way you can understand why most don't think of it as a great day of celebration. The traditional May day is way bigger.

Moscow is a very impressive city and I can thoroughly recommend some time here. With the devaluation of the rouble it's not too expensive although my ticket for the Bolshoi ballet tonight was serious money.

Security is everywhere but the people and police are very pleasant. Nowhere near like the officious stereotype.

Food is good but the local food is way outnumbered by just about every franchise you can think of. KFC and McDonalds have pride of place at the entry to Red Square !!

Tomorrow I head to Kazan the capital of Tatarstan and my base for the next three weeks.

Cheers. Enjoy it DJ. Hopefully the tournament produces some great contests. Did you try the souvlaki from Plaka during your time over there?

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Posted (edited)

Just a little more:

Russia as you all know is an enormous country. Luckily the games are being played in the western third of the country but that area is probably at least one half the size of Australia.

The days are long. In Moscow it's sunrise at around 3:30 am and sunset somewhere after 9pm.

The night games start at 9pm local time presumably to go into Europe at prime time of 8pm.

There are no real traditional Russian bars. There used to be vodka joints but they have been largely replaced by sports bars and themed bars .. Irish, Bavarian Belgian .. you name it. There are very nice tea shops that sell beer and food at quite reasonable prices.

Edited by Diamond_Jim
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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Dee Zephyr said:

Cheers. Enjoy it DJ. Hopefully the tournament produces some great contests. Did you try the souvlaki from Plaka during your time over there?

Sure did ... and very good it was.

My favourite however was at the Central market where they sold little dishes like Tapas and ice cold draught beer. The fresh sardines were delightful.

In Moscow the Doner Kebabs are an artform and are everywhere.

Edited by Diamond_Jim
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Time for some tips? 

image.png.8965974e5d8f0d9f36021839e7490353.png

Group winners & runners up ...

  • Uruguay/Russia
  • Spain/Portugal
  • France/Australia
  • Argentina/Iceland
  • Brazil/Costa Rica
  • Germany/Mexico
  • Belgium/England
  • Columbia/Poland

That will do for now but I'm thinking I'll miss on at least 5 Countries out of the 16!

Tips for the Round of 16 / Quarter Finals / Semi Finals & Final match-ups and winners once the Groups are decided.

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Things just got a little warmer over in Russia ...

Spanish football federation sack coach Julen Lopetegui on eve of World Cup opening match

Quote

In a surprise announcement on Tuesday, Real Madrid named Lopetegui as their next manager to start work after the tournament in Russia, sparking outrage among the federation and Spanish fans at the timing of the announcement.

At a severely delayed press conference at Spain’s World Cup base in Krasnodar, Spanish football federation chief Luis Rubiales said he felt Lopetegui’s decision to join Madrid so close to the start of the tournament “obliged” him to take drastic action.

“I am here to say that we feel obliged to sack the national team manager,” said Rubiales.

 

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A Night at the Bolshoi...

When in Moscow one does what the Muscovites do.

The Bolshoi ballet is certainly no longer the "people's ballet" with tickets at a few roubles but it was worth the money to see this wonderful company.

I'm no follower of ballet so there was a lot of googling beforehand to work out what was going to happen.Even with my prior research I nearly left before it finished.How you may ask.... well after about two hours or more we got to a spot where the whole cast took a bow etc with everyone clapping etc as they do at the end of a show. Strange I thought they haven't done the "Shade dance" which this ballet is famous for. Off to pick up my backpack from the cloak room and the Russian matron said, "Not Finished". Back I went and watched the last act. It seems that as many of the dancers don't appear in the final act those not needed take their bow mid show and go home !!

The ballet was called La Bayadere one which the Bolshoi made famous and the spectacle of the final act as the corps de ballet descends from shade into light is stunning. To ballet aficionados it rivals swan lake as one of "the" scenes in ballet.

While the dancing was great , the theatre itself is a star. Completely renovated and re-opened in recent years it looks like when it was visited by the czars.

A great night and worth the obscene price.

And yes .. it went for three and a half hours!!!

Arrived in Kazan today ...more on this city almost bordering Asia tomorrow.....( The Aussie training camp is behind a very high wall so no free views.)

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1 hour ago, Macca said:

Kind of understand the conflict of interest but it seems to be an over reaction.

Hard to think of it as other than chest thumping.

Mind you as our Ange demonstrated the coaches can be as prickly as the Associations.

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Overcast in Kazan and around 16 degrees.

I am staying in what they call the new city which is over the river from the old Kazan. The good thing is that it is on the same side of the river as the stadium and the fan zone which are both within walking distance.

As is my norm I am doing airbnb's and the Russian apartments have proved to be interesting and different. I think it is to keep out the cold but the street doors to the apartments are dual chambered solid steel doors that one opens with a magnetic key disc. Then the apartment itself has two more doors with strange keys. Would definitely be challenging after a night of over indulgence.

Went to the big supermarket this morning. Much the same as ours with some different products. Try as I might I couldn't find the margarine.What took my eye though was the entire supermarket aisle (one side) of different vodkas!!

My son arrives from Melbourne tomorrow in time for the opening match in Kazan.

Tonight I will go off to the fan zone to watch the opening game of Russia v Saudi Arabia. Being the opening game it may be full in which case I am sure I will find somewhere to enjoy the world's beautiful game.

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Wow... what can one say... Saudi Arabia thrashed by the unranked home team.

KSA were so bad ... even when they were 3-0 down they couldn't get any attacking play going.

Could Russia have the fairy tale of making it out of the group stage.

Egypt v Uruguay tomorrow completes Group A's opening round.

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16 hours ago, Diamond_Jim said:

Wow... what can one say... Saudi Arabia thrashed by the unranked home team.

KSA were so bad ... even when they were 3-0 down they couldn't get any attacking play going.

Could Russia have the fairy tale of making it out of the group stage.

Egypt v Uruguay tomorrow completes Group A's opening round.

One UK pundit quipped about whether the Saudi's had ever played 'football' before!

Anyway,  we're off and running and the home team might progress past the group stage at least.  The atmosphere for the opening game was something else. 

Here are the games for the weekend ... SBS are broadcasting live the Australia/France game as well as the games in dark italics.  SBS are also showing a 1 hour nightly highlights package at 5.30pm daily

All times AEST.

Friday, June 15:

Russia 5  Saudi Arabia 0

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).

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For those who like their podcasts,  the following 2 quality productions are available daily ...

BBC World Cup Daily hosted by Mark Chapman & Kelly Cates

The Guardian World Cup Football Daily with Max Rushden & Barry Glendenning

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Posted (edited)

It's building in Kazan. Summer is coming and after a week of 14 it hits 18 tomorrow !!

My son has headed for the bars of Bauman street which will be full of Australians.

I just realised that although I have seen many Aussies I am yet to see a Frenchman. Perhaps they are waiting for the knock out phase a la Hawthorn supporters.

Both games so far today decided almost at the death. O that own goal by Morocco(Met a lovely Moroccan couple based in Dubai while standing in the Aeroflot check in queue in Moscow... they must not be happy.)

Spain v Portugal kicks off in an hour. I am becoming an expert (not) in the Russian TV commentary.

Edited by Diamond_Jim
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Posted (edited)

The Spain/Portugal game was an absolute beauty.  The draw might feel like a win for Portugal and a loss for Spain from their own point's of view.

Here are the goals from the game

Edited by Macca
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1 hour ago, Macca said:

The Spain/Portugal game was an absolute beauty.  The draw might feel like a win for Portugal and a loss for Spain from their own point's of view.  

Here are the goals from the game

 

 

 

 

 

.

I’m so glad I set the alarm Macca. I even woke up my 10yr old son to watch it with me and he was thankful. Absolute treat to witness it.

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After the two relatively dour early games the Spain v Portugal match was one for the ages.

The goal by the lone Spanish player against two defenders and the keeper was astounding.

Blue skies and sun here in Kazan with a match commencement temp of around 17... a perfect day for football

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Strewth nearly got a goal! 

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Posted (edited)

We did well to hold them out and the scoreline suits Australia more than the French.  And we've looked dangerous with the few times we've gone deep forward.  The French have been lazy going forward however. 

Cahill will come on around 60-65 minutes in you'd reckon.

Edited by Macca

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