And We’re Off!


World Cup 2018 has  begun!

Russia (home team) vs Saudi Arabia. I expect Russia will win, but hope that SA pulls one over on their hosts!


Open Thread, football or otherwise

50 replies
  1. 1
    burnspbesq says:

    This sounds like something Pence would say if the WC was being held in the USA.

  2. 2
    david says:

    So, the 2026 World Cup will be hosted by… Mexico/US/Canada. And expanded to 48 teams instead of 32.
    I guess that was done to “guarantee” the US would actually qualify this time around? It’s sad, really…

  3. 3
    Mike J says:

    @david: Seattle is already begging to host games, and when asked where the money to do it will come from the local boosters say we’ll figure that out later.

    I’m all for hosting a game. We’ve got a handegg stadium that works perfectly well for football, as the Sounders have shown. I don’t see what we should *have* to spend money on. Sadly, we know FIFA will demand moving a wall 6cm at a cost of $47 million.

  4. 4
    different-church-lady says:

    Russia (home team)

    But enough about Trump’s bracket.

  5. 5
    Amir Khalid says:

    Host nations don’t need to qualify for the World Cup. They always get an automatic place, along with the defending champion.

  6. 6
    hitless says:

    @david: The expansion was planned before the unified bid…it is not for US qualification. The expansion is motivated by the chance to make money, money, and more money.

    Also, traditionally, the host nation automatically qualifies, although I guess it is not yet decided how to handle a 3 nation bid. But beyond that, the US men’s national team isn’t as abject the media/popular opinion would have you believe and I think would be a good bet to qualify in each of the next two cups. And this year, the US has good company on the sidelines with Italy and Chile (although qualifying from UEFA and CONMEBOL are certainly harder than CONCACAF).

  7. 7
    raven says:

    @Amir Khalid: Has there ever been 3?

  8. 8
    Amir Khalid says:

    A goal and a torn hamstring for Russia. Their squad will be a player short for the rest of the World Cup.

  9. 9
    Amir Khalid says:

    No, but there were two joint-host nations — South Korea and Japan — in 2002.

  10. 10
    Mike J says:

    @Amir Khalid: He seems to have been accidentally shot by Claudine Longet!

  11. 11
    Tony Jay says:

    Whoever wins this opening game (and it looks like being Russia unless the Saudis start doing something with the ball) I just want Egypt to pinch whichever of the top two spots guarantees them a Knockout Round match up with Spain from Group A.

    I will be on the couch ready to toast whichever Egyptian player lands the most cynical, career ending challenge on Sergio Ramos. Extra chaser if the Egyptian is canny enough to get away with it and avoid a card, but they’ll be lining up to make the challenge anyway. That man is – not – popular on the Nile.

  12. 12
    raven says:

    @Amir Khalid: So they both got automatic bids?

  13. 13
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mike J: and later forced to have sex with Margaret Trudeau!

  14. 14
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mike J:
    Claudine Longet? Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.

  15. 15
    psycholinguist says:

    The logo looks like Ren from the Ren and Stimpy show.

  16. 16
    Victor Matheson says:

    Mike J: I am fairly well-known internationally as one of the leading critics of mega-events as economic drivers for the economy. And even I have been telling reporters over the past day that there really is very little downside for any of the proposed American host cities. In 1994, less than $25 million in infrastructure spending occurred nationwide in the US we we last held the World Cup. And we are in even better shape infrastructure-wise to host in 2026. There will probably be some relatively moderate security expenditures like during any other big event, but we are not talking about a $15 billion dollar expenditure like the current Russian games or the $200 billion Qatar is spending for 2022.

  17. 17
    Amir Khalid says:

    Yes, as host nations.

  18. 18
    Mike J says:

    @Amir Khalid: Any time I see someone injured in a sporting event my first thought is SNL from some time in the 70s.

  19. 19
    Karlb says:

    Completely uninterested in watching or hearing about any of this corrupt spectacle (other than rooting for injuries).

  20. 20
    raven says:

    @Victor Matheson: `We’ll have to put grass in the Benz!

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @Karlb: so fuck off

  22. 22
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Russia is winning easily. Sigh.

  23. 23
    Karlb says:

    @raven: Gee, thanks for helping to make this a welcoming place.

  24. 24
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Mike J:
    A handegg pitch is 50 yards wide, only two-thirds the minimum permitted width of a football pitch. So American stadiums built specifically for the former sport will likely have to be modified for football unless they have retractable rows of seats. Also too, I think FIFA expects top-flight matches to be played on real grass pitches, which many handegg stadiums don’t have.

  25. 25
    Mike J says:

    @Victor Matheson: What I don’t understand is having cities compete at this stage to get games. What exactly was in the bid? I would have thought details about venues would have been part of what they submitted to FIFA.

  26. 26
    Mike E says:

    @Karlb: wut raven said

  27. 27
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Karlb: Welcome but please let those of us who love soccer enjoy the World Cup. No need to root for injuries of players who are just doing their job. There are plenty of folks in the White House that you can save that for.

  28. 28
    Amir Khalid says:

    Your lack of interest is duly noted. Dr Silverman will update your file.

  29. 29
    Mike J says:

    @Amir Khalid: The pitch at the Clink is 70 yards by 110 yards (64 m x 100 m). They have artificial turf for both handegg and the Sounders, but in the past have laid real grass for special events.

  30. 30
    Karlb says:

    Wow, so much hate for a comment that doesn’t insult anyone here. A remark about corruption and somehow I’m preventing you from enjoying the game? At least I didn’t kneel.

  31. 31
    raven says:

    @Karlb: `Oh bullshit, take your whiny shit somewhere else.

  32. 32
    chopper says:

    where the goddamn hell is randinho is what i wanna know.

  33. 33
    JCJ says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    real grass pitches, which many handegg stadiums don’t have.

    When the US hosted the World Cup in 1994 there was a game in the Detroit Lions stadium at the time, the Pontiac Silverdome. They had grass in hexagons or something that they installed over the artificial turf. It was apparently miserably humid inside the dome.

  34. 34
    JCJ says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Ah – Here ya go:

    “It was a very hot summer and Detroit was extremely humid,” recalled former USA midfielder Paul Caligiuiri. “The Silverdome was built for turf, they brought grass in these big octagons and they had to water it. It added to the humidity and the texture of the grass, it was too soft … The combination of hot weather — 90 degrees with 90% humidity in an unventilated dome with grass that shouldn’t be there that was watered, it made for severe conditions.” Fellow midfielder Thomas Dooley bluntly added: “It was the worst place I have ever played.”

    From this article:

  35. 35
    Karlb says:

    @raven: Finally we agree. I like pie too.

  36. 36
    ruemara says:

    I feel almost guilty that my fervent wish is that both countries have their ruling parties & leaders fall into a sinkhole during the game. Almost. And I’m wearing my England soccer scarf in solidarity with anyone but both of these two teams.

  37. 37
    burnspbesq says:

    Azteca is likely to need another round of renovation before 2026, but Estadio Chivas and BBVA Bancomer in Monterrey are state of the art. Canada has more facilities issues. BMO Field in Toronto is too small, and the stadiums in Montreal and Edmonton are relics. Vancouver is a fixed roof.

  38. 38
    burnspbesq says:

    Well, that was ugly.

    If you bet on all the Asian teams exiting at the group stage, you’re looking good.

  39. 39
    lethargytartare says:


    so you come in to a thread celebrating the world cup, sh1t on it, cry like an infant when you get the expected reaction, take a sideswipe at civil disobedience, and pie a regular after 2 comments.

    yr a real treasure, Karl.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    A goal and a torn hamstring for Russia. Their squad will be a player short for the rest of the World Cup.

    Who says dreams don’t come true? 😎

    I do feel a little sorry for the player — a torn hamstring must hurt like hell.

  41. 41
    jimmiraybob says:

    Sorry, but i’m in the middle of World Dictator’s Cup 2018 programming. GoooooooooooOOOOOOOO Dictators!!!

    (as soon as I get to the top of these gallow’s stairs I’m jumping and making a run for it.)

  42. 42
    Bill says:

    @JCJ: I seem to recall a lot of talk about how it was going to be too hot to play in the the southern US in 1994. If my memory is right, there were extra scheduled water breaks during games, and during a game in Florida they distributed sandwich bags of water for player to drink during the action. That led to a field covered with baggies.

    I had forgotten about the humidity problems in Detroit.

  43. 43
    dr. luba says:

    Фак Russia. From the Hollywood Reporter May 25:

    The European Film Academy, together with several industry bodies, including Pen America, the Federation of European Film Directors, the European Producers Club and national film academies in Germany, Poland, Ukraine and the Czech and Slovak Republics, have called on the Russian government to immediately release imprisoned Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov before he dies of starvation in a hunger strike.

    His case is also now being championed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who says he will quietly lobby behind the scenes on behalf of a director imprisoned on terrorism charges he vigorously denies.

    Sentsov began his hunger strike nearly two weeks ago to protest both his imprisonment and that of 64 other Ukrainians held in Russian prisons. Claiming their arrest and incarceration to be politically motivated, the director is calling for their immediate release. Sentsov’s lawyer, Dimitri Dinze, has said the director will starve himself to death if his demands are not met. Monday will mark the 14th day of his hunger strike.

    More here.

  44. 44
    Victor Matheson says:

    @raven: Yup, but putting in temporary grass is cheap. Cost in the tens of thousands, not in the millions or billions. In 1994 they put grass in the Silverdome, the first grass surface in an indoor stadium in history.

  45. 45
    Victor Matheson says:

    @Amir Khalid: Every modern stadium built in the US, which is every stadium being considered for the 2026 World Cup, has been built with soccer in mind. Therefore, no US stadiums being considered would require any modifications to host a World Cup match.

  46. 46
    Victor Matheson says:

    @Mike J: My understanding of the bid at this point is that the joint bid included 23 potential sites that FIFA could choose from. Three are in Canada and three are in Mexico, which are all expected to be used. Thus, FIFA gets to choose which 10 of the 17 remaining US cities they will use. I don’t expect particularly expensive jockeying between these US cities, at least not in terms of significant monetary outlays.

  47. 47
    Victor Matheson says:

    @JCJ: I was at one of the Detroit games in 1994. It was like walking into a shower because of the combination of real grass, 70,000 fans, and no air conditioning. As an NFL dome in Detroit, no one figured that AC would typically be useful, as the field would never be used in July, so they didn’t bother with that unneeded expense. (Imagine the thought of trying to keep a publicly financed stadium to a reasonable budget!)

  48. 48
    Victor Matheson says:

    @burnspbesq: Vancouver is not on the list. I think the three Canadian stadiums are Edmonton, Toronto (but presumably the SkyDome, not BMO), and Montreal (and again Expo stadium not the MLS stadium next door). Montreal is a terrible stadium. Probably the worst place I have ever watched a major soccer match.

  49. 49
    Victor Matheson says:

    @Bill: The main problem with the US 1994 weather was the combination of warm weather and a desire to play games at noon here so they could be watched in primetime in Europe. Night games outdoors in Dallas are bearable. Afternoon games not so much. Next time they will definitely have games in Florida which will still be a problem. Both Atlanta and Dallas (both likely venues) have a roofed stadiums and AC, so fewer problems this time around.

  50. 50
    burnspbesq says:

    @Victor Matheson:

    Even with the roof open and a grass field, Rogers Centre is going to suck. Place has negative atmosphere.

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