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Showing posts from June, 2018

World Cup 2018: Knockout stage here we come

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The knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup is set as the final 16 teams vie to wear the crown and become the new soccer kings of the world. Two straight weeks of World Cup action and fans can finally breathe.

For one day, at least.
So...#URUPOR 🇺🇾🇵🇹#ESPRUS 🇪🇸🇷🇺#FRAARG 🇫🇷🇦🇷#CRODEN 🇭🇷🇩🇰#BRAMEX 🇧🇷🇲🇽#SWESUI 🇸🇪🇨🇭#BELJPN 🇧🇪🇯🇵#COLENG 🇨🇴🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Excited? #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/Kll9X54wbO — FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) June 28, 2018Disappointment has set in for 16 nations and their respective soccer clubs. Some have known for days of their fate while others had to wait until the final whistle of group play.
The margins of advancing can sometimes come down to the slimmest of parameters. Senegal knows that feeling all-too-well. Playing in only their second-ever World Cup, the team from Senegal was poised to advance to the knockout stage.
A Poland victory over Japan opened the door for Senegal. Of course, they were playing Colombia at the same exact time …

World Cup 2018: Taking a peek at forgotten Group H

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Day 11 of the 2018 World Cup is in the books, with teams from Group H delivering on a fine day of matches. All of the talk about the World Cup on this blog in recent weeks has spoken of great teams, powerhouse countries, and Iceland. In the process, much has not been said about the countries from Group H.
Guys. Group H matters, too.
It might have been easy to write off this group at the start of the World Cup. Many assumed Colombia and Senegal would advance to the Group of 16, with Japan and Poland fighting to even sniff the next round.
Poland was the first out of the group to officially be eliminated after falling to Colombia 3-0 today. Poland, making their first World Cup appearance since 2006, is a team on the rise but found nothing comes easy on the world stage. Not that they expected it to, but I'm sure they noticed a lot of work still has to be done.
This is not to say Poland was routed out of the World Cup. They fell 2-1 in their opener to Senegal and kept pace with Colomb…

World Cup 2018: The bells of the proverbial ball

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Weekend number two of the 2018 World Cup is nearly complete as Belgium and Mexico continue to display their dominance in different ways.
The knockout stage of the World Cup is on the horizon, with a few countries already eliminated and a few others locked in on the Group of 16. Some -- including a few of the big ticket countries -- are staving off the sun setting a few days longer. And Iceland will need a big win, plus help, if they hope to advance.
Belgium and Mexico, however, are two teams cruising in the group stage.
Belgium won handily in its second game of group play, a 5-2 decision over Tunisia. The five goals brings their total to eight for the tourney so far.
While they have not clinched a spot in the next round, Belgium is using a blistering pace on offense in blitzing their opponents into submission. And the defense will only get better when injured star defender Vincent Kompany returns when Belgium faces England on Thursday.
England is set for their second game in group pl…

World Cup 2018: Powerhouse teams showing weak spots

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Five days in and the 2018 World Cup has lived up to expectations, even delivering a few surprises. David has not quite slain Goliath here in the 2018 World Cup. The giants have taken their licks, some have been brought to one knee, but for the most part they're still standing.
The underdogs are certainly closing the gap, though.
Soccer is normally a sport in which we see a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 results. It's part of the beauty of the game, in which a single goal by a team can propel them to an upset.
Fourteen matches have been played through five days, with eight of those decided by one goal.
A few countries predicted to win the World Cup stumbled while managing to still pick up the victory. Belgium, on the other hand, struggled for a half and were locked horns at 0 with Panama before bursting out of the locker room with a barrage of goals, starting with this excellent volley by Dries Mertens: PICK THAT ONE OUT!

Dries Mertens hits the volley perfectly to put Belgium up 1-0. pic.…

WWE: Elias circling the top level and it's great

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Money in the Bank 2018 promises to be a solid pay-per-view, with Seth Rollins vs Elias as one of the matches many are looking forward to. Don't ever mess with a man's guitar, even in the WWE. Especially if the owner of said guitar is Elias.
Last Monday night on RAW, Seth Rollins -- owner of the Intercontinental Championship and best run of 2018 -- took a stomping to Elias' guitar. The very guitar recently given to the Drifter by John Mayer.
Sure, Elias goes through his fair share of guitars in destroying the instruments on the backs of other wrestlers. But that's his choice and one that usually pays dividends. WHERE did @IAmEliasWWE just come from?! #RAWpic.twitter.com/qV6WpzXG3j — WWE (@WWE) May 29, 2018 Elias has been steadily rising on the WWE's flagship program over the past year. His efforts are being rewarded with a title fight for the IC belt on Sunday night in Chicago.
Having not seen a whole lot of NXT over the years, I didn't know what to expect when…

World Cup 2018: Spain and Portugal deliver a match for the ages

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photo courtesy of maxpixel.net
The United States men's national team failed to make the 2018 World Cup, but there's still plenty to be excited about. Portugal and Spain, two teams ranked in the top-ten in the world, lived up to pre-match expectations on Friday. And it was only the fourth game of World Cup 2018.
On a day which saw only two combined goals in the first two games, Spain and Portugal had matched that in the first 24 minutes on Friday. The goals would keep coming for both sides, en route to a 3-3 tie between the likely top-2 teams in Group B play.
It took Uruguay until the 89th-minute to find the back of the net in defeating Egypt 1-0 (who were without star striker Mohamed Saleh). And it was an own goal late in the Iran-Morocco matchup that secured a 1-0 victory for the Iranians.
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo was much quicker getting the scoring going during the marquee matchup of day 2. 
Ronaldo -- who earlier in the day was sentenced for tax evasion -- was foul…

Golden State Warriors: A fantasy dynasty for the ages

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The Golden State Warriors have won back-to-back titles and their third in four years. In our younger days, on dirt courts with bent rims, on cement pads with chain nets, and on playgrounds with no nets at all, basketball dreams were had. Alone, you created a super team in your head.
Michael Jordan with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Kobe Bryant with Shaquille O'Neal and Karl Malone. (Oh wait. That one happened.)
Or perhaps the fantasy team dream stemmed from days of playing NBA Live or any of its video game siblings in which you'd trade for that super team.
That's the Golden State Warriors in a nutshell.
A 108-85 Game 4 victory sealed the deal. A game in which Steph Curry dropped 37 points and Kevin Durant had a triple-double (20 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) to help steamroll the Cleveland Cavaliers. #StrengthInNumbers#DubNation#NBAFinals#ThisIsWhyWePlaypic.twitter.com/42j2bdBvEt — NBA (@NBA) June 9, 2018
Durant had another outstanding series -- his second straight Final…

J.R. Smith and 5 other sports blunders etched in time

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Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals almost turned out to be one for the ages. Until it wasn't, except maybe for all the wrong reasons.
One day, it might be eventually noted as another stellar performance by LeBron James. James scored 51 points, pulled down 8 rebounds and dished out 8 assists in what turned out to be a losing effort. It took overtime, but the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-114.
Likely the game will go down for the J.R. Smith rebound and subsequent dribbling out the clock with four seconds left in hopes of a sealing a victory.  Except -- as many fans already know -- the score was tied at 107. WHAT WAS JR THINKING?! pic.twitter.com/3LHkTmXYbv — Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 1, 2018In time, we as fans remember the main blunder -- rightfully so -- that cost the team a game (or at the very least a chance to win the game).
What about the surrounding events, before or after, in which the noted blunder might not have had an effect?
Take, for examp…