I thought I would add a World Cup thread to the site so we can comment on the action and in particular on the performance of those Liverpool players who are participating and those with whom we are linked.  So far it has been an enjoyable competition with some stunning goals and at least one brilliant game,Spain v Prtugal (or should that be Spain v Ronaldo)  I thought Lovren had a very solid first game for Croatia though Nigeria were poor and hardly tested him.  Henderson continued his good club form against Tunisia and has hopefully cemented his place in the England team,ahead of the more defensively mnded Dier. Stirling was very frustrating in that game as were Lingard and Alli.  There was lots of good build up play but you wonder if anyone other than Harry Kane is ever likely to score.

England's win should ensure they progress from the group but some of the fancied nations have a lot to do including surprisingly Germany.  I missed the first half of their game but I gather Mexico were brilliant for 45 minutes.  They certainly defended well in second half and could be the surprise package..  Brazil also struggled against Switzerland after Coutinho's trademark strike.  I was watching Shakheri with whom we have been linked.  I think he's too lazy to play for Liverpool even though he is talented.  He worked a bit harder than usual in that game but Klopp would not tolerte a player who ambles back after possession has been lost.

I'm totally confused about VAR.  I though it was working reasonably well until the England match.  In the previous game Sweden were correctly awarded a penalty through VAR but VAR failed to give England two penalties that were blatent and I am at a loss as to why.  

There is strong Liverpool interest today with Mane and Salah likely to feature for Senegal and Egypt.  Let's hope they perform well and stay free of injury.  There is a possibility of England meeting Sengal if both teams progress to the first knock out round.

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  • At last, England have won a penalty shootout. On balance it was deserved, they were the better team overall and Colombia should've been down to ten men for most of the match. I can't work out how the ref can see enough of the incident, or be told about it by the VAR, to give the player a yellow card and not determine that it deserved a red card. If the incident was noticed by the officials it's violent conduct and a straight red, how they decided a yellow was appropriate is beyond me. Sometimes it seems like the men in black all have slightly different rulebooks.

    There is no escaping the fact - Jordan Henderson had his penalty saved and was rescued by the save of Everton keeper, Jordan Pickford, and the penalty of Eric Dier . In Hendo's defence I will say this though: throughout the game he did a tireless job closing down players as they came into midfield and won possession back on numerous occasions. Colombia never had control of the midfield and that was largely down to him. With regard to his penalty, it was a decent height for the keeper but he'd put it close to the post and, to be honest, I've seen worse penalties than that go in. The one question I do have is why was a knackered Henderson taking a penalty and not a fairly fresh Vardy? No doubt when Southgate was asking for volunteers Henderson put up his hand because he feels a sense of responsibility but surely he should've been overruled in favour of Vardy who'd played much fewer minutes and is Leicester's confident designated penalty taker. It's water under the bridge now but had Pickford and Dier not turned the shootout around Henderson would've ended up a national villain, or even more so, in circumstances that wouldn't have been entirely fair.

    • I was saying to myself please don't let it be a liverpool player to cause englands knockout and sure enough hendo misses his pen but dear god was he bailed out of a horrible situation, did you notice him dropping to his knees when Diers pen went in whilst everyone else ran to pickford and Dier, very very lucky boy our hendo, nobody will remember his miss now, thankfully.

    • Being a penalty misser for England is such a life-changing occurrence for a player I'm not surprised he felt a massive sense of relief when Dier scored. It would've been a bit unjust if he ended up the villain, I thought he played an important part in keeping Colombia relatively quiet throughout 120 minutes.

    • I'm reading that England have not lost in the last 28 matches in which Hendeson has played, 22 of which were wins and 6 draws.  That must say something about his contribution.  I noticed one paper had him marked as the worst England player last night with 5 out of 10.  Whoever rated him so poorly should lose his job as he clearly does not understand football.  Did he not notice the work Henderson was doing off the ball closing Columbia down and rendering their midfield ineffective?  Its not just what you do on the ball that matters and besides Henderson did little wrong when he was on the ball.  Poor journalism.

    • Some of the press get what Henderson's role in this team is, some of them are absolutely clueless. That statistic about 28 lossless games with Henderson explains why he's starting and not Dier. One thing that really stuck out in the Colombia game was that when an opposition player entered midfield, or England lost possession in midfield, Henderson was on them very quickly, slowing their progress or winning back possession. This created the time for the other England players to get back into position and it was noticeable that England were very rarely caught out of position. Henderson kept that up for 120 minutes and those who know how hard that is, such as Gary Lineker, acknowledged what an effort Henderson put in. If people judge Henderson on the missed penalty (one I don't think he should've been taking in the first place given Vardy was available) they are completely misunderstanding how England survived long enough to reach the shootout.

    • Exactly my thought regarding Vardy who should have taken that penalty.  If I recall correctly the previous penalty Henderson took was against Athletico Madrid in pre-season a year ago and he missed that one so I had no confidence he would score.  I would not blame any player who missed a penalty after 120 gruelling minutes and under that pressure but there are plenty of idiots who would have given Henderson hell had England lost the shoot out.  Big decision lies ahead on Saturday afternoon - England v Sweden or Liverpool v Chester?  

    • I have to admit, I could remember that pre-season penalty he missed and I was dreading Henderson having to take one for England. It seems to be the more time he has to think on a shot the more likely he is to miss, the goals he scores seem to come when he acts out of instinct. But he sees himself as a leader so he would never refuse to take a penalty if asked, I was just surprised Vardy didn't put himself forward to be in the first five penalty takers given his experience as a penalty taker.

    • Vardy had an injury we did not know about at the time so that is probably why Henderson took one.  Tough match today against Sweden who lack stars but are very difficult to beat.

    • Vardy was on the bench against Sweden so I'm guessing his penalty-induced groin strain was only fleeting, thankfully.

      The Sweden game was quite revealing, I thought. Our general play is very good - good at passing and keeping possession, good at closing down the opposition when we lose possession, very good at set plays. The two issues, I feel, that seem to persist are that the three at the back can find themselves a bit light against quick counterattacks and our forwards and attacking midfielders are just too hesitant getting shots off in and around the box and take too many touches. The fact Jordan Pickford has been stunning has covered for some of the deficiencies further forward and, likewise, our set play potency has compensated for our lack of finishing in open play.

      However, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter how you get to the next round just that you do so I won't be too critical. England have got Croatia in the semi-final (thank God it's not Russia) so a final appearance is a genuine possibility, for once. Dare we get excited...?

  • Well it wasn't to be for England.  The game could have gone either way and surely England would have won if they had taken their chances in the first half.   Good luck to Lovren in the final.  He'll need it up against Griezmann and M'bappe - try sticking to Giroud Dejan!  This was the least experienced and possibly the least talented squad England have taken to a major championship but unlike many of its predecessors thay had a plan, were well organised and played like a team.  It augers well for the future especially as the highly talented teen generation comes through with players like Foden, Alexander-Arnold, Brewster, Jones and Sessignon.

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