World Cup Day 5

England’s big day is finally here as we open our campaign against Tunisia tonight.

One of the biggest days for England fans in the football calender as we look to start our Russian adventure with victory.

Weekend recap

It has certainly been a fantastic weekend in Russia which just about had everything. Ronaldo stole the show in one of the greatest World Cup matches ever seen as Spain were held to a 3-3 draw by Portugal.

Messi couldn’t drag Argentina past Iceland, while Brazil also had a stuttering start.

However, Mexico stole the show yesterday as they beat reigning champions Germany with a fantastic counter attacking display.

Sweden v South Korea

The other match in Germany’s group is today’s early kick off and after the result yesterday it is wide open.

The Swedes knocked out Italy in the playoffs to reach the finals so have shown they can beat some of the biggest nations and will start favourites today.

South Korea don’t come into the tournament in great form but it is another one of those games when both sides will feel they need to win to progress.

Belgium v Panama

Belgium are favourites to win our group and should get off to a winning start against new boys Panama.

They are making their first appearance at the finals and if they pick up any points in the group they will have done well.

Belgium should be too strong though and have a genuine chance of going far in the tournament.

England v Tunisia

We finally kick off with expectations lower than normal. However, they are still expectations for tonight, a winning start.

We have a young attacking side who could threaten anyone we face going forward.

Tunisia won’t roll over, a lot of the smaller sides have so far put up solid displays so far.

However, we should be able to replicate 20 years ago when we overcame them 2-0 in our opening game in France.

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World Cup 2018 Day 2

We are well and truly underway after the opening ceremony and match yesterday, but today the action gets better as three games take place.

Day 1 What we learned

While Russia were expected to win yesterday the manner of their victory over Saudi Arabia which was suprising. It was clearly a mixture of Saudi having an absolute shocker and good Russian play, but they took their goals very well. The last two in particular are genuine world class strikes. It puts them in good stead to qualify with the two harder games coming up. As for Saudi one day in, it is hard to see any way they can come back from this.

Day 2

Uruguay v Egypt

A really interesting contest, but where the build up has all been about one player. Following the Champions League final all of Egypt has been sweating if Mo Salah will be fit, it sounds like he won’t be fit to start but they need him in what will be the toughest game of the group.

In Cavani and Suarez alone the South Americans are very dangerous and they were fantastic in qualifying.

Uruguay have the potential to have another great run again and the draw has been very kind to them, I expect them to win the group.

Morocco v Iran

Group B kicks off with the two smaller teams of the four facing off in a game both simply have to win to have a chance of getting through. Both sides were impressive in qualifying with fantastic defensive records. It could well be a game of few goals but one both have to go for in the later stages.

Spain v Portugal

The pick of the group games is set to be a Friday night treat for all. Spain’s well documented build up may have an effect on the squad but it doesn’t stop them from having a world class line-up and they still remain rightfully one of the favourites for the event.

European champions Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo are hoping for back-to-back major honours. Alongside their neighbours they should have too much for the others in the group whatever the result tonight.

However it is set to be a fantastic game for all football lovers across the globe.

The World Cup is now truly here.

World Cup day 1 preview

It is finally here World Cup 2018! Over the next four weeks we are set for a feast of football and I will be looking towards the action as everything plays out.

There is only the opening match on Day 1 as Russia get ready to stage the World Cup for the first time and while it may not be that exciting a game on paper it means the tournament is finally here!

Russia v Saudi Arabia

The two lowest ranked teams in the tournament meet in the opening game which it is hard to argue isn’t the worst opening game in the history of the tournament.

Neither team come into the tournament in any sort of form but it is crucial for either team if they have hopes of progression.

Uruguay are the favourites in one of the weakest groups in the tournament with Egypt and Mo Salah also set to provide a test for the hosts.

With Russia not having to qualify for the event they have had to make do with friendlies as a warm up for the event but have struggled albeit against some of the better teams in the world.

Since qualifying Saudi Arabia have also struggled results wise but have shown enough that they may not be rolled over as much as some may think.

Russia are heavy favourites for the match with home advantage, but the odds for them to win aren’t worth it considering they have struggled to score many let alone win.

Either way the world will be watching and even if tonight’s match might not be a classic it means the start of a fantastic few weeks for football.

A busy weekend but the right moves from Tommy

After the season came to a conclusion last weekend Tommy’s early moves in the window would always be crucial but it is hard to argue against the decisions he has made.

We have done incredibly well as a group of fans to raise nearly 85k for the boost a budget. However, Martin Gray was always one to spend money and ask questions later, the time to change this is now, thankfully Wright seems to agree.

Every penny needs to be spent wisely and having a smaller squad is important to this. In the second half of this season, a number of players were not getting a look in and simply have to leave for us to be able to strengthen elsewhere.

Gary Brown and Leon Scott leaving will be hard for both players but it will be the best for them and us as a club. Both have had a huge role in the club’s most successful, title-wise, period in our clubs history and have been fantastic servants on as well as off the pitch. Enough could not be said to praise them, but when we look back at this period both will be two of the names first talked about.

Greg Mills is another to be released and again it comes as no real shock. Mills had a couple of good games for us at the start of 2018 but it hasn’t worked out for him and is well behind Gillies and Thompson in the pecking order.

The final player released so far is Liam Marrs. It is a difficult one as for many when he played in the 2016/17 season he more than held his own at this level. However, Tommy clearly prefers Luke Trotman at right back and budget wise it is hard to justify having two players for each position.

Terry Galbriath was a must to get tied down to a contract so getting him signed on is huge for the team. We have seen him play in numerous positions over the years but he has adapted to all of them. One of the really crucial players in this squad next season.

Josh Gillies is the other to sign a new deal and in recent months he has shown why he deserves it. On paper, he is as talented as any in the squad and when he turns it on he is too hot to handle at this level. If Tommy can get Gillies, Styche and Thommo playing at their best together no defence at this level will be able to stop them.

Others remain who still have time left on their contracts but it is yet to be seen what will happen. It is a difficult situation when they are not players Wright has brought in but if we are unable to offload them loan moves might be the best we can do.

The majority of the key players in the first team have signed new deals in recent months and the squad is really coming together.

A couple of key positions still need to be addressed, in goal being the most important for me. However, the squad on paper is looking a strong one and if we can get them playing together we could really have a strong chance of challenging at the top end next season

Burnout Paradise Remastered review  

 

Burnout returns to the gaming world with a remastered version of one of its classic titles that will have you racing, crashing and jumping all over Paradise City once again. 

Remastered games are certainly the in things at the moment, COD, Crash and just recently the announcement of Spyro to name a few. While people will see them as companies trying to make a quick buck, if it is a big title and people want to play it again why not. 

From dropping into the game I felt straight at home. In its day it really was a classic, one of the earliest driving only free roam games it offers an event at every crossroad for you to compete.  

It is what you want from an arcade racer fast paced action that never stops. The events are broken down into races, road rages when you need to destroy so many rivals, marked man where you simply need to survive and stunt runs when you take to the air to get points for exciting jumps. The idea from ten years ago is simple, addictive, easy to play racing fun.  

Remastered games are always hard to judge, is it worth spending so much for a game that people have already paid for? 

The in-game updates are limited, if you play on the highest spec versions of the game the graphics look clean but not a huge improvement on the original. Likewise in a time when fast travel is a norm in games, it still does not make an appearance in Burnout. While for the majority this won’t be a problem if there is one specific event you are trying to complete after a failure you have to drive back to the start to attempt it again. 

The soundtrack is very 2008 with some classic songs in there it certainly isn’t a bad thing that it has not been changed.

The learning curve is a perfect one it is tricky at times, but most players will be able to complete events within a few goes. 

New content

One of the main plus points for those who had the original game is the DLC. The original was one of the early titles to offer a really good DLC package and the title comes with most of this included so for players such as myself who didn’t play it the first time around it really is a great addition. Big Surf Island is the main attraction but also online elements and bikes which could easily be a game in its own right. 

In the first few weeks since it came out I have managed to get the platinum trophy for the main game but still find myself on less than 70% completed of the game. There is so much to do and to fully complete everything the game has to offer will take a long time.  

Like I said early if you buy Burnout Paradise Remastered or not will depend on your view of games being remade. For new players, it may feel a bit outdated in some aspects, but more than holds its own still against the other arcade racers on offer currently. For those who have played it before if you loved the game ten years ago you will not be disappointed.

 

Darlo 2-1 Kidderminster analysis – Thommo saves the day again

The last month has been a fantastic one on the pitch for the club and yesterday just capped it off in dramatic style. Yesterday was a tough game against one of the most in-form teams in the division and prior to the game, I would have been happy with a point.

If we haven’t scored the last minute it wouldn’t have been a disaster, but it is hard to argue that we didn’t deserve the three points.

You can see why Kidderminster are near the top of the league they try and play football and stick to it. It would give me a heart attack every five minutes if I was one of their fans, but they can clearly play and that’s why they are in a playoff spot.

The first 20 minutes even after our goal Harriers looked the better team and had two or three chances that it is hard to believe they didn’t convert.

However, after that, we controlled them very well. Youngsters Jack Vaulks and Josh Heaton along with Aynsley Pears had great games to keep out a very experienced Harriers side.

Their goal was down to a miss judgement and lack of communication that they will learn from and thankfully it didn’t prove crucial in the result. That aside, they held it together well. Vaulks didn’t look out of place despite coming straight into the team and as for Heaton, he will go much higher than this level of football. He won so many headers and dominated at the back, hopefully he can continue to do this for us for a bit longer at least.

While we didn’t create a huge amount in the first half when the big chance came we took it.

The second half we played fantastically, controlled the game and should have been out of sight with the chances we had.

Turnbull looked back to his best controlling the match from the centre while Syers has been fantastic recently and again was getting past the strikers a lot yesterday.

However, it was Thompson yet again who was the match winner. Since Tommy took over he has been out best player consistently and yesterday he delivered when we most needed it.

We could have easily whimpered after the equaliser and even gone on to lose the game. Yet, we kept going and got a deserved winner.

As I said above, before yesterday I would have taken a point, but had the game finished 1-1 our position would have looked precarious.

We still have a job to do and despite our recent form, we are only five points off the bottom three, if we had just picked up four/five points this month which on paper would have been a good return we would have been in trouble.

Thankfully though we have got ourselves into a position where we control our own destiny and have the confidence knowing that we can beat anyone in our division.

March looks easier on paper then February, but we all know it isn’t that simple.

FIFA Weekend League Feb 3 – the struggle continues

Despite my poor display with performances and results in the second week I was ready to go again.

Having the Friday off work made a big difference and pretty much having a free weekend meant I knew I should be able to get all 40 games in without a huge struggle.

From mid afternoon I had the whole of Friday to try and get through as many of my games as I could, but ultimately this would prove to be my downfall.

I started off with two wins playing well fully concentrating, but yet again it all unravelled pretty quickly.

On Friday I ended up playing 24 games pretty much straight with no distractions, but it was simply too much.

For pros at the very top of their game focus is a big part of their success, but playing so many games in a row I really struggled.

Each individual game for the average player requires a lot of concentration, as lapses at this level are inevitably punished.

By the end of the night I was playing games I didn’t really want to in an attempt to play as many as possible, it was my downfall. 10-14 shocking.

After Fridays exploits I didn’t have a massive urge to play Saturday, but I felt I needed a change in my team. I had a few big name loan cards that I had never used and thought attacking wise I would use one a game to see how I got on.

First I went for Henry, the card was incredible simply incredible in comparison to my normal players. I only played four games on Saturday 2-2 The two wins were comfortable while the losses were both against stacked teams, but games I nearly won.

Starting the final day I was 12-16, 12 games to go. I left it relatively late in the day and I knew I was going to be rushing to get through the 12 games it started very well with help from Henry and then three games with loan Ronaldo. The difference in results and performance was huge.

The first few games with one of the above I did well. Similar to Saturday I was winning games and those I wasn’t I was pushing the opposition a lot closer then before.

The difference after when I went back to my normal players was amazing.

In my rush to play through the games I ended up on terrible run which meant I finished dreadfully on 17-23.

A few lessons to be learned from my worst weekend of the three.

1. For average players breaks are key to allow full concentration for as many games as possible.

2. Having a fantastic team would make a difference. It wouldn’t make me 30+ wins but it would certainly add 5-10 on per week.

3. When it becomes a grind as it did during my spell on Friday night the game really loses its fun element for none elite players.

I will play again this week to give myself one last shot and to try and boost the monthly rewards, but after that I can’t see myself playing weekend league much further this year.