The selection of the 2018 world Cup: In their place could be us

9 Oct. Kiev. NSK “Olympic”. Ukraine – Croatia – 0:2. The blazers celebrate advancing in the playoffs. Photo of Paul KUBANOVA, “SE”

“SE” announces battles, which mandžukić and Manolas, Buffon and Forsberg, Eriksen and O’neill will determine who is more worthy of the world Cup.

Matches the Croats and the Greeks will be hard to watch without suppressing bitterness: Ukraine was so close to beat the star cast of “chess” and come out probably at the same Greece. Unfortunately, our team missed another chance, and now qualified for the world Cup will play two teams with experience of our offense.

The Croats have improved after the appointment of Zlatko Galicia. It is clear that the effect of burning eyes from the arrival of a new coach quickly passes, but Dalits from a purely coaching point of view, has proved itself as an interesting, non-dogmatic expert. In Kiev, for example, the decisive period of the match was won after Kramaric and Mandzukic were instructed to switch positions in the attack – from Cacica similar moves to wait was impossible.

To confront the Croats will be Greece, which in its style jumped to second place in the endgame skills. Only children of Hellas may issue during the selection pathmatcher a series with three goals without a single victory, but still, to beat such a good team like Bosnia and to get into the playoffs.

But in the case specifically with the selection in Russia it seems that the song is sung by the Greeks: too disparate teams. Over the past two years Greeks have won only Gibraltar, Cyprus and Estonia – not to mention the fact that this did not Shine.


I have the feeling that a meeting of the superorganized and the Swiss put on one time with Croatia – Greece specifically, so as not to spoil ordinary fans tonight. Team Michael O’neill and Petkovic definitely skilled, earned second place in their groups… but it is very boring.

Northern Ireland simply can not succeed otherwise is with a margin the weakest team of all the British (despite the fact that the others did not Shine). O’neill built a team that is very difficult to score – what’s our team for Euro-2016, and was convinced. Switzerland is slightly more complicated: the selection of players the team has a good, but the coach openly “wears” her after the great Ottmar Hitzfeld, who has always loved the solidity in defense.

Forgive for banality, but in this confrontation many critical will mean the first goal. He may remain the only one, especially if in the first game the British and the neutrals will be able to fight each other. And if you talk about chances, the statistics of Switzerland here speaks for itself. Nine wins in ten matches, one of which is over the current Champions of Europe just unfair that a team with such statistics did not go directly to Russia.

Ambolo, of course, fails to Schalke bigger Linnets, but the neutrals have quality players and apart from the promising striker. Granit xhaka is responsible for the center of the field at Arsenal, that in itself is a sign of quality; Stefan Lichsteiner and 33 wins competition at Juventus; xherdan Shaqiri and Admir Mehmedi in good standing in the English Premier League and Bundesliga respectively. Against this background, the composition of superorganized looks pale: it is one thing when you play defensive, because you chose such a strategy and quite another when you have no choice.


Still one and a half years have passed since the time when Italy was enthralled by the whole football community. Brilliant game of Euro-2016, uncontested victory over Spain, the game with the world Champions… And then Antonio Conte has left in “Chelsea”, and it was all over. Qualifying stage the Italians had shamefully not even the result, although the defeat of Spain and a draw with Macedonia gaping spots on the reputation of the team and the game. Very primitive, sadly, trying not to replay, and cross the opponent – such Italy turns any match into a torment.

Euro-2016 Conte returned to the cohort of top European coaches, he was able to hide the weaknesses of their players and put pressure on rivals strong. But think about it: why to take over the baton from his hands were willing only Mancini and 68-year-old Giampiero Ventura, have never worked with the top clubs? Such teams are difficult to lead: the demand for work zeitrahmen world champion by default is high, and resources for achieving goals are very very modest.

The “squadra Azzurra” is experiencing a pronounced period of stagnation. Only in defence there are players in the Prime of life, worthy of the prefix “top”. In addition, the disposal of Ventura or Frank veterans like Buffon and de Rossi or promising talents like Donnarumma and Locatelli (which, by the way, the Italian press praised to the skies with a hundred other stars did not meet expectations). Players in the Prime of life – Ciro Immobile, Antonio candreva, Matteo Darmian, Mattia de sciglio, are ordinary average people, which you can’t play yourself and be successful.

To resist the Italians will race for Sweden, which has knocked another crisis top team in the person of Holland (by the way, the winner of the previous two Mundial). Of course, the composition of the “Tre kronor” is inferior even to the Italians of the crisis – but at least it prevented the Swedes to reach the playoffs of major tournaments? At one time it had a team of Henrik Larsson and 10 workers, then the role of a guy with dreadlocks took Ibrahimovic. Now in Sweden, it seems, is ripe for a new star: Emil Forsberg from “Leipzig” by a wide margin became the best assistant in the Bundesliga last season.

The loss of Ibrahimovic was painless – “Tre kronor” even added thanks to improved team interactions. The team managed to get into the playoffs from the group, for absenteeism from which they are sure no one would have condemned, taking away points from the winners of the last two major tournaments. Holland just had to be restricted to a draw, and France with all their stars over hundreds of millions were defeated in Solna with the score 2:1.

In General, the main pair of the playoffs looks like a classic confrontation of the defiant underdog and the crisis of Grand. Italy got lucky in the second match to play at home to declassify it in the same Solna Sweden just can not, and the house odds most likely to play. The “squadra Azzurra” remains a favorite of the series, but goes along the blade. It is important to understand that the team is still deteriorating from month to month: the start of the selection (draw with the same Spanish victory in Israel) was replaced by defeat in Madrid and a home draw with Macedonia…


Finally, the last chronological duel will face Denmark and Ireland. The Danes almost gave up without a fight first place in the group, the poles, and even full-time 4:0 should not mislead – by the time separation of our neighbors was just grandmaster. The Irish lost the first place the Serbs, who a decade earlier had not reached the final stage of the tournaments – especially nothing to be proud of. Winning the playoffs will help the team to rehabilitate, the defeat will finally thicken the clouds.

Whatever the tactic choose the coaches of the teams, and the top player on the field will be exactly one. Christian Eriksen came to a quite incredible level: it is significant for Tottenham no less than Harry Kane. Dane by masterful trajectory puts goals from free kicks and collecting assists precisely at the feet of the partners, constantly serving neperebivaemy asset to their teams in equal matches. The team that is important, it is as good as in the club: selection, he finished best scorer and assistant of the Danes at the same time.

While Denmark missed the world Cup in Brazil and Euro 2016 qualifying. It is difficult to imagine how important this playoff specifically for Kane: while his partners in Tottenham (and many Englishmen, and Lloris, and Vertonghen with Alderweireld) play an important role in strong teams and repeatedly go to the final stadii, the asset Eriksen participation in them only as a Junior. For him it is the moment of truth: such an chance may not present itself.

As for the Irish, Martin O’neill (it could be confused with a mentor severoirlandtsev exactly the same as many people confuse the countries themselves) have gathered a strong team of British players, which the main star James McClean sitting on the bench, “West Bromwich”. Ireland plays a fun, bright and, with the exception of a single player, not much inferior to the class of Denmark. That is all comes back to skill and psychologicaly Eriksen: all at his feet…

Vitaly PASICHNY, Sport-Express in Ukraine

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