Drum lin spre stele, Pele! — Sensibilități

Pelé, cel mai valoros jucător de fotbal din toate timpurile, a murit la vârsta de 82 de ani🕯️ Vestea decesului marelui fotbalist a fost anunţată, joi, de una dintre fiicele sale, Kely Nascimento. ”Te iubim la infinit, odihneşte-te în pace”, a scris ea pe Instagram, din Spitalul “Albert Einstein” din Sao Paulo, unde Pelé era […]

Drum lin spre stele, Pele! — Sensibilități

Never give up: Congratulations Messi and Argentina 🇦🇷 — psychologistmimi

This 2022 World Cup was just outright unbelievable. It was perhaps the greatest World Cup we’ll ever get to see. Congratulations to Lionel Messi and Argentina. If you didn’t catch the game, it was a thrilling one. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I like Argentina. But what I really […]

Never give up: Congratulations Messi and Argentina 🇦🇷 — psychologistmimi

2022 Qatar World Cup Semi-Finals Picks

The quarter finals were the best FIFA games anyone’s watched. There was almost a fight, a lot of overtime, penalty shots, and upsets. It will be difficult for the semi-finals to live up to the same expectations. The four teams remaining are the best and most competitive ones we’ve watched this fall. As mentioned in the last FIFA article, there are no draws nor points given from ties. Every round is elimination, meaning overtime and shootouts/penalty shots will decide winners. Before picks are made, the numbers are for who finished at the top two in each group, and the letters are from the group each team was in. Here are the predictions for which two teams advance to the title game.

2F Croatia v. 1C Argentina

Many futbol fans are on the Lionel Messi hype train and want to see Argentina play France in the final. Audiences have to keep in mind La Albiceleste blew a two goal lead to Netherlands and might have lost in penalty shots had Dutch coach Louis van Gaal not gloated after overtime.

Despite Messi’s great tournament, Argentina’s defense is questionable on containing veterans Andrej Kramaric, Ivan Perisic and Luka Modric. Croatia has a better roster, coach and goalkeeper compared to Argentina. If this game goes to penalty shots it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Dominik Livakovic dominate and push the Balkan nation back to the final.

Upset Prediction of the semi-finals: Croatia advances to the championship 2-1 in overtime

1C France v. 1F Morocco

Morocco has home field advantage the remaining week. The first African team to reach the semi-finals, no opposing player has yet to score against Yassine Bounou. Morocco knows the blueprint England executed to slow down current MVP Kylian Mbappe in France’s last game. There’s no doubt the Atlas Lions use the same tactic Wednesday.

France has an advantage playing a Moroccan team that might not have their captain Romain Saiss. While Saiss said he’ll do whatever possible to support the team and play, he could be subbed out early if the injury persists. A factor that leans in France’s favor is the opportunities forward Olivier Giroud will have when Mbappe is double-teamed. Giroud’s shot selection and passing could give France the needed win to make a back-to-back Finals appearance.

Prediction: France advances to the championship 2-1

2022 Quarter Finals Predictions Record: 1-3

NFL Week 14 Winners and Losers

The fourteenth week of the regular season eliminated teams from playoff contention and solidified division leaders. The playoffs are a month away and most teams are getting ready for free agency/offseason or vying for home-field advantage. Time to break down who’s closer to the Super Bowl and who’s ready for a top five position in the draft.

Winners: The further development of Jared Goff

Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff is having one of the best seasons of his professional career. He plays better every week even if there aren’t flashy stat-lines. He completed 27 of 39 passes on Sunday for three touchdowns and a 120.7 quarterback rating. The Lions dominated a ten win Minnesota team start to finish.

Unlike previous seasons in Los Angeles, Goff is showing growth reading fields, calling plays at the line of scrimmage and throwing sharper passes. In the top ten quarterback statistics category he’s 3rd in least interceptions thrown (seven), tied for second in times sacked (19), sixth in total quarterback rating and eighth in yards thrown. He’s in the middle of the top ten quarterback list which includes Patrick Mahomes II, Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen and Joe Burrow.

Jared Goff’s growth without the forced pressure in Detroit’s offense is the best part. Many analysts and fans figured the running game and offensive line would carry the offense. The Lions passing game is 15th in the league. That’s ahead of Philadelphia, Dallas and his former team the Los Angeles Rams. It’s likely the former “genius” head coach had no idea how to work with and properly develop him past a couple of seasons. It’s paying off for Detroit.

Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati went confidently into Sunday tied for first place in the AFC North after starting December with a win against the Kansas City Chiefs. A playoff caliber team like the Bengals occasionally trips up losing to an inferior team the week after beating an elite opponent. Considering starting quarterback and former number one overall pick Joe Burrow never beat the Cleveland Browns, it was a possibility Cincinnati could drop a home game to a struggling inner-state rival.

The Bengals started slow but played well the last three quarters of the game to seal a double digit win against Cleveland. Burrow threw two touchdowns and runningbacks Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine combined for over 110 yards and one score.

Coach Zac Taylor has Cincinnati in a great position to not just win the division but go on a deep run at the best time in the NFL season. The AFC should be careful with the Bengals.

Jerry Jeudy

Denver might not win another game this season and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy voiced that frustration in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City. The tirade galvanized the offense. They scored 21 straight points and were six points away from tying the Chiefs late in the third quarter.

Jeudy was a reason Denver almost tied the game. The receiver had his best performance of the season catching eight passes for 73 yards and three touchdowns. When starting quarterback Russell Wilson left with a concussion and backup Brett Rypien took over, Jeudy helped out scoring his third touchdown of the day.

It’s likely Jerry Jeudy leaves in the offseason due to Denver needing an overhaul at every position on offense. Whichever team picks him up will get a good option at third receiver on the depth chart.

DeVonta Smith’s touchdown between two Giant defenders on fourth down

While receiver DeVonta Smith didn’t have the sexiest touchdown or best catch highlight from week 14, he had an important scoring play that secured a dominant Philadelphia Eagles win on the road early against a division rival. The New York Giants’ secondary doesn’t miss tackles often but he made them look like fools.

Losers: Tennessee Titans

Since the close loss against Cincinnati three Sundays ago, the Titans have been blown out twice. The road game in Philadelphia was understandable but Jacksonville thumping Tennessee in Nashville is a bad sign.

The Titans fired general manager Jon Robinson after a dismal record of letting high profile receivers go in exchange for draft picks who haven’t worked out. Tennessee would have a better record and clinched the AFC South had they not traded A.J. Brown to the Eagles or kept Jonnu Smith in a prior free agency period. Now the Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts remain in the AFC South race due to an anemic Titans offense.

The schedule doesn’t get easier. Coach Mike Vrabel has to prepare the team against the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys; teams with better offenses and solid defenses. Tennessee’s desire to split their final four games shows how far the team’s fallen in Super Bowl hopes.

Anyone stuck watching Baltimore-Pittsburgh

Sunday’s AFC North rivalry game wasn’t a fun watch because of the injury to Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson’s PCL. The game got worse when the starting quarterbacks on both teams left with injuries.

Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett was the first to leave because of a concussion. Then Ravens backup starter Tyler Huntley left with injured ribs. Viewers were stuck with an Anthony Brown v. Mitchell Trubisky duel. Let’s just say neither team sniffed 20 points.

Baltimore won (or Pittsburgh lost) but they don’t look good on offense with neither Lamar Jackson nor a play-maker at wide receiver. This is when we look back at the double-digit blown leads earlier in the season and wonder how different things would look if the Ravens were three games ahead and not tied for first with a hot Bengals team that started slow.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If this is quarterback Tom Brady’s last season in Tampa Bay then Sunday’s beatdown loss against San Francisco might be the exclamation point on a disappointing year. It reveals how important offensive line positions are and what happens when there’s not enough depth after starters suffer season ending injuries.

People who watch games weekly know the Buccaneers would be better if they weren’t missing multiple Pro Bowl caliber linemen, including two centers. Opposing defenses go full throttle at the backups and hit a seven time winning quarterback around 40-50 minutes a game. It’s miraculous Brady hasn’t suffered a season ending injury.

Probably the worst part of a 28 point loss was losing defensive interior presence Vita Vea to a leg injury. San Francisco took advantage of Vea not playing and ran up 21 points on Tampa’s defense. Ouch.

Russell Wilson

U.S. football is a strange sport. Broncos starting quarterback Russell Wilson has struggled in all but one game. He had a hard time Sunday until Denver’s defense got some turnovers. Then Wilson played like how most audiences remembered him in Seattle. He lead a comeback where Denver came six points away from tying the Chiefs in the third quarter.

Then he suffered a game-ending concussion. Any offensive momentum (save for Rypien finding Jeudy to finish the last scoring drive) left. Kansas City’s offense ran the clock out easily with a tired defense on the field.

Eerily, broadcaster Ian Eagle said after Russell Wilson was intercepted by Willie Gay for a defensive touchdown earlier in the game, “That’s Denver’s season in a nutshell.” It’s been a season to forget for both Denver and Wilson.

Note: Winners and Losers will return the last Monday of December due to the World Cup Finals match taking place on the 18th.

2022 Qatar World Cup Quarter Finals Predictions

What a fun, early December for World Cup play. The semi-finals filtered the contenders from the remaining pretenders. While most of the eight teams knocked out showed promise and fight, the remaining eight were better and earned their wins to make round three. As was mentioned in the last FIFA article, there are no draws nor points given from ties. Every round is elimination, meaning overtime and shootouts/penalty shots will decide winners. Before picks are made, the numbers are for who finished at the top two in each group, and the letters are from the group each team was in. Here are the predictions for which four teams advance to round four.

1A Netherlands v. 1C Argentina

The quarter finals begin with a thrilling Netherlands versus Argentina matchup. It appears as a deadlock in stats, coaching and talent. This could be the best game of the quarter finals.

Both teams have a forward who’s scored three goals (Cody Gakpo for Netherlands, Lionel Messi for Argentina), two midfielders who’ve scored two goals each, and good goaltending.

Two critical things will be how coach Louis van Gaal counters both Messi and Julian Alvarez especially when substitutions become a factor. The second is how Alvarez takes pressure off Messi and create scoring chances against defensive anchors Denzel Dumfries and Daley Blind.

Argentina hasn’t lived up to the hype compared with the other seven teams. Netherlands hasn’t lost a game for good reasons: they adapt well against their opponents and have better scoring depth. The Dutch will give their next round opponents problems.

Prediction: Netherlands advances 2-0

1A England v. 1D France

The biggest of the four matches. The current world champions led by MVP frontrunner Kylian Mbappe face their toughest test against the best British team fielded in decades.

The game could be decided between the matchup of Mbappe versus Bukayo Saka, a young phenom who’s scored three goals on four shots with 78 passes. This matchup gives Olivier Giroud and Adrien Rabiot of France and Harry Kane, Phil Foden, and Marcus Rashford of England better scoring, passing and break-away chances.

There’s one shocking stat for France in scoring: the team’s scored nine goals, five coming from Kylian Mbappe. That’s the same number England’s forwards have netted. The French team faces more pressure due to them being the recent champions. Coach Gareth Southgate has positioned the English team to advance and make a title game run similar to last year’s UEFA’s tournament. They’re also more determined given the team’s title drought.

Prediction: England advances 3-2

2F Croatia v. 1G Brazil

The first match to take place Friday, this appears a lopsided match with the scoring depth Brazil has and the overwhelming style of play executed. Many forget Croatia has a calculated mindset where penalty shots fall in their favor. Still, that requires them to last 130 minutes against the best team in the tournament and it’s hard to see that happening despite the superb play of goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.

Prediction: Brazil advances 4-2

1F Morocco v. 1H Portugal

Morocco’s Cinderella season continues and could last one more round due to their perfect shutout against opponents. An own goal is still the only score against their defense, meaning Portugal will be flustered despite their beatdown of Switzerland last round. Cristiano Ronaldo coming off the bench would be a great tactic for the Portuguese late where the Atlas Lions could face more pressure. Regardless, no team has found a way to puncture Morocco’s suffocating style of play.

The Atlas Lions’ ability to not score on breakaway offensive opportunities could harm the team if Portugal jumps out to an early lead. Don’t be surprised if this game heads to overtime and penalty shots.

Upset Prediction of the Round: Morocco Advances 3-1 in Penalty Shots

Previous Round/Semi-Finals Predictions: 7-1

2022 World Cup Round of 16 Predictions

What a fun way to end November and start December. The group stage provided a lot of information and who has the best chance to make a deep run and give teams headaches. While many of the 16 teams knocked out showed promise and fight, the remaining 16 were better and deserved to advance to round two. From here on out, there are no draws nor points given from ties. Every round will be elimination, meaning overtime and shootouts/penalty shots will decide winners. Before picks are made, the numbers are for who finished at the top two in each group, and the letters are from the group each team was in. Here are the predictions for which eight teams advance to round three.

1A Netherlands v. 2B United States

The round of 16 kicks off with the eighth ranked team in the world versus a resurgent U.S. squad. The injuries to star Christian Pulisic and a red hot first round for the Netherlands makes this an easy choice.

Prediction: Netherlands advances 3-1

1B England v. 2A Senegal

The more interesting match between groups A and B. England is a favorite to make the finals but Senegal gave both Ecuador and Netherlands problems (despite different results against both). Questions about Senegal’s finishes against top opponents will loom because England is not the team to play conservative against the last 15 minutes of a close game.

Prediction: England advances 3-2

1C Argentina v. 2D Australia

Talk about lopsided on paper. Of course, you could say the same when Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia in round one. Australia is confident winning two games in a row but Argentina and captain Lionel Messi should play on a level the Outback only faced versus France in the group stage.

Prediction: Argentina advances 3-0

2C Poland v. 1D France

Kylian Mbappe is on pace to be the Most Valuable Player of the games while Roman Lewandowski has struggled outside of a complimentary goal against Saudi Arabia. France is on a mission to repeat.

Prediction: France advances 4-1

1E Japan v. 2F Croatia

The 2018 World Cup runner-ups can breathe relief knowing they won’t have to worry about a Spanish offensive barrage. They can’t do what every other team in Group E did and dismiss Japan even if ball possession is around 80%. Croatia’s defense improved late in the group stage and the offense is ready to make another deep run.

Prediction: Croatia advances 4-2

2E Spain v. 1F Morocco

Regardless of who wins, this is a bitter rivalry. The winner will have bragging rights for years if not decades to come. Morocco’s impressive shutout streak ended because of an own goal against Canada. However Spain’s inconsistency the longer the tournament goes has repercussions. This will be a fun game regardless of who wins.

Upset Prediction of the second round: Morocco advances 2-1

1G Brazil v. 2H South Korea

Probably the most lopsided match of the second round. Brazil had nothing to lose in their last game in their loss against Cameroon and still held the nation to one goal. South Korea had a thrilling first round and should be proud they made it this far.

Prediction: Brazil advances 6-1

2G Switzerland v. 1H Portugal

Despite Portugal’s dominant group stage, Switzerland has looked the better team going back to last year’s UEFA matches. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them knock out the winner of group H due to better scoring depth and less drama.

Prediction: Switzerland advances 3-1

Group stage predictions record: 12-4