Development curve

I have been playing nothing but offline matches vs the AI in myClub over the past few days. Somehow, if I’ve got a spare 40 minutes to get a match or two in before work, it feels wrong to spend any of that time on finding a human opponent. The good old traditional single-player routine still applies.

I have progressed offline to the Professional Stronger level. I just cannot seem to get the back-to-back wins required to ascend to Top Player Weaker.

I exclusively use my 1-star Irregulars offline. As you progress, you come up against progressively stronger teams, and my Irregulars have now run into a brick wall. No matter how I try, the Irregulars just cannot seem to break down the AI-controlled user teams that are stuffed with stars.

I went for my B Team instead, which I rarely use. This is a mixture of my Irregulars and my better players. 3 stars on a good day.

I met a team called Brasil. They only had one Brazilian player: classic Romario. The mode’s World Cup bonus thing is still going on. Earn more GP for re-skinning your club as a national team for the duration of the tournament. I haven’t dabbled, but I’ve played against plenty who have.

I won this with a David Silva hat trick plus one from Castledine.

Below is the Silva hat-trick. Goal 1 is a bit special. I didn’t really capture the best angles to see it. It’s a finessed left-foot curler from about 25 yards. The second is an easy header. The third is a great free kick that I thought I’d put too much power on at the time.

Player Development is 99% of myClub for me. I converted a raft of my top players into Trainers – including Bale, which was a wrench. He was my first big-name Black Ball signing, but he turned out to be as anonymous and Everyman-like in myClub as he was in Master League. Perhaps with persistence Bale would have emerged, as David Silva has now seemed to emerge. And to be fair Bale has never fit in with any of my manager formations (there is no WF position in any of them).

But there is no time left to persist with Bale. Time is a-crackin’. PES2018’s myClub has scant weeks to live… Unless PES2019 turns out to have ditched player development, in which case, PES2018’s myClub may have several months to live.

Bale converted into around 4500 EXP as a Trainer. That, combined with a fair few other players, was enough to slingshot Veldwijk up 11 whole Levels in one go:

The story of Veldwijk in PES2018 is soon to be interrupted, if all goes to plan with PES2019. Maybe.

Turns out that player development is the secret sauce required to make myClub palatable.

Will Konami now swipe this sauce off the table? We all know they could very easily do so and it would not be at all surprising. It’s really quite tense waiting to find out.

Updated: 13th July 2018 — 10:49

39 Comments

  1. n-G – That’s a lovely free kick you’ve scored there. Such a shame we don’t get to see that feature in the game more. I’ve not scored one in PES 2018. I have had a penalty though.

    I still feel myClub will be a fun aside for me as while I get the player development side of it, I don’t feel the wider narrative of winning a league or a cup over a domestic season. The promotions and relegations in myClub just don’t seem to matter.

    I still plan to continue my footy gaming break with only a few weeks now to another football season and PES 2019. I hope Konami know what they’re doing by releasing it so early what with the flack they are bound to get for outdated squads and last season’s hairdos.

  2. Shed, I didn’t get the MyClub narrative at first, thought just playing matches was a bit pointless, but the player leveling up and moving through the divisions is actually quite addictive.

    See EA are in a quandry with Ronaldo’s transfer to Juventus.
    He’s the FIFA 19 Cover star, in Real Madrid kit, there has already been lots of press releases and marketing materials using CR7 in real madrid kit, also the Journey Mode in FIFA 19 contains a huge storyline whereby the character Alex Hunter, arrives at Real Madrid and Ronaldo takes him under his wing, there are lots of already built and scripted scenes involving CR7 at real madrid.

    Oops.

  3. Shed – free kicks become a great scoring opportunity when you use a decent player. Generally anything above 70 for free kicks is a better-than-evens chance. As you say, though, the opportunities come along so rarely in a fouls-free football game like PES2018, that it’s frustrating to see such an excellent, satisfying feature so criminally underused. And the same applies online. One of my most remarkable discoveries is that online PES is now a fouls-free environment as well, despite all the argy-bargy and constant sprint-clamping (which is of course exactly why fouls have been removed from the series). In about 40 online matches now since the myClub madness began, I don’t remember having a single free kick in shooting range, and the average fouls per match is about 0.75 per side. That is true no matter how aggressive the opponent is. The fabled ‘but I had a match last night in which there were four fouls each!’ is just an exception (and not one I’ve ever come across, by the by). The rule holds sway.

    It’s just about 6 weeks to the next PES now. Nothing will be different about fouls and free kicks. The battle was lost a long time ago.

  4. I had an inkling that the Ronaldo move was going to be problematic, both konami and ea go big on the Spanish leagues, hyping their real/Barca allegiances. They may flirt from year to year with a bundesliga or psg name but the Italian links seemed to fall away ages ago – Edgar Davids in Juve kit? I know these things are regional but I can confidently say we will never again see a Newcastle united player grace the box (97).

  5. Didn’t NG’s fabled PES5 have Henry & Terry on the cover?!!
    John Terry !!?!? You could not think of a less likely cover star for any game!! ever !!

  6. Paul – Pierluigi Collina?

  7. Nice hatty. Cheeky bit of R2 for the first goal?

    Does player age affect development in myclub? I have a lot of 30+ year old players, mostly gold and black ball around the level 30 xp mark. If I try and ugrade these guys, is it just wasting xp? Do players keep developing all the way to their limit?

  8. Paul – that’s quite amusing re EA and Ronaldo. If I were them I’d leave it all intact as-is.

    Tommy – all players level up to max Level 55, or somewhere around there. The problem with the established ‘name’ players who are already Level 30 and highly developed is that there’s a proportionally greater amount of EXP needed to level them up – but you can if that;’s what you want to do.

    I’m more focused on the lesser players. Far better to get Level 1 players (famous and not) and nurture them yourself. I have a wild dream of showing up to take on the teams packed with Ronaldo-Messi-Neymar (and soon Mbappe etc) on their own terms, with my well-developed team of no-names.

    Even the lowliest lower-division player is potentially developable to dizzying heights. E.g. I picked up a white-ball player, Zigoni, in an early single-agent spin (use a random single agent to get the lower players). He was something like 67 OPR, as befits an Italian Serie C player. I’ve already got him up to 71OPR playing in the Irregulars, and the online database shows me he could be got up to 81OPR eventually. I won’t have time, I think, in PES2018, but I’m learning what to do for PES2019. If it has player development…

  9. Check out @loydpay’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/loydpay/status/1017986592558985216?s=09

    Struggling, but loving it.

  10. Lloyd – I’m soon going to set myself up with an old-school ML to live in alongside whatever shiny myClub I end up with. I don’t think I can live with the PS3 PES2011 anymore so it’ll have to be PC, and most likely the greatest PES ever made. The one you’re on there.

  11. Now that England’s involvement in the World Cup is over I do think we need to annalise the ‘Three Lions’ song. I really do think it could end up being a noose around our neck as it is going to be rolled out every time England progress in a tournament. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind the song and the message of hope, but it has been hijacked to a song of expectation. This is why I agreed with Roy Keane and his comments the other day. The more I heard people around me saying “It’s coming home” during the build up to the Croatia game the more I feared the worst.

    As for gaming I am currently playing Witcher 3 and although it is early days I do like the design of the game. In particular the map filters which mean you don’t get overwhelmed with quest pop ups. There are sub quests but you find yourself not losing sight of your chore quest and only do one thing at a time.

  12. The first thing to analyse is the title, they’re not bleeding lions!

  13. Darryl – one if the things I liked about witcher 3. One of the, if not the, greatest game ever for me. Only downside is that it’s very much story driven which means very little if any replayability.

  14. Chris -some may say they are leopards but I am not convinced by that argument. As a kid I used to have a keen interest in lions and drew them. They look like lions to me.

  15. That’s a peach of a free kick no keeper etc etc. I have already paid my pre-order on 2019 and genuinely believe exp will still be a feature, if not it’s not for me I think. I have just finished a Division 3 unbeaten season (2 draws) that because of exp will always live in the memory. I was losing the last game of the season 1-0 in the 78th minute I brought on my 78ovr Llorente this was into a 5star team playing against a 5star team. I knew him and felt thus that the game was set up for him. 84th minute equaliser and a 91st minute knock down for Silva and I was in celebration just 1 of many mc memories primarily provided because of player growth. Also got up to 900 rating for the first time ever. Who could have ever seen this dirty mode replace what used to be ml.

  16. They are lions, it’s taken from the monarch’s three lion crest dating back ye best part of a thousand years. However, any lion that actually looked like that wouldn’t last a day in the bush, zebras would be queuing up to take the piss. What you want is yer Trafalgar Square lion. Whether we should have lions however…not for me, they’re nothing to do with this isle. I think I’d have a bird or perhaps a knowing fox bedecked in velvet jacket and cravate.

    Looks like France will win – workmanlike, defensive, boring – with a very fast guy for the ball over the top. These tournaments rarely produce the winners we want. I realised that in 82.

  17. They are taken from the monarch’s crest, but they’re still leopards. They are only lions if they are on their back legs, as with Scotland.

  18. I believe they can be called ‘leopards’ but the representation is meant to be the animal known as a lion to the natural world m’lud.

    I call my first witness

    https://www.theheraldrysociety.com/articles/why-three-leopards/

    …..

  19. Late to the lions debate and pleased to see that Uncle Turf has streaked to the finishing line already. Reminds me that one of the most interesting things to read about is the ideas and images that past ages formed of things they had little or no direct knowledge of (like lions, and space, etc).

    Darryl – ‘football’s coming home’ was of course a reference to the Euro 96 tournament being held in the land where the sport’s rules were formalised. I still think that most people have that sense – but some don’t. It has kind of changed before our very eyes these past weeks. In time, I suspect the hook chorus will retain that faint note of victory, despite the lyrics being all about hope and belief etc. There are fully grown adults walking around who were not alive in ’96 or so young they don’t remember it.

    I disagree with Keane’s rant – the kind of bad-tempered aside my late Irish father used to come out with after a few drinks (or sober, it didn’t really matter). It was also the view of Modric and the Croatian manager, we learned the day after. They and others said that English players and pundits were assuming England were already in the final and thus disrespecting Croatia.

    I consumed a hell of a lot of media in the days between the Sweden match and the Croatia match, as well as met a lot of people talking about it all, and the dominant tone was far and away total disbelief at England’s progress coupled with a great wariness of Croatia’s strength (which turned out to be justified wariness). If anyone were to ask Modric ‘what TV or newsprint interview or article did you see or read in which that view was expressed?’, what do we think his answer would be? I think he wouldn’t have an answer. His answer would be along the lines of ‘oh, it’s just what I heard people saying they said’.

    I don’t remember even Ian Wright at the height of his enthusiasm dismissing Croatia. Wondering aloud ‘imagine if we got to the final!’ is not at all the same thing as dismissing an opponent. I’m sure somebody somewhere did say the equivalent of ‘Croatia will be easy-peasy! We’re going to wiiiiiiiiiiin!’, but does that mean the general stance of English public and media was one of arrogant lordly dismissal? No, the Keane-Modric view lacks all credibility. All the cumulative evidence is to the contrary.

    So for me this whole Keane-Modric-esque ‘arrogant England’ thing is an example of a much, much larger syndrome: how pre-existing perception dominates reality. There is a strong existing pre-conception of England and the English as arrogant and entitled, so therefore that is what they must be in any given context where it is possible to say it of them. Who needs actual supporting evidence (enough evidence to make the verdict meaningful)? It’s a well known fact that doesn’t require evidence. It’s always interesting to have a conversation with Scots, Irish and Welsh people about this phenomenon. They get very irate very quickly, because of course you’re querying the legitimacy of their entire mental reality.

    I’m aware of the obvious comeback here – the abundant evidence of English arrogance and misdeeds in a wide range of contexts. No shortage of crimes there. Easiest scavenger hunt ever.

    My answer is: but where is the evidence of that in this particular context? Where is the actual evidence that Croatia were dismissed as an opponent by English media, English players, English pundits, and the English public in general? It’s important to notice that there is no evidence (not enough to make the claim of general arrogance to be credible), and what that means.

    Many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people here and abroad will leave this World Cup with the settled view that England were arrogant and entitled toward Croatia. That is fascinating to me and I have been thinking about it a lot over the past few days. How many beliefs are shaped in this magical fashion?

    Gary – I wish I shared your confidence. The ghost of Master League sends its regards…

  20. NG – I wasn’t of the opinion that England were entitled or anything like that but could see merit in what Keane was saying. An example being the Wimbledon tennis final. Before the Croatia game there were calls for the Wimbledon final to be moved forward. This was because if England got to the final then there would be a clash. This conversation should have taken place after the semi final. This wasn’t talked about afterwards. My annoyance at the whole ‘coming home’ euphoria was from colleagus at work passing notes round at work saying “It’s coming home” and the guy on the local radio station who would say on a daily basis “It’s coming home baby”. I know this is not the basis of an argument but pissed me off personally that is all. I prefered the low key build up regarding England at the start of the tournament but that was never going to last.

  21. Darryl – ‘it’s coming home’ as a meme has hopefully run its course. For now. Like yourself I anticipate it being dusted down every two years from now on.

    My NHS workplace was making plans before the Sweden game to cope with what would happen if England got to the final (staff not showing up, an uptick of booze- and crowd-related incidents, etc.) It’s only prudent. Hospitals are skeleton-staffed on Sundays in ways it’s better you’re not aware of. Just one person taking a sickie can throw a whole department into crisis on a Sunday. Imagine on Thursday trying to hastily make fallback arrangements for a looming Special Sunday that should have been started days before. ‘Why didn’t you start planning all this before!’ would have been the justified criticism then. I can guarantee that Croatian major infrastructure (health, policing, utilities etc.) were working today to plans that were drawn up before their team played England in the semi, and maybe earlier than that. Nobody would ever see this as evidence of Croatian arrogance, and nor should they. It’s just what has to happen.

    The broader issue I go into above ties into matters we have often discussed. My Google-fu isn’t the best but I have not been able to find a single instance of any English player or member of the coaching staff expressing any view that could credibly be interpreted as a slight against Croatia. Ditto for the newspapers. Every TV and radio pundit I saw or heard was of the ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ variety. So where did the belief expressed by Keane and Modric – and now held generally by a large number of people – come from? The fascinating aspect is that it seems to have come from itself.

  22. Isn’t there a stat, real or rumour I don’t know, that going into hospital on a weekend dramatically reduces your survival rate? Having recently read ‘this is going to hurt’ I can only thank chromosomes that it won’t be for me to give birth.

    There was an incident the other day on fortnite 50v50 that shook my core and made me rethink the whole fellow man idea. I’ve spoken before of the team mentality, the tending to a fallen comrade, sharing weaponry, the nobility of taking up arms alongside your brothers…well I was shot and was crawling towards a team member as my life ebbed away. Sometimes it’s not possible for them to revive you – it takes ten seconds and under heavy fire that’s a lifetime. This was in a safe area, hidden by buildings, and we needed all the people we could get for the fight. I couldn’t work out why they didn’t immediately help, they were clearly no newbie from their gear, there was no danger, they could easily assist. Instead the cnut stood over me and f’kin danced as I died. They f’kin danced, watching me breathe my last, and just before I passed they bowed! Part of me was in awe of their self centred twattishness but the other half wanted to track them down and violently assault them. Online gamers are wankers.

  23. Uncle Turf – have a read of this and all will be revealed (again). Just as in that case, the arena of online gaming gives people permission to do what they like, and what they like is never the ‘right’ thing. I still reread Cormac McCarthy’s The Road once a year. If the framework of society ever collapses, for whatever reason, The Road is what it’ll be like.

    The NHS still pays double time on Sundays, or more like time-plus-88% after various pay deal shenanigans, but it’s still very expensive for them. So on Sundays there is the absolute bare minimum of staff they can get away with everywhere. From cleaners all the way up to surgeons.

  24. Sorry, I still maintain that heraldically they are leopards because they are passage. They are only lions when they are gardant.

    My wife works nights as a nurse, and nG is right about wards running on less staff during unsocial times. The percentage extra you earn varies from Saturday to Sunday, and from one band to another.

    Oh, and I’m Welsh. You’re not all arrogant.

  25. NG – With regards to the England players and staff I totally agree with you as I would be surprised if you did find anything as they are so well drilled now in media management and it is so rare for anyone to go of script. This means interviews and press conferences are meaningless.

  26. NG – I’d seen some footage of her stuff, the one where she sits opposite people for a minute and her ex turns up is really hard to watch, it looks so painful for her. The object performance is very much Lord of the flies, although I’ve read I’ve misinterpreted that book (along with a lot of the population), seems after a while people descend into either wanting to shag her or kill her. I’m right to not like people.

  27. Chris99 – I believe the correct heraldic term is across ways, rather than up and down.

    Abbeyhill – eevee next. I’ve got lots of 7 km eggs but the rewards are so limited that there’s not much point hatching them. I’ve got all and levelled all except the vulpix rarer one.

  28. Darryl – even the Croatia manager – Dalic – was onboard with the ‘England players and staff disrespected us’ narrative. This wasn’t something he’d slyly concocted beforehand as a motivational ploy. This is what he said in the press conference the day after the semi-final. He believed it, as did Modric, as did Keane. Nobody, as far as I know, quizzed him (or Modric, or Keane, or any of the doubtless millions of others who have left this World Cup with the same belief) as to exactly where it came from. It was and will forever remain ‘something I heard people saying they said’.

    It’s like the old ‘abducted child in a shopping mall having his/her hair cut and clothes changed in the mall toilet by the abductors’ urban myth. Been a few years since it last did the rounds near me, but whenever it does, I’m fascinated by how vehemently its believers believe it, and how ferocious they get in the face of gentle scepticism as to whether it happened.

  29. So the Croats were motivated and a little annoyed that some England fans got carried away with the notion of us getting to a World Cup final. So what? They certainly didn’t start that semi-final like they had a settle to score. We should have been at least two up in that first half, giving us a great chance of being heavily beaten in the final by France. I wonder how much this goodwill would have remained had we suffered a record defeat in a World Cup final.

    Anyway, what a fantastic World Cup it was. I was especially delighted that we got the final we deserved, complete with great goals, a comedy goal and a VAR return.

    I played quite a bit of No Man’s Sky over the weekend. I was surprised how much has been added since I last played it. And this is before the next big DLC next week. There’s missions now and a terrain manipulator tool which adds a kind of Minecraft element to the game. At this point, I’m just doing some tidying and swotting up before the DLC hits. It seems any bases built may be swallowed up by the resetting of the NMS universe but all other progress including credits, ships and equipment will remain.

  30. Amuses me that France are being hailed as an amazing team, they’re not.
    They have one world class standout player in MBappe, Griezmann is decent but his decision making is often questionable.
    France got their first goal against the run of play, well against the run of play via an OG, their second was gifted to them by a shockingly bad VAR decision.
    Croatia’s momentum and confidence was rocked by first an OG when they were dominating the game, then by being unfairly penalised for the 2nd goal.
    without those 2 incidents France would have scraped through that game at best.

    Exactly the same way England should have been 2 or 3 up against Croatia but didn’t take the chances, then suffered.

    And I too never saw or heard one single person say Croatia would be a pushover and England would win comfortably, there was plenty of murmurings that if England ever had a great chance of making the final then it would be this year, purely because of all the ‘big’ nations dropping out, that wasn’t criticising or undermining Croatia, was just stating the facts.

  31. NG – it wasn’t the England players or staff that Modric or Dalic were referring to but the media and pundits. Something they had seen must have got thier back up.

  32. Darryl t–hat is exactly what fascinates me though: what did they see, and where? And how much was there of it? Enough to justify the sweeping generalisation? Or – and this is most likely – was there nothing at all other than the belief there was something? I would bet there were Twitter remarks and perhaps a scattered newspaper article or two that might have advanced the view that Croatia were beatable (and they definitely were that anyway). But in general the overwhelming tone of the media coverage of England’s progress through the tournament was notable for the disbelief at what was happening, tempered by the awareness that we hadn’t really played anyone yet. I’ve looked at Roy Keane’s tantrum again and he seems more to be swiping at his co-pundits (Wright and co.), but even there I would query how justified that was. Ian Wright unable to watch the Colombia penalty shootout and complaining about all the stress he was under hardly translates to the kind of swaggering conceit about England that Keane was claiming to be prevalent in the studio and (he did imply) in the wider mediasphere.

    No, all in all I regard this whole thing as bogus and resting entirely on the belief that it was real. Which is already curious enough, but yet more curious, nobody challenges it. Nobody says to Keane ‘Wait, what overconfidence? When? Who said it, and what did they say, and did they say it with enough regularity to justify you taking that as the standard view?’ I doubt anybody said to Modric and Dalic ‘give us names of publications and/or journalists’. It was just accepted as truth. The rabbithole runs deep on this one…

  33. Shed – I’m in the stage of Fallout 4 where I’m building settlements more than doing missions. I am in so deep. I might get back to NMS in a few months.

    Paul – France definitely the tamest winners since Brazil 94 for me. They played a storming match vs Argentina.

    And this was definitely the best World Cup ever. Restored some of my faith in football, enough that I’m actually looking forward to the new season. In 4 weeks…

    And again re. Croatia, I would bet there were plenty of Croatians saying that England were beatable (which they of course were), but that’s just anticipating a match between two teams of roughly equal stature.

  34. Modric specifically addressed the fact that the English media downplayed their chances, and the fact that the English media reported (which they did) that the Croatia side would tire physically and mentally first because they had played an intense quarter final into extra time, so Modric’s comments were based primarily around the fact they they lasted, didn’t tire, and won the match.

    Much like the press didn’t actually say we’d easily beat Croatia, Modric didn’t actually say they did, he just made reference to the english press assuming they’d tire quickly.

  35. Paul – the way Modric shaped his reported remarks indicates the tiredness angle was one aspect of the English punditry that he disapproved of. Again though, where and how much was there of that discussion in the English media? Modric urged more humility upon the English media after the match, but who thinks saying that a team might be tired is showing a lack of humility? If we sample 100 pre-match articles, how many focus on Croatia possible being tired as a major factor affecting the match? More than half would be required to make it a ‘thing’, IMO. And even then the ‘Croatia will tire’ thing would have to be foregrounded in such a way that it clearly manifested disrespect, rather than just a passing commentary on the likely conditions of the forthcoming match. Like somebody saying ‘oh the pitch we’re playing on will probably be boggy after all the rain’ and the Croatian equivalent of Uncle Turf flying into a rage on Twitter about ‘disrespect’.

    The fascinating angle for me here is that the Modric-Dalic-Keane view is based on the pre-existing tendency (and desire) to perceive English arrogance, entitlement, etc. no matter what. Plenty of actual examples in the past of course, but in this instance, in this World Cup, and in before this particular match vs Croatia, it is based on nothing substantial IMO.

    I was reading the other day about that bloke who quit his job and his life to live in a caravan by Loch Ness. I have found my monster…

  36. e.g. see this article from the revered Guardian, particularly the last part of the second paragraph:

    the Real Madrid midfielder was scathing in his reaction towards sections of the English media, some of whom had predicted an easy win for Gareth Southgate’s side

    (my emphasis).

    That’s the Guardian journo – Ed Aarons – saying that in this instance. What does he base that on? Actual articles that he has actually read, or a belief that it was said? Again I would bet there were such articles, but enough to justify it being raised to rhetorical prominence in this fashion??

    I might need to sit down with a cup of tea.

  37. You say mister NGs that pitch was bogy- am I hearings you correctly yes? You englisher writers you know the nothing’s about the grasses and the soil but you thinks you know everythings- your pitches they are coming home I bet, no?

    Heard Chris waddle make a good point about Griezman and most of the french side – that they are modern footballers ie. they are very fit, run all day, ‘put in a shift’ and play simple passes. He was not being altogether complimentary as he bemoaned the lack of flair of such players. And he’s got a point don’t you think? England are a good example of a squad of fit runners, chasers and ten yard passers. I don’t recall many extended dribbles in any match this tournament, nothing like the individual efforts of 20 plus years ago. Suggestion was it’s being coached out and I think the Barcelona tiki taki bollocks has a lot to do with that.

  38. NG – You know modern day footballers are sensitive little souls with egos the size of a small country.
    Modric’s reaction was just an example of that, a journalist making a fact based statement that Croatia could tire first, in no way did it imply that England would easily beat Croatia, it was just pointing out the obvious facts that wear and tear on the Croatian side my affect their performance, Modric’s reaction was to shove that assumption down their throats, because his pride had been hurt.

    He should probably have concentrated on getting his hair sorted and actually eating a meal rather than looking like an extra from Oliver twist, before attacking the English press over things they never actually said en masse.

  39. Onkle Tjurfsk – my humble apologies for anything I may have said that offended your glorious Motherland. In the wake of your nation’s justified victory over the imperialist swine of England, I offer the following totally original observation, which you are free to copy and paste on Croatian Facebook: ‘Football isn’t coming home – England are!!!’ Not really heard anyone make that joke, so good luck with it.

    Paul – I detected more than a whiff of the English media taking pride in being humble not long after the tournament started, so the humility wasn’t entirely authentic I think.

    If only we’d had a Modric. I thought Henderson was going to have a much better World Cup than he did, and he wasn’t bad, but whenever England struggled the WBs were pinned back and so he was playing in a midfield 3 and had to do a lot of water-carrying. Modric had the cushion of a midfield 5 to support his roaming. Yes, I’ve been reading that Jonathan Wilson book again. Still not converted to the 4-5-1 as practised on the continent. As Onkle Tjurfsk muses, the accursed tika-taka Spain-style smothering of a match is all too common. The swashbuckling Liverpool version of a 4-5-1 with Inside Forwards – that’s more like a 4-3-3 – is much more appealing.

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