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ZM break

July 28, 2014

It it wasn’t obvious, ZM is now on a summer break…which might extend past the summer, and into 2014/15…so no season previews, tips for outright betting on the EPL, transfer analysis or analysis of new managers.

The site will return at some point with a different focus – fewer post-match analysis pieces, and more sporadic posts looking at long-term tactical trends, focusing on players, managers and teams – that kind of thing – which seems more popular.

Obviously doing both would be ideal, but time constraints mean that’s not really possible. The WC2014 match analysis might be the end of the old-style site, and from now it might become more of a traditional blog (which, in truth, was the intention at the start). Stay tuned!

World Cup 2014 best XI

July 24, 2014
World Cup 2014 best XI

Manuel Neuer, Germany

Other goalkeepers have made more spectacular saves, but Neuer’s all-round goalkeeping was by far the best in the tournament.

His performance against Algeria in the second round was remarkably proactive, and the type of display that genuinely might inspire the next generation of goalkeepers to play in a completely different way. He repeatedly swept well outside his penalty area, and on two occasions he wasn’t simply making interceptions or clearances, but instead getting stuck into 50:50 tackles.

When called upon to make saves, he could do that too – a double save from Paulinho against Brazil (albeit when the game was effectively over) was the highlight. Read more »

Miroslav Klose: the last poacher?

July 22, 2014
Miroslav Klose: the last poacher?

Ordinarily, a striker surpassing the all-time World Cup goalscoring record would be the major story of the day, but Miroslav Klose’s 16th goal came in Germany’s historic 7-1 thrashing of Brazil – so it was nothing more than a subplot. Read more »

Germany 1-0 Argentina (AET): Gotze’s extra-time goal wins the World Cup

July 14, 2014
Germany 1-0 Argentina (AET): Gotze’s extra-time goal wins the World Cup

Germany won their fourth World Cup after victory over Argentina in a tense but enjoyable final.

Joachim Low’s team selection was compromised by the late withdrawal of Sami Khedira through injury. Christoph Kramer took his place – although he only lasted 30 minutes himself.

Alejandro Sabella’s side was unchanged from the semi-final against the Netherlands.

Both sides had promising moments in an even match – Argentina had the better chances before Mario Gotze’s late winner. Read more »

Argentina 0-0 Netherlands: Argentina through on penalties

July 10, 2014
Argentina 0-0 Netherlands: Argentina through on penalties

Sergio Romero was the hero after an extremely uneventful 120 minutes.

Alejandro Sabella brought back Marcos Rojo after suspension, while Enzo Perez deputised for the injured Angel di Maria.

Louis van Gaal was able to bring back Nigel de Jong after injury, meaning Daley Blind moved across to wing-back in place of Memphis Depay.

There was obviously great tension here, but not much happened – of the 62 games at this World Cup so far, this game featured the lowest shot rate, and the lowest percentage of touches in the opposition third. Read more »

Germany 7-1 Brazil: Germany record a historic thrashing, winning the game in 30 minutes

July 9, 2014
Germany 7-1 Brazil: Germany record a historic thrashing, winning the game in 30 minutes

In one of the most incredible matches in World Cup history, this ridiculous scoreline was an entirely fair reflection of Germany’s dominance.

Jogi Low named an unchanged side from the XI that had narrowly defeated France in the quarter-final.

Luiz Felipe Scolari was without the suspended Thiago Silva, and the injured Neymar. Dante was the obvious replacement at the back, while tricky winger Bernard was a surprise choice to replace Neymar, with Oscar moving inside to become the number ten. Luiz Gustavo returned after suspension, with Paulinho dropping out.

Incredibly, this game was finished after half an hour – it was 5-0, and Brazil were simply trying to avoid further embarrassment. Read more »

Netherlands 0-0 Costa Rica: Oranje progress after van Gaal’s late keeper switch

July 6, 2014
Netherlands 0-0 Costa Rica: Oranje progress after van Gaal’s late keeper switch

The Dutch dominated but couldn’t find a way past Keylor Navas – then finally broke their penalty shoot-out curse. Read more »

Argentina 1-0 Belgium: Argentina become even more reliant on Messi

July 6, 2014
Argentina 1-0 Belgium: Argentina become even more reliant on Messi

In their fifth World Cup game, Argentina recorded their fifth one-goal victory.

Alejandro Sabella was without Marcos Rojo so brought in Jose Basanta at left-back, and replaced Federico Fernandez and Fernando Gago with Martin Demichelis and Lucas Biglia.

Marc Wilmots played Kevin Mirallas rather than Dries Mertens on the right flank, but otherwise the side was as expected.

Belgium remain a group of individuals, while Argentina play to the strengths of one individual.
Read more »

Brazil 2-1 Colombia: Brazil prevail in a very aggressive game

July 5, 2014
Brazil 2-1 Colombia: Brazil prevail in a very aggressive game

Goals from both centre-backs put Brazil into the semi-finals. Read more »

Germany 1-0 France: Germany get the better of the midfield battle

July 5, 2014
Germany 1-0 France: Germany get the better of the midfield battle

Mats Hummels’ early header from a Toni Kroos free-kick was the difference in a peculiarly tame, flat contest. Read more »

Belgium 2-1 USA: Belgium dominate but take ages to make the breakthrough

July 3, 2014
Belgium 2-1 USA: Belgium dominate but take ages to make the breakthrough

USA put up a brilliant fight in extra-time, but Belgium had been the superior side for the majority. Read more »

Argentina 1-0 Switzerland (AET): Switzerland concentrate on stopping Messi

July 3, 2014
Argentina 1-0 Switzerland (AET): Switzerland concentrate on stopping Messi

In a very enjoyable World Cup second round, this was surely the least exciting game. Everything went through Leo Messi, and he eventually assisted the winning goal. Read more »

Germany 2-1 Algeria (AET): Algeria press and counter-attack brilliantly

July 1, 2014
Germany 2-1 Algeria (AET): Algeria press and counter-attack brilliantly

Germany’s quality eventually shone through, but Algeria produced one of the best tactical performances of the tournament. Read more »

France 2-0 Nigeria: France prosper when returning to a one-striker system

July 1, 2014
France 2-0 Nigeria: France prosper when returning to a one-striker system

France took a while to show their best football, but dominated the final half hour. Read more »

Costa Rica 1-1 Greece: Costa Rica through on penalties despite playing an hour with ten men

July 1, 2014
Costa Rica 1-1 Greece: Costa Rica through on penalties despite playing an hour with ten men

The Costa Rica miracle continues – they’re through to the quarter-finals after a shoot-out victory over Greece. Read more »

Netherlands 2-1 Mexico: Mexico dominate the start, but Van Gaal changes help the Dutch back into the game

June 30, 2014
Netherlands 2-1 Mexico: Mexico dominate the start, but Van Gaal changes help the Dutch back into the game

The Netherlands produced a dramatic late turnaround, meaning Mexico were eliminated in the second round for the sixth consecutive World Cup. Read more »

DraftStreet Daily Fantasy World Cup

June 30, 2014
DraftStreet Daily Fantasy World Cup

ZonalMarking has teamed up with DraftStreet to bring you an exciting new way to enjoy each and every day of the World Cup. Read more »

Colombia 2-0 Uruguay: James Rodriguez steals the show

June 30, 2014
Colombia 2-0 Uruguay: James Rodriguez steals the show

Colombia took a while to get going, but never looked in trouble after James Rodriguez’s astonishing strike. Read more »

Brazil 1-1 Chile: Brazil progress by the finest of margins

June 29, 2014
Brazil 1-1 Chile: Brazil progress by the finest of margins

Brazil won on penalties after an incredibly tense and tiring contest. Read more »