Tag Archives: Gaming

The Price of Beer – A Skyrim Comparison

Beer is expensive. Well not crazy expensive, but having lived near and around London most of my life I didn’t know beer could be an affordable beverage until I moved to the northern wildlands – which helped with university life. Now there are slight regional variations, such as pub in London being much more likely to be serving up some Camden brewed pale-ale (like this, which is pretty good), whilst a pub in North Yorkshire will be more likely to offer up a local amber-ale or something, which vary in quality but are cheap so this has my seal of approval. Continue reading

Call of Duty: World War 2 – Me? Buy? Why?

I am considering buying Call of Duty: World at War, there I said it. I have not bought a Call of Duty game since Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3. That’s 6 years of Call of Duty abstinence and it has barely felt like a day. That isn’t some proud statement about the passage of time, it’s more of an indictment of just how little the later series entries have tempted me. And to be honest, I mostly bought Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops through chasing a feeling, the feeling that Modern Warfare, World at War and to some extent Modern Warfare 2. Continue reading

A Few Games You Can Play Right Now… If You Want…

We’ve all been there. Nothing to do all day, a look through your steam library reveals nothing of too much interest despite the huge amount of unplayed titles, you walk over to your multiple consoles, have a look what has actually been installed and is immediately playable and nope… nothing you actually want to play. Continue reading

Timesplitters Rewind: What We Know So Far

Fan of the Timesplitters series? Did that trailer leave you deeply unsatisfied? Are you curious what this mysterious Timesplitters Rewind is exactly? Well you are in the right place, today I will look into the information we have regarding Timesplitters Rewind and piece together what exactly we can expect. Continue reading

Football’s Coming Home: World Cup 2018 – Uruguay

After Mark Noble laid a beat down on Albania,  *cough* with help from my own tactical changes *cough*, we find ourselves up against a much sterner oppositions, a team with two world cup’s to their name, one more than us! That cannot stand! Theirs are older so count for less I guess, but ours is getting a bit dusty, that’s why they hired yours truly – that and lack of other suitable candidates.

Expectations back home are raising a bit, although ITV have got Henderson on their panel and I’ve heard he’s been talking a lot of smack about me, so I’ve been mostly watching BBC. Mark Noble did little to handle national expectations, appearing on Good Morning Britain singing “Vindaloo” with a bunch of school kids from Bethnal Green lower, ending with picking up the smallest child, looking him straight in the eyes and saying “I’m gunna bring it home for you little Johnny” before crying and shouting “come on England at the camera”, sufficient to say his 20 leadership is a blessing and a curse.

Back to the hard stuff. Managing England. Having a quick look at the Uruguay team isn’t doing too much to help my nerves…

 

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Strikers aren’t bad

A look at the Uruguay team reveals something straight away… strikers ain’t bad. Cavani and Suarez can go without any introduction. Outside of those two, Gimenez and Godin form a solid partnership in central defence. Outside of those two areas, I think we are stronger, but those are two particularly important areas, especially if they play direct and bypass their pretty weak midfield. However, it’s not like we have a strong midfield.

Looking at the competition stats, Cavani is joint-second top goalscorer with four goals, one more than our top scorer Rashford. De Arrascaeta of Uruguay tops the assists, he isn’t in the above and seems to play either central attacking midfield or left wing, so I am braced for a change of formation from Uruguay.

 

 

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Well well…

With the USA somehow beating Germany in the quarter-finals, have our chances of bringing it home improved? Or have our chances of embarrassingly being eliminated by America?

That being said, we pull through against Uruguay today, I would love the USA, show ’em who’s boss (us, we are, in case you didn’t get that from our weak displays).

Anyway, getting ahead of myself here is the team for today’s game:

 

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Okay, hear me out here….

I know, not the 4-2-3-1! I feel I have to go with something different given our underperformance, but there is more thought here than that – just a little more though. Given our attacking full-backs, I figured a four at the back formation would leave our two centre-backs too exposed to Cavani and Suarez, with this, we should have an extra man, at the cost of the wide areas. For that reason, we will need a big game from both Rose and Clyne. I am hoping at the other end Alli and Kane can occupy the two centre backs whilst Lallana causes trouble for the two deep-lying midfielders. Oh, and I am hoping Noble nets an hat-trick (maybe even a double hat-trick).

I guess all we can do is see how this pans out. I think the gamble is warranted given how our tactics have faired recently, needing in-game adjustments, here’s hoping this is strong from the off. Might even surprise them…

 

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Of course

Obviously, Uruguay aren’t playing the tactic we saw earlier, instead, they are running with this 4-4-2 narrow diamond shape. It should allow us to do better out wide, but the attacking trident may cause our back three some problems, it may be worth dropping Noble back into the space, and moving Lallana further back also, but we will see.

Kick Off:

20′ – Not too much has happened. Uruguay have edged possession, I think it may be worthwhile to switch to counter to ensure some solidity.

29′ – England work a good crossing opportunity for Clyne, unfortunately, Kane heads wide.

38′ – Stones gives a silly foul away on the edge of the box, picking up a yellow card. The free kick has a little too much on it – just over.

41′ – Suarez works a shooting opportunity but Hart gets down to save.

Half-time:

 

The in-game commentator described the half as tepid, and I’m inclined to agree. We need something else, we just aren’t creating enough. To try to remedy this I am going to lean on what we did last time out: push higher, press harder, play slightly narrower to exploit the wings also. We will be sticking on counter. If there is no real change, I will be looking to get Rashford on, I will have a look at the team, maybe change the shape again when this happens.

With all that said, team-talk over, we will be getting back out there for the second half… let’s hope we win it ey?

Second-half:

53′ – We get in down the right-hand side as a sliding pass from Alli finds Clyne, he crosses deep to Kane, who’s headed is straight at the keeper.

54′ – A nice passing move from England finds Alli free, unfortunately, his shot is easily saved.

58′ – Stones is tired and isn’t having the best of games, Kane just picked up a knock. Double change? For now, Jones will come on for Stones, let’s see how Kane handles the knock.

66′ – Kane doesn’t seem to be recovering all too well, Rashford will take his place.

71′ – Not even on for that long and Rashford finds space behind the Uruguay defence, Lallana finds him, but for the third time this game we fire straight at the keeper. Better signs though.

73′ – After a long passing move starting all the way from Jones, Alli finds Rashford, free again, but he fires straight at the keeper… again.

85′ – An excellent Cavani through ball finds Suarez, free behind the England defence after a deep run, he is one-on-one with Hart, goes for the chip and…. OVER! And wide… wover.

87′ – Just before that move, Smalling picked up a twisted ankle and will have to come off. This means we will have to change shape. Oxlade-Chamberlain is on for him and we switch to the ol’ 4-2-3-1.

Annnddd

Full-time:

We were better in that second half, but still 0-0… With Oxlade-Chamberlain on, I will look to use a little more width and hopefully we can create something, anything! Well… anything Rashford won’t kick straight at the keeper. It turns out we do not appear to have the fourth sub for extra time thing yet, or at all.. which is a shame, my team are knackered, and we have quite a few yellows.

 

 

 

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Sleepy, sleepy team

It has been a very tense game so far if that hasn’t been conveyed here, and I feel whoever scores takes this given the fatigue of both sides. Hopefully, that side is us. And let’s not with penalties yeah?

Extra-time (1st half):

92′ – Oh no…

 

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1-0: Uruguay take the lead through Cavani

The worst possible start, Cavani latches onto a Laxalt cross, that was allowed way too easily, Cavani finds acres of space as Jones for some reason runs away? Either way, we find ourselves 1-0 behind.

This changes everything, we are going to have to throw everything at them. Well, now I hope I’m wrong for predicting the first team to score will win…

105′ – And…

 

 

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Wilshere off

Wilshere has a Beckham moment. Picking up his second yellow with a completely needless challenge. That makes this a whole lot harder… It’s also a shame because Wilshere has been a decent player for us, I wouldn’t want him taking the fall back in England, that should be Jones and definitely not me… right guys? right?

Extra-half-time-time

Well… things went wrong really quickly didn’t they? We need to try to find a way back into this… We are going to give it everything we can in this last few. I’ve shifted back to the same shape we started the game with, but with two centre-backs. Oxlade-Chamberlain has come infield and can hopefully cause some chaos.

Let’s just see what happens… please… please score England… I’ll take penalties now…

Extra-time (second half):

107′ – A great shot from Lallana is well saved. It was goalbound for sure.

109′ – Uh…

 

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1-1: Rashford!

A nice bit of play by Oxlade-Chamberlain allows him to find Lallana, who in turns picks out Rashford who tries his best to shoot straight at the keeper, but it finds its way in anyway! We are back in this! The problem is now, do we go for it, or do we sit back? Uruguay are buckling, let’s give it a minute or two, try to grab another… famous last words…

114′ – A cross from Rose finds Chamberlain who heads well, but the keeper is equal to it. We go straight to the other end where Suarez’s shot is saved well by Hart…

116′ – Suarez is found with a through ball by Godin, he is once again one-on-one but Hart saves. Another chance squandered by the best player on the pitch. The warning is noticed though, dropping to counter.

Full-time of extra-time

Penalties. You know the thing about England and penalties right? You must do, if not here, that should fill you in, and also give me my team talk. I’ll just show the boys this video and say don’t do that, simple.

There is one thing those teams didn’t have though… Mark Noble, the secret weapon.

 

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The list

Yes, that is right, Joe Hart is one of our best penalty takers, that is how screwed we are here… I don’t want him to be taking one though with 1 finishing, not sure how much of a difference that makes, but surely Danny Rose and Chamberlain are better options. Mark Noble will be leading the takers though, if he tucks away, the team might just follow suit.

Deep breath.

Penalties:

And first up is Noble, he steps up, chest puffed, stern looking, a single bead of sweat rolls down his face…

And he misses! Tame penalty and the keeper saves to the right.

Suarez then steps up and scores… 1-0 Uruguay.

Rashford then steps up… come on England…  and for fuck sake Rashford, he kicks it straight at the keeper… well slightly to the right… but the keeper was standing there.

Cavani steps up… 2-0 Uruguay…

Just… typical England.

And Danny Rose misses! Well… this is it for Uruguay… score this and they win and also make England a meme.

 

But Pereira misses, which is just tempting to get my hopes up, but I refuse.

Dele Alli steps up… AND BLOODY MISSES!

Four penalties, FOUR! missed, has anyone had that before? Jesus Christ England… maybe that team talk made them nervous.

 

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The meme team

As Dele stands there dejected, with the rest of the England team behind crying you can just about make at me, the manager, laughing at them Big Sam style for being so England. Unbelievable, four penalties missed out of four. I just… need a minute.

m0whfg

So, I guess that is that for World Cup 2018. Not the ending we had hoped for, but maybe the one we deserved given some of our performances out here in Russia, a quarter-final is okay. We had some highs, we built up hope, we scored some goals, probably more than England have at a World Cup in a while, but ultimately what this world cup will be remembered for is Noble making a small child cry, and us missing four bloody penalties in a shoot-out.

Anyway, it’s been a good world cup for me, and I’ve enjoyed your support both on here and on Reddit. So with that said, what do you think our next step should be? Get to Euro 2020? Quit the England gig and take a club job? Go and turn Scotland into a global super power? Let me know what you think.

Till next time (where ever that may be).

38712-2

 

 

 

Four bloody penalties missed out of four… Even for England, this is a new low…

 

 

Fallout New Vegas Top 5 Quests

Fallout New Vegas i.e. the best Fallout has a lot of quests in it, absolutely loads, not just quests but great quests. For me, there’s soo many great quests in this game that narrowing a list down to 5 is hard. Any excuse to play the game again though is welcome and thus the list was formed, so here are the top 5 quests in Fallout New Vegas. Continue reading

Football’s Coming Home: World Cup 2018 – Albania

After powering (read: scrapping) through the group stage we found ourselves a reasonably favourable draw – Albania. I say reasonably because now the stakes are much higher. We win, we meet expectations; we lose, well… I might have to move to Scotland, and I talked a lot of smack about them during the qualifiers…

So in order to play down expectations I’ve been making an effort in the UK press to talk up Albania as a footballing powerhouse, they have massive players… like… Granit Xhaka’s less good brother, that full-back who plays for Napoli, Lazio’s backup goalkeeper, Veton Berisha (a striker who wears number six? Heathen) and a few other players. I think this is something Roy Hodgson screwed up at Euro 2016, managing expectations.

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Honestly? I know three of them…

With the English public now questioning my judgement more than ever let’s get into our side. One second…

World Cup News!*

Germany beat Mexico on penalties, and Spain has beaten plucky underdog DR Congo PhD.

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WTF HAPPENED?!?!

In other world cup news, USA and Austria played out a bloodfest, a game with 11 yellow cards, 4 red cards and 28 fouls and somehow the USA pulled through (if we get through against Albania, I’d quite like a run at them).

Okay, back to England.

Not like that, we haven’t been knocked out yet, jeez.

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This formation will work this time… right?

Once again we will be going with the 4-2-3-1, I just still feel it is the most effective shape against teams of this calibre… despite that being proven wrong two games in a row. This is naive, but I don’t like to be too reactionary. With that said, if it doesn’t work out by the 30-40th minute I will change it.

For the personnel today, a few players are starting to get fatigued and so have been rotated. These players are Shaw and Stones who are replaced by Smalling and Rose. Lallana comes in for the injured Alli, and Noble for the (obviously) injured Wilshere. Elsewhere, Kane, Rashford and Stones are all pretty tired, and if possible I will look to rest them for the final part of the game (if we can). Oh, and Clyne has served his suspension so has come in for Walker.

Okay, nothing more to say apart from COME ON ENGLAND!

Kick Off:

1 – I have just remembered that Dier is pretty tired, and he is pretty much our only natural ball-winning-midfielder (because I forgot Henderson). With Wilshere out that just leaves Noble as the backup… Let’s hope Alli comes back from injury sharpish.


30 – Yup, that’s right… 30 minutes with no action. We are struggling to maintain possession but are having the majority of the shots. Lallana is heavily involved but I am going to try to allow him to come a bit deeper. I am going to move Kane to a deep-lying forward, and try to get Sterling more involved by moving him to an inside-forward. Let’s see if that helps.


Half time.

Sufficient to say, it didn’t work. That may be the most boring half of football ever played. Here are the stats:

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Snooze fest

It seems Albania are playing an ultra-conservative style, using possession as a form of defence. I think the best way to break this will be not to chase possession figures and try to best them in that stat, but instead to play a high-press counter. Trying to force a turnover and breaking up their conservative passing. The obvious danger here is a long ball over the top to their striker, he is reasonably fast but not some kind of speed demon.

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A bit too much?

I have switched back to a 4-2-3-1 and changed Kane to a defensive forward. This is bold, but something has to change in this game, we need to take the initiative. My concern here is that this may be too many instructions too suddenly, or Dier may pick up a second yellow… I will look to bring him off if I can.

Okay, second half.

45 – From the kick-off, I like what I see! We force Albania very deep with our full-backs pushing on, forcing two crossing opportunities for Rose and Clyne. Albania have no passing options and are forced to clear long.


47 – The first big chance and it falls to Kane! He hassles the last man for Albania stealing the ball, he is one-on-one with the keeper and… The keeper makes an excellent diving save. Kane really should have taken that one. From the resulting corner, Sterling meets Lallana’s delivery on the volley, but straight at the keeper – better!


55 – Barkley will be coming on for Dier, with Noble taking over the ball-winning duties. With our aggression I was worried about Dier picking up a second yellow, especially with fatigue.


60 – Sterling has had a poor game, he is replaced by Walcott – I think he is better suited to inside-forward… I believe!


65 – Corner, Walcott takes, it’s whipped in and… PENALTY! Roshi (not master, Odiese) is judged to have pushed Barkley. Mark Noble steps up…

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1-0: Mark Noble tucks home

With that goal, all I can ask for is more of the same! We have been a completely different team in this second half. It’d be so England to blow this now… (A penalty goal… please no)


69 – Another penalty! Barkley dinks a free-kick over the Albania defence who are caught unaware, Rashford pounces, chests the ball and is brought down by Armend… Armend Dallku, who will now have to make… Armends… I mean… I tried. Although he can’t because that was his second yellow and so he has been sent off… maybe he can get the beers in for the rest of the team or something.

Noble steps up again, well I say steps up, he bloody darted from the half-way line, I thought it was Walcott for a second. Actually, here is just how much he wanted this penalty:

 

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He bloody wanted that ball.

 

With that, Noble steps up to the spot, having already dispatched one today. Will he go the same way?

ENGALB3

2-0: Noble slots home again

The run didn’t tire him out! Noble calmly puts the ball in the goal and completes the major scoring objective of football. He goes the other way this time and just like last time, picks out the top corner! England have a penalty taker?!?!?


70 – With the second of the game added, Kane will be coming off. His replacement, Callum Wilson, will surely be hoping to grab himself a goal here.


83 – But it is Albania who come forward, with their first shot on target of the game. Mavraj meets a free-kick with a meaty header, only for Hart to tip over.


87 – Walcott is found by a Clyne throw in, he turns, beats his man and lays off Lallana who’s shot is well saved.


88 – A nice interchange between Lallana, Wilson and Walcott see’s the latter get rolled through on goal. Not quite one-on-one, as he is closed down, firing wide from just inside the box – not an easy chance, but should’ve been on target.


And that is that! Full time at the… Samara Arena (Samara?). Mark Noble picks up the man of the match, my changes come off and England are through to the quarter-finals.

 

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Deserved winners

A lot better than in the first half huh? I can see why Albania got this far, if we hadn’t worked out what they were doing with that possession, they could have easily nicked a goal from a set-piece or taken us to penalties. We turned round the possession battle by forcing them to try to do something with it, and whilst that wasn’t the main objective, it shows how we unsettled them, forcing them into multiple mistakes such as the Kane chance, and of course the penalties.

Overall a good win, but I must work on getting us ready for the game, our first halves are always very shabby, and adapting on the fly is going to let us down sooner or later. Just takes one team… with a really good striker… a team like…

 

 

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Uh oh.

A team with two very good strikers, you might have heard of them… Suarez and Cavani? No? Well, they’re like Callum Wilson, but a lot better.

Uruguay is current world number five, so a tough team to be sure, but we knew we would have to face one eventually (although we played France already, the same France who just knocked Brazil out with a 2-0 win). it would’ve been nice to get a slightly less brilliant team, but I think we can do something here… at least try to, we can’t do any worse than the 2012 World Cup, can we? We probably can… but faith, faith in Mark Noble will pull us through.

And we will have to put that faith in Noble because Dier’s suspended…

Till next time.

England-v-Peru-International-Friendly

 

 

*The colours of World Cup News were chosen as an apology for calling Senegal, Cameroon all throughout the last article. I’m not that sorry, you should have less similar flags, but still…

Football’s Coming Home: World Cup 2018 – Senegal

After scraping through against Iran, we play Senegal with everything on the line. The group is tight, with us in the driving position on four points, France and Senegal trail with two points each and Iran are on one point. This sets up a situation where any team can go through and any team can go out, including us if we lose against Senegal.

Looking at the other groups, and there are some interesting placings. DR Congo tops their group with Germany second; Mexico topped their group with Spain second; Costa Rica, USA and Japan also topped their groups, so in some ways, a second-place finish wouldn’t be too bad.

That is all academic though until after we play Cameroon, so let’s see the team for today’s game!

 

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Can they do it?

We go with a similar shape and tactic to that which we used against Iran, hopefully, they perform much more convincingly. Clyne misses out today through suspension so Walker steps in, Sterling replaces Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alli comes in for Barkley. Keane and Stones are fatigued, but I have more faith in them than Smalling and Jones.

So let’s get into today’s game, I’m excited to see what we can do against Cameroon (who’s capital city is… Yaoundé… had to google that one…).

 

 

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Attacking!?!?

Cameroon seem to be making somewhat of a statement with their starting eleven – very attacking! Coupled with a combative midfield three we could have a hard day here. We will have to be careful not to get hit on the break with that front three also, as I suspect they will play direct and hit those front three quickly, and look to recover the ball in the middle. The obvious weakness is the full backs, who we can look to isolate and overload. The centrebacks are solid, and let’s hope Kane is on form to handle them.

KICK OFF!

Minute eight and we have our first highlight (and news from Iran-France, that Iran has taken the lead courtesy of a Pogba OG). Cameroon hits a long, direct ball from their centre back to Babacar, who knocks the ball to Gueye. The ball is kept well and a shooting opportunity opens up for Diame who fires over from distance.

We have struggled to keep the ball so far.

Senegal are getting a few long shots as Balde fires over – fifteen minutes in.

The twentieth minute, it is all Senegal. They have a headed chance, straight at Hart. 70% possession to Senegal… we need to change something. That change see’s us switching to a counter approach, and sticking Sterling to support, with us looking to play the ball out wide, as we are having no success through the middle. We have also switched to a 4-3-3.

Just before the changes have an effect, Balde works a good shooting opportunity, saved by Hart!

Another shot by Gueye is saved by Hart… I’m not liking this.

 

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Worrying…

The stats after twenty-four minutes paint a very worrying picture…

The twenty-seventh minute comes and finally a chance for us! We maintain possession before Walker whips in a cross onto Rashford’s head – Off the bar! This chance went down as a clear-cut chance, very much against the run of play. Oh, and Dele Alli picks up an injury in the same move… He will have to come off, Lallana replaces him.

Ten uneventful minutes pass before Diouf spins in the box and cannons a shot off the bar. Too close.

 

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1-0 England: Kane, out of nowhere!

Out of nothing Kane pounces on a mistake by Gueye and fires England into the lead. It was incredibly lucky, the game has all been Cameroon, now we must capitalise and take some initiative in this game.

HALF TIME.

Not sure what to make of that… 45 minutes of mostly terrible football, barely putting a passing move together, and getting battered… but we are one-nil up – football ey?

At half-time, I am going to withdraw Wilshere as he has struggled out there today and picked up a yellow in the process. Noble will be coming on, his leadership and work-rate could help us in possession battle.

KICK OFF.

A chance for Senegal as M’Baye crosses only for Diouf to head narrowly wide.

The fifty-third minute, and England win a free-kick, Rashford fires just over (in other news, goals for Fekir and Benzema mean that France now leads 2-1)

Nearly the seventieth minute and good work from Walker results in a cross towards Rashford, it is headed away only for Sterling to pounce and… Straight at the keeper.

A minute later and a corner whipped into the Cameroon box causes trouble, a scramble results in a chance for an unidentifiable England player, unfortunately, that chance is missed.

Time for a calm concentrate shout from the touchline.

The eightieth minute and Oxlade-Chamberlain is on for a tired Rashford. He and Sterling will swap sides.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first involvement sees him crafting open a chance for Lallana who powers a shot high but central, and fairly comfortable for the keeper.

And as time passes…

 

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Twenty Celcius in Russia?!?!

 

A good win, we slowly got more and more into the game after our goal and mostly limited Cameroon to long shots. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried for a large chunk of that game!

The change to a 4-3-3 allowed us to be slightly more robust in the middle and let us move the ball better, and whilst we didn’t win the battle for possession we created more clear chances.

Most importantly, we top our group, ahead of tournament favourites France, so I guess that makes us favourites – might as well give us the trophy now, save us some time.

As previously mentioned though, being top isn’t all ice cream and backrubs (what… that wasn’t what I… I’ll go with it), a lot of teams I’d rather avoid came second in their groups (i.e. Spain & France). Let’s see who we will be meeting next, and keep our fingers crossed that it is winnable…

And the lucky team to meet us in the next round is…

 

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I’ll take it.

Not to be too cocky about this (and this could easily come back to bite me) but I’ll take it.

France managed to get Brazil in a repeat of the ’98 final, so between the two teams from group H, it turned out extremely valuable to get the top spot. Other interesting draws include DR Congo v Spain and Portugal v Uruguay.

Next time out we get our first taste of knock-out football against Albania. Where could this end? A disgraceful exit at the callous laced hands of Albania? Or World Cup glory? Well, next time will get us closer to finding out.

Till then.

eboue-the-joker_o_gifsoup-com_

 

 

 

 

 

Fallout 4: Top 5 Quests

Fallout 4 is a decent game,  not or personally nowhere near the quality of Fallout New Vegas, its still a game that will eat away the hours as you wander the ruins of Boston looking for enemies to kill and quests to complete. Although most quests follow a similar formula of “go here, kill guy, go back”. There are some exceptions and some truly memorable stories. So I’ll be looking at 5 of the best quests in Fallout 4.

The Secret Of Cabot House

Boston is in complete ruin, even in cities where people live the destruction is evident and then theres Cabot house. A place completely untouched by the war. Inside it seems as though there hasn’t even been a nuclear war, but the mystery goes even further than why Jack Cabot’s house looks nice. When you first speak to him he goes on about aliens and and ancient civilisations and your tasked with retrieving a serum that has been stolen outside a facility he uses called Parsons state insane asylum. Simple enough, the next quest involves tracking down he’s sister. The mystery deepens when you find her and she’s old enough to be his mother. She can tell you the real purpose of the which is halting the ageing process. Upon returning to Jack you hear that the asylum is under attack and you go with him to the asylum. On the way he’ll tell you everything about his father discovering an ancient city and artifact in Arabia. How it changed him and that the mysterious serum that stops ageing is basically his fathers blood. Also on the way Jack will start fights with everything including legendary enemies, the forged as well as a deathclaw. Watching the entire story and mystery unfold is really cool and it culminates in choice to either save Lorenzo (Jacks Father) or kill him to stop him from getting out. Saving him nets you a lifetime supply of the mysterious serum, which is good for some characters. Killing him will end up getting you a unique gamma gun, which is ok I guess.There aren’t too many quest in the game with actual choices but this still a very interesting one.

jj

 

Cambridge Polymer Labs

This is the first quest on the list and one of two that can be completed in multiple ways, although theres no major choice at the end having a choice on how to complete the quest is something Fallout 4 lacks. Both ways are interesting enough but only one snags you a cool piece of power armor. As for the story well its starts with you getting locked in a part of the facility and being told that your not allowed to leave until an experiment is complete. To complete the experiment the basically has to find the right chemicals and put them in the right places. Thats one way at least, you can ignore this and escape without doing the experiment. Once you find a Doctors terminal you can access an emergency override, then its just a case of fighting your way out. Like I said however doing the experiment gets you a unique piece of power armor called the Piezonucleic power armor. Once the experiment is finished you are allowed to leave and are taken to the directors office. Unfortunately he’s a ghoul and attacks you, once he’s dealt with your given money and theres a skill maganize in his office as well. Theres some interesting entries in his terminal that explains why you were locked in until the experiment was complete.

CPL

 

Hole In The Wall

This quest is set in vault 81, usually vaults in fallout are filled with nothing but tragic events and stories. So its a surprise when you first find vault 81 and everyone is still alive, not only that but when you explore it everything seems fine, no sinister experiment going on here. All there is to do is help some of the residents out by giving them fertiliser or tools, tell stories of your adventures to school children and donate blood to the doctor for no well explained reason. Its only when you leave the vault and come back that the evil vault tec rear their ugly face. A little boy is in the medical bay, he was been bitten by a mole rat while exploring a secret part of vault and is now ill. You are tasked with exploring the secret part of the vault to find a cure. This part of vault is run down and filled with enemy turrets and mole rats and if the mole rats bite you, you will also be infected with the disease which could result in a permanent loss of 10 HP. The true purpose of the vault was to infect people with diseases and then try to cure them hoping that eventually man would be able to resist all disease. Once at the end of the secret part of the vault you find a robot who has developed a cure but theres only one left. This results in a choice to keep the cure for yourself and let the child die or to give the child the cure and have permanently 10 less HP. I think I know what most people would do in that situation especially considering that 10 HP isn’t that much, but overall a fun quest with a nice moral choice at the end.

austin

 

The Great Hunt

The only quest on this list from a DLC, that DLC being far harbour, comes The Great Hunt. Its also one of the shortest quests in the game, not only that but you don’t really do much either. For this quest its the story and the character that make it fantastic, especially if you take the time to talk to her as well find out something about her. That character being The Mariner, she has lived on the harbour all her life and is in charge of keeping the towns defence’s up. You can do quests for her which help with just that, if just do her quests and don’t talk to her The Great Hunt is still… well… great. If you do you can find out that she’s dying and with some emotional support from you she dedicates her remaining time to make sure the people of the harbour are safe after she dies. Then comes The Great Hunt, she tells you a story of a giant sea monster with glowing red eyes thats been preying on ships, its called The Red Death and its killed plenty of people and she wants to go on one last adventure to kill it to make the sea safe. Of course you agree to help and you sail off in your boats to find this creature. You spot the red glow on an island and sail towards it, only to find a mirelurk the size of a chicken, with glowing red eyes of course. The Mariner isn’t very happy and you find it hilarious, now you can either tell Mariner to lie to the town and tell them it was a great hunt and you destroyed the monster, or tell the truth. The outcome doesn’t really have any direct effect on the player. If you didn’t talk to Mariner and find out she’s dying then its just a funny quest but if you did it can turn out kind of sad. If she tells the truth everyone finds it pretty damn funny, and she’ll remark to you how this is what she’s going to be remembered for. If she lies to the town then she is regarded as a hero but believes the rest of her life to be harder for lying. In the end though she regards you as true friend, a funny, interesting, sad story that makes you think.

The red death

He’s sooo cute

 

Last Voyage Of The USS Constitution

Boy oh boy there’s a lot to this quest, exploration, high verticality combat, choice, awesome set piece and skill check. Yes! fucking skill checks, the only skill check in the entire game before Far Harbour. To be more specific I guess its a special requirement but we’ll get to it later. Upon finding the USS constitution you are invited on board by a robot and discover that the whole place is run by robots. The robot in charge is Ironsides and he will task you with fixing broken things on the ship. You are then attacked by scavengers while your on top of the ship, you get to fire the massive cannons on the side so thats cool. Its also cool that if you have Intelligence 9 you can fix most of the problems on the ship, why its the only stat check in the base game I don’t know. You do have to leave the ship to get some replacement parts, each area bringing combat with it. One of the pieces you need is in the hands of the scavengers who attacked earlier. You can actually side with the scavengers but unfortunately even if you do side with them they will betray you at the end. Working with Ironside is the way to go as it gets you the unique weapon known as the Broadsider which is a portable cannon basically, its pretty damn good. Now the reason the robots want to fix the ship is to launch themselves into the sea. Im sure most people who have played this game will know what happens if you don’t just go watch it, its good. A quest with plenty going on, a decent story and great ending make it easily the best quest in the base game.

ironsides

Football’s Coming Home: More Tactics

First things first, I hired a new assistant: Pat Rice. The ex-Arsenal assistant accepted the role and brings a wealth of experience to us. He also will handle arranging friendlies which is pretty great. His first arrangement is a friendly against France which is a great idea, cheer Pat! And Lithuania, which meh… So a long one today.

Whilst waiting for the first set of friendlies I have had job offers from Bournemouth, Leicester, West Ham and Everton. Needless to say, I rejected them all in order to focus on the England gig.

For the call-up, I have decided to experiment (a little). Welbeck and Hughes are out for Oxlade-Chamberlain and NOBLE! Yes, Mark Noble. I decided to try the experienced Hammers midfielder as a backup midfield option. Hopefully, his developed mental traits give him the edge on Hughes – also, he has had a great season at West Ham.

 

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Noble’s mental stats are decent, plus the penalties could come in handy…

The first friendly, as previously mentioned is France, the tournament favourites and our group-mates (is that a term?). I will be testing out our more cautious, counter-attacking system in this match. We have tried this out in the past to not too much success, but we haven’t played any team of France’s stature, and these are the teams the tactic is built for.

So, here is the lineup and tactic:

 

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4-3-3: Simple, but maybe effective…

With this shape, we are looking to counter attack but also make some use of our full-backs. Dier is ideal in this shape to play an anchor, which will help break down oppositions attacks whilst we sit in shape, and then allow our full-backs to charge on as we counter. Henderson will be our all action man in the middle, and Lallana will look for space to break out. Rashford will hopefully combine with Vardy, whilst Sterling stays wide to supply support. This is all of course in theory. We have a few players down for just 45 minutes action so there will be a lot of rotation. Let’s see what happens away in our night in Paris Saint-Etienne.

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I’ll take it

We did okay, France had twice as many shots as we did, but most were from distance. Our first half performances were very even, but I was forced to remove Dier from his anchoring role due to club restrictions and replace him with Noble, who was much more comfortable as a deep-lying playmaker on defend, which he did okay with but Dier seemed a lot more effective. Up top, Rashford was quite poor, as was Vardy, but Sterling performed well carving himself out a few opportunities. We had the only clear-cut chance of the game which came via Rashford in a scramble following a corner, he hit the ever present Kante. Smalling picked up the man of the match.

Overall, pleasing stuff. I will give this tactic another shake in our game against the Netherlands, I think it could serve us well. Henderson picked up a knock and so is out for the next game, so in comes Ward-Prowse. Now, Lithuania, again, but in sunny Lithuania, which I suppose might be nice… apparently they have nice potato dumplings.

 

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West Ham fans rejoice!

 

I am giving Noble a start after his substitute appearance against France if only to test his versatility, his ability to play most midfield roles might be very useful in the tournament, though I am somewhat concerned about his technical ability. Elsewhere, Ward-Prowse start, Wilshere see’s a start in a more advanced role, Walcott is on the wing, Kane start, and the back two are rotated. This is the same tactic we used last time out against Macedonia, let’s hope for a similar result.

 

 

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Bit nippy

 

It was cold out there, there was even snow, but luckily we were comfortable. Pickford’s hands must’ve been freezing after having only one save. Our first goal came after Clyne worked well down the right-hand side before delivering a perfect cross for Rashford to tuck home. This was followed up by a penalty as Walcott was fouled in the box as he looked to latch onto another cross, Noble stepped up, and on his first England start, stuck home as cooley as well… Pickford’s hands. Noble ended up captaining the team, which was odd as it is only his second cap, but he has done enough to get himself into contention. Rashford got man of the match.

With that result, we have also set an England defensive record, not conceding since we played Scotland in September 2017, it’s now nearly April 2018, a long way from conceding five against Northern Ireland – catenaccio.

We are approaching the squad call-up for our last two friendlies, and then, the world cup. Before doing this, I had a quick look at the premier league, to see who is winning it, and whilst that is not done yet (I will bring you the final result), I noticed this:

 

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Interesting…

 

Callum Wilson has torn it up this season, throwing himself firmly into contention given the misfiring of other strikers (Vardy and Welbeck…). Also, I will give some thought to Cresswell who has the second most player of the match awards, but he has some tough competition in Rose and Shaw.

But before a choice can be made…

 

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So close…

 

Arsenal nearly clinched it, but Man U had a bit too much.  Elsewhere, it was good to see Brighton hold on with Knockaert racking up the assists. Anyway, back to my business, the selection.

 

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Wait… I’ve made a mistake here…

 

It was only when we went to get on the plane I noticed… there was no Jordan Henderson. I asked Pat Rice, where he was, thought he might just be in the bog, but not, I completely forgot Jordan Henderson… our fucking captain.

So this world cup is off to a good start.

You might notice, I also called up Jon Toral thinking I was smart nabbing him from Spain. Turns out, he isn’t that great, and it meant I forgot Henderson… the bloody captain. God dammit!

Life moves on. Wilson and Noble make it, wait no I’m still not over the Henderson thing, let’s just play Holland.

…Oh god, the media are going to kill me…

I called up Toral and Noble instead of…

Fuck sake.

Actually moving on, the world cup odds are in. We are placed at 18/1, which isn’t great, but if I was you I’d whack a tenner on that. I mean… ignore my incompetence, I’m sure it will pan out, we have Mark Noble.

The International League draw was made, which sort of replaces friendlies, we have drawn Italy and Sweden, which is okay I suppose.

So, Netherlands…

 

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We have no BBMs…

 

As promised, we are testing out this tactic against a reasonably strong side who didn’t qualify for the world cup, which makes them seem not that strong, but don’t doubt how bad we can be.

We now have no box-to-box midfielders and tonnes of playmakers so Alli can fill in adequately – he has long legs. Oxlade-Chamberlain is in hopefully he can justify his selection. I hope to give Wilson some minutes too. Let’s do this.

 

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Jordan who?

 

 

What a performance! Completely dominant, creating chances left and right. It took until the second half to score but we missed two clear-cut chances in the first half. Our first goal, however, came about in lucky circumstance. A long clearance from Clyne managed to evade the Dutch goalkeeper, Vermeer, who had came to head the ball, Kane latched on and tapped into an open goal. Following this, a cross from Shaw was about to be met by Chamberlain who was dragged down giving us a penalty, Rashford dutifully tucked home. After this, a fine passing move was capped off by Rashford following a defence-splitting Kane pass. For the fourth, Walcott beat three men on the right-hand side before delivering an excellent cross to debutant Wilson, who had lost his marker, who tucked home. Finally, fine play from Rashford allowed him a pull back to Wilshere, whose shot was parried to Walcott who tapped home.

Overall an excellent performance, and an encouraging one for the 4-3-3 going forward. Next, Cameroon.

 

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Experimental

 

We have tried this shape (3-4-3, 5-2-2-1, 5-2-3?) once before against Peru, we won 5-0 that time out. It really enabled our full-backs to get forward and could be very useful in the tournament against teams of Cameroon’s or Peru’s ilk. So let’s give it a second test and see how we perform.

On the pitch, I am hoping to get a closer look at Noble, Wilson, Jones and Barkley in this final friendly… Let’s go.

(Mark Noble to captain the side, West Ham captain?!?! It’s coming home!)

 

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Maybe excitement was premature.

 

A pretty unconvincing performance, I don’t think we will be carrying the 3-4-3 into the tournament, instead, I think I will opt for the 4-2-3-1 in these type of games, although Dier offers me the flexibility to switch to this shape on the move. In the game, not too much happened, before the 92nd minute when Chamberlain beat his man down the right-hand side, charged to the edge of the eighteen-yard box and delivered a bullet cross to Wilson who produced a side-foot volley from close range to take the win. That’s two in two now for Wilson.

That’s it. Preparations complete. We know our tactics a bit better now, we know our main two (4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1) with a bit of flexibility if needed (3-4-3). We’ve made mistakes and discovered some useful new players, and it all comes to ahead next time as we head into our crucial first game, against tournament favourites – France.

Au revoir!

TO GO WITH AFP STORIES ABOUT ZIDANE's RE