Fox's The Greatest Showman

[ HWCI World Cup Pool ]

Monday, July 9, 2018 
Issue #7.2.3 "The Greatest Showman" 
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First Semifinal - Saint Petersburg Stadium - St. Petersburg   Second Semifinal - Luzhniki Stadium - Moscow
French National Team Belgian National Team   Croatian National Team English National Team

FRA - France (Les Bleus)
Fédération Française de Football

BEL - Belgium (The Red Devils)
Union Royale Belge des Sociétés de Football-Association

CRO - Croatia (Vatreni)
Croatian Football Federation

ENG - England (Three Lions)
The Football Association Ltd.
#7 | C1 | Group C Winners | 4-0-1
6th Semifinals ('58, '82, '86,
'98, '06)
C1: Beat Australia 2-1
C3: Beat Peru 1-0
C5: Tied Denmark 0-0
R16: Beat 2D-Argentina 4-3
QF: Beat 1A-Uruguay 2-0
#3 | G1 | Group G Winners | 5-0-0
2nd Semifinals ('86)
G1: Beat Panama 3-0
G3: Beat Tunisia 5-2
G5: Beat England 1-0
R16: Beat 2H-Japan 3-2
QF: Beat 1E-Brazil 2-1
  #20 | D3 | Group D Winners | 3-0-2
2nd Semifinals ('98)
D2: Beat Nigeria 2-0
D3: Beat Argentina 3-0
D6: Beat Iceland 2-1
R16: Beat 2C-Denmark 1-1 (3-2 PSO)
QF: Beat 2A-Russia 2-2 (4-3 PSO)
#12t | G4 | Group G Runners-Up | 3-1-1
3rd Semifinals (
'66, '90)
G2: Beat Tunisia 2-1
G4: Beat Panama 6-1
G5: Lost Belgium 0-1
R16: Beat 1H-Colombia 1-1 (4-3 PSO)
QF: Beat 1F-Sweden 2-0

Final four feature teams who have not won the Cup in at least 20 years

HILTON SANTA BARBARA BEACHFRONT RESORT, CA (smt) --  The first semifinal will feature the two best teams of the tournament, a pre-final of sorts, with Group C winners France facing off against Group G Belgium, both undefeated in regulation and both ranked in the top 7.  France rallied from a 2-1 2nd half deficit to beat 2D-Argentina 4-3 and Belgium rallied from a 2-0 2nd half deficit to beat 2H-Japan in their Round of 16 matches so they have been tested.  The second semifinal features 1D-Croatia which needed to PSO wins against non-group winners to advance and 2G-England which barely beat G3-Tunisia but did get the PSO monkey off their back in beating 1H-Colombia.  Only 2 of the 8 teams on this side of the bracket were ranked in the top 11.  So will the Final be anti-climatic?  The current odds:  France 2:1, Belgium 2.5:1, England 2.75:1, Croatia 4:1.

English fans are going bonkers over England's success thus far, especially finally winning a penalty shootout, they believe they are destined.  They are going almost as crazy as buying albums of The Greatest Showman, which spent 11 straight weeks at #1 in the U.K. tying Adele of all people.  My son got me to buy the digital version of the movie as he saw it with his neighborhood friend and after resisting for a long time, got to watch and LOVE it (ignore the biopic liberties taken).  I should never doubt Hugh Jackman (I highly enjoyed The Boy From Oz and saw him live on Broadway) in a musical again.  So to link the topics together, below is the actual track list from the movie (all great songs and damn addictive, even my son and daughter are humming the tunes) and how it relates to the 2018 World Cup.  BTW, each title is linked to the song courtesy of Atlantic Records.  Enjoy!

The Greatest Show: Where it's covered in all the colored lights; Where the runaways are running the night; Impossible comes true, it's taking over you; Oh, this is the greatest show.  Indeed, the World Cup is the greatest show on earth and this particular one has seen the "runaways" running the show with Germany, Spain, and Brazil all bowing out early.  Will Croatia or Belgium win their first World Cup?

A Million Dreams: I think of what the world could be; A vision of the one I see; A million dreams is all it's gonna take; A million dreams for the world we're gonna make.  When FIFA dreamt and then awarded Russia the 2018 World Cup, it was a chance for Vladimir Putin and his country to shine.  A million dreams would not have seen Russia getting out their group and then beating Spain in the Quarterfinals.  Of course, this was really a billion dreams as costs to host the World Cup soared past $11.8 billion

Come Alive: To the world that we were living in; 'Cause we're dreaming with our eyes wide open; So, come alive!  From the start where a yawner of a start between Russia and Saudi Arabia turned into a home-roaring 5-0 win and the second match between Portugal and Spain that became a 3-3 classic, this World Cup has entertained.  There were just four red cards the whole tournament and only one scoreless draw.  Teams like Japan and Senegal came out to play to rough up Group H and Sweden and Mexico advanced out of a group that had defending champs Germany. 

The Other Side: Forget the cage, 'cause we know how to make the key; Oh, damn! Suddenly we're free to fly; We're going to the other side.   One side of the bracket started filling up with Uruguay, Portugal, France, and Argentina and the other side had just Spain.  So England rested their starters and lost their last group match which put them on the other side.  This was key as with Spain's surprising loss, the only teams in their way to the Final were Colombia, Sweden, Russia, and Croatia, not exactly a formidable group. 

Never Enough: All the shine of a thousand spotlights; All the stars we steal from the night sky; Will never be enough; Never be enough.  Though sung by the Swedish Nightingale, the only thing Sweden will never hear enough about is how they needed Zlatan on their team.  Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.  Two of the greatest and some of the most decorated players will still be without a World Cup title to their name in maybe their last World Cups for Argentina and Portugal.  Messi struggled but helped get ARG into the knockout stage while Ronaldo scored a hat trick before flaming out in the Round of 16.  Will it be enough for the press that these are great players despite not winning the cup?

This is Me: Look out 'cause here I come; And I'm marching on to the beat I drum; I'm not scared to be seen; I make no apologies, this is me.  Basically Spain.  Talented, can show you they can complete lots of passes and keep possession, never changed, and were solved by host Russia, a team ranked 60 spots lower.  Also, Japan, which after going 2-0 in the second half, still pushed forward to their detriment, as Belgium scored quickly on a fluke goal  Japan still pressured.  Belgium scored the tying goal.  Japan still attacked and earned a corner kick, but then Belgium counter-attacked and scored the game-winner as stoppage time expired.

Rewrite the Stars: So why don't we rewrite the stars?; Maybe the world could be ours; Tonight.  Where are top powers and previous WC champs Brazil, Germany, Argentina, and Spain?  This was not supposed to be France's year to shine but this young team has grown before our eyes and have changed the script where they are now the favorites to win the Cup.  Croatia and Belgium will be looking for their 1st title and England their first title since '66.

Tightrope: Never sure, never know how far we could fall; But it's all an adventure; That comes with a breathtaking view; Walking the tightrope.  Portugal and Mexico saw the highs after their first two matches but who knew how far they would fall in such a short amount of time.   Portugal couldn't beat Iran, settled for 2nd to face Uruguay instead of Russia, and then lost in the Round of 16.  Mexico then imploded against Sweden to finish second with a date with Brazil instead of Switzerland) and promptly were beaten 2-0.

From Now On: And from now on; These eyes will not be blinded by the lights; From now on; What's waited till tomorrow starts tonight; It starts tonight.  And we will come back home; And we will come back home; Home, again!  This song is what prompted this update.   I kept hearing as I was wearing my England jersey that "we're bringing it back home", meaning the trophy.  Even the Drudge Report had the headline "It's Coming Home" along with links to the craziness in England.  From now on, English fans now really believe and it starts tonight.  Will the trophy make its way to England?  Two matches to find out!

If you enjoyed this, I also did one on the musical "Les Miserables" recapping France's loss in the final in 2006.

If you buy the movie, make sure you watch the more than 2 hours of extras -- some of the best I've seen and the creatives are forthcoming and endearing...

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