Portugal v Sweden and England v Chile – international football webchat

Barney Ronay was online to answer your questions about tonight's matches in Lisbon and London

Thanks for reading and commenting

Barney has signed off, but to prevent you from going back to your jobs, here is a bunch of stuff to help you procrastinate for a little longer. It's a Friday afternoon after all:

Opinion: We should stop comparing footballersPreview: 10 things to look out for this weekendQuiz: Who said it, Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Enjoy the weekend's football.

Guardian staff

Sadly our hour is up and that's the end of the webchat. Thanks for all your questions. Enjoy the games tonight. I'm off to get ready for the Estadio de Luz ahead of the Zlat-Ron fest. Let's chat again soon. Barney


scrat17 asks:

In the most unglamorous tie of the night... who you think will go through: Greece or Romania?

Guardian staff

I've got this weird affliction whereby if anyone mentions the Romanian football team I immediately hear Kevin Keegan saying, "I tell you what Clive if they don't win this match... they're not going to remain 'ere". Not sure what tournament that was at but it's like a form of tinnitus. So I'm hoping Greece.

TheHulkster asks:

Who is the best sports journo at the Guardian?

Guardian staff

Depends what you're after. Sid Lowe's pretty good isn't he? Mike Selvey's Mike Selvey. Danny Taylor's all-round good. Dom Fifield knows where the bodies are buried. Jonathan Wilson's ours. Honigstein. Andy Bull of course. Everyone's pretty good. But Id have to award the ballon d'or this year to... er, can;t really think. The Fiver maybe.

And, after forgetting David Conn, Barney writes:

Guardian staff

Damn. David Conn. Never forget David Conn.


eifiona asks:

With the Irish FA going with the same mindset as 1970s prog musicians and deciding on a Managerial Supergroup, who would be your ideal Managment duo to work in tandem?

Guardian staff

I'd like to see Wales managed jointly by all the surviving members of Pink Floyd. But with none of them ever appearing in the same room, instead giving moody talking heads TV interviews about how they were always the really creative one in the band and how some old long-standing wounds never heal and how they probably never will play together again. I feel this could really bring the best out of Gareth Bale at international level.

Nickthemightyred asks:

Hi Barney, I think England may be the surprise package at this year's World Cup. Do you think there is any likelihood of me being right with this possibly deluded hunch? ;)

Guardian staff

It depends what you're expecting. If you're expecting a previously unseen sense of urgency, incision patience on the ball and an ability to beat the bigger teams - then yes I'd say you're definitely in for a surprise.

HarrisonP asks:

Hello Barney, I'm running a sweepstake on the time it take Roy Keane to decapitate one of the poor Irish players for not being up to his standards. I've taken 12 minutes, care to hazard a bet?

Guardian staff

I think he will be trying so hard not to do that he's in serious danger of experiencing a complete circuit meltdown. It's quite possible within the first fortnight in the job he might challenge himself to a fight. He may even headbutt himself before being dragged away (by himself) yelling about pasta and fruit and cheese sandwiches.

boc610 asks:

Would you agree that Ibra is the best player in the world at the moment? I just think his overall link-up play and performances for both club and country have shaded Ronaldo's... I dont want to say "by a nose".

Guardian staff

No Messi is the best. It's just the way it is, whatever your personal loyalties. But really it's such a boring and irresolvable question beyond that. they're all very good. Well done. Have a ballon each. We're all winners here (even the losers).

PhallusJohnson asks:

Is Barkley The Answer?

Guardian staff

Yes he probably is. If the question is: who's supposed to play there now there doesn't seem to be more than a thimble full of decent English central midfielder under the age of 30. It is a sign of wafer-thin resources, but he is clearly a good all-round midfielder. If only Jack Rodwell was good/fit/progressing as he was meant to. The pair of them together - the charging Toure-lite style hulk and the goalscoring box to box man - might be quite a thing. With a bit of Wilshere chucked in. Dash of Oxlade.

nutbutters asks:

Do you think Mexico and Uruguay will make it through after their performances in their first legs?

Guardian staff

Never, ever, ever write off a wounded New Zealand. It's the first rule of football.

republish asks:

Cole, Baines, Gibbs or Shaw for Brazil?

Guardian staff

I would have Baines as my No1 left-back. He is an excellent player and he gives more going forward where his crossing and passing and interplay is winger standard. With this in mind he just seems a little more of the all-round modern full-back where they have to expect to have the ball and to be able to have an effect. Cole has been great, and brilliant at tournaments, one of England's best, but I'd have him now as a back-up. After next summer its Baines and Gibbs for me. If I'm made England manager.

Danny Marsh asks:

Back to Gerrard and Lampard briefly; do you not think it's time to give them both the chop and focus with trying to give youngsters experience? Surely an argument could be that England haven't worked for a while and it needs massively shaking up? It shouldn't be a massive shock that a few Southampton players have been called up, it should be a shock that there haven't been many more changes.

Guardian staff

I think it's almost time to give them the chop. They can be useful in Brazil. Gerrard in particular is better than anybody else out there in the same position. But i agree that the overriding feeling for many people on seeing either on the team sheet is sheer boredom. It has been a very long time now. change when it comes will be a bit of a relief

almuniense asks:

Barney, are you surprised by Spain's decision to pursue Diego Costa, when they seem intent on not playing a striker anyway? And if they do plan on fielding a No9, what is wrong with Negredo, Soldado, Villa, Morata and co. when Spanish fans would surely prefer to see a Spanish player turn out for La Roja?

Guardian staff

I do find it quite odd, but then this is also the way of things now. And Spain have some history with this kind of thing. Marcos Senna was brilliant when they won the Euros in 2008. Still, you do wonder what it;s all about. I think Negredo is a very good player. Not so sure Soldado has as rounded a game. And in any case, Spain have been brilliant at producing players but also in adapting to their strengths. This is what I really respect about their recent success. This looks like something else.

Millard27 asks:

If the play-off was decided by which country has the better cuisine, who would win?

Guardian staff

No offence Sweden, but I think Portugal would win that one. With the climate it's not really a fair contest. I had a very nice pizza last night in a Lisbon restaurant that advertised itself as serving "casual food with a twist". Casual food is all very well. But the twist, for me, really made it.

MZorin asks:

Who do you want to see at the World Cup? Ronaldo or Zlatan?

Guardian staff

I'd rather have Ronaldo. Much as I love watching Zlatan Ronaldo is more a defining figure of the age. He's a phenomenal career, where Ibrahimovich is just phenomenally talented. Plus if you get Ronaldo you also get the cyber punk stylings of Raul Meireles

detrich asks:

Hodgson or Redknapp?

Guardian staff

I dream of a Hodgeknapp. A two headed beast with the blah of a Redknapp and the nice quiet book-reading braininess of Roy. England would be... unbeatable.

Luke18 asks:

With Messi's injury and both Ronaldo and Zlatan in immense form, could the outcome of this tie and their performances have a huge impact on who wins the Ballon D'or? Or will it go to Messi anyway?

Guardian staff

I think most people have voted already haven't they? It's odd though. Why does everyone care so much about the ballon d'or this year? It seems irrelevant to me, just a gong based on some people's opinions. It's never really seemed to matter before. It is as though we've all become little emissaries for Nike and Xbox and KFC taking to the streets and fighting their marketing battles for them. I honestly don't care who wins this prize. They're all pretty good players as far as I can tell.

flan5353 asks:

Which of the two players – Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic – are more important to their countries' chances of qualification and do you think either team could really make an impact at the World Cup?

Guardian staff

they are both equally important, in part because of the mediocrity of both team elsewhere. I don;t think either would really make a big impression at the World Cup. Maybe Portugal, who have the right habits and a star player who seems more likely to me to make a real difference on his own. But it's really just a celebrity sub plot

GhostWiper asks:

Barney, It's not easy to avoid getting caught reading these blogs when I'm supposed to be working. Now you go and put that picture at the top of this one. What's the most awkward thing you've been caught looking at in the workplace that you shouldn't have been?

Guardian staff

I once got caught pretending to have a proper job. I was looking at spreadsheets doing some quite difficult maths concentrating properly and not thinking about sport. I got a written warning.

ValenciaSkyBlue asks:

Hi Barney, I'm sick and tired of seeing Lampard and Gerrard in the same team. We appear to have been trying this combo for the last decade. I would replace one of them with some of the younger players stepping up.

Guardian staff

I agree. The presence of so many players with 100 caps just flags up the fact nobody has really come through and forced them out of the team. In Hodgson's favour I suppose Gerrard doesn't really play like Gerrard any more. He plays like new deep lying sort-of disciplined Gerrard. And Lampard doesn't really play like Lampard. He plays like hopeful, pensive, ruminative Lampard. Maybe this is the thinking. Slow them down to half speed and they might finally make a brilliant pair.

Barney will be here from 1pm

Good morning,

Barney will be online from 1pm, but in the meantime here are some of our international football previews:

World Cup 2014 play-offs and internationals: 10 things to look out for
We should stop comparing Cristiano Ronaldo to other players
Joy of Six: World Cup near misses
World Cup play-offs are not fair but abolishing them would be worse
Quiz: Who said it, Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Drop your questions in the comments sections below. Enjoy the webchat.


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