Armada Talks Russia: Week Four Finals

Armada FC players and coaches answer questions on the last week of the World Cup tournament
Jul 12, 2018

By Alexis Curry,


After four weeks of being chained to the TV at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day, the World Cup is finally coming to a close. France and Croatia made it out of the semifinals earlier this week, and are preparing for the final on July 15 at 11 a.m. EST.

Assistant Coach Aaron Pitchkolan, Armada FC midfielder J.C. Banks, forward Ciarán Kilduff and defender Michael Melvin answered a few questions ahead of the final stages of the World Cup.


What are your overall thoughts on the World Cup so far?

Pitchkolan: World Cup summers are the best. It’s the most entertaining month of soccer and it never disappoints. 

Banks: I think it has been a very interesting and unpredictable World Cup so far. Pretty entertaining tournament to watch.

Kilduff: It’s been a great World Cup with a lot of late drama and unpredictable results! Possibly even the best I can remember. Even without Ireland or the U.S. competing.

Melvin: Honestly, it’s been the most exciting World Cup I have seen yet. I wanted Argentina to win from the beginning. I wanted them to eventually play Portugal in the Round of the 16 to see the Ronaldo and Messi battle. That would have been a very special match.


What has been the most interesting game you have watched?

Pitchkolan: Japan versus Belgium was great. The goal Belgium scored to win it in stoppage time was an incredible counter attack.

Banks: The Brazil versus Belgium game. I picked either of those teams to win the whole thing, so it was nice to see them play each other.

Kilduff: I think Belgium’s 3-2 win over Japan in the Round of 16 stage! Japan almost shocked the world, but were beaten by a great Belgium team. They were up 2-0 and ended up losing 3-2 with the last kick of the game. Great drama.

Melvin: I think the most interesting game would have to be the Germany/Sweden game where Germany came back to win while they had a red card. The free kick that Toni Kroos scored was insane. The close runner-up would have to be the England vs. Colombia game that went to penalties. I was on the edge of my seat the whole game.



Who were you surprised to see be knocked out? Why?

Pitchkolan: Senegal. They lost in a tiebreaker based on yellow cards. How crazy is that?!

Banks: Germany not making it out of their group was the most surprising because they were the defending champions and had another strong roster coming into the tournament.

Kilduff: I feel Germany getting knocked out in the group was big upset. They were more than capable of winning that group, but no progress was a shock.

Melvin: I think the biggest mystery was the performance of Germany. They had a strong squad filled with players that play at the highest level in the world, yet they still couldn't perform when they needed to. That surprised me the most because of what we have seen in the past from the German teams. 


What are your predictions for the final two? Why?

Pitchkolan: I like Belgium because they have great individual players, but players, but play even better as a team. I like Croatia as well, because they’re a smaller country with some world-class players and this their moment to make it to the final.

Banks: Belgium versus Croatia [for the] final.

Kilduff: France and England for me. It will be two tight games, but I feel they will be the two to progress.

Melvin: I think it will be England and France in the final. Both semifinals are going to be great games to watch but I think the English have the grit and mental toughness to get them to the final. With France, I expect them to score a couple beautiful goals against Belgium and keep a clean sheet for a 2-0 win. They have been my favorite team to watch this tournament.


Did the Final Four match your predictions from the beginning of the Cup?

Pitchkolan: I had Croatia going far. I figured England would have lost on penalties by this point. France is a surprise for me and Belgium was everyone’s dark horse this tournament.

Banks: I did not expect Croatia or England to make it as far as they did.

Kilduff: Not remotely. I was certain Spain and Brazil would have been the final and to not even have them in the semifinals is hard to believe.

Melvin: I knew England and France would make it very far, but I have been surprised by Belgium and Croatia's success. They weren't two teams that I expected to be in the semifinals. My final four teams at the beginning of the tournament were Brazil, England, Spain, and Germany.