Filed Under (Uncategorized) by LF on 17-06-2010
After a fantastically attacking Euro 2008, football fans everywhere could have been forgiven for thinking that attacking football was back in business. After all, Spain’s win at the UEFA tournament was followed by an imperious Barcelona side (in 2008-09) that won the treble scoring well over a 100 goals in all competitions.
Then we saw an English Premier League season which was the highest-scoring in years, with an exciting three-team title race. But it appears the biggest indicator of the latest tactical trend was Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, who won the treble in 09/10, with a re-working of the catenaccio style of Helenio Herrara’s Grande Inter.
The Portuguese tactician has perhaps brought back defence into fashion but we cannot really blame the self-styled ‘Special One’ for the lack of attacking intent in this tournament. The opening round of fixtures have seen only Argentina, South Korea, Germany, Chile show some form of style and pace. The pressure of not losing the opening game was huge and seems to have caused a dearth of goals.
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Filed Under (Uncategorized) by LF on 13-06-2010
In 2006, France were galvanised by the return of legends Zinedine Zidane and Claude Makelele to force a run to the final. At Euro 2008, there was no leader to run the team, only the tactically strange decisions of astrology-loving coach Raymond Domenech to cause a group-stage exit. Now, there are accusations of a rift in the side, players not passing to each other in addition to the predictably awful team selections.
The uninspiring draw with Uruguay showed a France side bereft of any incisive passing patterns as Arsenal’s Abou Diaby was the only player who provided direction in the attack. Anelka was an isolated figure, with his clever runs in behind the defence ignored in a pedestrian performance. Govou was a strange selection and did not spring any surprises on the right flank. Spectators wondered why Malouda did not start in his place (rumours suggest a bust-up with Domenech saw him benched).
The introduction of Gignac, Henry and Malouda saw a little more threat though Domenech insisted bizarrely that Toulouse striker Gignac play wide while winger Malouda played through the middle. Despite having many talented individuals, France aren’t a team and it seems difficult to see Les Bleus progress towards the latter stages.
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Filed Under (Uncategorized) by LF on 11-06-2010
“Life is rhythm, football is rhythm and I feel the rhythm when I am in South Africa.” This was the rhetoric promoted by Sepp Blatter, the 74 year-old Swiss president of FIFA, on the awarding of the 2010 World Cup to South Africa. Such soundbites reflect on the idea that South Africa will benefit enormously in economic and social terms from the four week tournament between June and July.
Such a ‘love story’ (another Blatterism) is no doubt confirmed by the record £2.2bn FIFA have banked in media and marketing revenues. The financial aspects of this World Cup have come under much scrutiny as the positive impacts on the country appear small in relation to the profits of FIFA. Read the rest of this entry »