Archive for June 13th, 2010

What We Learned From Germany vs Oztralia (4-0)

Das Ist Total Fussball Ja?

Well, not quite the full-on total football the Dutch invented in the 1970s, but real football nonetheless. And Hesus Marimba haven’t we waited long enough for isolated pockets of football to break out. Germany were as sweet as Oztralia were rubbish, all nice close control and pretty triangles, coupled with penetrating running off the ball and neat use of the channels. In short, all the tactical class that had been missing from games 1 – 7. Admittedly, given the paucity of the opposition, the Germans didn’t have to try that hard.

The Germans Are Not Like Bunk Moreland

No, for when it came time to fuck the Ozzies, they were not gentle. Where the South Koreans had satisfied themselves with a couple of goals at the start of each half, the Germans decided to satiate themselves. They started with two strikers, each of whom scored in the first half and then laid on the pain by subbing on another two, both of whom also scored. They never let up with the triangles and close control and left the Ozzies with the sort of cultural sporting arse-fuck that will take a generation to come to terms with.

It Was Cardtastic

Now part of the charm of the World Cup is that you get to see fairly poor quality teams from other continents being roundly taught a lesson by the footballing elite. One of the downsides is that often these teams are made up of the kind of clod-hopping hoofers who’d stand out as too shit for even the lower leagues. The Ozzies can boast many of them. Third raters like Lucas Neill and Bret Emmerton, propping up the basement clubs like some latter-day Norwegian mercenaries. And when faced with quality they revert to type. The good thing about the World Cup is that not only do these guys get found out, but they often get punished. None more deserving than Everton’s Tim Cahill, who has long been a red card waiting to happen. The fact that his card came for a fairly innocuous  pseudo-challenge only added to our joy. Also it was nice to see not one, but two yellow cards for diving.

At Last! Football

Best match so far by a long, long, long way. Germany look really tasty, certainly only they and the Argies look credible contenders. Everyone else is waiting on their slip-ups.

8 Down 58 To Go

Archive for June 13th, 2010

More Tweets From The Palace 2010-06-13

Archive for June 13th, 2010

What We Learned From Ghana vs Serbia (1-0)

You’re Just A Stereotype

Both sides played into the highly unbiased neo-bigotry we brought into the game. Ghana, the fiery heart of Africa, played neat, muscular football, while Serbia, the self-conscious new boys in Europe, went cagey, cautious and all ex-communist. And in the end it was the extra adventure of Ghana that proved the deciding factor.

Two New Moves (Not To Be Encouraged)

We’ve seen two exciting new moves in this World Cup. Unlike previous  moves such as the Adriano or the Cruyff Turn, which have been great ways of altering the direction of the ball and player and are obviously great examples of ball skills, these are detrimental to the game. The first is the ‘Green Save’, whereby a seemingly innocuous vaguely goal-bound effort is deftly spooned into the net. Exemplified (invented even) by Engerland’s Rob Green, this is the pinnacle of goalkeeping howlidge. Not content with watching the ‘Green’ being showcased yesterday, the Algerian keeper decided to develop his own variation of the ‘Green’ and watch the ball into the back of the net without even bothering. The second new move is the blatant handball in the area masquerading as a ‘Maradonna’ or a ‘Henry Assist’. Invariably spotted and punished, this move, like the ‘Green’, is a game changer. We saw how Ghezzal’s attempt the catch the ball and ‘Henry’ it into the net changed the game in Slovenia’s benefit. Here we saw the first defensive use of the ‘Maradonna’ as Serbia’s Kuzmanovic attempted to volleyball the matchball away from a Ghanahan head, conceding a completely needless penalty in the process. It was a just reward for Ghana’s more adventurous play throughout the match.

There Was A Danger Of Football Breaking Out

What with Ghana’s more ambitious play overpowering Serbia’s caution and ex-Spurs reject and Pompey mainstay Kevin Prince Boateng taking charge in the middle of the field, there seemed to be a danger of footballing breaking out during the game. Nice to see.

7 Down 57 To Go

Archive for June 13th, 2010

What We Learned From Algeria vs Slovenia (0-1)

The World Cup Will Be Starting Sometime Soon

Because, let’s face it, I’ve been watching TV football for what seems like months now and so far there’s been no sign of the Festival of Football everyone was talking about. Most games seem to have been played out like preparatory training matches, with no emphasis whatsoever on attempting to dominate or, god forbid, actually win matches. And we’ve seen some teams that really should have been stifled at birth (yes that will be Greece, Algeria, Slovenia, France, Mexico and South Africa to name but a few) and almost none wbo will make any kind of impact when the Real World Cup starts sometime soon (that will be Argentina then). So far the only genuinely decisive, game changing moment has been the defence splitting pass setting up Tshabalala’s outstanding net-cracking goal in the first match, with Donkey Heskey’s round the corner layoff to Gerrard being the only other contender (although UK broadcaster ITV did manage to cut to an advert so as to avoid any semblance of real football being observed by the TV audience back home).  At some point real football is bound to break out.

Is Qualification So Different From The Real Thing?

One problem may be that the core tactics needed to qualify may actually be counterproductive once teams get to the World Cup itself, in much the same way that winning the Championship (and being promoted to the Premiership) requires a completely different (some would say mutually exclusive) tactical style to actually being in the Premiership. To qualify, you need to cane the minnows and not lose to the bigger boys. That way, at least, you will scrape into a one on one last gasp ‘limp into the finals’ qualifier. The seeding system rewards conservative play, pitting potential game winners against clod-hopping ‘kick yr shins out’ defenders where skill is valued less than body weight. Once you get to the Finals, however, defences are so well marshalled that you need genuinely skillful players to unlock them, the same players who are a luxury during qualification. You can’t simply ponce about playing loads of flat back passing hoping that you’ll be able to spot the defensive keyhole you need to slot the ball through to win (and then being able to slot the ball home). This effectively means that the very players you need to win World Cup matches (and the ones we want to see) are the ones who are too expensive to risk during the qualifiers.

No Sign Of Revolutionary Tactical Evolution

So far, so Mourinho. A collapsible double bank of four defenders set up just in front of the penalty area, with the now-obligatory defensive midfielder sandwiched in between them seems to be the set up everyone is playing.  Admittedly there are a number of options and changes that happen when the team gains possession and moves forward (very, very slowly), but the gentlemanly technique of allowing the opposition to get set up before beginning your attack in earnest is something that needs to be addressed. At some point someone is going to have to come up with an effective counter to this stalemate.

Sorry, Was There A Match On?

I recently watched Get Shorty again (which is a far better use of 90 minutes than any of the matches I’ve seen so far). In it a drug dealing kingpin threatens to have his minions staple someone’s tongue to their forehead. Watching another match this fucking garbacious would require them to staple my eyelids open and then force me to face in the correct direction. This was Sepp Blatter’s worst nightmare, two teams the world could give a shit about playing sub-low league football in front of a stadium so empty they couldn’t even give the tickets away. So much for the ‘Festival of Football’ and FIFA’s pathetic attempts to pretend that they care about the average South African fan or indeed the average TV watching fan.

But Didn’t Some Guy Get Sent Off and Didn’t The Goalie ‘Green’ It Into His Own Net?

Yes, some guy was sent off (and wasn’t he the lucky one?). And, yes, the Algerian goalie did seem to ‘Green’ it into his own net, albeit with a bit more televisual flair. But that doesn’t excuse the rest of the game.

6 Down 58 To Go