Posts tagged ‘World Cup’

Russia and Qatar – Interesting!!

Let me start by saying that I kind of guessed that both England AND USA would not get chosen to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.  I just couldn’t see FIFA giving consecutive World Cups to predominantly white and English speaking countries.

I didn’t really know too much about England’s bid, but I thought they stood a good chance based on what I was reading from the England camp.  And when you consider that USA voluntarily pulled out bidding for the 2018 World Cup to focus solely on the 2022 World Cup, then I had that figured to be that they had made a deal with England to not compete with them or that they thought England would beat them for votes for the 2018 World Cup.

So, although it wasn’t a big shock that England didn’t with the vote for the 2018 World Cup, it was a shock that they only got one vote and were eliminated in the first round of voting.  Then to make things worse, all the talk the following day was that England never had a chance and were arrogant with their entire presentation, kind of expecting to win.

This is typical of England…arrogant when they have no reason to be.  Apparently, they thought they were a shoe-in based on, bringing the game of football back home.  Others saw this as arrogance, especially when taking into account how poorly the national team has done over the past few years.

So, once England had lost out in their bid, I was pretty confident that USA would win the bid for the 2022.  Maybe I’ve been in the USA too long and have fallen under the line of thinking that we are bigger and better than anyone else and deserve it based on that.  If not that, I just thought that they would generate more money for FIFA than any other country could and that would be the trump card.  I figured FIFA couldn’t turn down the bid that would generate them the most profit.

So imagine my surprise when Qatar beat out USA and will host the 2022 World Cup.  I was shocked to say the least, and on a few different levels.

I can’t see a country like Qatar generating the profit that USA could, but then I started thinking.  Maybe I was looking at the money trail from the wrong angle.  FIFA is well known for being corrupt and it’s quite possible that Qatar gave FIFA, its representatives, and those who would vote, money to buy their votes.  In other words, they bought the election.

Let’s put it this way, I don’t buy the line from FIFA that they want to host the World Cup in different parts of the world to grow the game.  Yes, I’m sure they do, but no, I don’t believe that is the reason that Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

So with all the negatives involved in having the World Cup in Qatar, like the incredible heat, small size of Qatar, problems in that part of the world, etc., I can only come up with the fact that Qatar most likely bought the election and it was a done deal prior to the voting.

Having said all that, it does make things interesting and gives us something new to look forward to.  Don’t know how it will go, but with two new hosts, Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, it will at least be interesting.

Name One EPL Player That Had a Good World Cup

I have been on record (prior to the World Cup, so not an excuse) as saying that one of the reasons England struggle in World Cups and Euro Championships is that the players are physically worn out from a season in the English Premier League.  Note, I said “one” of the reasons.  There are other factors that cause England’s below par performances in major championships.  But I want to focus on the effects the EPL season has on players.

first, we have to realize that the EPL is simply more physical, in terms of the amount of running, speed of play and the physical challenges, than other leagues.

The cold and wet weather should also be added to the equation.  Let me explain.  Spain and Italy for example have a warmer climate.  In England, the players often practice and play in temperatures slightly above freezing and it wet and windy conditions.  This means they have to run around like crazy just to keep warm.  Practicing in Spain or Italy when it is a nice 60F, is a different matter.  It’s much more comfortable and less taxing on the players.

So the climate is a factor.  It means more running around in practices and games than in a warmer climate.

Then compare the pace of an EPL game to that of one from Spain or Italy.  It’s as different as night and day.  The EPL games are incredibly fast and furious from the first minute to the last.  An Italian or Spanish game seem to be made up a slow build up followed by lightning fast play for a few seconds when near or in the penalty area.

The bottom line is I don’t think anyone can argue that the EPL takes a more physical toll on players than other leagues.

I also want to add to the equation, that there is a cumulative effect.  A 22 year old player will be less effected by this than a 28 or 30 year old.  Gerrard is a good example of this.  He has been a shadow of his former self this season and I would argue that the cumulative effect of the EPL has taken its toll and we are likely to not see him at his best again.  Rooney could be right on the beginning stages of this.

Yes other countries have players in the EPL, but practically all of England’s squad were EPL players.

But to attempt to further prove my theory, let me ask this question.

Name me one player who plays in the EPL, who had a good World Cup?  Torres, Rooney, Fabregas, Gerrard, are all superstar players, but didn’t perform.  Yes previous injuries were a factor in some of them, but that goes to my point about the EPL being physical as injuries are part of this.

The best example I can think of is Dirk Kyut and the best that can be said for him was that he had a “decent” World Cup.

If you can think of anyone else, post it in the Comments section.

So how can players like Forlan, who struggled at Man U, all of a sudden become a stud in the World Cup?  I don’t know, but I do think it wouldn’t have happened if he was still playing in the EPL.

Speaking from the heart to US Soccer on how to win the World Cup

Today is an article by guest blogger,Vinicius Dos Santos.  Vinicius is the author of our best selling book and DVD, the Brazilian Box Midfield.

Speaking from the heart to US Soccer on how to win the World Cup

The joy of the task of playing the game of soccer is its own reward. The performance of
the task is sufficient to provide intrinsic reward itself. It is simply gratifying the act of
playing the game, with no need of external rewards for motivation purposes.

My concern with the youth is on the excessive emphasis on the assumption that
success is only possible thru external rewards. Modern studies about motivation and
drive, consider this approach outdated and much of what we used to believe about what
motivates us it isnʼt so anymore.

The operating system of youth soccer still believes that to improve performance and
generate excellence it is necessary to keep rewarding the good and punishing the bad –
all manipulated thru external-control. It may work for a short term boost but it sure does
harm long term performance by creating short term thinking, crush creativity, creates
dependency, creates possibility for unethical behavior (cheating), and expresses
someone elseʼs desires but the playerʼs one.

The reality is that soccer is much more a player driven sport than coach driven one. We
just keep denying the fact, in which intrinsic motivation has to be factor number one
when playing the game. So as it is everything in life.

For achievement of success and personal fulfillment the appropriate focus for younger
ages should concern less with external rewards that soccer brings (standings, records,
tournaments, State Cup, Regional and National competition) and more with the inherent
satisfaction by the simple act of playing the game. To play the game and benefit from its
excitement, thrills and enjoyment results will come as consequence of quality time spent
with the game.

What matters is the desire to do things because they matter, we like it, because they are
part of something important. Player engagement is crucial to elevate performance. But if
they do not see soccer as passionate as we are discussing here, then the level of
commitment and performance will be lower.

So there is no need to hire a foreigner to coach the US National Team, send players to
play in the EPL to learn passion, copy Brazil, learn state-of-the-art tactics – in order to
dream of winning the World Cup.

In fact, for now forget WC results – it is not going to happen until this focus is shifted –

There is no foundation for that, when the existent foundation only focus on controlling
coaching from very young ages; external structure/organization; severe result driven
developmental programs and youth club curriculums; youth soccer clubs non profit but
profit organizations – along with low player engagement and low player autonomy.

True quality happens thru autonomous kids with the ball feeling direct connection from
their hearts to the game. That brings mastery, the desire to get better and better
because it matters.

Perhaps soccer authorities and renowned coaches already spot my view point, but canʼt
figure out how to do it. Maybe is too late to undo the way it is, since too many other
interests are involved.

The secret of high performance is that unseen intrinsic drive.
The drive to do something for the own sake of doing it, the drive to do things because
they are meaningful.

Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success!

author of the best seller “The Brazilian Box Midfield”

Total Soccer???

Today is an article by guest blogger, Stephen Constantine.  A UEFA Pro License Holder & FIFA Instructor, Constantine is the manager of Apep FC in the Cyprus 1st Division and the author of the book, A Year In the Championship from his time at Millwall F.C.

Well so much for the total football that Dutch football was based upon , the days of Cryuff, Neskeens, Guillt and the tactical genius or Rinus Michles are well and truly over. Replaced by the likes of De Jong, Van Bommel and the persistent moaning of Robben !!!! they disgraced Dutch football in all respects……..they then have the ghoul to blame the referee .

I have never in all my life seen a performance like we witnessed last night, how Van Bommel went 4 games without a booking is beyond belief , how De Jong was not shown an immediate red for his chest high kick on Alonso and then had the nerve to complain to Alonso for acting !again is unbelievable, yet had Webb followed the letter of the law for every time the Dutch mugged a Spanish player the game would have had to been abandoned…..I do find fault with the referee on several points, for example Robben,  when will he start to play the football he is capable of and stop acting like a spoilt child who was on a yellow card gets caught for offside , he then proceeds to round the keeper and shoot even though the whistle has gone and everyone has stopped, why was he not shown a second yellow card !!! Minutes later a Spanish player does exactly the same thing and gets the card! The overall behaviour of the Dutch was insulting to all who play the beautiful game and to those who were watching ….thank god the Spanish won and more importantly football won, because had the Dutch won this game last night it would have sent the wrong message to anyone watching.

I am all for getting stuck in and playing hard but this was truly over the top and FIFA really need to stamp this out. Don’t get me wrong here I love Dutch football and we saw flashes of their undoubted brilliance but come one how can they resort to such tactics. Lets also not forget that amongst all this they had 2 one v one’s in the shape of Robben who else that they actually could have won the game late on, why are the Dutch not talking about that ???? ……..sorry guys after last night the reputation of Dutch football has taken a severe step backward………..Well done to Spain who were overall the best team in the World Cup and deserve to be called World Cup Champions…….

Total Soccer Beats Title Soccer

Today is another article by guest blogger, Terry Michler.  Terry is the nation’s winningest high school coach with over 800 wins at CBC High School in St. Louis.  Terry is also the author of these books, Dutch Total Football, Coaching Soccer Champions, Full Season Training Program – Elite Team and is the subject of our recent release Find a Way to Win.

We are always interested in articles from guest bloggers.  If you are interested in submitting an article for the blog, please email me.

Total Soccer Beats Title Soccer

Within the first few minutes of the broadcast of the Championship game of the 2010 World Cup, Martin Tyler mentions whether it will be ‘total soccer’ or ‘title soccer’ for the Dutch.  Spain answered that question rather convincingly during the next 120 minutes of play as they put their stamp on the game.   It was the Spanish 11 that demonstrated ‘total soccer’ that has forever been associated with Dutch football.  The Dutch, in their quest of ‘title soccer’, failed to produce anything close to resembling the style of play that we have come to expect from the Oranje.   It was a most inopportune time to produce such a haphazard performance.  In each of the previous games, there was always the feeling that the next game would produce more of the Dutch quality in the game, and then when the Final rolled around, they fail to produce with their last chance.

It was the Spanish who played the ‘dutch’ game with fluid movements of passing and interchanging of positions.  It was short, quick, crisp, meaningful passes that always landed safely on the foot of a teammate in an open ‘pocket’ of space.  It was cat and mouse and the Dutch struggled to catch up with the passes. Positional play was also very important to the Spanish attack as they could always find a player with space on the wing, and at the right time, play a through ball to a player breaking in on goal.  They defended with high pressure and forced turnover after turnover, never allowing the Dutch any chance to establish any rhythm in their buildup.  The only chances for the Dutch came on the break, and then they failed to take advantage.  So, it was the Spaniards who demonstrated the ‘total soccer’ that the Dutch had made famous in years gone by.  Johan Cruyff said before the Final that Spain played more of a ‘dutch‘ game than the Dutch themselves.

When Bert van Marwijk interviewed with the KNVB for the National Team job, he told them his goal was to win the World Cup.  He knew all the history of the Dutch National teams and how they imploded over the years and he took the approach that a change was necessary to have a chance for the title.  His approach yielded wonderful results as they did not lose a game until the Final.  But the ‘title soccer’ approach only got them to the same point of disappointment that they have been before, but not beyond.  So, at the end of the day, when the dust settles, it was Spain that produced the best soccer and even had Holland scored on one of their chances, it would have been an injustice to the quality that the Spanish produced, against all the recklessness of the Dutch.

On a personal note, being a staunch supporter of the Oranje, Dutch Vision and ‘Total Soccer’, it is extremely disappointing that they could not deliver the goods at the right moment.  It is ironic because one of the biggest coaching points in the dutch philosophy is to play in the right moment – to do the right thing, in the right way at the right time to the right place.  To pass the ball at the right time, with the right speed, to the right place, in the right way — that is the basis of their play.  Unfortunately, with the whole world watching, waiting and wanting to see the best of the best, they failed to hold up their end of the deal.  It was a moment that could erase the emptiness of ’74 and ’78 and put that first star on their jersey, but to me, more importantly to show the world their quality.  Maybe, when you deviate too much from makes you special, you come up short.  ‘Total soccer’ carried them a long way, ‘Title soccer’ left them a bit short.

Terry Michler – CBC High School

England’s Slow Road To Failure

Today is an article by guest blogger, Alex Mason.  Mason is the Director of Coaching for Omaha F.C.

England’s slow road to failure

With so many experts, coaches, fans, and critics all trying to understand the downfall of the English game, I wanted to add some thoughts.

Without a doubt the game was modernized by the English, with new laws and a professional approach to the game saw growth around the world in the late 1890s, this made it the world’s game. I will say this again it became the world’s game, no more claims of “it is our game”. For us Brits we find it very hard to understand how the rest of the world caught us and with no hesitation lapped us, bit like the Famous British Ford Escort trying to keep up with the Porsche or Ferrari we all knew adding a go fast stripe did not change the outcome of the race, Coming second was a habit we all laughed about.

In 1981 I took the English FA Preliminary badge, I was told to study a Coaching education book by the famous Charles Hughes, this book had great detailed Techniques and Tactical approaches to the beautiful game, sadly the Book was already at the end of its second decade. My soccer teachers would laugh that not much had changed, So let’s looks at the game during that time, at least 5 world cup Tournaments had been played, countless European cups and all other events where the game was digested and taught back to the rest of the world, remember England did win the world cup in 66, sorry for the single claim to the worlds game.

Did the English game become stationary when the rest of the world were teaching themselves new Systems of play and formations that evolved beyond the WM formation and the 4-4-2

When we look at the late sixties and seventies, the British team’s were very successful, Celtic, Man UTD, Nott’s Forest and Liverpool, all of these teams had hardly any foreign players, but all of these teams had great  Scottish players who were very dominant within the English game! Was the change occurring on our own door step!

The influx of foreign players to the English premier League changed the game in modern times, the foreign player no longer worried about the damp winters as the high wages kept them lovely and warm. The only players feeling the cold was the young English players trying to compete against the new stars, This influx of players almost destroyed the “Academies” as we grew to know them, Everton, Liverpool, West ham, Spurs, Derby County were all recognized as great producers of young stars we all watched in the early days of the Premier League, I did say the early days, here I am today a diehard Arsenal fan with the embarrassing fact Arsenal’s only English player Theo Walcott did not make the England Squad, some of you will remember the Arsenal team that had Seamen, Bould, Winterburn, Dixon, Adams, Merson, Parlour, Smith, Wright, nine players all from one team all starting for England ! The answer is starting to come through, we (Brits) for the love of the game have turned to the rest of the world for our enjoyment, we smile with excitement of this upcoming final between Holland & Spain, was there the same excitement from the world when England played Algeria!

How frustrating to see Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard and co argue with each other, while the US was all marching to one drum beat. How exciting this is for American soccer.

So in one sentence, England has to reinvent the game they once created, the problem is every other country is now perfecting theirs!

It’s a funny old Game

Alex Mason
Omaha FC

Give Credit To Germany

Today is an article by guest blogger, Terry Michler.  Terry is the nation’s winningest high school coach with over 800 wins at CBC High School in St. Louis.  Terry is also the author of these books, Dutch Total Football, Coaching Soccer Champions, Full Season Training Program – Elite Team and is the subject of our recent release Find a Way to Win.

If you are interested in submitting an article for the blog, please email me.

Credit to Germany
The Germans have reached the ‘business end of the deal’ for the last 2 World Cups. Credit to them for producing quality in their game that gives them the chance to take a ‘run for the money.’

In 2000, I attended 10 games of the European Championships held in Holland and Belgium and it was consensus that England and Germany were not up to the standard of play of the competition. They did poorly and left after the pool play.

In 2002 I attended the NSCAA National Coaching Convention in Baltimore and sat in on a session by the German Football Federation. Erich Rotemuller presented the revamped German approach to regaining status among the footballing world. The German realized that their standard had slipped and were grossly concerned that they were falling behind the rest of the world. Their approach was very comprehensive. First they formed a committee to analyze and identify their shortcomings and then they focused on the successful teams in the world and what made them successful. After collecting all their data and evaluating what could work for them, they then set out an action plan that they felt would be conducive to the German mentality and its soccer culture. They took the best from the best in the world and tweaked it to fit their needs and reversed a downward cycle which has rewarded them with 2 successive successful World Cups.

It was interesting to hear Steve McManaman following the Germany – England game say in the post game show that “maybe England just isn’t good enough and maybe we need to overhaul the entire system.” Well, Germany said the same thing 10 years earlier and now they have the proof of their transition, but it takes time to produce.

This World Cup has shown that the middleweights are closing the gap and teams that are not proactive are falling behind. With the game becoming more international at Club level, valuable experience is gained in League play and taken back to the homeland, where players are combining with others of shared experiences and the product is much improved. Look back 4 years and project 4 years ahead and what do you see — who are teams that caused a stir 4 years ago that are still around today who in 4 years time maybe more than a handful for most.

Credit to Germany for their introspection and successful revitalization of their football program, they took a hard look and made the necessary changes at the right time.

Terry Michler

Random World Cup Thoughts

Today I have some random World Cup thoughts.

1.  How come Germany manages to over exceed expectations at the World Cup.  I can’t remember the last time they had a “bad” World Cup.  Of course, they don’t win it every year, but they seem to always do well or better than expected.  This WC is a good example.  They were seen as a young, inexperienced team.  Remember that England beat them 5-1 less than two years ago.

Take a look at their record, it is unbelievable.  From 1954, they have appeared in every WC and reached the quarter finals or better in every one except 1978.  Since 1982, they have been champions once, and reached the final another three times as well as two semi finals…including this one.

The more I look at their record, the more amazed I am at how good it is.

2.  How come England is deemed a “world power” in football?  Based on Germany’s record above and England’s poor record in the WC and Euro’s, it just doesn’t make sense.  Yes, we won the World Cup, but that was 44 years ago and on home soil.  We haven’t won anything since.  A semi final in the 1990 World Cup and a semi final in the Euro’s in 1996 are the best we can offer.

3.  The game is too fast for the officials.  I don’t blame the officials for many of the mistakes they have made.  It’s just physically impossible for them to see some of what happens.  Take the Tevez offside goal against Mexico for instance.  The linesman has to look at the player kicking the ball.  At the instant he kicks it, the linesman has to swivel his head or eyes to Tevez to see if he is offside or not.  How long does it take to move his head/eyes?  I don’t know, but let’s guess that it is 2/10ths of a second.  Now take into consideration that a soccer player is moving at about 9 yards (27 feet) a second if they are moving quickly and this is only exascerbated if the defender is moving in the opposite direction trying to play him offside.  So a quick estimate is that the player can move 5.4 feet during the time it takes the linesman to move his head/eyes from the ball to the player.  Actually, I am continually amazed at how many of the offside calls are correctly made by linesmen.

4.  See my last post – All the diving. acting, cheating, etc. is slowly turning me off the game.

I hope the Spain v Germany game is a good one later today.

Would Lampard’s Goal For England Have Changed Anything?

England’s highly paid players played well and put in a good performance beating Germany 2-0.  In the quarter final, England got revenge for Maradonna’s Hand of God goal in 86′ World Cup by beating Argentina on a penalty kick from a phantom handball by Messi in his own box…Oh wait, that was the dream, reality is so different.

Here are some questions about England’s loss to Germany and the decision not to give the goal by Lampard that clearly went over the line. Would it have changed the outcome of the game?

1.  Momentum – Whether Germany were better than England doesn’t matter.  Momentum is huge in sports.  That goal would have given England incredible momentum.  It could have given them belief that they could win, that the Germans were fragile.  It could have given them the much lacking fire to step up their level of play.  On the other hand, the Germans could have started to panic, they could have lost confidence.  It could have shaken them to their core.  Momentum can make all the difference in the world.

2.  Change the way the game is played – At 2-1, England are still chasing a tying goal.  Germany could sit back, defend and wait to counter.  And that is exactly what happened on their next two goals.  England had no choice but to leave themselves open at the back and be vulnerable to counter attacks.  At 2-2, it becomes an entirely different game.  Each team needs to play and try and score…and guess who had the momentum and the confidence in this scenario?

3.  Was it finally some payback for the identical situation only in England’s favor from the 1966 World Cup?  Or have Germany have had enough payback over the years as they seemingly get beat by Germany in all the important games anyway?

4.  Would it really have changed the outcome of the game?  Germany were clearly superior in most cases.  They looked quicker, sharper, more enthusiastic.  In comparison, England looked slow, lethargic and lacking in purpose.

5.  Does this make the case for using goal-line technology?  This technology has been available for years but FIFA seems intent on not using this or other technology that could help the officials out in situations like this.

Look, for what it’s worth, I think it would have been interesting for a while had Lampard’s goal stood.  England fans would have gone crazy, the players might have stepped up their game, but I think it would likely have been just a temporary phase.  I think much of the momentum England might have enjoyed would have been lost when they came out after half time.  The German’s would have regrouped and regained any lost composure and likely gone on to win the game.  But it would surely have been interesting to see how things would have turned out.

England and USA – Whew!

Whew!  Some background.  I was born and lived in England for the first 30 years of my life.  Watched all the World Cups over the years.  Used to stay up late or get up early when young and when I started work, I used to take vacation time or suddenly become sick for a couple of weeks to watch all the games.  I moved to the U.S. 19 years ago and became a U.S. citizen 10 years ago.  So I obviously still support England, even when they play the U.S.  But the U.S. get my support in every case except when they are up against England.

So, this morning (games started at 8 am here in Colorado..vacation) was somewhat gut wrenching.  I had a bad feeling about England, but they somehow managed to pull through.  I was watching the England game downstairs, occasionally flicking over to catch a few seconds of the U.S. game.  My wife was upstairs watching the U.S. game.

It’s unbelievable how things can change within the blink of an eye.  England were winning 1-0, the U.S. were tied 0-0 with less than 5 minutes left in each game.  At this point, England were through and the U.S. were out.  Then Slovenia, almost, and could have scored.  That would have put England out and the Slovenia and the U.S. through.  Of course they didn’t score and the game ended a couple of minutes later.  At the very second, the game ended, England were through and the U.S. were out.  But one second later…literally one second, the U.S. scored and now they are through and Slovenia are out.

Don’t you just love the World Cup?

I was already thinking of a blog to post about how the U.S. got screwed…again, with another disallowed goal that should have stood, when everything changed.

So now, we have to look forward to the round of 16.  I think the U.S. will get the better of the draw, and they deserve it. They won the group and were better than England over the three group games.  My guess is that Germany will win their game over Ghana and Serbia will win their game.  This should put Germany as the winners of that group with Serbia second.

So the U.S. could get Serbia and if they play well, there is no reason they can’t win.  England, judging on their recent performances and recent history over Germany, will lose to them…probably on penalty kicks.

But then again, anything could happen this afternoon and Ghana could be in the mix.  That’s what I love about the World Cup.