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By nebbish (Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:50:54 AM EST) World Cup, football, footy, footie, reading, books, telly (all tags)
You-know-what inside. Also, a book and a TV programme.


I watch football because it's a fun, enjoyable game, filled to the brim with skill and tactics. Which is why I'm fed up of watching England.

We've scraped our way through this tournament by good luck and have yet to play a game worth watching. Now we're to face a criminally depleted Portugal next Saturday, the prospect of reaching the semi-finals without having played one decent game is a real possibility. It'll be a very hollow victory if we win this tournament (not that I think we will). Just compare the way we're playing now to the way we were playing in 2002 and 2004.

My two pennorth on tactics - dump Lampard, bring on Lennon.

Weekend

Drank too much. All day barbie on Saturday then the whole day in the pub on Sunday. I'm packing in drinking for a bit after the World Cup, it's wearing me out. I'm only used to drinking one night a week.

There were loads of Germans at the barbecue so a good atmosphere whilst they thrashed Sweden. Also, fantastic sausages.

Reading

Not had much luck lately. Got part way through St Kilda: Island on the Edge of the World, apparently an anthropological classic, but the subject matter is very narrow and I found it a bit boring. I usually like stuff like this as well.

St Kilda is one of the remotest Scottish islands, and for hundreds of years its small population lived well harvesting seabirds and developing their own culture and traditions. Then ties with the mainland got stronger, and after a long decline the last of the islanders left in the 1920s. It's about how contact fucks up small, enclosed societies - which, on St Kilda, happened in almost laboratory conditions.

Basically the book takes three hundred odd pages to tell you that. It gets boring.

Telly

Saxondale is a just what I've been waiting for, a great Steve Coogan character, done affectionately rather than spitefully like Partridge. Although much has been made of Saxondale being an ex-roadie, he's someone we've all met - one of those working-class hippies who are actually a bit violent. Coogan plays him as intelligent and functional with a great relationship with his girlfriend, which is nice - I'm fed up with dark comedy.

The first episode lacked real hilarity but I still chuckled all the way through - looking forward to tonight's.

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He pukes, he scores | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
'tay by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 12:59:21 AM EST

"criminally depleted"

Between the Dutch going down quicker than a crack whore at the sight of a fiver and Portugal going through "The Little Argentine Book of Exuberance" paragraph by paragraph, I'm not sure "criminal" comes into it. The ref was rubbish. More of the Portuguese should have had reds.

"Just compare the way we're playing now to the way we were playing in 2002 and 2004."

You can see a difference?! Golly ...

On the bright side, Rooney-lad seems to be back (beautiful skill displayed a couple of times), as does Ashley Cole, and Sven seems to be edging towards the line-up everyone's wanted since the beginning. <<half-serious>Now all he has to do is drop Lampard and revert to 4-4-2 with Crouch and we're there ...</p>
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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.

Holland-Portugal by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 01:04:51 AM EST
The ref was so shit he lost control of the game completely. No game should see sixteen yellow cards and three reds. Can't see how Portugal needed more reds, it was chaos on both sides.

There were actually good games in the last two tournaments where we took total control - against Denmark in 2002 and Croatia in 2004 come to mind. OK they're hardly world class (actually, no, they're pretty good), but then neither is Trinidad and Tobago. I just want to see good football matches like those again - this is crap.

It could always get better. I hope for it to get better.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
I watched both games this weekend by cam (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:17:17 AM EST
and I am on the ref's side with the Netherlands - Portugal game. They were diving all over the place. If they lost posession of the ball they took a dive. There was no way he could base any decision on the player's reaction.

The elbow in the head? rofl. The Netherlands also constantly appealed. Anything and everything. The players swarmed the ref everytime there was even a minimal stoppage ... bleh.

Some questions though; the American commentators said the one forward (centre-forward) doesnt win and that two forwards are needed to win. That a fair statement? They also said, after the goal, Rooney was more involved because he was one on one, when they had one forward, he had two people marking him.

Another statement they made was the Beckham isnt much chop outside of set pieces. The US soccer commentator said he slowed the game down to much on the ?left? side?

The other thing I noticed in the England game was the English played the ball around four backs before an attacking play. They would move it back and forth several times. In Ice Hockey they do that to get the defence moving and to split them, or get them out of position. But I didnt see Ecuador's midfield line moving much at all. They were pretty static despite that happening. Is that why England was doing long balls, to get behind Ecuador's midfield because it was following the ball?

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Beckham by jump the ladder (4.00 / 3) #10 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:43:53 AM EST
He can't get past people nor run down the wings but when he is playing well, he's an excellent crosser of the ball into box. You need an attacking right back like Gary Neville to run down the wing and lay off the ball to him. he'll play better when Gary Neville comes back from injury.

Ecuador's tactics were very defensive so there was a problem breaking down the their defence with short passing and hence the long balls you spotted.

[ Parent ]
Becks by Breaker (4.00 / 3) #11 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:47:58 AM EST
Plays on the right midfield; although the commentator may have been referring to the left as Ecuador saw it.

Again, we played a team that concentrates on keeping the ball, not getting drawn and keeping 10 men behind the ball.  Our passes through the defence are indeed intended to bring the opposition forward.

Carrick did a wonderful job trying to thread a ball through the limited gaps in midfield; he got it right a fair few times. 

So, again, Engerlandland just had to play at the opposition and hope to not get caught out on the break.  And we got lucky there I think.

Portugal are more likely to actually want to play a game of football against us.  Should be a good match.

Fingers crossed for the Aussies this arvo though.


[ Parent ]
JTL and Breaker infidels by yicky yacky (4.00 / 7) #14 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 04:01:42 AM EST

have covered most of it admirably.

Regarding diving and all things cheat-ish, I've come to the conclusion espoused here; the FIFA rules have backfired owing to administrative myopia.

Regarding Rooney: Not completely true, but not entirely without merit either. The positions are more fluid in football than US football. Many teams play either 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 (or some variant thereof) incredibly successfully, so the formation isn't broken a priori. Having said that, those formations require support from breaking midfielders more than playing two men up front - in effect, breaking midfielders temporarily "become" strikers for the duration of the move. They also require the forward to be good at "hold-up play" (pull the ball in, shield it, move into space, pull the defenders around) in order to buy time for the breaking midfielders to come forward and exploit the space. Whether Rooney is good enough at this role is an ongoing debate. Personally, I think he's pretty decent - better than many "point men", in fact - but the feeling behind many grumbled sentiments is that he's not being used as effectively as he would be if he were deployed "one back", in the hole. Point men are usually fairly large individuals, in order to jump for long balls, use their strength etc. (think Van Nistelrooy, Crouch, Viduka, John Hartson at Celtic etc.), so Rooney can seem a bit idiosyncratic for the role. He's a supernaturally talented little blighter, though, so he can still do it pretty well. He did much better in the role towards the end of the match, as the point man has to bide his time and act as a fulcrum, as opposed to trying to be involved in everything, which some argue is Rooney's more natural game.

Beckham is a one-trick pony - always has been. When it's working, it's an earth-shatteringly good trick, when it's not, people naturally wonder why he's there. He tracks back and works hard but others can do that just as well - the main reason he's there is for the way he can strike a dead (or semi-dead) ball and little else.

The "passing the ball around the backs and midfielders" is something England have been accused of not being able to do, so sometimes they do it just to silence their critics, IMO. Aside from moving the opposition around to look for an opening (which is also its point in footie), the main point can also be to slow the game down. If your opponent has been building up a head of steam and riding an increasing wave of pressure, you pass the ball around to defuse and calm the situation ("take the sting out of the game") - it's not good for thrill-seeking spectators, but it does win games. On top of that, you conserve far more energy when you have control of the ball than when you're chasing it. By passing the ball around, you force the opponents to expend energy trying to get the ball back. The Argies are masters of that kind of play: They can turn a game-nulling spell of possession into a rapier-like attack in the blink of an eye, just as the opposition is being lulled into a false sense of the pace of the game (see Cambiasso's goal against Serbia).

The long ball is an integral part of the British game, so much so that it's often given the nickname "Route One", and many, many goals have been scored from long ball passes (not always to the joy of the purists). The criticism occurs because the long ball is often seen as something of a last resort - the action of a team which can't play its way through the opposition, so they resort to trying to cut out the midfield. Whether England play the long ball too much, or too eagerly, is open to debate. I think they're beginning to get the balance right. The criticism with Crouch was that his height was such an advantage that England, almost automatically, resorted to the long ball instead of trying to play through the opposition. It depends on the personnel, of course. With Beckham, Gerrard and Carrick able to deliver a bombed pass with uncanny precision and Crouch's height, the long ball seems like a natural option. People got/get irate, though, because a.) a "failed" long ball almost always gives the ball back to the opposing team and b.) England have a team full of fairly decent passers - they should need to resort to the long ball as often as they do.

Probably more info than you wanted, but there ya go ...


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Feature request by R Mutt (4.00 / 3) #15 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 04:12:47 AM EST
"Great Comments" sidebar like the dark-blue-right-hand box on Metafilter's front page. It could show the N most recent comments to get more than X 4's.

[ Parent ]
Thanks by cam (4.00 / 1) #16 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 06:49:31 AM EST
It is half-time in the Au-Italy game; and I do believe the Italians are enjoying playing a physical no-nonsense form of soccer. There are several grins on Italian player's faces and zero histrionics. Even the Italian guy that went down, and stayed down, had a legit reason.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Unlucky by yicky yacky (4.00 / 2) #17 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:17:01 AM EST

Very unlucky. The ref should never have bought that.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
lol by cam (4.00 / 1) #18 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 08:42:05 AM EST
It isnt like Italy has no history of doing this stuff, and that the ref should be aware of that when determining if an Italian falling over in the goal square might be a little bit fake.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
Stevie G and Fat Frank by jump the ladder (4.00 / 2) #2 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 01:03:21 AM EST
Were woeful yesterday so that's why we looked so disjointed and they didn't have excuse of not having a holding player to prevent them playing their attackling football. Becks, not sue to drop him or not, he has played crap but has made a couple of crucial chances. I'd play him for 60-70 minutes and then let a fresh Lennon rip the tired defences apart which is what SGE seems to be doing.

Also apart from Sweden everyone else has played very defensively against us which won't be the case as we meet the better teams. Orc Boy is champing at the bit, the defence looked a little bit better yesterday than against Sweden and Hargreaves and Carrick did OK.

I suppose I'm used to winning ugly as I support Chelsea and it reminded me of the performances we ground out in the middle third of last season.

You give me hope by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 01:06:31 AM EST
Yeah, I'm hoping for better football, it just seems to be a long time coming. The Chelsea analogy is a good one, hopefully it's also correct.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Attn: HMS GSMO Passengers... by Breaker (4.00 / 4) #5 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 01:12:14 AM EST
Might I just remind you that

a) We're through to the quarters
b) our quarter final opponents have tucked themselves up by playing a dirty game to qualify and c) the quarter final is a good place for Lampard to rediscover what his shooting boots are for
d) we've been lucky so far and luck carries you in cup competitions

So, Roon child looking more match fit, Lennon a good shock sub for the final 20 minutes, Carrick finally in the squad.

COME ON, ENGLAND!


It'll be a very hollow victory by TPD (4.00 / 2) #6 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 01:35:49 AM EST
if we win this tournament (not that I think we will).

Bah - You'll be dancing in the streets along with the rest of us.

might not have been the prettiest game yesterday but personally I thought it wasn't bad (yeah I know you want to be playing better than wasn't bad at this stage), but it was pretty comfortable in conditions England didn't really want to over exert themselves you can't really blame them for not doing too much more than neccessary.

Carrick, Cole and Rooney all put in excellent performances. Robinson's Deer in headlights act was a bit nervy but beyond that I'm pretty upbeat about the game.

why sit, when you can sit and swivel with The Ab-SwivellerTM

Saxondale by Phage (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:18:43 AM EST
I thought a lot better than Partridge.

I've met several people like that who used to be someone associated with the music biz in the 70-80's and are now reduced to rather more manual labour. Saxondale looks perfectly functional compared to some nof the ones I've met.

Loved the scene where he shot the animal rights activist. It was a bit far fetched (pigeons ?) but great.

It was top stuff by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:34:42 AM EST
I dunno if it'll ever beat Partridge in my mind though. I love Partridge.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
The trailer for next week by Phage (2.00 / 0) #12 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 02:50:13 AM EST
Looks promising. The petrolhead discussion, and his statement that he's more into the 'art' of cars. Classic.

Saxondale is a hundred dodgy twats I've met before. I can still hear statements like 'round-case 750ss desmodronics was the height of valve technology'.

[ Parent ]
did you see that figo headbutt? by alprazolam (4.00 / 1) #13 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 03:57:26 AM EST
However, Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari defended Figo.

He said: "Jesus said we should turn the other cheek, unfortunately, Figo is not Jesus Christ."

lol...anyway yea Engerland doesn't have anybody like Deco or Riquelme, but is that guy gonna show up if you sit Beckham?

I think it's pretty lame to bash the guy who scores the game winner and I agree that you should play him for 70 or so and consider subbing him out. Also I think part of the reason they looked slow was they (in particular Beckham) didn't seem quite used to Rooney (maybe he was even a little rusty at first). Portugal will be in trouble, missing two starters, captain (and goalie iirc) with yellows, Cristiano possibly hurt.

I wonder if they Portugese press bashes Figo for being slow.

There is an adage by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #19 Mon Jun 26, 2006 at 10:53:53 AM EST
from the single elimination, 64 team US college basketball tournament:

survive and advance.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

He pukes, he scores | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback