Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

May 31, 2009

japan v belgium 4 – 0

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:26 pm

scary thing was that they should have had more.

same as the match against chile.

but will they seize up when there are WCQ points on the table?

guess we will find out mid week when japan goes to uzbekistan.

okazaki needs to play.  how many players are genuinely comfortable around the penalty box?  not many, but he is one of them.  nagatomo (? i think – ummm, the left wingback) played much better than i am used to.  he absolutely slotted the first goal.  beat his man.  swung in decent crosses.

two 4 nil wins against decent opposition.

is this team getting its shit together?


japan v chile – has okada figured it out?

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:35 am

midweek japan beat a currentlynumber3andaheadofargentinaanduruguayinsouthamericanqualifying chile.

4 – 0.  and it could have been more. (but on the other hand chile fluffed every half decent chance they had …)

i caught a 20 minute highlight package on youtube, and the following thoughts followed.

okazaki, who had very little time against australia, has a nose for goal.

keisuke honda, playing in holland, oozes confidence, isn`t afraid to pull the trigger, and can hit the ball pretty damn sweetly. another player who (i think) didn`t feature in that game against australia.

giving nakazawa (one of the centrebacks) the run of the park as a libero causes all kinds of trouble for the opposition.  for one of the goals he zipped out to a right wing/inside right ish position and pulled off a turning trap and through ball that a lot of wingers would not have pulled off, let alone a central defender.

on the downside he continues to trust in tamada, a tryer who just doesn`t seem up to it.  imho.

nor does he seem interested in takayuki morimoto – a young striker getting starts in serie A (if we had a young player getting starts in serie A, there is no way they wouldn`t be in the squad …).  granted, he only got 5 goals or so.  but he is starting in serie A!

looking back on that game vs australia in yokohama … the japanese coach didn`t call pim`s bluff.  he kept the two centrebacks glued to timmy cahill.  the team that put 4 past chile is not team that he sent out against us.

for such a goal shy team to come out and get 4 against a quality opponent … it bodes well.  very well.

i don`t think i`ll ever like this coach … but that was impressive.

and next is belgium tonight.

pretty football and effective football

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:16 am

are not mutually exclusive.

exhibit 1 – barcelona fc

May 29, 2009

ethnic clubs pt 1

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:24 am

lets talk about the world`s biggest ethnic club.

barcelona.  its motto is “more than just a club” … and the long and short of it is, the club is a nationalistic symbol of the former state of catalonia, which, long ago became part of the republic of spain.

at the recent king`s cup final which was played between barcelona and athletic bilbao, the king was booed before the kickoff.  bilbao is another ethnic club.  try to imagine this in an aussie setting (i know, its a stretch, but give it a try).  i dunno, imagine fans of a greek club vs a serb club booing the national anthem …

barcelona is an amazing place, you have the until-fairly-recently repressed catalans, but you also have the lacking-in-recognition poor blue collar migrants from other parts of spain whose parents, grand parents and great grandparents built the city.  people who speak spanish, and don`t particularly want to speak catalan.  people who believe in spain and support the king.  they must feel pretty excluded at the nou camp, with all the “long live catalonia” “more than a club” stuff going on.

ethnics mate.

they are everywhere.

bye fuka

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:09 am

teaching english is a temporary lifestyle.  unless you own the school, or unless you are a mid-level manager in one of the bigger english schools, the expectation is that you will be moving on.

the cash isn`t bad, but it is lower than the average wage in japan.  and schools generally don`t pay towards your retirement pensi0n / superannuation.  understandable since the expectation is you`ll be gone in a year.

it is also amazing how many students you see pass through a school.  studying english isn`t cheap – 2000 yen per lesson seems about the standard.  kids pay less.  and it must be so easy to lose motivation, studying something you rarely get the chance to use in real life situations.  and for kids, english lessons are just one choice out of dozens of extra-curricular studies / hobbies that can be chosen.

anyways.  one of my best child students just left.  she can read as well as kids 3 years older than her.  easily remembers all the things we study in class.  only uses english vocabulary in class and will think through how to say something that she hasn`t been taught.  has a real desire to communicate.  and a sweet kid to boot.

nobody stays forever.  not teachers.  not students.  i guess the goal is to give a kid a positive experience of language studies.  and of foreigners.

bye fuka.

May 24, 2009

your strengths can be used against you …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 4:05 am

whoops whoops.  i should have wrote “your strengths will be used against you”.

ccm`s last game in the ACL turned into a diving contest …

and whatever you think about diving, it showed ccm`s strengths – size and physicality could be used against them.

there is a natural inclination to cheer for the little guy.  its human.  refs will give the 50 – 50 call to the smaller player.

the chinese took the ref`s natural inclination to give the benefit of the doubt to the smaller player and milked it for all they could.

i think the aussie game will stay physical and combatative.  that`s us.  but, i think through continued exposure to asia, australian clubs will learn to adjust their physicality to how the ref`s whistle a particular game, will become mentally stronger and learn to ignore diving and time wasting and just get on with the game.  the second is especially important.  by losing your focus, and your rag, and yelling at the ref etc etc, your focus is no longer putting the ball into the other team`s net.   totally plays into the opposition`s hands.

and this happy day will be bright and glorious, the impression i get is that a lot of asian opposition is worried about our physicality, and our strength in the air.

rats in a cage …

Filed under: Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:47 am

a long time ago, i saw an article …

someone did some research – one set of rats were put in a cage with a metal floor wired to an electrical circuit.  they were zapped at random intervals.

another set of rats were put in a similar cage, but there was a button in the corner.  push the button and the shock stops.  they were zapped at random intervals, but twice as often.

despite being zapped twice as often, the second group had lower stress markers than the first group.

the point being that a sense of control lowers stress in shitty situations.

my lovely friendly little english school is gonna switch from 3 teachers to 2.  student numbers are down.  apparently there is a bit of a global recession or something at the moment?  this could be the beginning of the end for my lovely 2 year, working-part-time-in-a-beach-town holiday …

but by thinking through what i will do if it all goes to shit, i can create a sense of control and keep the stress levels down.

what am i gonna do?

– find another beach town, or maybe a mountain town

– go teach in thailand or mongolia or something

– get back into the australian or queensland public service

– go fruit picking in oz for a bit

– something i haven`t thought of yet

– go live off my parents for a while

a couple of years ago when i was working in the queensland government, i had 2 job interviews in the first half of the year.  one was for a graduate position with citigroup (talk about dodging a bullet), and the other was with a kindergarten in japan.  i never know what kind of opportunity will come my way.  its an interesting ride, my career.

a while back i had this deep philosophical discussion with one of my students, i asked him who was happier, the pessimist or the optimist.  i think i am a happy pessimist.  try to think of the worst thing that could happen, think about what i would do, then rationalise (or is it realise???) that it isn`t so bad, move on with life.

May 16, 2009

their imports were excellent …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 2:22 pm

“their imports are rather excellent … ”

tis a common meme that does the rounds after an aussie side plays an asian side and loses.

couple of weeks back branko culina was saying something along these lines.

just saw an article over at goal today along similar lines.

seen it at 442 …

seen it before, will see it again.

but what exactly does it all mean?

lets go back to CCMs 5-0 loss to kawasaki a coupla weeks ago.  this meme was raised then.  but from what i saw of the highlights, it didn`t make sense …

i saw the opening goal –  made by a jap midfielder, finished by a north korean international (who was born and raised in japan).

i saw the second goal … i forget now, but i think one of the imports finished it off.

the third was one of …

eh, i forgot.  clean forgot.  but i am pretty sure that 3 of the goals were hit by japan developed players.  2 of the goals came from their imports.  and kengo nakamura looked to be shining pretty brightly in midfield that night too.

but the thing was, i was seeing a lot of discussion saying that it was the imports … which i thought was a load of guff.  based on what i saw of the match.  granted, two people can watch the same match and draw vastly different conclusions, but still …

i think something more is going on.  i think reality is being ignored so that psychological needs can be met.

i think that by praising asian teams imports, we can slight / put down  the contribution of their homegrown players.  which is important, cos right now a lot of people in oz are feeling a tad inferior at the moment about our footy versus their footy. imho, the best players in japan are japanese.  endo.  kengo nakamura.  tulio tanaka.  nakazawa.  the squad at kashima.  imports are a piece of the puzzle over here, not the main attraction (again, imho – leandro has got himself 8 goals in 12 games for gamba osaka, not bad at all, yet marquinhos is not in the top ten scorers, but kashima is rumbling along).

which, whilst you can see why an inferiority complex would make you want to put down asia`s home grown players, maybe it won`t get us very far.  instead of seeing laurie mckinna praising their imports, i`d rather see him say “gee, its a pity that my team makes basic marking mistakes.  we`re gonna fix that.”  i dunno, once they tackle that problem, maybe they can try to improve in some other areas.  cos daydreaming about having the cash to land a recoba won`t get us far at all.

i know which one i think is more constructive.

in defence of a lack of patriotism …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:35 am

voltaire sounded like a cool guy …

i defend your right to disagree with me completely.

fuck it, i`ll google it and see what he actually said.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.  he didn`t say that EXACTLY.  i imagine he was speaking olde french at the time …

(hmmm, would he still say this if you disagreed with his right to defend your right to say something?  can we tolerate all opinions, including intolerance?  hmmm?) ..sorry, how does this connect to football?  right, right.

so every now and then there is a talented aussie footballer who happens to have dual nationality.  much uproar and wringing of hands occurs when when talented footballer tries to play off australia and the other country into playing him, before the other country does.  an opportunistic, shopping around, metrosexual mercenary.

why not? why not be an opportunistic, shopping around, metrosexual mercenary?

are you a bad person if your heart does not burn with pride at being australian?  should you be shot if you pass the flag without saluting it?  should you be jailed and beaten if you do not hug our national emblem animals when you see them?  my answer is no.  we don`t all have the same thinking about what is good football, god, politics, fashion or what constitutes hotness.  why should we all think the same way about nationalism?  why is there a correct way to “feel” about international football that fans and players should adhere to?  no, no, no.  maybe.  yes. no.

but i defend to the death your right to say otherwise … (sorry, i ain`t dying over something as trivial as this)

aren`t a lot of single nationality players just as mercenary?  there must be some guys in the socceroos who see international matches as a shop window. but if they do the job well, does it matter how they feel?

i have a socceroos shirt.  i like to watch australia play against anyone.  but i will start cheering the other side if they personify my idea of good soccer, and australia doesn`t.  i was at the australia vs japan match at yokohama.  in the end i was gutted because japan couldn`t conjure the winning goal.  by the end of the game i had switched sides … i don`t believe in “deserving” to win, but i`d rather cheer an attacking side than a craven one, sorry, i meant “pragmatic”.

and i will probably turn turncoat again in the future.  my first loyalty is to the style of soccer i like, my club and national team are a distant second/third …

May 12, 2009

taxes and the death penalty …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:46 pm

i figured i`d get onto this before next season started.  cos it will come up.

diving.  someone is gonna dive.  there is even gonna be conclusive video proof in some cases.

in a delicious book called “freakanomics”, these really smart guys tell the story of a day care centre with a problem with parents picking up their children late.  the childcare centre started a $10 penalty on late pickups.  the result?  late pickups went up.  parents who previously picked up their children on time now started to pick their children up late.  given the leniency of the “punishment” and the benefits you get from the leeway to pick your children up at more flexible hours … many parents were incented/motivated to break this rule.  the punishment amounted to a fee, or a tax.

i think the current “punishments” for diving (what is it?  a yellow card?) just do not match up against the potential benefits (winning a match, winning a place in the starting team, having more goals to your name – and becoming a more marketable player … ).  current punishments amount to a tax on usage, rather than a prohibition.  “okay, you can use a couple of dives, but its gonna cost you a card …”

there are other sins that get the equivalent of the death penalty (i am not gonna make any jokes about that poor columbian player …).   match fixing – when evidence of this comes up, trophies are taken away, the police are called in, points are dropped, teams are demoted to a lower league.  the punishments put together for this crime are a genuine  attempt to warn clubs off trying it.  guess it wasn`t enough to put juve off, but hey …

doping – sorry, back to juve again … actually, i know nothing about the penalties for doping, so i might refrain (for a change) from talking about it.  it may be “taxed”.  it may be a “death penalty” offense.  i dunno.    well, i just did some wiki-ing, and i remembered laza and his hair treatment – a year off for using a substance that could mask performance drugs.  adrian mutu did a bit of coke and was banned for 7 months, and sacked from his club … ok, i guess that counts as a serious punishment. apologies to juve, they were not giving their players anything that was banned.

so … back to good old diving.  why is it tolerated?  why is it taxed?  rather than turned into a “death penalty” offence?  one reason could be the difficulty in agreeing on what is a dive, and what is not.  the majority of dives are not as clear cut as last year`s effort by cristiano of AU, nor rivaldo`s dive in the 2002 world cup vs turkey.  how do you “prove” a dive when their has been contact?  even when lack of contact is established, how do you show that player x didn`t just lose his balance, or slip???

one reason is that the whole world is not in agreement on whether diving is a good or bad thing.

i have heard tales of widespread ambivalence in south america to diving.  if you can get one over the ref, get a good result for your team, then aren`t you a good clubman?  somebody to be admired?  you have done everything, EVERYTHING in your power to get the win.

the current environment encourages diving. don`t expect anything to change anytime soon.

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