Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

July 27, 2010

Rewatching the Oz games

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 10:38 pm

I bought a satellite dish so I could watch the World Cup.  Most of the games were on free to Air, but I think the thing that swung it for me  was that only 1 of Australia’s games were on free to air.

So I bought the satellite dish and recorder, and hunkered down in front of the projector screen.  [Bad Clayton, stop gloating.]

And I told myself that I would watch the Oz games again.  Why? I paid for them.  I also felt that we might not have made it to SA if we were in the other Asian Qualification group (so being in SA was a thing to be cherished).  I also wonder if we will go to the next WC (I don’t expect our team to get worse, but if Iran, Saudi Arabia get their shit together, or if Iraq, China or Uzbekistan play to their potential, the going gets tougher).

Some utterly utterly random stuff from the games …

Unless we have a friendly against the Spanish U16s, I never want to see Timmy Cahill playing centre forward ever again. It was traumatising against the Japanese in the quals, and it was traumatising against the Germans.  Well, everything was traumatising against the Germans …Cahill’s is exceptional in the air and around the penalty box.  And functional outside of it.  A galloping gazelle with the ball at the feet he ain’t.  But it is hard to get the ball off him, his passing and movement are good, and he can hit a cross.  If the team presses up and spends more time in the other team’s half, then Timmy is the fulcrum.  But if the team is sitting back, I wonder if there are better choices for that behind the striker central mid … Bresc or Holman …

But, the coach and players turned it around in the last two games.

This team CAN play phases of smart, mobile ball possession.  But as soon as a bit of pressure comes, it can go out the window.  I would love to see them try to play through pressure more.  Is this a concentration issue?

I wish Chippers was staying on, even now he is a really handy wide attacker.

I want to see Wilkshire in the engine room – I think his future is in one of the central midfielder spots.  Top level attackers can show up his limitations as a defender.

As much as I respect what Craig Moore has done (even including in this tournament), watching Beauchamp do a job in the last game made me wish that the Beauchamp / Neil Combo had been used instead.

Watching the games again, some of my initial thoughts seemed off.  Ghana hadn’t outmuscled us as much as I had thought watching the game live.  It was a handful of times, which is more than usual, but not a major problem.  We had less control of the Serbia game than I thought we had. I cannot make any sense out of what happened defensively in the Germany game.

Did Pim get this team to play their best football?  No.  How far off was this squad from playing their best football?  Not that far.  Well, not far enough to crucify Pim for.  At times I think that he has used the players as a shield in the media (when other coaches would take the heat themselves), but compared to the meltdowns that Italy, England and France had, it is pretty clear that Pim wasn’t the worst coach at the WC.


July 25, 2010

History – and the A-League’s lack of …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:33 am

Tradition – history … one of the things that the euro fans love …

Got to thinking about it after seeing Neil Z’s recent blog over on 442 Oz …

History.  How many teams really have it?  What is it?  How and when does it matter?

Nobody seems to particularly care about Wolverhampton’s rich history?  Or Nottingham Forest’s.  Does history only matter if you are still successful?

Does it matter if your current team is NOTHING like the teams that came before it?   The Arsenal that I got interested in, Wenger’s Arsenal, has little in common with the style of the teams that came before it.  Reading Nick Hornby’s book “Fever Pitch” you wonder who is this team that earnt catcalls of “Boring Boring Arsenal”, and “1 – 0 Arsenal”?

Even Barcelona, the beautiful club we all get misty eyed about, traces a lot of what we think of as “Barcelona”  are said to trace their style back to the coaching of Johann Cryff, and umm, Cryff’s old coach, whose name I can’t remember … how did they play before that?

What is Liverpool now?  Some of the stuff I have seen and read about Liverpool in the 70s and 80s seems pretty amazing.  There was a “Liverpool” way of doing things.  What about now?  Does the current team share any DNA with those glory years teams?

I am feeling more scatterbrained than usual, but lack of history doesn’t seem that important to me now … how many teams are really in touch with their DNA?  how many teams bear nothing in common with the teams that came before them, wearing the same shirt?  why does it seem like some team’s history matters but other team’s history doesn’t?

July 17, 2010

Spanish daydreams

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 10:47 pm

Living in the countryside, there is no week in, week out social football.  I do have access to once every one or two months work games with the local City Hall team.

1 hour was drill work, 40 minutes was 5 on 5 game time in a smaller space.

Without thinking about, I was doing things differently.  Keeping the ball longer, looking up to see where all my teammates were, trapping before passing instead of just hitting it when I receive it.  I knew something was strange when I rolled a pass to a teammate, and I was just watching the roll of the ball, and it seemed just right.

How many weekend warriors are having Spanish daydreams at the moment?

July 15, 2010

Two different areas in CRAZYLAND … “IF”land and “ITWASINEVITABLE”land

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:07 pm

Footy fans, being stark raving MAD, like to cling to certain myths … at various times we have all gone to IFland …

if that pass had gotten through

if that shot hadn’t hit the post

if the ref hadn’t sent off timmy

etc etc

I go there too, but when I notice it, I remind myself “if my Aunt had balls, she would be my Uncle”.

An old wise saying that preaches that it is fruitless to obsess over counterfactuals / whatifs.

There is another part of crazytown that many people like to go to.


The Dutch were never going to win that final … ummm, Arjen Robben hits the goalkeepers leg when he has the best chance of the game, a 1 on 1 with the Keeper while the scores are 0 – 0. He scores more of those than he misses.  What was inevitable about the win?  The Dutch had chances to score, but didn’t.  Doesn’t sound inevitable to me. We could easily have been talking about a Dutch win.  A tough, tense, niggly thuggish game that went to extra – time.

July 14, 2010

The day I turned paranoid …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:31 am

I remember it.  You remember it.  The Ireland vs France qualifier.  The hand of Henry.

We saw the video, we read the analysis, we felt the outrage.

Cameras around the ground, reams of footage, normal speed and slow – mo.  The mainstream media, the blogosphere … all were there to help up understand what happened.

If you wanted, you could overload on this media blitz.

I thought I had seen and read everything that was relevant to this game and the issues raised.

BUT then several months later … I was reading a piece at “Sport is a TV show” and watched this video

This incident – which looks to me like Shay Given hiding a pull on Anelka’s foot in the penalty box, was not part of the discussion of this game.

Why not?  Everything else in the game was pulled apart and analysed?  Is it because I misread the incident?  Given didn’t touch him?  The person who put the video on youtube thinks that Given fouled Anelka … so the incident is open to interpretation, at least.

So this was the day that I turned paranoid.  A material incident in a game is ignored by the football discussing world because it doesn’t fit the narrative that we want to create about the game.

And it is happening again.

Good luck finding the cynical grab that felled Iniesta … cos it doesn’ t exist.

The Dutch were thugs.  Somebody should have been sent off before this.  BUT take this instance by itself – Iniesta fell over without contact and got up asking for a card for Heitinga.

Some very smart writers and commentators, who have watched this game, watched this incident in slow mo, have said that Heitinga pulled Iniesta down.  Are we watching the same incident?  I believe that they are seeing what fits the narrative they want to believe in.

Or maybe my eyes are funny, I dunno.  And being human, I am also seeing the things that fit the narrative that I want to believe in.

What is my narrative?  Life is a rich tapestry?  That we can’t look at large complex groups and label them simply as “good” or “bad” (as happens in Star Wars.)


[Brain explodes]

July 13, 2010

slow growing trees and fast growing trees …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 2:29 pm

So Ruka N, one of our great young hopes, was axed by FC Twente before the WC.  Have a look out at forum land and the feeling you get is that most think he wasn’t ready yet. At 23.  Gonna try to get a German 2 div team contract.

How many younger players DAZZLED at the WC?  Ozil and Mueller are ready.  David Suarez is ready.  Alexi Sanchez is ready.  Keisuke Honda is ready.  Nagatomo is ready.  Pedro is ready.  All are younger or the same age as Ruka.

More and more good young players are coming through from many countries … why should Europe notice our players when ready players are available?

More and more comprehensive scouting systems mean that more players from more countries are coming onto the market.  And if our players aren’t ready, they will be left on the shelf.

Staying home till you are ready? Even that approach has problems – because if you are competing with another young player for a position, but they have 4 years experience in European competition, chances are the coach will choose the EXPERIENCED young player.

July 11, 2010

The new orthodoxy …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 2:24 am

Some trends that I think may come out of this WC.

If it wasn’t clear before, it should be clear now – you are in for trouble if you don’t match numbers with your opponent in central midfield.

Deep lying midfielders are taking on more and more offensive responsibilities.  The Makalele role is evolving. OK, has been for a while.

One deep lying mid is no longer enough.

Your attacking midfielders need to be as comfortable in front of goal as any second striker.  (did Germany play with 1 forward or with 4?).

One of your centrebacks better be comfortable bringing the ball out / be able to double as a defensive mid.

Life as a villain …

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 2:19 am

Uruguay’s n0. 9 Suarez, was booed everytime that he touched the ball in the game to decide 3rd place …

Seems like he may have to get used to life as a villain.  He’s a big boy – he’ll probably get used to it.  He may even enjoy it.

Kevin Muscat looks pretty comfortable out there – despite his status as villain. Or is that BECAUSE of it?

Thierry Henry is a special case – his status as a villain has come at the exact same time as he has lost his powers as a player.  Are the two connected?  I have no idea.  Would he be less sad if his decline came without his new status as a villain?  I would argue not.

Late tonight Japan time, either of Marc van Bommel or Sergio Busquets is gonna be celebrating a win.  Maybe they will use their dark arts to get the win, maybe not.  But both are villains.

July 8, 2010

“Even if they get knocked out, they are still the most impressive team in the tournament”

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:17 pm

I said it before the Spain Germany match while talking with a mate, and I still think it.

Some might now say – Oh noes, Australia, England and Argentina were tactically naive / had tactical problems – Germany weren’t that good!

Don’t care – you can only play what is put in front of you.  Even their defeats were positive.  A man down and they made so many good chances against Serbia.  A loss to a finally awake Spain, who controlled the match, but who had to win it with a single header from a set play.

And after losing, they carried themselves with some dignity.

I have always had a preference for new winners, but I was hoping that Germany would go all the way.  I now think that my preference for new winners was a silly thing anyway – their last win was 1990?  Some of their players weren’t even out of their diapers yet.

July 7, 2010

Not. Gonna. Do. It.

Filed under: Football — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:01 am

After the last WC I was tres excited.  I was imagining how we had won respect with that campaign, and how more Aussies would get chances overseas, and how they were gonna take those chances, and 2010 was gonna see an experienced, but refreshed Aussie team push on to greater things.

The end is not nigh.  We could have a better team in 4 years, but it isn`t written in the stars or anything.

So Sydney has a prodigy who can pass the ball?  Brisbane has a genius who can dribble the ball without tripping over?  Don`t care.  Not gonna imagine them into the next Marapelezizhounho.

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