5 things observed from WC2010 & TOTD (team of the day)
June 17, 2010
Having watched 45 minutes of every game except the Cameroon – Japan game, here are a few thoughts on the matches played so far..It is brief and each can be expanded upon as a separate post but here goes..
Tippy tappy passing hits a brickwall.
In fear of utter humiliation, both North Korea and Switzerland used pragmatic tactics that Mourinho would have been proud off. What is the point of having 67% of the ball when you are unable to convert the chances you create? Spain were slow in their passing and Switzerland kept their shape forcing the Spaniards to use the flanks to cross it in. Sounds familiar? Without Torres, this tactic would be ineffective. North Korea did the same albeit with a 5 man defence that you won’t see that often. Brazil passed and passed but North Korea always had someone to cover as the passing wasn’t swift and/or it was too congested in those areas. Even so when North Korea managed to break Brazil’s attack they ran with purpose and looked at times ready to land the decisive blow. Crisp one touch passing works well when the ball is played out wide. This was effective for Chile, Germany and Brazil (2nd half) in breaking defensive strategies.
Pragmatism is really the name of the game
Generally speaking this tournament has been a bit too defensive. Only Germany and now Uruguay have scored more than 2 goals in one game. In the 17 matches so far, 14 teams have failed to score . 6 teams have won with 1 -0 scoreline. Uruguay have kept two clean sheets without too much trouble. Nothing to do with the Jabulani ball, just teams who insist on safety first policy. Perhaps that will change as the tournament goes on.
Play your fittest players.
As in those who can run back and forth with the energy and purpose required. Spain omitted Cesc and Torres presumably because they were not fully fit. However they still fielded Iniesta who looked a little jaded at times. Kaka struggled against North Korea as well and his lack of match practice showed. Denmark picked Bendtner and our Dane’s impact on the game vs Holland was minimal if not lacking fluency. He tried but the Nick I know would show much more determination when playing for the red and white of Denmark. (It helps knowing you’re pretty much a cert in the team).
North Korea are good. Portugal better watch out.
If Brazil are the South American team unable to break down defensive sides, then Portugal is the European equivalent. I mean they were held to a draw by Cape Verde, 117 in the FIFA rankings at the time. Not only did Korea defend well but as I said before they were comitted to causing damage on the counter. Jong Tae-se was impressive as a lone frontman and I believe it was his knockdown that led to their goal. There was some really pleasing skill on the ball and unlike some really established teams (I’m looking at you France and England) were more enjoyable to watch. Portugal will need to use the flanks a bit more to break down Korea.
Van Persie is world class.
Possibly the worst kept secret in football. Holland didn’t really live up to the hype in their first match but then really maybe they’re going the Italian route. Slow and Steady wins the race and all that. But whenever Van Persie received the ball he always strived to create an opportunity for him or for the team. Arsene mentioned last season how the role of the striker has changed. The midfielders used to bring the strikers into play but now the strikers have to bring the midfielders into play. Barely a minute into the second half, Van Persie chased a long ball he shouldn’t have. He promptly crossed it in for two Dutch players and although they didn’t really contest it, there was enough hara-kiri from Denmark which led to the first goal.
Finally, I did a team of the day feature on my twitter account.
11/06 – South Africa
12/06 – South Korea
15/06- North Korea
That is all I have to say for the first week of World Cup 2010. ..