Our cup run eth over

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Not a lot of time for posting today. I've been watching a fair amount of the World Cup though, and in addition to inching back to within one point of the lead in the Cup pool I'm in, I'm beginning to get a little more of a feel for the action.

And let me just say that we sucked. Really badly. The Czech Republic may have beaten the US anyway, but one thing that really came clear to me was the degree to which the US team had real trouble (a) running any kind of breakaway or counterstrike offense, and (b) defending against any kind of breakaway or counterstrike offense. Not that I'm psychic or anything, but in the first 5 minutes, on the first Czech goal, when I saw their wing trotting down to the corner unchallenged, I said "uh-oh," right before the ball bounced off Koller's head. No way a disciplined team allows that in the first 5 minutes.

The US attack looked like it was trying to emulate the 2nd tier Euro teams, with highly orderly offense, hoping for a break, but spending most of its effort trying not to get blown out. Every time they managed a one-on-one or mini-break, they cleared back out, and let the Czech defense set, and 9 times out of 10, they didn't even manage a shot out of it. It's very cautious offense--they're playing like a team with a lot to lose who's trying not to lose. And failing.

Ugly stuff from a team that all the talking heads are calling the best ever that the US has sent to the Cup.


Playing not to lose is the WORST thing about the other kind of football---to hear it's spread to Arena's gameplan is sickening.

The goals are so big . . . Why isn't there more scoring?

Well, the game is a lot slower than, say, hockey, and the players are all pretty darn good. Plus, there are offsides rules that give the defense an advantage, in my opinion. FIFA's been changing some rules (yellow cards for shirt-grabbing, e.g.) to try and create more offense, but WC matches are more like a 15-pitch at-bat in baseball than anything else.

Teams really hang back and wait for the one or two opportunities (usually when the teams are tired) that present themselves. That's why the last 10 minutes of lots of these games have been really exciting, but the first 80, even during supposed mismatches (like England v. T&T today), aren't so much.

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on June 13, 2006 3:59 PM.

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