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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for Forbes.com and Soccerly.com and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


TANGENTS

The Daily Forbes

Written by on July 3, 2012 | 50 Comments »
Posted in European Championship

I don’t know if I will be able to keep it up but my goal is to post a daily update on Forbes.com. You can find the articles by following the links.

Coverage and games so far in latest-first order:

 A finally TV ratings in North America and in Europe.

ESPN up but TSN the big winner. Proves my point again that Canada supports the game in much larger per capita numbers than the US.

 

The final word on Germany, Portugal, Italy and Spain at Euro 2012.

Who met expectations and who did not.

 

Italy Proves To Be A Red-Rag To A Spanish Bull

Spain 4-0 Italy

 

Spain vs. Italy Pre-Final Blog

Seven thoughts before the final match of Euro 2012

 

For Coaches National Service Can Be Brief And Humiliating

Van Marwijk gone, Blanc possible – 24 hours later Blanc gone as well

 

Mario, Mario Can You Show Us Your Goals

Italy 2-1 Germany

Was Paulo Bento Really Wrong In Leaving Ronaldo Till Last?

Spain 0-0 Portugal

Spain wins penalty kick decider 4-2

 

Heroes or Villains – They Can All Be Beach Boys Now

Part 2 – Republic of Ireland, Croatia, England, Sweden, France and Ukraine

 

Euro 2012 – Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Six trams that packed their bags and are gone – but who met expectations and who crashed? Plus were “surprise” players close to the mark? Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Russia, Denmark and the Netherlands.

 

Penalty Kick Decider Consigns England To The Hurt Locker….Again

England 0-0 Italy

Italy wins penalty kick decider 4-2

 

A Very Xabi Performance From Spain And Curtains For France

Spain 2-0 France

Joachim Löw’s Decision Not Arrogant And Why His Critics Were So Wrong

Greece 2-4 Germany

Ronaldo Stoops To Conquer And Breaks Czech Stalemate

Czech Republic 0-1 Portugal

 

Euro 2012 TV Audiences Up And Why It Will Only Get Better

North American Broadcasters see triple digit growth

 

Oh Dear, Spoke Too Soon – Goal Line Controversy Alert At Euro 2012

England 1-0 Ukraine; France 0-2 Sweden

 

UEFA Holds Its Collective Breath But Officials Get Italy Goal Call Right

Italy 2-0 Republic of Ireland; Croatia 0-1 Spain

 

Netherlands Fail To Launch In Group Of Death But Ronaldo Achieves Lift Off

Germany 2-1 Denmark; Portugal 2-1 Netherlands

 

Walcott’s Turn Nips Swedes

England 3-2 Sweden

 

Dutch Oranje Goes Pear-Shaped At Euro 2012

Netherlands 1-2 Germany

 

Poland and Russia Both Make A Point + A Hackneyed Phrase

Poland 1-1 Russia (seem to be picking the draws)

 

 England’s 1-1 Draw With France the Height Of Their Ambition

France 1-1 England

 

Spain Draws 1-1 With Italy – Philistines Read At Your Peril

Spain 1-1 Italy

 

Dehli Serves Up Tasty Win For Denmark

Netherlands 0-1 Denmark

 

Poland Offers Bailout but Greeks Miss The Target …Again

Poland 1-1 Greece


50 responses to “The Daily Forbes”

  1. Boris says:

    I was just waiting for Bobby to preview the Croatia vs. Ireland match. However before I offer my analysis of the group (focusing on the underestimated Croatians), what was Asa smoking these past days? The other day he had mentioned that Dick Advocaat took Russia to the Semi’s in 2008 while in fact it was Gus Hidding who managed the Russians at Euro ’08. Today he mentioned that Croatia was an aging squad which was far from the truth. Croatia has one of the younger squads especially after the inclusion of the 20 year-old fullback, Vrsaljko while Ireland have in fact the oldest squad of the tournament.
    In any case, Spain with all the talent have the best team and I expect them to qualify first from the group. There is not point of saying much more about them. Second place will not go to one of the popular teams, Italy who by the way, also have an older squad. I think Croatia will finish second but to do so, they must defeat Ireland tomorrow. The first game is always the hardest and anything could happen but I believe that Croatia will pull through.
    The biggest problem with the Croats is the defense especially after the talented Lyon defender, Lovren pulled out due to injury. This injury makes Corluka even more important for the Croats who have to hope that Corluka can remain fit during the tournament. Probable lineup in the defense will be (from left to right), Strinic, Schieldenfeld, Corluka, Vida. The left side continues to be a problem for the Croatian defense and Vida on the right is not a natural fullback.
    The midfield will probably have Perisic on the left and Srna on the right. Modric and Vukojevic (hopefully) in the middle. The strike force will most likely be Mandzukic behind Jelavic.
    Player to watch: Perisic. He was a top scorer as a midfielder in the Belgian league two years ago and while he was not a regular for Juergen Klopp, he still managed to add seven goals and four assists. I think this guy has vast potential and could shine at the Euro’s.
    Starman: Luka Modric. Often underrated because he doesn’t score too many goals and probably because he is not Western European, Luka Modric is one of the best midfielders in the world. He makes his teams tick and makes other players around him look better. If Croatia hope to reach quarterfinals, Modric will have to be at his best.
    Again, Irealand will be tough to crack but I still think the Croats will win this one. Apart from their scandals, Italy have not impressed me at all, not to mention that Croatia have being dominant against them. No matter how good they are and how bad Croatia are, the Croats always manage to gain a positive result against the Italians and for that reason, I think it will be Croatia and not Italy going through.

  2. Boris says:

    Voldemort, under no circumstance am I underestimating Ireland. As I’ve said, it is going to be tough for the Croats, but I am pulling for them because they have more talent and experience in bigger tournaments in my opinion. Funny, I actually predicted a draw between Holland and Denmark. Unlike most people, who did not follow the qualifiers and just picked teams based on the big names, I actually saw the potential in Denmark. Hopefully, they will reach the quarterfinals. It makes the tournaments more interesting, when “underdogs” knockout the “favorites”.

  3. Boris says:

    Lols, don’t get me started on the commentators. I hate Lalas.
    They are better off picking Sports Illustrated supermodels who have no time to watch soccer. You will receive just about the same analysis but at least they’ll be much better to look at.

  4. Boris says:

    Not sure why Spain is playing without a striker….

  5. Boris says:

    I was very impressed with Croatia’s performance. The strikers, especially Mandzukic were fantastic. Perisic…I love this guy. I think he could become a top top player in years to come. He was all over the place and Ireland could never keep up with him.
    Modric was brilliant. The critics might say he did not have any assists or goals but he orchestrated the entire attack. This is what he does best. Srna played really well and I have to say, the leftback, Strinic did not look too shaby either. Rakitic also played well especially in the second half. Overall, it was a brilliant performance. Ireland could not cope with Croatia’s creativity and the two big strikers imposing themselves on the defense.
    The Croatian defense did look suspect during set pieces but as long they can keep possession against Italy (I believe they can), then Croatia will have a real good chance of qualifying to the quarterfinals. I think the two strikers, Mandzukic and Jelavic will continue to impose themselves on opposing defenses and neither Italy nor Spain will be able to shut both of them down. People will continue to underestimate Croatia at their own peril. I for one cannot wait for Thursday.

  6. Seattle_Loon says:

    Surely nobody could begrudge Bobby being rewarded for his great work. Been enjoying the articles in Forbes which are linked here.

  7. Voldemort – Your problem is solved.

  8. Ed Gomes says:

    I’m beyond excited and nervous about today’s matches.
    The Group of Death can really show its fangs or fizzle out.
    Amazingly we could be looking at a four way tie going into the third day, or it could all be done and dusted today.

    When it comes to Portugal I can see them winning and losing all their matches. They just haven’t looked all that good, and frankly when they’ve looked good, even in qualifying, they drew or lost those matches.
    Danes know Portugal well from qualifiers, so you can spect a very tight match. I know people are expecting more free flowing futebol from Portugal, but Danes have been able to handle it before. I do feel they were a bit lucky verse the Dutch, but they can stamp their way forward today.

    I for one would not be shocked if he Dutch defeated Germany today. In my opinion Germany didn’t look particularly good verse Portugal. Podolski was awful, and Muller was held in check fairly easily. This one could become a scoring frenzy, that could go either way.
    What will make this one very tight is the huge rivalry between the two countries. This is Germany’s biggest rivalry, since they just don’t respect one another.

  9. Well Harry Redknapp is gone – what a strange turn of events. From 2-0 up against Arsenal with 30 minutes gone and set to go 13 points ahead to out on his backside in a matter of months.

  10. Boris says:

    Bobby, very bizarre story….I am not too surprised. Not getting the England job was the beginning of the end in my opinion.
    Does that mean Modric and Bale could be on their way out as well?

  11. rdm says:

    and Adebeyor and Assou Ekotto and Younes Kaboul and Ledley King and Brad Friedel and …

    Maybe not that whole group but… man, I would not want to be in their shoes. They’ve got some heavy lifting to do over the summer.

  12. Boris says:

    Bobby, where is the Forbes analysis of the Croatia vs. Italy game?

  13. Boris – much depends on who Spurs replace Harry with. I doubt that a player would push for a move without seeing who might be hired.
    The reason for no Croatia – Italy review is that I not watched the game yet.
    I had a lunchtime family commitment that could not be moved – well it could – but the repercussions would have been long term.
    I drew the Spain – Ireland game for FSR so I had to watch that when I returned.
    The Croatia / Italy game is only one I have missed so far but I hope to watch it before tomorrow morning. Can’t see having time to do a write up though.
    The premier League piece was a request from Forbes and I was able to get it written early this morning.
    Sorry

  14. Boris says:

    Darn it Bobby. The one I game I had wanted you to review and you missed out. That’s ok. That’s a good excuse.
    I haven’t been able to watch it myself yet either. If I have time, I will try to write a review myself. It’s exciting to know that Italians still can’t beat us but it will be hard to qualify to the QF. It is very plausible that all three teams could finish with 5 points each. It is a tough group. What can I say?

  15. Boris – I have watched the first half now and I thought it was quite an open and even match in the first 45 minutes. Balotelli was getting more space that he should have been allowed but the front two of Jelavic and Mandzukic were a menace to Italy.
    Pletikosa looked at fault on not getting to Pirlo’s free kick – well he got there but could not save it. Apparently the first goal scored directly from a free kick since the group stage in 2004 as I understand it.

  16. Seattle_Loon says:

    Pirlo’s free-kick was perfect fodder for the debate about whether keepers would have more chance without a wall in certain situations.

  17. Boris says:

    Bobby, you are the only analyst I like. It is not only because you have a vast knowledge of the game but also because you always look beyond the bias and give a fair and true assessment of every game.
    Let me just tell you, I was disgusted by the comments made by the ESPN analysts who gave Croatia virtually no credit. Apparently, Italy just decided to defend the lead and that’s why they conceded a goal. There was also talk of Italy tiring. How about just admitting the reason they were defending in the second half was because they were struggling against a Croatian onslaught. Croatia were by far the better team in the second half and I feel like they should have won in the end.
    Warren Barton the other day said that he was surprised Croatia were unbeaten against Italy. Has he seen some of the players that played for Croatia since becoming an independent nation? It was no fluke that they reached semifinals of the ’98 World Cup. What other team had the likes of Boban, Prosinecki, Suker, Stanic?
    Back to the game. I am becoming more and more impressed with the leftback, Strinic. His crosses are immaculate and he is actually quite a good dribbler as well. The ESPN crew made a comment that had Balotelli converted some of his chances, it would have been over in the first half. Well, had Jelavic connected with that cross in the 20th minute, the game could have been over for Italy early on.
    Mandzukic was brilliant. He was my man of the match. I always knew he was a very good player (He single-handedly saved Wolfsburg from being relegated.) but he is finally beginning to live up to his great potential. His movement is great. He gets others players involved. He is a good passer but more importantly, he is a great finisher. What a goal that was, yet the ESPN crew spent more time talking about Italy’s defensive blunder than Mandzukic’s goal. They spent more time talking about Balotelli who did not score. All in all, it was a very good game. Pirlo lost his importance once Modric took over in the middle. Moving Srna to the midfield really worked well for the Croats.
    So what happens next? Croatia must win against Spain since I think Italy will probably take Ireland apart. I was hoping Croatia would beat the Italians today but now they have to go and defeat Spain. Whatever happens, I am proud the way they played in this tournament. Nobody gave them any chance and yet they still have big part to play in deciding who goes to the quarterfinals.

    Bobby, I am looking forward to your comments. P.S. Pletikosa is playing much better than I’ve expected.

  18. Astronomer says:

    Bobby,
    You wrote:
    “Apparently the first goal scored directly from a free kick since the group stage in 2004 as I understand it.”

    I am not sure that I agree with the above statement.

    There was at least one such goal (from a direct free kick) in the 2008 Euro. Michael Ballack scored this goal in Germany’s victory over Austria:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL-edKslRkM

    There could have been others also in the 2008 tournament; but this was the one that I remember quite clearly.
    ____________________________________________________

  19. Bobby says:

    Astronomer – you have presented irrefutable evidence. My source was in fact wrong.

  20. Bobby says:

    Boris – Hope to get to the second half tomorrow before the double header

  21. J says:

    Not a bad strategy: use Carroll to bludgeon defenders for 60 minutes, then bring in the rabbits.

  22. Alberta Gooner says:

    Good to see UEFA taking racist chanting seriously. Hopefully there will be a serious sanction for it, especially as the supporters have form in this area.

    http://espnfc.com/us/en/news/1103740/uefa-charges-croatian-fc.html

  23. Boris says:

    Albertagooner, it would be unfair to punish Croatia with a point deduction or disqualification due to some idiots who pretend to be fans. The Croatian players were pleading with the fans not to do anything stupid.
    If in fact Croatia do get penalized severely , then the same thing should happen to Spain and several other countries whose fans were doing the same thing. Spanish fans were caught doing the same thing to Balotelli that Croatians were. Let’s be fair and punish everyone. Then however, you wouldn’t have anyone left.
    Punishing the whole nation will not stop racism in football. These fouls eggs just need to be removed from the stadiums but of course that is really hard to do.

  24. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Boris

    If a country lost points due to racist chanting, I’ll bet you it would end the problem forever. I agree it would be harsh to punish the players for the misbehaviour of some of the supporters but FAs might do a better job of vetting the supporters to whom they sell tickets to major tournaments.

    I agree it’s tough to single out Croatia because they are probably not the only country with some supporters who have directed unaccpetable and pathetic abuse towards black players on other nations at this tournament.

    If UEFA wants to be taken seriously on this issue, the punishment should be one hell of a lot tougher than the 100,000 euro fine given to Nicklas Bendtner for exposing a bookmaker’s name on his underpants.

  25. My apologies but the website was down on account of Technical issues for a day and a half. AS you can readily see the fix has been made.

  26. Izzy Campos says:

    I’ve been reading your articles on Forbes on a daily basis and urge you to keep it up!

    Regards,
    Izzy

  27. Boris says:

    What a boring game today. Spain just made me fall asleep and France just looked like crap which made Croatia’s exit even more difficult to bear. To beat Spain, you defeat the system. You defeat the system and the individuals break, like the Spartans at Thermopylae. Croatia made system players like Iniesta and Xavi look ordinary. Modric to me proved that he could do quite well at Real Madrid (if the rumors are true) as he looked better than either of the two Spanish stars.It will be quite an interesting game between Portugal and Spain as the Portuguese have enough strength to take out the Spanish.

  28. Boris says:

    WTF,

    Spain have a great defense and a system that is difficult to break down, but I feel that teams like Portugal and Germany have what it takes to win against Spain.
    I did not see Spain integrate that many players; they only used 4 different subs in the four games.
    Watch England defeat Italy today. Italians have not impressed me and had it been by old rules (goal differential), Italy would have been out since Croatia would not need to push for the goal.
    I am curious what is your definition of a second rate team? By any chance, are you referring to teams that are not Spain, Italy, Holland (not in the QF), Germany, Argentina, Brazil? Had Croatia won the trophy I wonder, would you still refer to them as a second rate team, since they were not one of the “popular” teams?

  29. Boris says:

    I have to say that the better team went through today. Italy played better. Their midfield played a great game. They did not have the cutting edge up front but altogether they deserved to go through.

  30. Seattle Loon says:

    England relative to population & wealth still worst footballing nation on earth. Continued lack of technique = embarassing

  31. Boris says:

    Roberto,

    I merely rated Modric in the game Croatia played against Spain and in that match, Modric looked better to me than either of the two. That is my opinion.
    Xavi and Iniesta are great players but they always had the luxury to play for great teams. I would like to see one of them play outside of Barcelona and see how they fared. Modric has not had the opportunity to play for a team like Barcelona or Madrid and I would like to see how he would do at a top level club like Madrid. In my opinion he is world class and greatly underrated so it would be interesting to see how he would perform when surrounded by star players like Christiano.

    P.S. I love to make people laugh.

  32. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Seattle Loon

    Harsh but fair. It will be interesting to see how England fares with a proper central midfield playmaker in 2014, assuming Wilshere stays fit. The limits of employing 4-4-2 with two would-be Makeleles sitting in front of the back four were painfully obvious throughout the Euros.

    If you are running England, do you stick with 4-4-2, knowing your central two in midfield will always be outnumbered and you don’t have a Keane/Vieira type that can defy superior numbers?

  33. Seattle Loon says:

    England relative to population & wealth still worst footballing nation on earth. Continued lack of technique = embarrassing.

    Evidence was apparent these Euro’s. Outplayed by France and Ukraine in the group stages, England gave a reasonable impression of a Greece or Switzerland at best. Pathetic and most importantly unlikely to change until the country makes massive changes at the youth level.

    Compare and contrast with Germany. Since 2000 when Germans failed at Euro’s in 2000 they have spent 80/90 million Euro’s per year on youth development, coaching and facilities. England despite wealth of EPL have done virtually nothing.

    The EPL’s TV rights are now worth over 1 Billion Pounds per year (including overseas revenue). Where is the visionary stating the obvious? Some of that money has to be channeled into a complete re-organisation of the game at the grass-roots level.

    England’s best hope is that a technically competent player like Jack Wilshere becomes the rule and not the exception in ten plus years time. It is possible. 10-12 years ago it looked like the footballing world had caught up with Germany. (Every team displayed the qualities of organisation and strength and stamina in which Germany had excelled for a generation.) Look at them now. Were it not for an incredible Spain they’d probably be right back at the top.

  34. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Roberto

    Like any system, the 4-4-2 can work with the right midfielders. England certainly didn’t have them at Euro2012.

    @Seattle Loon

    I agree England was unimpressive and, if Capello or Sven-Goran Eriksson were coaching the national team, they’d be crucified for employing the same pragmatic tactics.

    But I think the Three Lions’ Euros arrived a little earlier for the next generation of English players who possess the technical standards shown by other top nations. In addition to Wilshere, Cleverley and Oxlade-Chamberlain are developing into highly technical players who can dictate play.

    All that said, it’s tough to disagree with your criticisms about England embarrassing underperformance relative to its population and resources.

  35. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Roberto

    Spain’s system works because they have the players to make it work just as the French system worked when they had Zidane, Vieira, Henry, Thuram, et al. and Englnad was being urged to adopt the Clairfontaine model blah. blah, blah

    Enjoy the Spanish success whilst it lasts because nothing lasts forever.

  36. Alberta Gooner says:

    WTF,

    “That may be true but Barcelona alone have at least 10 Jack Wilshires in their B team.”

    Is that right? Well, I guess the rest of us non-Catalans might as well give up, then. They’ve clearly discovered the magic formula at La Masia, haven’t they? Because I’ll bet you watch the Barca B team all the time and would possess the requisite qualifications to suggest Wilshere would be a run-of-the-mill midfielder by their standards?

    I’d have more respect for your “insights” if you posted under the same handle rather than inventing new personas to spew the same tiresome bullshit.

  37. Alberta Gooner says:

    @roberto

    1. Suggesting one player is better than Wilshere is a long way off from the statement that “That may be true but Barcelona alone have at least 10 Jack Wilshires (sic) in their B team.”

    2. I’ve watched Thiago Alcantara play and he is a very good prospect. To suggest is better than Wilshere is an opinion and hardly a surprising one coming from a reliable Barca and Spanish chauvinist. Another opinion was expressed by Cesc Fabregas, who after he left Arsenal praised Wilshere as one top two young players in the world. He didn’t qualify it by suggesting he was one of the best non-Cules or Spaniards, either. Perhaps this is because Cesc understands good players do develop outside of the scope of La Masia and the Spanish national team. Hopefully both Thiago and Wilshere have the opportunity to play a full season with their respective clubs so the rest of us can see whether you or Cesc is right.

  38. Seattle_Loon says:

    I think Swansea are a fantastic example of what you can do with British players. With the right coaching and emphasis on possession and passing it is not impossible to get existing players to improve technically. But the likes of Wigan and Swansea are rare examples.

    I saw Jack Wilshere documentary a couple of years ago showing footage of him as a boy. If I recall correctly it was obvious that he had a naturally good technique with the ball from a very young age.

  39. Alberta Gooner says:

    @WTF

    1. Who is this Wilshire that you speak of? I might have a little more respect for your posts if you could be bothered to spell Wilshere’s name properly.

    2. If the 4-4-2 is antiquated, you need to inform Cesare Prandelli, who used a variation of it against England.

    3. If Cesc Fabregas rates Jack Wilshere as one of the best young players in the world, I guess that opinion is lost on one-eyed chauvinists, as are the considerable gifts of Wayne Rooney. Your anti-English bigotry is just as embarassing as Johnny Foreigner crap spewed regularly by the Daily Mails of the world.

    4. I’ve watched England long enough to remember when they did possess that type of midfield playmaker with Paul Gascoigne. They don’t come along very often, which is why Barca and Spanish supporters should enjoy Xavi and Ineista while they have them. They might not see players of that class come around for a while. Those of us who’ve watched the game for a bit understand nothing lasts forever in football. Just ask the Dutch following the end of the Milan Masters’ era or post-Zizou France. If you follow the sport for a while, you’ll realize the revolving nature of power depends on God-given talent rather than tactics or a particular development scheme.

    I sense from your chauvinism and triumphalism that you’ve either not followed the game very long, are too blinkered from stereotypes to appreciate talent regardless of passport or are a well-skilled troll trying to gain attention by puking out nonsensical bullshit and passing it off as objective analysis. If it’s the latter, well done. But I suspect you’ll need something a good deal more profound and insightful than anything you’ve posted in this thread to elicit a respond from Bobby McMahon or many of the regulars. Unfortunately, you’ve managed to catch me on a light day at work and I’ve devoted far more space in response than your comments are actually worth. Enjoy the rest of the tournament, Mr. Tactical Acumen.

  40. Seattle Loon says:

    Switching gears – most talented WAG? Video-evidence for Sylvie Van Der Vaart (and no – it isn’t what you think):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtMbaIKObD4

  41. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Roberto

    “One major difference with Italy’s 4-4-2 v England’s is that Italy plays a very narrow diamond with four players crowding the centre of the pitch in order to control the midfield and thereby the game. It lacks width and must get it from their fullbacks. A diamond 4-4-2 still has a place in modern football.”

    Thank you for grasping my point. Italy was also playing a variation of a 4-4-2 that suited the talents of their players, a point missed by your fellow traveller.

    England has not always been wedded to the flat 4-4-2 but Hodgson felt it was the best system to get the best out of his players. And in any case, England was not outnumbered in the middle of the park as Ashley Young and James Milner were constantly getting dragged inside and allowing their fullbacks to run forward. The issue was Wayne Rooney decided not to track Pirlo, something he was tasked to do and failed at miserably. Welbeck did a much better job of this, which ought to lead people to wonder whether Hodgson substituted the right forward. But you knew all that, didn’t you? Because you clearly watched the game and understood what was going on rather than reciting some cut-and-paste punditry gleaned from the Internet, right?

    Another “antiquated” formation used by Prandelli was the 3-5-2 used by Juventus to win the Scudetto. This was because he happened to have the players that could make the system work, as opposed to the disaster that took place when England tinkered with it during the McClaren era and wound up losing badly in a Euro2008 qualifier. When you watch football for a while, you’ll learn shrewd coaches will revive certain formations and tactics when they have the right personnel to make them work.

    Therefore you probably should watch a little longer before dismissing any tactical formation.

    @WTF/HTV/SL

    And I’ll ignore the poor spelling, poor grammar and tortured stretches of logic, OK? Because if your knowledge of Barca B extends to Gio dos Santos, I’ll let Spurs supporters insult you for suggesting he’s proven something at WHL. You’d have far better off citing Bojan Krkic at Roma but I guess his name escaped you. And the idea that dos Santos is more technically accomplished than Wilshere would get you laughed out of any number of bars on either side of north London.

    Just to show there’s no hard feelings, I’ll broaden your knowledge with two of the up-and-comers at La Masia. You’re welcome.

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/1115278/valencia-'angry'-with-barcelona-over-youth-deals?cc=5901

  42. Seattle Loon says:

    My attempt at changing the conversation proved futile. If Sylvie Van Der Vaart can’t do it nothing can!

  43. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Seattle Loon

    Sorry but I’m feeling frisky today and am enjoying calling out pseuds.

    @Roberto

    “My word, you certainly have your knickers in a knot today, don’t you? Either that or you woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

    Um, that’s not really addressing any of the points I raised in my previous post. Still it’s interesting you’d suggest this to start your post and then wind with:

    “We can agree to disagree without your personal insults regarding what you perceive to be someone else’s lack of football viewing. Your arguments should be based on facts and not insults, in my most humble opinion.”

    See where you started and where you ended up? Irony is a kind word for it.

    “I’ll have you know that I watch quite a lot of football. Thank you.”

    Well it’s good you’ve convinced yourself of this.

    What I’m surprised about is how such a veteran football watcher can dismiss the 4-4-2 as “tactically retarded” while managing to acknowledge the impact of one player of failing to do a very important job in order to make it work. That’s not a failure of tactics, although Hodgson blundered in not substituting Rooney.

    So while you’re acknowledging my point, you are arguing against it, which sounds a good deal like my old buddy Soccerlogical. It’s funny, but he was also a reliable critic of all things in English in football, too.

    The problem with SL and other chauvinists who filter football through bigotries is some of the nuances of the game are lost on them because they are too busy searching for evidence to confirm their stereotypes.

    “Bojan is not a midfielder.”

    Oh, so there’s 10 MIDFIELDERS like Wilshere in Barca’s B team. Gosh, they are well stocked and it’s a wonder they bother with buying Keita, Mascherano, Afellay et al in recent years given they’ve got all those little Wilsheres running around La Masia, eh?

    I had thought Pep’s “10 Wilsheres in Barca B” recycled by WTF/HTV/SL was referring to technical aptitude rather than the actual position of midfield, especially since one player referenced was Gio dos Santos.

    I imagine it was very difficult for you this year, watching the omelet maker walk away with La Liga, and seeing the Cules bested by an English side in Champions League. I wonder how you’ll deal if Spain actually lose at the Euros. I’m sure it will be thoroughly entertaining and very insightful.

  44. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Roberto

    I’ll keep this short as I’ve got a busy day at work.

    1. I never suggested the 4-4-2 was a “superior” system. I said you should never dismiss a system as “antiquated” because they invariably are revived by astute coaches. When you’ve watched the game for a while, you’ll gain the perspective that there’s nothing new when it comes to tactics.

    2, No formation works when players fail to perform the tasks set out to make it work, such as Rooney’s failure to close down Pirlo. That’s not “failed” tactics or an inherent flaw of the 4-4-2, though, because that sort of error will undo any tactical formation. Perhaps you’ll gain that perspective as you continue to watch the sport although you’ll need to remove some filters.

    3. Managers/coaches will employ formations based on the available talent and watching them train. Having done that, I can appreciate why Roy Hodgson stuck with the flat 4-4-2. Now fans such as your good self can argue whether that formation wrung the best out of an England side but Hodgson has shit out more tactical knowledge than his critics will ever possess.

    4. You need to look up what the word “chauvinist” means. I’m not sure if English is your first language or not, but it’s pretty obvious you watch with blinkers on. And the past four or five years have been very good for both Barca and Spain supporters and I noticed there’s a lot of recent converts to football in North America because of them. I envy your club and country and appreciate the football they’ve produced. But I do pity you when Spain and Barca eventually are surpassed and, trust me, it will happen because Messi is a once-in-generation player (and finding replacements for Xavi and Iniesta will be a lot harder than you think).

    So when time does pass them by, then what will you have to talk about? We won’t be treating to your sneering triumphalist bullshit on these boards. I suppose you’ll either learn to appreciate the game or find another outlet to indulge your tribalism, Roberto. But spare me the bigoted dismissals of all things English or non-Spanish, OK, sport? One thing that separates you and I is I happen to hold a lot of respect clubs, players and coaches outside Arsenal, including our rivals. That’s the difference between being a fan and a fanboy, Roberto. All sorted now?

  45. Alberta Gooner says:

    @Roberto

    I’m glad you are thinking about taking a coaching course. You’ll learn a lot about tactics that is missed by the paint-by-numbers punditry you’ve recited on this board.

    1. You need to have watched football for more than five minutes to understand that formations, like clothing, do come back into fashion. If you don’t know what formation Hodgson used at Inter or Switzerland, it tells me you are too new to the game to grasp this concept.

    2. Taking a course will help you understand that formations don’t prevent fluid movements of players, which is why the notion that the 4-4-2 always leaves the central midfielders outnumbered is not necessarily true because the wide men can be instructed to tuck in, as Milner and Young clearly appeared to be doing, or one of the centre forwards is encouraged to drop deeper when not in possession (as Welbeck was doing to good effect but Rooney failed to do). This is something I learned when I started coaching after more than 30 years of playing and watching the game. I used to dismiss the 4-4-2 but any formation can work with the right players performing the tasks assigned to them. It has fallen out of fashion but like your bell bottoms, it will return just as Conte revived the 3-5-2 and Bielsa and Guardiola blew the dust off the 3-4-3 this season. They had the players to make it work.

    I stand by my comments based on your very consistent trashing of all things British on this board. People who don’t respect what Sir Alex Ferguson has done in the game are either bigots or idiots. Your dismissal of Wayne Rooney are laughable. And I’ve despised Manchester United for a lot longer than you. Type in Brian McClair and Nigel Winterburn into a search engine sometime and you’ll figure out why I can say this.

    As somebody who followed “British” football for a very long time, I have a pretty good grasp of the failures of the sport to evolve, particularly in the post-Heysel era. There are some very justifiable criticisms to be made but sweeping generalizations based on chauvinism or ignorance don’t work as objective critiques.

    Your belief that “La Masia is not a one trick pony and they will continue producing world class players that win international trophies” is charmingly naive because it assumes they have the magic formula. Ajax did, too, at one time. So, too, did Liverpool and Milan. It will be interesting to see how the economic collapse in Spain affects the footballing landscape. Perhaps those La Masia grads will continue to suit up for the Cules. Perhaps they’ll be playing at a petro-funded power elsewhere. But past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Feel free to argue this point but I’d advise you to stay well clear of stock markets.

    Oh and one final point. Soccer moms know better than to argue coaching points or tactics with me, probably because they’ve seen their sons progress as players and my teams earn results. In that respect, they’ve shown a good deal more wisdom than you.

  46. Boris says:

    Mandzukic to join Bayern Munich after showcasing his talents at the Euros.

  47. shmish says:

    “Germany lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and Italy in something more akin to a 4-1-3-2 although it could quickly collapse into a 4-4-2.”

    4-4-2? Who would have thunk.

  48. Alberta Gooner says:

    The Mario, Mario Can You Show Us Your Goals headline matched the brilliance of his finishing, Bobby. Top, top work by you or a sub at Forbes.

    @shmish

    Oh. My. God. Bobby spotted some other coaches of other nations sneakily using moldy, outdated tactics and formations developed by those dastardly Brits. Well that explains why they lost, doesn’t it?

  49. Boris says:

    So, the two teams I hate the most have made it to the finals. It also shows that the Spain, Italy, Croatia group was the actual Group of Death and I feel that if Croatia had made it through (so close), they too could have gone very far.
    Spain’s defense have really impressed me and Italy have gotten better each game. They lacked the cutting edge which finally Balotelli of all the people provided with some great skill which we knew he had.
    I really don’t want to watch the final but I know I am going to anyway.

  50. shmish says:

    I’m going to re-watch the game again tonight, but one thing stuck out at me. I thought the Italians would be more tired than what we saw today. I thought if nothing else, Germany’s extra rest and Italy’s extra time against England would be a decider.

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