Exclusive Soccer Club? Not Anymore

July 8, 2010


The Lower Buttons – Intogeymy 1967
“Arriba, Puyol! That’s how I will think of him from now on, this muscular defender, with his ringlets flopping all over the place, leaping above the tall timber of the German defense and heading the Spanish where they have never been before. Carles Puyol looks so much bigger in the photos, but in reality he’s short for a central defender, reminding me of Yogi Berra, who could hit a ball off his shoe tops and send it over a building in the biggest of games. Puyol can leap beyond his 5 feet 10 inches and did it in the 73rd minute Wednesday night to give Spain a 1-0 victory over Germany.” (NYT)


German counterattack negated by Spain’s dominant possession

July 8, 2010

“So in the end, Germany came up against a team that could defend, and the great counterattackers were exposed in a 1-0 loss to Spain in the World Cup semifinals on Wednesday. Without an early goal to protect, without opponents that poured forward and left spaces behind them, the Germans were left bereft, and as they chased a goal in the final stages, it became clear just how limited they are as a creative force.” (SI)


Triumphant procession down the road of quease

July 8, 2010

“Take, if you will, Hungary’s Golden Team. The story may be familiar to you: a near-perfect marriage of radical tactics with great players (Puskás, Hidegkuti, Kocsis, Bozsik, Czibor…), producing a new, adventurous style which was seemingly irresistible; an Olympic gold medal, won with five straight wins by an aggregate score of 20-2; a tying-up of the loose ends of the Dr. Gerö Cup; the Wembley 6-3, with the “people from outer space” and the “fire engine heading to the wrong fire” and the ‘utter helplessness’; the 7-1 return in the Népstadion; the four-year, 28-game unbeaten run (if we don’t count a loss to a Moscow representative selection. And we don’t, apparently) the team took into the 1954 World Cup, and not just any unbeaten run, but one in which they truly trounced opponents; the breeze through the group stage (two games, seventeen goals); the Battle of Berne; the thrilling victory over champions Uruguay in the semi-final; the final against a West Germany team they had beaten 8-3 (a real 1954 score, that) earlier in the tournament; the two early goals that would surely see them on their way to fulfilling their destiny as the greatest ever football team; Germany’s quick replies to level the affair; a third German goal with five minutes to go…” (Sport Is A TV Show)


Spain 1-0 Germany: Pressing, passing and Puyol

July 8, 2010


Carles Puyol “A narrow but deserved victory for Spain, who simply carried out their gameplan more effectively than their opponents. There were two issues to be decided with the starting line-ups. Joachim Loew chose Piotr Trochowski ahead of Toni Kroos to replace Thomas Mueller, whilst Vicente del Bosque finally dropped Fernando Torres, opting for Barcelona’s wide forward Pedro instead.” (Zonal Minute)


Sporting Justice? Applying rules from elsewhere to Suarez’s handball

July 8, 2010

“Lampard’s shot, Tevez’s offside goal, Luis Suarez’s ‘Hand of Sod’. For those who believe football’s rules are in need of an overhaul then this World Cup has provided plenty of ammunition to take to FIFA’s headquarters in Zürich. A game that promotes incompetence from officials (Lampard, Tevez) or encourages the use of cheating (Suarez) would seem ripe for overhaul and rugby would appear to offer the most immediate solutions.” (Pitch Invasion)


World Cup Waterloos

July 8, 2010

“I’ve just returned from several days in Cape Town, where I saw the Uruguay-Netherlands game and once again learned the limited power of football to offer up moral clarity. After the Ghana match, I was sure I’d be able to take out all my rage and spleen at the Uruguayans in the next game, savoring their defeat by the Dutch. Then I had a conversation with a ten-year-old stalwart Uruguayan fan on the plane to the Cape, and out went my certainty.” (Soccer Politics)