World Cup 2010: A tactical review

July 14, 2010

Marcello Bielsa
“At the dawn of the tournament Football Further posed ten tactical questions that the World Cup would answer. Three days after Spain’s tense extra-time victory over the Netherlands in the final, the answers to those questions reflect a tournament in which defensive rigour was overwhelmingly de riguer and tactical innovation conspicious by its rarity.” (Football Further)

The final analysis, part one: the basic shapes, and pressing

July 14, 2010

“Here is Holland’s basic shape when they have the ball with their goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg. This shows their defence (red), their holding midfielders (yellow), the attacking band of three (green) and the striker (blue). Note how wide their side is, starting from the centre-backs. Another interesting feature is how much more advanced Mark van Bommel (the right of the holding midfielders) is compared to Nigel de Jong.” (Zonal Minute)

Spain’s success could inspire Brazil’s return to attacking style

July 14, 2010

“The status of the Brazilian national team — and its value to its international sponsors — does not rest solely on the fact that it is the only country to have won the World Cup five times. It is a style thing. There is a way of playing associated with Brazil, joyful and expressive, which has made the Selecao a favorite of people all over the planet. Inventors of the joga bonito, Brazil is sold as the spiritual guardian of the game.” (SI)

A Reaction From the Streets of Catalonia

July 14, 2010

“Standing on the streets of Barcelona – capital of Spain’s Catalonia region – last Saturday, one would have had no idea that the country was preparing to watch its national team compete in the World Cup the very next day. That afternoon, over a million people flooded the downtown to protest a decision issued Friday by the country’s constitutional court striking down some provisions of the territory’s 2006 autonomy statute.” (TNR)

Scan shows Fernando Torres injury not as serious as first feared

July 14, 2010

“Fernando Torres could be fit for the start of the season after it emerged the thigh injury that ended his involvement in the World Cup final was not as serious as had been feared. Torres suffered only a small tear to his left thigh after coming on as a late substitute in Spain’s 1-0 victory over Holland. He has been told to have three weeks of complete rest and will then undergo a specially tailored rehabilitation programme aimed at getting him fit for Liverpool’s opening game against Arsenal on 15 August – if he decides to stay at Anfield in the face of persistent interest from Chelsea.” (Guardian)

Listening to the World Cup

July 14, 2010

“With ESPN’s broadcast of the World Cup’s opening match, my fellow tweeters began to crack jokes about The Lion King. We imagined Rafiki calling the matches, or Mufasa, and half expected the referees to lift up the Jabulani to announce the arrival of the New Ball. Most folks simply observed, ‘I feel like I am watching The Lion King.’ There is a good reason for this. The score used by ESPN to frame its coverage was written by Lisle Moore. The Utah composer gave us muscular music for a sporting event, upbeat music for a media event organized around putting us all in the mood to buy a shirt, a ball, or a Coke. Layered over the orchestral swells are the oddly familiar sounds of African voices, or, I should say, African-sounding voices. Africa is scored here as a noble landscape, peopled by a unified chorus, singing together in a harmonic convergence of tribal cultures.” (Social Text)


July 14, 2010

“Two days after the World Cup final, the whole event seems slightly surreal. I’m returning from South Africa today, having survived on my last day here a gauntlet of baboons and a march up a gorgeous mountain, after arriving on the 26th of June just in time to see Ghana beat the U.S. I’ve had the privilege of watching seven games, including the Cape Town semi-final and the final in Johannesburg. I’ve come to know and love the vuvuzela — and, yes, I’m bringing one home to blow at Duke soccer matches this fall. It was rapture on many levels, and now it’s passed.” (Soccer Politics)


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