Daily Archives: September 3, 2010

FIFA’s 289-page Technical Report on the 2010 World Cup – in 15 points

Iker Casillas
“This week, FIFA have unveiled their ‘technical report’ on the 2010 World Cup. Technical reports are, in FIFA’s words, ‘published after each and every FIFA competition in order to analyse how the game is progressing’. Some of the information is not particularly fascinating, an example being the revelation that ‘all successful teams have excellent strikers who arecapable of converting goalscoring opportunities that come their way’. Nevertheless, the document does identify some intriguing patterns, and offers a variety of interesting theories about the success, or otherwise, of the 32 teams competing in the tournament. Even the most ardent football fan would struggle to find the motivation to read all 289 pages of the document, so here’s 15 key quotes, and some comment.” (Zonal Marking)


Roberto Carlos wonder goal ‘no fluke’, say physicists

“Brazilian Roberto Carlos’s 1997 free-kick against France curved so sharply that it left goalkeeper Fabian Barthez standing still and looking puzzled. Now, a study published in the New Journal of Physics suggests that the long-held assumption that the goal was a fantastic fluke is wrong. A French team of scientists discovered the trajectory of the goal and developed an equation to describe it.” (BBC)

Hodgson’s men struggled through no fault of their own

“With Javier Mascherano refusing to play, a response to the Liverpool board rejecting a derisory bid from Spanish giants FC Barcelona, Roy Hodgson had a tactical headache. He had options to replace El Jefecito with youngster Jay Spearing or risk Christian Poulsen, who was recovering from his debut on Thursday. This would have resulted in Steven Gerrard playing in an advanced midfield role, something of a ‘hot topic’ among football-fans. However, Roy Hodgson opted for a 4-4-2 with Gerrard and Lucas in midfield with N’Gog and the now-fit Fernando Torres up-front.” (Talking about Football)

My Favourite Footballer…Michael Owen

Michael Owen
“I wasn’t a big fan of posters as a child. It didn’t help that my room was incredibly tiny with wall space was at a premium. Nevertheless, I made an exception for one player. Twice. A picture of a home-grown teenager in Liverpool red sat on my wall next to a horrific hand-drawn image in an England shirt. His eyes were the wrong colour and I had misjudged the lining up of his arms with the bottom half of his body, creating a valley on his shoulder where I had gone down then up to correct my mistake. However limited my artistic skills were, he was instantly recognisable by the number 20 on his chest.” (The Equaliser)

Champions League group draw thoughts (Group A-D)

“Europe’s premier footballing competition once again welcomed the officials of the elite clubs across the continent to the Grimaldi Forum, for what is quickly becoming the most comedic and most drawn out football draw ever . Even I would welcome Jim Rosenthal into the proceedings in an attempt to make it a little bit quicker than Ben Hur. The faux-drama of the event was astounding whilst the Inter players who won the club awards looked uninterested at the format. Meanwhile Gary Lineker was called upon to pick letters, a task he seemed utterly bemused by continually picking out Group C. Conspiracy? No of course not, just coincidence.” (6 Pointer), (Group E-H)

Blackburn 1-2 Arsenal Analysis

“There was a lot of talk before the match about how Arsenal would cope with Blackburn’s long ball and set piece-orientated style of football, particularly after comments made by both sets of managers. In the end it was fairly comfortable for the Gunners as they defended their box well and exposed Blackburn’s lack of possession retention.” (The Backwards Gooner)

Hand shakes and endangered species

“La Liga Loca may be fairly ambivalent to the whole concept of international football – a bit like the Europa League, but not as high-octane – but it really looks forward to the break in the domestic game it demands. First off, Deportivo won’t be playing. Second, the blog generally has less work to do. Third, the four main sports papers cranking up the batsh*t-o-meter to a billion is guaranteed. Marca has been leading the way in the loony stakes, this week. Of course.” (FourFourTwo)

Pelé as a Comedian

“I’m thinking about David Foster Wallace’s essay on Roger Federer, the famous one that ran in the New York Times’s now-defunct sports magazine, Play, in 2006. If you don’t remember it for the argument, you might remember it for the title, ‘Roger Federer as Religious Experience,’ which even back in ’06 felt like a strange combination of terms. It’s a little hard to remember this now, with Federer’s career having settled into its gentle downward glide, but at that point Roger Federer was annihilating sports.” (Run of Play)

Scotland’s scarce ticket supply

“The sole Belgian fan who travelled to support his team in Armenia last September was both mocked and pitied in his home country. However, many of the roughly 1,000 Scotland fans who recently paid £50 to join or renew their membership of the Scotland Supporters Club only to be denied a ticket for the forthcoming Euro 2012 qualifier in Lithuania may regard him with envy.” (WSC)

How will Milan line up this season?

“In what was a predictably mellow summer transfer window, AC Milan bucked the general trend around Europe by making a number of high-profile acquisitions. The arrivals at the San Siro of Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Manchester City and Barcelona respectively have provided Milan with what is, at least on paper, one of the finest attacking units on the continent.” (The Equaliser)

Bringing Bradley Back Carries Great Risks, Little Reward

“The hearsay and conjecture is finally over, and well, meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Bob Bradley, Bobbo, Skeletor, or Junior’s Dad if you like, will hold tight to the reigns of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team. Here at Yanks we’re not above delving into fits of über-reactionary blogitude from time to time, but if there ever was a character whose case deserved a measured, reasoned, and tempered response, it’s none other than Bobbo. Hell, we’d have given him a nickname like “Bob Cool” already if his constantly unfazed sideline expression (or lack thereof) didn’t make him look like he just ate a dog turd. Nevertheless, Bob is our man, and whether he’s more boon or burden is rightfully the subject at hand. You didn’t expect us to write about Jon Spector ceding PK’s to Man U for two weeks did you?” (The Yanks Are Coming)