Incitement

June 27, 2013

bra
“‘Tear gas is a magic potion,’ writes Chris Gaffney from the streets of Rio. ‘Those who launch it are weakened while those forced to inhale it are strengthened.’ For those of you interested in the politics of football in Brazil, his blog – as well as his excellent book on Stadia in Argentina and Brazil – is a key place to go to understand the ways in which preparations for the 2014 World Cup have served as a trigger for what may become a major political and social movement in Brazil. As is often the case, the state’s response to what were initially small protests has energized a movement that is tapping into a powerful vein of dissatisfaction in the country.” Soccer Politics

Can Brazil protests can be traced back to a 2003 Fifa decision?
“Of all the unimportant things in life, as the wise old saying puts it, football is the most important. Which means, wonderful as it is, that the global game comes below education, health and public transport in any rational list of governmental priorities. It is the poor standard of these public services which has brought millions of Brazilian people onto the streets. No-one saw this protest movement coming and no-one knows where it will end. Most agree that the complaints are justified.” BBC – Tim Vickery


As opponents adapt, Jordi Alba helping to give Spain a new dimension

June 27, 2013

“The beauty of this Spain team is that it keeps evolving. After technical skill and the ability to retain possession finally overcame the neurosis of past failure at Euro 2008, there came the years of control in 2010 and 2012, as World Cup and another European Championsip were collected playing safety-first keep-ball. For all the criticism of its supposed negativity in Poland and Ukraine there were signs of another Spain emerging, one that had begun to come to terms with the problem posed by an opponent that sits deep against it.” SI – Jonathan Wilson


Brazil 2-1 Uruguay: Brazil through to the final after substitutes help increase the pressure

June 27, 2013

“Brazil weren’t on top form, but Paulinho’s late header sends them through to the final. Luiz Felipe Scolari brought back Paulinho after injury kept the Tottenham target out of the victory over Italy – so Hernanes dropped to the bench. Having changed his entire side for the win over Tahiti, Oscar Tabarez reverted to the side that defeated Nigeria. This was a disappointing match in technical sense, with none of the attacking players sparkling, although it was interesting in tactical sense.” Zonal Marking

Brazil reaches Confed Cup final
“Brazil’s players wept with joy inside the stadium, and Brazilian protesters were sprayed with tear gas outside it as the country’s national football team reached the Confederations Cup final despite another wave of mass demonstrations on the streets. Brazil beat neighbors Uruguay 2-1 with an 86th minute header from Paulinho in a performance that failed to reach the commanding heights of earlier games. As thousands of anti-government protesters clashed with police nearby, inside the Mineirao Stadiujm, Brazil’s footballers reached Sunday’s final in Rio de Janeiro with a patchy display.” ESPN (Video)


Rise of Data Analysis in Football

June 27, 2013

“Data analytics won the Champions League final in 2012. The above quote was taken from an interview just minutes after Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the last game of the tournament that year. Petr Čech, Chelsea’s goalkeeper on the night, faced one penalty in extra-time and five in the penalty shoot-out and dived the correct way for each one – an incredible feat. That is of course, unless Čech knew where the penalties were going to go – which he did. As he confirms in the quote, Chelsea had done their homework. The data analysis that was made available to the Czech goalkeeper was vast. Čech had a 2 hour DVD of every penalty Bayern Munich had ever taken since 2007 which was more than enough to calculate the statistical likelihood of where each penalty was going to be placed from each opposing player. All this information was presented to the goalkeeper from Chelsea’s data department. When Chelsea won, Čech felt obliged to mention he had help.” Outside of the Boot


Carlo Ancelotti will be like a breath of fresh air at Real Madrid

June 27, 2013

“Perhaps Carlo Ancelotti’s greatest gift as a coach is his affability. He desperately wants to succeed but he recognises there are things in life other than football – such as food, even if he is rather slimmer now than he once was. His years at Milan under Silvio Berlusconi and at Chelsea under Roman Abramovich passed without ructions with owners noted for interfering. He even managed to cool a developing (on one side at least) feud with José Mourinho by suggesting they simply pack it in.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson (Video)