Daily Archives: June 15, 2014

World Cup 2014: England loss to Italy need not spell disaster

“England’s players may have left the draining conditions of Manaus and returned to Rio beaten by Italy in their first World Cup game – but this was a defeat that felt different. When England flew home from South Africa four years ago it was after a campaign that died of boredom and incompetence under the austere “Camp Capello” regime. Here there was boldness and a sense of adventure, even if Roy Hodgson’s side left the Amazonian rainforest empty-handed. The 2-1 loss to the Azzurri will have been painful and damaging but there was at least a sense that England had provided cause for optimism and hope they may yet navigate a route out of this tough Group D.” BBC

Raheem Sterling vindicates inclusion on England World Cup debut with promise for future
“England have been to too many tournaments and been lifeless, fearful and gone home early. England may be thrown out of this magnificent World Cup party prematurely but at least they are having a go, playing with a zest not seen in more sterile recent tournaments. England lost a game but gained some friends. Raheem Sterling is part of that welcome development, this step towards an age of enlightenment, but he’s still a work in progress, still learning against masterful opponents like Italy. England have to persist with Sterling, persist with this move towards a more sophisticated style.” Telegraph – Henry Winter

England 1-2 Italy: Jonathan Wilson’s Tactical Verdict
“The assumption had been that if Wayne Rooney was asked to play wide on the left it would be because England were playing a 4-3-3. In a 4-2-3-1, it was assumed, he would play behind Daniel Sturridge. But Roy Hodgson instead used Raheem Sterling in a central position, and he excelled there, looking composed at home from the moment he cracked a shot into the side-netting in the fourth minute. England’s great strength going forward is their pace, and there were signs of the sort of intermovement that could take best advantage of that. It’s easy, because of his pace, to assume that Sterling is primarily a threat because of his speed, but he can also be a measured and intelligent footballer, as he showed with the pass that released Rooney to cross for Sturridge to score the England equaliser. Sturridge himself had a good night, not just with the goal but in the way he constantly moved across the forward line, creating space.” Bet – Jonathan Wilson

World Cup Tactical Analysis: England 1-2 Italy
“With the World Cup in full swing now, the action shifted to the aptly labelled Group D, the Group of Death. This group, apart from containing minnows Costa Rica who went on to shock Uruguay, also had two giants of world football, England and Italy. These two titans locked horns in the middle of the Amazon Forest in a crunch World Cup tie to try and take advantage of Uruguay’s slip up.” Outside of the Boot

Watching the Three Lions Get Mauled at an Italian Restaurant in New Jersey
“I have no idea why I thought this was a good idea: watching England’s first game at Dusal’s, an Italian restaurant run by a bunch of guys from Naples. Perhaps I hoped that the Napolitano distrust of northern Italian prejudice—and by extension, ‘Italy’ as a concept—might make them sympathetic to a Brit 3,000 miles from home. Didn’t Maradona ask Napolitanos to back Argentina in their 1990 World Cup semi-final against Italy? And how did that work out for him?” New Republic


World Cup Tactical Analysis: Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica

“After a successful 2010 World Cup, expectations were high for Uruguay. But those that haven’t followed Oscar Tabarez’ men should know that the South Americans struggled in qualifying while retaining an almost identical squad from four years back. Their opponents, Costa Rica, were being over-looked by most in the highest ranked World Cup group. But while viewers can be forgiven for this, Uruguay were guilty of almost ‘expecting’ a victory rather than earning it.” Outside of the Boot

A Few Words on Uruguay’s (Very Tight) Shirts
“I was the only person in my local café watching Uruguay vs. Costa Rica, the first game in Group D. I knew there would be more interest for England vs. Italy. Egyptian love for Latin American teams extends mostly to Brazil and Argentina.” New Republic

A Nation Teased by a Stale Promise of Supremac
“Few in Uruguay will have heard of the English man of letters Cyril Connolly. Yet his most famous phrase — ‘Whom the gods wish to destroy they first call promising’ — would not be lost on a country used to auspicious starts. The seeds of Uruguayan exceptionalism were sown early. After the country hosted and won the inaugural World Cup, in 1930, the president of the Uruguayan Football Association gave a moving speech in which he stated his expectation that the country take its place as the first among all nations.” NY Times

Costa Rica vs. Uruguay Highlights (Video)


“4-2-3-1 and lots of width. The team news was significant, because Colombia coach Jose Pekerman chose to use a 4-2-3-1 rather than the 4-2-2-2 he often fielded throughout qualification. This meant James Rodriguez shifted inside from the left to play as the number ten, with Juan Cuadrado on the right and Victor Ibarbo brought into the side to play on the left. This meant Colombia had a very defined structure, with a creative number ten and two speedy wingers, and these three were the crucial players in Colombia’s victory.” Zonal Marking

World Cup Tactical Analysis: Chile 3-1 Australia

“Chile came into the World Cup as potential dark horses, with many viewers impressed with the level of football played by Sampaoli’s men. Australia are the lowest ranked team in the entire tournament and the focus for them has been the youth, with the future of the sport more important that this tournament, given the difficult group. With Spain’s loss earlier, Chile knew that they could put real pressure on the defending champions with a win, and while they started off strong, Australia gave a good case of themselves and may have even been unlucky to not come away with more than just pride.” Outside of the Boot

World Cup Tactical Analysis: Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan

“At the end of a long football day which saw 4 World Cup matches being played, Japan and Ivory Coast clashed in their respective openers. Colombia, the highest ranked team in the group, had already won their match and picked up 3 points, and the battle between these 2 was seen as crucial to decide which team makes it past the group phase. Both teams boasted of strong line ups, and it was an evenly matched battle.” Outside of the Boot

World Cup Tactical Analysis: Spain 1-5 Netherlands

“Day two of the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw the holders Spain taking on the Dutch in a highly anticipated rematch of the finalists from the last edition in South Africa. The build up to the World Cup has seen questions asked of both teams: Spain, despite their domination of the international scene in recent years, has been labeled as a fading dynasty that will fall apart with this year’s World Cup. Expectations for their opponents, the Netherlands, have also been at an all-time low as Louis Van Gaal’s men have been branded one of the worst Dutch teams to go to a World Cup. With all this being said, Spain were firm favorites ahead of the game and were expected to enjoy a comfortable win and take a commanding lead in Group B. However, the result could not have been more different.” Outside of the Boot