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Monday, June 02, 2014

OT: The Soccer Thread June, 2014

It’s go time!

June 12th Brazil v Croatia

June 13th Mexico v Cameroon, Spain v Holland, Chile v Australia

June 14th Colombia v Greece, Ivory Coast v Japan, Uruguay v Costa Rica, England v Italy

June 15th Switzerland v Ecuador, France v Honduras, Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina

June 16th Iran v Nigeria, Germany v Portugal, Ghana v USA

June 17th Brazil v Mexico, Belgium v Algeria, Russia v South Korea

June 18th Cameroon v Croatia, Australia v Holland, Spain v Chile

June 19th Colombia v Ivory Coast, Japan v Greece, Uruguay v England

June 20th Italy v Costa Rica, Switzerland v France, Honduras v Ecuador

June 21st Argentina v Iran, Nigeria vs Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany v Ghana

June 22nd USA v Portugal, Belgium v Russia, South Korea v Algeria

June 23rd Cameroon v Brazil, Croatia v Mexico, Australia v Spain, Holland v Chile

June 24th Greece v Ivory Coast, Japan v Colombia, Costa Rica v England, Italy v Uruguay

June 25th Ecuador v France, Honduras v Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina v Iran, Nigeria v Argentina

June 26th Portugal v Ghana, USA v Germany, Algeria v Russia, South Korea v Belgium

June 28th Group A winner v Group B runner up, Group C winner v Group D runner up

June 29th Group B winner v Group A runner up, Group D winner v Group C runner up

June 30th Group E winner v Group F runner up, Group G winner v Group H runner up

 

Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 02, 2014 at 10:03 AM | 9133 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer, u-s-a u-s-a, world cup

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   8201. Howling John Shade Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:06 PM (#4744403)
Apparently, this was the first shootout since 2002 where the team shooting second won.
   8202. Spivey Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4744405)
I admit that I am a huge Robben fan. Regardless, without him the Dutch look pretty average. The guy has been simply amazing all tournament. And he looked like he could go another 90.


Ugh. When you move into a new neighborhood you should be forced to go door to door and tell all of your neighbors that you are a registered Robben fan.

I do agree with the underlying point though. Van Persie hasn't done much, and I honestly don't see a ton of talent on this roster. Now granted, they've had a ridiculously easy pair of games in the knockout stages. Argentina hasn't looked great either though, and without Di Maria and Aguero their offense isn't the same.
   8203. Spivey Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4744406)
Germany vs Argentina is what I'll be rooting for. I suppose that's what I expect, as well.
   8204. puck Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4744407)
You think Mexico was a "ridiculously easy" game?
   8205. DA Baracus Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4744409)
That was risky but brilliant by Van Gaal. Costa Rica certainly practiced for Cillessen, and maybe for Vorm, who has a good PK record. Krul was obviously expertly prepped.
   8206. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:11 PM (#4744410)
Coming into the tournament there was a lot of chatter that the Dutch wouldn't get out of the group. This has been a pretty impressive run.
   8207. Swedish Chef Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4744411)
Argentina now favorites, mostly due to being a smidgen favored in the semi

Argentina 3.50
Brazil 3.75
Germany 3.75
Holland 4.33
   8208. Spivey Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4744412)
You think Mexico was a "ridiculously easy" game?


Neither games played out easily, of course. But yes, I think the Mexico/Costa Rica pairing was easily the easiest pairing anyone else had. In fact, you could make a legitimate argument those were the two worst non-Greek teams to advance (though I'd argue that Mexico was better than the US in this tournament).
   8209. Swedish Chef Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4744413)
I wouldn't weight this result too heavily against Holland, all the other semifinalists have had a similar struggle against underdogs.

Also, Holland's game is way more suited to an attacking opponent.
   8210. AuntBea Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:19 PM (#4744415)
a legitimate argument those were the two worst non-Greek teams to advance
Mexico was almost certainly better than the USA this tournament, and Greece was probably better than Costa Rica. But there is no question that of the 4 team remaining the Netherlands did have the easiest route. I would put Argentina as second easiest.
   8211. Kurt Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:20 PM (#4744417)
That was risky but brilliant by Van Gaal. Costa Rica certainly practiced for Cillessen, and maybe for Vorm, who has a good PK record. Krul was obviously expertly prepped.


I lean toward this too. 8171 seems awfully ungracious.
   8212. DA Baracus Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4744422)
Krul's trash talking was pathetic though.
   8213. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4744423)
I lean toward this too. 8171 seems awfully ungracious.

We're on this web site and we're downplaying the factor of randomness in sporting events? Well, okay then.
   8214. zack Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:39 PM (#4744425)
Ugh. When you move into a new neighborhood you should be forced to go door to door and tell all of your neighbors that you are a registered Robben fan.

Yessssss. Maybe even set up a registry, and a website.

I'm not sure why I despise Robben so, partly it's that he's a world-class talent while doing the same thing over and over, partly he's a prolific diver without any skill at it, and a lot of it is his backpfeifengesicht.
   8215. AuntBea Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4744427)
Even the Bayern fans were suspicious of him back when he wore longjohns (does he still do that?) in the dead of winner. In German, they are known as Liebestoeter (translated as "passion killers"). The whole thing is typical Robben stuff, and fairly amusing.
   8216. Swedish Chef Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:02 PM (#4744430)
partly he's a prolific diver without any skill at it

That's silly, that's like saying that Picasso can't paint. He's a true master of his art.
   8217. DA Baracus Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4744432)
We're on this web site and we're downplaying the factor of randomness in sporting events? Well, okay then.


And sometimes randomness/luck is used as a crutch. I think someone listed it on here earlier, but penalties to "stay alive" are converted at about 60% and penalties to clinch are converted at about 90%. So maybe it's not quite so random. Especially considering we know that teams know player's tendencies. Krul correctly went the right way on every attempt. Sure, maybe he was lucky, but maybe he was properly coached and properly executed his assignments?
   8218. Kurt Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:10 PM (#4744433)
We're on this web site and we're downplaying the factor of randomness in sporting events? Well, okay then.


I think I was acknowledging the factor of randomness, in the 2 for 20.
   8219. Swedish Chef Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4744436)

We're on this web site and we're downplaying the factor of randomness in sporting events? Well, okay then.


Your presumption that van Gaal has no reason for his action other than superstition and that your 20 penalty sample is superior to whatever reasoning he used is just a bit arrogant.
   8220. Rob_Wood Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:22 PM (#4744437)
Maybe the second goalie spent the majority of his time on the bench studying the tendencies of the likely costa rican penalty takers? I doubt the coach switched him in right before penalties for no reason whatsoever.
   8221. Flynn Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4744439)
I can say with utmost certainty that van Gaal switched in Krul for a good reason, and superstition was not it. I doubt he gives a single toss about superstition.
   8222. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:54 PM (#4744445)
partly he's a prolific diver without any skill at it

That's silly, that's like saying that Picasso can't paint. He's a true master of his art.

This must be one of those "acting on television versus acting at the theater" things. Presumably the referee doesn't have the benefit of close-up camera work.

I do find his routine hilarious, but at the same time, it's kinda hard to take soccer seriously as a sport, when one of its most talented players is so frequently and so desperately appealing to the officials.
   8223. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:55 PM (#4744446)
How much do people honestly think Krul over Cillessen could tip the odds in a penalty shootout? How much could a sub during the game have tilted the odds of Holland winning before penalties?
   8224. AuntBea Posted: July 05, 2014 at 09:01 PM (#4744448)
How much do people honestly think Krul over Cillessen could tip the odds in a penalty shootout? How much could a sub during the game have tilted the odds of Holland winning before penalties?
Right. These are two different issues. I think saving the sub was a mistake. I also think, once the sub was saved (minute 105 or 110 maybe), using Krul was probably the right move.
   8225. AuntBea Posted: July 05, 2014 at 09:06 PM (#4744449)
coach Jorge Luis Pinto said his Ticos "achieved beautiful things" in Brazil.
Absolutely. By comparison, they made the Greeks look like the Greeks were playing the beautiful game, and that alone is an incredible achievement.
   8226. Manny Coon Posted: July 05, 2014 at 09:06 PM (#4744450)
Krul is their third keeper right? So assuming that there is basically 0% chance he'd play during normal circumstances and he could devote roughly 100% of his training and preparation to stopping penalties and studying the tendencies of the players taking them I'd guess. So even if he's not a specialist during his club season, he reasonably could be one be just for this tournament.
   8227. AuntBea Posted: July 05, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4744454)
Van Gaal said this was the plan all along, though Cilessen was not in on it. His rationale in the moment:

"Before the 90 minutes had ended, I thought they were playing well and that we created lots of opportunities. I didn't have this need to substitute anyone," Van Gaal said.

"I felt that Memphis [Depay] didn't play really well, so I exchanged him for [Jeremain] Lens. In the extra time, I took into account that I would maybe want to use Krul should it come down to penalties.

"Of course, we also had the injuries to [Ron] Vlaar. [Georginio] Wijnaldum was exhausted, [Robin] van Persie as well. I brought in [Klaas-Jan] Huntelaar, which was a risk. I went from five to four defenders. It was a bit tricky, touch-and-go, but in hindsight, it was a big success."
   8228. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4744456)
Krul is their third keeper right? So assuming that there is basically 0% chance he'd play during normal circumstances and he could devote roughly 100% of his training and preparation to stopping penalties and studying the tendencies of the players taking them I'd guess. So even if he's not a specialist during his club season, he reasonably could be one be just for this tournament.

This actually makes a certain amount of sense to me. But I still don't think it tilts the scales more than just making your sub during the game.
   8229. Rennie's Tenet Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:10 PM (#4744475)
That was risky but brilliant by Van Gaal. Costa Rica certainly practiced for Cillessen, and maybe for Vorm, who has a good PK record. Krul was obviously expertly prepped.


This was probably the closest thing I've ever seen to my personal coaching fantasy: to be on defense against a last-play free throw or field goal and not to call timeout out to ice the shooter or kicker. It would run counter to everything the guy had grown used to since he got into organized sports.
   8230. I am going to be Frank Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:08 PM (#4744500)
So I was thinking - Krul is the tallest of the three Dutch keepers. Since keeping on PK really is just guessing one way and diving, a tall keeper should be the most advantageous. Obviously Van Gaal is going to get a lot of plaudits but neither of his other subs worked. Depay wasn't doing much but all Lens did was get called for about 10 offsides. The Huntelaar sub unbalanced the team and Costa Rica got a bunch of chances late.
   8231. AuntBea Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:25 PM (#4744511)
They keep saying that Krul was taller, but he is (and was at the time) only two inches taller than Cillessen.
   8232. AuntBea Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:20 AM (#4744528)
Some of the Dutch players apparently think that Krul's gamesmanship was a key factor.
While I don't know any more than what we saw on TV, my guess is that the reason Van Gaal made the substitution is that he knew/suspected that Krul would relish the opportunity and Cillessen would (to some extent at least) shrink from it.

According to BBC sport, with a quote from Kuyt:
Krul tried to speak to the Costa Rica players before they took their penalties, indicating he knew where the ball would go. "It is not easy for Tim Krul to come on at the last minute and save them, but he did it. He was busy with the Costa Rica players and put them off."


It's easy to say this now, of course, but at least 3 of the 4 Costa Rican kicks were very savable, so it certainly seems plausible that Krul's gamesmanship helped (though, unlike other players and teams we are so fond of, at least the Costa Rican players put the ball on frame). To me, what is more important is that he acted like it was the only place in the world he wanted to be.

And as far as studying the Costa Rican players and knowing their tendencies, Krul did dive in the correct direction on all 5 kicks.
   8233. puck Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4744535)
They keep saying that Krul was taller, but he is (and was at the time) only two inches taller than Cillessen.

He has Kevin McHale arms.
   8234. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:53 AM (#4744536)
This gets into the idea of managers who make decisions based on "hunches." These guys typically know the sport, we may mock but they ain't completely stupid. I'm not saying we just accept the appeal to authority argument but when it works (and going the right way five times in a row and saving two qualifies) I think we should at least acknowledge that maybe the guy with 45 years of professional experience may have had something working for him.
   8235. AuntBea Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:57 AM (#4744539)
I made an error in the above post, there were 5 Costa Rican kicks, at least 3 of which were pretty savable.
   8236. Random Transaction Generator Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:52 AM (#4744551)
He has Kevin McHale arms.


The ease with which he was touching/slapping the cross bar while waiting for the kick did make him seem taller than he was.
   8237. Rob_Wood Posted: July 06, 2014 at 05:01 AM (#4744572)
yes, krul reminded me of a great water polo goalie as he rises/hovers out of the goal right before a penalty shot
   8238. Flynn Posted: July 06, 2014 at 05:20 AM (#4744574)

This actually makes a certain amount of sense to me. But I still don't think it tilts the scales more than just making your sub during the game.


Who do you put on though? All the attacking players in the entire squad were on the pitch once Huntelaar came on. I thought Klaas-Jan should have come on earlier, but once he did, that was it.

I think Holland play a lot better against Argentina than they do against Costa Rica - whether that means they win remains to be seen, but Costa Rica weren't going to do anything that would jeopardize their ability to place five defenders in a line at the top of the penalty area. With van Persie having an off-night in terms of being able to play off the last man and finish, it meant that Holland were always going to struggle to score. Argentina will actually compete for the ball so their defenders are going to be drawn up the pitch a bit more, which is going to be huge for Holland's counter attacking abilities.

   8239. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4744600)
Pitch instead of field and draw instead of tie, those I can deal with. But use of the plural form of a verb where the subject of the sentence is 'Holland' is a bridge too far.
   8240. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4744606)
DeAndre Yedlin has signed for Roma. Roma...hmm...I wonder why Roma...
   8241. Mefisto Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4744607)
I'm skeptical of a lot of these European signings of US players. I hope this works out for Yedlin.
   8242. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 06, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4744608)
He'll be on loan in Seattle for the rest of the MLS season. I hope Roma will then loan him to a team in Holland or Portugal to acclimate him and keep him playing before taking him to Roma. Roma's American ownership clearly wants to be in the business of American players, but that may not be a great thing if the manager doesn't give a #### about the marketing possibilities (and shouldn't really). And, hopefully, Yedlin keeps his head and realizes he has a lot more work to do to be a top player. This is where Klinsmann can come in handy. Klinsmann needs to call him everyday and remind him he still sucks.
   8243. Swedish Chef Posted: July 06, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4744614)
Klinsmann needs to call him everyday and remind him he still sucks.

He'd do that for fun anyway.
   8244. Swedish Chef Posted: July 06, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4744623)
Lovren is mad at Southampton for not selling him to Liverpool. Le Tissier is not impressed.

   8245. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 06, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4744625)
Soton should take the 20 million and run. What is so great about Lovren? He's a fine player, but sheesh.
   8246. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4744626)
I'm skeptical of a lot of these European signings of US players. I hope this works out for Yedlin.
Why? I don't think US players have had notably lower hit rates than other young players signing with biggish clubs. Transfers just have low hit rates overall, and young player transfers especially. If I were to pick a good biggish side for an American to be transferred to, Roma is way up there given how well they've been developing talent recently. This is promising, though obviously semi-failure is quite likely no matter what.
   8247. I am going to be Frank Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4744635)
Does Yedlin play for Roma? Maicon was the primary RB and Torosidis is the backup.

Lovren does have "World Cup sheen" on him.
   8248. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4744638)
Lovren does have "World Cup sheen" on him.

I guess, but I thought he had a poor Cup.

Yedlin just signed for Roma but still plays for Seattle.
   8249. Mefisto Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4744644)
Why? I don't think US players have had notably lower hit rates than other young players signing with biggish clubs.


You're more likely to have the numbers. I'm pretty much going off memory of a few cases (e.g., Onyewu; and I know he wasn't young).
   8250. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4744645)
Brazil - get to semifinals by beating everyone up
Argentina - get to semifinals despite continued disconnect between Messi and the rest
Netherlands - get to semifinals by laying waste to CONCACAF, led by Robben the diver supreme
Germany - everyone hates them, doesn't matter why

Things seemed so much happier 2 weeks ago.
   8251. BDC Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4744662)
Yes, this is sort of a Yankees/Red-Sox Cardinals/Dodgers semifinals :)
   8252. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 06, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4744664)
I wouldn't be bothered by the teams still left if they had been more compelling leading to this point. Brazil's tactics have been especially disappointing.
   8253. puck Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4744670)
Loans to Italy don't seem bad--those clubs seem to loan guys out regularly rather than let them rot on the bench or on a reserve team.

Edit: plus seems the rumor is he stays with the Sounders through summer of 2015.
   8254. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 06, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4744684)
Brazil has appealed Thiago Silva's yellow card against Colombia. I think there's no chance it gets rescinded but if it does I don't even want to imagine the reaction.
   8255. ursus arctos Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4744702)
I'm surprised that anyone could really be surprised by Brazil's tactics given their team selection and Scolari's lengthy record of commitment to anti-football, which goes all the way back to his 95 Gremio team that won the Libertadores.
   8256. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4744707)
The irony being that their physical tactics might have indirectly led to Neymar getting his freakin back broken. I'm on record that Zuniga's tackle was super dirty, but maybe Zuniga isn't a bull in a china shop if James hadn't been kicked around all game.
   8257. ursus arctos Posted: July 06, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4744709)
Onyewu's move to Milan was very obviously craven commercialism on the part of Silvio and Galliani, which the player and his agent either were ware of or should have been (it certainly was obvious to anyone with a passing interest in Serie A). Roma are a very, very different club, and while there is clearly a commercial element to the deal from their perspective (recall that they are about to tour the US and also regularly train in Florida), I have a lot more confidence in them actually being interested in him as a player who could contribute in the medium term.
   8258. AuntBea Posted: July 06, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4744712)
Luca Toni in 2011, on the Van Gaal approach:

"Van Gaal simply didn't want to work with me, he treats players like interchangeable objects," said Toni. "The coach wanted to make clear to us that he can drop any player, it was all the same to him because, as he said, he had the balls," said Toni. "He demonstrated this literally (by dropping his trousers). I have never experienced anything like it, it was totally crazy. Luckily I didn't see a lot, because I wasn't in the front row."
   8259. zack Posted: July 06, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4744714)
Germany - everyone hates them, doesn't matter why

I've always liked germany, probably since I took german in secondary school, but I think this particular team is pretty likeable. Lahm, Neuer, Schweinsteiger, Özil, Hummels and Klose all seem likeable to me. The fact that I haven't watched any Bundesliga in two years due to lack of adequate distribution might mean I don't have the requisite level of familiarity to judge though.
   8260. Textbook Editor Posted: July 06, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4744715)
maybe Zuniga isn't a bull in a china shop if James hadn't been kicked around all game.


Yup. Reap what you sow, and all that. Had cards been produced early on by the ref, it would have never gotten to the point it did with the Neymar challenge.

I'm rather fearful Germany v. Brazil will be a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes with 80 fouls and a game flow that sets soccer back 20 years.
   8261. ursus arctos Posted: July 06, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4744721)
I'd agree that this is a much more likeable German team than those of the Mattheus/Kahn/Effenberg/Ballack eras.

The MultiKulti aspect helps from my perspective, as does the relative absence of long term exposure to Bayerische superiority myths. And Schweini and Lahm have actually manged to survive such long term exposure without becoming insufferable.
   8262. Mefisto Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4744750)
Onyewu's move to Milan was very obviously craven commercialism on the part of Silvio and Galliani, which the player and his agent either were ware of or should have been (it certainly was obvious to anyone with a passing interest in Serie A). Roma are a very, very different club, and while there is clearly a commercial element to the deal from their perspective (recall that they are about to tour the US and also regularly train in Florida), I have a lot more confidence in them actually being interested in him as a player who could contribute in the medium term.


Good to know. Thanks.
   8263. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4744751)
And Schweini and Lahm have actually manged to survive such long term exposure without becoming insufferable.

That is a matter of opinion I suppose.
   8264. ursus arctos Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4744756)
Well of course, if you agreed with that I would have to call the medics.
   8265. Rob_Wood Posted: July 06, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4744779)
My reaction to the quarterfinals is probably common. What ever happened to the great soccer that we enjoyed the first week or so? Quarterfinals were dull, foul-fested, poorly-officiated, low-scoring, dive-fests. I guess it is understandable that teams play this way deep in the tourney, but I am not pleased (whothehellami).
   8266. DA Baracus Posted: July 06, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4744790)
Freddy Adu now on trial with AZ Alkmaar. He is a cat.
   8267. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: July 06, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4744797)
And Schweini and Lahm have actually manged to survive such long term exposure without becoming insufferable.


I find Schweinsteiger to be completely obnoxious, but the rest of the team doesn't really bother me.
   8268. Howling John Shade Posted: July 06, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4744798)


I find Schweinsteiger to be completely obnoxious, but the rest of the team doesn't really bother me
I have an irrational fondness for the pig-farmer. His evolution from attacking winger to holding mid has been pretty fascinating to watch. It helps that he was just breaking into Bayern's team when I started regularly watching European football.
   8269. Flynn Posted: July 06, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4744800)
The poor officiating probably plays a lot into the rest of your complaints, Rob. When the refs are just letting anything go, anything goes.

Luca Toni in 2011, on the Van Gaal approach:

"Van Gaal simply didn't want to work with me, he treats players like interchangeable objects," said Toni. "The coach wanted to make clear to us that he can drop any player, it was all the same to him because, as he said, he had the balls," said Toni. "He demonstrated this literally (by dropping his trousers). I have never experienced anything like it, it was totally crazy. Luckily I didn't see a lot, because I wasn't in the front row."


I'm an unabashed van Gaal fan, so I'll just point out that Toni did nothing from 2009 - until he arose from the dead at Verona this year, amazingly - and van Gaal bought through a lot of the current Bayern team. So, as usual, there was a method to his madness.

Van Gaal's taken a team that draws the majority of their players from the freakin' Eredivisie and put it in the semifinals, a stage only four Dutch teams have ever reached. It's only the second team ever that a Dutch side has overachieved in a major tournament (2010 being the other).
   8270. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2014 at 07:26 PM (#4744822)
Yeah, LVG would have a good case for the golden ball, if it worked that way. The way he's adjusted for each game and continued to prevent good opposition chances despite a really wonky back line and central midfield is extremely impressive. It is helped that he's a legitimate elite manager, and the large majority of top managerial talent is employed at the club level. So he's not working against actual peers, for the most part. But still, it's something else.

Probably yesterday was his worst match, actually. He made an adjustment to get three forwards running at the Costa Rican back line, but he stuck with the three CB lineup against one opposing striker. That gave Costa Rica a numerical advantage in midfield against an out-of-position pairing of Wijnaldum and Sneijder, and the Netherlands struggled to get service to the forwards. (I wonder if part of the reason Depay, RVP and Robben were offsides so often is that the passers weren't getting the timing right.) I get why he didn't commit to a full 4-3-3, and Costa Rica did have their chances even so. But I think going 0-0 through 120 minutes (without much in the way of good chances) against Costa Rica is not a good result, even if he did have his crazy gamble on Krul pay off in the biggest way.

Van Gaal vs Sabella -- a Di Maria less Sabella -- in the semifinal is just a massive mismatch. I think the Netherlands are a good bet for the final right now. I don't know if LVG can make up the talent gap on Brazil or Germany in the final, but it'd be cool to watch him try.
   8271. AuntBea Posted: July 06, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4744827)
so I'll just point out that Toni did nothing
I'm fully in support of managers replacing underperforming stars, if that's what it takes. I quoted Luca Toni because his "front row" comment was amusing.
   8272. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 06, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4744828)
And to Rob's complaint, yeah, I feel a little bit like a World Cup broke out at my World Cup. Suddenly Germany is playing stodgy, efficient, do-just-enough-to-win football after being one of the most crazy wide open teams in the tournament so far. France and Belgium, who had been playing great, dynamic football (with Belgium, at least past the 60 minute mark in each match) couldn't break down structured defenses. The most fun teams at the World Cup had to run into the most talented side -- this would have been a very different quarterfinal round if Chile and Colombia could have been on the other side of the bracket, facing very beatable opposition.

The semis should be really good, though. Brazil and Germany will be throwing haymakers at each other. I'm a little worried that both the Dutch and Argentina will just sit 6-7 men back and wait, but there's enough attacking talent on both sides that it shouldn't be too awful. And the Dutch have no one, no one to mark Messi. I live in hope.
   8273. madvillain Posted: July 06, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4744833)
Does Yedlin play for Roma? Maicon was the primary RB and Torosidis is the backup.


I believe he will move to Roma in January either Roma have bought him and loaned him until then to Seattle or the transfer will go through in the January window -- it's a bit unclear what the exact contract and terms of the transfer are.

It also looks like Roma plan to loan him out to Genoa in '15 as well. They have Cole and Maicon already for the first team rotation so what a great couple of guys for Yedlin to follow.
   8274. Manny Coon Posted: July 06, 2014 at 09:54 PM (#4744874)
Onyewu's move to Milan was very obviously craven commercialism on the part of Silvio and Galliani, which the player and his agent either were ware of or should have been (it certainly was obvious to anyone with a passing interest in Serie A).


I think his move to Milan was legit, his was on a free transfer and his wages were low and he did well at 2009 Confederations Cup. I believe he was also in Belgium long enough to count as an EU player. I think he was good enough to be a cheap squad player there up until he got hurt, then after that we was never the same, but he still got chances places like Malaga and Sporting.
   8275. AuntBea Posted: July 07, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4745095)
Le Tissier, who made 47 of his 48 penalties playing in the English leagues, said his method was simple: He had a favorite corner and hit it with a lot of power, but not so much as to sacrifice accuracy. If he saw the goalkeeper move to early toward his corner, he had "the ability to change his mind at the last minute, and whip it into the other corner". Though a well-prepared keeper might be able to feint him into changing his shot into his less favorite corner (therefore making it less powerful and closer to the center of the goal), apparently this never, or at least almost never, happened. His only miss was saved, so he put all 48 on frame.
   8276. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 07, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4745167)
Freddy Adu now on trial with AZ Alkmaar. He is a cat.
It seems like Freddy spends as much time touring the world on trial as he actually does as a professional player.

I'm kind of surprised he still gets trial offers. Who doesn't know his strengths and weaknesses at this point?
   8277. DA Baracus Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4745187)
I'm kind of surprised he still gets trial offers. Who doesn't know his strengths and weaknesses at this point?


Yeah, it's strange. He is what he is. Earnie Stewart is the technical director at AZ, so Adu is running out of Americans who remember his potential.
   8278. I am going to be Frank Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4745195)
He still has strengths?
   8279. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4745199)
He still has strengths?
Navigating the world's airports, convincing technical directors to let him go on trial, burping the alphabet.

Basic stuff.
   8280. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4745226)
I remember watching Adu at the 2005 World Youth Championships and coming away thinking that he looked okay, but that Benny Feilhaber was a much better player. At the time, I thought that meant Feilhaber was going to be a huge star. I realize now that what it meant was that Feilhaber is indeed the better player, but not because he's anything particularly special.
   8281. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4745229)
Prandelli replaces Roberto Mancini at Galatasaray. They have a lot of money, those guys.
   8282. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4745232)
Weirdly, Adu played ok in that Gold Cup loss to Mexico that sent Bob Bradley packing.
   8283. Swedish Chef Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4745240)
FIFA has denied Brazil's Thiago Silva appeal.

They have also cleared Zuniga for the Neymar tackle.

And then Di Stefano died, but that has no known connections to FIFA for now.
   8284. Swedish Chef Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4745243)
Says here that Ashley Cole has signed for Roma.
   8285. Manny Coon Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:47 PM (#4745245)
Weirdly, Adu played ok in that Gold Cup loss to Mexico that sent Bob Bradley packing.


I think he has ok passing and scoring skills, and is pretty good with dead balls, but rest of his game is awfully limited. I think there are a lot of places he could stick as a offensive specialist off the bench, like he was used in the 2011 Gold Cup, but his reputation, wages, expectations and personal baggage have got in the way of that.
   8286. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 07, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4745248)
A leaked image from Roma's offseason plans.
   8287. ursus arctos Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4745265)
Alberto Di Stefano, considered by many to be the "most complete" player of all time, has died at 88.

Of all of the all-time greats, Di Stefano is the one I never got to see live (even in a highly diminished state in the NASL).

A loss I will always regret, especially given the relatively sparse video record.

RIP
   8288. AuntBea Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4745269)
From ESPN:
of 96 minutes' engagement between Brazil and Colombia, the ball was active for a hardly believable 39
   8289. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4745271)
Capped by three countries but never played in a World Cup. ursus, you think he's never included in the GOAT discussions because he never played in the Cup?
   8290. ursus arctos Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4745274)
Cole to Roma is now official, having been confirmed by the club.

Recall that Roma already have Maicon.

Particularly at the back, the "top tier" of Serie A is starting to look like one of those impoverished towns in the south, where the only people around are those too young or too old to leave.

   8291. DA Baracus Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4745275)
the only people around are those too young or too old to leave.


Sounds like MLS. #HotTake
   8292. ursus arctos Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4745279)
Shooty, he's definitely included in GOAT discussions amongst people of my vintage (France Football put him 4th (behind Pele, Maradona and Cruyff) in 1999), but I think his legacy has suffered because of the relative paucity of the video record as much as the lack of World Cups. He also has never really had the "supreme national hero" thing that the other contenders tend to have. He is definitely revered in Argentina, but he left pretty early, and never went back for a long period.
   8293. puck Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4745284)
Did anyone watch MLS games over the weekend? I watched Galaxy-Timbers and SporKS-Fire. Confession: I'm still not sure I'm sold. Maybe I'm just a eurosnob, albeit one with MLS season tickets.

I enjoy watching the Rapids in the stadium, and will watch Rapids road games on TV due to the rooting interest. The Rapids have never been a superior club, even the year they won their title (they were 8th or 9th or so overall in regular season record) and I acknowledge that at times they are pretty much unwatchable. But when I watch neutrals, I'm also more often than not underwhelmed. MLS people squawk and say "well, not every European match up is great, either. No one has fun watching Stoke vs Sunderland." Which is pretty much true. But to me, the level of play at Stoke or Sunderland is still better--the passing still crisper, the defenders better-despite the fact that neither side may have an attacker creative or otherwise good enough to do something to net a goal. I'm open to the possibility I'm just imagining this, but Shea and Edu didn't get much of a shot at Stoke, and Cameron didn't get a shot at centerback even with Huth missing most of the year. Whereas those guys were/are important players in MLS, all stars even. So I figure there's some confirmation I'm not unhinged from reality in this particular case.

Another big thing I suppose is the time investment. There's something to following a league and learning the teams and players; it makes watching games in any sport more enjoyable to me. And I know the euro leagues better than I know MLS. So, MLS has that working against it too. And in the end, I watch games for fun. So I don't know why I feel guilty about not watching more MLS.
   8294. puck Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4745286)
As an aside: every league has goals scored of horrible backpasses and the other mistakes in the back. But there were 3 howlers in the 3 games I saw (not meant to support anything I said above since this is an anomoly in MLS as well):

Rapids dropped points when Dillon Powers (who's name comes up in Nats' prospects discussions) made an inexplicable long backpass, and then the Rapids d-mid who had a chance to clear it came up with a horrible case of brainlock.

Both goals in the SKC-Chicago draw were scored when a defender had the ball taken off his clumsy feet.
   8295. madvillain Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4745288)
I think he has ok passing and scoring skills, and is pretty good with dead balls,


From his BigSoccer thread highlight videos, mixed with the critiques there, it seems he has a helluva left foot, some good balls skills, and absolutely nothing else. Doesn't move off the ball, doesn't defend, is physically and mentally weak.

That said, the Dutch league would be his platonic ideal of a league as nobody plays any defense anyways and most games are won 3-2. Most teams like a free flowing 4-3-3 and he'd fit in well enough as a suber sub imo.

but Shea and Edu didn't get much of a shot at Stoke, and Cameron didn't get a shot at centerback even with Huth missing most of the year. Whereas those guys were/are important players in MLS, all stars even. So I figure there's some confirmation I'm not unhinged from reality in this particular case.


Yea, it's a fair point, the EPL is not a league where teams are trying to develop players (for the most part) or a league where managers are generally going to say "we're playing attacking soccer" unless they have top of the table talent. For this reason you see a lot of "safe" team selections and pragmatic formations. Sunderland last year was absolutely brutal to watch, imagine the USMNT against a top 10 side except worse. They literally at times could not get the ball out of their own end with anything other than hoofball for entire games.

For that reason, even though the skill is much higher, a random MLS tilt might be much better watching than two bottom third EPL sides.
   8296. Ron J2 Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4745296)
#8223 It could in theory be a Howard Ehmke situation. Krul could have spent a great deal of time preparing himself for the probable CR penalty takers.

I don't insist that's what happened, but it's certainly not implausible.
   8297. madvillain Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:48 PM (#4745300)
Krul could have spent a great deal of time preparing himself for the probable CR penalty takers.

I don't insist that's what happened, but it's certainly not implausible


I think this is exactly the case, otherwise why put him in? It's clear from his body language, imo, that Krul was told "if it goes to kicks, you're the guy" and as the 3rd string keeper what is he gonna do in training other than memorize each guy's routine on penalties? Not much.
   8298. ursus arctos Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4745302)
The best thing that could happen to Adu at this point was if he could somehow convince people (and himself) that he isn't "Freddy Adu" but rather someone else with decent talent, but vastly lesser expectations.
   8299. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: July 07, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4745306)
I watched Crew-Rapids and SporKS-Fire. Draws galore! I don't think puck is wrong re: the quality of play, but it doesn't really bother me.

I prefer a league in which every team has a chance to build a championship-caliber roster, as opposed to the overseas model in which 85% of the league will never, ever finish top unless they're purchased by an eccentric billionaire. Norwich just can't go to Chelsea or Liverpool and think they have a chance to come away with three points. When Columbus wins at Seattle, it's a feature and not a bug.

A couple other factors play into my preference for MLS:
* I have a local side. The teams I support overseas (Wolves, Köln, Marseille) were picked for generally pretty random reasons, and I have no real emotional investment. Sure, I'd like to see them win, but I'm not gutted when they lose a big game the way I was back in the day when Columbus was good enough to play in big games.
* Building infrastructure is how we grow a national team. If MLS doesn't exist, DeAndre Yedlin is off playing for the Long Island Roughriders or something instead of torching Belgium's wingers at the World Cup and preparing to move to Rome.
* It's a blast to watch the league improve. 18 years ago, guys like Dan Calichman and Steve Pittman were playing in All-Star Games. Now we've got Toronto FC's keeper on the verge of winning a World Cup, ~9% of Costa Rica's quarterfinals roster playing for the Columbus Crew and ~22% playing in MLS, and a guy from the New York Fightin' Energy Drinks scoring one of the goals of the tournament. Yeah, maybe that doesn't make a July game between FC Dallas and Chivas USA any more fun to watch, but it certainly makes it enjoyable to follow the league as a whole.
   8300. ursus arctos Posted: July 07, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4745318)
I'm with madvillan on Krul, the move doesn't make much sense unless Krul has prepared for it.

Krul's earlier record in saving penalties (2 of 20) is relatively meaningless in the calculus here. What matters more are his physical attributes (which mean that he is well suited to saving penalties) and the idea that doing so is his sole job at the tournament barring catastrophic injury to the two keepers ahead of him. I'd also posit that penalty shootouts are demonstrably different from penalties taken during a match, and that prowess at one does not necessarily translate to prowess at the other.

I believe that a keeper with those qualities who can devote himself entirely to specific penalty-related training and study of his potential opponents' penalty tendencies and psychological weaknesses may be worth more to a team that expects to get to the knockout stages than a traditional "good guy" third keeper.

Just recall what Jens Lehmann did with that small piece of paper with shooters' tendencies against Argentina in 2006. Not only does such data give the keeper an edge, it injects an element of uncertainty in the shooters that can be extremely valuable to the other team.

It certainly won't work in all cases, and one has to balance the possible advantage of a specialist third keeper against the definite disadvantage of not being able to use an outfield player sub in the first 120 minutes, but given the inherently marginal nature of the third keeper slot, I can definitely see forward-looking teams evaluating the possibility.
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