Saturday, July 10, 2010

Told you so

FOOTBALL is all about space making space, coming into space and making sure the space is fully utilised. That was how former Cameroon and Ghana coach Claude Le Roy explained his philosophy to this writer when the Frenchman was pitching his tent in Kuala Lumpur in 1994-95.

Football too is about making choices. For Spanish attacker Pedro, he made the wrong choice by going solo instead of passing to Fernando Torres during their 1-0 semi-final win over Germany. It would not be wrong to assume that Torres would have added a second and kill the game.

The most difficult thing in life, is choices. Every player usually has three options on the field. So one has to choose and make decisions in a split second. It is burnt in the Dutch psyche that creating fast, compact-passing triangles is the way to play. It is embedded in their culture that every player has to understand the whole geometry of the pitch.

In David Winner's highly acclaimed book Brilliant Orange, former Ajax Amsterdam star, Jan Mulder, lamented the emphasis on winning over style.

"In Holland, we are system mad and the world doesn't know it. The world thinks we always play attacking football but we play with the handbrake on.

"All this passing at the back ... tick-tock, backwards, sideways, tick-tock ... it's boring. Too much fear, too much caution."

Modern coaches, according to Mulder, think too much about this simple game.

"The talent of the players is decisive. One could always play naturally. No thinking please. No thinking!"

Still Mulder must be happy to see his countrymen again in a World Cup final.

Their opponent, Spain, is in a fiesta and siesta mood but not the avuncular former Real Madrid coach, Vicente del Bosque.

Shortly after Real had marched into the Champions League final during the centenary year, beating fierce rivals Barcelona in the semis in April 2002, del Bosque uttered: "Solo celebramos los trofeos (we only celebrate winning trophies)."

The defensive midfielder in Vujadin Boskov's line-up when Real lost 1-0 to Liverpool in the 1981 European Cup final, del Bosque has kept his emotions in check throughout the World Cup. On the seven occasions the Spanish bench erupted into joy celebrating their seven goals so far, del Bosque remained composed and nonchalant.

The writer has decided to refrain from predicting the outcome of the final, enough by saying both teams deserved to be in the final for having had the courage to adopt a positive and attacking pattern throughout the campaign. It would, however, be nice if the land that gives the world Real Madrid and Barcelona is finally acclaimed as the best in the world ... and for del Bosque to finally celebrate with unbridled joy.

And now, we shall revisit the writer's first column:

Best team award

Brazil, seeking their sixth title armed with the distinction of being the only nation to lift the Cup outside their continent, in Sweden 1958 when Pele was unveiled to the world and again in Japan/South Korea in 2002, when the gaped-tooth Ronaldo reigned supreme. They lost to eventual finalists, The Netherlands

Argentina, with proven scorers Gonzalo Higuain and Diego Milito not likely to start alongside each other and a legend as manager, who lacks the ideas in how best to gel the team together. Outplayed by the Germans in the last eight

The Netherlands, boasting one of the most creative midfields and strikeforce, aim to become only the eighth nation to win the Cup. They are in the final

Spain, Euro champs and arguably the best purveyors of possession football, attempt to emulate West Germany 72 Euro win/74 World Cup victory. So are they

Germany, dismiss the Teutonic efficiency at your own peril, despite missing the injured Michael Ballack. Took the competition by storm

Top-scorer award, officially known as the Golden Shoe

Wayne Rooney, who has added header as part of his deadly repertoire. Oopppsss

Cacau, Brazilian-born attacker donning German colours. Scored one goal but got injured

Robin van Persie, hungry for goals after an injury-plagued season. One goal so far ...

Gonzalo Higuain, Argentine master marksman at Real Madrid. Four goals and the only hat-trick of the tournament

Robinho, lithe and tricky across the pitch. Two goals, including one against the Dutch

Samuel Etoo, treble winners with Barcelona and Inter Milan. Two goals

David Villa, heading to Barcelona after the World Cup. Five goals so far

Wooden spoonists, Golden Raspberry Award

North Korea, not likely to repeat the 1966 exploits. Told you so

Honduras, despite having Spurs midfielder Wilson Palacios running the engine room. Told you so

Best player, or Golden Ball

Robinho, likely to overshadow Kaka as the beacon of light for the boys from Brazil. Oops, but he did overshadow Kaka

Lionel Messi is out of this world but can his teammates keep pace? His teammates could not, that's the problem

Cristiano Ronaldo tends to overdo it but remains a potent force, especially with his free-kicks. Oops

Wesley Sneijder, treble winner with Inter Milan and eager to supply the ammunition for his fellow Dutchmen. Shall I say I told you so?

Best coach

Carlos Dunga has succeeded in forming a team in his playing mould, no-frills yet effective. Sacked

Fabio Capello will pray his regimented approach pays off. Survived the chop

Joachim Loew has a young team to call upon. Told you so!

Bert van Marwijk may turn out to be a successful Dutch coach. Can he go one better than Rinus Michels (1974) and Ernst Happel (1978)?

Vicente del Bosque has added a new dimension to the Spanish armada. Can he create history?

Darkhorse of the tournament

Mexico will play beautiful football. Told you so!

Chile are rich in Latin flair. Told you so!

Slovakia may be debutants but rich in football tradition. Told you so!

Slovenia represent the Soviet elements. Failed to advance to the second round by a mere point

Biggest flops

Italy are too old to contest. Told you so!

France, a team divided. Told you so!

South Africa stare at early exit. Told you so!


sakit telinga said...

APA dah jadi dgn RTM? Mengapa tiada live Liga super?

Ramai merindui ulasan Hafizal Ahmad dan Haji Hasbul yang bertenaga dan tidak melalut. Hj. Hasbul lebih berdiplomasi dan tidak berlagak pandai mengajar pemain supaya patut buat ini dan tidak patut buat itu... Beliau juga tidak bodoh sombong dengan memberi pandangan akan isu yang beliau sendiri kurang arif.

Hafizal Ahmad juga pastinya rajin membuat homework dan tidak membabi buta dalam ulasannya. Beliau juga pasti mengenali yang mana satu Timbalan Presiden dan yang mana satu pengurus pasukan.

Itulah kelebihan RTM.

Anonymous said...

Meluat tengok live Selangor- Kelantan. Pengulas jemputan berlagak serba tahu dan handal...

nstman said...

I agree with Loose Cannon. We expected wonders from Ronaldo, Messi and Rooney but what we got were ghosts, fake ghosts. But we must remember the ones who outshone the brilliant trio were has-beens who happened to be at the right place at the right time. Once the world cup is over, the trio of rooney, ronaldo and messi will come back stronger. Of course has-beens like david villa, walter sneigher will claim their right places as journeymen. By the way, Holland to beat Spain 2-0.

Anonymous said...

bro rizal..berita dr fam maklumkan coach mohd azraai khor abdullah and coach azman yusoff has been sacked while the goalkeeper coach kekal? is it true?

Anonymous said...


PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia dan Indonesia bersedia untuk menawar diri menjadi tuan rumah bersama kejohanan bola sepak Piala Dunia pada masa akan datang.

Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek berkata, perkara tersebut bukan sesuatu yang mustahil dan kedua-dua negara akan berusaha ke arah itu.

Sambil mengalu-alukan idea tersebut beliau berkata, perkara itu akan dibincangkan menerusi satu jawatankuasa khas yang akan ditubuhkan, masing-masing di kementeriannya dan Kementerian Pemuda dan Olahraga Indonesia (MENPORA).

"Idea (tuan rumah bersama) ini patut dikembangkan dan disemai bagi penganjuran kejohanan-kejohanan besar pada satu masa nanti kerana dalam konteks jarak perjalanan bukan lagi satu isu yang besar.

"Tidak mustahil diadakan bukan saja Piala Dunia tetapi apa-apa (kejohanan) yang sesuai dan boleh difikirkan," katanya kepada pemberita selepas mengadakan perbincangan dua hala dengan Menteri Pemuda dan Olahraga Indonesia, Dr Ardi Malaranggeng di sini, semalam.

Dr. Ardi berada di negara ini sempena program titian muhibah yang berlangsung selama dua hari, bermula semalam.

Sebelum ini, hasrat Indonesia untuk menjadi tuan rumah Piala Dunia 2022, gagal setelah pencalonannya ditolak oleh badan induk bola sepak dunia, FIFA. FIFA, akan mengumumkan negara yang akan menjadi tuan rumah Piala Dunia 2022 pada 10 Disember ini. - Bernama