Lessons the WC Taught me: A new theory of the game!

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Lessons the WC Taught me: A new theory of the game!

Post by txj »

The WC has come and gone leaving one with abiding memories of a football feast. As in most WCs held in Europe, defense again dominated; the difference here being that focus on defense has been in MF.

The dominant concept of the game remained European. At the core of this concept is a cynical reductionist philosophy where the primary goal of each team is the minimization of mistakes, and the maximization of other's mistakes (including instigated 'mistakes' thru simulation). Football literarily becomes a waiting game...And as soon as one side takes advantage of an error and scores, it goes into a safety- first mode, with options for the counterattack.

The result was that in Germany, spontaneity took flight; initiative cowered into a dense corner, with creativity reduced to a random event to be switched on and off in the hands of the likes of Carlos Perreira…

Surprisingly, the abiding lesson of the WC was to emerged from the bold play of Germany and Klinsmann. Beyond the fervor that often propels the home team, Klinsmann’s Germany effectively proved that technical skill is not an exclusive natural endowment.

It is from this that I have come to develop a new theory of the game: ‘The Army of One’….(don’t laugh!)


A New Theory of the Game

IMO, the single most significant element of the game, on-field is decision-making. After all the tactics, the Xs and the Os may have been defined, football comes down to a decision level: to make a pass or to hold the ball; tackle, run, shoot, etc, ultimately by one man- the individual player. Football may be the ultimate in team sport, but the individual player remains its defining factor.

The core element of this theory, therefore, like in the US Army, is the single line, optimal development of the individual player, within the framework of the team. Under this concept, the star is no longer the team, but is instead made to return to the individual player. The team thus grows from the increasing sum of its parts.

The target specific development of the individual player therefore becomes the primary object of coaching. This development would necessarily be reduced to micro components, encompassing such elements as nutrition, physiotherapy, fitness and conditioning, motivation and spiritualism, individual technique and skills development. It is based on the assumption that given all necessary equipment, that the player so endowed will make the best possible decision at the shortest possible time, to enhance the team’s objective.

Under this regime, the concept of the Manger is redefined to be a CEO, coordinating across several sectors and elements, and especially, laying out the broad guiding framework (including tactics), upon which everything is made to revolve. In play, formations become secondary, with primary emphasis placed on speed of thought- decisions, spontaneity, dynamism, fluidity and mobility.

I hold the view that such an approach will produce a new generation of players with enough tools to transform the game and free it from a concept that is dominated by fear rather than initiative. While elements of this approach are already evident in such clubs as Arsenal, Barcelona, Ajax, it is as yet to be implemented in holistic manner.

For African players, nay Nigeria, this approach will enhance their real strength- spontaneous creativity and unpredictability, while emphasizing fitness, mobility and concentration.

I welcome discussions on this topic and will provide more details for aspiring coaches on this site who may be interested.
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Post by can04 »

well txj i commend your efforts. there are many theories about the game out there and the one you present only adds to the plethora that already abound. this is not a criticism; i only wish to draw attention to the surfeit of "ideas" about how the winning team will be created.

having said that, i like the idea, as you present it, of a quick-thinking player capable of making critical on-field decisions...but as a cynic i argue that you are simply describing the status quo. were it not so, football would be more like american football with its play-books, and robot players [football only approximates this at the set piece]. the merit in your idea comes from a drive to increase the number of such decisive players on a team.
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Post by YUJAM »

Good one, TXJ. I'll add my thoughts soon..
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Post by txj »

On the contrary, it turns the status quo on its head! It compartmentalizes the game like american football, but strictly from a player development perspective. The mantra is give the player all possible stimulus; then step aside and let him make the decisions, but all within a broad framework...

can04 wrote:well txj i commend your efforts. there are many theories about the game out there and the one you present only adds to the plethora that already abound. this is not a criticism; i only wish to draw attention to the surfeit of "ideas" about how the winning team will be created.

having said that, i like the idea, as you present it, of a quick-thinking player capable of making critical on-field decisions...but as a cynic i argue that you are simply describing the status quo. were it not so, football would be more like american football with its play-books, and robot players [football only approximates this at the set piece]. the merit in your idea comes from a drive to increase the number of such decisive players on a team.
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Post by can04 »

txj wrote:On the contrary, it turns the status quo on its head! It compartmentalizes the game like american football, but strictly from a player development perspective. The mantra is give the player all possible stimulus; then step aside and let him make the decisions, but all within a broad framework...

can04 wrote:well txj i commend your efforts. there are many theories about the game out there and the one you present only adds to the plethora that already abound. this is not a criticism; i only wish to draw attention to the surfeit of "ideas" about how the winning team will be created.

having said that, i like the idea, as you present it, of a quick-thinking player capable of making critical on-field decisions...but as a cynic i argue that you are simply describing the status quo. were it not so, football would be more like american football with its play-books, and robot players [football only approximates this at the set piece]. the merit in your idea comes from a drive to increase the number of such decisive players on a team.
i like the idea because it appears to make rigid adherance to formations and tactics secondary to having individuals capable of flexibility and adaptation in-game.

i maintain, however, that this is what the best players today try to do. the coach does what he can brfore a game, from the sidelines, and at intervals and interruptions in play to re-focus his team on tactics, formation etc. but the best players know that the solutions in-game often arise from reading the game as it progresses.
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Post by txj »

I agree that they best players TRY to do that, but what I advocate is more systematic, and involves, not simply the best players, but ALL players, executing in tandem. The question that would naturally arise is: how feasible is it to have ALL players do this?
This would bring us back to the primary goal of coaching under this scenario- the development of each individual player, in a manner to provide him with target specific training and thus endow him with the tools to take the best possible decision at the shortest possible time to maximize team objectives.


can04 wrote:
txj wrote:On the contrary, it turns the status quo on its head! It compartmentalizes the game like american football, but strictly from a player development perspective. The mantra is give the player all possible stimulus; then step aside and let him make the decisions, but all within a broad framework...

can04 wrote:well txj i commend your efforts. there are many theories about the game out there and the one you present only adds to the plethora that already abound. this is not a criticism; i only wish to draw attention to the surfeit of "ideas" about how the winning team will be created.

having said that, i like the idea, as you present it, of a quick-thinking player capable of making critical on-field decisions...but as a cynic i argue that you are simply describing the status quo. were it not so, football would be more like american football with its play-books, and robot players [football only approximates this at the set piece]. the merit in your idea comes from a drive to increase the number of such decisive players on a team.
i like the idea because it appears to make rigid adherance to formations and tactics secondary to having individuals capable of flexibility and adaptation in-game.

i maintain, however, that this is what the best players today try to do. the coach does what he can brfore a game, from the sidelines, and at intervals and interruptions in play to re-focus his team on tactics, formation etc. but the best players know that the solutions in-game often arise from reading the game as it progresses.
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Post by Oba »

txj,

I understand your position on the importance of the development of the individual player. But here comes the dynamics of a team.

The most important dynamic, beyond the individual making the right decision is the team as a whole working in tandem with whatever decision an individual makes.

For example, let's say Obi has the ball. He has to decide whether to hold the ball (and for how long), whether to move forward with the ball, in which direction to move and ultimately, which pass to make.

His team has to be on the same wavelength as him. Let's say he decides that space is opening on the far left flank and he should make a timed cross to that flank, his team mate has to anticipate that the move is tentative at make off-the-ball movements necessary to take advantage of that. Then the striker too has to anticipate that being there's open space on the left, he should position himself to blind his marker from that side so that he would be in a better position to receive the ball. from that wing.

So yes, it's important players are better developed to make the better decision and execute those decisions. But one individual making the right decision and others not working in tandem to execute that decision makes decision-making by the individual a futile exercise.

In other words, even the decision-making of an individual player becomes an aspect of "TEAMPLAY" because 4-5 players must be in sync with the decisions any individual player makes at any given point.

Which leads me to another thing...(football) intelligence is the most important attribute every player needs.... it's even more important that your ability to shoot, pass, tackle etc (which, don't get me wrong, are also very important).
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Post by txj »

First of all, the individual player development is in each and every case carried out, 'within the framework of the team'. The player is thus equipped to make the best possible decision, not so much for himself, as for the team.

Secondly, decision making here refers to football intelligence.
Oba wrote:txj,

I understand your position on the importance of the development of the individual player. But here comes the dynamics of a team.

The most important dynamic, beyond the individual making the right decision is the team as a whole working in tandem with whatever decision an individual makes.

For example, let's say Obi has the ball. He has to decide whether to hold the ball (and for how long), whether to move forward with the ball, in which direction to move and ultimately, which pass to make.

His team has to be on the same wavelength as him. Let's say he decides that space is opening on the far left flank and he should make a timed cross to that flank, his team mate has to anticipate that the move is tentative at make off-the-ball movements necessary to take advantage of that. Then the striker too has to anticipate that being there's open space on the left, he should position himself to blind his marker from that side so that he would be in a better position to receive the ball. from that wing.

So yes, it's important players are better developed to make the better decision and execute those decisions. But one individual making the right decision and others not working in tandem to execute that decision makes decision-making by the individual a futile exercise.

In other words, even the decision-making of an individual player becomes an aspect of "TEAMPLAY" because 4-5 players must be in sync with the decisions any individual player makes at any given point.

Which leads me to another thing...(football) intelligence is the most important attribute every player needs.... it's even more important that your ability to shoot, pass, tackle etc (which, don't get me wrong, are also very important).
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Post by Oba »

txj wrote:I agree that they best players TRY to do that, but what I advocate is more systematic, and involves, not simply the best players, but ALL players, executing in tandem. The question that would naturally arise is: how feasible is it to have ALL players do this?
This would bring us back to the primary goal of coaching under this scenario- the development of each individual player, in a manner to provide him with target specific training and thus endow him with the tools to take the best possible decision at the shortest possible time to maximize team objectives.


can04 wrote:
txj wrote:On the contrary, it turns the status quo on its head! It compartmentalizes the game like american football, but strictly from a player development perspective. The mantra is give the player all possible stimulus; then step aside and let him make the decisions, but all within a broad framework...

can04 wrote:well txj i commend your efforts. there are many theories about the game out there and the one you present only adds to the plethora that already abound. this is not a criticism; i only wish to draw attention to the surfeit of "ideas" about how the winning team will be created.

having said that, i like the idea, as you present it, of a quick-thinking player capable of making critical on-field decisions...but as a cynic i argue that you are simply describing the status quo. were it not so, football would be more like american football with its play-books, and robot players [football only approximates this at the set piece]. the merit in your idea comes from a drive to increase the number of such decisive players on a team.
i like the idea because it appears to make rigid adherance to formations and tactics secondary to having individuals capable of flexibility and adaptation in-game.

i maintain, however, that this is what the best players today try to do. the coach does what he can brfore a game, from the sidelines, and at intervals and interruptions in play to re-focus his team on tactics, formation etc. but the best players know that the solutions in-game often arise from reading the game as it progresses.
This comment is more in line with what I'm thinking.

I think a crucial part of coaching, as you have said is sitting players down and having them face very many hypothetical scenarios and learning to make the best decision at each point in time.

Of course, making decisions would involve considering the "abilities" of the player holding the ball at that instance, as well as your ability as a player. For example, if you have an accurate long pass and a player is free on the far side... and that player has pace as well. The player on the far side should quickly anticipate that you're going to make the decision to pass to him and you should be ready to make a run into the space you can find.

It won't come as second nature to players immediately, but with practice, it should definitely become second nature, where you can anticipate your teammate's next move with about 90% accuracy.

This naturally would mean that players too would now have to be screened for their level of vision as players with "vision" become the preferred type.

Finally... you don't necessarily need all 11 players making very complex decisions at any point in time perse because 11 options of passing are not always open. Some players would be "out of play" at any point in time.

In an attacking move for instance.... the central defenders are not going forward, so they don't have difficult decisions to make. Beyond keeping their eyes wide open for the break from their opponents.
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Post by ohenhen1 »

I am confused, i have read all the post. And i don't understand how this is new theory. This has being going in the past.
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Post by Oba »

can04 wrote: i like the idea because it appears to make rigid adherance to formations and tactics secondary to having individuals capable of flexibility and adaptation in-game.

i maintain, however, that this is what the best players today try to do. the coach does what he can brfore a game, from the sidelines, and at intervals and interruptions in play to re-focus his team on tactics, formation etc. but the best players know that the solutions in-game often arise from reading the game as it progresses.
You talk about players reading the game. This is exactly what txj is talking about. Players must be able to read the game and the decisions must be influenced by what they've read.

txj is just adding that emphasis must be made in developing football intelligence of players.
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Post by txj »

A critical aspect which is not in the version I posted would naturally be player selection.

This approach would require the recruitment of quick witted players, with great adaptability, versatility, balance, speed and impeccable ball control skills.

As I see it currently, about half of the players in the SE team would not qualify for call up.
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Post by txj »

You could'nt be more wrong!
I am advocating an approach that transforms the manager of today to a CEO; breaks down different aspects of the game and focusses primarily on developing each individual player, in a TARGET SPECIFIC way. Thus you have different line-level coaches working on individual players; somewhat like you have in the NFL, the difference being that overall coordination and team tactics is retained by the CEO-coach.
Secondly, emphasis on indivdual player development is to equip the player to be able to make the best possible decision in other to maximize team goals- an army of one!

ohenhen1 wrote:I am confused, i have read all the post. And i don't understand how this is new theory. This has being going in the past.
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Post by spastic »

txj wrote:You could'nt be more wrong!
I am advocating an approach that transforms the manager of today to a CEO; breaks down different aspects of the game and focusses primarily on developing each individual player, in a TARGET SPECIFIC way. Thus you have different line-level coaches working on individual players; somewhat like you have in the NFL, the difference being that overall coordination and team tactics is retained by the CEO-coach.
Secondly, emphasis on indivdual player development is to equip the player to be able to make the best possible decision in other to maximize team goals- an army of one!

ohenhen1 wrote:I am confused, i have read all the post. And i don't understand how this is new theory. This has being going in the past.
For starters Ohenhen no know ball so no mind am....

But in general what U are saying is that U like the American based coaching philosophy..... :wink:
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Further...

Post by txj »

Expanding further to the defence aspect of my 'theory', 95% of all successful play involves the pass- long, short, square, diagonal, over-the-top, crosses, etc. A common denominator in all this is that each pass of whatever variety is made, in time and space.

At the same time, 95% of all fouls, and by extension set-pieces result from failed tackles. IMO, the approach of maximum mobility, constant motion and flexibility, would for each pass made in time and space, place a defensive player in the same space and within the same time frame. Thus, the need for the tackle, even as a last resort, is reduced further still..
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Post by txj »

...Seems to me Aragones clearly validates my 'theory of the game'....

Updated: Feb. 8, 2007
'Quick thinking' beat England, says Aragones
Soccernet


Spain coach Luis Aragones said his team's ability to 'think quickly on the ball' was the underlying difference in quality as La Seleccion beat England 1-0 in a friendly at Old Trafford.

Steve McClaren's lacklustre England were booed off the pitch after a second-half goal from Barcelona's Andres Iniesta consigned England to the first home defeat of his reign.

McClaren refused to blame his players, insisting they showed the right attitude and effort but the candid verdict of Aragones gave is opposite number something to ponder.

He said: 'We began nervously but what did surprise me was how we got two against one down England's left hand side. That gave us a few opportunities.

'It is hard to play England. They are a strong team but perhaps Spain are more technical and good on the ball. We were thinking quicker as footballers. That was one of the main things between the sides.

'The performance was no different to that against Ireland when we dominated play but got caught out. Tonight England had chances to score but we were very quick on the counter. I'm pleased Iniesta scored because we had talked about getting midfielders forward quickly into attacking positions.'

Meanwhile, despite a series of below-par displays from key men, McClaren refused to pin the blame for England's first home loss since November 2003 on his players.

'I don't feel the players are letting me down,' he said.

'The attitude and effort was there. It was the quality we lacked, especially in the final third.

'Nobody is blind to the fact we lacked that final pass and cross and finish. That is what wins you football matches.'

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story ... 14&cc=5901
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Re: Further...

Post by The YeyeMan »

txj wrote:At the same time, 95% of all fouls, and by extension set-pieces result from failed tackles. IMO, the approach of maximum mobility, constant motion and flexibility, would for each pass made in time and space, place a defensive player in the same space and within the same time frame. Thus, the need for the tackle, even as a last resort, is reduced further still..
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Post by Ziontrain »

I think he is saying, as I read it, is that if you are are fit enough and smart enough, you can recover the ball without resorting to a low risk approach of desperation tackling and leaving your feet, which results in fouls.

Watching Pires at his peak was a great example of this. The dude had a reputation for not playing tough defense but in fact he was a superb defender, utilising the same speed and intelligence he displayed on offense.

Pires would recover in to the right place where the percentages were in his favour and refused to jump in wildly, slide in or leave his feet. Yet often than not he, to come away with the ball, either via an interception or standing tackle. It was a thing of beauty, but the English press and even many players wrongly critisised him for not getting "stuck in" and tackling like a maniac. And they were amazed when he made that famous sliding tackle on Vieira last year - but in fact he played better defense in the yesteryears.
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Re: Lessons the WC Taught me: A new theory of the game!

Post by txj »

Bump

Coach?
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Post by realtrouble »

Ziontrain wrote:I think he is saying, as I read it, is that if you are are fit enough and smart enough, you can recover the ball without resorting to a low risk approach of desperation tackling and leaving your feet, which results in fouls.

Watching Pires at his peak was a great example of this. The dude had a reputation for not playing tough defense but in fact he was a superb defender, utilising the same speed and intelligence he displayed on offense.

Pires would recover in to the right place where the percentages were in his favour and refused to jump in wildly, slide in or leave his feet. Yet often than not he, to come away with the ball, either via an interception or standing tackle. It was a thing of beauty, but the English press and even many players wrongly critisised him for not getting "stuck in" and tackling like a maniac. And they were amazed when he made that famous sliding tackle on Vieira last year - but in fact he played better defense in the yesteryears.

Our defenders are a bit slow especially Shittu and Yobo
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Re: Lessons the WC Taught me: A new theory of the game!

Post by txj »

1. Football is a simple game. But most of all, football is an unselfish game

2. It begins with the individual recognizing that it is first and foremost not about him; that his talent is not for his benefit nor does it belong to him.

3. More importantly that the best expression of his talent is achieved by placing it at the service of the team.

4. But ultimately every player stands first on his unique individuality.

5. Reconciling these two seemingly diametrically opposed concepts is the ultimate challenge of the modern game.

6. In Nigeria, kids grow to become footballers on the strength of their individuality. They are self taught and self made, sometimes fully formed in their understanding of the game ever before their first contact with formal coaching.

7. This is why I have often thought, like Forrest Gump, that working with homebased players is like getting a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get!

8. The real challenge of working with them is not their talent or lack thereof, but the ability to get each one to subordinate themselves by completely buying into the concept of the team game. In the process, placing their individual skills at the service of the team.
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp
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Re: Lessons the WC Taught me: A new theory of the game!

Post by zoro »

txj,
Can you explain why Robben stuck to the right side till the game closed?
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Re: Lessons the WC Taught me: A new theory of the game!

Post by txj »

Two main reasons:
1. He likes to and is most dangerous when he cuts in on the inside of the left back, either shoots on goal or plays someone thru.

But the spaniards were ready for this and used Alonso as a screen and forced him wide whenever he cut inside.

2. They had identified Capdevilla as a weak point in the spanish defence

BTW, this thread was about the 2006 WC and was written a while back!

zoro wrote:txj,
Can you explain why Robben stuck to the right side till the game closed?
Form is temporary; Class is Permanent!
Liverpool, European Champions 2005.

We watched this very boring video, 500 times, of Sacchi doing defensive drills, using sticks and without the ball, with Maldini, Baresi and Albertini. We used to think before then that if the other players are better, you have to lose. After that we learned anything is possible – you can beat better teams by using tactics." Jurgen Klopp

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