Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thoughts? Concerns? Jozy Altidore?

So Jozy was definitely, definitely not match fit.

Are we to be embarrassed? We'll sure hear plenty of Klinsmann's project speak in the coming days and weeks. Rightfully so, apparently. Still laying the sod on this bad boy. I'm certainly not hyperventilating (you really think Robbie Rogers, the guy who looks like Peggy from Mad Men, is first choice for 2014?) but those familiar strains from the boo birds (they kinda sound like Bradley, Bradley) are beginning to emerge again. This is just so typically, well, us. This is who we are. Embrace it and enjoy the ride. And Brek Shea. Enjoy him too.

News and notes from round the net-o-sphere:

It ain't all bad, but there's certainly some there
Wo ist der Gewinn, herr Klinsmann?
More feistiness, more frustration
Arbitrary player ratings? Don't mind if I do!
Three thoughts from Grant Wahl for your troubles

And I'd like to echo R.I.P. thoughts for Bobby Rhine. I'll speak for all Texas soccer fans when I say that his presence on the field and then voice became synonymous with FCD and good broadcasting in general. And who could forget this gem, which won him MLS call of the year? His absence will be felt.

- Will Parchman


SPA2TACU5 said...

That's horrible. 35, two kids and while vacationing. RIP.

SPA2TACU5 said...

The game. I was far from impressed by anyone except Maurice Edu. His performance on the ball was shocking.
Rating 2 /10

Tim Howard. Had a bad day? Playing like this, Everton is his roof. A lot of bad interceptions. And he dives over the ball at 1-0.
4.5 /10

Steve Cherundolo. Nothing special. Hardly any forward movement, but he wasn't outplayed by Belgian's best player Dries Mertens.
5.5 /10

Goodson. Not exactly a rock solid defender. Not super fast, not super strong, not unbeatable in air, and makes too many mistakes in build up. Well at least he tries to build up play.
5 /10

Carlos Bocanegra. Carlos was carlos. Nothing exceptional.
5.5 /10

Timmy Chandler. Right footed player on left back. It does not work. Other than that no direct opponent and not a lot of defensive issues.
5 /10

2 /10

Robbie Rogers. Did he play? Completely invisible.
4 /10

Brek Shea. About the only player that was consistently showing he can create stuff and who is often in the right position.
6.5 /10

Jose Torres. Best Mexican on the field. Yes he has technique and can pass, but if you don't functionally use it to dominate the opponent it's useless. Plays like a talented seventeen year old in a senior side.
4 /10

Clint Dempsey. Invisible for the most part. About one good move with a bad finish.
4 /10

Jozy Altidore. First 15 he was very good. After that invisible and not present.
4 /10

Juan Agudelo. Invisible.
4 /10

Kyle Beckerman. Decent on and off the ball. Not the future of US soccer but at least he doesn't piss possession away like his more experienced and accomplished colleague Maurice Edu.
6 /10

Juergen Klinsmann. Tries to play the possession game. Which was not working in this game probably due to various factors - very little possession, fatigue, lack of skill, lack of confidence, lack of 'footballing' central defenders.
5 /10

Mike said...

Greg- any idea which "big German Club" came in late for Brek Shea this transfer window?

Patrick said...

I agree with SPA. Torres reminded me of a young Donovan. Completely intimidated out of the game by a European team. Donovan got over it (took 8 years though); hopefully Torres can too.

However, too many out there keep trying to tell me Torres played great. Glad to know a few saw what I saw.

Out of the three games, this back four seemed the best. It is the ease that the Belgians go to our 18 yd. box in numbers that was the problem. Seemed that Beckerman for Torres stopped that.

Greg Seltzer said...

@ Mike: Where did you get that idea from?

@ Patrick: Torres was most definitely not great last night. He was trying to play his Costa Rica game against Fellaini and Witsel. No dice, son.

Mike said...

Greg- Rob Stone said it yesterday during the game. He said the January window will have a lot of suitors coming in for him

Greg Seltzer said...

Hmmm. What precisely did he say? How did he phrase it?

Mike said...

As I do not have this on DVR anymore I took this from Bigsoccer:

"Apparently the ESPN broadcast just mentioned that a "very big German club" came in late for Brek during the last transfer window.

also went on to talking about how the January window will be quite active for Shea's services. Whether any pan out is another question."

Will Parchman said...

This may be just my opinion, but Torres is the kind of player Jurgen desperately wants in this system, but he doesn't fit yet. I think the US is so hammer-set on playing that hoof-it-forward 4-4-2 that the box-to-box mentality has to be broken. Torres is not particularly good tracking back, and the US is not particularly good at holding up possession. It doesn't always happen that the US is out-positioned, but when it does, players like Torres are snowed under. That's where Bradley's skill set became useful. Not particularly good in attack, defense or build-up, but he was competent in all. In Football Manager 2011 terms, he was a solid 10-14 across the board, whereas Torres definitely has some sub-10 qualities.

As Klinsmann will undoubtedly continue to trumpet, and as we will undoubtedly tune out just as quickly, it is a process. As stale as Bradley's schemes had gotten, they were still ingrained. I think Torres has a role yet. We'll see if Klinsmann has the patience to see it out.

Greg Seltzer said...

Hmmm. Let's say he's in the ballpark.

I've been working on a report that covers this scene and you can find at MLSS tomorrow.

bhamhawker said...

Well, we've learned a few things from the 2 games:

-- Brek Shea is legit. For realz.

-- Clint Dempsey still plays like a kindergarten kid that doesn't want to share.

-- Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Rogers, and Jeff Laurentowicz don't belong in a USMNT camp.

-- We still lack a quality striker outside of Deuce and Landycakes.

Desert Rat said...

Landycakes, really? Yeah, that moniker was cute in 2007. Not so much now.

Patrick said...

I'd rather have discovered a starting winger (Shea) in the 2014 World Cup, in these three games, then have won all of them with the same old veterans. Even if Bradley is a better coach than Klinsmann, he didn't have the job security to play Shea (or Torres, or Rodgers, etc.).

USSF has done some strange scheduling in its day; especially chasing ticket sales. I was reading the other day about 1986 qualifying and how USSF basically scheduled a home game for Costa Rica in California that knocked us out and almost ruined our bid for 1994. Compared to that, this Belgian trip is nothing, but some of the players (Altidore) couldn't handle the schedule.

So, while it is nice that so many people are so vocal about results; it is like worrying about pre-season football games. It is lots of hot air and ink for a month and as soon as the ball is kicked off tonight, none of it matters.

Find a roster. Find a formation. Then move ahead and get results.

Mike said...

Good to hear, I look forward to reading it. Keep up the good work!

Greg Seltzer said...

@ bham: I'll take these bullet points in order.

-- Was there anyone who claimed Shea wasn't legit? I do not always hear the talk back home and I usually do not read the opinion work of my colleagues.

-- The biggest problem with Dempsey the other night was he stayed straight down the middle after being slid wide at halftime, thoroughly destroying the integrity of our shape. He essentially closed down a third of the field for us and made Belgium's defending job easy for them.

-- I do not agree that Beckerman does not belong. He's barely had a chance at this level. Rogers can be a useful player off the bench, but needs more confidence. Larentowicz I'm not sure about, but I find it hard to believe anyone could ascertain his USMNT value from that 14-minute appearance.

-- Erm... Jozy Altidore?

And let's be clear: Donovan is NOT an international level striker. Playing forward in MLS and playing forward at World Cup are two vastly different animals.

Patrick said...

@Greg: I don't know if anyone was claiming Shea was not legit. I don't know if he was discussed at all. I follow the USMNT very closely, but don't follow MLS close enough to know much about FC Dallas forwards, and I had never heard of him until he subbed on against Mexico. From commentary, I gather he was tried in one game by BB and dropped after a horrid appearance.

To tell the truth, I didn't think JK could actually find any new players. Why would there be good players not already known by BB and USSF? I'm pleasantly surprised by this and hope MLS lets Shea go to Europe (if he will play).

Greg Seltzer said...

It's not even about finding new players. The whole idea is to give progression to the ones we know are there, at all levels, both individually and as a molded unit. I don't think we've done enough actual soccer teaching until now. The new curriculum changes that and I love it.

bhamhawker said...


-- It's not that there were claims against Shea, just that I think we can officially say he needs to be (darn-near) a permanent fixture on the left. Until now, he'd still just been a hyped youth, who really looked lost in his only true appearance (which was unfair, given the squad he played with).

-- I can't be the only that thinks Dempsey does that consistently. He's just such a massively different player in a US uniform than a Fulham one. I'll go to my grave thinking he should never be allowed to play in the midfield for the US. Up top all the way.

-- Donovan's not an international level striker? I don't buy it at all, and I'm a pretty big Donovan-hater. The guys has had 2 real assets\skills that he brings - speed and finishing. He's not a threat to beat people on the wing, make crosses, or even play a killer pass (from the wing). He's a born striker\second-forward who is best with the goal in front of him and the ball ahead of him so he can use his speed. My biggest issue with USMNT play over the last 8 years has been the insistence (whether by Donovan himself or by Bradley) that Donovan is some kind of game-changer on the wing. He's average out there, at best, and we've gotten the most out of him when we get down in games and move him up high to press for goals.

It's no coincidence we scored a lot of goals late in games after moving Deuce and Donovan up high to press forward.

It makes even more sense given our glut of midfielders that should see the field, and our lack of a real threat at striker.

Right now, Jozy Altidore just doesn't cut it. He might in 3-4 years, but he's not there right now (and really hasn't played well with any partner except Charlie Davies). I'm a fan of his, I think he still has potential. But he's too easily a ghost in too many US games right now to warrant starting him consistently.

-- On Beckerman, I just don't see where he's shown the skill level or intelligence level to play at the same level as guys like Holden, Edu, Bradley, or Jones. He's good for MLS, but he isn't great at that level. I'm just stunned how many writers have praised his decidedly average showings in a US uniform, similar to the Sacha Kljestan stuff 10-12 months ago.
With Rogers - do we really need a limited forward on the bench when we have Agudelo and Jozy, plus a handful of more skilled players we could bring in? At this point, we know what he is - a head down runner that's got a bit of penchant for flopping. Sure, he has a bit of speed, but so do a helluva lot of other players in the US player pool (just none of them are friends with Klinsi, I guess).

I just don't see the current US setup - with Donovan and Dempsey as "wings" - ever succeeding again. It just seems like we could use their finishing - and let's face it, they're the best finishers we have, bar none - up high, allowing us to get more skilled midfielders into the game, especially if we find a great young wing to play opposite Shea (Gatt, Gyau anyone?).

Greg Seltzer said...

-- I don't think he looked lost in his first cap, I thought he did rather well considering how the team played. His biggest demerit was for not staying wide enough - a ka the USMNT usual.

-- Hmm. I don't agree he's necessarily more selfish in a US shirt, I just think his responsibility is different than at Fulham.

-- No, he's not and it's been proven time and again. He's too small, for one. Secondly, you leave him no passing targets on the run and he can be more easily taken out of the game. And this idea he can't beat men on the wing should have been squashed long ago - it's just not true, ask Everton, who play in the fastest league in the world. He is also still the best crosser on the team. The greater hurdle to making him a true winger is changing his habit to stray inside. I think he would at this time best served by the #10 slot even though he looked out of comfort on Friday. It was a new thing for him.

And pressing high is not the same as playing forward.

As for Jozy, I'm not sure how you are getting any of this. I'm not. And the entire town of Alkmaar agrees with me. There was not much wrong with his two outings this past week and I do not understand why so many people seem to think he was bad... and the entire town of Alkmaar yada yada. I don't think everyone understands the difference in responsibility. Unless he misses sitters, the #9 is not the reason a team in a 4-3-3 doesn't score. He's just not.

-- On Beckerman, give him a chance. He's hardly played. Maybe he isn't, but I'd like that confirmed on the field. Not to knock Ricardo Clark, but if he can get 31 caps and start a World Cup opener, Beckerman deserves more than some scrap minutes against mites.

-- Again, I'm not exactly sure how you figure Jozy is on the bench. And Rogers is not a forward. He's a winger. Which is something we now need several of.

-- Well, okay, but you may be thinking of 4-4-2 Deuce/Donovan "wings" instead of 4-3-3 wings. Again, I think we need more than one outing to make decisions. Sometimes, people don't pick things up right away or they have old habits to break, whatever. Everyone thnks the 4-3-3 is just freedom freewheeling craziness all-out attack. It's not at all. It requires great positional and spacial discipline. It isn't going to look great right away. Growing pains do hurt, but there exist for a reason - to get through them.

And Gatt will be there soon enough, no worry.

Greg Seltzer said...

*they exist

bhamhawker said...

I guess my post should have been prefaced a bit by saying I still think we can exist cohesively in a 4-4-2, but are you (and I ask because you tend to have more insight than most) expecting strictly a 4-3-3 system from here on out?

If so, then I wholeheartedly agree that Donovan isn't a striker there. I don't think he's Ruud Van Nistelroy, but rather someone similar to Chicharito or Sergio Aguero - someone with speed and finishing that has #10 ability. I've never seen the vaunted crossing ability everyone claims Donovan possesses. It seems like most people think he's the best simply because he takes all of our free kicks (which I think is because he's the biggest ego on the team). That being said, I don't think he's a better crosser than Shea, Torres, or Holden - though he's a better winger than the latter 2.

If we're playing a strict 4-3-3, then I would prefer Dempsey in the middle for his aerial finishing, flanked by Donovan and Shea. At this point, I think Shea is more valuable on the left than Jozy is in the middle. Could that change? Absolutely, and it's certainly not something I see as clear-cut. I just prefer Shea's actual left foot and ability to take players to the byline than Dempsey or Landon on that side. I don't want either Landon or Deuce dropping into the midfield 3 of a 4-3-3, though. Neither of them are suited to that, at all.

With Beckerman, I guess I've just seen enough of him in MLS and in recent call-ups to think "he is what he is". He's a solid defender, with average athleticism and skills - basically a poor-man's Mo Edu. If it's Rico Clark or Kyle Beckerman for the 6th spot in our midfield, it's a pick your poison. Neither really belong anyways, so what does it matter.
I just hope he doesn't take future time away from more talented players like Holden, Edu, or Bradley.

-- Also, on the Dempsey part of the last post, I was referring to your comment, not to him being selfish. He drifts into the middle with no thought of being wide, constantly making the US side narrow and easy to defend. He played selfish last night, though, and seemed more content to do stepovers with his back to goal than actually playing team ball.

SPA2TACU5 said...

-- "[..] Dempsey [..], not to him being selfish. [..] He played selfish last night, though, and seemed more content to do step-overs with his back to goal than actually playing team ball."

Small detail but I disagree. It wasn't selfish, it was trying to overachieve. He started going solo to try and make up for the weak US performance.


4-3-3, some random thoughts+replies to what I've read in the posted comments:

I'm just not sure about the classic 4-3-3. I do like Shea and I do think BB would've brought him back into the team, but I do not sure a real winger in him. At least not in the classic winger role. You see most successful modern 'winger' formations (4-3-3, 4-2-3-1, 4-2-4) are played with opposite-footed players on the wings. Left footed on the right and vice versa.

A problem that arises with playing the possession-game is that you push [avoiding 'press' here] forward carefully through passes leading to the opponent dropping back which will mean the space for the winger to a) reach the back line to deliver a cross becomes very limited and b) the distance between the defenders becomes smaller therefor giving them the opportunity to cover each other which obviously means it becomes even harder taking on your direct opponent.

Which leads me to Donovan: I think his pace is his biggest asset - plus the fact that his skillful on the ball - therefor making him successful on the counter attack or in a high tempo (= open) league like the EPL where he gets more space after his team wins possession and can reach him quickly.

My conclusion: if Shea can deliver crosses without outplaying his opponent then yes he will be a good left winger for the US within JK's opted formation/tactics.

Otherwise I rather see him in a role closer to the goal where he can score more easily.

Furthermore I think Altidore will do fine as a striker for the US within the next 6 months. I think his move to AZ will give him a huge boost and will definitely help JK's pursuit of possession-play and 4-3-3 - if he really is pursuing the latter.
Jozy at AZ will become more familiar to 4-3-3 and will become a better finisher.

To not play Dempsey and Donovan would be strange, the same goes for Bradley, Holden, Jones.

So I think JK will go for a 4-2-3-1 where Shea, Donovan and Dempsey will interchange positions.

Last but not least the 4-3-3 and possession-play will depend on the pace of the defensive line. The defense needs to be quick enough for the entire team to push up the field when in possession. Does the USMNT have that pace?

Greg Seltzer said...

- Yes, I am operating under the assumption that the 4-3-3 is in to stay or at least the main set for now. I am also operating under the opinion that the 4-4-2 played under Bradley has to go and be gone and stay gone, except perhaps against a team like Argentina or Spain.

- Well, he's obviously not a #9. Still, I would never play him outright forward against anything but CONCACAF wankers.

- We vastly disagree on the #9 spot. I do not want Dempsey with back to goal having the crap kicked out of him all game long AND I have the mind that Jozy is the perfect man for this job, both now and looking forward. He is space age and we are now trying to be space age... perfect.

- I do not think Shea is ready to be the man on left wing against all opponents. However, I feel he should get plenty of minutes - but Dempsey being back in the Europa League means he should be left to Cottage rest for some stateside friendlies.

- Right now, I would take Beckerman ahead of Clark any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It's not even a contest right now.

- As I noted, I think Dempsey sometimes feels more pressure to make things happen with the US, like if he doesn't, it's a problem. I don't fault him as being "selfish" necessarily - a modicum of selfishness is required of any goal getter.

But yeah, he needs to get his butt out wide and stay there until it's time to come inside. It was really, really, really aggravating the other night.

Greg Seltzer said...


The "basic 4-3-3" is the new directive. Get used to it. Let's master the basic before we go trying to rewrite Shakespeare.

That's the right way to do this and it's the way Claudio Reyna has correctly mandated it be done.

Greg Seltzer said...

I mean, let's face blatant reality: the only time excellent 4-3-3 Ajax and Oranje sides can be stopped is when they...

A) stray out of the basic 4-3-3 (such as in the World Cup final)


B) Run up against a team that did the 4-3-3 better (such as against Russia at Euro08 or, hell, again with Spain the WC final)

So.... yeah, x class 101 always come before 201.

bhamhawker said...

Thanks for the discussion Greg, really enjoyed it.

Greg Seltzer said...

No sweat. I always like the chance to further explain my positions as there are sometimes world limits or just plain short form commentary. Sometimes, you kinda need to go on at length to fully explain.

I am fully aware that my, whatever you call at... long, close relationship with the 4-3-3 often means I offer an opinion that seems funny at first to those not as used to it. But I always have a lengthier explanation, so I appreciate the chance to air it.

The reality is that the expectations must change with the system. There are new things to expect and it's not just the players that have an adjustment to make when the national team changes course drastically. I think I may produce a "Top 5 Misconceptions About the USMNT Going 4-3-3" list soon.

SPA2TACU5 said...

Greg, could you describe in quite some detail how the perfect 4-3-3 system is played, and how the Reyna/JK 4-3-3 will (for now) differ from the perfect 4-3-3, or otherwise what the USMNT is lacking (at the moment?) to (be able to) play the 4-3-3 system in it's most excellent form?

Greg Seltzer said...

Heh. Serves me right, eh?

I am eventually going to cover all that, I am already beginning prep work on two different articles with plenty of 4-3-3 explanation.

For right now, I will go out on a fast limb and say that the single biggest difference between the optimum 4-3-3 arrangement and the one mandated in the new curriculum is the shape of midfield.

If you look at the first page of Reyna's guidebook, you see the field diagram with one defensive midfielder and two attacking midfielders. I mentioned to Sean the other night at the game that this might not be the best initial way to run it, with the thought that two defensive midfielders might make a smoother transition from empty bucket for the team and also apply better to our talent pool.

I'm sure the immediate reaction to that would be, hey wait, isn't that more defensive? Well, no, not necessarily. If you keep the ball and move it around enough, it may actually help set up better lanes because it's harder for the defense to crowd that second man. Plus, then the main playmaker isn't crowded into one quarter of the field width and another defender is just a little further away from him - sometimes, that extra half-second of time difference is enough to make the killer play.

The optimum midfield set-up is again like that second course on a school subject - it would be harder to pull off right away, best to begin with 101 and master that. Down the line, though, it would hopefully look more like this:


For the sake of example, I picked three players who would suit these three roles. Obviously, you can switch the lanes of the top two midfielders, depending on their preferences or tendencies, or even with regard to how they interact with the particular wingers.

This alignment does a few interesting things that make it much harder to deal with.

Most obviously, it gives the ability to morph from the two-AM-set in the curriculum to the two-DM-set on the fly based on game situation or even the episode of the moment.

In its most basic essence, you want the DM to play simply and quickly on the ball, always be there to disrupt in the space between center circle-top of the area and be able to hit distance shots on frame. We have guys who routinely provide two of these elements, but not the third.

The two-way guy does most of the outlet passing for counters, makes late runs into the box, always stays available for a pass and does possession grunt work but still has the skill for things like slip passes, diagonal crosses and long shots. Since Bradley runs forever and can do damage on offense, he would also be a great choice for the two-way role.

The #10 needs to maintain combo range with his striker, very important. And yes, he definitely also should not be hesitant to let one rip from 20 - sometimes not even necessarily to score. As in ice hockey, sometimes the best defense-opening pass is a shot that forces a rebound. And this player should be a guy who can drop deep and be a pressure valve if needed. Obviously this description could also apply well to Donovan.

When you put this all together, it changes the attacking lanes in a way that multiplies them and makes them more angular, which is harder to defend. It's sorta the difference between a playing on a game board that is square with five straight lanes and playing on a board that is an argyle trapezoid. There are many more paths and options, and now they are almost all lanes that slash into a horizontal grain instead of straight at it.

But it also means more decisions and positional discipline, so all that comes after we get comfortable with the basics.

Greg Seltzer said...

Oh... and the side inhabited by the two lead midfielders could also be tweaked with regards to the particular strengths or weaknesses of the wingbacks playing that day.

Like I said, more decisions for everybody with the tiered midfield arrangement.

Greg Seltzer said...

One defensive aspect I forgot to mention: with the tiered midfield shape, it is much easier for two midfielders on different horizontal plans to trap. On top of that, now one more of your midfielders is generally within trapping partnership distance to an actual defender.

Again, this is all more difficult to deal with and who doesn't love causing turnovers near the stripe?

Matt said...

So would De Jong be the DM in the Dutch setup? Because it seems like Edu could play that role quite well..

SPA2TACU5 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SPA2TACU5 said...

@ Matt,

yes in the Dutch setup both Van Bommel and/or De Jong are the DM's.

Although De Jong has in some friendlies proven he can indeed pass (vs. Brazil) and can be strong on the ball, he's played his DM role during the WC without putting any risk in his passes; never pushing forward and never 'really' passing forward. With Van Bommel (note that Schweinsteiger was the DM/playmaker next to Van Bommel at Bayern) having the same style of controlling rather than taking risks it caused problems for the Dutch team during the WC because the distance to Sneijder (#10) was too large and therefor the supply to him was scarce. Which in turn made him to drop back making the supply to the striker (Van Persie who is not a real striker anyway) too scarce.

But this was done by Van Marwijk because the central defenders are not quick enough and not good enough to play with only one DM in front of them.

After the WC this has been changed because of the absence of in some games Van Bommel, and in others De Jong. They have in those games been replaced by the quite talented Kevin Strootman and more attack minded Ibrahim Affelay; the latter having snown some incredible combinations with Sneijder, Van der Vaart and Van Persie.

In their own country the Dutch team has been axed in the media for playing with such an un-Dutch, 'negative' mindset during the WC'10 even though they reached the final that could've gone either way.

SPA2TACU5 said...

@ Greg

OK this clarifies what you consider to be the classic 4-3-3 but leaves some questions:

- the role of the wingers, in & out of possession: do they track back? do they attack over the wing or cut inside, do they reach the back-line and cross?
- the role of the full/wing backs in possession: do they make forward runs? are they used in build up?
- the role of the #10 in possession: is he a runner or a passer? does he play with his face towards the goal or with his back?
- the role of the central defender (#4): does he move to the midfield in possession? what happens when the opponent plays with two strikers instead of three?
- the role of the striker in possession: is he the static type, back-to-goal? or is he the face forward type that likes to make forward runs?

Greg Seltzer said...

First of all, the Dutch media did not axe the team during World Cup, except for after the final - and even then, not that much.

Secondly... have you considered watching a full Ajax match to understand all these specific positional topics? :)

SPA2TACU5 said...

- I care to differ.

- Yes I have.

Greg Seltzer said...

- Hmm. How much Dutch TV/radio/newspaper/talk show/magazine did you see during World Cup?

- You considered it or you watched it? :D

Matt said...

Seems like you've struck gold, Greg. This could be a series on NSC or, a positional breakdown of responsibilities for key players in the 4-3-3.

Jonathan Wilson turned this stuff into a book...

SPA2TACU5 said...

*feels like gold* :)

@ Greg:
- Although not Dutch media, for instance:

- I've seen quite a few Ajax games.

Greg Seltzer said...

Okay, well, David is a great writer that I greatly respect, but I'd say he's rather cherry-picked sources and exaggerated how far they strayed from the norm here.

I'd also like to point out that A) these Oranje players are not used to playing like the '74 team did, B) they did not play against '74 opponents, C) the 2010 was the coldest World Cup on record, with temps often around freezing, D) they had a deceptively difficult group, where most teams play some chess & E) they scored seven goals in the three games leading to the final, including opening twice inside 18 minutes.

If someone wants to say they went drastically out of their way in final, I will agree with them all day. Nevertheless, there was no great media or fan furor over how they played and nearly all Dutch fans had zero problem with it. They liked it. They would say they were fine with it.

I don't know how much of World Cup David spent in the Netherlands, maybe he was in South Africa. I don't know. But the impression he gives is not what I got standing in the middle of thousands of Dutch people and talking World Cup with them everyday and watching all the media on it. I can't agree with this premise.

SPA2TACU5 said...

and interesting:

Anyway, my questions about the positions still remain to be unanswered...

Greg Seltzer said...

- Honigstein's dateline: South Africa.

- You know I'm not like at personal whim to write a book's worth on call, right? :D

I will get to everything eventually. Patience.