A slant on the Cup

If you were to ask my family what I know about sport, and football in particular, they would laugh, and they would be right, because I gave up playing soccer when I was 10 years old. However, that doesn’t stop me from having a view on the way the Germans have been playing. I am firmly convinced that what they have been doing has been a matter of set pieces, derived from an incredible amount of research, and a lot of training and discipline. I have listened to the pundits on television, and to the best of my knowledge no one has suggested this. I set myself a problem of how I would approach making a team world champions, and decided that the only way to do it is by analysis and training’

Initially, I would take a number of mathematicians, a vast amount of recorded video of the games of the top teams in the world. These would be carefully examined with respect to defence, and attack. A study of about 10 of each of the best systems would emerge, these would then be analysed, set pieces derived, the players of the Cup team would rehearse them, until they wwere second nature, and then they would be made to play against some of the top teams in the country, and the results of these matches analysed again.

That goal that Germany scored against England, where the goalkeeper kicked the ball the length of the field, almost to the toe of a member of the attack, was not luck, it was a well practiced set piece. In the match with Argentina two of the goals were almost identical, the ball was taken down on the outside, a pretence was made to appear to be attacking goal, but what they were doing was playing back to a man standing on a 10 yard line, in the centre of the field to take the ball and score, with the goalkeeper taken off guard by this system. The fact that it was done twice successfully convinces me it was a set piece. Similarly the goal which was scored from a place kick as a result of a foul, was also a set piece. It is not difficult to engineer a foul in such a way that the opposition are blamed for it. In this case the man taking the kick was not looking at the goal but at the far side of the field, and consequently the Argentineans were also. I believe that that man had practiced that kick time and again so he could do it with his eyes shut, and curl the ball to within feet of his colleague standing in front of goal.

By the same token, it was rare for more than four men to be in the attack, while there would be seven well-versed in positions necessary to form a phalanx that would inhibit any attack. If you can stop the opponents from scoring you have any two to one chance of not being beaten, you will either win, or draw and then be faced with shots at goal. So it is safer to maintain a highly trained defence team with many options of the pattern of where and how they stand or manoeuvre. I am firmly convinced that this is a totally new, and highly technical approach to training a football team. With this in mind it will be interesting to watch the Germans in their next match.

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