Holland have agreed to leave Robin van Persie out of their friendly with Germany after holding talks with Arsene Wenger.
— The Beautiful Game (@iWorldCup) November 13, 2011
Are there always the same takers, or do we have others that can keep up now? Real Madrid, Manchester United, the newly rich from Manchester City, the host of the final, Bayern Munich? Anyone?
Euro 2012: What’s up England, Germany, Netherlands, Italy? Can you do it?
Was it so impossible to lose against Sweden? Not in my opinion. Not that the Swedish ran and played everyone into the ground before, but they are a strong team with lots of abilities, especially when they have nothing to lose. Somehow I am convinced they will look just half as good against the Australian Matildas. Besides that, it was clear from the first game actually, that the favorites might face some stiff resistance in their efforts to go through to the final. The Germans didn’t play like a Champ in their first two games, Brazil didn’t look like they would roll over everyone in the first game as well. And the U.S. already had a good portion of luck in the first game against North Korea. A surprise? Not really.
In my opinion, the competition in women soccer has very much improved and the “smaller” teams are catching up. Norway had to pack up after losing to Australia. Remember, that’s the fist time that Norway didn’t make it beyond the group stages. Some results in the group stages clearly demonstrated that there is a movement in women soccer. The best thing about that, it is great for women soccer.
Sure, as a fan of the U.S. one would prefer to see the others struggling, but wait. The tournament is not over yet. Others might face much worse than losing out on a group game. For example, Brazil. How about that? Brazil going home after the quarterfinal because of the same reasons the U.S. and Germany found themselves in trouble. Some people have created a game fixture not only for the group stages, but also well beyond. It doesn’t work like that in soccer. Every World Cup has its own dynamics and everything is possible. The times that favorites in women soccer go untouched into the semi finals are over. The interesting games, by names, are now happening a round earlier. When the women’s world cup one day starts with the same number of teams like the men, this might even happen two rounds earlier. Get ready for that.
In my opinion, while losing, the U.S. played a great game. They pressured, they created chances, everyone was on top or close to playing on top of their game. Look at poor Amy LePeilbet. I don’t think she played a bad game. What was she supposed to do in that situation that led to the PK? In my opinion she actually did very well and almost got the ball, without creating a clear case for a red card. Yes, it was a red card, just by rule, but in this case she got credit from the referee. What could she do at the second goal? What could anyone do about that second goal? A silly foul that led to the free kick? Keep in mind, we saw a great and fast game by two great teams, fouls happen.
I am not worried about the Brazil game. The Sweden game makes me confident that the U.S. is ready and able to beat Brazil. As a matter of fact, I am sure that the U.S. is going to win. Somehow my common soccer sense tells me the U.S. is the better team. Also, Brazil didn’t have enough trouble yet and I don’t think they can get themselves out of serious trouble such as the U.S. women. We will see.
The German record champ is one of the first addresses in world soccer. Ranked number 5 in the“world ranking for revenue”, the club is interesting for top players as well as for the top coaches in the world.
Last week, Louis van Gaal, a commonly considered top coach in soccer, lost his job in Munich. The press and soccer experts around the world are wondering about the reasons. Louis van Gaal made many mistakes, not only in managing the team, but also in managing the club and its grown structures. It is all his fault, clearly!
Lets look at a few details. Last year the Bayern made it into Champions League Final and lost against Inter Milan. At that time already clear, they need to shore up the defense. Both central defenders and the left full back position should have been reinforced. Van Gaal let it go, despite the fact that the Bayern were willing to spend money. After the World Cup, the real trouble started: The entire team was at the World Cup, for Germany, France and the Dutch. A real good preparation for the season was not possible. Van Gaal laid that out, and he was right. Until the team was getting back in some kind of normal form, the half of the season was over. Most important for the club, Bayern was not in the top five and had to struggle to keep up and put themselves into Champions League qualifying position. At that time, while completely underestimating and disregarding competition and valuable resources, van Gaal got the glorious idea to shape the team for the next season. Butt out of goal and Kraft in. Sold Demichelis, the better of the two central defenders, and let van Bommel go to AC Milan. All these actions, as expected, went straight into the pants, as the Germans say. Butt, who was mandatory for Bayern’s and van Gaal’s strategy, had to watch from the sideline how the young Kraft was overwhelmed with the tasks at hand. Many mistakes in the traditional goalie game, and hopelessly “under equipped” to support the Bayern strategy of keeping the ball and use the goalie to do so. Letting van Bommel go, with his experience and leadership abilities, comes close to a beginner mistake. If one wants to put numbers to just those two mistakes, those cost the Bayern five to six points at least, since the winter break. Add those to the current points, and van Gaal would still be in charge. You can go on and consider the dynamics that are created by such actions, and you have another 3 or 4 points.
Much more ridiculous, van Gaal managed to p… off the entire management “high society” at Bayern. Unlike other top clubs, were management has no clue about the game and just throws money out to buy players, at Bayern, everyone in charge knows everything about the game on the field and off the field. If, as a coach, you don’t take advantage of such resources, you are either stupid or you lost the ground under your feet. Van Gaal is not stupid.
One can charge management for not putting an end to this earlier, but you can also give them credit for letting the coach do his thing. Considering everything on the table, I find this worth to give them credit. As a coach, where do you find that kind of opportunity? A big club, money to buy players and incredible resources in management that help you do the job. All you need to do is manage a “rose garden”. Van Gaal failed to do so.