Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What the 2014 Fifa World Cup tells the world - Tiki Taka, Samba are dead and buried.

The 2014 Brazil Fifa World Cup came and went. Germany vanquished all and sundry and made history by becoming the first European country to do in South America. Amongst many firsts and surprises you already know, there was a question of the death of Samba football. Many think it never existed. The claim is that Brazil ever thrived on one many talents (once in a while two or three). The truth of that could be the hosts’ failure to perform without Neymar. The famous 7-1 loss is the tip of that iceberg.  That was supported by Argentina’s lack of sting if Messi got eliminated tactically. In truth, that Argentinian team was below par given an array of talent within the squad. All Germany did, was to eradicate his influence and then pounced and snatched the 2014 World Cup title from under their nose. Enough of the South American disaster.

In this exceptional extravaganza, Tiki Taka football proved dead and buried. When Barcelona failed in the UEFA Champions League and flunked in the L Liga race, alarm bells rang and the flashing lights beaconed. It never made headlines for sentimental reasons, until Spain came and proved the fact. The converted, the believers in the philosophy still think there is life, that it can still be taken to the intensive care unit and be resuscitated. One can be hopeful and claim that Spain were just ‘victory fatigued’.

Barcelona won too much in the last few years, so did Spain. Basically, the two (Barca and Spain) are more or less the same thing. Vicente Del a Bosque lacked motivation. After the 2-10 South Africa Fifa World Cup victory, he should have resigned. The new coach would have inspired the old warhorses. For the glory and employment reasons, he must have stayed, a noble idea. In that case, he should have overhauled that team. Having the World Cup medal, European championship medal, the UEFA Champions League and Club World Cup medal, I would never break a sweat, let alone a leg. Only the foolish would expect that anyway, that is why Spain left early for home.

Italy always present themselves as tough customers in any situation. After the horrible 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa were they were eliminated on the first round, few would bet against their resurgence. They have the quality of Andre Pirlo and Mario Balotelli to name just two. The former champions became the centre of attraction with their football and the discipline and defensive behaviour and pressing of their football godfather, Arrigo Sacchi. The 3-1 loss to Costa Rica embarrassed them, ushering the Azzuri through the shameful exit door for the second World Cup on the trot. It could have been they dwelt much on that, forgot to mould forward movements associated with modern football.

One could argue that Pirlo’s age had adverse effects, but he stood between the Italians and bad defeats many times. One thing best left alone, is the racist Italian football community. Balotelli never got the support of the ball supply needed to make an impact. This is not to say that his blackness had anything to do with it, but with a single quality pass, fortunes could have been changed. One must note that a record equalling 171 goals were scored in Brazil, proving the offensive modern game. Pressing remains the single most important tactic as proven by the champions, Germany.   

English football organisation and preparation proved insufficient. Talent and experience in imbalanced proportions became their downfall. The English Premier League quality came under the microscope. Given the touting as the best league, the team never measured up, neither did any team with a good measure of players plying their trade there. Belgium were one example of a team littered with talent gracing the Backlays English Premier League. They flattered to deceive. Few teams would relish the prospects of facing the team with Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Buckley, Lallana, Bailey and the like. Friendly matches do not demand the best of the teams.

Based on that fact alone, misjudging the capabilities of performance is the biggest setback. That team needed to go through the mill and face adversaries and adversities to mature. Until then, with all the razz mataz of the most watched league in the world, England will remain the laughing stock of the World Cups. Roy Hodgson started an excellent project which I think some else need to take to the next level, and now. One of the best qualities of the Englsih Football Association, is their poor choice of managers. From where I am sitting, they will let Hodgson stick it out, fatally blowing their chances away. As good as he is, he may not have the energy to transmit to the young Three Lions.

African talent counts for nought as maladministration reigns. The worst part of it is that the continent is proud of it. The way the football associations compete to display their folly is mind-boggling. As if that, the duels to portray the incompetence at top level had top prize money, the single mindedness and total focus on self-destruction, generation after generation, cannot be compared with anything in hell or earth. The continent boasts of top athletes in top leagues. These players trade with the best, they compete against the best. To leave their home leagues, they prove to be a cut over the rest. They get exposed to top training methods by the greatest managers of the game. Time and time again, they provide evidence that they can never be intimidated or under-estimated.

All the organisations do, is to prove to them that their overseas statuses mean nothing, that in Africa it is dog eat dog, and if one does not like the heat, they should leave the kitchen. No one is greater than a village donkey and the team listens to one army general, usually the receptionist at the national offices of the association. The lack of understanding that these players need huge insurances in case their careers are compromised, that they need a back-up system to enable them to afford medical treatment and surgery if need be, cause the unnecessary squabbles and in-fighting. The experienced players begin to bully the inexperienced and they pull their weight around. In retaliatory fashion, the young players begin to be selfish for the benefit of their future contracts. The tug-of-war, World Cup after World Cup, leads to one thing and one thing only – embarrassment.

How Fifa does not intervene, I do not know. I guess they do not care as long as Africans skin each other. What should happen, is the sanctions against teams behaving in that manner, for bringing the beautiful game into disrepute. In other words, ban the associations, the leadership and the countries from participating in the next two or three World Cups. By the same token, the ill-disciplined players holding the countries at ransom, should never have their big team contracts sanctioned. Such moves would be serious food for thought, if they affected big brothers in Europe and less so in South America. Probably you could be asking where they would get money and insurance to pay the mega stars. If one leads an organisation and they have no plan, they should leave their jobs. What does it profit an organisation to have a blind tour guide?

Many should have shared the revered blueprint of Germany success. The youth policy whose philosophy leads to national team football, is actually inverse. The national team philosophy is played throughout Bundesliga 6-9 (amateurs) as, of course from Bundesliga 1-5 (professionals). The schools follow the same. Actually, all football is played to produce the cup won on the 13th of July 2014 in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium. Many countries try to do that, but the quantity of perfection is the difference. Few elements add up and the end product is there to see.

We wish to hear your thoughts and we next check on the football trends observed in Brazil.