Friday, June 30, 2006

World Cup Dream

I don't remember the exact sequence of events. During the dream the light outside was as in early morning or late evening. Best as I can remember, first me and this group of women who I've heard "do" as in "I do" with me, about 20-30 of them, were playing soccer...we were a family...I remember two of the women specifically, a tall busty blonde I saw at a local bar re whom I heard that "she does" (the Frosty's/Lincoln girl), and a short black haired beauty who came on to me when she was too young for me, the "Myrtle St girl", re whom I've heard that "she does".

The person defending this local tall busty blonde lady in a soccer game fell down, I passed her the ball, it was a perfect pass, the ball led her perfectly, not too high, not too low, I immediately sent the ball to the person who should be passed to, her, not someone else. This was near 55th St. Hyde Park Chicago where I grew up, by the bridge that runs over 55th near the Co-op, we were playing an informal game on 55th St. In my mind was the thought that the USA gave up on economic nationalism because of some war the USA lost, we had become like a poor Latin nation and China had become rich like we used to be, but, hey we were still alive.

Then we were in a stadium at the World Cup, these women in this family that was me and them, were having a rough wrestling match in the stands, someone videotaped it, I was thinking we must have gotten 20 seconds of quality video out of the fighting.

Then a soccer team composed of me and these women was playing Mexico, in a World Cup stadium, in front of the big crowd. The lighting was dim, the ground was uneven, preventing me from doing some slick things, some of my dribbling runs were successful for several yards but ended with me losing the ball or having to pass, I had to be all over the field, being the best player on my team. I remember putting on a wall pass combination with one of the women on my team that had a quick little Mexican defender running here and there while we retained possession of the ball. But the score held at 0-0. Alot of the women on my team were stocky and or busty but they were fast and quick. For some reason we were Argentina, or like Argentina, or thought of as Argentina, because one of the women on our team resembled the legendary big bust star "Titanic Tina"...I was thinking to myself what great people tomboy women are...

While we were playing Mexico, I could hear this song playing, from what was kind of a golden age in the USA that gave rise to all kinds of musical expression. The song was, "Still in love with you" by Al Green ( ).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Offenses in Second Half of Italy 1 Australia 0 World Cup Game

4805 italy chance

5001 Italian Materazzi sent off, with red card, henceforth Italy will have to play with only 10 men to Australia's 11 men. The ESPN announcer felt that the red card was unwarranted. Bresciano was dribbling towards the goal, Materazzi slid in, slide tackle, ball went over his outstretched foot, Bresciano of AUS tripped over his outstretched foot.

5329 Italy opportunity to initiate aerial dribble

since the Italian was ejected, the Aussies have been getting even more time and space close to the Italy goal. The Aussies get more time and space closer to the opponent's goal, than any team I have seen in this 2006 World Cup.

5750 AUS missed chance

5805-5815 aus chances

5935-5950 aus chances

Ever since the Italian was ejected, most of the game has been in the Italian half of the field.

6320 Italy misses on pass

6430 AUS with time and space lofts long pass to Italy goalie

6850 aus misses on cross

6915 aus time space

7250 aus efforts on offense

7330-7340 aus off

7522 italian indiv dribbling attempt

7610-30 great play air dribble by italian

7744 aus misses shot

7820 aus offense attempt

7915-40 aus offense

8020 aus corner kick, cahill misses about ten feet high over crossbar on header, then grabs his head in frustration. Every time these guys head the ball, and miss, they hold their head in frustration as if it was almost a goal, what bad luck, but they very rarely actually score on these headers. At the same time much of the soccer world is very intolerant regarding efforts that do not involve crosses in and headers, when these efforts fail, their whole attitude is that wasn't anywhere near getting a goal. Whereas in reality, these efforts that do not involve crosses and headers are at least as effective as the cross and header approach. The difference is that in the cross and header one can see that obviously the ball ended up moving fast somewhere near the goal. With the other approaches, you get situations such as if this defender 40 yds from the goal had been beaten it would have set in motion a chain of events leading to a goal, yet such is not obvious or understood in the eyes of the simpletons. Alot of these problems have to do with catering to the opinions of simpletons as opposed to the opinions of the wise.

8325-35 aus tons of time and space,

8430 aus fails on cross in.

8450-8510 aus off

8625 italy off effort

8830-8930 aus efforts end with aus player Cahill missing on bicycle kick, he completely missed the ball but the espn announcer was ecstatic about it.

9120-30 aus offense

9146-9212 italian offensive efforts

9244 italian fouled on dribble in penalty area by aus. Italy scores on penalty kick.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Offenses in Second Quarter of Italy 1 Australia 0 World Cup Game

2516 Italian mis-pass???-- Italian Perrotta, had Australian 6 yds behind him, and two AUS players one 6 yds in front of him, the other 8 yds in front of him, he was 40 yds from the AUS goal, in the middle of the field, a team-mate 10 yds to his left passed him a nice easy roller; he was facing to the middle of the field when he got the ball then he turned to face the AUS goal. I myself in this situation would have been sorely tempted to flip the ball in the air and start a forward air-dribble, keeping the ball off the ground but under control as I moved forward. Perrotta moved forward with the ball a couple of yds slowly, moved as if he was going to chip pass it forward, moved forward another couple of yds slowly, the man behind was still not on him, he then actually did chip the ball forwards attempting to hit a team-mate 20 yds away from him to his left and in front of him on the front line of the Australia penalty box. His chip was low and intercepted by an Aussie. In the area that he passed to there were 3 Aussies and 3 Italians, plus on the left side of the field there was an Aussie 10 yds away from this 3 on 3 group, and near Perrotta there were 3 Aussie defenders. After Perrotta passed his intercepted pass he began jogging towards the goal as if his supposed idea was that the pass recipient might get it back to him.

I felt here Perrotta was tired and or trying to keep out of trouble with the simpletons. What we had here, was that in the area of this Italian offensive attempt, there were 7 Australians and 4 Italians. This in the context that the Italians had been looking less fit than the Australians, seemed the Australians had been dining on broiled fish and tangerine juice whereas the Italians had been subsisting on wine and pasta with meat sauce. In this kind of situation I would have felt that the thing for me to do were I in Perrotta's shoes, would be to gamble, get the ball in the air, air-dribble in the general direction of the AUS goal, and hope that something unpredictable lucky and fortunate happens. I am convinced that forward air dribbling often produces lucky, fortunate, unpredictable results that surprise the defense. What you need in a 4 offense players vs 7 defenders type situation, is luck, and surprise.

2919 AUS chance chipperfield drills air ball right at goalie, it would have been easy for me to air dribble ball to left a little before shooting--there was a cluster of Italians and Australians gathered 12 yds in front of the Italy goal, waiting for an air ball to descend to them. Luckily for Chipperfield the air ball bounced out of the group in his direction he was to the left of this cluster of Italians and Australians. The ball was moving slowly from Chipperfield's right to Chipperfield's left about 5 yds in front of Chipperfield as Chipperfield charged it, he reached it after it bounced once and sent in a Wheaties Box Photo style shot, jumping in the air to shoot it when it was about two feet above the ground, and 12 yds from the Italy goal. He fired a bouncer directly at the goalie, the goalie fumbled it for a moment and grabbed on to it before an Aussie could get it away from him. Had the Aussie gotten there a tenth of a second earlier, he could have hit it back to Chipperfield who could have scored on the rebound.

In this situation had I been in Chipperfield's shoes I would have been tempted to air dribble the ball forward at least a couple of yds before doing something with it, I would then have a better shot on the goalie--and I would have the option of lobbing it in 10 yds for the fellow Aussie who almost got the ball away from the goalie after he stopped the shot. A goalie is more than a symbolic presence, a goalie is a real presence, a presence to be respected and to be taken seriously, goalies are hard to beat. And though the 12 yards in front of the goal looks like a short distance from the point of view of the camera at midfield, twelve yards, 36 feet, can look like from here to eternity, from the right angle, it is a signficant distance, a few but not most of us have the gift of being able to shoot long distance shots well.

3110 Australian player Culina buries Australian team-mate Bresciano in right corner with two Italians right on top of him. What is the point of this?--Culina had ball 55 yds from Italy goal on right side, nearest Italian 6 yds away. There were 3 Australians, one on the left side of the field, one in the middle, and one on the right (Bresciano), lined up on what is called in American tackle football the 35 yd line, they were all approximately on the line that runs from the point on the right sideline 35 yds from the right corner, to the point on the left sideline 35 yds from the left corner. On this line also were 4 Italians, and then 2 Italians in the general vicinity of Culina. The Ausralians were outnumbered 6 to 4 in this situation, against the very strong Italian defense. The Australian on the right on the 35 yd line, Bresciano, began running forward and towards the right sideline, chased by the Italian marking him and another Italian also because Culina telegraphed to the Italians that he was about to pass towards the right sideline. A very simple pass and he can't get it off without telegraphing to the Italians that such is what he is about to do. Culina passed the ball to this streaking fellow Australian and this Australian who got the ball got buried in the right corner of the field, stripped of the ball, Italians retained possession.

Seemed this whole Austalian Culina passes to Bresciano play was set up like an American tackle football pass, one Australian began running on a diagonal forward and to his right and the other Australian passed to him, as if it was a set premeditated play--but what a brainless set premeditated play. 4 Australians vs 6 Italians, and the choice is to bury an Australian in the corner with two Italians right on top of him. The better play would have been, for Culina to hit the fellow Australian in front of him in the middle of the field 30 yds from the Italy goal with a pass, then run at this guy he hit with the pass, have the guy hit it back to him, then Culina would have the option of getting the ball easily in the air as he ran towards it, or keeping it on the ground as he continued the forward dribble towards the Italian goal. The man who passed it to Culina would after passing run forward making himself a target for Culina's next pass.

3130-3220 AUS off
3148 Wilkshire, midfielder of Australia, got ball left middle of field, directly in front of left outside corner of Italy penalty box, 35 yds from Italian goal. Nearest Italian was 8 yds in front of him. He dribbled forward slowly then passed a roller 10 yds in front of himself to an Australian running from the middle of the field to the left of the field, the Australian passed back to Wiltshire there was nothing else he could do. Wiltshire got the ball back, but now the Italian defender was right on top of him pressuring him, the passing exchange had not improved his field position, he was in almost the same position he was before he passed and got it back, still 35 yds from the Italy goal. Under pressure, he passed into the middle behind an Australian, the Australian retreated to get the ball, this Australian passed to a man on the right even further away from the Italian goal than he was as the retreat continued. Now an Australian Culina had the ball, 50 yds from the Italy goal, whereas this incident started off with Wiltshire having time and space 35 yds from the Italy goal.

This imitate-England style passing back and forth with short passes, here accomplished much less than nothing, what the imitators fail to realize is that when England engages in such short passing they do not do it for sport, or because it looks elegant, they derive advantages out of it. You could also say that here Australia was imitating Brazil, Brazil often paradoxically goes on long slow retreats featuring passes here and there. However Brazil is a team that can gain advantage from eating up large amounts of time, it is a team that excels at retaining possession f the ball, it is a team that produces lots of goal scoring opportunities for itself, it is a team that is often ahead, it is an unusual team, it is the number one ranked team in the world, compared to #44 ranked Australia, which here was taking on one of the best defenses in the world.

Anyway to continue the narration of the incident, the Australian Culina under pressure passed backwards yet again to an Australian near the midfield line, 60 yds from the goal, compare this to Wiltshire having had the ball time and space 35 yds from the Italian goal. Australia then passed the ball around near the midfield line, one of them then sent in a pass into the middle that went straight to an Italian, Australia retained possession.

The problem here was that Wilkshire looked like he was desperate to be blameless in the eyes of simpletons. To have the ball time and space 35 yds from the goal of a team with a strong defense such as Italy, is not an opportunity to be wasted. Had I been in Wilkshire's shoes I would have been tempted to commence a forward air dribble. There was an open Australian in the center of the field 20 yds from the Italy goal, the ground pass to this man was blocked, but had he the skill Wilkshire could have gotten the ball up in the air and chipped it to this open man, then run forward looking for a rebound. There were 4 Italian defenders and only 3 Australians in the middle of the field. In such situations one should attempt to create situations that result in surprising lucky outcomes, outcomes that create situations different from the typical situations Italy's strong defense has handled well in the past. Then again I might have taken a shot at simply attempting to beat the Italian defender on the ground dribble.

I really feel gifted on the ground dribble, I can always feel this ground dribbling gift in my left leg and foot, even as I sit here and write. This is the annoying thing, what I am really good at is the old fashioned ground dribble attack, but in order to put it into practice, I have to spend an hour getting to the game, a couple of hours playing, an hour getting back, and what do I get? People who I am ten times as good as, not passing me the ball, vilifying me if I dribble, low quality opposition, touch the ball four times in four hours, thus I drill by myself instead. But that is what I am really good at, approaching the defender with the ball on my left foot, the ball on the ground, and beating him with the ball on the ground.

At this point one might ask, why attack when the defenders outnumber the players on offense anyway. In answer, first of all, what happened in these situations is that although the players on offense were outnumbered they went ahead and attacked anyway. The alternatives I have proposed to what they did, likewise involve outnumbered attack. Teams attack when outnumbered, because the advantage of waiting for team-mates to catch up, can be outweighed by defenders rushing back to help out on defense, because the players on offense, cannot see these defenders who rush back to help out because they are looking in the direction of the opposing team's goal.

3258 Italy's striker Toni, 12 yds in front of Australia goal, got a long air pass sailing at him from 30 yds away, from in front of him and to his right as his back faced the Australian goal. The ball was somewhat inaccurately passed, Toni had been facing the Australian goal, he had to turn around and chest the ball because the pass was underled. Toni did a fine job of chesting the ball to his left while keeping it airborn, swiveling counter clockwise with his body and kicking the ball with his right foot but he kicked it into an Australian defender who was marking him. The defender did a good job of courageously blocking the shot without getting himself hurt. If Toni here had headed the ball forward and to his right a couple of yards after his fine chest trap ( the ball bounced off his chest to a point above his head to his left), he would have been moving in the direction he was already moving, whereas he would have caught the Australian moving towards him, as opposed to in the direction he was moving. These Australian defenders are good their existence is more than symbolic, one has to assume they will be there to block shots, no matter how good the trap that precedes the shot.

These are both tough defenses. It is the kind of game that turns people off of soccer. Both offenses are failing. Yet it seems much of the soccer world rejects every innovation for offense.

3708 nice head pass attempt by Australia Captain Viduka.

Australia makes pretty plays, but their passes are always off to the extent that nothing comes of it, not even a convincing shot on goal. These pretty plays, time after time, featuring a pass that is off to the extent that the end result is unimpressive, might impress the simpleton that does not mean these plays are wise. If Australia lacks the passing accuracy necessary to execute these pretty plays, which appear to be imitations of the higher ranked teams, it should resort to some other kind of offensive methods. The fact these pretty plays are a fairly accurate replica of what is done by the high ranked teams, does not mean they are wise approaches to the problem of scoring goals for Australia.

3730 Australia opportunity

3945 ITALY opportunity

Italy is not getting much time and space with the ball, tightly marked by AUS, not getting ball near Australia goal much.

4335 australia's chipperfield gets ball time space

4345 australia offense long pass attempt

4411 Australia offense, their Captain Viduka in middle, his back to the Italy goal, 30 yds from the Italy goal, got ground pass, there was an unmarked Australian in front and to the left of Viduka, jogging towards a spot where there was no Italian, Viduka could have set this team-mate up with a ground or a chip pass, if I was this team-mate I would have loved to have had Viduka set me up with a head high pass or a bouncer in this empty spot in the middle of the field just 30 yds away from the Italian goal. Man, I could have then easily air dribbled off the header 10 yds in the air, then maybe 5 yds on a bounce, there would be just one Italian to beat for me.

4435 australia offense--ball was crossed in by Wiltshire to the Australian forward, I think it was Cahill, just 6 yds in front of the Australia goal. Cahill(?) had two Italians bigger and stronger than him right on top of him, he was sandwiched in between them, he missed the ball and the Italian behind him headed it out, the ESPN announcer started shouting about how "Australia nearly punched in the first goal of this match". These cross and header plays are over-rated. Again, the simpleton sees importance in balls moving at high velocity near the goal, but fails to see the importance of say how a defender getting beat on the dribble 35 yds from the goal could set up a goal.

4445 australia offense-- Culina had ball time and space, nearest Italian at least 10 yds away, 45 yds from Italy goal on right side. He sent in the stereotypical Aussie pass to the right wing Strijovski, who under pressure, marked, crossed the ball in, a hard line drive to an Australian 15 yds from the Italy goal, to the right of the Italy goal, who had his back to the Italy goal, and a big strong Italian right on his back. The Italian headed the ball away. The target of this pass from Strijovki was in an almost impossible situation, the line drive pass would have been tough to handle even if it had been accurate. Strijovksi would have done better had he passed it to another Australian, who was in the right middle area of the field, 25 yds from the Italy goal, jogging towards an empty spot in the Italian defense. Also when Culina at the beginning of this incident had passed to the right sideline, he had a man open in the right middle area, if he had hit this man in the middle, and led him well, this man could have scooted easily into the Italy penalty box with the ball. Seems Australia brainlessly, robotically, passes to players near the sideline in tough situations, far from the goal, while at the same time missing opportunities to hit players open in the middle, this in a game against a tough Italian defense that has to be penetrated in the middle if goals are to be scored.

Relevant Statistics

As of June 28 2006, Italy was ranked 4th out of 36 World Cup teams in defense.


@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Offenses in First Quarter of Italy 1 Austalia 0 World Cup Game

054-130 aus offense Culina, Grilla, Wiltshire, Chipperfield, passed ball to each other, all had time and space 40 yds from Italy goal. Grella got ball with nearest Italian 8 yds away. Wiltshire got it right in the middle, ball rolling to him on ground from side, nearest Italian 7 yds away. Chipperfield got ball 30 yds from Italy goal in left middle area. These players all passed the ball away as soon as they got it. This particular drive ended with a weak header by Cahill.

A man gets the ball 35 yds from the Italy goal, with the nearest defender 7 yds away, time and space, ball rolling obediently towards him, and all he can come up with is to pass the ball away like a hot potato immediately? Does not compute. If the nearest defender is 8 yds away and giving you time, this means that if you pass the ball immediately, you are going to be putting team-mates in a tough situation, because since the defender is not right on top of you, he and his team-mates are better able to gang up on your team-mates.

game starts out with both teams exchanging the stereotypical fruitless headers off crosses.

340-400 aus off efforts

345 AUS captain Viduka gets ball left side 25 yds from Italy goal, with his back to the Italy goal, an Italian right behind him, on top of him. As he faced away from the Italy goal, a fellow Australian began running towards a spot to his left, where there was a huge gap in the Italy line. Viduka could have just put the ball in the area of this spot, so as to allow the Australian sprinting towards him to grab the ball then dribble shoot or pass. Instead Viduka attempted to turn with the ball, moving counter-clockwise right shoulder swinging towards the middle of the field. The turn was time consuming, by the time he finished it, a second Italian was there to strip the ball, and 4 Italians were within 5 yds of him, while no Australians were within 5 yds of him. In other words he got buried in Italians, ended up a truly hopeless case.

610-30 aus efforts
606 AUS player gets ball 50 yds from Italy goal, on right nearest Italian 12 yds away, easy rolling ball from middle. He, this Australian player, scooted down the right sideline for approx 20 yds, then retreated the ball all the way to a defender at midfield. The AUS who got it had no Italian near for 15 yds, he passed into the middle to a guy who had an Italian right on top of him, this guy immediately kicked it to a nearby Australian with an Italian right on top of him, who handled a difficult situation excellently by immediately swiveling and passing to the right, threading the needle between two Italians with the pass, there an AUS immediately pushed it out to an AUS on the right wing. The AUS on the right wing burrowed into the corner, under pressure sent in a weak off target cross headed away by an Italian. This combination of passing the ball away immediately to a tightly covered man when you have lots of time and space yourself, combined with a total lack of attack down the middle, combined with obsessively moving the ball to the wing on the sideline, combined with the wing on the sideline getting into trouble burrowing into the corner--it might impress the fat 6th grader, but I don't see how it is going to result in a goal against a defense as strong as Italy's.

650 italy offense effort Gelardino, did nice job of dribbling down cutting back under pressure, but then when he should have sent a short 5 yd pass to a team-mate he attempted to dribble through two AUS got the ball stripped.

825-845 aus offense
833 AUS player in middle of field 50 yds from Italy goal with clear sailing straight ahead, immediately passed to wing on right sideline. The wing on the sideline under pressure sent in a short pass to an AUS who got the ball in an impossible situation with an Italian right on top of him. This kind of play might save you from getting spanked by the stupid teacher but it will not score goals vs Italy.

934 aus offense AUS player Bresciano got ball 30 yds from Italy goal left middle area, as he faced the middle of the field--it came to him on a bounce, bounced off his thigh, he immediately grounded it, and crossed it into Tim Cahill, who had two Italians both bigger and stronger than him right on top of him. The pass was over Cahill's head but even if it had gotten to Cahill it would have merely put Cahill in an impossible situation. Bresciano had a chance to move forward with the ball, in the direction of the Italy goal he had 12 yds of clear sailing, but he came to a stop and sent a well telegraphed pass into an impossible situation. Coaches have to realize part of team-work, is doing a little dribbling so as to free up team-mates.

Nobody has scored a goal against Italy the entire world cup, sez espn announcer.

1145 italian off effort

1254 aus player overled on long pass by 5 yds. USA, England, AUS, they all like to resort to these long passes to streaking forwards, they always overlead on the passes by 5 yds. There could have been a goal here if the pass was not overled. Note of wisdom: if you are going to depend on long passes, then make sure you have the ability to hit these passes accurately.

australia getting plenty of time and space when they have the ball 40-50 yds from the Italy goal.

australia starts out looking like the better team.

1425 italian dribble offensive effort, ended with 4 Italians and 6 Australians around 25 yds from Australia's goal, the Italian dribbler's passing options were cut off by the plethora of Australians, the ball was taken by an AUS defender. In this situation, if the Italian had the ball in the air, Italy would have had a big chance because the Italian would have been able to chip it over the Australians to an open forward. As it was all his possible passes were cut off because the ball was rolling on the ground. These tough defenses are beaten by getting the ball in the air and chipping the passes over the defenders, but the World Cuppers are apparently trained to ground balls instead of getting them up in the air. Note of Wisdom: if the defending team has been stifling ground attacks, resort to getting the ball in the air. If it has been stifling aerial attacks, resort to putting the ball on the ground. The tough Italian and Australian defenses have been stifling ground attacks, yet neither the Australian offense nor the Italian offense has resorted to aerial attacks, maybe they are simply incapable of the kind of aerial attacks I dream of, as a person who can consistently sprint 15 yds keeping the ball off the ground but under control.

Italy plays more like the Latins and AUS plays like USA, I decided Australia was like the USA before I heard the ESPN announcer declare such to be the case.

1700 time space for Chipperfield again, he got the ball with no Italian within 12 yds when he was 50 yds from the goal, sent a telegraphed and well read pass backwards to a man who ended up with an Italian right on top of him, this guy passed it even further back again as the Australian retreat continued, these maneuvers accomplished nothing, maybe Chipperfield was tired.

1715 aus offensive efforts Viduka got the ball left outside corner of penalty box, with back to Italy goal, did his trademark slow successful turnaround which as usual resulted in defenders all over him, then he had to get rid of ball with a short pass, the defender on top of him shifted over to the pass recipient, stripped ball from Australian.

1749 AUS conservative play on air ball-- Then a ball bounced out, slow, easy to handle, in the air, in direction of AUS player who was facing Italy goal 25 yds away from him. He had a chance to move a few yds on the air dribble, set up something surprising and lucky, he just volleyed a weak shot in right away to an Italian defender. I do not see how you can score against Italy without some air dribbling ability, playing so conservatively, not trying to set up situations which a certain amount of the time result in surprising, unusual, positive developments. Look at it this way. The Italian defense has not given up a goal the entire tournament. The usual type of stuff has been thrown at them. Therefore time to do things that result in unusual outcomes.

1800 italian chip-- Italian in middle, facing AUS goal 40 yds away, got ball gently rolling towards him with AUS player 4 yds away. The ball came to the Italian from his right, an AUS defender chased it down from the Italian's left, the Italian could have cut to his left catching the defender moving in the wrong direction, but moved with the ball in the same direction the defender was running. Under pressure this Italian Perrotta chipped into the middle straight ahead, it was the kind of chip pass I would like to get lofted ahead of me, but it was overled.

1900 AUS player in middle with time and space, 45 yds from Italian goal, got easy bounce pass from side, hit it with thigh, trapped it, dribbled a few yds, shot from 30 yds right into other team. He had a chance to initiate an aerial dribble moving forward and to his right. Sure such an aerial dribble would be moving away from the center of the field but the great thing about balls in the air is that you are able to hit them in practically any direction no matter which direction you yourself are going.

Aus not only getting ball time and space close to italy, also AUS has been getting chances to pass to players who would have time and space near the Italy goal, but has been neglecting to make us of these chances. The game AUS played previous to this one, in that game again they were getting the ball time and space fairly close to the other team's goal

1952 Italy has scoring chance italian hesitated on his charge of an air ball shot straight at goalie--as Gilardino jogged towards the AUS goal, in middle of field, 15 yds from AUS goal, luckily a lobbed ball, well headed by another Italian Luca Toni came right at him. The other Italian Toni headed the ball 15 feet in the air and 3 yds backwards, he sort of headed it from a spot 12 yds from the Australian goal to a spot 15 yds from the Australian goal. As Gilardino approached the ball, instead of charging into it and taking it with his foot thigh or head, and then doing something, perhaps air dribbling a couple of yds with it, he slowed down as he approached the ball, allowed it to bounce before he reached it, chested it, and then before it hit the ground lept in the air to volley it Wheaties box photo style right at the AUS goalie. Since he slowed down when he approached the ball, the defender behind him was able to catch up to him and pressure him. If he had run straight into the ball without slowing down, and air dribbled a couple of yds before doing the next thing, he would have been in position to pass it back to Toni, or to shoot in a less pressured more natural fashion compared to shooting with the his body in the air, body parallel to the ground. Getting the ball in the air is not the same thing, young man, as getting the body in the air. I know that I could have in this situation easily charged the ball air dribbled at least a couple of yds and then shot or passed back to Toni who was dangerously open. The AUS man in front of Gilardino had fallen down and was lying on the ground throughout this incident! I have often seen these World Cuppers slow down as they approach such air balls, which surprises me.

2045 italian chance-- Italian, 20 yds from AUS goal, in the middle of the field, with his back to the AUS goal, got a line drive pass from 20 yds away, trapped it with his chest. It bounced in front of him and to his left. After it bounced he could have charged it with his thigh or foot and moved with it in some interesting direction, instead he let it bounce yet again! By this time his body was awkwardly too close to the ball, the AUS defender was encroaching on him, and he kicked it in a pass attempt into a second AUS defender. This Italian could have charged the ball after its first bounce and headed diagonally towards the Australian goal and to his right, towards the right wing corner of the field with the ball on the air dribble. True this would be heading away from the center of the field but amazing things can be done with air balls in terms of directional changes.

ESPN announcer sez Italians one of most glamorous soccer squads in world

2120-30 aus offense chances-- Chipperfield of AUS as usual got the ball with plenty of time and space on the left side of the field 45 yds from Italy goal. He had time and space to mount a ground or air dribble towards the Italy goal. Instead he raced down the left sideline, got the ball stolen, got it back, kicked it to a team-mate, the team-mate hit it in to Australian Captain Viduka, who was to the left of the Italy goal 15 yds from the Italy goal with his back to the Italy goal and a man right on top of him. Viduka as usual turned around with the ball, yet again succeeding in maintaining control of it, he did this by rolling it to his right with his right foot while turning to face the goal so the ball was then on his left foot. But by this time Italians were swarming all over him, three of them were right on top of Captain Viduka and he lost the ball. This passing the ball to some team-mate who has his back to the other team's goal, a defender right on top of him and also does not have the skill to get the ball in the air into the aerial dribble when turning with it, might keep you from getting spanked by the dumb teacher but it does not score goals against Italy.

2150 Italy has scoring chance, good offensive play, good play by goalie also.

The mind boggling thing, is, how can AUS get the ball with time and space close to the opposing goal so often, and yet so rarely even come close to scoring a goal.

The Australians appear to be some kind of imitation of the better teams, they try to finish off their offensive attempts the way the other teams try to finish them off, but they lack the individual finishing skills of the teams they imitate. They have to come to realize, that in skill and ability they differ from the teams they are imitating, and so therefore they need to develop their own unique style of finishing. By finishing I mean, the actual shot on goal and the pass leading to this shot on goal. What AUS looks like, is a bunch of schoolkids whose primary concern is to look good in the eyes of a stupid teacher who wants them to look like the leading emulated teams of the soccer world.

AUS makes mistakes such as passing to the wrong man, shooting when they should be dribbling or passing, passing or shooting when they should mount some kind of individual air dribbling or ground dribbling attack. It is the same old story you see with so many World Cup teams, they are unable to air dribble the ball even a few yards, even though they get plenty of opportunities to initiate such air dribbles. By air dribbling I mean moving with the ball while keeping the ball off the ground yet under control--this could involve the ball bouncing once occasionally also.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Monday, June 26, 2006

Snobs Deride Soccer for not involving thumbs, being dangerous

I have some suggestions for the soccer deriding authors of "Nil, Nil The nihilism of soccer: The more you look, the less there is to see" ( ), Frank Cannon & Richard Lessner, who call themselves "consultants":

1) Start a national thumbsucking league (NTSL).

2) Recruit a bunch of self-professed "born-agains" into the Thumbsucking Teams they will be the stars.

3) award a point to a team every time the thumb is taken out and put back in, then there will be lots of points and excitement.

4) start an American Thumb-nosing Conference. The thumb-nosing teams can compete make sure each team scores at least a thousand points a game so the games are interesting

5) Create a sport in which the size of the head is a decided advantage, such as the World Headball League featuring players who must keep the body immobile and can only use the head to propel a ball here and there.

6) Make sure that the helmets worn in the World headball League are standardized to a certain tight fit and thickness so that the Headball players with big heads will have an advantage.

7) Ban all sports in which there is any danger of physical injury as contrary to human instinct

8) Hold a Coward of the Year Contest, give million dollar prizes to the most cowardly cowards, praise them as classic representatives of human instinct.

The simple minded can only find very obviously important events to be significant, similarly, some people who soccer because of the low scores achieved by the teams. The discerning however note the difference between given degrees of getting close to scoring goals thus all kinds of events aside from scoring a goal are significant and interesting to them.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

England Offense in 1-0 Victory over Ecuador


028 England's carrick had time space 50 yds from ecuador goal, ball bounced to him as he faced the ecuador goal, nearest ecuadorean was 10 yds away, carrick slowly dribbled forward, passed down right sideline, man offsides.

110 cole run, he tried to dribble right through 3 ecuadoreans, something even a hot dog ball hog such as myself would not attempt. The ref and the announcer thought he was fouled. It did seem that the defender #4 Delacruz, sort of pretended to be playing the ball but was playing the body. It also seemed that after Cole nudged the ball to his right, he simply ran straight forward into the defender, which makes it seem Cole himself was playing the man not the ball. If I nudged the ball to my right, and then run straight forward into the defender, I would be surprised if the defender was called for a foul.

145-200 england offense spurt-- Beckham got rolling ball approx 35 yds from Ecuador goal on left side of the field; it was rolling towards him and to his left as he faced Ecuador goal. the nearest Ecuadorean was seven yds away, he had clear sailing if he headed straight forward towards the Ecuador end line. He immediately crossed it in to a spot where there were 3 Ecuadoreans and 1 English. The Ecuadorean mis-headed the ball but Ecuador retained posession. This is a situation where I had I been in Beckham's place, would have been tempted to start an air dribblestraight forward, and then try to swerve inwards with the ball or cross in a surprising confusing cross kicking a possibly airborne ball--There was no Ecuadorean in the area of the line running from Beckham straight towards the Ecuador endline. I would have also been tempted to do some ground dribbling, dribble forward, then turn and face the defender freezing him, then beat him. I am not sure caving in to such temptations would have been worse than what Beckham did. In the general area where Beckham passed the ball there were 5 Ecuadoreans and only 4 English, The Ecuadoreans were right on top of the English where the ball went to, approx 20 yds directly in front of the Ecuador goal.

400-420 england offensive spurt, lots of short passes close to ecuador goal. Englander Beckham got ball 50 yds from Ecuador goal, ball rolled slowly towards him as he faced the Ecuador goal, nearest Ecuadorean 10 yds away. Beckham passed down the right sideline about 20 yds forward. The forward passed it back, Beckham passed short into the midddle, there was another pass short to the middle, Lampard got the ball in the middle 30 yds from the Ecuador goal. Lampard nudged it forward 10 yds to Rooney overled Rooney, good ideas but closing pass was overled.

700 ecuador does short slow forward air dribble after whistle

823 england offense -- Carrick gets ball time and space nearest Ecuadorean 10 yds away, 50 yds from Ecuador goal. He passed forward 15 yds to an Englander facing him, and facing away from the Ecuador goal. This Englander used his right foot, to pass the ball behind his back to the middle of the field, his hot-dog pass underled his fellow Englander, Ecuador got the ball. This hot dog Englander, 25 yds from the Ecuador goal and in the middle of the field, had clear sailing in front of him, in the direction of the Ecuador goal, there was a huge gap in the Ecuador line. He could have somehow gotten the ball moving towards the Ecuador through this huge gap in the Ecuador line.

900 beckham long 50 yd pass to rooney in the middle, Rooney was 20 yds from Ecuador goal. Ball was overled again by about five yards. ball bounced in front of Rooney as he chased it. Rooney was in the kind of situation I find myself in all the time when I air dribble the ball forward at a sprint in drills. Seems England has caught some kind of virus from the USA, as a result of which they overlead all their long passes by about five yards.

1025 big off chance for ecuador tenorio off crossbar--due to weird occurrences, England defender 35 yds from England goal, mis-headed the ball, the ball in a 30 foot high lob went to a spot 20 yds from the England goal where Tenorio got it with nobody near him. Tenorio instead of charging the air ball, did what I have seen a few other world cuppers do this 2006 World Cup--he slowed down as he approached the air ball so as to catch it with his foot, as opposed to speeding into it and getting it with his head or his thigh. He then grounded the ball immediately like a good little boy, dribbled about five yds in, and wound up to blast a Wheaties Box photo style shot (put that man on the cover of Wheaties!). Though he shot from 10 yds in front of the England goal, he wound up as if it was really important to blast it with all his might. This gave Ashley Cole the chance to race back slide in and deflect the ball. Tenorio here essentially had to deal with a lob that went 30 feet high in the air and 15 yards horizontally. Things look intimidatingly difficult on television, but carefully calibrating the vertical and horizontal distances involved, I realize that I easily deal with balls similar to this one Tenorio faced, when I drill sprinting forward while air dribbling the ball, because I sometimes kick the ball too high and too far while air dribbling it. When I reach such balls I am able to hit them with the head or the thigh, not just the foot, keeping the ball under control while moving forward. Plenty of World Cuppers do not seem to realize, that in such situations you can use your head to get control of the ball without the ball touching the ground, you can use your head to move forward with the ball under control--do they realize that such use of the head can be actually easier than the use of the feet which they are addicted to in such situations? Let me see now, Tenorio was EIGHT yards away from the England goalie when he touched the ball. Would I have been able to head the ball Tenorio faced FOUR yards ahead of me while maintaining forward momentum, keeping the ball off the ground and keeping it under control? Answer, yes, such would have been actually easy for me, it would have even been easy for me to nudge it forward just a couple of yards with my head while keeping it off the ground and under control. After that it would have been easy for me to continue the flight if need be or knock it over the goalie into the goal (of course sometimes I flub things that are easy for me).

1343 run by rooney--Rooney on right side approx 30 yds from Ecuador goal, chased down a ball that bounced once in front of him. The ball was chest high but he headed it inwards and towards the ground, the ball was stripped from him Ecuador retained possession. It would I think have been easy and natural for me to chest the ball forward, keeping the ball moving along in the air with my body, and then doing something, but then again I was not actually there in Rooney's shoes I am just a far off spectator. But the situation illustrates the value of being able to use the chest to move the ball forward keeping the ball in the air under control. The next step would have been to send a surprising lob pass behind my back towards the center of the field.

1446 england offensive play-- Carrick of England got the ball 50 yds from the Ecuador goal, in the left middle of the field, the nearest Ecuadorean was ten yds away, he had time and space. Perhaps had he the skill he could have air dribbled or ground dribbled forward while someone dropped back to cover lest something go wrong. But with no Ecuadorean still within 10 yds, he sent a low pass forward 20 yds to Rooney. Rooney displayed skill in quickly trapping the ball, getting the ball between him and the Ecuador goal, turning from facing away from the Ecuador goal to facing towards it; but when he was facing away from the Ecuador goal, there were two Englishmen five yds away from him in front of him to his right, moving towards him, who were both open for a pass, he could have easily nudged the ball to one of them, they had forward momentum, by way of contrast he himself Rooney was standing still. After he made his turn he was only able to get off a very weak shot directly at the goalie.

1520-6 ecuador mendez dribbling clinic

1610 carrick england offensive play-- Carrick approx 55 yds from Ecuador goal, got ball with time and space, he slowly ground dribbled forward until there were 2 Ecuadoreans right on top of him and one near him, and had to make a pressured pass. The pass went low, underled the man in the middle streaking at the goal, was intercepted by Ecuador. Carrick should have passed to this man in the middle right away before slowly dribbling forward ten yds. He could have gotten the ball to this man in the middle in the air or on the bounce and this man in the middle could then have chipped a pass over the Ecuadorean defender to the Englander to his right, setting up a great goal scoring opportunity.

1705-15 england offense-- Gerrard in the middle, 25 yds from the Ecuador goal, luckily found a ball rolling towards him slowly as he jogged in the direction of the Ecuador goal. There was an Ecuadorean 5 yds behind him, there were a couple of Ecuadoreans 7 yds in front of him, there was an open England man right in front of him in the middle just 30 yds from the Ecuador goal. Gerrard had a chance to immediately hit the open man in the middle with a pass. He had a chance to get the ball up in the air, while moving forward with it keeping it off the ground but close to the body. Instead he wound up to take a stereotypical Breakfast-cereal-box-photo style shot; the shot was well aimed at the corner of the goal but five feet over the crossbar.

England is playing like a well coached team, intelligent, somewhat predesigned plays, featuring short passes that serve useful purposes.

1745 Kerry of england key foul, he gets yellow card, dumb(?) announcer thinks it is not bad enough for a yellow card; Kerry's foot was chest high, hit the ecuadorean in the chest; ABC announcer sez there should have been no yellow card!!! When I say the air game is more than the head, such fouling is not what I am trying to encourage. The ball was chest high, right near the Ecuador player's chest, and Kerry jumped into the air, to kick it with his foot, and kicked the Ecuadorean right in the chest! And the Ecuadorean was standing up, not crouching, or bending over, his chest was about five feet above the ground! I felt (I am not expert in soccer rules) Kerry should have gotten the red card, gotten ejected, and here is this ABC announcer saying that he should not have even gotten a yellow card! People who jump in the air to get their foot chest high to kick chest high balls in such situations are IMHO terrible for the game. Such high-kicking causes injuries, produces an unexciting frightened intimidated unskilled offensive game. The whole world cup I have not seen any player do such a terrible thing as Kerry did here. The Ecuador man was there near the ball first. Kerry took a running start lept and kicked at the ball when it was near the Ecuador man's chest. The foul by Kerry probably changed the way Ecuador played for the rest of the game. Looking at the fouls that have been given yellow or red cards in other games in this World Cup, failing to eject Kerry for what he did here strikes me as incredibly lenient and inconsistent.

FIFA Laws of the Game:

Cautionable Offences A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the following seven offences: 1. is guilty of unsporting behaviour --

Sending-Off Offences A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off and shown the red card if he commits any of the following seven offences: 1. is guilty of serious foul play 2. is guilty of violent conduct --

Decision 4 A tackle, which endangers the safety of an opponent, must be sanctioned as serious foul play. --

1921 bunch of bull---- from abc announcer regarding a penalty kick by mendez. this annoying announcer, claimed that the ball on the penalty kick, "bended" around the wall of england defenders. False. There were five england defenders in the line, and the ball went in between the one closest to the center of the field and the one next to him.

20 48 beckham led off play Beckham took a penalty kick from the left middle 35 yds from the Ecuador goal. It went to an Englander in the right outside corner of the Ecuador penalty box. The man closest to this Englander was 10 yds away. The Englander trapped it with his foot, it bounced once, he sent in a cross that was a good idea but that underled the target. The ball bounced out to Beckham in the middle of the field just 10 yds from the Ecuador goal. The Ecuador defender rushed forwards and towards the middle to block the Wheaties Box Cover shot Beckham wound up to take. It would have been simple for Beckham to, instead of shooting with his right foot, nudge the ball to his left with his right foot, moving in a direction opposite of the direction the Ecuador defender who ended up blocking the shot was moving. He would have then had nothing between him and the Ecuador goal except a fellow Englander. Instead he shot the ball right into the Ecuadorean. The way Beckham handled this situation almost left me wondering whether in certain obscure situations teams advance in the tourney based on how many shots they take on goal.

2139 england offense Gerrard on right sideline of Ecuador penalty box, chests ball, it bounces in front of him, for me it would have been easy to then kick it over the Ecuadorean catch up to it and see what happens next, this would have distracted the defenders covering my team-mates giving them a chance to get open -- he just sent in a stay-out-of-trouble-with-the-dumb-teacher cross right away, the cross was blocked, nothing came of the corner.

announcer sez joe cole thrown off on header easily because he is so small. Cole is 5 feet ten inches, not small height wise, only 152 lbs, but very fast. Now when you have a 5 foot ten inch 175 lb very fast type who can sprint while air dribbling the ball, someone like me, then you've got something.

2320 some set pieces by england

2638 cole on left so called great move replayed lauded by ABC announcer--Joe Cole got the ball 5 yds to the left of the left outside corner of the Ecuador penalty box. It slowly bounced in his direction as he faced it. Like so many other world cuppers, instead of charging the ball, catching it with chest thigh or foot and moving forward with it, he sort of slowed down, laid back, let it come to him trapped it to the ground. Then he rolled it back with his right foot, and then pushed it to his left behind his left foot, clever move of the type you develop when you face tough real game situations alot I guess. He then crossed it in a slow roller, directly to an Ecuadorean who had no Englander near him, in an area of the field where there were 6 Ecuadorans and only 3 English. The announcer was beside himself re what a great move Cole made, I appreciate him teaching me the move, but Cole buried himself in the left corner with an Ecuadorean right on his back through this move, and the executed a lame cross into the middle. A long time ago I began to concentrate on going right at the goal, right by a defender, as opposed to going hither and thither, because I had begun to see how fruitless going hither and thither can be. The difference between me and Cole is that I would have been tempted to mount an aerial or ground forward dribble TOWARDS THE GOAL for a few yds before deciding what to do next; this would have relaxed the defensive pressure on my team-mates; Cole chose to burrow into the left corner, where he got buried.

2654-2700 england offense-- Gerrard got the ball 45 yds from the Ecuador goal on the left with time and space. Nearest Ecuadorean 6 yds away. he passed into the middle a short grounder, ran to the middle, the ball was returned to him, the closest Ecuadorean defender was now 10 yds away, so in this case something was gained by the English ground passing (the English basically invented the game, they derive actual advantage from their short ground passing, then people like Americans imitate them and indulge in short ground passing that produces no advantages or disadvantage). Yet with the closest Ecuadorian now 10 yds away Gerrard on the first touch when he got the ball back, wound up and unleashed a low bouncing pass to an England forward 20 yds in front of him who had his back to the Ecuador goal. This forward hit the ball to his left 10 yds, where an Englander Lampard caught the ball on the bounce in front of him in the midde 30 yds from the Ecuador goal, and shot a lame bouncer straight at the Ecuador goalie. Lampard was running to his right and forward on a diagonal, towering over a small thin Ecuador defender, in such a situation I would have loved to have kicked the ball that had bounced in the air to my left as I was running to my right, thereby changing direction to be moving to my left, thereby catching the Ecuadorean defenders off balance moving in the wrong direction, and thereby perhaps opening up some opportunities for my team-mates.

2810 england offense-- An easy bouncer came in the direction of an England player facing the Ecuador goal 50 yds away. Instead of charging the bouncing ball he waited for it to come to him then turned around and passed it backwards. if he had charged the bouncer and initiated an air dribble for a few yds he could have caught the defenders moving in the wrong direction, moving at him, away from the Ecuador goal, opened things up for team-mates.

2830-40 england offense-- England had the ball time and space 50 yds from Ecuador in the middle, they moved it to the right wing, Hargreave racing down the sideline with the ball, Hargreave lost the ball.

2949 ecuador offense puts ball through englands legs, england defender called for foul...

3110 cole traps long line drive pass

3334 ball taken from england

3355 england offense chance

ABC Announcer sez Beckham should leave the game, says he slows down the offense, does nothing but set pieces.

3455 beckham free kick announcer sez it went up over the wall and down, again actually it went through the wall. Problem with people falsely stating that balls are bending around walls when they are going through them, is that it leaves those who hear such falsehoods, with this sinking hopeless feeling of never being able to bend balls like the wizards, it leads to them attempting to bend balls more than balls can actually be bent, and it leads to them overvaluing the alleged ability of persons like Beckham to "bend" a ball.

3630 eng offense action

ABC announcer wants crouch in beckham out, he thinks crouch is big and strong. Actually Crouch is tall but very slim.

3705 england's ashley cole with chance kicks ball away--got it 40 yds from Ecuador goal, time and space, slowly dribbled forward 10 yds and passed in to middle, 20 yd pass intercepted by Ecuador man, who knew it was coming. The cross was not high enough, not enough of a lob trajectory. When you get the ball in the air before you pass it, when it is in the air when it is kicked, there are certain advantages.

3720 england kicks ball away

3827 rooney reverse direction dribble clinic

3910 foul on ecuador, when england players get ball they are closely marked

3934 beckham set piece ball goes nowhere

4035 rooney steals ball, then has it stolen, he overled himself on the dribble.

4148-4204 england offense efforts

4246 eng offense effort

4655 ecuador offense chance 4600 england offense gerrard passes to other team


4515 nice trap WITH chest by rooney

4540 tenorio ecuador mounts individual ground dribbling attack

4655 ecuador offense chance

4830 england offense chance, rooney overled BY 5 yds again England like USA before them, consistently overleading on passes by 5 yds.

4915 eng offense chances Hargreave 35 yds from Ecuador goal, gets ball rolling towards him on ground as he faces the Ecuador goal, immediately on first touch crosses it in to the middle, straight to an Ecuador defender, in area of field where there are 4 defenders and 3 Englishmen.

4935 england offense chance gerrard misses on pass in to middle

5015-22 eng off chance

5220-55 eng off chance Gerrard had ball time and space, 35 yds from Ecuador goal.

5300 ecuador off chance

5335 ecuador off chance

5410 ecuador off chance

5420 ecuador off chance

5555-5610 england offense effort-- Lampard did fine job of chipping the ball behind himself and to his right to Rooney, Rooney was double covered two men right on him, and overled. But to be running towards the opposing goal and have an easy ball bounce in front of me like that, that is what I like!

5715 gerrard england 20 yd pass misses, over Rooney's head

5800-5815 england offense

5900 beckham scores on penalty kick. This is the superstar the ABC announcer wanted evicted from the game on the grounds that he had been being good for nothing but penalty kicks.

6018 ecuador offense effort

6200-6235 eng offense efforts!!

6330 eng offense chance

6430-45 eng off chance!!! Lampard intercepted a stupid pass by Ecuador, 25 yds from Ecuador goal, in middle, he had time and space, Ecuadorean nearest him 5 yds in front of him, a two on one featuring him and Rooney against this Ecuadorean. He dribbled forward right at the Ecuadorean, though Rooney was wide open on his right. He then passed it in Rooney's direction but right at an Ecuadorean. He should have passed right away, he gave the man covering Rooney the chance to catch up, Rooney had been playing well. Then Joe Cole, facing a defender, started the dance wherein one foot after the other is kicked forward and outwards missing the ball. Looks cool, but seems every time they do this they lose the ball. And Cole lost it.

6500-15 ecuador offense chance

6620-35 england offense chance gerrard pass misses again, Gerrard had the ball rolling towards him, he was facing towards the sideline he swiveled with the ball and passed it very high and wide. Seemed he failed to see a team-mate who was closer to him than the intended target was.

6655 england offense effort pass off on bouncer

6805-15 tenorio ecuador individual dribbling offensive effort

6945 england ofensive efforts, English had ball, time and space 50 yds from Ecuador goal, just passed it back and forth, the Englishman in the middle 50 yds from the Ecuador goal, was so in the clear that the nearest defender was 15 yds away. But he passed to his right, a slow roller, the pass recipient suddenly had an Ecuadorean right on top of him. What an improvement! Anyway then Carrick got the ball, right on the front penalty box line, he had a little time and space chasing down the slow roller, by the time he passed it on the first touch a defender was obstructing the pass he intended to get to the Englander in the middle, so in avoiding the defender, he overled the pass recipient. He was running forward and to his right, when he got to the ball he should have cut back to the middle catching the defender off-stride.

7030 eng on attack again -- Cole on the left wing, had 3 team-mates wide open in the middle of the field 25-30 yds from the Ecuador goal. He dribbled forward towards the end line, tried to center the ball with a defender right on him, overled everyone. He should have gotten the ball to the three open Englishmen in the middle right away and then turned himself into a target for a pass.

7200-7210 england offense-- great dribble by rooney, lampard misses on shot. Rooney chased down a ball in the left corner with an Ecuadorean right on him trapped the ball turned and put the ball through the defender's legs. It was a great job in a tough situation. Rooney's style of dribbling resembles the style of dribbling I myself developed after college, after thinking long and hard re the strategy of it. I actually wonder whether he read this web page I had up about how to dribble, guess I perhaps should not publicize the page's URL, but if you look for it hard you should be able to find it. Rooney is quick and skilled and he is one guy I do not think of as over-rated. He then made a fine pass into the middle to Lampard who was just 12 yds from the Ecuador goal. Lampard slid at the ball and shot it at the same time, it sailed about 20 feet over the crossbar. When Lampard got to the ball he should have just dribbled it to his right side, thereby catching the defender covering the situation moving in the wrong direction. He would then have had a wide open shot, on a practically empty goal, since the goalie had moved over to near his own right goal post to cover the approach of Rooney who passed to Lampard.

7300 ecuador offense effort

7342-7414 england offense efforts end with Gerrard getting the ball rolling towards him with his back to the Ecuador goal, he let it roll by him and turned to follow it, the defender got it, I saw the US make the same mistake several times.

7440-7442 interesting dribbling shooting effort by rooney -- but it was luck that the ball bounced off a defender and came back to him on his attempted pass

7514 england offense effort

7522 rooney facing ecuador goal, in middle, 30 yds from Ecuador goal, gets ball slowly rolling towards him from his right side. The defender coming in from his right was chasing the ball; he should have cut to his right, catching the defender going in the wrong direction, but he passed immediately, the defender blocked the pass.

7705-7726 ecuador offense effort

7835 ecuador offense chance

7910-15 england offense chance

7945-7800 ecuador offense

8000-8015 ecuador offense

8035 rooney theatrics! Does great job of trapping ball with back to Ecuador goal, turning with it, moving forward, then trying to cross the ball in. Quick and skilled.

8100 england offense action

8159 rooney loses tough ball

8230-8300 ecuador offense efforts

8505-8510 ecuador offense effort 8605-8615 another nice trap of line drive pass by england, ecuador offense efforts

8744-8755 eng offense effort ended by gerrard passing to the other team. Gerrard got ball coming towards him, if he had moved in the direction the ball came from when he got the ball, he would have had the defender chasing the ball offstride going in the wrong direction, but he attempted to pass immediately on the first touch.

8800-8830 ecuador offense effort

8910 eng offense chance! Lennon got the ball 35 yds from the Ecuador goal, one man between him and the goal. He dribbled forwards 15 yds as the defender retreated, then shot the ball, which was blocked by the defender. He had a man in the middle, near him, since the defenders were chasing the ball he could have caught them going in the wrong direction by passing sideways to this man in the middle.

9050-9105 england offense efforts, rooney and lennon put on mini-clinic in dribbling

CONCLUSION As a player I used to be relatively slow and unskilled. Perhaps because of this I developed an eye and a mind for tactics, which helped me to score goals and assist on goals. One of these strategies was that I would compensate for my lack of speed and skill by catching defenders moving in the wrong direction. On the other side of the coin, seems the English players have always been so fast and skilled compared to their competition, that they have failed to some extent to develop an eye and a mind for tactics such as catching the defense going in the wrong direction. It sounds paradoxical but there is something to be learned from players who lack ability and skill, such players compensate for their weaknesses with their mind.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ghana 2 vs USA 1: Analysis of USA offense


125 USA gets ball 40 yds from Ghana goal, on right sideline, closest ghana player 7 yards away, he had time and space; he had player wide open, 20 yds in front of Ghana goal, he passed it straight to the goalie, even if it had gotten to the USA player who was closest to the ball, that USA player had three guys right on top of him.

143 Usa has time-- Captain Reyna, had ball in middle, 50 yds from Ghana goal, the closest Ghana guy was eight yards away, he just passed it about 8 yds to another team-mate, who ended up in a situation much worse than the situation Reyna would have been if he had just held on to the ball...the Ghana players were all heading in the direction of the guy Reyna passed to, even before the pass. Again we have the problem of what ensues, when pass recipients rather than passers are blamed for everything. Donovan is the guy who got the pass, he was put in an awkward situation, he had to trap the ball, twist, and pass in a hurry, his 20 yard chip pass to Dempsey was way off. This same pass to Dempsey could have been made by Reyna, if Reyna had held on to the ball a little longer. As it was, the unnecessary intermediate pass to to Donovan, just made everything more difficult, unnecessarily difficult.

200-210 usa has has time time and space, 45 yds from Ghana goal, near right sideline, he just lazily slowly, moved the ball forward five yds, and passed to a guy in the right sideline who was 40 yds away from the goal--and he had a teammate wide open in the middle just 25 yds in front of the Ghana goal. This is strategy? A guy with time and space passes to a guy who is nearer the sideline than he is, gains a couple of yards? His cross went in to an American who had two Ghana guys right on top of him, there was an American wide open in the middle 20 yds from the Ghana goal. The American who got the ball handled it well, headed it, but the head went right to a Ghanaian, what do you expect with such a difficult ball.

603 ghana t5raps ball and speeds down field

800-844 ghana offensive spurt

916 usa had ball time space, but Cherundulo's 20 yd pass into the middle was woefully short. On the rebound, the American right in the middle, 25 yds from the Ghana goal, with time and space, had a chance to do something interesting, he could have headed the ball, he could have thighed the ball, and then air dribbled it 5 yds or more, instead he immediately used his foot to pass it to a double covered team-mate on his left, the ball was intercepted. The pass was slow and weak, the defender knew where it was going before the passer's foot even touched the ball. This American making the pass had a team-mate right near him, in the middle, if he had attempted an air dribble of at least 5 yds, he would have had a two on two in the middle, as it was he passed to the left, further away from the middle, to an American who was double covered. This an example of the goody goody football that pleased the loud dummies, but is not really smart.

955 usa 3 gets ball time space-- Bocanegra on left side, 55 yds from Ghana goal, he was staring at a guy wide open in the middle 40 yds from the Ghana goal, I mean this guy was so open there was 15 yds of open field in front of him. But Bocanegra passed a roller to a team-mate who was near him, and who had a Ghana defender right on top of him, then Bocanegra retreated to the backfield. The American who got the ball had it stripped from him by the guy right on top of him. The Americans are playing like people who think there is something elegant about moving slowly, lazily, and making short rolling passes, but if they tie Ghana they will be out of the tourney, they need a win.

1005 ghana on offense

1120 another long overled pass by usa--Reyna's 30 yd pass up the middle overled the recipient by 5 yds, but it was a good idea.

1200 usa number 3 time space, good pass to middle mishandled-- the recipient, reached ball 10 yds in front of Ghana goal, nobody near him, it bounced right before he got it, his foot missed it completely. Again problems with bouncers. Announcer said he tried to flip it towards the right post. Why would he do that? There was nobody near him, he had time. He could have flipped it into the air and then volleyed it. These players are like hamstrung players, that is how bad their inability to go even a couple of yards air dribbling before shooting is.

1625 cross in us header slow weak straight to goalie.

1930 ghana offensive spurt

2131 ghana steals ball from #10 reyna, scores, the problem was that Reyna's team-mate Dempsey, sent a pass to Reyna that left him Reyna in a tough position; not a good idea when the pass recipient is the last line of defense. Dempsey had players wide open in the middle, his body was positioned so as to render a pass to such wide open players convenient; instead he passed a slow roller back to Reyna. Reyna could have immediately volleyed it in to team-mates wide open in the middle but he chose to trap it. The Americans are too enamored with the alleged elegance of slow lazy movements and short rolling passes.

This reyna, was all world cup in 2002.

2435 lewis crosses ball right in to other guy, us gets corner kick lewis playing left wing position...Are corner kicks really so valuable, that a guy with time and space should blast passes right in to opposing players?

2505 Landon Donovan of USA, got ball rolling towards him 30 yds from Ghana goal. He had a chance to flip the ball into the air and air dribble or ground dribble towards the middle where he could have set up a wild 3 on 3. Instead he let the ball roll in front of him and followed it; as a result the Ghana player marking him, who was behind his back and whom he could not see, had an easy steal. Not a smart idea, to let the ball roll into an area where there lurks a man marking you, whose whereabouts are unknown because your back has been turned to him. the great thing about a little air dribbling in this kind of situation, is that you can get your body and also the ball to a spot where your team-mates are. Plus it is surprising. All of this game, the USA had this problem of being tightly marked, US players not having time and space when they get the ball, thus you need the element of surprise. Wild surprising things happen on air dribbles. Anyway the USA got lucky here as the deflection off the steal went right through a Ghanaian, ane and bounced slowly to McBride of USA. McBride had a chance to get the slow bouncer up in the air move in approx the direction the ball came from, thereby catching all the defenders OFFSTRIDE, moving in the wrong direction. But like Donovan before him, he sort of let the ball roll in the direction it was rolling, turned to follow it, and wound up mightily to deliver an entirely predictable Wheaties box-top style shot, which was of course blocked. Since he let the ball continue rolling sideways, from the right to the left of the field, the Ghana defenders were able to use their momentum chasing the ball, to easily block the shot. These Americans seem to have no idea regarding how to set things up by changing the direction of the ball, so as to use the momentum of defenders against them.

2655 ghana handles long pass well

#7 defacto left wing for usa

2800 usa passes ball right into other team--Captain Reyna got the ball 50 yds from the goal, passed it right in to the defender, even though he Reyna had plenty of time and space. In these situations where players like reyna get the ball 50 yds from the opposing goalie along with plenty of time and space, it would be nice to have a player who can air dribble forward, while a teammate drops back to cover if something goes wrong. 10 yds in the air 5 on a bounce could get such a player 35 yds from the opposing goal, with a chance to set something up taking advantage of the ball being airborne, which makes it easy to produce certain kinds of passes.

USA appears tightly marked any time they get into the ghana half...

2905 another long pass by usa overleads the recipient...Onyewu, fired a 45 yd pass up the middle, overled the recipient who was tightly marked and had zero team-mates but three Ghanaians right near him, by five yards, ball went to goalie.

2925 ghana gets time and space screws up

Dumb(?) announcer talks about claudio reyna making a mistake...this is exactly what I have been talking about, the dumb(?) comments, the dumb(?) assignment of blame, the recipient of the pass always being blamed...

3035 ghana screws up on offense

3125 usa gets ball on left wing #7, Lewis, he passes to the other team, this seems to be his specialty, passing to the other team...he had a bouncing ball, he could have had he the skill, ran at the ball, hit it with his head or thigh or foot, started an air dribble, I could have done this, instead he sort of lazily waited for the ball to come to him and trapped it on the ground, buy this time two Ghanaians had him buried right on the sideline, and he sent in one of his symbolic crosses into the middle straight to a Ghanaian who had no Americans near him. He reminded me of the way I would play in high school, when I was not good at dribbling on the ground or in the air and basically wanted to avoid being criticized. He could have also just passed the ball in on the first touch. These guys seem obsessed with the idea that, one two three four five six seven, all good children ground air balls that comes to them.

3212 usa penalty kick

3244 usa time in right deep corner of ghana American had time space and ball, closest Ghanaians at least ten yards away, approx 55 yards away from Ghana goal, in right corner of Ghana half. It was like an exact replay of what happened at minute 2. The American dribbled forward, lazily, slowly towards the middle of the field (put him on the cover of GQ for his elegance, dignity) then with no Ghanaian anywhere near him he passed to a guy on the sideline who was in a worse position than him. This guy who got the ball dribbled inwards ten or so yards, then flicked it forward to an American who had two Ghanians right on top of him, with no American near by to even out the situation. The ball of course was stolen by the Ghanaians, while all the dummies blamed the guy who the ball was passed to.

3259-3310 usa misplays offense Cherundulo got a ball coming right at him, mis passed by a Ghanaian. The ball bounced at his chest. The closest Ghanaian was eight yards away. Cherundulo was 45 yds from the Ghana goal on the right sideline. He used his chest to hit it towards his feet, it hit the ground, bounced off his shin towards the middle of the field, he reached it after a bounce, passed a ground pass to Beasley who was ten yards or so away towards the middle of the field. That bouncing ball was a great opportunity for a chip pass in the general area where there were two Americans 20 yds from the Ghana goal in the right middle area of the field. Beasley had two men on him passed it backwards to Reyna. Reyna had lots of time and space, the closest Ghana man was eight yards away, the ball rolled towads him as he faced the Ghana goal. If he had the skill he could have air dribbled forwards a few yards before deciding what to do next. He could have done some ground dribbling to set things up for team-mates. He immediately however passed it in to Lewis, the 25 yd pass overled Lewis (not one of the stars), the Ghanaian headed it away, Ghana retained ball possession.

3340 ghana player has time and space

3410 USA fullback sent long 45 yd pass, good pass, to American at center forward, McBride, McBride headed the ball to his right to Donovan. It was a very good pass given the circumstances, Wonovan was well led, the ball bounced in front of him. Donovan handled the situation the way I had seen Lewis handle the bouncing ball earlier in the game. Instead of charging into it as I would have been tempted to do--I would have been quite capable of flying a few yards with it before shooting--instead of charging the ball he sort of laid back, slowed down, let it bounce a second time, and then shot it off the second bounce like a drop kick. He completely missed the goal, by a wide margin even though he was ten yards away from the goal right in front of it. A problem was that his hesitation allowed the Ghanaian to get near him and pressure him. Another example of how the alternative to hot-dogging the ball a little, does not always pay off. And another example of how the World Cuppers could improve with the bouncing balls that often provide excellent opportunities.

3505 usa gets chance on right side on long pass then gets penalty kick no dice on penalty kick A US defender sent a long pass, a good 40 yd pass to Cherundolo on the right sideline. Cherundolo handled it well, his right foot caught it, then his left thigh before it hit the ground--the closest thing to flight I've seen this game--he then grounded the ball, even though at the point he hit it with the left thigh he was in position to surprise by chipping it in while it was in the air or after it bounced, or fly a little before doing something. After grounding it he dribbled straight forward, burrowing into the corner, got fouled. The US got a penalty kick but did not capitalize. I wonder, are they over-rating the advantages of being awarded a penalty kick?

3630 donovan gets corner kick

3650 ghana getting ball with time and space in us half alot more than the vice versa

3718 beasley gets ball with time and space, the ball rolled back towards him, he was at the midline point, in the center of the field, about 57 yds away from the Ghana goal. The closes Ghanaian was 20 yds away!!! Here was a great chance for Beasley, had he the skill, to start a forward aerial dribble with the ball (the team would have to be coordinated enough to have someone drop back in case something went wrong). He slowly dribbled forward on the ground to a point 40 yds in front of the Ghana goal, stopped turned around passed backwards. Yet again, as if habitually, the USA ended up passing the ball on the ground to Cherundolo on the right sideline 45 yds away from the goal. he crossed it in 25 yds towards an American with a Ghanaian right on top of him, the ball went at the Ghanaian not the American, Ghana retained possession of the ball.

3830 long pass to defacto left wing #7 Lewis of USA, he yet again displayed his apparent specialty, passing to the other team, the cross was way off.

3900 donovan gets ball time and space overleads team-mate on long pass yet again. Donovan got the ball in the Ghana half of the center circle, the closest Ghanaian was at least ten yards away, he immediately passed it towards Beasley who was 20 yds from the Ghana goal in the left center area and had two Ghanaians right on top of him, Beasley was overled by five yds, the passed ball went 25 yds, bounced, then another ten yds. A man has all kinds of time and space, good position, and that is the best they can come up with??

4035 run by dempsey on offense, it was a good run, but towards the end of it, with a man open in the middle 20 yds fron the Ghana goal, he passed up the open man and tried to continue dribbling forward, had the ball stolen.

4240 Beasley goes on run, loses ball, gets ball back, passes it in goal scored... well passed might it be significant, usa scored its only goal of the tourney not scored by other team for them, with Reyna on the my problems with Reyna, see my previous post re a USA game. They criticize "hot dogs" to death, but the same thing can happen on an air dribble run, the ball gets lost, the offense gets it back. Thing about these air dribble runs, when I do them, the ball often has ferocious backspin on it. I have gotten used to dealing with the way the backspinning ball bounces when it hits the ground, but the defenders will not be used to such bounces. Imagine a ball coming at you, hitting the ground, and bouncing straight up instead of bouncing at you.

What we are seeing, is players going on run, losing ball, getting ball back,

4450 lewis at left wing passes to the other team again...but to be fair, he was in a tough situation, it was a good pass given the situation.

4500 +200 usa fouls in penalty area, ghana gets penalty kick, ghana scores

45 +300 USA gets time and space in the Ghana half near the center line, for a while the Ghanaian nearest the ball was eight yards away, they had an opportunity to do stuff with the time and space, they ended up with just a lame pass into the middle headed away by Ghana.


Announcer ses the US does not do well when trailing at the half, they are 2-16-2 under Arena when trailing at half.

4828 Olson the reyna substitute with time and space--Olson got the ball 45 yds from the center of the Ghana goal, on the left side of the field, it was rolling back to him as he faced the Ghana goal, opportunity for aerial theatrics, the closest Ghanaian was ten yards away, he grounded the ball like a good little boy, he passed to a guy near the left sideline 45 yds from the Ghana goal, the guy he passed to crossed in a 40 yd cross, it went right at a Ghanaian who headed it away. And before this, the Americans had time and space about 50 yds from the Ghana goal.

4920 Donovan in the middle 45 yds from the Ghana goal, passes tries to lead a team-mate about ten yds in front and ten to his left on a first touch pass, pass way off target. Donovan was facing a gap in the Ghana line, he might have dribbled forward before passing, but if he did this he might get spanked by the dumb teacher.

5025 another long pass overled by usa--USA defender sent ball to man 30 yds downfield, overled him by 5 yds.

5040 usa steals ball, buries teammate in corner--Cherondolo stole the ball, immediately sent a ground pass into the right corner goal edge corner in the Ghana half to a team-mate, the team-mate was put in an impossible situation of chasing down a ball heading to the corner with two Ghana men right behind him, the announcer crowed about what a good pass it was. There is a real problem with the blaming of the pass recipients while the passers are glorified. Ghana of course got possession of the ball. Cherondolo after he admirably stole the ball, had time and space, the closest Ghanaian in front of him was ten yards away, the closest Ghana man behind him was seven yds away, but he immediately passed to a man who obviously had one man right on him, and who also obviously would have two men right on him once he chased down the ball.

5355 us chance on offense--Donovan got the ball, near the left outside corner of of the Ghana penalty box, there was a man wide open, in the exact middle of the field, 25 yds away from the Ghana goal, the Ghanaian closest to this man was eight yds away. Donovan had been looking right at this open guy was moving in his direction. There was another American wide open, on the other side of the field seven yds in front of Ghana's goal-post, who also was right in Donovan's field of vision. For some reason Donovan who had been facing the middle of the field swiveled and sent a short ground pass to "his good friend" Beasley, problem was there were three Ghanaians in between Beasley and the goal, like a wall on a penalty kick, the ball was taken from Beasley, Ghana retained possession of the ball.

5405 ghana attack

Announcers (ESPN) talk about how ball moves so much on these shots from 30-40 yds, how they are so tough on goalkeepers...let me tell you something, these 30-40 yd shots are easy when the ball is in the air when it is kicked, air balls move even more than ground balls, goalies are not used to the angles involved with air balls, air dribbling sets up these 30-40 yd shots.

5903 another long overled pass by the usa -- on a penalty kick, a pass that went 40 yds yet again overled the recipient by 5 yds.

6030 ghana offensive spurt

6150 ghana offensive spurt

6240 ghana blows great chance

6405 Olson USA gets ball with time and space, 45 yds from Ghana goal, the ball rolled back to him as he faced the Ghana goal, the nearest Ghana man in front of him was seven yards away, he simply immediately passed a bouncer to Johnson who had his back to the Ghana goal and a Ghana man behind him, the ball bounced off Johnson, then bounced off the ground near Johnson, Johnson had a great opportunity to smack the ball that was bouncing in front of him inwards as a cross coming in at a surprise angle, he had a chance if he had the skill to dribble paralell to the goal line, towards the middle, in that direction there was no Guana man for twenty yds, instead he passed backwards to Olson. Olson got the ball, did a 360 degree turn, and passed to Ghana, Ghana got possession. The USA acts as if the USA is ahead...plays ball conservatively; but they are behind, not only that, they need a win not a tie to stay in the tourney.

6500 lewis at left wing traps long air ball well, grounds ball, dribbles to goal line, crosses ball in, Mcbride of USA tries to head ball in hits goal post, this was supposed to be great according to the ESPN announcer, but Mcbride was in an almost impossible situation, had the ball not hit the outside of the goal-post, the goalie would have gotten it, it was almost an impossible situation to score in. But the announcer was ecstatic. When Lewis first got the ball and trapped it, he was facing towards the middle of the field, with a ball bouncing in front of him, a chance to start an aerial dribble run towards the middle

6630 bocanegra of USA, facing Ghana goal, 20 yds from Ghana goal, gets ball bouncing towards him, hits ball with thigh, nearest Ghana man in front of him seven yds away, hits it forward with the thigh, then with the right foot as the ball hits the ground, then shoots with the left with ball in the air. This was the kind of short aerial dribbles I have been advocating. The shot was a little too high.

6655 Onyewu misses header high

6825 ghana gets chance

7125 Johnson gets ball, these americans are tightly marked, they have no time and space when they get the ball

7205 ghana blows offensive chance

Why are they the USA getting so tightly marked, might it be that ghana does not drop back to give them time and space, because they the usa lack speed and the ability to hit a player running forward with a pass accurately?

Australia in an earlier game, was getting the ball, with time and space, 40-45 yds from the opposing goal, this has been usually happening in this game for the USA, when the USA is 55-60 yds from the opposing goal.

7450 ghana offensive chance

announcer claims penalty that resulted in ghana goal a bad call...what happened from my point of view is that the american just sort of ran into the ghana guy, pushing him out of the way, when the ball was not near him.

7805 dempsey had time and space on the right side, he had a great opportunity to cut backwards slightly and to the middle catching the Ghana defender moving against the grain, moving in the wrong direction, he immediately passed the ball in to the Ghana goalie, who did a great job of catching the ball and then holding on to it as he and the ball hit the ground.

7950 convey of USA attempts run, had chance with bouncing ball to get ball in the air, at least he did a good job of ground dribbling inwards and forwards by a couple of defenders, at least he made the attempt instead of being a goodie goodie, the end result was a fruitless penalty kick...again the ball bounced off the defender and back to the dribbler who got a lucky(?) break.

8130 ghana offensive spurt

8154 convey gets ball with time and space sends in a cross that misses everything. Convey, had a chance to catch the defenders moving in the wrong direction, by cutting inwards and also maybe slightly backwards, he ignored two open men right in the middle, who were 20 yds from the Ghana goal and had nobody near them. The Ghanaians closest to these wide open players were ten yds away, and Convey ignored them, instead sending in a stereotypical Wheaties box cross that missed by alot.

8335 convey gets ball time and space, crosses ball in, this was supposed to be a "great ball in" according to the ESPN announcer, but it just put the guy getting it in an impossible situation...there are these situations where it is technically possible for a tightly marked man to head the ball in roughly the same direction it was going when it came to him, and get the ball into the goal, but, realistically, how often can such situations be converted into goals??? When Convey got the ball the nearest Ghana man was ten yards away. He had clear sailing on a path towards the middle of the field for 35 yds. He got the ball on a bounce and could have started an air dribble or a ground dribble towards the middle of the field. He pleased the dumb(?) announcer but I doubt he made the best choice.

8540 convey with bouncer, sails it over net again--convey got the ball, in the middle of the field 25 yds from the Ghana goal, it came towards him, a slow easy to handle air ball, with skillhe could have kept it in the air and moved forwards on the air dribble a few yards like our hero Bocanegra before him, but he shot right away, the ball sailed way over the crossbar slowly. Having watched Convey I doubt he has the shooting skill to knock in that kind of ball. But hey in the eyes of the stupids, he handled it well because there do exist all these players who can fire hard accurate shots on such balls.

8710 usa overleads on long pass yet again. This is an obvious weakness with the usa, this overleading on long passes, it is incredible, that the usa has not recognized this weakness and worked on it. The defender sent a 45 yd pass that overled the recipient by 4 yds again, it was like watching an instant replay.

8910- usa blows offensive opportunity--the American, in the middle of the field, 45 yds from the Ghana goal, got a bouncing ball right in front of him, moving the same direction as him, on the sprint. I handle balls just like this, on the sprint, all the time in practice (it is real hard doing world class practice never being complimented but that's another story), except the balls I handle are more difficult than bouncing balls, because I sprint the 15 yds keeping the ball off the ground, never touching the ground, but keeping it under control. The American, tamely tipped the ball forward five yds in a straight line, knee high, to the Ghana defender. It bounced off the Ghana defender and another Ghana defender cleared it.

8923 Donovan of USA dribbled inwards from the right side of the field. He was on the line between the right outside corner of the Ghana penalty box and the Ghana goal, about 4 yds closer to the goal than the right outside corner of the Ghana penalty box. The defender to his left was moving to his left, he had a huge gap, in the area around this line leading from him to the goal; the defender to his left had his left foot in front of his right, completely off balance; Donovan had a great chance to dribble towards the goal and shoot, he was not moving too fast he could have easily changed direction, but instead he just slowed down as he continued to move towards the middle of the field, and sent a short rolling pass backwards, to Olson, Olson was in an impossible situation with three Ghanaians like a wall on a penalty shot right in front of him, Olson's momentum carried him right towads them, Ghana got the ball. Donovan's play here would please a dumb teacher cracking down on "ball-hogs" but what Donovan did was not in actuality wise.

8935 ghana blows off opp

9006 American, I think it ws #9 Johnson, gets slow air ball moving towards him as he faces the Ghana goal, the Ghana man nearest him was twelve yds away! He had a chance to do all kinds of things (need I repeat myself?) but he like a goodie goodie trying to impress the dumb teacher, dutifully immediately grounded the ball, rolled it forwards five yds, crossed the ball in 15 yds to a well marked team-mate Dempsey, overled the team-mate Dempsey, put the team-mate Dempsey in an impossible situation, Dempsey handled it well, retained possession passed the ball backwards which was the best any man could do under the circumstances. The man he passed it to, Beasley, was in the clear in the left middle of the field, the Ghana man closest to him was seven yds away. He Beasley passed it to a team-mate, the team-mate passed it back to Beasley, this wall passing did not improve the situation one bit, the end result of the wall pass was just Beasley who started the wall pass being in a worse position than before the wall pass with defenders getting closer to him and having time to set up--goody goody please the dummies stuf again. Beasley then crossed the ball in to McBride. There was an American in the middle of the field 20 yds from the Ghana goal prior to the Beasley cross in to the middle, who could have been wide open for a pass with the closest Ghanaian 7 yds away, but this guy unaccountably jogged towards the Ghanaians as a result of which he was not open any more but covered. Beasley's cross underled McBride, McBride headed it backwards. to Olson. Olson was right in the middle of the field, just 10 yds from the Ghana goal. There was a man right in front of Olson, but to his left and to his right there was no Ghana man for ten yds. The ball came slowly in Olson's direction as he faced the Ghana goal. Olson just shot immediately, right into the Ghana man right in front of him. Again a classic example of a situation where moving a couple of yds while air dribbling could have improved things, but what Olson chose to do was the goodie goodie, look good in the eyes of dummies, Wheaties Box Photo shot right off the volley, right into the man directly in front of him. Ghana got possession of the ball out in the clear off the rebound off the block.

9205 Donovan of USA got a ball on one bounce head high in the right wing area. He headed the ball eight yds forward past a Ghana defender. He caught up to the ball after it bounced once. But by that time a Ghana man was there to clear the ball as he overled himself. But at least Donovan had the right idea, I was pleased by what he did. Instead of being a goody goody, passing immediately, grounding the ball, he moved forward on the aerial dribble, problem was that he overled himself. In drills I sometimes sprint 20 yds at almost top speed touching the ball only with my head, keeping the ball under control, when I do this I often touch the ball every five yds or so, and the ball never touches the ground. So I know that it would be possible for say a Donovan to head it forward catch it on a bounce keep it under control.

9420 johnson of usa blows pass, he had time and space

CONCLUSION: There are three or four mistakes that the USA keeps making over and over and over again. Thus wisely targetted practice and training, could kill a few birds with one stone, so to speak.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs