Thursday, July 20, 2006

Senator Blather calls for sanity in government

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 20, 2006

Senator Blather Advocates Sane, Secular, Rational, Scientific Government

Hilda Kelly Blather Executive Office Building
Room 667
3:10 P.M. EDT

SENATOR BLATHER--Let's betray our civilizashuns t'their inemies our friends while we git rich as hell off of pretendin' t'be guardians of th' nashunal security. Thet way we'll be safe an' happy as a pig in mud--an' by th' time our civilizashuns thet we betray is enslaved an' destroyed we'll all be daid ennyway. (Applause.)

It's th' only logical course. Th' only real types of happiness, scientifically speakin', is physical safety an' money. Thar is no logical reason we sh'd give a hoot whut happens t'our civilizashuns af'er we die. ( Applause, stomping of feet.)

We is not foolish Catholic folks who believe in enny punishments in th' af'erlife, o' in rewards in this hyar life on account o' of our fine deeds! Us protestants, an' our esteemed colleagues th' atheists agree, whut we does cannot result in enny divine punishment o' reward in this hyar life o' th' next. (Applause, Confederate battle cries.)

So less git on wif th' business of keepin' our families safe by cozyin' up t'th' enemies of our civilizashuns, while we git rich by pretendin' thet we is guardin' th' security of our civilizashuns!
(Sustained loud applause, shouts of 'the South shall rise again'.)

Our spoiled brat loser gran'kids will ind up inslaved o' destroyed, but thar is no scientific reason we sh'd care about thet, by th' time thet happens we'll all be daid. An' a safe rich an' happy life we shall haf befo'e we die indeed! Fry mah hide! (Standing ovation, singing of Confederate anthem "God Save the South").

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Christianity not as Intolerant of Female Sexual "deviance" as it seems to be?

Many have this idea ( ) that Christianity is and always has been unreasonably intolerant with regards to female homosexuality. Their argument is based on scripture and on their understanding of historical Christian doctrines regarding the matter. Their argument is flawed in the sense that a Christian's interpretation of scripture is not necessarily an accurate interpretation of scripture; and their interpretation of the words of Christians of the past may not be accurate.

The central scripture at issue in the debate is:

Rom 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: Rom 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.

Here Paul, condemns: women who change from natural to anti-natural; men who abandon nature for homosexuality.

The women are condemned, for antinatural activity, the men are condemned for homosexuality. This implies a more stringent standard for men, since it is conceivable that there are homosexual acts that are not anti-natural (cf harem women). Looking at human history it is evident that due to a continual shortage of males female homosexuality is more natural than male homosexuality. Males can be more of a source of disease and violence than females.

Women and men are both condemned for changing from or abandoning that which is natural.

Translation: women should not suppress natural feelings of affection; they should suppress unnatural sexual conduct. They should not replace natural sexual conduct with less natural sexual conduct, conduct that is of given alternatives relatively unnatural.

This in the context of Christ's admission that men vary in terms of their sex drive and ability to handle celibacy, and the Old Testament's tolerance of polygamy and female homosexuality.

Modern science has verified Christ's idea that men vary widely in terms of sex drive; modern science has additionally found that women also vary in terms of sex drive.

Thus the question becomes, what should a woman with a high sex-drive, who is not married, do, when the sex drive in her builds up to the point where it's continued suppression interferes with the woman's ability to competently handle day to day life? What should a woman whose sex drive is not satisfied by her husband do?

My synthesis (what I fallible human being now think) of the various scriptures on female sexuality:

For both married and unmarried women:

Keep in mind that in the eyes of scripture, sexual thoughts are the equivalent of sexual deeds; thus the release of sexual energy could result in a woman being more psychologically chaste than she would be otherwise.

Do not despair that you are a hopeless case if you are a high sex drive woman--scriptural heroes such as David and Solomon were high sex drive, high testosterone level type persons who passed such characteristics on to their daughters.

A woman should make a good faith effort, to minimize sexual activity that is relatively unnatural. Women who indulge in relatively unnatural sexual conduct beyond what is necessary to so to speak put out of the fire, sin.

A woman could find herself in a marriage wherein her sex drive is not satisfied by the husband. The situation could arise wherein the pent up sex drive results in general dysfunction and or a mind that is more unchaste than it would be if the pent up sexual energies were released.

A woman's sexual decisions are a highly individual matter. Paul in scripture counseled some widows to remarry but he counseled other widows to not remarry

For unmarried women:

For women who are unable to handle celibacy such as the unmarried high sex drive type of woman the best solution is marriage.

Yet it is not always wise to rush into marriage. Scripture advises against divorce; men can be a source of disease and violence. Nowadays marriages are not arranged, women enjoy this liberty, marriage can reasonably be delayed.

Secondarily to initiating married heterosexual sex, for unmarried women it comes down to a choice between non-marital heterosexual sex, non-marital homosexual sex (the woman has sex with a woman who is not the husband's other wife), and non-marital masturbation (the masturbatory fantasy focuses on a man the woman is nt married to).

All of these three alternatives should be minimized by the unmarried woman. A valid scriptural argument can be made that none of these three alternatives is superior--thus which of these three alternatives is chosen should depend upon what is natural and wise given the individual circumstances of the woman in question.

For married women:

A married woman could find herself in a marriage wherein her sex drive is not satisfied by the husband.

In this event the choices become: marital masturbation (the husband is the fantasy figure); non-marital masturbation (someone other than the husband is the fantasy figure); non-marital heterosexual sex; non-marital homosexual sex (the sex is with a woman who is not another wife of the husband); and marital homosexual sex (the sex is with another wife of the husband).

A solid scriptural case can be made that the best alternatives of these are marital masturbation, and marital homosexual sex. Surprise! The marital homosexual sex scripturally speaking comes in ahead of non-marital heterosexual sex.

As to whether the marital masturbation or the marital homosexual sex route should be taken, a woman masturbating while thinking about her husband, and a woman being stimulated by her husband's other wife while thinking about her husband, would scripturally speaking seem almost identical; both of these alternatives would seem to be superior to sex with a fellow wife that is mentally speaking centered on erotic feeling for the fellow wife. Then again scripture besides opposing relatively unnatural alternatives, opposes the lack of "natural affection". The question is what is natural and wise and of conscience for the individual woman in question. Many would argue that sex with a fellow wife would be more natural and emotional than masturbation.

A wife deriving pleasure from being exhibitionistic in front of the husband would seem superior to the wife being absorbed in homosexual passion for another wife of the husband, but the husband has a legitimate interest in minimizing prurience within himself.

Now does that all sound so intolerant and unreasonable? It's all based on scripture.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Sunday, July 09, 2006

France Runs Out of Luck Against Italy in 2006 World Cup Final

I predicted before the game, Italy would win. I did not make my prediction public. I felt, as an individual, I should hide my prediction.

I thought Italy would win because after the first 30 or so minutes of its game against Germany, it thoroughly dominated Germany in terms of the sum of goals and almost-goals; Italy a few times came very close to scoring without actually scoring, against Germany.

This game it was the same story of Italian offensive potency after a delay in the first few minutes of the game; whereas France's entire offense, was a penalty kick by Zidane, just as in the semifinal vs Portugal the game prior to this one, France's entire offense was a penalty kick by Zidane. France 1 Italy 0 six minutes into game on penalty kick by Zidane.

Italy scored on the France defense twice, both times without recourse to a penalty kick undefended from 12 yds in front of the goalie. One of Italy's goals was taken back because Italy was allegedly offsides.

In the 19th minute Materazzi headed in a corner kick. In the 62nd minute Toni showed great skill in heading a line drive free kick that rocketed at the France goal as Toni sprinted towards the France goal, into the France goal. But one of the Italians was called offsides.

Thus in the final 70 minutes of regulation time, the Italians outscored the French 2-0 in terms of goals plus almost-goals. This extrapolates to 2.6 to 0 over 90 minutes which rounds off to 3-0. In the Germany vs Italy semifinals game, this extrapolation was even more tilted in Italy's favor.

Italy being basically the better team one would expect it to win the shootout, since being a better team has to do to a certain extent with qualities of the type that produce players who do well in shootouts.

France lucked out to be able to tie Italy 1-1 after overtime, because Italy was called offsides on the free kick on which it scored, and because Materazzi was alleged to have fouled Malouda in the penalty box allowing France to score on the penalty kick.

However sooner or later the luck swings in the opposite direction, i.e., Italy getting lucky in the penalty shootout.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Notes on highlights of Germany 3 Portugal 1 2006 World Cup


5' Here a ball headed by a fellow German bounced to Kehl from in front of him 10 yds away from him from the 12 O'Clock angle from the direction his body was facing; he swiveled to hit it at the 2 O'Clock angle. When he started his kick the nearest Portuguese was 7 yds away from him at 2 O'Clock; by the time he contacted the ball, this Portuguese was 4 yds away, jumping in the air, wincing, preparing for the impact of the blasted ball.

Kehl shot from 15 yds from the Portugal goal. He got the shot to the inside of the Portuguese defender, it bounced twice as it hit the ground, it missed outside Portugal's left goalpost by a yard.

Kehl here showed the wisdom of volleying the ball towards the ground, because then you avoid firing over the crossbar. Problem was, that in the direction he shot it at there were a couple more Ports blocking the shot-path; the shot-path went as close as possible to them without hitting them; the shot-path ended missing the goalpost by 3 feet. Thus what Kehl was attempting here was the impossible--He shot in an area where it was actually not possible to get the shot on target without hitting a defender's body.

750 Klose raced forward and to his right to run down a ground ball from his right that was led to him, he stopped the ball and turned counter clockwise to face a Portuguese 2 yds to his left; he then dribbled once towards the goal and shot with his right foot. The ball missed outside Portugal's left goalpost by a yard. The ESPN announcers were up in arms about how Podolski, behind and to the left of Klose, was wide open for a pass. Sounds like they had read my earlier post about how Klose had ignored a wide open Podolski.

15' Sabrosa ground dribbled forward and to his right while Pauleta ran forward and to Sabrosa's left. Here the Ports refuted stereotypes by cleverly fooling the Germans. Pauleta ended up wde open as Portugal converted a 2 Ports on 3 Germans into a 1 Port on 0 Germans (the goalie does not count) situation.

Sabrosa reached the ball 25 yds from the german goal near the left outside corner of the penalty box, he dribbled once towards the goal, shot in the direction of Germany's left goalpost, The German goalie Kahn who was at the corner of the goalie box dove to his left to deflect the shot away. I would guess the goalie was 6 yds away from Pauleta when Pauleta shot, and a pursuing German was 3 yds to his right, when Pauleta shot the ball.

Seems there are situations where everyone expects a shot or a dribble and a shot, as with Kehl earlier, even though such a dribble and shot strategy has a low chance of success because the shooter is off to the side and the goalie has come out to cut down the angle and defenders are blocking off certain possible shot paths. This despite the fact that even the shooter is near the goal, and has an unimpeded pathway towards a part of the goal.

1937 Kehl 27 yds from Port goal in center of field, had ball time and space, shot chip over goalie who was out 4 yds in front of his goal at beginning of shot. The Port goalie jumped backwards and up to barely deflect the ball with his outstretched arm.

This incident showed how even when a goalie is out just four yards in front of his goal, he is vulnerable to a ball chipped over him; and it showed how it is difficult for goalies to judge chipped balls--had the goalie judged the ball correctly from the beginning, he would have first taken a step backwards and then jumped straight upwards, but what he ended up doing was awkwardly leaning backwards as he jumped upwards and backwards to extend his arm and punch the ball which would have gone into the goal had he missed it, away.

All this 2006 World Cup I have been talking about how it would be an improvement if there was more air-dribbling, bounce-dribbling, chipping. Balls shot off the air dribble are even harder for the goalie to judge than grounded chipped balls. Balls shot off the air dribble spin and bounce weirdly to further confuse goalies. In this instance the goalie was only 4 yd out in front of his goal when the chip shot that made him stagger like an awkward puppet was launched at him. But when Klose of Germany and Sabrosa of Portugal missed chances close in from the side earlier in the game, the goalies were 10 yds away from the center of their goal line!!!

5530 Germany scores-- Schweinsteiger dribbled on a diagonal approx 12 yds towards the middle of the field and 3 yds backwards, ended up 27 yds from Portugal goal, in left middle, fired a shot that beat the goalie.

Portugal had vs France, been giving the famous Zidane a chance to shoot from this area and Zidane was not taking the shots. Schweinsteiger is not Zidane, also, he took a running right footed shot firing the ball to his left--you can get alot of power into such a shot.

I had remarked in an earlier post, how this 2006 World Cup attackers had been getting lanes allowing them to dribble parallel to the endline towards the middle of the field, but had not been taking advantage of such lanes, as if they like the defenders did not realize how moving parallel to the endline towards the middle of the field gets a player closer to the other team's goal.

6200 Deco's shot from 15 yds on the dribble in the middle was blocked by diving German goalie diving to his left. Notice how here the goalie engaged in the kind of dive that is used against penalty kicks. Goalies are well practiced vs. such penalty kick shots, for obvious reasons. But what appears even harder for them than the sideways dive of the type used to repel penalty kicks, are the type of dives used to deal with chipped shots--goalies are not well prepared by their practices for such chipped shots.

Here again Portugal worked its cunningly magical strategy, Ronaldo and Deco turned a two Ports vs four Germans situation into an open shot for a Port from just 15 yds away, as Deco ran to his right while the passer Ronaldo cut to Deco's left as he passed to Deco.

7700 here Ronaldo 15 yds from and to the left of the German goal fired a one touch volley at the German goalie who knocked it away. Everyone expects players to just shoot right away in such situations, but their situation is compromised because they are off to the side of the goal, the goalie has the angle of the shot cut down, defenders with their bodies are cutting off certain parts of the goal while the goalie cuts off the other part of the goal.

Ronaldo here could have flipped the ball that rolled towards him up in the air and started a short 10 yd air dribble run towards the middle of the field, caught all the defenders moving to his side of the field while he moved to the middle of the field, and then sent a chip shot or a weirdly spinnng bounced shot at the goalie from a more central position giving the goalie less chance to cut down the angle. But if he had done this most people would complain.

7730 Germany scores-- Schweinsteiger 50 yds from the Port goal, on the left side, dribbled forwards and to the middle of the field on a diagonal until he was 30 yds from the Port goal in the left middle area. He then swerved to his right till he was moving almost parallel to the endline, as he dribbled once took four steps and shot with his right foot from 27 yds again for a goal.

This goal was like a replay of his earlier goal. It took advantage of the weakness in World Cup defenses I mentioned in an earlier post, how they leave a path to the middle open as if they do not realize moving to the middle gets an attacker closer to the opposing goal.

8245 Ronaldo shot a free kick from 45 yds at the goal. The German goalie misjudged it moved to his left but then recovered to dive to his right and save. The announcers shouted about how much was on the shot, afterwards writers wrote about how the shot was a swerving and deceptive shot, but it could be that what happened, was that the goalie for some reason simply misjudged the ball.

Maybe shots that are not a good idea get an inflated reputation, simply because goalies sometimes for sime reason simply misjudge things. Since this was a free kick Portugal had a chance to place players in positions that blocked the goalie's view of Ronaldo as he kicked the ball and of the ball coming at him. 8706 Figo crossed it in Gomes scored with a diving header. The fact that the end result this time happened to be spectacular, does not mean that these cross and header plays are always the best alternative.

CONCLUSION: This game illustrates: the wisdom of an attacker with the ball moving to the middle of the field; the weakness of hard line drive shots from close in and to the side; the strength of chipped shots; the cleverness of Portuguese team-play on the attack.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Saturday, July 08, 2006

2nd quarter of France 1 Portugal 0 2006 World Cup Game

2255-2400 Portugal on offense--they get lots of situations wherein they have the ball time and space 40-45 yds from the France goal.

Portugal wears an old fashioned Christian cross on their shirt. So does their coach Scolari--Scolari's shirt is white, the shirts of the players are a color that is like a mix of brown and crimson.

2406 Zidane of France does skillful job of deflecting roller coming in from 1 O'Clock in fighter pilot lingo, to 4 O'Clock.

2420 Vieira of France, got a one bounce pass from 12 O'Clock, used his left foot to deflect it to 8 O'Clock (12 O'Clock corresponds to straight in front of you). after he deflected it to 8 O'Clock it bounced once in front of him and then a Port defender intercepted it. However if Vieira had not overled himself, he would have had a ball in front of him, at a moderate speed, that bounced once in front of him; I would have loved to have been in Vieira's shoes after he did this to start a forward aerial air dribble I encounter balls such as Vieira set up for himself here all the time when I practice dribbling the ball at a sprint keeping it off the ground under control. Thus though the announcer loudly lamented the fact that although Vieira had some room and that his first touch on the ball failed, I appreciated what Vieira had done in the positive sense-- to me it represented the evolution of the World cuppers from H Erectus to H Sapiens so to speak.

2600 Zidane on ground dribble run up middle, slips by one Port defender by putting the ball to the Port defender's right and his body to the Port defender's left. Then his attempt to pass off was intercepted.

2635-2720 Portugal farts around with the ball at midfield for a long time unmolested, then finally sends in long cross to France goalie. I wonder if there are any rules against just passing the ball around in circles in your own half of the field forever. I've heard Portugal has done well in Penalty kicks used to decide ties, I wonder if such boring farting around midfield is part of their plan.

2730-2750 France gets ball in middle, passes to left inside forward area, there a Frenchman puts on a clinic of dribbling left and right--he faked out the Port defender by faking to his right and then moving left, but after this he had an tough angle for a shot. He did not attempt to dribble by the Port defender towards the Portugal goal.

2810 yet again Port gets ground ball, time space 35 yds from France goal, fails on forward ground dribble.

2830 Frenchman dribbles on forward diagonal from right sideline towards middle, passes back to Zidane, Zidane passes back, France loses ball.

3035 French forward does three touch aerial dribble with feet and thigh moving towards sideline for a couple of yards, grounds ball, retreats, pass intercepted.

3045 Portugal gets time and space on ground ball 35 yds from France goal, moves forward on ground dribble, pass intercepted. The Ports time and again, around 35 yds from the France goal, are getting grounded balls in their possession with the nearest French defender five yards away this is characteristic of this game. Comparatively in other games in this world cup the attacking players have been getting often bouncing or air balls and time and about 8 yds of space 45 yds from the other team's goal.

3115 France scores-- The Frenchman got a ground ball in the middle of the field 40 yds from the Port goal. The nearest Port was 10 yds away. He passed forward to French Captain Zidane who was covered Zidane passed back to him now he was 35 yds from the goal but the nearest Port was 6 yds away. He then passed a short 10 yd roller to his right, the recipient ground dribbled at a forward diagonal from the right middle area of the field to the left middle area, and then sent a 10 yd grounder diagonally forward and to his right to another Frenchman right on the forward edge of the Port penalty box. This Frenchman had his back to the right sideline, stopped the ball, swiveled to face the goal while dribbling the ball with the outside of his right foot. the Port marking him, missed or grazed the ball as he fell, then the Frenchman tripped over the Port's outstretched leg.

Looking at the slow motion replay it was obvious the Port deliberately fell backwards as he stretched out his foot to trip Henry. The ref called this infraction well, without using slow motion or replay video. A deadly penalty inside the penalty box was called by the ref. You can moan and groan about the call by the ref playing such an important part in the game, the fact remains France showed skill and intelligence getting the ball to a forward in the penalty box who was in a situation such that the Port marking him had to risk a penalty in the penalty box to stop him.

Penalties inside the penalty box are severely punished, rules are rules. The rules of the game are already to harshly tilted against offensive players attempting to score. The harshness of the punishments for fouls in the penalty box has an inhibiting effect on defenders.

France chose Zidane to take the kick--it is annoying that in tie breaking penalty kicks the players who take the kicks are chosen at random, but at least in this case France could choose who would take the penalty kick. The goalie guessed correctly that the ball would be shot to his right, dove in that direction, his outstretched hand 3 feet from his right goalpost slightly deflected it as it was 2 feet above the ground and 2 feet fron Portugal's right goalpost, France 1 Portugal 0.

3420 another portugal chance fairly close to goal, with time and space on ground dribble, ends ineffectually.

3443 Zidane raced back to strip a Port who was facing the France goal 40 yds away from him, with the nearest Port defenders in front of him 8 yds away. All day the Ports had been getting these kinds of chances, easy ground roller in their possession less than 40 yds from the goal. All day France had been allowing them to get away with this. But here in this instance, a French attacker, Zidane, had finally had enough, and raced back to strip the Port of the ball. This is the problem with the style of ground dribbling attack in which the attacker takes it easy as he slowly dribbles towards the defender--the defending team's attackers can race back to strip you of the ball. But as it turned out this steal by Zidane was the only time the entire first half that a French attacking player came back to harass a Portuguese attacker who had time and space with the ball.

3525-3537 Ports 40 yds away from the goal again have easy rollers in their possession time and space more than once. Maniche got the ball 40 yds from French goal it rolled to him from his left slowly. He turned to face the French goal. The nearest French defender was 11 yards in front of him. He dribbled forward once wound up and shot from 42 yards, the shot traveled 30 yds low off the ground, bounced once went straight to the goalie who caught it. This is the second time in this first half this Maniche, has had the ball, and plenty of time and space 40 yds from the French goal, and then gone on to wind up and fire this kind of breakfast-cereal-box-photo style shot. He has missed a goal both times, although he snaked the shots through the defenders.

The announcer loudly growled about what a dangerous shot it was. But I could see that for the goalie it was an easy shot to handle--the goalie handled it lazily, like an easy ball in a practice drill. The shot angles that would have produced a hard to handle shot, were blocked off by French defenders (the breakfast-cereal-box-photo executives and the simpletons did not notice this).

In the penalty kick, the attacking player takes an unmolested shot with the goalie the only defender, from 12 yds away from the goal in the middle of the field. In the 2006 World Cup so far there have been 16 penalty kick attempts of which 12 were goals. That is not counting the performance of the teams on the overtime penalty kick shootout statistics, which has been even worse.

Portugal reached the semifinals by beating England in an overtime penalty kick shootout in which 9 penalty kicks were attempted by both teams of which only 4 resulted in goals. Germany which plays Portugal for third place on July 8 reached the semifinals where it lost to Italy, by defeating Argentina in a penalty kick shootout in which there were 8 attempts of which 6 succeeded. The Portuguese percentage in its penalty kick shootout against England was 3 for 5 60 percent. Maniche has a strong looking face but he is not built like a powerhouse at 6 feet tall and 159 pounds. But here he is continually blasting shots from 40 yards out.

Maniche here could have air dribbled forwards 3 yds and then chipped the ball either 15 yds ahead to a Port on the front line of the France penalty box who had slipped between two defenders; or to another Port 15 yds ahead of him and slightly to the right of him. Instead he wound up and delivered his "dangerous" shot.

Even without getting the ball in the air Maniche had a Port wide open on the left wing in good position whom he could have led with a pass that the Port on the left wing would be able to make deadly use of were he any good at air dribbling.

3614 Figo of Port got the ball on the right wing near the end line just 25 yards from the France goal. Figo had plenty of time and space the nearest French defender was 12 yards away. Figo crossed the ball in to a Port 10 yds in front of the France goal, Ronaldo, who excitedly waved for the ball, but who ended up with two Frenchmen in white right on top of him. Ronaldo dived forward like a swimmer to make it look good as the ball sailed two feet over his head and the announcer roared, "Portugal looks for the equalizer!". This was followed by all kinds of angry gesticulation led by Portugal coach Scolari from the Portugal bench 60 yards away from the play where they could barely see what happened, they wanted a penalty to be called.

The announcer shouted, "no penalty there and the Portugal players are livid!". Announcers shouting about Portugal looking for a goal, Ronaldo diving towards and completely missing the ball without being fouled, Portugal players angrily calling for a fould to be called, announcers shouting about the Portugal players being angry...such a combination does not constitute in and of itself a quality attempt at a goal, except in the eyes of simpletons.

I felt that Figo who had plenty of time and space 25 yards from the France goal wasted his opportunity. Even before Figo's foot contacted the grounded ball to cross it in, the French defenders and the Port attackers began moving towards where they knew the ball would be going. A Port who was in the open had to run to an area ahead of him covered by a French defender because he could tell as Figo wound up to send in his breakfast-cereal-box-photo style shot that Figo would not be able to get the ball to him in the open spot where he was.

If Figo had gotten the ball in the air and then chipped it in, he would have been able to accomplish the angle required to get the ball to the open Port, and the defenders would not have known perhaps until too late, where the crossed ball was going to end up, due to the unpredictable nature of such chips when the chipped ball is not grounded when it is kicked.

3630-3655 French have ball for half a minute close to the Portugal goal. Zidane dribbled around with it for a while right on the front line of the Portugal penalty box, 20 yards from the Portugal goal. He shifted left and right, the Portugal defenders gave him a little space, even gave him a lane to shoot at the Portugal goal. He, the world famous Captain of France Zidane, the player chosen by France to take penalty kick shots, refrained from shooting, though 20 yards from the Portugal goal. Yet we are seeing unknown players such as Maniche of Portugal, regularly and unimaginatively blasting off breakfast-cereal-box-photo style shots when 40 yards away from the opposing team's goal.

One thing I've noticed in soccer and in USA tackle football, teams that act silly before a game, end up losing the game, and teams that act silly during a game, end up losing the game. Figo sending in a useless cross, Ronaldo unmolestedly diving at a ball two feet over his head, followed by the Portugal coach Scolari leading his team protesting that an imaginary foul had occurred, playing as if getting an announcer shouting was worth half a goal, such in my book constitutes silliness.

3756 Figo got a nice slow lazy bouncer coming his way from 12 yards from his left, he was on the right side of the field near the right corner of the Portugal penalty box, 30 yards from the France goal. He wound up and blasted it on the first touch at the French goal, the ball sailed 10 feet over the crossbar. The only path of the ball towards the goal was blocked by a towering Frenchman so of course the shot was way too high as Figo stubbornly and irrationally shot at but over the French defender towering in front of him.

After the ball bounced Figo could have started a short aerial dribble using his head, to move to the middle of the field to his left while all the defenders were drifting over to his right. The head is the easiest part of the body to air dribble with. Figo had an open path like a carpet ten yards wide and twenty yards long towards the middle of the field. Instead Figo wound up and shot with his right foot. As Figo kicked the ball the announcer shouted, "here's Luis Figo!" as if said kick was exciting and important and professional. This is silliness, playing as if a shot was worth a quarter of a goal if an announcer shouts about it.

3830 Ronaldo dribbled down the left side 15 yds forward to a point 10 yds in front of the front edge of the Portugal penalty box 30 yds from the goal. He had three Frenchmen chasing him. At this point he should have crossed the ball to the middle to an empty spot, the player nearest the empty spot in best position to get there first was a Portuguese. instead he chose to dribble another 15 yds where under pressure from a slide tackling big Frenchman 15 yds from the French goal he fired right at the goalie but several feet over the crossbar.

The announcer shouted, "Cristiano Ronaldo" as the ball thudded impressively into the barrier behind the goal, after being deflected by the tackling Frenchman. The announcer was impressed that Portugal got a corner kick out of it. They are always impressed when a team gets a corner kick out of some endeavor, but I have never seen a corner kick result in a goal. Before they enthuse about actions that result in corner kicks, they should check the stats, what percentage of corner kicks actually result in goals?

4030 French get a bunch of chances with time and space and ball 45 yds from Portugal goal.

Strange thing that the only punishment for a foul outside the penalty box that does not result in a yellow card, is a free kick. Free kicks rarely produce any advantage.

4253 25 yds in front of the France goal, Portugal's Pauletta mishandled a ball that sailed towards him and over his head as he faced away from the French goal, and then bounced once a couple of yards in front of him as he turned to face the French goal. He first knocked the ball down with his right foot when he was facing away from the French goal. This would have been a big juicy opportunity for me what with my air dribbling ability, this ball bouncing once right in front of me, 30 yds from the French goal in the middle of the field. Pauletta miskicked the bouncer France retained possession.

4320 French players had time and space 45 yds from Portugal goal. Episode ended as Malouda's short 10 yard pass to Zidane was intercepted. It is always safe in the eyes of the simpletons to pass off to the superstar, but the defense expects such it is not always the best move.

4330 Ronaldo dribbled 40 yds straight towards the French goal as the French defender retreated with him cutting off the middle of the field, for 25 yds. The French defender allowed him to do what he did; he retreated for 25 yds keeping a close eye on Ronaldo. Ronaldo got to a point 25 yards from the French goal and under pressure unleashed a shot that missed the French goal by 20 feet, off to the side of the field he was on that the retreating French defender was leaving open for him while cutting off the middle.

After the shot missed the Portugal fans in the crowd let out a loud "Oh!!!" of disappointment, the announcer crowed, "it certainly was a good run", but by the time Ronaldo shot the ball, he had three Frenchmen right on top of him and was in no position to fire off anything more than an impress the simpletons symbolic excuse for a shot. The announcer and the fans were impressed, the point is that the French defender whose job it is to prevent goals, allowed Ronaldo to dribble 25 yds down the field while cutting off Ronaldo's shot and his approach to the middle. For me this incident emphasizes how foolish it is for teams to fail to move the ball to the middle of the field when they get the chance--the defender was willing to give up 25 yds, but not a move to the middle.

4353 French Captain Zidane near the center circle got an easy ball that bounced at him once as he faced the Portugal goal 45 yds away. the nearest Portugal defenders were one 8 yds in front of him and another 6 yards behind him. He attempted to pass off on the first touch the pass went right into a Portugal player. Zidane here looked tired. I wonder if teams might do better, if they would stop demanding all kinds of defensive efforts and teamwork from players who excel at the individual offensive, and let them rest a little even while they are out playing on the field, so that they can put more of their energy into important stuff.

4425 Ribery of France had ball time and space 20 yds from Portugal goal in middle of field. As he wound up to take his shot, he could have at the last second cut in to his right on the dribble instead of shooting, to an open spot right in front of the Portugal goal. Instead he shot his breakfast cereal photo style shot right into a Portugal defender who clearly saw what was about to happen. A problem with shots that you have to really wind up for, is that it is hard to at the last moment abort the shot and turn the touch of the ball into a dribble instead.

4430 around this time France had a few chances where a player had the ball time and space just 40 yds from the French goal but they made nothing of it. For me it is easy to dribble 15 yds at a sprint keeping the ball off the ground but under control allowing it to bounce just once. Starting 40 yds from the Portugal goal such raids would get Frenchmen to a point just 25 yds from the Portugal goal, with momentum surprise, physical height, and a ball in the air on their side, just three running paces from the penalty box, in a situation defenders are liable to commit fouls in.

4515 typical situation for Portugal they get chances with rolling ground ball, time, 5 yds of space, nothing comes of it.

4545 more of the above for Portugal


@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Friday, July 07, 2006

Incidents of Note, 2nd Quarter, Italy 2 Germany 0 2006 World Cup

2320-40 italian chances

2504 Reactions to Air Ball--Lahm of Germany threw the ball in to a spot near the right sideline, in the Italian half. Lahm on the 12 yd line had taken a running start and hurled the ball back to a German at the 30 yd line who flipped it backwards to the German at the 36 yd line. The German at the 36 yd line, who was 50 yds from the goal, got a head high ball coming at him and flipped it 24 feet high in the air and 2 yds forward. An Italian went to the spot where the ball was descending to earth, there was a German 2 yds to one side of him and a German 3 yds to another, these Germans just stood there and let the Italian wait for the ball to decend from 24 feet high in the air, they stood there and watched the Italian head it. This Italian who the germans allowed to head the ball had a path open to him leading straight from him to the German goal. If he had headed the ball along this pathway starting along on an air dribble he could have set something up. Instead he headed the ball to an Italian who was seven yds away from him. This second Italian chested the ball as it came to him, then swiveled towards the Germany goal and badly overled a team-mate, sending off a line drive air ball that bounced after traveling 20 yds and rolled tamely over the German end line; he also had a path open running straight to the German goal.

Here we see twice that an Italian heading a ball had a pathway open leading straight from himself to the German goal, and then neglected to initiate an aerial dribble in the direction of the German goal; this despite the fact that air dribbling while heading the ball is easier than air dribbling using feet or thighs. I find it easy to sprint 15 yds, keeping the ball under control but off the ground using mostly only my head, allowing the ball during these 15 yds to bounce once. If I allow myself to let the ball bounce up to two times such a 15 yd sprint becomes a snap.

A crucial difference between dribbling the ball forward rolling it along on the ground, and air dribbling the ball forward wherein the ball is kept under control but off the ground, is that with the aerial forward dribble, one is able to chip the ball to a player in the direction one is running at. Thus on the aerial forward dribble, I am able to chip the ball in the direction I am running at, and get a running start moving in the direction I am running at, and I am able to chip the ball in a high lob trajectory. Thus I can arrive at the spot that I chip the ball to, at the same time that the ball arrives there, having sprinted from the time I chipped the ball to the time I caught up with it. I can cover distances of at least 12 yds in this manner. Thus I can get myself to the area where the team-mate I chip the ball to is located, suddenly creating a two of us on one of them situation, I can suddenly turn for example a 3 of us attacking 5 of them into a 2 of us against 1 of them.

When this Italian kicked the ball after it bounced on his head he badly overled his team-mate. These World Cuppers who are good at volleying balls that fly at them in the air in some direction, operate in a world of two dimensions--the vertical dimension, and the horizontal dimension, while the announcers shout as if they were playing baseball, as if just smacking the ball hard somewhere was worth something. The World Cuppers are like archers shooting arrows at a target. But when I air dribble I operate in a world of four dimensions--the vertical, the horizontal, and then also the dimensions of depth and time. When I air dribble I am like a basketball player who doesn't just hit the basket but puts the ball inside the basket--and more than a basketball player, I have to be precise regarding WHEN I get the ball in the basket, which is effected by the trajectory the ball follows on the way to the "basket".

In general in the World Cup it seems two avenues of attack that are neglected are open or guarded pathways that lead straight towards the goal, and open pathways that lead to the middle of the field from the side of the field.

2535 german opportunity-- A German had the ball 50 yds from the Italian goal in the Italian half on the left side near the sideline. He had plenty of time and space, the nearest Italian was at least 10 yds away, he immediately passed the ball down the left sideline, #11 Klose on the left wing, hit it with his right foot, stepped with left, hit with right foot, stepped with left, overled himself on the dribble as he dribbled at the defender, had the ball stolen.

2650 german effort-- The German Schneider got the ball in the middle of the field, 40 yds from the Italy goal. The ball rolled to him from his left. He kicked it with his right towards the Italian goal, then his pattern of steps was L R L kick-right, L kick-with-right, L kick-with-right, L kick-with-right, L-shoot with right from 24 yds line. When this German got the ball The Italian nearest him was 12 yds away. The Italian in front of him retreated as this German dribbled forward until at the end of the German's little unmolested 15 yd run straight forward, he was a yd away to block the shot. If he had not blocked the shot, there was another Italian in the line of the shot behind him to block it also. In the vicinity where the shot was taken, there were 4 Italian defenders and only 2 Germans.

When Schneider was 35 yds away from the Italy goal, his team-mate Podolski was aprox 10 yds to his left, 3 yds in front of him, and in the clear. A good play would have been for Schneider to roll it to Podolski, Podolski to roll it back to Schneider as Schneider ran in his direction, Schneider flip the ball rolling towards him up in the air and air dribble it forwards and towards the middle of the field in Podolski's direction, an air dribble which could end up as a chip pass to Podolski. This could have transformed a 2 Germans vs 4 Italians situation into a surprising and unpredictable 2 Germans vs 2 Italians; all it would require is Schneider getting the ball in the air as he moved forwards and to the middle, chipping it to near Podolski and then getting to the area Podolski was at.

2740-2810 italian efforts-- 40 yds from goal, Italian got a ball that bounced in front of him, moving the same direction he was running. He and the ball were both moving from right middle to middle of field. The ball bounced chest high, he jumped forward and in the air to knock it down with his foot; the ball then took tiny little bounces as it moved forward and he tried to take advantage of these tiny little bounces to chip the ball forward (the Italians attempt chipped lobbed passes more than any other team). His attempted chip was headed away by a German defender.

Seemed if I were in this Italian's shoes, I would have instead of knocking the ball to the ground, chipped it towards the goal with my foot or thigh to initiate an air dribble, traveled at least a couple of yards while keeping the ball off the ground but under control, and then decided what to do next; I would then have had clear sailing for 10 yds if I continued in the direction I was moving (diagonally across the field) and also if I swerved to move directly at the German goal.

I like the way the Italians chip the ball, however, when they chip the ball the ball is so near the ground that they cannot get a high enough trajectory when they chip it; and also it seems they are unskilled when it comes to chipping balls that are more than say a foot above the ground.

Next Gattuso got a roller coming back to him, 45 yds from the German goal, chance to start something tricky, nearest German 5 yds away and not charging but laying back.

2855 italian chance penalty kick

2910 italian chance--Toni overled on 25 yd pass by 5 yds.

3015 italian effort--ball and Toni near German goal, in and of itself does not equal a goal. But here an Italian displays skill dribbling by a German.

3135 italian chance

3330 germany's best chance so far--Schneider got the ball time and space, 20 yds from Italy goal, dribbled forward once shot, the shot was right at the goalie horizontally speaking; not only that vertically speaking it sailed 6 feet above the crossbar. The fact that the announcer started shouting, and the fact that the ball was shot hard, does not mean Schneider should be given a medal for what he did here.

Schneider was off to the right of the Italy goal. The goalie had the angle cut down. The ball was on the ground when Schneider shot it. An Italian defender was pressuring Schneider. The shot had to be rushed. Though Schneider was impressively close to the goal and the goalie who had come out in front of the goal when he shot it, such in and of itself does not mean he had much chance of scoring. The goalie was all the way out in the left outside corner of the goalie box. If the ball had been in the air with or without bouncing first when Schneider shot the ball, Schneider would have been able to chip the ball over the goalie into the goal, such a shot would go in even if it had only a third of the velocity Schneider here put on his shot that the announcer began shouting about. A ball moving fast somewhere near a goal combined with an announcer shouting combined with a loud explosion noise as the ball flies past the goal to hit the barrier behind the goal, in and of itself means nothing.

3420 Italian effort

3510 germany chance Klose plays announcer-ball--Klose crossed the ball, overled intended target who missed the ball on attempted volley in difficult situation...long balls flying at high velocity near goal, players attempting baseball batter like first touch volleys on said long balls, announcers shouting in and of themselves accomplish nothing.

Klose had a man open, Podolski, just 15 yds away from him towards the center of the field, who was 25 yds away from the Italy goal and in a position to penetrate the Italian defense. Klose ignored Podolski and crossed the ball all the way to the other side of the field. Even if his pass had been on target the intended recipient would have been in a worse situation than the nearby team-mate Podolski whom Klose ignored.

I am convinced that had Klose wisely led the nearby Podolski on a chip instead, the announcer would have been sleepy and quiet about it. Klose and the announcer seem incognizant regarding how with these long 60 yard crosses so much can change during the considerable time that the ball sails through the air. The recipient can end up out of position, the defender and the goalie can get into position.

3555 germany offensive run individual-- German captain Ballack got the ball bouncing back towards him from in front and slightly to the right of him as he faced the Italian goal 50 yds away from him. The nearest Italian was 5 yds away. Ballack admirably charged the ball that bounced once before reaching him, hit it to the ground with his chest, and ground dribbled forward 15 yds before having the ball stolen away from him.

Good try Ballack, by drawing Italian defenders to yourself you almost opened up team-mates for a pass. You were courageous enough to risk the slings and arrows of outrageous critical simpletons by this individual dribble.

However I would in the situation Ballack was in, have been able to charge the ball with my chest, and then continue moving forward with it keeping it off the ground but under control. Ballack's ultimate aim here was apparently to pass off; but his potential targets were blocked off by defenders who he would have been able to chip the ball over had the ball been at least a foot above the ground.

Had the ball been off the ground, Ballack would have had a chance to make use of a variety of possibilities in terms of not just where to get the ball to with the pass, but, also, WHEN to get the ball to the spot. A high lob gets the ball to a spot slower than a low lob does, sometimes this can be advantageous, because if the lob gets to the target spot too quickly the team-mate it was intended for never reaches it.

Ballack here had a team-mate behind him and to his left who had nothing but open space in front of him; if the ball was passed to a spot in front of this team-mate and got there too quickly, the team-mate would be unable to reach it in time.

3605 Italian chance

3650 italian individual efforts in corner--Grosso puts on clinic re dribbling facing the corner back to the wall I mean the defender.

3742 italian effort--Italian overled by 5 yds, as he raced to the goal, on a medium length pass. At this point I suspect that whatever virus causes the passer to overlead the target by 5 yds on such passes, and that first infected the USA and then infected England, has infected Italy also.

3830 - 3900 german efforts near Italy goal

3856 Lahm, 35 yds from Italian goal, facing the goal, had a ball moving in the same direction he was moving, he had chipped the ball to himself eight yds back with his head, moved forward past an Italian to catch up with the ball. Here we see the beginning of an aerial dribble: Lahm beat the Italian guarding him, the Italian with the pony tail, on an air dribble, alleluia--the Home erectuses are beginning to evolve into H. Sapiens.

I deal with balls of the type Lahm encountered here at the 35 yds line after he first chipped it at the 43 yd line, all the time in practice when I air dribble at a sprint. When Lahm caught up with the ball at the 35 yd line I think he made a mistake or displayed a weakness characteristic of world cuppers in that he slowed down and waited for the ball to bounce instead of charging it. After the ball bounced he kicked it, it went in front of him and bounced again. Yet again, Lahm, faced with this bouncing ball, instead of charging it, slowed down and waited for it to bounce yet again. He then attempted to ground dribble towards the middle, but by this time, what with Lahm repeatedly slowing down to let the ball bounce instead of charging it, The Italian with the pony tail who he had a few seconds before humiliated by heading the ball over his head and then catching up to the ball as it hit the ground, had had more than enough time to catch up to Lahm behind Lahm's back and strip him of the ball.

World Cuppers when they are following an air ball slow down gingerly and wait for it to bounce. By way of contrast I charge such balls and move them along with my thigh, my knee, my foot, my chest, my head, whichever part of my body is convenient at the time I reach the ball, and I am not afraid to scoop up the ball before it bounces. This has to do to some extent with differences in the way World Cuppers spend their practice time compared to the way I spend my practice time.

4130 german efforts-- germans had ball with time and space 40-45 yds from Italian goal a couple of times.

4139 Germany flubs air dribble opportunity (?)-- Then a ball bounced from the Italian goalie straight at German Kehl as Kehl in the middle of the field faced the Italian goal 35 yds away from him. the ball bounced slowly straight at Kehl's chest, he immediately trapped it to the ground, dribbled forward and to the left, was forced to pass into the left corner. There the German Borowski in a difficult situation, passed to the Italian team. The announcer intoned, "and a weak effort there" blaming Borowski.

When Kehl chested the ball he could have then chipped it in the direction of two Germans near him getting also his own self into the area he chipped the ball to; or he could have initiated an air-dribble in the direction of these two fellow Germans.

In the general area where the incident occurred there were 6 Italian defenders and 4 Germans on offense but by getting the ball in the air in the direction of his team-mates, Kehl could have transformed this general situation into a sub-situation featuring 3 germans including himself covered by 2 Italians or 4 Germans covered by 3 Italians. One advantage of having several attackers near each other near the goal, is the high chance of scoring off a rebound off the goalie or a rebound off a defender.

4340 german chance--Germans on offense in Italian side of field, German players a few times got ball with time and space just 40-45 yds from the Italian goal, seems they squandered these idyllic opportunities.


@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Incidents in 1st Quarter, France 1 Portugal 0, 2006 World Cup

France is looking better than it did at the beginning of the tourney, it is looking like a team that attains lofty heights and long distances with the ball, an aerial type of team. And it is looking healthy.

035 Frenchman ran down bouncing ball, inside Port penalty box, on left side, 20 yds from center of Port goal line. There was a Port 2 yds to his right chasing him, the Port goalie had the angle cut down. The Frenchman wound up and blasted a low Wheaties-box-photo style shot that missed Portugal's left goal post by 10 feet.

The shot might have looked good to the simpletons, but it ws a rushed shot with little chance of going in. He could have (i do not know this to be so, it seems to be so, but the fact that such it seems is significant) flipped the bouncing ball to his right over the Port who was chasing him, his moving to the middle of the field this way would give him a better angle on the goalie. This Frenchman, who was #7 Malouda, wound up to blast a shot, as a result the ball bouncing in front of him, which was on its way down, was lower to the ground when his foot hit it than it would have been had he just raced to it and flipped it over the defender's head.

135 The ball bounced at a Frenchman from his right side. He was 30 yds from the Port goal, on the right side of the field. He let the ball bounce past him, and then crossed a long cross over to his left, that went straight to a Port defender. The Port nearest him was six yds in front of him. This Frenchman had clear sailing for at least 10 yds if he had sprinted parallel to the end line towards the middle of the field with the ball--he had a chance to start an aerial dribble in that direction before passing.

The interesting thing here, is that the Frenchman could have reduced the distance between himself and the goal, by dribbling parallel to the endline towards the middle of the field, because he was on the right side and this would have moved him towards the middle closer to the goal. Seems several times in the 2006 World Cup, offensive players have had the opportunity to improve their field position by dribbling towards the middle of the field, perhaps because defenders are not aware that such movement towards the middle improves field position; yet they have failed to take advantage of such opportunities to dribble unimpeded towards the middle of the field.

Having moved towards the middle the Frenchman involved in this incident, could have then passes off; and the situation would then become unpredictable and surprising, he would have had more time to size up the situation when he finally got rid of the ball, and he would have been in a position to after dribbling (preferably dribbling keeping the ball off the ground) towards the middle swerve towards the Port goal, he would have been in a position to race to the area of the field where the recipient to whom he chipped the ball was.

But instead he immediately crossed the ball over, such might look good to simpletons, I doubt it was the wisest course of action if he was someone who had skill dribbling balls on the bounce, or in the air.

I've noticed when I drill at air dribbling the ball 15 yds at a sprint using mostly my feet, keeping the ball off the ground under control, I can chip the ball high, sprint at top speed 10 yds and catch it with head thigh or foot before it hits the ground again. This tells me that I am able to chip the ball for instance to a team-mate 15 yds away and then be just 5 yds away from him when he gets the ball that I chipped to him to help out. When I drill I almost always keep my head and eyes up so when I air-dribble the ball, my eyes never drop below the level of my chest. Thus I am able to see what is going on in the field while air dribbling the ball in some direction.

258 The Frenchman, was in the left middle area of the field 25 yds from the Port goal. A bouncing pass came to him, he attempted a short pass to his right on the first touch. The ball bounced off the Port defender to the Frenchman's right, then bounced in the air 5 yds to a Port in front of the Frenchman; it bounced off the second Port's chest at the Frenchman. The Frenchman headed it, the Port a yard in front of him headed it, the Port kicked it,it hit the Frenchman's head, it bounced off his head at a nearby Port who kicked it away.

I encounter situations similar to what this Frenchman encountered here all the time when I sprint 15 yds keeping the ball off the ground but under control. This incident illustrates how advantageous unusual situations can materialize for an offense when its players are good at air dribbling and allowed to do it. The Frenchman involved in this incident is probably trained to excel at volleying long crosses in towards the goal, but he seemed to lack the same level of skill when it comes to moving short distances with the ball while hitting it with feet, chest, thigh, and head.

At the beginning of this play the ball came to the Frenchman on a low bounce, he stopped it with his foot and then waited for it to bounce again before attempting the pass that was intercepted. He could have had he the skill, initiated an aerial dribble on the first touch, when the ball was in the air after he touched it, and also after it bounced when he attempted the pass.

The difference between the glamorous volleying crosses at goals and the air-dribbling, is that when volleying crosses you can focus on what point in space the ball is volleyed at. But in air dribbling you also have to control how far the ball goes, and how fast it gets to the point you are getting it to.

328 portugal drive and shot--the Port got a ball rolling towards him from his left, turned to follow the ball, dribble it once, shot from the middle of the field 24 yds away from the French goal-line, the goalie made a sprawling save another Port almost got the rebound. The French goalie was 6 yds in front of the goal-line, thus the effective distance of the shot was 18 yds. Here turning to follow the ball almost paid off for the Ports.

France looks big and fast, Portugal looks small and slow. But such could be an illusion created by how the white uniforms of France, white shirts shorts and socks, contrast with the Portuguese, whose shirts, shorts, and socks are all wine colored--perhaps to remind you of the famous economist Ricardo's Portuguese-wine-is-cheaper example that mistakenly is supposed to prove free trade to be always good for everybody. Ironically Portugal has been experiencing big trade deficits, big foreign debts.

The French players have a lot of reach with their legs.

455 #10 of france, Zidane, got the ball 45 yds from the French goal, in the middle, nearest Port 8 yds away, he dribbled it slowly forwards 10 yds, passed to a man on the right wing, the Frenchman on the right wing after dribbing forward, sent a long cross in straight to a Port defender who had no Frenchmen near him. Of course what I am thinking is he had the time space and position to initiate a forward air dribble but did not, and the goodie goodie two shoes alternative to such "mis"-behaviour fizzled into nothingness.

524 #17 of Portugal, Ronaldo, did the little dance where left and right feet cross over the rolling ball, he did it better than the other 2006 World Cuppers I've seen; unlike them, he did not lose the ball while doing this ball-dance, and actually faked out a French defender a little. I appoint Ronaldo Lord of this type of ball-dance.

600 portugal drive--the Ports on offense seem to be missing on short rolling passes which if they hit accurately would get them somewhere.

620 Frenchman #3 got the ball on the left side, 40 yds from the Port goal, he had time and space, nearest Port was 10 yds away. He indulged in a wall pass with a nearby Frenchman, got the ball back, he was now 40 yds from the Port goal, but now the defending Port was just 3 yds away. No advantage gained, my opinion. He passed in a roller to a Frenchman with his back to the Port goal, this Frenchman tried to hit it behind his back with his right foot towards his left, the pass was intercepted by the Ports.

800 protugal drive shot sails just a foot over crossbar-- Maniche of Portugal got the ball in the left middle, dribbled forward a couple of yds, shot with his right from 30 yds, a powerful blast, it sailed just over the France crossbar. It was still moving fast 35 yds from the point he kicked it when it hit the barrier. The goalie was six yds in front of the France goal thus the effective distance of the shot was 24 yds.

The French look like they are taller thicker and stronger compared to the Germans. The Germans and French both wear white so I can compare them without worrying about illusion.

The Portuguese in wine colored uniforms look much smaller than the French in white. Their (the Ports) movements, are smaller, they take shorter steps, pass the ball shorter distances, push the ball a shorter distance away when they dribble.

1300 French muff scoring chance--Vieira of France, got the ball in left middle, 40 yds from Port goal, nearest Port 8 yds in front of him. He passed to the middle to Ribery who had his back to the Port goal, Ribery under pressure passed back to Zidane, Zidane passed to his left to Ribery to where Ribery had moved to, Ribery passed out to the left wing to Abidal, Abidal got a slow roller moving towards him with time and space, he was 35 yds from the French goal, he sent a low cross in to a spot 5 yds in front of the Port goal where there were three Ports and one Frenchman, the cross missed everyone.

If Viera or Anidal had been able to initiate effective forward air dribbles when they had the chances in this incident, France might have gotten closer to scoring a goal--these French make the Ports look like midgets. But I admit the cross only missed its target frenchman, who was in a good position though surrounded by Ports, by a little.

The French have come out looking more white than they do in the roster lineup photos. Their players have a white european style of playing. Appears almost half of the French starting lineup is white racially.

1510 Portugal chance--the Port dribbled forward on the ground to a spot 30 yds from the France goal and unleashed a shot that bounced once before the France goalie 24 yds away stopped it. The Ports are getting lots of these situations, around 35 yds from the other team, with the nearest Frenchman five yds away, a decent level of time and space, the ball in position for ground dribbling not air dribbling, the Port slowly dribbling forward. Seems the French are letting the Ports take the shots, the Ports are grabbing at the opportunities to shoot. If you were good at dribbling forward with the ball on the ground like me, you would love to have these Ports for team-mates.

The Ports, unlike the French, are setting up plenty of opportunities for their offense. They look like a team that excels in setting up opportunities for its offense, yet at the same time is mediocre when it comes to cashing in on those opportunities.

The French, in their long white socks, look tall elegant and strong. But the opportunities are not being set up for the French offense.

1812 #7 of France, Malouda, got the ball with his back to the Port goal, approx 45 yds from the Port goal, in the left middle area of the field; he immediately passed to his left, towards the middle of the field, he underled the pass recipient, the Port stripped the ball from him. This Malouda had time and space, the nearest Port was six yds away. Rushing when nobody is near you, underleading short 10 yd passes, these are not virtues.

The Ports resemble the Italians, the French resemble the Germans.

2040 France chance--Henry

France looks like the best soccer players amongst the USA's professional tackle football, baseball, and basketball players, taught to play soccer in France.

2210 france opportunity-- Frenchman #7 Malouda got the ball on the left, near the outside corner of the Port penalty box, 35 yds from the Port goal, the nearest Port was 10 yds away. The famous Zidane had set him up with this opportunity. He dribbled forward 10 yds, moving parallel to the sideline, and then still had time and space--he then sent a cross in to a crowd of Ports, straight to a Port who intercepted his pass heading it away. Seems players should be able to do better, when they get the ball, 35 yds from the opposing goal, and plenty of time and space. The Ports may not be thick and tall, they may not wear white socks that contrast with the green field to make them look graceful, but they are a team that has made it to the World Cup semifinals; they are not a team for France to squander opportunities with because the main thing the French player in question is concerned about is not being railed at by simpletons.


@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Mexican elections, some thoughts triggered by them

The outcome of the elections in Mexico are in doubt. I now have some thoughts (I speak as a man not as the Lord) triggered by what little I have heard and red regarding these elections.

Certain big media outlets have labeled one of the candidates, we'll call him candidate A, a "leftist"; they have labeled the other candidate, candidate B, a "rightist". Thus they simplistically conclude candidate B would be better for Mexican business, better for USA business interests, because they have labeled him a "rightist".

In contradiction of such simpletons: the big media outlets who label these candidates, and then assume on the basis of such labels that the "rightist" is better for business, are famous for their lack of analytical sophistication; the simpletons fail to understand that "rightists" make their money selling to their "leftist" countrymen; these simpletons are deluded by impermanent stages of economic history wherein the rightists and business interests are able to prosper even though the leftist consumers of their nation have been economically destroyed, because the nation in question is borrowing money from and sellling assets to foreigners; the element of society that supports the rightists is famous for it's effete lack of national loyalty; the leftists are the vanguard of the opposition to national demise, because they are the ones who will suffer first and suffer most as the national economy declines.

Human nature being what it is, the man who has a lion right on top of him five yards away is more concerned about the man who is a mile from a lion even if both men will eventually be eaten by the lion.

The simpletons who label candidates "rightists" and thusly assume these "rightists" will be better for business interests, remind me of disagreeable fat sixth grade students, going "ballistically" foreign on their leftist countrymen (meaning they are filled with a petulant contempt for their "leftist" countrymen, as a result of which they enact policies that economically weaken their own nation and also the "leftists" of their nation while at the same time these economic policies benefit foreigners.

The rightist simpletons end up destroying and damaging their own families and posterity by destroying the economies of their own nations.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Incidents in 1st Quarter, Germany 2 Italy 0, 2006 World Cup

Noteworthy Incidents in 1st Quarter of Germany's 2-0 World Cup loss to Italy

100 italian had time space 45 yds from German goal; he buried his team-mate in the right corner overled him.

250 italian on dribble run down from behind

445 german on the drive-- Ballack allegedly fouled in the middle

Italians are swarming back there are tons of them dropped back to take part in the defense against Germany, when Germany has the ball in the Italian half.

635 german possession in middle german hurt

735 nice german attempt finished inadequately--here the German Ballack, had a slow ball rolling in Germany's direction in the middle of the field, 33 yards from the Italy goal-line. The nearest Italian was 5 yards in front of him, he wound and up fired a hard Wheaties Box Photo shot that sailed high and wide off about 10 feet from the corner of the goal. The Italian nearest Ballack was not charging at him, he was sort of taking little girlish baby steps in his direction. Ballack had space and time. Although the Italians in the immediate area outnumbered the Germans including him by 3-2, if he had unleashed a forward aerial dribble after flipping the ball rolling his way up in the air, he might have transformed this into a two on one, featuring him and a team-mate against a suddenly isolated defender.

915 italy overleads on pass-- a long Italian 35 yd pass up the middle, overled the recipient it was about 5 yds off target but a good idea.

1140-1210 german offensive effort

1152 impressive chest trap of long cross by German on right wing. He set the German behind him up with a ball rolling towards him as he faced the Italian goal, on the right side, just 45 yards away from the Italian goal. The Italian nearest this German was 6 yds away moving slowly BACKWARDS. The German indulged in a wall pass with the man nearest him and when he got the ball back his field position was worse, he was nearer the sideline, and the Italian in the area was closer to him. The German sent the ball back to his wall pass partner again. This fellow German guy got a nice roller as he was 50 yds from the goal, the nearest Italian was 8 yards in front of him. He dribbled forwards approx 10 yds towards the middle of the field, and passed in to a German in the middle 15 yds in front of him, who was 18 yds from the German goal-line, who had his back to the Italian goal.

The recipient of the pass got the ball on a bounce knee high, skillfully kicked it to his right, stepped to his right with his right foot, and then with his left foot and then with his right again for three paces, and then kicked the ball after it had bounced once. He should be commended for showing a level of skill daring and ingenuity with bouncing balls that many World Cuppers have failed to display. However the Italian defender behind knew exactly what was going on and was right there to block the shot; the ball bounced away from the Italian goal a long way towards the German side, Italy retained possession.

By the time the German in this incident had finished his turn with the ball, he was right on top of a German who had been standing about five yards away from him, who like him was on the forward line of the Italian penalty box. As a result the Italian who rushed over to block the shot was able to kill two birds with one stone, get himself on top of two Germans at once, and the fellow German ended up being just another obstacle in the way of the shot.

At the end of his swivel move the German had a chance as he now faced the Italian goal to instead of shooting flip the ball forward and to his right thereby catching the Italian rushing over from his right moving in the wrong direction,he would then to his advantage put a little space between him and the German next to him who he might then be able to pass to. But he fired off his breakfast-cereal-box-photo style shot immediately instead. He would have been in a better position if when the ball first bounced to him as he faced away from the Italy goal, he had kicked it to his left as he swiveled to face the goal. His team-mate who was right on him when he completed his swivel should have moved away from him as he started the swivel when he swiveled to his right as he faced away from the Italy goal. He would have then been in a great position to get a pass from the guy who swiveled inwards with the ball. But at least this German who swiveled with the ball, was not a goodie goodie two shoes, who immediately grounded the ball.

Italy looks like some ethnic italian team from the USA, Germany looks like some American upper class university blue blood team that is as good at academics as it is at sports, very good at both. The Germans look like those elite university players in the USA that are envied because they have been well coached in soccer from the time they were in first grade. You have to realize, the perspective from which I speak is that almost all of my first-hand experience watching in person and playing soccer, is with teams from the USA in the USA. Still I get the distinct impression of the Germans playing llike well bred, well educated, well coached schoolboys, blue-bloods, while the Italians play like those teams from the ethnic neighborhoods in the USA cities, featuring a dozen guys who never went to college. Maybe part of this is the German uniforms, white and black with the long white socks, compared to the Italiam uniforms, nothing but blue all over. A uniform that is all one color, is a convenient uniform when the team is on a shoe-string budget, or when you never know from game to game which playerswill be on your team's roster.

1440 Germany effort Nice pass off a long cross on first touch, by German forward.

1502 Germany effort German on right of field, took approx 10 yd throw in from fellow German on right sideline, 20 yds from the right corner where endline and sideline intersect. He hit it back to the guy who made the throw in before it hit the ground, a distance of about 10 yds. The guy who had thrown in the ball hit it back to him, before he touched it, leading him with a chipped pass. The German who got the pass seemingly allowed it to bounce in front of him on the right side approx 20 yds from the Italian goal as he turned to face the goal. As the pass sailed in front of him, it seemed from my perspective that the pass recipient wanted to catch the ball on a bounce, instead of contacting it before it bounced, a syndrome I have seen before with the 2006 World Cuppers. The Italian near him was able to pressure him into making a bad pass after he got the ball, heading the ball after it bounced.

I felt that the German involved could have perhaps done better if he had caught the ball after it bounced with his chest, thigh, or foot. When you are leaning forward to head a ball it is difficult to change direction with the ball.

The Germans such as the the Germans involved in this incident impress me with the their ability to handle balls that fly at them in the air as they face these balls, in this aspect they are more advanced than I am; but in their ability to deal with balls in the air that are moving in the same direction as they are they do not seem to me (I realize I am a prejudiced observer) to be superior to me. This has to do with the fact that they have much better opportunities to practice with balls flying in their direction than I do, as a result of which I work on balls that are flying in the same direction as I am running.

1527 Italy effort, Italian got a ball that bounced in front of him as he ran towards the German goal, 18 yds away from the German goal. A fellow Italian 25 yards behind him had sent a superb chip pass in in front of him. The Italian first touched it 18 yds from the Germany goal-line, with a German two yards behind him. He knocked it to the ground rolling it in front of him and by the time he caught up to it again, it had rolled 12 yds in front of him where the German goalie, sprawled on the ground, kicked away this Italian's attempt to cross the ball into the middle where there were no Italians anyway but three Germans anyway.

In this incident I see how important balls that are in the air that have or have not bounced, that are moving in the same direction as the offensive player involved are. I deal with balls like this all the time when in practice I sprint 15 yds keeping the ball off the ground but under control. In such situations I find it easy to catch such balls and continue forwards on the sprint, touching the ball every three or every four yards, keeping the ball off the ground but under control. But this Italian who grounded the ball, was not able to catch up to it again until it had rolled twelve yds in front of him! They always talk as if the ball becomes better controlled when you ground it, but there you have it.

If the ball was in the air or bouncing when the Italian caught up to it he could have chipped it over the goalie into the goal, had he the skill he could have even passed it BACKWARDS to an Italian behind him, but since the ball was rolling the sliding goalie, who would have preferred to use his arms, was able to kick it away with his feet, while it rolled on the ground!!!

1557 Italian offense--Italian got the ball in the middle 20 yds from the German goal, the ball rolled towards him, from the right sideline. As he faced the goal and fired the shot there was a German a couple of yds behind him and Germans four yds in front of him. He wound up and took a breakfast-cereal-box-photo style shot that was easily blocked by the German in front of him. I thought if he had flipped the ball into the air when it rolled towards him he might have had a better chance. He could then have caught the German defenders moving in the direction the ball was moving before he touched it, offstride.

1935 German efforts--German forward in the right corner, with time and space and a couple of guys open in the middle crossed the ball burying a team-mate in the left corner, Germany got a throw in out of it, I wonder did the German who crossed the ball make a wise move?

2040-50 german effort

2050 Lukas Podolski, dribbled towards the sideline, then displayed great skill and power, suddenly swiveling to seemingly effortlessly cross the ball in a direction opposite to the direction the ball was moving, to a team-mate 30 yards away in the middle of the field. The team-mate however had two Germans right on top of him, and one about five yds closer to the Italian goal than he was, the attempt to volley in the ball that rocketed at him waist high on a kick was way off target.

The German who first passed to Podolski had time and space, I wonder if he made the correct decision passing to Podolski. Tell us truly, when a forward 15 yards from the goal in the middle of the field stands with two defenders right on top of him, and gets a long line drive pass rocketed right at him, spectacular as the resulting volley kick might be, what percentage of the time does such actually result in a goal?

2125 Italian effort Italian overleads team-mate near goal with short pass.

2220-2240 german chance-- the German, I think but am not sure it was #5 Kehl, got the ball coming his way as he faced the Italian goal 40 yds away from him, on one bounce, chest high, an easy slow pass, the ball moved towards him from 12 yds in front of him. The nearest Italian was 11 yds away. He immediately grounded the ball and passed backwards and to his right across the field. The recipient sent the ball to a man on the sideline who sent the ball back in to Kehl. Kehl now had the ball rolling towards him now from the sideline he was in the right middle of the field, now only 30 yds from the goal, the nearest Italian was 8 yds away. He stopped the ball turned towards the goal and immediately tried to chip it to a spot 15 yds in front of him, which two Germans were both running at. The pass was intercepted by an Italian.

Seems the Germans are not quite as good as Italians at chip passes, or the air dribbling of the ball what little I've seen of it. However, it would make sense to try the Italian style of offense against an Italian team; the Italian offenses have developed in reaction to Italian defenses.

After the game I read someone's commentary, he declared that the German strategy of chipping the ball over the heads of the Italian defenders did not work. This does not mean the strategy in and of itself was wrong. It could be that the Germans had not practiced up enough on the skills relevant to such a style of play.

Then again wealthy superstars do not like to admit that they are deficient in any aspect of skill, and persons such as coaches do not like to admit that such stars suffer from any such deficiencies.

Had I been in Kehl's place here I would twice, once when Kehl was 40 yds from the goal and then also and especially when Kehl was 30 yds from the goal, been tempted to get the ball in the air on a forward air dribble ball off the ground but under control as I ran towards the Italians. After all, the entire World Cup the only goal against the Italians was scored accidentally by an Italian. Then again I must admit Kehl improved his position on the field by passing it away and then getting it back again.

Looking at the first quarter action in the 2006 Germany vs Italy World Cup game, it seems to me that: German forwards should be more careful about avoiding the situation wherein two of them both end up in the exact same position on the field; German players should like their English counterparts be more aware of how to catch defenders chasing the ball off balance moving in the wrong direction, by moving with the ball in the direction it came from when it reached them. Italy showed in this game how aside from skills involving the legs the feet and the ball, one can accomplish so much simply by being in the right place at the right time, the movement of the body. Players who are lower than World Cuppers in terms of skill and speed compensate for their lack of skill and speed through clever movement of the body, and clever responses to the movements of the bodies of the defenders. Thus it could be foolish for top flight players to try to differ too much from su h lower ranked players.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Monday, July 03, 2006

I am, similar to Brazil's Ronaldinho, like a "Virgilinho"?


My brother said that Sal from Ecuador who he shares an apartment with is "Virgilinho", as in the superstar Ronaldinho of Brazil, put together with me, Virgil, Virgil being my middle name, the name they address me by around here, seeing that there are too many "Davids".

Yet whenever there are more applicants for jobs at an employer than there are jobs, I don't get the job, in what now seems to me to be the Heironymous-Bosch-painting style madhouse of disorder that is the Masshole private sector.

Plenty of people know how great I have become at soccer by now--people have seen me, there have been plenty of witnesses. Certain cults advocate the telling of lies but the advantage of being known for being honest is that you can successfully peddle yourself, make others see how good you are even though they have not seen you in person.

And as time passes their opinion of me relative to other socccer type football players rises. This is what the world cup has done, to increase my standing vis a vis other players through the observation of them, though during the world cup I did not improve myself as a player.

Now Ronaldinho from the age of seven had the advantage of having an older brother who was a pro who taught him the game. By way of contrast for me in the USA it was the opposite, utter ignorance re soccer everywhere. I don't want to seem to insult the USA's soccer coaches, they themselves grew up in an atmosphere characterized by ignorance re soccer, but the fact remains, these coaches were not proficient in teaching the fine points of the game such as dribbling; and they adhered to the myth that one cannot make oneself a faster sprinter.

I can sprint 14 yards 45 times in an hour, using a mix of about 35 percent striking the ball with my left foot, 35 percent striking it with my right foot, 20 percent of the hits on the ball being with my head, and 10 percent with the thighs or chest, keeping the ball under control but off the ground. I can do this at top speed for myself as a sprinter. Apparently I have what would be considered "blazing speed" for a World Cup level soccer player and could get even faster. Plus I am wide and thick (though narrow and light in certain parts) and have a frame that could carry 180 lbs well at a height of 5'10". By way of comparison, the faster sprinters in the World Cup soccer tend to be lighter and or shorter than me. It would be bad taste to compare myself to a heavy fast combat jet airplane like the A-10 "Warthog" jet fighter but there you go. The name of the town I live in is Waltham, similar to "Warthog".

You can get an idea of what I do watching the tennis matches on television:

The outside dimensions of the playing lines shall be as follows:

Doubles 36' x 78' (10.973 m x 23.774 m)

Look at the tennis player at the far end of the court in the TV screen. The court, including the lanes excluded when singles are played as opposed to doubles, is 11 meters, about 12 yards wide. That player in the middle of those 12 yards looks small. He looks like if he was a soccer player he would be easily overcome by someone who can sprint 14 yds full speed keeping the soccer ball off the ground but under control. And he is what he looks like, I can easily overcome most defenders.

My speed level might be like only a slow wide receiver in the USA's pro tackle football; but it has to do with the laws of supply and demand they teach you in college economics. The supply of fast sprinters who can handle the difficult skills involved in soccer is lower than the supply of fast sprinters who can handle the skills involved in tackle football. Thus what is slow in the USA's tackle football becomes blazing fast in the soccer world.

You can find out more about how much I know re how fast I am and how fast I could be at:

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Thoughts on the World Cup Quarterfinals of June 30-July 1 2006

As of now, the world cup appears to me to be somewhat of a stupid thing. Too many games decided by red card penalties, and by penalty kick shootouts after the game. It seems truly insane. Hard to believe that at this late date, this hasn't been fixed up. They should be able to crack down on foul play without changing the entire course of the game be ejecting players for the entire game as a result of which for the entire game, one team has one less player than the other team. The game is too low scoring it is absurd all these games should be decided by penalty kick shootouts. When players are ejected the number of players per square meter of the field declines. At the same time, it seems the number of players per square meter of field is already too low, as a result of which in the soccer world a premium is unfortunately placed on marathoner-like endurance as opposed to on skill, and as a result of which the number of exciting situations in games is reduced. All those players have more important things to do, compared to running for miles and miles in training.

I feel the game of football/soccer could be improved, by: clearly enunciating the different penalties that are enacted based on the different degrees of fouls; avoiding except in the most extreme cases, ejecting a player and at the same time forcing the penalized team to play with one less player; ejecting players for at least the remainder of the current game while allowing for substitutions to be made for them; placing the penalty kick a given number of yards ahead of the spot of the infraction depending upon the degree of the infraction; avoiding deciding games through shootouts; requiring that depending upon the degree of the infraction, a team will have to play a certain number of minutes in situation X; enacting that this situation X feature the penalized team having to play the other team with say 4 defenders against 7 offenders, exclusively in its own half of the field, its only option being to clear the ball past the midline, for which it would not receive any points; allowing for more substitutes to be used; using situation X to solve ties that are now solved by penalty shootouts.

Other big stories of these recent World Cup Quarter-finals: Rooney getting a red card and other questionable conduct in #7 ranked Portugal victory over #10 ranked England; the home team #19 ranked Germany upsetting #9 ranked Argentina in Berlin to advance to the semis where they will face #13 ranked Italy; #8 ranked France upsetting #1 ranked Brazil to advance to the semis where they will face #7 ranked Portugal.

Prior to this in the round of 16, #19 ranked Germany had upset #16 ranked Sweden 2-0 on June 24th in Munich. Bizarre how so many seem to be missing the point that these upsets must be producing very emotional days for Germany.

The penalty to Rooney in England's loss to Portugal was in the 62nd minute. Rooney had a Portugal player Carvalho to his right, and another Portugal player Petit to his left as he struggled with them for the ball. Rooney began to push both players away, a foul. The player to his right at almost the exact same time that Rooney started pushing, placed his left leg in front of Rooney's right leg, which was the foul of tripping, the foul of charging an opponent (playing the man not the ball), and of making contact with the opponent before making contact with the ball; clearly Carvalho moved his leg to put it in front of Rooney's leg as opposed to for the purpose of reaching the ball with his foot. Rooney slipped as Carvalho did this and so did Carvalho. Rooney regained his feet and was standing up again before Carvalho who was still on the ground. Apparently Rooney at this point opportunistically used his left foot to stomp on Carvalho's groin since Carvalho's groin happened to be near his left foot, as Carvalho was on the ground behind him. Therefore the referee who was right on top of the situation red carded Rooney.

Here we apparently have a situation where two opposing players both foul each other; yet throughout the World Cup I have never seen two opposing players both called for fouling each other.

The way I now see it, what I can say re these incidents involving Portugal being the victim or the perpetrator of fouls, that others have not already said, is that this seems a little silly. Defenders like Carvalho get away with tripping and head-butting forwards like Rooney, they are for some reason allowed to dangerously slide tackle forwards like Rooney, then offended forwards like Rooney get carded for stepping on defenders like Carvalho when they get the chance, because them stepping on some unprotected sensitive part of the defender's body is considered to be dangerous to the defender physically and thus a red card foul.

I now say it would be better if, in high class soccer wherein players can afford protective equipment, players were expected to wear protective equipment that would keep their body out of danger, so that there would not be the need to kick offenders out of the game because what they did was supposedly (and usually questionably) dangerous because the other player was not wearing their protective equipment. This should be combined with making the dangerous slide tackles illegal, and not allowing defenders to get away with things like tripping the other player, charging the other player, contacting the other player before contacting the ball, and head-butting opposing players. The refereeing while focused on protecting players from physical danger, has lost sight of fouls that do not cause physical danger to the other player but that violate the laws of the game and bring the game down to a low and boring level.

Six days prior to the Portugal England match, the Portugal captain Figo had head-butted Van Bommel of the Netherlands, in the match which by winning Portugal had advanced to face England. Some say Van Bommel hammed it up (simulation) after the head-butt but the point is, though we cannot tell whether a player is exaggerating the extent to which he has been injured, we certainly are capable of realizing what a horrible thing a head-butt is. It had been in doubt as to whether Figo would even have been allowed to play against England but FIFA cleared him. Then when Portugal's Ronaldo took the field against England at the beginning of the game, as he passed by England's Rooney, he made a head-butting gesture.

In a game which features the head and face of players being visible, and also the heading of the ball playing an important crucial and exciting role, it is I now believe, impractical to attempt to protect the face and the head with protective equipment. The protective equipment in and of itself can become a danger to other players. But it is possible to protect the groin through the wearing of a protective cup of the type worn by American tackle football players. Yet what do we have here? The player who head butted another player in a previous game is allowed to play; a player from the head-butting team makes a head-butting gesture directed at an English forward (forwards are especially endangered by head-butts) as he takes the field; the England forward who stepped on the groin of a player from the head-butting team is ejected. Rooney may not have logically followed the train of events but players have instincts especially when it comes to avoiding injuries they or their team-mates are endangered by.

I can think of, compared to the head-butt, few things as physically dangerous and as harmful to the spirit of the game and the extent to which it is entertaining. On TV people watch the "Ultimate Fighting Championships", a kind of no-holds-barred fighting. Yet even in no-holds-barred fighting, featuring the ferocious use of fists knees and feet, the head-butt has been rightfully outlawed. Soccer players are not just players they are personalities, their face combines with their personality to interact with the fans, the beauty of their face is endangered by head-butts.

Significantly and lamentably the FIFA highlights did not even show the controversial head-butt by Figo on Van Bommel. Therefore since I did not see or record the Portugal vs Netherlands game I must confess my opinions are based on what I have heard others say regarding the headbutt incident.

@2006 David Virgil Hobbs