Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday international results

Photo: A football pitch beside the Eiffel Tower in Paris...France beat Luxembourg 2-0 [PlessPix]

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

International Match

Costa Rica 2-1 El Salvador

Honduras 2-0 Guatemala

Mexico 2-2 Venezuela

Panama 1-0 Peru

USA 0-0 Colombia

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

European Championship Qualifying

Armenia 4-0 Andorra

Azerbaijan 1-0 Turkey

Belarus 2-0 Albania

Belgium 4-4 Austria

Denmark 2-0 Cyprus

England 0-0 Montenegro

Estonia 0-1 Slovenia

Faroe Islands 1-1 Northern Ireland

Finland 1-2 Hungary

France 2-0 Luxembourg

FYR Macedonia 0-1 Russia

Greece 2-1 Israel

Iceland 1-3 Portugal

Kazakhstan 0-3 Germany

Latvia 1-1 Georgia

Liechtenstein 0-2 Czech Republic

Netherlands 4-1 Sweden

San Marino 0-2 Moldova

Scotland 2-3 Spain

Slovakia 1-1 Rep of Ireland

Switzerland 4-1 Wales

UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifying

Romania U21 0-0 England U21 (agg 1-2)

International Match

China PR 0-4 Uruguay

Croatia 2-1 Norway

Ecuador 2-2 Poland

New Zealand 0-2 Paraguay

Oman 0-1 Chile

Qatar 1-2 Iraq

South Korea 0-0 Japan


Anonymous said...

Walter, I like this format of listing all these international results in one place.


Anonymous said...

England and Turkey had poor results.

Casual Observer

Football aficionado said...

I agree, Decentric. Easy to read and very interesting.

Felafel said...

Has Guus Hiddink's luck run out? He failed to get Russia to the 2010 World Cup and now Turkey have lost their last two European Championship qualifiers.

Anonymous said...

Football Afficianado

I wrote an article on a now defunct website, comparing Guus and Pim's tenures at the World Cups of 2006 and 2010.

Some Australian media pundits who had supported Verbeek until the game against Germany, should have been more measured and dispassionate in their condemnation of him.

Consider these facts. Both the Socceroo teams accrued 4 points at the World Cups of 2006 and 2010 in the group stages. If Kewell's goal against Croatia in 2006, had been correctly called offside, Australia wouldn't have gone through to the round of 16.
Conversely, if Wilkshire had converted his one on one against Ghana's goalkeeper, Richard Kingson, Australia would have accumulated 6 points and gone through to the round of 16 in South Africa.

Verbeek's Socceroos played half the 2010 tournament with 10 players too. Arguably the 2010 Socceroos played in a harder group, possibly the hardest in the entire tournament.

Yet Guus' tenure is hailed as an unmitigated success in Australia. Some media pundits in the Australian football milieu, who should proffer far more balanced opinions, now label Verbeek's epoch as a failure!!
Qualifying for a World Cup and an Asian Cup constitutes failure? In the future I contend we will see a scenario analogous to the Field Labor Government of Tasmania for decades after it existed. Pim will be considered a great coach who formulated a very sound defensive organisation in his team.
Osieck has employed a 4-4-2, not seen often in the 2010 World Cup, with a bowl shaped midfield. This enables the opposition to enjoy more undisturbed build-ups in their defensive half. Australia concedes too much space in the opposition defensive half.

If you have read Soccernomics, one would know that the difference between success and failure is miniscule in big tournaments.

Guus failed to qualify for South Africa with a good team in Russia. Pim did better in Asian qualifiers with inferior cattle.

Elucidating these points in the aforementioned paragraphs provides food for thought.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Casual Observer, I enjoyed your comments and agree with all of your thoughts, except one thing. When looking at the 2010 World Cup the one thing that came through was that we did not seem to go out against Germany and at least "try" to get something from the game, thus got trounced and the goal difference is what hurt us in the end. In the 2006 WC we got beaten by a better team than Germany in Brazil, but only by the 2 goals, which ultimately did not hurt us as much due to the fact that we had points on the board already. Verbeek being overly cautious and defensive (arguably rightly so in the first game) backfired and we never recovered. Any time we qualify for the WC should be regarded as a successful campaign. Unfortunately the mass media who only tune into football when a WC is being played seem to think that we are somehow going to win it, which if you are brutally honest, is never going to happen with this generation of players. If anything Hiddink's reign left an unsustainable and unachievable precedent that we should be proud of and aspire to match, however just getting there regularly should be viewed as our long term goal.

charlie white

Anonymous said...

I agree with your thoughts Casual Observer to a certain extent. If you look at the way we played including formation, style and mentality in the 2010 WC I think we overachieved results wise (i also think the 'nothing to lose'mentality after the Germany game assisted us. For a non socceroo fan we were about as exciting as Wimbeldon.

However in the 2006 tournament I almost feel we underachieved in comparison when looking at our territorial advantage, technique and formation.

Watching Australia 4 years ago I was confident each time we got on the ball and each time we entered our front third. 4 months ago I was ripping my nails off each time we touched the ball, we certainly didn't look at all confident.

Lets face it, results take care of themselves through sheer brilliance or luck if you play football with possession, patience and a sense of when to go in for the kill.

We didn't get the luck in 2010 cause we didn't possess any of those qualities.

Anonymous said...

Casual Observer, I agree with much of what you have said. However when you say Oseik's (as did Verbeek's)formation allows "the opposition to enjoy more undisturbed build-ups in their defensive half. Australia concedes too much space in the opposition defensive half" I would beg to differ. When your backline lacks pace (especially if Neill plays) pressing high up the field isn't a great idea. Let opponents have the ball in their own half where they can't score. Give them space in front of you, not behind. By drawing them on it also opens up the chance to counter attack.

Mike Bassett
England Manager

Anonymous said...

Mike Bassett

I like your comic persona. I also beg to differ about formations. Osieck's flat or bowl shaped midfield concedes more space in the Australian attacking midfield area than Verbeek's (and most coaches in the World Cup) archetypal 4-2-3-1.

If a team applies the full press or squeeze, there is some easy space in between the offence and midfield lines when the squeeze is applied.

Osieck's formation may possibly have been more compact in terms of space between the point of the attack and the CBs, but the attacking midfielder, particularly when Holman played there, caused a lot of turnovers for the Australian team. I've argued for Holman's efficacy for years. The punters suddenly love him because he has become clinical around goal as opposed to his former profligacy.

Many pundits in the Australian media, due to inadequate theoretical knowledge, and because they are most familiar with it, applaud the 4-4-2. The same pundits will be criticising Osieck when goals are leaked. They will be advocating Verbeek's defensive organisation in the future. Verbeek took Australia from a ranking of about 60th to as high as 16.

I did a statistical analysis for Poland v Australia. Poland had 22 shots on goal to Australia's 3. Australia got the result, but were outplayed. Australia had less control of the ball in midfield, but moved it forwards at a more rapid rate, losing it more easily. This scenario recurred against Paraguay.

Verbeek only had three games in the last two years with a full 11 players on the pitch, where his team failed to gain the ascendancy in possession.
This wasn't simply confined to the defensive half, but across the half way line too. The problem was often the failure to create passing lanes by Cahill, McDonald, Kennedy and Kewell. Holman was better in this facet of the game, as was Bresciano. The former quartet have played a lot of club football using different formations to 4-3-3 and its diversity of permutations.

4-3-3 has many guises. If one applies the midfield triangle with one defensive screener, it can manifest as a 4-3-3 in attack and a 4-5-1 in defence, with a 1:4 midfield formation.

The 4-2-3-1 in defence can change to a 4-3-3 in attack with two screeners at the base. This formation can also change to a 3-4-3 or 4-3-3 with a diamond shaped or a 1:3 backline.

The 4-3-3 can also be played as a flat midfield. Another subtle variation can be the 4-3-1-2, if one lacks wingers, often employed by South Americans. It can also be pretty close to the 4-4-2 with a diamond shaped midfield. All the these formations are characterised by the diamonds and triangles conducive to creating passing lanes when the team is in possession of the ball.

The flat midfield 4-4-2, and the 4-4-2 with a bowl shaped midfield, do not create the requisite passing lanes without players having to move out of the fundamental shape.

The 4-3-3 is used in some clubs for youth teams in Brazil. It is also used as a developmental paradigm for the French and Spanish at youth level.

Given these innumerable variations of the 4-3-3 formation, when a lot of pundits in the Australian football media applaud the 4-4-2, along with Harry Kewell who also has a vested interest, because that is the only way he is good enough for a first team place in the Socceroos, apart from Kewell it is through ignorance.
Amongst Mike Cockerill, Ray Gatt, Michael Lynch, Sebastian Hassett, John Taylor , David Davutovic, etc, who has played football or coached at a professional level?

Who of them is qualified to comment on the nuances of the 4-3-3 being less suitable than 4-4-2 as a formation for the Socceroos?

What contemporaneous European coaching course methodological content have they recently studied?

Casual Observer

Corey Smith said...

casual observer,

I am glad your casual and not full time.

Harry Kewell is the greatest player Australia has ever produced and even at his age now is the playerr that can spark us, I would not bet against him being a key figure come 2014 even at his age as he can bring you a lot. Even if it is off the bench.

Harry being sent off could have been the difference between Auatralia advancing and not advancing.

Verbeek had a brain melt against Germany so to be fair we must judge him aside from that against Hiddink..... and even then there is no comparison in thoughts....

Hiddink is much more pro active!! For example when Australia went 2-1 against Japan in 2006 Hiddink bought another striker on to put Japan under more pressure...... Verbeek would have probably taken a striker off and put jedinak or garcia on instead.... enough said!!

Both different tactical coaches... Verbeek would be good in a club setup where you have to get results weekly, Hiddink is the tournament mastermind!!

Dim Sim said...

Verbeek was a disgrace to Australian Football and the crowds dropped dramatically because of it.

I will never forget that Germany game ever, Australians are not defensive but attacking in all our sports.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we have a few National team coaches here. Put you hands up boys and be seen.
I think we have heard enough.

Pixel 40 said...

always the same story with El Salvador narrowly loosing again
I don't know when they. the football committee is going to steep up. and make better ground condition for player.

Pedro Ramirez

Anonymous said...

Corey S.

There is a massive difference between Harry Kewell circa 2003 and Harry Kewell now. He may possibly be the greatest player we've produced, but that was the Harry of some years ago.

You may not have the access to stats I have had. He causes far less turnovers from a defensive perspective in the attacking third than most of his other players. Garcia, Holman, Emerton, Vidosic and Bresciano work harder for the team in the attacking half.

More turnovers are caused by them in dangerous parts of the pitch of the opposition. I recently viewed a game of the Socceroos when they played England in 2003. The major difference was the ability of Kewell to beat players one on one . He was world class then. Lazaridis could also do this.

Otherwise the defensive organisation that Verbeek installed makes the Socceroos post 2006 decidedly superior to 2003 when Australia was considered the Viduka/Kewell team and their 9 subordinates.

Culina, Grella, Valeri, Wilkshire and Jedinak have maintained much better midfield control than Skoko and Okon were doing in the previous epoch. They have put tremendous pressure on our opposition in disturbing their build-ups. Thankless work, not noted by spectators, but loved by quality coaches like Hiddink and Verbeek.

Australia under Verbeek became a very effective team in the stage of play when hte opposition has d the ball. Their defensive transitions were sometimes a problem against quick counterattacking Asian teams.

Harry Kewell is too slow to beat players one on one anymore. The game is also a faster game now than in 2003. Kewell's best forward position is the target player. He is decent in the air and is getting better at holding the ball up. His off the ball running is superior to Kennedy's at the point of the attack.

The only problem is that whereas if Kennedy, Bresciano or Holman go down they get on with the game. Harry thinks he should be immune to any physical handling by centre backs.

Harry was playing well against Ghana until he was sent off. I don't think he likes drawing fouls.
Carney is probably more proficient at left wing than Harry is now, particularly since he doesn't like tracking back.

I actually think Harry Kewell could play as a left back for Australia. He is physically stronger than Carney and used to play in this position at the beginning of his career. He has a an excellent first touch under pressure and is a good passer of the ball. He might struggle with too much overlapping though.

Some time ago I have seen Harry perform decent defensive tackles too. Harry would be able to dish out more of the punishment he seems to abhor on himself.

This attitude is probably the reason Chippers told Harry to 'copulate off'.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Dim Sim

I watched a couple of games from the 2006 World Cup against Italy and Croatia.

Apart from the first 25 minutes against Germany when Verbeek reverted from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3, which was infinitely more successful against Germany until Cahill was sent off, the were striking similarities between the way Australia played under Verbeek and Hiddink.

I wish I could refer to articles I'd written a few months ago, but the site administrator closed the site down. Few seem to take the comments about the similarity of points accumulated by Hiddink and Verbeek at successive World Cups. In Verbeek's case iy was even more meritorious with 10 players for half the tournament and a tougher group.

Casual Observer

Dim Sim said...

Casual Observer

Your comments about Harry are complete rubbish, are you Robbie Slater ?

Carney wouldn't be better than Harry on the left if Harry had one leg and was blind in one eye.

I do tend to agree Harry would be better upfront for Socceroos but he still scores for Gala out wide in the last 2 seasons.

Anonymous said...

"This attitude is probably the reason Chippers told Harry to 'copulate off'."

Well this didn't happen by the sounds of it, Arnie making up bs again.

Anonymous said...

Casual Observer, you may have access to statistics akin to those of that tactical mastermind (cough) Sam Alladyce but this does not lend much weight to your argument. I generally agree with your criticism of Mike Cockerill et al, but you blanket criticise anyone who supports a 442 over a 433 claiming they are ignorant. To quote you "What contemporaneous European coaching course methodology" have you studied Casual Observer? Have you played or coached at a professional level? If not, you have no right to comment by your own logic. If so announce yourself!

I'm not saying 442 is superior, just questioning the flawed logic of your argument.

If you watch Verbeek's Australia, rather than study the post game stats you would see that generally they sat deep, denying space behind the defence, hence the excellent defensive record. Against the USA pre WC they pressed high for the first time (showing for the first time Verbeek's indecision which reappeared v Germany) and were ripped apart,allowing far too much space in behind. Verbeek may have played a 433 on paper, but it was a bastardised version, featuring lots of long high balls to whoever was up front- alone, and lots of straight balls - not quite the passing channels you talk about. I'm not criticising Verbeek, but this was no total football. As for taking Garcia over Kewell??? Jedinak is awful, technically very poor no "maintaining midfield control" whenever he plays. My eyes tell me this, statistics not needed.

Sacreligious I know but I agree with Corey Smith that Hiddink was the tactically superior. Verbeek was very good but Hiddink was much more flexible.

This deifying of 433 is ridiculous. In 5 years time there will be a new favourite in vogue, just as the old "W" formation was once "it", then the wingless wonders. The beauty of football is there are many formations within formations. 442 can be equally flexible, becoming a 451 defensively, or a 244 with overlapping fulbacks. Verbeeks 433 was rigid and ugly. It depends on the quality of the coach.

I think you might find Jock Stein, Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley, Helenio Herrera etc didn't study "contemporaneous European coaching course methodological content". I doubt they even had qualifications - you can surive without them.

As for the comment that Kewell is best deployed as a fullback!

I await being accused of having an "inadequate thoretical knowledge".

Mike Bassett
England Manager

Anonymous said...

Dim Sim

I've been compiling statistics on the every Socceroo match for the last few years. I have spent a few hundred hours, at least, watching replays to get minute details about any player.

I've recorded their successful defensive pass completion rate, offensive pass completion rates, mishit passes, eye of the needle/defence splitting passes, one on one duels, intercepts, turnovers, loss of ball due to poor control, shots on goal, assists, free kicks received and conceded, 15 metre ball carries etc. I was asked to write for a Sydney based football website.

I've also compiled stats for teams comparatively on defensive pass completion rates, offensive pass completion rates, team one on one duels victors over the course of a match, percentage of long/high balls as a percentage of passes, possession percentages, etc.

I think Walter would agree there was nothing else like it in the Australian football milieu. He was approached to write for the site.

For instance I was extolling Brett Holman's virtues for two years when all and sundry were berating him. He became clinical around goal and the public loves him now. To me he was always a good player.

Over the years I rarely judge players as being good or bad players. It is a more a question of every player having strengths and weaknesses. Ask me to evaluate any player who has regularly played for the Socceroos and I'll give you an appraisal of their salient strengths/weaknesses.

Walter was a sceptic too. When I provided him with a rundown on a number of Socceroos, I think he kept more of an open mind.

Harry Kewell is still a good player, but he is less effective as a left winger than seven years ago.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Dim Sim

We have some common ground over Harry Kewell, but your arguments are emotively predicated. Many punters on forums agree with you. It doesn't mean they are correct.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Mike Bassett

I've elucidated how the basic formation of 4-3-3 can seamlessly evolve in a game with subtle changes. If one reads Inverting the Pyramid, the most effective contemporaneous formations are generally permutations of 4-3-3.
Spain, Holland, Germany played 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 consistently in the World Cup, as did a number of other teams, including Australia.

Where did Spain, Holland and Germany finish in the World Cup? First, second and third. They all played some decent football. Efficacy was synonymous with aesthetically pleasing football, apart from the Dutch hacking the Spanish in the final.

Many in Australia have watched too much British football with their flat 4-4-2s being utilised as too much of the norm in past decades. British trained FA coaches are in demand where in the world outside the British Isles? Nowhere. The notable exception to the norm is Steve McLaren.

Northern European methodology labels the 4-4-2 as a crossing game, not conducive to passing. This is posited by Rob Baan, Arie Schans and Ad Derkson, and probably a plethora of other continental coaches I haven't met.

The 4-3-3 is predicated on the quintessential diamonds and triangles to create passing lanes. FFA courses are now adopting some of this methodology. Australian coaches will be the beneficiaries. The
4-3-3 imparted by the Dutch is infinitely superior to the model we had before.

What was it? It was ad hoc, and nebulously defined.

When proponents of 4-4-2 in Australia advocate 4-4-2 which methodology is it based on?

How is it taught incrementally?

How have Australian coaches been trained in one centre like Coverciano, Clarefontaine or the KNVB to coach the 4-4-2?

I've never found anyone in Australia able to plausibly answer these questions.

For what it is worth formations keep evolving in international football. I take your point

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Mike Bassett

I didn't study post game stats. I meticulously compiled them, independent of any other organisation.

Australia has vacillated with defending deep and playing high lines under Verbeek depending on the opposition. The high line failed against Germany for the first 20 minutes. For a country with few players plying their trade in top leagues in Europe, or the latter rounds of the UEFA Champions' League, Australians have unrealistic expectations of how Australia should perform at World Cups.

Objectively, any independent country in Europe, Asia or South America rated us as no chance in the World Cup. We are a football lightweight with an embryonic coaching structure. As a corollary, we have a smallish population with three other football codes competing for athletes, not to mention cricket and hockey.

Yet, misled by a few pundits in the Australian media, some punters seem to think we should be a regular semi-final contender at World Cups!!!

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

MIke Bassatt

Regarding your assertion that Australia plays any long balls. The tactic under Verbeek oscillated depending on whether Kennedy was at the point of the attack, particularly of Cahill was on the ground at the same time. Given Kennedy's strength in the air he could win many of the long high balls.

The percentage of long high balls played by Australia averaged circa 4%. In the A League it is more like 7% and 8% in past seasons.

Australia's continental opponents often have had an average of 2-4%.

I agree that Hiddink was/is a tactically superior coach to Verbeek. What annoys me that one is deified whilst the other is unfairly castigated.

Compare the local coaches, who Cockerill advocates for the national team job, and they are tactically and organisationally light years in front. It is very hard to find any player still who will criticise Verbeek publicly. More were willing to criticise Guus.

Even when Pim dropped Kevin Muscat when the Socceroos played Qatar, the Victory hardman said he was an excellent coach and he learnt a lot from him.

Mike Bassatt I've expounded on flexibility and the innumerable variations of the 4-3-3. I could probably add that when the Socceroos sometimes revert to from a 4-2-3-1 in defence, then to a 3-3-3-1 in attack, when Wilkshire goes into a wide right position and Carney assumes a more central position as a left centre back.

Now you provide the same number of variations of 4-4-2, with its commensurate adaptability. Note, you are not arguing with a non-entity like me, but Rinus Michaels, Johan Cruyff, Rob Baan, Han Berger, Arie Haan, Guus Hiddink, Louis Van Gaal, Arie Schans, Ad Derkson, Frank Rikaard, Leo Beehakker, Ronald Koeman, etc.\

Why have nations /clubs all over the world sought their expertise?

Which English coaches promulgating the flat and bowl shaped midfield have been in demand to the same extent globally?

I look forward to a response.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

A further point on the tenure of Pim Verbeek.

it seems that many Australians like to remember him for the first 25 minute against Germany, when he played a 4-4-2.

They seem to forget his incredible win/ loss record, qualification for the World and Asian Cups, a three game undefeated run against the Netherlands, and the fact Australia accrued the same number of points in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

They also criticise him for a candid appraisal of the A League. Has anybody noticed how much the standard of the domestic competition has ameliorated since he made those comments?

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Mike Bassett

If a coach can survive without coaching qualifications, where does s/he start with methodology?

What curriculum should s/he employ?

How would s/he implement four stage incremental training ( if s/he knows what it is)?

How many times should players touch the ball in a training session? Weekly?

What percentage of time should a coach develop technique?

Game sense?


Then with these three facets of coaching at what age group does one focus on these facets of training?

What is the percentage/proportion of time one should focus on these aspects of training compared to each other at different ages?

What are the salient advantages of a development path over a results first one?

Which ages are the most important for learning football? Why?

Which is the best size SSG to simultaneously teach technique and insight? Why?

What size pitches are most useful for the optimum size SSGs?

How would one go about undertaking comprehensive match analysis?

Which aspect of the game is easiest to evaluate?

I assume with no formal training, which you deem extraneous, the coach would rely on previous coaches for training programmes. What would happen if they were untrained too?

I have posed these questions to a plethora of opiniated coaches/fans on forums, mostly based in Sydney, over the last two years.

All are xenophobic. Some have coached NSW state league youth programmes.

They all hate Verbeek, and even Hiddink. They are adherents to 4-4-2 exclusively, or at leat advocate two forwards as sound practice. They all share one thing in common. They have been unable to answer almost any football methodological/tactical questions I've posed to them.

I don't count their expletives as an answer!!!

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Casual Observer, are you, Decentric and Walter one and the same? And by the way, you don't need to study players/teams for hundreds of hours. Quality coaches, scouts and knowledgeable football followers can spot the strengths and weaknesses of a player/team in 45 minutes. That it takes you so long is evidence that you shouldn't take such an arrogant/superior position looking down on the rest of us :)

Mike Bassett
England Manager

Corey Smith said...

@ casual observer comments 5.16,

I respected your thoughts on the game before now, you actually must be robbie slater with garbage that you have just spieled.

Harry Kewell not better than Carney as a left winger, harry not able to beat players 1 on 1, too slow..... Are you from another planet?

Harry is in some of the best form he has ever been in at club level at gala, maybe you only watch premier league so don't notice him now he is not at leeds or liverpool. He is playing in a better quality team than the likes of tim cahill week in week out and he is one of their best players.

Unfortunately you seem like a stat man which really does not weigh up. You based judgement on kewell on defensive turn overs from attacking players. Harry is not in the team to create turn overs, he is in the team to create goalscoring opportunities when in the attacking 3rd.

This mindset is why you are obviously a verbeek fan.

jungle man said...

casual observer you must be a football tragic to spend that many hours going over statistics. There are a few simple statistics that us knowledgable fans look at and they are important. Whoever scores the most goals wins. So we look for players like Harry Kewell that can create them. Who cares who has the most tackles inside the left channel of the touchline on the opposite side of the bench with yellow socks on with a drink in his hand percentage?

Anonymous said...

Casual Observer makes me laugh with all his stats.

If Socceroos are winning and playing attacking football easy on the eye then it's going to bring the fans back and be better for everyone.

Walter said...

Mike Bassett, I can assure you that I am not Casual Observer or Decentric. For a start, I don't write like they do, and I am not overly fond of the Dutch methods and I've never attended a KNVB course. I don't consider match statistics to be as important as both Casual Observer and Decentric regard them, and I would never spend so many hours analysing games. Trust me, mate. I do welcome the fact, however, that the comments of Casual Observer and Decentric have led to a good discussion of coaching and football amongst the readers of this blog and have prompted comments from you and others in response.

Anonymous said...

Mike Bassett

What you say about good coaches being able to spot trends of play in a short time is true. David Pleatt is able to do this writing eruditely in The Guardian. He is the former Sours manager. Hiddink and Verbeek have this talent too.

I have spent a long time studying stats, like other people spend time at work as gardeners or clerks. However it was ostensibly a job- not a hobby to study football stats.

I am no expert. I know little about goalkeeper training. In neither FFA or KNVB coaching courses have I learnt anything about body shape. Yet most experienced local Hobart coaches seem to have considerable knowledge about this facet of the game.

I've also been the beneficiary from an experienced Hobart coach looking over my shoulder when I've coached a rep team. He has occasionally suggested subtle changes to my training programmes, or suggested the odd tactical change in match scenarios. I have benefited from the suggestions and so have the team.

Have we met before on the internet on national forums?

The fact that the questions I've posed have not been answered smacks of deja vu. Are you part of the Sydney football pseudo intelligentsia, suspicious of, and, exuding an anti- foreign attitude to European football methodology being disseminated in Australia?

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Corey S

In the European coaching courses there is tremendous emphasis on the four main moments of play.

1. Possession of the ball by a team.
2. When the other team has the ball.
3. The defensive transition.
4. The offensive transition.

When one evaluates Harry Kewell, the 2010 model, he is better at some facets of the game than others. The Dutch love players who defend effectively from the attacking third. That is why Emerton, Vidosic, Holman, Garcia and Sterjovski have garnered game time with the Socceroos, and why Nick Carle ( one of my favourite players) has received less game time. He is at his best when he has the ball at his feet. When Carle doesn't have it in the aforementioned phases of play, he is not as useful to a team.

I hear good reports of you as a futsal coach and as a TD for the Northern Suburbs region. It seems we need more young people like you coaching teams. Having said that I would have thought you would have taken the four main moments of Kewell's play into consideration when evaluating him in his entirety.
We both agree Kewell is a good player. We just disagree on his best position in the current Socceroos.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Mike Bassett

What you say about coaches form the older generation is true. However, the same individuals would probably make better coaches by updating their knowledge in contemporary courses. I'm sure Alex Ferguson does this.

He, along with Gerard Houllier, are the influences for me compiling one on one stats. They consider them decisive in winning games.

Ever heard of Valeri Lobanovsky, the great Dynamo Kiev and Russian coach? When I looked at his methods for evaluating players, they were similar to mine. Great minds think alike or fools never differ. Take your pick!!!

Arsene Wenger is also an adherent to football stats. Other top coaches are beginning to follow suit.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone

If nothing else as walter pionts out casual observer has started a great debate I have met the man and will state that although he has a strong opinion on this at least he is willing to have the discussion and can be convinced that a different piont of view is valid and if we all had his passion we would be a much better footballing community.

Anonymous said...

Casual Observer, I am not arguing that 442 is the superior formation. My objection is your superior attitude; that unless your views are adopted the blogger is somehow irrelevant or inferior. The English game is generally horrible to watch, and you make many worthwhile points but your attempts to belittle anyone who disagrees is poor form.

I have never said qualifications are "extraneous". What I actually said was some of the all-time greats have revolutionised the game by their enlightened approaches - many of them self taught - and all without the benfit of replaying a game 20 times before they could make their analysis!

I liked Verbeek, but if he was anywhere near as good as you imply he should have produced better performances to go with those results. Again, his 433 was rigid, long ball and ugly, regardless of Cahill, Kennedy or MacDonald as the lone forward.
And yes, there is no local coach close to being up to the job.

Short answers to some questions:

How many times should a player touch a ball at training? Non-stop. From warm-up to warm down.

Most important age, probably 6-12 (I await for a statistical correction).

SSG's - depends on the age of players and ability. If technically poor the area needs to be bigger. Also depends on the aim of the SSG.

A coach should be flexible in the time he gives to each aspect, depending on the quality of player he has, and the area that needs development. The best coaches can adapt to what they see in front of them - in real time without the aid of video analysis and reams of stats...

I think most people would agree that methodology is one thing, personal skills and ability to coach is another. Being able to recite the coaching methodology does not make you a coach.

How was catenaccio invented if there was no previous blueprint? Forward thinking coaches invent their own drills/tactics. Leaders not followers. Again I'm not debating the value of learning from other coaches/courses. I'm objecting to your assertion that there is one way only.

The fact that I haven't responded is due to the fact that I actually work a lot of weekends and have just got home!!!

In answer to your condescending point, I'm sure many people reading this thread know who Pleat and Lobanovsky (and his methods are).

Oh, and David Pleat is actually one of the worst analysers of a game you would ever have the misfortune to listen to.

Walter, I also appreciate Casual Observers input. A pleasant change from slagging off local clubs/players.

Why do I always picure Casual Observer sitting in his study with smoking Jacket and cravat stroking his chin as he composes his next gem (and trying to squeeze the word milieu in there)? :) Am I alone?

Mike Bassett
England Manager

Anonymous said...

lol Nicky Carle is trash that's why he is playing for Syd FC after failing to adapt to football overseas.

He wasn't even the best player at the Jets when he was therem Griffo was 5 times the player he was.

What is with all these stats?

Anonymous said...


The high lines which you contend occurred for the first time against the USA. No it didn't, Australia deployed them against Denmark in the preceding practice match for the World Cup.

The tactic was also successful against the Danes, who didn't have the speed of the USA in accelerated attacks. This was an admirable quality of the Americans, who were more clinical around goal than some of our Asian opponents. They exploited our slowness to reconfigure in the defensive transitions. Some of our Asian opponents had were able to execute swift offensive transitions against us, but they were more profligate around goal against us.

When I was entering into dialogues with some knowledgeable American coaches/players, post our failure against them, they proffered a different perspective. They were frustrated that they relied so heavily on accelerated attacks in the offensive transitions to win games. They posited that they didn't have enough control of the ball in midfield for sustained periods, unlike Australia.

We struggled against quick Asian teams in this facet of the four main moments of play. Australia had 67% of the possession in the game against the USA. This equates to 30 more minutes in possession of the ball tan the USA. This is consistent with the KNVB theorem that devoid of the ball , the opposition can't score a goal.

Australia had 3 more shots on goal. and the American keeper, Hahnemann , made a number of desperate saves in the second half. He had made 3 more saves than Schwarzer.

Another facet of the game was that the Americans almost matched our team physically. Australia won more 4 more of the one on one duels.

The positioning of one's line is problematic. It is easier to play the desired compact formation with a high line. To play a high line one must also be able to match the pace of the opposing forwards. Other than Jade North, we have no centre backs who are particularly quick.

Our best centre backs are not necessarily our quickest centre backs. Moore and Neill read the game well, and generally possess speed of thought. Certainly in the epoch of the World Cup and before anyway.

A former Australian coach we interviewed on the website, claimed he would never have played Moore, Neill and Chipperfield as a defensive three when Wilkshire went into midfield to create a 3-3-3-1 in attack.

Even though his knowledge is awesome, pertinently the former Socceroo coach didn't proffer alternative personnel to pay the high defensive line.

By playing a deeper defensive line there is more space between the lines, which gives the opposition more room to play. This is particularly in light of the full press or squeeze, the Australians played against Germany.

One can still assume a compact shape with a half press and deep defensive line, but then the ball may ultimately spend too much time in one's own half. Given the resources Verbeek had at his disposal, and the quality of the opposition, who also put 4 goals past Argentina and England, albeit with all eleven players on the pitch for the whole game, I've seen no plausible alternative offensive strategy Verbeek could employ, proffered by anyone in this country against the best German team many have seen for some time.

The Germans overhauled their coaching system some time ago to incorporate Dutch methodology. The rationale was that per capita head of population about 7 years ago, the Germans were producing few quality players compared to the Dutch. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lucas Podolski were the vanguard of these new more techncally proficient players.

I don't look down on 'untrained coaches'. The point I'm making is that some of them are opiniated and have specious rationale for condemning European methodology as a preferred paradigm for Australian footballers.

Casual Observer

Corey Smith said...

Casual observer,

Unfortunately I am reading a lot of stats and jargon that I feel is very irrelevant to what i feel is true coaching. I understand what you are trying to say but don't agree as I believe that good coaches are adaptable and can see potential in players and not just results. This is the reason I rate harry kewell, potentially he is still australia's best player.

I have studied plenty of european club coaching set ups due to my work along with other places in the world. A lot of my coaching methods come from the brazilian game and the way they look at the game of football purely because i have seen it first hand through futsal circles, I think the successful european nations have also adopted the brazilian approach over time also and then adapted it to make it their own.

If you ask any brazilians about australian football they will all tell you that harry kewell is our most dangerous player.

I am unsure why you are looking at stats as much as you are?

I think you need to add some practical situations to all your theory study.

Great to see all this debate though as you can only learn from listening to different coaching thoughts. I do however disagree with a lot you have posted above.

And Nicky Carle...... please.....

Corey Smith said...

Mike Basset,

I tend to agree on your points on training methods of youngsters. The good coaches take the methodology provided and take it on board but are able to put their own stamp on it and create their own style from that.

Great discussions guys!

Is there room in Tasmania for a coaches association with regular discussions? worth some thought looking at this!

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry but I've got to challenge some weak arguments.

1.Australia sat very deep v Denmark. I only watched the game once (my eyes bled), but the line was in their own half.

2.You say Oz had 67% of the ball v USA consistent with the theory that the team without the ball can't score. 3-1 or something to the US wasn't it?

3. "Other than Jade North, we have no centre backs who are particularly quick". Thanks for agreeing with my point on why Oz should sit deep, not press high

4.A deep defensive line is fine. Opposition having possession in your half in front of you denies space behind -I'm sure Cruyff would have told you all about the Dutch theory on space when you had lunch with him ;) It also allows for the counter attack if you have pace

5.The depth of the line has no bearing on the spaces between the lines. You have the same distance from back to front, but it just starts deeper. Come on CO, this is an amateur mnistake from one so learned. This is how Pim could have set up v Germany - there was a choice

6.Ironic that you can call someone opiniated! Many "trained" coaches also fail to adopt your favoured European approach too, while some "untrained" one's do (internet). As I said, the qualification is one thing, the application another

I appreciate the debate though. And do you wear a cravat? :)

Mike Bassett
England Manager

Anonymous said...

dutch have won nothing and play boring football now, gone are the days where the dutch system was the way to play and time to change to spanish and latin american

goals win games casual observer and not sidways passes in midfield

Anonymous said...


No I don't wear a cravat!!!!!!!!!

The defensive line may sit deeper, but the Dutch theory doesn't intend to counterattack. It wants to dominate opponents.

One of the problems Verbeek identified in the A League is too much distance between the lines, resulting in players having too much time and space on the ball. His theory was that when players progressed to international level, the step up was to great where teams played with less distance between the lines.

Verbeek didn't want to counterattack as a rule, but the deepest line he played was against Holland in Sydney. Holland dominated Australia in terms of possession like no other team in that particular fixture.

Sorry, but Australia played a high line against Denmark, particularly in the second half.

USA won the game, but chances are they it wouldn't recur too often given their lack of use of the ball. This is what passionate Americans argue about their team. The home supporters claim they were lucky and suggested they are fed up with the USA's best quality being counterattacking.

What I posed about the top three teams at the World Cup is irrefutable. They all borrowed heavily on Dutch methodology. The Spanish played it best.

The Dutch no longer believe Total Football is effective in the contemporaneous football milieu. They have been suggesting this for some time.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9.04 pm

The Dutch played different football in the World Cup final compared to what they played against Australia in Sydney.

The Sydney performance was anything but boring.

Before South Africa the Dutch said they were going to be more pragmatic. In the past Leo Beenhakker claimed they went to World Cups to show how good they were. He claimed they were going to be more serious, hence pragmatic, about winning it this time. Second is not too bad.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Mike Bassett

You forgot to address the points I raised about constructing a training programme. What reference point untrained coaches should use.

That of the Azerbaijan Football Federation by any chance?

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Corey S

I too have impart Brazilian ball techniques to players through the dribbling and turning techniques imparted from Brazilian Soccer Schools.

I agree that Brazilian players have great qualities and that Australian players are deficient in this area. I also think it would be difficult to extrapolate Brazilian methodology to Australia per se. Western methodology is probably going to be more practical. At an FFA conference, it was disclosed Brazilian coaches are often quasi PE teachers.

They are used to working with extraordinarily gifted technical players who have spent more time on the streets honing their skills than possibly anywhere else.

I didn't want to have to bring this up, but I've had one foray into rep coaching and the team won the state championship. The team was the smallest in the competition and half the players were underage. Most of the opposition coaches had coached for years.

I estimate the players I coached probably touched the ball at least 15 000 times more than their opponents over the season.

The Dutch methodology must have had some merit for a coach with no rep experience to have one of the weaker teams winning a state title against teams coached by veteran coaches. How is that for first hand experience?

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

Corey Smith

You mention futsal. I've seem one player develop considerably in that player's outdoor game through playing futsal for half this winter.

In your capacity as Vikings coordinator of course it is in your interests to talk it up. However, another friend who is an experienced outdoor coach and has had more experience with futsal than me, contends it depends on the individual player as to how futsal will develop a player's outdoor game.

Can you elaborate? I'm interested in your views.

This subject was also discussed a bit in the KNVB course I did.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...


You can't even compare Guus to Pim, Guus had the side for 9 months?, Pim had the side for over 2 years.

One thing that Guus is brillant at is summing up the situation of the game and his player selections(getting the best out of his players). This is what makes Guus a brillant manager. How people can question him over losing his previous games against Germany is quiet funny, we all saw how good Germany are and I doubt any manager would succeed in beating Germany over a tie with Russia last season and a qualifier with Turkey this year.

Pim IMO clearly failed at player selections and team setup in South Africa and that is what he was employed to do. We all know the disgrace of the Germany game and Pim in my words Choked and didn't understand the Australian Culture which cost us getting to a further stage of the WC.

Basically Guus embraced our Culture with his experience and tactics in the short time he was here and got to the final 16. Pim had never been tested on the big stage and didn't embrace our culture and failed.

How is the group of Germany, Serbia, Ghana, harder than the group of Japan, Brazil, Croatia? they both seem pretty hard to me.

Corey Smith said...


This is a great debate and although I disagree with some things it really is a good conversation on football.

I tend to like the Brazilian style of development which is very adaptable and focuses on letting players make their own decisions and develop at their own pace. I then tend to try and use the more strict and regimented european styles with this to create a rounded game. Like anyone my coaching style would differ from anyone elses but I do have one belief and that is once you have a coaching philosophy, you need to harness this and stay true to it... don't get narrow minded at all and always try to learn new methods but stay true to your overall philosophy.

I find one of the most interesting things in the world of football to be the different coaching styles and ideas coaches have. I been lucky enough to have spent a lot of time in my role with Football with professional coaches around the world (National, International level) in both outdoor and indoor and they all say the same thing, and that is that you need to listen to different styles and coaching methods and then use bits from all of them to create your own style or you will not be successful.

I hope that one day that if I keep learning that I will be able to coach at a good level as that is a real passion.

Futsal Views -
Obviously I need to take my loyalties away here and give you a pure personal coaching perspective:
I honestly believe Futsal is one of the best developers of players I have ever seen, it is not so much that it develops different things but due to the speed of play and the rapid decision making needed, it accelerates development. It helps in areas such as skill building, spacial awareness, decision making, positioning and understanding, technique and body shape, one on one situations. Where it does not help is in the positioning and tactical side of the outdoor game. So in saying this I mean that often you have highly skilled players who are unable to adapt to outdoor due to it being on a bigger ground etc and they may not be a physically well rounded.

However my argument has always been, and I think I have proven this to a small extent so far in my coaching is that - It is much easier to coach a player with good technique, decision making and skill levels to play a position in outdoor and mould them into a player than it is to coach a player with good positioning but poor technique and skill levels and try and develop them.

I believe that you should train young players to have good technique and skill levels before anything else, and Futsal fits into this.

I hope that all made sense and was not too much of a ramble. I would be interested to gather a group of coaches together and discuss these sorts of things. It can only be good for Football in the state.

Anonymous said...


I don't have the time to read all yours, Corey's and Mike's comments but I have to agree you put too much emphasis on statistics.

Correct me if I'm wrong but how do you statisise (if that’s a word) a run off the ball that opens space up? ...if indeed that is the space that needed exploiting.

How do you statisise a little kick to back of the heels when defending to un-nerve a player?

How do you statisise a recovery run to a defensive position that puts a moment of doubt into an attackers mind therefore allowing a team mate to make the tackle.

How do you statisise that a player recognise that a triangle is needed in a particular area the park to ensure the ball is released from that area in possession.

This to me are some example of critical factors in football that are far more important than a winger making a run (that can be put as a statistic) and put what looks like a decent cross but in fact is not applicable to the situation.

Anyway that's my 2cents worth no need for a response.

Realist said...

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” - Albert Einstein

Anonymous said...

Realist agree 100%.
What a croc.

Anonymous said...

HI guys

In all this discusion one thig that is important has been left out especially in relation to youth and junior coaching and that is ENJOYMENT if they do not enjoy it they are not going to stay in the sport I have enjoyed the discussion from a purist point of view but lets get practical if all we care about is the end result and not the journey then are we achieving anything. A s along time junior and youth coach I take more deligt in the plodders development than many of the more Gifted. As the wise sage jerrie K says we need to think of everyone when setting out on these discussions not just the elite. Another worrying trend is coaches coaching at Elite levels of youth worrying to much about winning and teaching players questionable tactis like blocking and shirt pulling etc Theres my rant

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.22 pm.The discussion has not been about youth or junior coaching. Refer to Realist's comment referring to the stats and the crap quoted in the posts previous. This has nothing to do nor is it related to youth or junior coaching so I dont know where your comment came from.
HAs anyone bothered, or can anyone be bothered ,to see if the stats quoted by other bloggers are even true ? I doubt it. Im am noit saying they are not true and correct , but who cares ?

Anonymous said...

Corey, Mike Bassett and others contributing to this discussion.

I've certainly found it quite interesting with the opposing perspectives advanced. I've deliberately pushed points at times to evoke more discussion.

One poster made a very sage comment. Enjoyment should be paramount in footballers playing football. True. Well said.

I'm not going to elaborate too much more, because the thread has moved off the front pages. We have also digressed from the original topic. Thanks Walter for allowing this discussion to continue.

As for some questioning the veracity of my stats, some of them were complied by no other media outlet in Australia. It would be difficult to substantiate them.

Walter, knows I compiled them assiduously. I sought his counsel before undertaking the writing project for a Sydney based football website.

There were three other people involved. The site is now defunct, due to a decision made by the site owner after I informed him I was burnt out writing and compiling stats and analysing matches for 15-20 hours per week on top of a demanding professional job.

The owner of the site tried hard to recruit Walter to write for the site too. Walter exercised good judgement in resisting the overtures.

Walter wants to interview me on this site about KNVB. At the moment I'm enjoying posting on here and enjoying the relative anonymity.

Corey, I discovered a link for me to view where you'd been interviewed elsewhere. I was hoping for some debate about futsal. I was disgusted by some of the personal attacks directed at you.

I may or may not have seen you play but I know of you through coaching circles. We have met briefly and I was impressed by your friendliness. I've only heard good comments about you as an off the field role model for coaching kids. We need more young footballers with your level of commitment, and as an off field role model for young kids. They relate well to you.

I'd love to see Walter interview you about your role as the Vikings co-ordinator and the inherent value of futsal to the outdoor game.

I agree we need to get coaches together. However I see a dichotomy in Hobart. There are the majority of coaches who want to see the overall standard of the game improve here. They are willing to share ideas and usually get along well with other coaches and stakeholders in the football milieu.

Then there are a few other coaches who perceive football as a vocation. They are competitive towards other coaches, don't want to share, have big egos and clash with other coaches with the same egocentric and egotistical attitude. All they want to do is win competitions as opposed to develop players.

I've found it very amusing that three have totally patronised me. Ironically some of their practices have been castigated by world renowned coaches. They probably still use the same futile practices and some potentially talented players here are deriving minimal of benefit from their coaching.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

I will pontificate on stats regarding junior development.

One coach in the Southern Premier League had a player playing as a defensive midfielder. The incumbent DM looked good against the weaker teams. Against the stronger teams in the league, and the north, the player struggled to make tackles, win intercepts and cause turnovers. Their off the ball pressure was lacking.

The player was often too far advanced as well, but the stats were immaterial in evaluating that facet of the player's performance.

The fill in playing as the DM was approximately as effective with the ball at feet. They had a higher pass completion rate and caused turnovers, won more tackles, beat players one on one, made intercepts and covered more ground. This was a recurring theme. The coach had concreted advice through the stats. He ignored them. The same problems manifested in the big matches against the better teams throughout the season.

The team dropped a few places on the ladder from the previous season. Arsene Wenger or Valeri Lobanovski would have scrutinised those stats. They would have played the fill in DM and possibly won the competition.

Casual Observer

Anonymous said...

One other point for the juniors.

From compiling stats, and subsequently analysing top level matches through KNVB match analysis methodology, it has clarified the worst positions on the pitch to play. I'd be interested in readers surmising which positions are worst on the pitch and why.

I have stats to substantiate a view I had no knowledge about until I compiled them.

Casual Observer

Corey Smith said...


Although sceptical about the stats analysis. Would it be possible to get you involved in doing some stats on futsal games and seeing what can be found to improve players games from this?

Also my guess on positions worst to play.... guessing in a 4-3-3 would be full backs and the wide attackers (providing they do defensive duties) as they would be the positions that you would do the most km's........ This is personal preference.