Wednesday, 12 September 2007

How football should be played

Last night we were given a demonstration of how football should be played. Argentina put on a display of clean, crisp passing combined with deft touches and bursts of speed and improvisation. This is how football should be played and not like how the guy who was sitting behind me in a Charlton Athletic shirt thought we should be playing. He was constantly extolled the virtues of route one football every time the Socceroos were trying to make a patient build up in the offensive half of the pitch. Constantly heard were the cries of "take a shot" or "just get it in there" or "why are they kicking it backwards". I am a huge fan of Alfio Basile, the coach of los albicelestes, partly because he is a former coach of one of my favourite teams, Boca Juniors, but also his attitude towards football and how it should be played. He always sends out his team out to play the kind of football he likes to watch - patient, passing football, with his team always looking to keep the ball and break the opposition down with a touch of flair. He is continuing the tradition of Jose Pekerman and credit must given to the AFA for doing so. I think FFA should take a leaf out their book when they finally get around to appointing the next national coach now that the reign of Arnold is over.

In the first half the crowd was abuzz with the antics and skills of Lionel Messi as he was causing massive headaches for the Socceroos and in particular David Carney. His rasping shot after beating both Grella and Carney (who had a good game) was unlucky not to find the back of the net as it crashed off the upright having beaten Schwarzer all ends up. I think a lot of the crowd was drawn to the game because of stars such as Messi and Tevez and they weren't disappointed. The first half of the game was very attacking and when Bresciano hit the woodwork, myself along with a vast section of the crowd rose to their feet expected it to fall in but luckily for the Argentines the ball fell to safely. Bresciano probably had his best game in a long time and his nice combinations with Grella was something that missing from the Asian Cup campaign. Grella always seems to take his game up a level when playing against good quality opposition. Abbondanzieri in goals was rarely troubled except for a couple of Bresciano free kicks and a David Carney lob. Although sometimes there was times that he made myself and my fellow Boca fan beside me a little nervous as came off his line - reminding us of his sending off in a superclasico last year when he fouled a River Plate player near the half way line.

The second half didn't have the spark of the first, especially after los albicelestes took the lead after some poor man marking by the Socceroos. It seemed as if the effects of flying half round the world for most of the players started to take its toll along with the numerous substitutions. I would have loved to Riquelme in action in this game as he is one of my favourite players and it seem the Argentines were missing his presence and creativity in the midfield. If he was in action I think the score would have been much more in favour of the team in blue and white. It was good to see Josh Kennedy back in the green and gold and he put in a good effort - though he looks like he needs to some match fitness having been out for over eighteen months. I have never understood Graham Arnold's fascination with Brett Holman and we were amazed he made it onto the pitch before Nicky Carle. Holman has no ball control at this level and seems to run about like a chicken without its head. Carle looked in good form but should have more time on the pitch.

Myself and the people I went to the game with (some who had travelled down from Brisbane for the game) came away from the game having seen a good quality game with its ebbs and flows and having seen the rising star that is Lionel Messi in action. Hopefully we will get to see him in action again sometime soon.


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