Wednesday, July 14, 2010

World Cup Revisited

The Final

Zonal Marking does a great job of breaking down the tactics of pressing in the Final.  The most interesting tidbit to me was the fact that the most common passing combination in the first half for the Netherlands was Mathijsen and Stekelenburg  (the Dutch center back and goalkeeper).  That's not a good stat for an attacking team.

Overall Records of the US
Climbing the Ladder has an interesting look at the Yanks' win-loss record and the teams they beat/lost to over the World Cup qualifying cycles in the modern era (1990 to present).  It gives you a good look at just how the team has gotten better.  Take a real close look at the opponents in recent years and in which columns they are located.  

ESPN Announcers

The Soccer America's resident curmudgeon, Paul Gardner, writes to tell us just how bad ESPN's British announcers were and they're "disrespect" for the American audience.  For the most part, I watched the Univision feed online.  So, I only watched a few of the ESPN broadcasts.  However, I wasn't blown away by them.

Now, I certainly know that commentating is much harder than it appears, but I was also disappointed with the supposed best English language broadcasters in the world.   For me, I thought Ian Drake was very good. Martin Tyler was just OK; maybe he was just over hyped or maybe it was his understated delivery, but he just seemed tired to me.  He was certainly lacking the enthusiasm that a real "football" person would have when watching the World Cup live. 

British-Nigerian Efan Ekoku was horrible.  Honestly, ESPN couldn't get a better color guy than this?!  He showed no understanding of the game outside of the British Isles, and this, from a supposed African soccer expert. And I hate to agree with Gardner on anything, but he is right on when he says that many of the commentators have no clue when it comes to the actual rules of the game (excluding Tyler, who seems to know his laws of the game.   

One more thing...  I absolutely loved the pre-game and post-game crews.  It was good entertainment sprinkled in with good analysis.  They had a lot of controversial figures saying controversial things and then they had Juergen Klinsmann and Roberto Martinez sprinkle in great insights.  Excellent stuff!

1 comment:

  1. For more on Efan Ekoku's mal-mouthings, see the June 15th post on