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Thread: World Cup Discussion Thread

  1. #751
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    No idea of any past problems. Although Zidane played a few years w/Juventus of Italy while Matterazzi was in Serie A. He's a pretty easygoing player. I've never seen him mix it up much.

    Zidane had no comment. Most of the French players said they didn't know. The French coach blamed Matterazzi for "getting" Zidane tossed. I guess he thought Matterazzi was faking. Didn't look fake to me, or to any announcer watching, or anyone I've talked to.

    Matterazzi had no comment, either.

    I guess it'll remain a mystery.

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  3. #752
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedric
    Neither team really had great looks at the goal, just formidable defenses.
    Big difference in the way they play that defense though. France's players run at you and take the ball. Italy runs 10 men backwards, forcing the other team to negotiate a maze. It's effective because it prevents a team from getting good looks at the net no matter how creative and skilled it might be, but it isn't worth much in the way of praise.
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    I think we all have lost our cool in even the slightest tensive moments. I can only imagine the tension and frustration that this game brought. With the exhaustion and the trash talk it probably just boiled over for Zidane. I doubt he would really have done something that stupid out of premeditated dislike for Matterazzi.
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedric
    I think we all have lost our cool in even the slightest tensive moments. I can only imagine the tension and frustration that this game brought. With the exhaustion and the trash talk it probably just boiled over for Zidane. I doubt he would really have done something that stupid out of premeditated dislike for Matterazzi.
    Yep, look at John Roseboro, one time he flipped out bad too.

  6. #755
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    Big difference in the way they play that defense though. France's players run at you and take the ball. Italy runs 10 men backwards, forcing the other team to negotiate a maze. It's effective because it prevents a team from getting good looks at the net no matter how creative and skilled it might be, but it isn't worth much in the way of praise.
    I don't really know what's not to praise about players like Zambrotta and Cannavaro. They won the world cup without one of the best CB's in the world also.

    They are technically brilliant in what they do, I stand by that.
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  7. #756
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedric
    I think we all have lost our cool in even the slightest tensive moments. I can only imagine the tension and frustration that this game brought. With the exhaustion and the trash talk it probably just boiled over for Zidane. I doubt he would really have done something that stupid out of premeditated dislike for Matterazzi.
    I think premeditated is a bit strong, but I couldn't help but wonder if Matterazzi or someone else had done things in the past to get under Zidane's skin and whatever Matterazzi was the last straw. I can't image that Zidane would be so stupid as to lose it and get carded over a little smack talk in the biggest game in the world. In fact, I had wondered if there was something that had happened earlier that was missed by the camera,...maybe Matterazzi working on Zidane's shoulder he had just hurt. In any case, it was a classic dumb move at absolutely the wrong time.
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  8. #757
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    And a team that got outplayed for almost 120 solid minutes won.

    I guess if your rooting interest is tied up with the whole great French/freedom fries debate rather than on the game they're playing then that's a good thing, but I'd have rather seen the team that dominated play take the Cup. Italy's probably going down in history as one of the worst teams ever to win the Cup. In fact, I can't think of a less inspiring team that's won the whole thing off the top of my head.
    That's EXACTLY how I feel about it. Disappointing ending to a very good cup. The difference between the two teams wasn't even that close. But that's soccer. That's one of things that makes it unique. It looked to me like Italy's game plan was to bring it to PKs. Buffon won this game for them today (although he didn't stop any PKs). But that stop on the Zidane headball won the cup for them.

    It hurts a little to think that that headball, had it gone in, would have been a fairy tale ending to Zidane's brilliant career. Instead, Buffon gets a hand on it, and we get the head butt to remember him by. I am still in shock that Zidane did it, and saddened.
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  9. #758
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    I thought France had several great looks at the goal and should have knocked one in in the second half. Italy's defense showed some holes today and France outplayed them BY A LARGE MARGIN, IMO.
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Cedric
    I don't really know what's not to praise about players like Zambrotta and Cannavaro. They won the world cup without one of the best CB's in the world also.

    They are technically brilliant in what they do, I stand by that.
    They're great defenders, but let's face it, they've got an inordinant amount of help. The entire Italian midfield is packed back on top of them. It's nothing unusual for an opponent to go on the attack against Italy and find eight Italian players between the ball and the goal.

    They've got less ground to cover and if they get beat, usually two guys have already run in behind them. They never attack unless it's on a set piece. The French sent Sagnol and Abidal forward all day. Lahm and Friedrich attack for the Germans. Miguel, Ashley Cole, Maxi Rodriguez, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Sergio Ramos and a host of other defenders make regular forays into the offense and still play solid defense.

    Italy's defenders, though ferocious and skilled, don't expend energy moving forward. Can they stop a great attacker one on one? By the looks of it, not that often. They almost always have numbers on defense. Looked to me like Henry could take Zambrotta at will. The problem was taking Zambrotta and two other guys and then lining up a clean shot on net.

    It's a cynical, try-not-to-lose style they play. I give them all the credit in the world for playing it to perfection, but I also know most of the rest of the world finds it a far from admirable style of play.
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  11. #760
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    It's a cynical, try-not-to-lose style they play.
    Very Jacque Demers it is.

  12. #761
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    France also had great defenders, great midfield, and great strikers. They were a superior all around team, with the Italians being superior in the goal (Barthez was WAY out of position on the Italy goal).
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  13. #762
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    They're great defenders, but let's face it, they've got an inordinant amount of help. The entire Italian midfield is packed back on top of them. It's nothing unusual for an opponent to go on the attack against Italy and find eight Italian players between the ball and the goal.

    They've got less ground to cover and if they get beat, usually two guys have already run in behind them. They never attack unless it's on a set piece. The French sent Sagnol and Abidal forward all day. Lahm and Friedrich attack for the Germans. Miguel, Ashley Cole, Maxi Rodriguez, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Sergio Ramos and a host of other defenders make regular forays into the offense and still play solid defense.

    Italy's defenders, though ferocious and skilled, don't expend energy moving forward. Can they stop a great attacker one on one? By the looks of it, not that often. They almost always have numbers on defense. Looked to me like Henry could take Zambrotta at will. The problem was taking Zambrotta and two other guys and then lining up a clean shot on net.

    It's a cynical, try-not-to-lose style they play. I give them all the credit in the world for playing it to perfection, but I also know most of the rest of the world finds it a far from admirable style of play.
    Not true though. Zambrotta and Grossa made runs the whole tournament, in fact scoring in the flow of the game against the Ukraine. I think stereotype of Italy is overriding truth in these discussions.
    Perrota, Grossa, and Zambrotta were huge parts of the Italian attacking style and even scored the deciding goals in certain games.
    Here is a good article that I think agrees with my points from ESPN.com.

    "Defying the scientists
    Roberto Gotta
    Archive

    Try as he might, Marcello Lippi simply cannot disguise his team's attacking attitude.


    AlexLivesey/GettyImages
    Attacking substitute Alessandro Del Piero celebrates Italy making the final.

    Viewers who shifted uncomfortably in their seats during Italy's matches agains Australia and Ukraine will find this hard to believe, but Tuesday's historic win over Germany in Dortmund again smuggled the concept through a series of checkpoints of cliches and preconceived ideas.

    Yes, Italy were not adventurous against the Socceroos, and kept pace under control against the Ukrainians, with their lone striker set-up signalling that they were not going to take chances.

    But a magnificently managed match against the Germans again showed the momentary lapses into the decades-old habit of sitting back, absorbing the opponents' attacks then springing forward with a numerical advantage were just that, lapses.

    With the game on the line, Lippi sent on two strikers, Alberto Gilardino and Alessandro Del Piero, and while the latter's introduction may have had something to do with the fact penalty kicks were likely at the time, any coach who does that in a World Cup semifinal deserves praise, whatever his PR-skills - minimal - or empathy with the press - same.

    Ten different players have scored Italy's eleven goals so far. Another, Zaccardo, scored the only goal the Azzurri have conceded with a spectacularly mis-hit clearance.

    That hardly sounds like a team asking its back four and midfield to drop the anchor in their own half.

    Italy did not dominate Germany, far from it, but apart from a few minutes early in the second half they did not look in the least intimidated by the huge crowd and playing a World Cup semi-final at the home of the hosts.

    Andrea Pirlo, despite mis-hitting a few passes in the direction of Camoranesi, whom he must believe to have wheels instead of legs because he kept sending in through on impossible balls, played a great game of controlling the tempo and setting up team-mates with the simplest of passes. He often resorted to his unique skill of making it appear as if the clock is slowing down when he has the ball, protecting it from tackles and swiftly touching it away from lunges with minumum motion.

    That he also made Grosso's wonderful goal by keeping his nerve on a German clearance and giving up a good chance to shoot, preferring instead to dwell on the ball and deliver it to Italy's left-back, also speaks volumes about a player who only a few years ago was described by his coach at Brescia as 'having trouble showing his hunger on the pitch because he comes from a well-off family and has not had to fight for anything'.

    As for Grosso, can anyone really say Italy are too negative when its two full-backs are pushing forward all the time and Perrotta on the left, even more so than Camoranesi on the right, has never seen a forward run he doesn't fancy?

    While at times Toni has looked too lonely, Lippi obviously prefers to push as many men forward from midfield as possible and in Totti - even if he's still short of full match fitness - he has the player who can win one-on-ones and create a numerical advantage in the last third of the pitch. This means you do not need to have two strikers to be offensive, just one good enough at protecting the ball and bringing teammates into play.

    Going back to the start of the campaign, of course, Italy had approached the World Cup with their preferred 4-3-1-2, going back to one striker in a 4-3-2-1 for the game against the Czech Republic with Gilardino, not Toni, as Lippi's choice. 4-3-3 was adopted against Australia then Toni was again alone in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

    This approach produced five goals and seems to have further liberated the attacking instincts of Zambrotta and Grosso, 'won' the dubious, last second penalty against Australia that had saved Italy from playing extra time with one man down. The full-back pair have had more space to run into, given the absence of any semblance of traditional wingers in the squad.


    Bongarts/GettyImages
    Buffon and Cannavaro: Twin rocks on which the attacks could be built.

    They can also, and certainly did in Dortmund, take some comfort from the fact their defensive colleagues in the middle of the pitch are having a sensational campaign, with the help of Gennaro Gattuso who might have surprised superficial observers who did not know about his tactical acumen and sense of position in getting back to help.

    Italy leaked some chances to Ukraine and a couple to Germany, but Cannavaro and Materazzi, who's likely to keep his place in the final after another strong performance and with Nesta struggling to recover from a muscle injury, are returning all messages to the senders.

    Cannavaro's timely interventions have been a feature of the Azzurri play, although sometimes you suspect some last-ditch tackles are the product of spottily ineffective unit defending in the first place, and the fact Buffon has been magnificent in the tournament also means opponents have been able to take a few shots at goal without scoring.

    Italy '06, obviously, are not the perfect team and are not going to be in the history books as the epitome of attacking football.

    But their confident, assured performance in the pressure cooker of the Westfalenstadion, where they never sat back for the sake of safety-first negativity, certainly upset some odds and may even have causedd consternation among scientists; the front page headline on a magazine hanging from a hook on my train to Munich on Wednesday morning read 'Physics professor proves: we're going to be the world champions'.

    Sadly for Germany, the laws of physics, just like the common law that states 'Italy, shalt play catenaccio', sometimes do not work as expected."
    Last edited by Cedric; 07-09-2006 at 11:44 PM.
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  14. #763
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    I watched the games, too. Stereotype has nothing to do with it.
    Grape works as a soda. Sort of as a gum. I wonder why it doesn't work as a pie. Grape pie? There's no grape pie. - Larry David

  15. #764
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM
    I watched the games, too. Stereotype has nothing to do with it.
    Really? Then how do you explain the play of Zambrotta, Grosso, and Perroni? You watched the games and disagree?

    Gross and Zambratto were fantastic this tournament in attacking and pressing the game. I have no idea what some of you were watching. That espn article exemplifies exactly what I have been saying on this thread.

    I do'nt know if you think the author is biased like me though, ha.

    Goals against the Ukraine, causing the penalty against Australia, and scoring the game winner against Germany.

    Italian defenders were scoring like crazy in this tournament and that's not even counting in the dead ball plays.
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    Re: World Cup Discussion Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by M2
    Big difference in the way they play that defense though. France's players run at you and take the ball. Italy runs 10 men backwards, forcing the other team to negotiate a maze. It's effective because it prevents a team from getting good looks at the net no matter how creative and skilled it might be, but it isn't worth much in the way of praise.
    Both teams played a 4-5-1.
    Both coaches referred to their similiar styles of play.
    In fact, the Italian wing defenders moved upfield far more frequently (Zumbrotta and Perrotta) and effectively than their French counterparts.
    If you don't like Italian soccer, that's fine. But your criticism leaves no room for the things that Italian soccer does very well, and that is what the world cup is about...
    No-one has mentioned is the high fitness rate of the Italian team and their high level of technical ability. These are qualities that all countries, and all players work on and this Italian team had more players on their squad with those qualities than the countries they played. The Italians had no-one as skilled as Zidane and Henry, but those two couldn't "carry" the rest of their team, which was sad (in some ways) yet totally predictable.


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