Friday, July 27, 2007

U/20 World Cup Ramble #3

As I mentioned in the previous post, the Scottish team made a defensive error when they conceded their first goal against Japan.

Monday 2nd July, 2007

In hindsight it's awfully clear that the Scots didn't make the right decisions. Both of them. Both wanted to smash the ball away. So three things: a connection with the ball and putting some distance on it while playing it away from the goal. It was all under pressure (from Miroshima) too, so there was no room for error. So, we don't really need hindsight or even the goal to be conceded to see that clearing difficult balls is a risky way to play.

A slight bobble can also be difficult to react to when you've already wound up your kicking leg - just ask Paul Robinson!

So what could the Scottish players have done? Instead of trying to do too much, do just enough and play it safe. 'Safe' is away from the opposition, and if the opposition attcks the goal directly through the middle of the park, then 'safe' is the flanks - the sidelines. In order to end the Japanese attack, all the Scots had to do was connect with the ball and direct it to the sidelines with a slightly angled foot.

No need for a kicking action; there should be more than enough momentum on the ball so that the defender can simply place his foot to change the direction of the ball. This would have easily been the safer option, especially in the case of the goalkeeper as he only needed to keep the ball away from Miroshima - who was directly ahead of him.

Against Geelong on the weekend, relatively new Victory signing Matthew Kemp irritated me as hw would always do the same thing - blindly thump the ball forward. While it never backfired on him, it's not good play (after all, you're simply trying to get rid of the ball), and there's no thought involved. No consideration as to how to wisely use the ball or get it to a team-mate. It's not attractive to watch, nor is it a good example for junior players.

Go down to your local ground and you'll see this kind of play throughout the match. From the desperate situations when there is no time for the kids to think to when the ball has just been won. You may even find yourself lucky enough to see it from kick-off! What's the point of it? Let me not even mention how many times you may see a kid miss the bal entirely, putting the entire team in danger!

I've ended up rambling, but the long kick is too often abused in football, and it needs to be cut out. Or at least reduced, play a possession game and develop the play towards a goal. Pass the ball around, and learn to look after it. If the play is there, the goals will come.

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