Why am I not excited? It's not that I'm not patriotic, but when it comes to football I can get distracted by the skills on the field. At the start of the year I came across a book, Only the Goalkeeper to Beat and early into it, I found a few lines that describe how and why I get distracted".
Many of my own prejudices will become perfectly clear as we go along. But here, just to get started, are a few that might as well be out in the open once and for all. In the first place, I don't believe that goals are particularly important in football. I know that games are won and lost by them, but I don't (unless I happen to be playing) care about them that much. As a spectator I tend to enjoy rather small things. To see somebody trap the ball neatly, swerve away from a defender, and give a thoughtful and efficient pass to move the game on is often more of a pleasure than to watch some routine goal work again against a foolish defence.So while Eamonn and Neil have covered the glory that is our first World Cup win, I hope that the one goal that we conceded does not get lost in the hype.
-Francis Hodgson (1998, p.10)
I got distracted by the silky skills from the Ghana girls. Beautiful stuff to watch! Unfortunately they're just not very desperate for the ball, they lacked heart. Oh well...
I did love their goal. And not because it was a goal, but the way that it was set up and then executed. Two touches - it's all you really need. First touch to not only control the ball and put it where she (Amankwa) needed it to hit it well, but crucially got past the defender by playing it BEHIND the defender! And then the second touch was a beautiful strike. Barbieri had no chance.
And that penetrative ball through the defence and to Amankwa was gorgeous! I love through balls! (Spase Dilevski crush should be explained by that.) They had a number of beautiful balls that would slice through the Australian defence, but just no desperation to make it a completed pass... oh well. Really pretty football!