July 10, 2010

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 14 comments

Two articles about the World Cup championship teams suggest it's time to give up on the idea of a national brand of play:

"They are two ends of the footballing scale and never the twain shall meet. Except that they did against Germany. Except that, no matter what people say both in Spain and outside, they often do. Far more often than anyone seems prepared to admit."

"Claims that the Netherlands has now changed beyond recognition into a negative, cynical side are made only by those who wrongly bought into the opposite extreme of the Dutch as some sort of European Brazilians[.]"

Given the reference in that article and his endorsement of Spain, has Johan Cruyff turned into a Grumpy Old Man who refuses to like anything that's less than 30 years old?

posted by yerfatma at 11:08 AM on July 10, 2010

has Johan Cruyff turned into a Grumpy Old Man who refuses to like anything that's less than 30 years old?

It's complicated. There's the Dutch national perspective, where there needs, somehow, to be a vindication of Total Football, no matter how long it takes, no matter how much the tactics of the game evolve in the intervening years, and no matter how much nostalgia clouds the memories of how it actually played out on the pitch. There's a reason why the subtitle to David Winner's Brilliant Orange is "The neurotic genius of Dutch football"; it's almost fatalistic.

But Rinus Michels and Cruyff (and van Gaal and Rijkaard) went to Barcelona. And won. And set in place a deep Dutch influence that isn't haunted by the 1970s -- but does carry the weight of ongoing Spanish disappointment in the World Cup. (For the sake of contrast: Jose Mourinho learned his trade in Portugal under Bobby Robson, who had won in Holland with PSV, and Mourinho followed Robson to Barça.)

So I think Zonal Marking is right to describe the final as "a simple clash between two great football nations and two historical underachievers, but... also perfect in terms of footballing ideology."

posted by etagloh at 02:33 PM on July 10, 2010

Though the third-place playoff is a pointless match that FIFA could drop without much complaint, this one's looking a bit tasty. It's World Cup football, and I'll take it, because it's a long wait after tomorrow.

Paul Hayward has a good piece that talks a bit more about Cruyff's "emotional dual nationality", and quotes the man at length on the final matchup.

posted by etagloh at 03:03 PM on July 10, 2010

I'm getting wistful already about the World Cup coming to an end. I'm enjoying today's Graf Spee third place game regardless of the weather conditions and despite the moments of sloppy, tired play.

Wouldn't it be great if FIFA commissioned a heroic monument like the Statue of Liberty to commemorate this WC?

Here's my humble submission for a design.

posted by beaverboard at 03:39 PM on July 10, 2010

WOW! Incredible strike by Forlan.

posted by bender at 03:51 PM on July 10, 2010

This is a helluva game.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:59 PM on July 10, 2010

Forlan hasn't got the legs to drag this team back again.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:10 PM on July 10, 2010

That was a corker. You won't see anything like that kind of abandon tomorrow, but you wouldn't expect it.

And Paul is now 7 for 7.

posted by etagloh at 04:28 PM on July 10, 2010

The octopus is starting to scare me.

posted by afx237vi at 04:45 PM on July 10, 2010

Travis Wood of the Cincinnati Reds with a perfect game into the 7th inning.

posted by tommybiden at 08:34 PM on July 10, 2010

Has the Miami Heat's new roster been in the works for more than four years?

posted by boredom_08 at 11:22 PM on July 10, 2010

Wow. That's an interesting story.

posted by yzelda4045 at 12:06 AM on July 11, 2010

Thierry Henry to NY Red Bulls? His buddy Steve Nash thinks so.

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:48 AM on July 11, 2010

Thierry Henry to NY Red Bulls? His buddy Steve Nash thinks so. Worst kept secret in soocer. Teaser campaign started a few weeks ago (including these things painted near the stadium and train lines and such). Look for announcement on Wednesday, presser on Thursday. First game will probably be against Tottenham on July 22.

posted by goddam at 11:33 PM on July 11, 2010

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