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Old 07-01-2013, 03:21 PM   #421
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Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
(I don't think Spain were tired in the first two minutes. Maybe later, after the game was lost.)
Lethargic but they always start slow. The style encourages it for some reason, Barcelona often look vulnerable in the first fifteen minutes too. Hind sight is easy but if it hadn't been such a soft first goal I think they could have absorbed the pressure and maybe gone in at half time 0-0.

Either way, I don't think Spain was setup to play a feral Brazil. They got caught with their pantalones down.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:25 PM   #422
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The question for Spain is whether they need to change. Their World Cup qualifying campaign is in good shape. But have Brazil forced them to consider adding midfielders with pace, men who can take on defenders one-on-one? Seems like heresy, but are the days of Xavi (33 years old) and Iniesta (29 years old) numbered?
i thought iniesta still looked great. hate to say it but xavi is not the player he used to be.
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:18 PM   #423
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i thought iniesta still looked great. hate to say it but xavi is not the player he used to be.
He did but he was getting caught in possession a lot in the second half. Xavi is very reliant on the mid-field pressing of his team mates and we know how that went. He did complete something like 93% of his passes though. Personally, I don't think he has any faith in Torres or Arbeloa and seems loath to pass to them (Torres will lose possession and Arbeloa will immediately kill attacking momentum and go backward).

What was noticeable was how deep Xavi was coming to get the ball and that's a role Alonso usually handles with Busquets covering which means Xavi and Iniesta can move up and link the attack. They couldn't draw Brazil out which meant they were able to put two or three men on the Spanish player who had the ball (although the Spanish were getting woefully caught in possession even when the ball was going back which is not something they usually allow).

The first goal was just a cluster jointly owned by Albeloa and Casillas.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:31 PM   #424
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I just think Spain's tactics -- which we all know by heart and which never, ever vary -- were irrelevant. Brazil blew their little boat out of the water and they were paddling air. Brazil pressed high and immediately, never letting Spain settle in their familiar groove.

What surprised me was that Brazil never tired, as Madrid have done using similar tactics. I credit the crowd for some of that, pride for the rest.

Spain needed a game changer, an individual to blow through Brazil's high press. Apparently, no such man exists on their squad, which is interesting. They're a slow, small, physically frail team, basically.

I thought their weak defense was exposed, Casillas wasn't great and they have an ongoing problem at striker. That's a lot of issues for a talented midfield to compensate for.

Spain wasn't impressive this entire tournament. The suspicion exists that had Balotelli played, Italy might have scored in regulation and beaten them. Nigeria got behind them with regularity. They dominated Uruguay yet won by just a single goal.

I think Spain mirrors Barcelona, who have peaked. Both teams have the same personnel weaknesses. Also, I said before last season that I thought these guys were getting burned out. They've played too much football in the last few years. So it proved with Barca, who were brushed aside by Bayern Munich. And now we're seeing signs of it with Spain as well.

Xavi will be 34 by the World Cup, he'll have had scant rest and he won't be any fresher than he was the last two weeks. I think the moment has passed for this Spain team. They have some great wins yet to come, old lions always get in a last bite.

But I can't see them winning the World Cup. They're descending while Germany, Brazil and Argentina are ascending.
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:52 PM   #425
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A top secret Barcelona training video.





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Old 07-02-2013, 05:37 AM   #426
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I too was surprised that Brazil kept up their pace the whole game, it was incredible.
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:20 PM   #427
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A top secret Barcelona training video.





I didn't know Ronaldo was making training videos.
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:04 PM   #428
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It's silly season and therefore a time to dream of players you'd like to have.

The more I think about Cavani playing Mourinho's counter-attacking style, the more I want him. He would be an ideal fit. Quick, tall, played counter-attack at Napoli, defends, scores for fun... put him on the same pitch as Mata, Hazard and Oscar and you're sure to see goals.

Speaking of the 3 Amigos, something's likely to give. Rumorville says it's Mata. Here's why it make sense. Mourinho pretty much demands that everyone tracks back and tackles. Oscar, despite his slight frame, does so willingly and effectively. Hazard is slowly learning to -- took him most of the season, but by the end he was dropping back and covering and even challenging for the ball.

Mata? Basically, never. He's a wee man, but that's not the issue. He's not interested. Partly that's because Chelsea seemingly asked him to be ready to release on the break. But also, it's his natural inclination.

It would be a huge shame to lose a talented guy like him, a guy who was Chelsea's best player the last two seasons. But I can see where Mourinho would bench him and field a speedy winger instead. Schurrle, anyone? With Victor Moses as a backup.

Hazard and Oscar are both #10's, so filling the playmaker role wouldn't be hard to do.

Chelsea have two other areas of need: center-back and defensive midfielder. Ideally, they'll add a top quality center-half. But they're buying youth these days, and the CB's they've been linked with are all young, so perhaps we shouldn't expect an immediate contributor.

As for the defensive mid, it remains to be seen whether Mourinho will go 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. If it's the former, he'll only need one DM and that man is probably already on the roster (although they're looking hard at young Marco van Ginkel.) But that leaves him a problem with David Luiz. Phenomenally talented but rash and impulsive, Luiz is probably not Mourinho's ideal centerback. In a 4-3-3, he may not have a role.

In a 4-3-3, Luiz could play as a DM and score more glorious goals like this one.



If Chelsea can sort out their issues at the back, this could be a fantastic season.
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Old 07-03-2013, 07:42 AM   #429
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I agree with Luiz playing DM, Rafa was a genius for that move. And heck, if Mata is leaving Chelsea I would drive to London myself to pick him up for Liverpool!
Pools season is going to be.... Nervous. Hadn't heard of a couple of our "big" signings, IDK if Toure still has it although I loved him at Arsenal. But Simon Mignolet looks pretty solid. Id say if Dortmund sign MK I would like Liverpool to go after Mata just to test if your theory is correct, but apparently Jose told Mata he was part of the plans. Hoping we can keep Suarez and pick up another DM and CB.
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:54 AM   #430
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I agree with Luiz playing DM, Rafa was a genius for that move. And heck, if Mata is leaving Chelsea I would drive to London myself to pick him up for Liverpool!
Pools season is going to be.... Nervous. Hadn't heard of a couple of our "big" signings, IDK if Toure still has it although I loved him at Arsenal. But Simon Mignolet looks pretty solid. Id say if Dortmund sign MK I would like Liverpool to go after Mata just to test if your theory is correct, but apparently Jose told Mata he was part of the plans. Hoping we can keep Suarez and pick up another DM and CB.
Mignolet has to be an improvement in goal. Reina has been weak. Don't know why Barca would want him, if they do. Sounds like a good addition for LFC.

Steve Nicol (on ESPN) says that Alberto is the kind of player Liverpool already has. A smooth-passing mid who moves the ball around. His complaint is that Liverpool already have those kinds of players and need something different, especially if Suarez leaves. He's not convinced by Aspas. I'm not convinced by Toure.

Liverpool sure have been busy, more than any other club so far.

I have to say that Sturridge really took to Rodgers' system last season. Shame he got injured. Let's see if he can do it for a whole year. His problem with Chelsea was that he was selfish and not a team player. He took crazy shots, didn't make obvious passes and always wanted to be the #9. We saw none of that with Liverpool. He interplayed really well with Suarez. I'm curious to see if he can keep it up.
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wxwax screwed with this post 07-03-2013 at 10:59 AM
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:03 AM   #431
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Spain's U-20 lose to Uruguay in the World Cup. France look majestic in disposing of Uzbekistan.
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Old 07-07-2013, 07:15 PM   #432
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If Chelsea can sort out their issues at the back, this could be a fantastic season.
Mourinho, being the cunning funker he is, is stepping into a largely rejuvenated team while the main rivals (The two Manchester clubs) are in transition. It seems reasonable that Mourinho will have less of a problem fitting back into Chelsea than Pelligrini or Moyes will have as new managers at their respective clubs.

We'll see if Arsenal can step up now they seem to be willing to spend, but surely it's Chelsea's to lose
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:59 PM   #433
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Perhaps so. The way I see it, Manchester City are in their prime for the next 2-3 years. After that, key players like Yaya Toure, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Gael Clichy will start to decline. So they need to strike now. FFP is looming and in the future they won't be able to spend the way they have.

Manchester United are interesting. If they can solve their midfield playmaking, they're as dangerous as anyone. I don't know their team well enough to speak to the quality and depth of their backline.

Chelsea's approach to FFP has been to buy younger, cheaper players. So in a sense they're ahead of the financial curve for a small-stadium club. The catch, of course, is that young players make mistakes and perhaps lack mental fortitude. Hazard and Oscar are keys, yet have only played one season in England. Van Ginkel is completely raw. Cesar Azpilicueta also has just a season under his belt at right back.

If Chelsea can address their most obvious needs, they'll be dangerous. But as excited as I am, it's still a team short on experience. Spending an obscene amount of money on Cavani would probably cure a lot of ills. I'm just not sure Chelsea want to spend like that anymore. FFP is one reason. Shevchenko and Torres are two more. BTDT.
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Old 07-08-2013, 12:39 PM   #434
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The murder was retaliation after the 20-year-old referee, Otavio Jordao da Silva, sent off Josemir Santos Abreu, 31, from an amateur match in the small town of Centro do Meio, in the northern state of Maranhao. Angered by the expulsion, Abreu threw Silva to the ground. As he rose, Silva pulled a knife and stabbed Abreu in the chest, Costa said, and the player died on the way to the hospital.

Players and spectators then rushed Silva, tying him up by his arms and legs while Souza hit him over the head with a spike and then broke the bottle on his face. One of the suspects being sought, a man nicknamed "Pirolo," then took the knife that had been used to stab Abreu and stabbed the referee in the neck, said Costa. It was not immediately clear why Silva had been carrying the knife in the first place.

Souza's brother Francisco then used a sickle to cutting off Silva's arms, legs and head, which he placed on a spike in the middle of the field, Costa said. He added that Francisco may have been on drugs at the time.
Just glorying in the absurd level of violence.
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Old 07-08-2013, 11:42 PM   #435
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Manchester United All-Time Leading Goal Scorers

Bobby Charlton
249 goals
758 games
1 goal per 3 games

Denis Law
237 goals
404 games
1 goal per 1.7 games

Wayne Rooney
197 goals
402 games
1 goal per 2 games

George Best
179 goals
470 games
1 goal per 2.6 games

Wayne Rooney is Manchester United's 3rd highest scorer in all competitions and he scores at a better rate than Bobby Charlton and George Best. Huh.
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