FIFA mess: Blatter MUST go!

Everyone who saw this press conference and Blatter’s “out-of-the-world” presentation can only come to one conclusion: The man lost it and it is time for change. FIFA is not any country-side soccer club, this organization is in the spotlight every day and has responsibilities that need to be treated on a professional level.

Yesterday’s press conference was ridiculous and those that saw things unfolding during the event couldn’t believe their eyes. Blatter might believe he is pulling the strings within FIFA, in the public’s opinion, latest since yesterday, he is considered a fool that lost his sense for reality. This poor show can’t go on.

On whether there is bribery involved in the choices for the next World Cups or not, has to be seen. In my opinion, I can see Russia as a successful World Cup event, when it comes to Qatar, however, I have serious concerns about a real good World Cup event. A World Cup is also a commercial event and requires more than just a few stadiums. In my opinion, again, Qatar should take a look at such an event as a co-host with someone else. The World Cup 2022 should not be played there and the fact that Qatar was chosen has a bitter taste. Considering everything involved, something seems to be wrong. 

What to learn from the Champions League Final 2011, FC Barcelona – Manchester United

The big game is over. It ended as it always does, Barca won. Looking at the international press reports on Sunday, there was no doubt about the result. Barcelona is the best team in the world, Messi, Messi, Messi, completed passes and so on. Everyone and their grandma are saying the same thing. Now what? Are we playing that competition in the next year? Or do we just ask Barca to keep the pot for a couple of years and then try again? Do we tell our soccer kids, that is how it is, they are great, the rest of us sucks and it is impossible to win against them?

Let’s take a look at this game. It is commonly acknowledged that Manchester United had the better start and actually controlled the game. They managed to look really good for 15 minutes, despite the unimportant fact that Barca had 111 completed passes and United “only” 51 after 14 minutes. The unknown reason why they went away from their style of playing in the first 15 minutes just drives me nuts. What happened? Afraid of their own courage and too much respect? Got scared when Barca had a few opportunities? Came up with the insane idea that they could play out Barca? Missing flexibility to let the other team be the dominant team? My answer is, all of that!

The way United had to play and played in the first 15 minutes is though. It costs a lot of resources and is very difficult to play for 90 minutes. However, it was the right way to approach the game and they should have continued this way. Suddenly, United fell back and started playing in their own half, giving away the ball and strengthen Barca’s game. Remember Sir Alex appearing on the sideline after 20 minutes? He saw it and he tried to straighten the game out again. The reasons above, in the second paragraph, are all reasons why the players changed their game and once Barca got the game into their hands, United wasn’t able to get it back.

Look at the first goal. United’s performance during the build up of the first goal was not more than 5th division. Lost the ball in Barca’s half and got caught completely out of position. Look at the performance of Edwin van der Sar facing the “shot” from Pedro. He speculated! He didn’t react to the shot, which was actually just a push in goal. Van der Sar, already out positioned, moved into the other corner, clearly visible to Pedro, who only had to “guide” the ball into the wide open net. We all know that Edwin van der Sar is a great goalie, arguably one of the best in the world. What the heck did he think during that moment? Answer, too much. He thought Pedro, and everything else in the Barca team, shoot like hell and if the ball hits the net, he will have to get the goal from the stands. Van der Sar’s thought in a quarter of a second, he is going to shoot, it will be hard, and I will have to jump first to have a chance. Pedro curled the ball into the other corner. A goalie like van der Sar doesn’t have to speculate, he can stop shots from everyone at any time, from any distance. The common hype, his last game and the desperate “want” to deliver a wonderful game over motivated him. Once the pressure of the game, and his own, was gone, after it was 3-1, he found his form and killed a few opportunities for Barca.

Second goal. Messi strolling towards the goal and having time to put the ball on his left foot for a though shot on goal. Not very well placed, it was almost the middle of the goal where the ball hit, shot from the top of the box with no defender even close. Van der Sar? Speculating again. After the game he stated, “Messi has a tendency to go for the long post”.

The first two goals are falling under the category “afraid of their own courage and too much respect”.

Third goal. A mistake from the beginner handbook. If you get a hold of the ball in the box, clear it with the first touch, especially when you play a team like Barca. The useless try to play around made the ball roll to Villa, on top of the box with nobody around, and he didn’t fuzz around. Great shot, no chance for van der Sar this time. The third goal is the category “insane idea to play out Barca in your own box” AND trying to beat one of Barca’s biggest strength’s, getting the ball back before the opponent finishes 3 or 4 touches, with exactly doing what they are waiting for, trying to keep the ball with short passes.

This is how cheap Manchester United lost this game. Yes, Barca had a number of other opportunities, but who has expected they won’t? They only scored after catastrophic mistakes of United. These mistakes were forced by psychological influences, not ability to play soccer. Too much thinking, allowing pressure to take over, rather than going down to the basics and just work the game and the opponent.

If you are a coach or player, this is what you can learn from this game:

  • If you play against a team that is better than yours, don’t try to play them out in your half or in your box.
  • Whatever your game is, change it for this one game. If your game is so great, then the other team wouldn’t be considered better than yours.
  • Play the ball into their half with the first touch and seek a shot on goal quickly, preferably within 10-15 seconds of winning the ball.
  • Don’t be afraid of anyone, especially not of yourself.
  • Cover the important spaces, on top of the box. Don’t bother with the opponents short pass game in midfield and how much possession they have. You need to be on top of the game around your box and when you get the ball. Remember, the other team is better than you, therefore, there is no point engaging in midfield play. Take the CL final as an example.
  • Read here for more tools for playing against the big shots and my tip for ManU on what to do against Barca.

It might be interesting to take a look at Real Madrid’s approach to win a “one game competition” against Barca. Mourinho and Real got a lot of heat for their way to play in the Copa del Rey final a few weeks back. I am sure Manchester United, and United’s supporters, would have been very happy with a 1-0 win and a not so attractive looking performance. It can be done, just step on the devils tale.

Barca’s goals in the final:

Barca’s first goal from a better ankle:

Today is the Day! How Manchester United can beat Barca.

The soccer world’s attention is focused on London’s Wembley Stadium today. Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and Pep Guardiola’s “Dream Team” meet for the European crown in the world’s most exciting club sports event.

Experts all over the world explain their wisdom about soccer and who is taking the win in this year’s UEFA Champions League Final. Barca is considered the best soccer team in the world and is the favorite for most. However, Sir Alex is considered an “Old Fox”, even by Barca player’s, and he and his team can not be underestimated. ManU has what it takes in order to beat Barca.

How to beat Barca in a one game competition is the question of the day. Click the link and see how ManU can take this year’s crown.

How to beat Barca in a one game competition?!

On Saturday, May 28th, the biggest game in European soccer takes place in London. Barca and Manchester United meet at Wembley for the European soccer crown. Barca is considered the best soccer team in the world and the common opinion is that they are the favorite for the final.

Despite this common opinion, Manchester United has decided to show up anyway and see what happens. With good reason. United has a top team and has a winning mentality that is needed for such a game. Following the competition throughout the year, Barca’s opponents so far went into the games with the “pants full” before the game even started. Remembered is the poor performance of Arsenal at Nou Camp where the gunners were seeking their glory in defending and after the game had to blame the referee for their own mess.

Here are some basics for United and anyone else who faces the challenge to play Barca:

  • Imprison and close the British press two weeks before the game(just kidding)
  • Complete focus on the game and what’s to come and understanding you have nothing to lose.
  • No yellow cards for stupid stuff (kicking the ball away, complaining, fouls in their half or at a time when the ball is moving away from goal, taking the shirt off when you score and all the other baloney). You will need a break at one point of the game when it is necessary to commit a professional foul.
  • Cover the important areas of the field, even though nobody is in there. For example, the area 10- 15 yards on top of the box.
  • Be aware of Barca’s way of play and what is going to happen. Don’t get lured out of important positions.
  • Do not care on how long they have the ball or how many passes they complete. Out of the 700 or so they will complete, only 10 will be dangerous and you will have to wait for them and then be on top of it. Patience is key.
  • If you get the ball while defending, get it out of your half with the first contact.

Here is why you need to do all this and more:

  • Imprison the press is not possible, but the reason is obvious. They couldn’t take their own team apart before an important competition. It would be a good idea, though.
  • Complete focus, because you need to follow what happens on the field at any second. Make sure nobody is in your back and stay behind the ball. Barca can get you in a blink.
  • The yellow card thing is explained above.
  • Barca, like no other team, has the ability to move the ball around the field and is waiting for openings to occur. These openings very often come up on top of the box where they stick the ball through for someone coming out of midfield (Messi, Xavi, Busquets). Cover that area, they will come. Villa usually starts his attacks from the outside (mostly the left side, while Dani Alves does the same on the right) and is walking the defending line (the 4 defenders) and at one point they stick the ball through. Be aware and hold that line. Important for the goalie to watch out for these passes behind the defending line.
  • With passing the ball around the field, they want you to lose patience and come out of your covered areas such as above.
  • The entire world and the number crunchers are astonished about the completed passes of Barca. Keep in mind, 690 out of 700 completed passes are just used to lure you out of your position and make the other 10 dangerous. In fact, the more completed passes they need, the better your chances are to get away without a goal against you. So, once they are in position, let them pass in midfield, don’t chase the ball.
  • If you get the ball while defending, and you will at one point, get it out of your half as quick as possible, preferably with the first touch. Barca has the habit, and the ability, when they lose the ball to get it back before the opponent completes 3 or 4 passes. They are masters in putting pressure on teams that way. Other teams turn into defensive mode after losing the ball. Barca’s first move when they lose the ball is forward. The other reason why you need to play in Barca’s half as much as possible is, defense is their weakness. If they are in their own half, they are by far not as strong as they are in your half.
  • Don’t commit everyone into defending. Keep them honest. If you position yourself too deep, they will come at you with everything they have. Play with 2 strikers and put them on the two defenders Puyol and Piquet. That will cause them to take at least one midfielder further back and will cause more oversight in midfield. It will also make the dangerous short passing a little longer and give you opportunity to intercept.
  • When Barca is losing the ball, the two outside defenders, right and left back are usually up in midfield. If you clear with the first touch, clear it into these areas. That will force Puyol and Piquet to get there and get the ball back. That usually works well, because everyone is only playing with one striker and with that the Barca defense is always a man up. If you play with two strikers you can keep the ball more often in their half and you will get opportunities.

These are the basics on how you can get Barca. It requires a lot of work and awareness, but it can be done. I my opinion, it is the way to win. Everything else has been tried out and failed. Good luck, ManU!

UEFA Champions League Final: Manchester United – FC Barcelona. How the English are about to beat themselves – again.

The Champions League final hype is in full gear. Not only in England and Spain, the entire world’s view is aimed to London where Manchester United and Barca face off on Saturday. In England, the pot is about to boil over these days. As always, the British press is looking for ways to live up to their name as the biggest enemy of the English soccer teams before any important competition. This time, naturally, the target is Sir Alex’s Manchester United squad.

Without going into the details of the case again, it has been reported all over the place, the target in the team is Ryan Giggs. Read here about the details. While everyone is allowed to have an opinion about Ryan Giggs and his actions, it is stuff that should not be beaten to death in the press the way the British press does. Especially since the case doesn’t indicate any criminal act on Giggs’ side. The media outlets that have jumped on this story should be ashamed of themselves and their poor reasons and motivations for this kind of reporting. The public interest card they play is absolutely ridiculous and has no base.

For someone that is just looking to see a real exciting soccer match, “the game” that is played this week is absolutely not necessary and disappointing. The Spanish must be rolling on the floor and laughing about this form of British cannibalism.

Soccer is a game of mind and body, if your mind is somewhere else, you will have a hard time to perform on the field. Manchester United, last week, was my favorite for this final. With all the stuff boiling up this week, that view has changed. There is no way that United’s players can perform as they should, in order to win the game on Saturday.

Manchester United has everything to beat Barca in the final on Saturday. Great players, on all positions, an excellent coach that knows the details of the game, a winning mentality and a run that creates positive momentum you need to go into a game like this one. That Barca is still the favorite for the most is helping the cause as well. In a one game decision, this takes a lot of pressure away and in turn puts a lot of pressure on Barca. The longer the game goes on without a Barca goal, the better the chances for United will be. For Sir Alex and his team it is now important that they can overcome all the nonsense that the press has created and focus on the game. The advice for the British press, focus on the game as well. That’s were the public interest is. If you don’t know how to write about soccer, contact me. I will tell you about the game and what it means.

Brittany Thelemann @RealMissMNusa – 2011 Miss USA Pageant

While attending a BlogWorld party in NYC, I met a few of the contenders for the “2011 Miss USA Pageant” title. After speaking to all of them,  I determined my favorite for the competition, Brittany Thelemann.

The time I had to speak with these ladies was limited to about 5 minutes each. That’s not a lot, but I must say that in these 5 minutes, Brittany was the most personable of all, or appeared to be the easiest to talk to on a level of normal conversation. At first, I thought the reason for the easy established conversation was our common German heritage, but after careful consideration, it wasn’t that. Brittany’s German roots are to far in the past, as one would consider her German. She is more an “All American Girl” and seems to have what it takes to win.

I was able to throw in “a piece to jump on” for all in order to create a conversation off the Miss USA competition. Brittany was the only one that was able to get off that topic and seemed to be a very nice and kind person.

While such an event as the “2011 Miss USA Pageant” are usually off my radar, I promised her to vote for her, which I did. Follow Brittany @RealMissMNusa on Twitter and trust my judgment to vote for her on . Good luck, Brittany!

Short Term Planning in Politics … by Ann Coulter

Liberal soccer moms are precisely as likely to receive anthrax in the mail as to develop a capacity for linear thinking.
Ann Coulter
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Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the United States, very well confirmed by this statement. Considering the pace of growth, the statement above can be considered a short term strategy move that might backfire at one point in the not so far future. Ann Coulter wouldn’t be the first in the political theatre to learn that soccer is used to win political votes rather than to lose. If nothing else, she gave an example of her linear thinking: Full speed over the next bump and who cares about what I said yesterday.

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