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    Originally posted by Pietro Paolo Virdis View Post
    If you want someone in the Croatian side to pick on, pick on Kalinic.
    That bastard has been worthless in Milan. Refused to do his best in practice several times there, refused to come in when the Croatian coach called him up, several times. And now he will get a World Cup medal even though he was sent home before the group stage was over.
    Will he actually get it though? He's not there to pick it up in person, and I doubt the Croatian FA will be going out of their way to pass it on. I suspect very few people will worry if somebody at the Croatian FA 'misplaces' it.

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      Poor old England. Now in the dock for saluting opponents- No Surrender to Ivan Rakitic's Army

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        Originally posted by Pietro Paolo Virdis View Post
        send me a message here xxxxxxxxxxxx@gmail.com
        PPV, maybe it's wiser to PM info such as email addresses and real names. I'd edit that.

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          Doesn't matter now, G-Man. My name is well known since long before*. People have put it up here years ago. My mate who I miss, Jonathan, used to call me by name here. And other, and I really don't have anything to worry about. Not like I'll be bombarded with email from people here.

          * I didn't mean that as in I'm popular or some fucking star. I just meant that as in how I wrote it.

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            If Croatia wins, my money is on Grabar-Kitarović (the President in the team kit) as most likely to pocket Kalinic's medal.

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              First medal of a major tournament to be posted to its recipient since Kevin Moran in 1985?

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                So now that Ursus has provided her name I can repeat my schoolboy joke from the prediction thread- is Macron going to try to Grab-her Kitarovic..?

                If so she should ruffle his carefully assembled combover

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                  England scored three goals from open play in their six games. They played two extra time half hours, making a total of 600 minutes. That means they got a goal from open play every 200 minutes. Deadly!

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                    When you're scoring so frequently from dead ball situations, this of course becomes less imperative.

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                      I'm not sure I get why this is such an important statistic. After all, a goal scored is a goal scored - and this has been England's goal-scoringest World Cup finals ever. Can anyone expand on why it should be vital to score a higher percentage from open play?

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                        Because you tend to win finals then, or even play them.

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                          I seem to recall Greece winning both of those matches from set pieces in 2004...

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                            It's a risky strategy because it limits your options. Usually, but not always, you need to put a few shots on target to score one against a good team.

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                              Ok, so why shots from open play versus shots from set pieces?

                              What irks me, perhaps unreasonably, is a general sense among all the commentary on TV and online that England needed to solve the problem right away if they were to stand any chance. Realistically, an inability to break teams down in open play is unlikely to be solved in a few weeks at a World Cup. Club sides can take months or even years to overcome that problem and its usually rooted in personnel as much as it is tactics and playing style.

                              That notwithstanding, England were not as bad in that department as is being made out - their problem was being clinical enough to score when they did create.

                              If set pieces are a team's strength, which is undoubtedly so for England, I see it less as limiting options and more gaining an edge by trying to capitalise on it.

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                                Originally posted by SouthdownRebel View Post
                                I'm not sure I get why this is such an important statistic. After all, a goal scored is a goal scored - and this has been England's goal-scoringest World Cup finals ever. Can anyone expand on why it should be vital to score a higher percentage from open play?
                                Because most teams with the likes of harry kane, and raheem sterling etc, score three goals from open play for every goal from a set piece. England are the other way around. And yes scoring an opening goal from a set piece reduces the pressure to score a bit, and removes the possibility the first goal from open play. But on the other hand, scoring the first goal from a set piece, makes it easier to score another goal, by causing the opposition to tear up their deep lying game plan, push the defence 10 yards further up the pitch, and committing more players forward. This is literally the entirety of jose mourinho's game plan. virtually every team in the premier league does this.

                                the thing is that england managed to do this once in the five games where they scored the first goal from a set piece. The thing to take from this is that aside from being really good at scoring goals from set pieces, England played basically the same muck football that they always do, every bit as uninspired as in 2010. They just were collecting these free goals, and most of their opponents were awful. Well done to England for being good at set pieces, but that's only a detail in what southgate was trying to do, which was to give them a vaguely functional style of possession play, and he got no nearer to it than capello or sven.

                                The reason ultimately for dwelling on how few goals they scored from open play, is that a team with a front four of Kane, sterling, Alli and lingard is picked to score lots of goals from open play. Particularly wth two wing backs able to get the ball into the box. on the one hand, England got to the semi final, but on the other hand they fell so massively short of what they were trying to do, that it's hard to be too impressed with the golden waistcoat. He's just a well spoken, plausible mediocrity.

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                                  You can see why Southgate did it this way though. He’s not going to reverse the inferior technique in passing and possession football that’s been inherent in English players for generations in the time he gets with them so he decided to get them incredibly well organised instead.

                                  The easiest thing to organise players at is set pieces, both defending them and using them as an attacking ploy. Add to that VAR causing an increased focus on holding and grappling at set pieces and you have a built in advantage in either being freed up to implement your routines unabetted or more likely to win a penalty if you’re grabbed than you would have been pre-VAR.

                                  Also, players like Sterling, Alli and Lingard may lack the finishing prowess to convert enough chances but they can run headlong at defences and win free kicks for a good portion of the game giving you another incentive to work like hell on perfecting what you do with them.

                                  In a way it reminds me of what the GB athletics coaches did with their sprint teams in last years Athletics Worlds. They realised they were not going to take on and beat countries like USA, Jamaica and others in the individual events because they just don’t have the stock of gifted enough sprinters. Instead they focused on the “low hanging fruit” of relays to pick up medals.

                                  They trained and trained and trained on the mechanics of the relays and fundamentals like baton exchange knowing that the “bigger” countries bother less with that and tend to just team up four sprinters and rely on their individual speed. They won four of their six medals in the relays (Farah won the other two), meeting their target.
                                  Last edited by Ray de Galles; 13-07-2018, 22:17.

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                                    That's a great point, well made. There are many reasons why Southgate should stay for England supporters. He has sussed onto the pragmatic short-term needs that Ray has highlighted. Even just with this team (unless they drink the Kool-aid), they are a good shout for Euros 2020. During that time, England will be benefiting from the players coming through from what could be a genuine Golden Generation; that have benefitted from the more progressive FA coaching programmes who won the U-17 World Cup. I say more progressive but, even then, there was an element of lip service paid to the guidance from the FA and the now U16s and 15s will be even better. Southgate is the right coach to over see the next 4 or even 8 years of this generation coming through. Obviously, as a Welshman, I hope that the FA sack him and get Neil Warnock in instead. As it is, the FAW were a couple of years ahead of the FA in progressive coaching methods.

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                                      That's just nuts. Seriously. If you've watched any premier league games over the last four years, you'll see that the number of passes per game has exploded. It's all possession football. Even the teams that lump it long quite often and play on the break string together what would historically be seen as massive totals. The problem is that people at the top end of english football, and the overwhelming majority of fans haven't really spotted the degree to which football has changed even in the last five years.

                                      Southgate simply never managed to address the problem of the midfielder who sits in front of the defence, and shields them primarily by positioning, and whose primary job is to take the ball from the defence, and move it quickly on up the pitch, or to move around at the back of the midfield, receiving the ball back from a teammate under pressure and move it on. Basically the player that england needed was michael Carrick circa 2006 (which btw is exactly what england needed in 2006)

                                      That he keeps picking henderson in this position shows that he doesn't really see the problem in these terms. If he understood what he was looking for, henderson would basically be the last person you would pick. Dier isn't great at this job, but he's a much better fit for this role than henderson. But even then he could have tried Loftus-Cheek in this position, and given him strict instructions.

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                                        Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
                                        That's just nuts. Seriously. If you've watched any premier league games over the last four years, you'll see that the number of passes per game has exploded. It's all possession football. Even the teams that lump it long quite often and play on the break string together what would historically be seen as massive totals.
                                        How many of the key players executing the passing and possession are English though? On a related note, what even is the percentage of English players in the PL now, 30%?

                                        Also, I’m describing Southgate’s processes not advocating them and share your surprise at Dier being sidelined as he is by far the best fit for deepest midfielder in tournaments - possibly because he’s not a product of the English system.
                                        Last edited by Ray de Galles; 13-07-2018, 22:51.

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                                          You realise that, though the English football team are all in the Premier League (aren't they?), they aren't the Premier League. The Premier League famously has a lot of the best players in the world from all over the world who have come through other countries' coaching systems. Indeed much was made, this World Cup, of the lower and non-league experience of the current English team before they ended up in the Premier League. England are, for better or worse, still not playing possession passing football. They are playing more than they were and they will be playing much much more in the future but, compared to other nations, they are still far behind in this respect.

                                          EDIT: Apologies, realised that TAB was addressing Ray's post not mine and I am not answering Ray's post with this one but, in many ways, backing him up.

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                                            While I also would have preferred Dier playing as the deepest midfielder, I do have to say that Henderson fits into Southgate's strategy pretty well in that he can hit a decent long pass and a lot of England's offensive strategy was to try and hit Sterling running into the channels or to knock a ball to Kane that he could flick on for Sterling or knock down for Lingard/Alli.

                                            If Dier was going to be picked, he would have worked better in a system closer to what Tottenham play, which I imagine would have looked something like:

                                            Pickford
                                            Walker/Trippier-Stones-Maguire-Rose
                                            Dier-RLC
                                            Sterling-Alli-Lingard
                                            Kane

                                            Which probably wouldn't have been as effective as what Southgate wound up playing, I'm not sure Maguire can handle playing with a high line/press and Rose being fit would be a real question (and Young can't play that role).

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                                              I'm not sure how many international teams having the passing quality of a top club side. France and Belgium, the two best teams in this tournament, do not pass it around that much and had much less of the possession in the games against Uruguay and Brazil and had to beat them by relying on greater power and (in Belgium's case) a better front three. I can't think of any past winner since 1966 who passed it less than France do. France also score a lot from set-pieces and rely on Mbappe's pace, so the differences between France and England are not as vast as between, say, England and Brazil/Spain/Uruguay.

                                              But clearly England's player quality is a million miles behind France, who started their modernization far earlier after the disaster of 2010.

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                                                All of the ones playing for England. And all english players. Players in the top three divisions pass the ball around an awful lot more than they used to. The fact that some teams are more organized and do more passing than others, masks that everyone is doing vastly more passing and is vastly better organized than where they were five years ago. Footballers have moved a very long way in a very short time, and it's the managers and the fans that have been left behind. The issue you highlight has never been the problem. There were eleven english starters in the 2008 CL final, and england didn't qualify for the european championship. It's because england are always horrendously organized, because there's a tendency to pick players on the basis of fame, over their ability to do specific jobs that fit together to form a coherent whole. This was present to a much lesser degree for England this time around, other than picking the liverpool captain because he's a decent lad.

                                                You'll notice that Liverpool have just spent a lot of money on two players who play in his position. One thing that you have to remember is that for at least the last decade, Academies have been training players to play in more sophisticated and organized ways than the senior team at their club plays. A load of us went to see the 2006-7 FA Youth cup semi final so we could all get in to the Emirates. The three players who went on to do well for themselves were Kieron Gibbs who scored for Arsenal, and Welbeck and Drinkwater for Man utd. But these players were all tidy, and good in possession, and you could see that it was like watching a champions league game rather than a game based around running and jumping. Now This is broadly what Man utd were doing with the senior team at the time, but Arsenal's underage team was seemingly better organized than the senior squad.

                                                chelsea's academy has been winning most of the FA youth Cup finals over the last little while. Chelsea Academy produce teams that play exciting high tempo, passing attacking football. Their first team has played in a variety of ways during this time. But never like this. The point is that these players are all massively more technically and tactically accomplished than you might think. What does seem to be happening is that the level of coaching and management in the premier league seems to be catching up with the raw materials that they have available to them. What's happening in Germany is that they've grasped that football has changed so much that players who are retiring just now are so out of touch that a lot of them are being skipped over for much younger coaches who have never really been professional footballers, but have been working with this new hot shit.

                                                Essentially Underage football and academies produce the sort of footballers that would be good for the England team, but the things you have to do in order to get into a first team, and get into the international team, frequently involving you moving further and further away from what you should be doing, into doing eye catching things, or playing in much more limited styles. so you often wind up with a really disjointed team. That's going to improve over time purely because of changing fashions. They could get there sooner if southgate had a bit more about him.

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                                                  Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
                                                  That's just nuts. Seriously. If you've watched any premier league games over the last four years, you'll see that the number of passes per game has exploded. It's all possession football.
                                                  Charlie has egg all over his face now.

                                                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywsktRooBFc?t=35s

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                                                    Originally posted by The Awesome Berbaslug!!! View Post
                                                    Players in the top three divisions pass the ball around an awful lot more than they used to.
                                                    ...and, indeed, non-league. I was saying yesterday that, when I started watching Bath City a decade ago, we were one of the few teams passing it around and had a noticeably physically smaller team than the rest. Nowadays, it is very rare to see teams coming along and playing hoofball and one or two away teams play excellent passing football. When we went into the Conference, it was very different with much bigger - mostly full-time and ex-League - players and we suffered. I am not sure whether that is still the case, however.

                                                    Teams are playing more passing football and this is down to the experience of playing with foreign players and under foreign managers and the Premiership Academies being more progressive in their coaching than the FA coaching programmes. Therefore players coming through Man Utd and Chelsea's academies are going to be better prepared training-wise. Like I say, from last year's U17 onwards, you should start to gradually see more improvement across the grass roots of football in general meaning that it isn't just the kids who are attending the top Premiership Academies who are benefitting.

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